Life is funny in a sense. I have an important exam tomorrow but I am sitting here typing away on family relations.

Have you ever seen a marriage break up? I am sure many people would have seen that happened, either to friends, colleagues or family itself. I have seen one break up over a long period of time. Of course I didn’t realize it at first. But then, one day, it is right there staring at you in the face.

From my earliest memory, there has always been arguments. Nothing serious, just a few heated sentences, things like that. Then they grew apart. Aloof. Like strangers in a house. My sister and I, well, we learn to stay out of their arguments. We are, after all, ‘too young’ and ‘just children’. But we would watched, with dread, whenever there seems to be an argument brewing. It is always over little things, things that will get us scolded if we quarreled over.

I guess that is why I grew more brazen. I had always liked to hide out in the magical worlds of the books. Whenever they starts, I will pick a book and ignored them. But my sister cannot or does not want to be so completely immersed within a book that she lost track of the real world. Hence, she was afraid. I, for my part, don’t care as long as they don’t affect me too much.

You know, it is funny. When I finally realized what is actually happening (I am in my teens), I realized that there had been many signs along the way but I just chose to ignore them. I cloaked myself in an illusion that we are a happy family. I couldn’t be more wrong.

My father, for the lack of a suitable word, is a redneck. He likes his liquor but doesn’t drink in front of us. Well, only rarely. He could not hold any job for long, usually he will leave or be fired in two years time. Then he found a job where he stayed at the hostel with the weekends and Wednesdays free.

Well, it is a job and we don’t begrudge him that. But it hurts when he failed to come back home when he had his free days. He always have tons of excuses: my work is not yet finished, we have an activity this weekend, XXX asked to change his free day with me, etc,etc.

He didn’t want to spend his time with us, fine. We coped with it, we found new things to fill our time with, without him. But my mother was bitter, and increasingly so. She has the right to be bitter.

She is a teacher but my father treated her as though she doesn’t have a shred of knowledge. She also has her suspicions of him cheating on her with his various female colleagues and even with the maid. Why else would the maid write to ask for money after she went back to her country? Reasonable suspicions I think.

It isn’t nice to think that way about your parent no matter how much you feel that way. I know and I am trying my best. But honestly? I sometimes felt that it would be better if my mother had asked for a divorce. I might have protested when I am younger, but not in the last four years. As my sister and I grow older, we find it hard to deal with his patronizing attitude. More often than not, we would looked at each other significantly, knowing that the other meant the same thing as I did: Here he goes again without thinking that he is certainly not the role model he is!

You know, I think my mother was thinking about getting a divorce now that we are old enough to comprehend things and rationalize them. She once spoke about looking for another nice, young man with my aunt (from my father’s side) and she agreed with my mum, although she looked uncomfortable discussing in front of my sister and I. I would not have protest. I would have agree and asked to stay with my mother. I think that my sister probably felt that same way.

But then, disaster struck. Four days after a particular vicious argument, he was downed by a stroke brought on by high blood sugar levels due to frequent drinks of 100 Plus. My mother was pushed to near insanity. As the stroke was minor, many relatives and friends were able to come and visit. It doesn’t do us any good. It is just another demand on our time, of which there is precious few.

For my mother, she had her job, us, my father and the bills to worry about. To make matters worse, we had just signed a contract for a house, meaning legal formalities. My sister and I were both embroiled with our individual battles against exams and can spare little time if we want to do good. As for the divorce, it just sank below sight and out of minds.

Now, he is better and doesn’t requires much help any more. But he is still unbearable at times. We doesn’t feel comfortable with him in the house.

I guess it is easy to grow apart, but much more difficult to grow close to someone.