He dragged the bag full of luggage behind him. It has been 2 years since the last time he travelled with the heavy bag. It was still dusty and smelled funky since it was placed next to his shoe rack for the last year or so.
At the terminal he was greeted by his family. His parents didn't seem to age one day, whereas his younger siblings looked completely different, almost unrecognisable. To his surprise, he was almost shorter than his younger brother. How things have changed, he thought to himself.
On the way back he looked out of the window and remained silent. For someone who has not been home for so long he seemed to not be curious to all the changes surrounding him. The new housing projects, new malls, new schools, new highways.
To break the silence his mother asked
He continued to look out of the window, hand under chin while his eyes studied the supermarket where there was once a car workshop.
His mother was unimpressed at her son's answer. His father wondered what could have changed his talkative son. He felt like someone took his son away and replaced him with this silent person, cold and unaffectionate.
"Abang kahwin bila?"
Joked the elder of his 2 younger brothers. He faked a laugh and said he didn't know. Three or four years ago he would punch his brother on the arm or retaliated in some form of friendly violence. But the question seemed to take a deeper effect than he expected.
When was he getting married? 24 years old, single his whole life. His schoolmates were marrying left and right. Even some of his college buddies were also tying the knot. It seemed to him as though the whole world was against him, piling pressure on him to find the right person to love, to marry.
There was only one problem which he too didn't want to admit. After years and years of being single and unable to find the right person, he had considered the possibility that he was different. Different.
Still staring into space, he opened his mouth but no words came out.
He tried again,
He said, as though she were the only other person in the van. Her mother turned around, looking at her eldest son.