Scar and Kali Oeba

I have wanted to write down all the pieces of memories before they are gone. I realise as I age, I start to forget things that have happened before. It’s a pity if there comes a time when I couldn’t remember anymore those things that were once important. This would be the first story. I choose this story because I think these two events were the earliest events that I could remember.

The first event should happen around 1979 or 1980s. I wasn’t starting schooling yet. Since my mother was a civil servant, every morning, she would drop me off to my grandmother’s house. I would then stay for the whole day until my mother got back from her office.

Nothing was unusual that morning. It should be around seven and seven thirty. I could still remember the mild stroke of Kupang morning sun on my cheek. We walked down from our home to grandmother’s place. I had my toy gun made of coconut bark. It had a sling on it that I put around my neck. It was a dirt downhill road from our place to grandmother’s house. I don’t remember now, whether I was running or I was walking next to her, but suddenly I stumbled upon a rock and fell down, the coconut bark cut through my forehead just in between my eyes. It could have been worse. Blood gushing out and trickling down my face. It might have not been that bad, but that was what I remembered. It was such a nuisance for my mother, who was in a hurry to get to her office. I cried, and my mother then helped me get up. The wound still left a bit of scar on my forehead, barely visible, but the memory stays on.


There was a local market located about 15 to 20 minute walk from our home. Going there you could take a typical route, or you could take a short cut along a small creek and by the beach. It was my job every morning to go to the market before school buying some groceries. I liked going through this shortcut. It was quite adventurous. It was a walking trail through the bush, and you had to walk across the creek at the point where the creek’s water flowing to the beach. Sometimes the current was strong, at other times it was shallow and calm. You’d find a herd of sheep grazing through the bush. I was always scared of meeting snakes but luckily never had a chance to meet any.

This story happened on one Sunday, it should be Sunday, not on other days, because my mother didn’t go to work. She took my sister and me to the market through this route. She carried my sister using a batik cloth tied around her shoulder. On the one hand, she was holding my hand, on the other hand, she was also holding another bag filled with vegetables. We managed to cross the creek and started walking the trail adjacent to it.  It was just a 30 cm wide walking path. Next to it was the creek, quite steep from the path down to the creek. I never knew the depth, maybe it wasn’t that deep but certainly muddy. I was always scared of falling down to the creek every time. That morning, my mother slipped and fell down to the creek with my sister on her shoulder. Since one of her hands was still holding mine, I was able to grab her trying to pull her up. She was hanging on that cliff with her feet dangling and already touching the creek. I held her with my dear life trying to pull her up. I could see some pumpkins we bought floating and running away with the flowing water. It took sometime before I could pull my mother and my sister back up to the path. We went home laughing about it and had to let go of our groceries flowing down the river to the beach. This creek is still there but has dried up for many years now. I would love to go back again and see the place one day.



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