Chapter 1: HOME

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Phun's POV

The plane softly touches the ground as the flickering runway lights danced like tiny fireflies amidst the pitch darkness of the night. The warmth voice of the captain announcing a safety landing echoed along the corridors.

I stared mindlessly from the window as the familiar scene slowly introduces itself unto my numb senses. It has been a long and agonizing ten years since I last step foot on this ground.

I traveled far, far away from this place just like a criminal fleeing from his crime.

Back then, all I wanted to do is to run to the ends of this earth, bury myself in the depths of the ground where no one could find me...where no pain could touch me...where no memory could haunt me...

Soon enough grateful yet exhausted sighs echoed amongst the tired passengers who have endured a long and strenuous almost 20-hour flight. (It's a good thing, I took the one-stop flight or could have been longer).

As the weary passengers eagerly marched out one by one, the sweet melodious voices of the flight attendants could be heard as they bid farewell to each passenger with their smiles.

Thank you for flying Thai Airways. Hope you have a great time...

It took me a few more minutes before I could muster enough courage to drag myself out of my seat. I was the last passenger to exit the craft. I hold my backpack tightly as if my strength depended on it and gradually walk along the narrow path.

My steps slowly become heavier and heavier as I approached the exit door.

As I drew nearer, it feels like going to the gates of a different realm...a scary place that is. While this side serves as my sanctuary shielding me from all the pain, the other side holds all my memories of HIM. Memories  that I have been trying to bury in the deepest corner of my heart.

Perhaps this was a bad decision...

Maybe I wasn't ready yet...

Maybe 12 years isn't enough to ease the pain...

To erase the memories....

To forget the painful past....

To accept the bitter reality....

I do not know how long I stood there in the middle of this crowded airport

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I do not know how long I stood there in the middle of this crowded airport. The bustling sound of the surroundings seems like a different world to me. It is like watching a scene from a television. The happy atmosphere of families reuniting again should send warm feelings to whoever witnesses it.

On the far left side, teary-eyed family members surrounded a middle-aged man with hugs and kisses. A one big happy reunion unfolding before my very eyes.I smiled bitterly.

Another group of youngsters on the right side howled joyfully as a group of young boys in athletic uniforms emerges from the glass door. They were all cheering loudly as one of the uniformed-boys proudly shows off a glittering gold trophy in hand. They were jumping and embracing each other in the midst of the crowd. The spirit of youthfulness spreads through their wide-grin smiles.

P'Phun! P' Phun!

A familiar voice takes me back to where I am now. Pang wildly waved her left hand towards me while holding a piece of paper with my name on it on her right hand (Really?!, Pang you don't have to do that) She has the biggest smile on her face. I quickly walk towards her (I have to or else she might hurt her arms from waving too much).

"P' Phun!', a voice broke my trance and before i knew it I was held in a tight embrace. These arms surrounding me might be small but it held strength. I'm afraid I might have broken some bones.

"I missed you so much, P'"

"I miss you too Pang!".

I let out a soft laugh as I held her too. I truly did miss this wonderful sister of mine.

"Hmmph...If you'd miss me that much, you should have come home sooner", Pang said as she releases herself in my embrace. She pouts her lips and rests her arms on her chest trying to look menacing.

"I'm sorry". I let a soft chuckle at her intentional show of childishness.

I know I owe her more than this. In the last ten years that I've lived in the States, the number of times we saw each other can only be counted by my fingers (that's how rare it is). Moreover, in those rare occasions, it was always Pang who travels half the world to see this good-looking brother of his. The once pretty young teen I left behind a decade ago grew up to be a very fine young woman who is now getting married (the very reason why I finally came home).

I've been a selfish self-loathing brother for a long time I guess it's time to pay some debts and fulfill my brotherly duties (I had to scrutinize first that soon-to-be brother-in-law of mine, hehe )What's his name, again?

"It's ok. I understand", she let out a sigh and smiled at me. "What's important is that now you're here."

I smiled and give her a gentle pat on the head as I rested my arms unto her shoulders and ushered her towards the car waiting for us.

"Let's go home."

Pang eagerly took me by the hand half dragging me leading me to our car where Uncle Nhan patiently waits. I greeted Uncle Nhan who seemed to be teary-eyed seeing me (Well I guess he missed me too)

"Welcome back Khun Phun".

"Thank you Uncle Nhan".

"Hey, wait P' Phun where's your luggage?"Pang stopped as Uncle Nhan about to open the car's rear door for us.

I took my backpack and held it smiling at her puzzled face ."Here"

Pang just looked at me, a sudden swept of sadness adorned those pretty eyes. I hate to see her like this. I know how much she wanted me back. (I'm her only brother, you know !!!)

However, this is all I can give her.

One week...

One week to attend her wedding party

Then I'm going back to the States... to my sanctuary..

For good...

I gave her my most sincere smile and gently shoved her inside the car. Pang held my hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. We looked at each other. She does not have to say a word because I know...she understands.

Pang always does. She had always been my supporter.

She gently lays her head on my shoulder while her hands clasp my wrist firmly. We silently drove home.

"Welcome home P'Phun" Pang smiled at me the moment I step out of the car. I stood there looking at the massive mansion that  I once called home.


WARNING:  this is angst and some tears may fall..

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