I am five in this memory. In the afternoon, after teatime, I have a mandatory study session with my mother before I can go out to play with my friends. She has a math workbook to teach me basic arithmetic and geometry, and every day, she picks a few questions for me to work on. Until I am done with all these questions, I am not allowed to go out.
I absolutely loath this study session. First of all, the content of this workbook does not interest me. Second of all, I am not good at solving these questions. And finally – and this is the biggest reason of all -, I am scared of my mother’s tantrum when I cannot solve a question.
“You stupid!” She often explodes at me. “Why can’t you even solve this easy question?”
I am already feeling miserable staring at the question I am clueless how to solve when all I want is to go out and play with my friends. In this condition, hearing my mother call me stupid easily sends me over the edge. I start crying, which further irritates my mother and makes her say something really mean.
After a series of her verbal punch, I start my own fight against my mother. I abandon my workbook and start writing dirty things in my notebook instead. Dirty things specifically about my mean mother.
At one point, my mother leaves me briefly to put down my brother for a nap. But one day, our fight has already reached a climax when she goes to lie down next to my brother to help him sleep.
In our tiny apartment, all the rooms are connected. There is not much distance between the table I am studying at and the bedding where my brother is laid. My brother has heard all our dirty verbal fights, and these days, it is typical of him to repeat others’ words. Just when my mother puts a blanket on him, my little brother opens his mouth.
“She’s stupid,” his innocent voice echoes in the room. “Am I a good boy?”
My mother tries to make him quiet, but it is too late. I have heard it all, and I am in the worst mood ever.
“SHUT UP!” I explode at my brother across the room. By now, I am in a totally miserable state, my face covered with tears, my nose runny, and my voice hoarse from earlier shouting. I really do not need to be called stupid by my little brother.
Thankfully, though not sure how, our fight deescalates after that. I somehow finish my daily quota of the workbook and in an hour, I am heading out to play with my friends with a smile on my face, relieved to be released from the poisonous study session at least for now.