Sometimes when I am in the bathroom brushing my teeth and the window is open and I can hear the faint noises of the traffic from the main road, I am back in the house I grew up in, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, brushing my teeth and while I hear the faint noise of traffic from the main road I am dreaming about being far away, somewhere exotic, different, very, very different and deliriously happy.
All of it, at the same time. I would look at myself with half closed eyes, trying to imagine it: me being deliriously happy and far away, somewhere exotic and very, very different.
Around that time I started stealing cigarettes and loose change from my mother's purse. Most days after school I sat on my desk in my room underneath the skylight, blowing the smoke outside and hiding the butts in an empty jam jar with a screw on lid. My mother was going through three packs a day and the house reeked of nicotine anyway, but, hey, the thrill of it. On the inner frame of the skylight I kept a tally of the boys I had kissed, a tiny line of initials.
The desk was very stylish, polished blond wood, Scandinavian design, slim brass drawer handles. It used to stand downstairs in the big room. Years ago I had chased my little brother around the room and he crashed into one of its rounded corners and the blood spurting from the gash beside his eyebrow spilt onto my mother's best Persian carpet. I was locked into my room for the rest of the day and I remember standing on my tiptoes trying to open the same skylight to climb out and give my mother a fright.
When my father bought our first tv set to watch the Olympic games the desk was moved upstairs.
Deep inside one of its drawers I hid my pathetic savings. But only briefly. I knew all along that money would not get my out of here.
But by now I have been all of it: far away, somewhere exotic and very, very different and deliriously happy. Even all of it at the same time, briefly.