An out-of-body-experience

Filed in Family, Memories

In my mind, I hold this image from my childhood. In it, a young girl sleeps on the floor of a bedroom, her knees bruised and bright red. At the doorway of the bedroom, an elderly woman sits, feasting on the bright yellow fruit of a spikey, thorny fruit in front of her.

Wait. There’s an earlier image to this. The young girl and elderly woman are at a fruit stall piled high with that spikey, thorny fruit. The woman is choosing the fruit that she will be feasting on in a while. The girl is all excited and eager to help. Suddenly, the girl trips and falls onto the pile of fruits. The woman and the stall-owner help her up. Her knees are badly bruised and slightly bleeding from the contact with the spikes on the fruits. A little red lotion is applied to soothe and disinfect the bruises.

That incident did happen, and that young girl was me. That elderly woman was my nanny, and she did spend many afternoons enjoying a durian (the spikey, thorny fruit) that she would buy from the fruit stall that was located just in front of the family’s second Chinese medicine shop at 464, Batu Road, Kuala Lumpur.

The first scene is the one I remember the most, while the earlier scene would come to mind shortly after.

I see both scenes in my mind like I am just an on-looker, when in fact, I was the young girl in both scenes. How is that possible? I was telling this story to See Ming last night, and asked her the same question. Her reply – out-of-body experience.

For years, I would recount the incident as the reason why I went off liking durian. Durian is a fruit you not only like or dislike, but do so with an intense passion. Usually, it’s foreigners who dislike it, put off by its smell which stops them from venturing further to discover the taste that is the exact opposite of the smell.

I grew up loving durian. I am, after all, Malaysian. But I actually went off my love for durians much later than the bruised knees incident. I think one day, I just woke up and didn’t love it anymore. It had nothing to do with the bruised knees. But linking the two incidents together just made for a great story (not that I’m a great, or even good, story teller), so over time, they became related – I went off durians because I fell on a pile of them as a child. Over time, I might’ve come to believe this, too, except I have an elephant’s memory that would not let me forget. And so this is my confession – falling on a pile of durians as a child did not make me stop eating them.