MALAYSIA - He looks like he has just cleared the forest and smells like bottled sweat. I have just fetched him home from school. And here I am, standing behind my sullen son, inside the elevator that's taking us to our apartment floor.
Today, the elevator seems to be taking forever. Confined inside this rising cubicle, I studied my teenager, his greasy face with one angry-looking pimple on his nose and his recent "taller-than-mummy" built. Suddenly, it hits me how swiftly the years have gone by.
How long ago was it when I could still hold hands with him? His tiny palm which mine could envelop easily? Now that palm has grown bigger than mine. Sometimes, it would go on a bet to overpower mine, an easily won battle accompanied by a victorious shout of "Yay, I won!"
I remember like it was yesterday, when I was chasing a boisterous toddler with his older sister at the neighbourhood playground in Subang Jaya, Selangor.
I would make the two kids promise me that they would go home without any tantrum when it was time. As usual, they would break the promise and whine, "Don't want go home!" And the next day, the same drama would repeat itself as the sky gradually grew darker.
The elevator stopped at level three for a while. No one came in. My disgruntled teen lets out a groan before jabbing the number at the controls angrily. I throw him an annoyed look and then notice a cut on his finger.
"How did you get this cut?" I ask.
"Nah, just hit something," he replies.
I hold his fingers briefly, as permitted by this teen and realised how long the fingers are now.