He opened the door to his room with a push with his shoulder, shuffled forward a few small steps, and with an aching sigh, collapsed on top of his black duvet, seeking comfort in the soft linen. He felt the blood vessels pounding against his skull. His sinuses were throbbing so that his cheeks hurt. He sniffed up some more of that yellow-gooey snot that had been running out of his nose all day. He let out a hoarse cough from the depths of his throat. His whole body felt fatigued, unable to move another inch.
Through his half-open eyes, he stared at the little blots of mould starting to emerge on the white painted walls near his pillow. He was an adult, but he was confident that he still had no idea how to take care of himself. Some of his friends were getting married and even having kids, but in his state, he realised that he was definitely not ready for more responsibility. He couldn’t imagine having to take care of a baby as well while feeling like he might heave in the wastebasket at any moment.
Heave. He needed something to soothe his nauseous stomach and suddenly, he had a craving for ginger tea, something he had sworn as a child that he would always hate. Ginger tea was an Asian mother’s panacea. Come in from the cold? Ginger tea. Stomach upset? Ginger tea. Cough? Ginger tea. Ginger tea was also the bane of every Asian boy’s existence. It tasted disgusting, leaving a spicy aftertaste that he could never get rid of, at least for a good period of time. There had always been a good chase around the house before he would reluctantly agree to drink it. And when he reached the tumultuous teenage years, he flat-out refused to drink it. Now, he found himself snickering in disdain, desperate not to believe that he had reached old age.
He finally used the remaining conserve energy in his body to take off his suit pants and shirt, and crawl underneath the covers. He might rebuff his mother’s constant propositions to help him, but inside, he was still the little boy. All he wanted was to run away from ginger tea, before being forced to drink it. He wished he could be tucked into bed by his mother again. And he longed for her to sit beside him, stroking his forehead and across his eyelids. His eyes drooped, and as they flickered once more before he dozed off, he imagined his mother’s touch, soft and reassuring.