I spent my childhood in a two-storey house in Radio Dalam, South Jakarta. It was painted in white with a small garden in front, next to the garage. There are two entrances to the house: one from the patio and the other from the back of the garage. I usually took the later entrance. Coming back from school, I remember opening a white door and welcomed with the savory cooking smell from the kitchen. I thought it was nice to be back home.
The living room we had was spacious. It consisted of the dining room, the living room, and a bathroom. The second floor was built right above the dining room with a balcony on top. From the balcony, you can see the living room below. I would watch what people were doing downstairs with curiosity as I spent my time above – I slept on the second floor.
There was a hilarious incident happened when I was about seven or eight. I was sulking because I didn’t get what I wanted. I left my parents who were chatting with family relatives at the guest room and climbed the stairs. Once I was at the balcony, I watched my nannies watching the television at the living room with my older sister. Furious that no one was looking for me, I pushed my legs and my head against the slit of the balustrade. I hung there at the balcony just like a monkey hung on a tree, gripping on the wooden balustrade.
Then I got bored. I realized no one cared about what I did so I better gave it a rest. I pulled my head to escape from the balustrade, but suddenly I got stuck! I panicked. “Help! Help!” I called out. My nannies looked up and their faces turned pale immediately. “Ma’am! Adek is stuck above!” They said in Indonesian, calling me as the little sister.
My Mom and Dad rushed upstairs and looking at what I have done, my Mom cried. “She’s stuck! Her head is stuck!”
“Help!” I said helplessly.
They discussed what they ought to do with me. Should they break the wooden balustrade with a saw? But they were afraid to cut me in the process.
Luckily my Dad was an engineer who knew the mechanics of physics and thought logically. “If she can get in, she can get out.” He said simply.
He studied the pattern of the wooden balustrade, recognizing the peculiar vase-like shape. “Here. The middle part is bigger than the upper part. The slit is wider at top. She must have got in from the upper part.” He gently pulled me to stand up and surely, I got out easily!
“My daughter!” My Mom continued crying as she hugged me tightly.
“There, there.” My Dad said.
I myself was frightened by the little incident.
For lesson learned – if anything – I knew that I must stopped hanging at the balcony like a monkey. From then on I’d climbed to the second floor and looked at the balustrade, got scared, and scurried away to my room and elsewhere.
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