Tessa yawned. She had been accompanying her parents to quite a number of parties and frankly speaking, she was bored. There were no children to play with her and none of the food were suitable for her according to her mother. Then why would you bring me here? She asked once and promptly received a shush. She never asked again.
It was the school holidays and this was when she had to attend even more events, her parents called them those, with them. This was when she wished that she was old enough to stay home or go out by herself. They had just arrived at the museum. A museum! She was bored of museums. Field trips that her school arranged were often at the old dull museums and she had enough of such visits. However, she could not leave. The only interesting museum trip was when they were at the Peranakan Museum. The activities there brought life to the lives of the Nyonas and Babas. She could not understand why they were called that.
The Art Museum had only art pieces and there was no guide to show them anything at all. She didn’t know why the adults were talking so much about that piece of thing that looked like someone just splashed some paint over the canvas randomly. She rather see the art that were brought to life like how Banksy did it. Watching his works on the internet was so much different when she managed to see one in real life a few months back.
“Tessa,” her mother called. “Tessa, there you are,” her mother walked towards her. “Come with me, I want you to meet someone.” Tessa was not excited to meet “someone” but she put on her best smile and followed through the crowd with her mother.
“Donovan, I would like you to meet your niece, Tessa,” her mother introduced. So, she had an uncle. Strange that her mother never mentioned him at all. After a few minutes of the usual questions of how she was coping in school, if she had any friends and other boring questions, Tessa wanted to go home.
She would rather stay home and rot than to go through the ordeal. “Can we go home now?” she pulled her father’s hem as he stood next to her. He frowned and shook his head. Shoulders slumped, she wandered off towards the other part of the room and found a seat. She wanted to bring along her favourite toy but her parents often refused her request.
Reasons such as the toy being lost, they would not buy another as a replacement and she would get it dirty. Without something to play with or hold on to, Tessa was bored. She didn’t know what to do. At home, she would know what she wanted to do. Watch the endless list of YouTube because her parents would not play with her. She had her toys, they reasoned.
Sometimes, she wished for a younger brother or sister just so that they could suffer the events with their parents. She was an only child and was jealous of her friends who had elder or younger siblings to talk to or play with.
Her empty house was probably the reason why her parents always brought her out. Her friends would admire the places that they could never go to. Right now, she wanted to switch places with them. The boring, boring events that her parents always brought her to were ridiculous. She was always at the museum or some one’s house. There was one time, she was at this huge house with a swimming pool. She knew how to swim, her mother ensured that she attended the lessons until she could swim well. Her classmates did not know how to swim and none of them had any lessons yet.
Tessa was bored. She wanted to do something else rather than be at a place full of adults and nobody her age to talk to.
“Why are you here?” a boy asked. She turned to face him. He was eating a lollipop and offered her one. Taking it gratefully, she opened the wrapper with some difficulty. He helped her open it. “So, why are you here?”
After sucking on the lollipop a few times, she answered. “My parents brought me here. I don’t want to be here though.”
“Why not? Isn’t this the best time to be with them?”
Tessa pouted. “But there is nothing for me here! They have friends to talk to and I have no one!”
“You have me now, what do you want to talk about?” Feeling comfortable with him, she started sharing her thoughts. It was like a dam had flooded and he listened to her. He would nod or shake his head at times. Sometimes, he would add in his opinions. By the time Tessa stopped, she was relieved.
She finally had someone to share her thoughts with. None of her friends in school had this connection with her. “Well, I am happy to be here today.”
“You are?” she was surprised.
“I rarely get the chance to get out of the house and today is one of my monthly trips.”
“What do you mean?”
“I cannot get out of the house unless my illness is under control. Today, it got under control and my parents brought me here. It’s my first time at a museum. I’m Charlie,” he brought his hand out to shake hers.
Shaking his hand, she replied, “Nice to meet you, Charlie. I’m Tessa.”
“Tessa, thank you for sharing with me your world and where you have been.”
Tessa was not sure how to respond but merely gave him a weak smile. She had always complained about her trips with her parents but it was the first time that someone told her that she was lucky in some ways that she never knew. She was healthy enough to be able to travel with her parents at any time.
Charlie was stuck at home unless he was well enough. He was probably home-schooled due to his illness. He was the opposite of her.
She appreciated what health meant now. She wanted to visit Charlie when he was stuck at home. He was a good friend to make. This museum visit was no longer boring.