Plyan (เปลี่ยนแปลง) Switch/Change
- make (someone or something) different; alter or modify
- replace (something) with something else, especially something of the same kind that is newer or better; substitute one thing for (another).
noun: an act or process through which something becomes different.
“That’s it! I’m not going. You can’t make me.”
I plopped down at the breakfast table with a determined huff, daring Mom to contradict me. Unfortunately, my scowl turned into a squint as the sun beamed directly into my eyes. Irritated, I dragged myself up again to lower the blinds.
Mom called my bluff easily. “Oh, really?” Her lips twitched slightly, as she struggled to remain stern. “You know you are going. It’s non-negotiable.”
I hate it when she gets like that. Deflated, I took a sip of coffee and tried another track. “But it’s not fair. Why do I have to waste my Sunday on this stupid buddy programme?”
Mom sighed into her cup. “Seriously? Not again. How many times do we have to have this discussion?”
“As often as it takes. Until you listen to me.”
“Luna, that’s enough! You’ve been complaining about this for two months now. I’m tired of your whining. What else were you planning to do? Just go and have fun with Nui. It’s the perfect day to be out.”
I hated to admit it, but it did look nice outside. After days of torrential rain, the sun had finally come out and the sky was crystal clear, but I wasn’t ready to concede defeat yet.
“Well, why don’t you go then? I don’t want to hang out with Nui just because she’s my official tour guide.” I insisted.
“Why are you so stubborn?” Mom threw up her hands, clearly annoyed now. I was getting to her. “Every time we move, you make this big fuss about not wanting to do this or that. Can’t you, for once, give it a try? This is a great chance for you to see Bangkok like a local.”
“For you, everything is great, beautiful and exciting!” I countered. “You say the same thing every time, but you never ask what I want.”
“And you are very ungrateful. Do you know how many kids would love to have the opportunities we have given you? Not everyone gets to live around the world like you do. What is your problem?” I could tell, she was close to losing it, but I didn’t feel like giving in.
“Oh yeah? Well, feel free to take all those kids! Or even better, take Nui, she’s dead set on traveling anyway. I never asked for this, and just because you and Dad like being expats, doesn’t mean I want to be a chameleon and change every two years. How many more moves do we have to make before you finally decide it’s enough?” I knew I was being obnoxious, but I couldn’t help myself.
Mom turned away and swallowed hard. Or maybe she was counting to ten. But then she wiped her eyes and smoothed back her hair, a sure sign that she was really upset. Shit. Guilt trip.
“Oh, come on, Mom! I know you and Dad mean well, but why can’t you understand how difficult this is for me. You had your friends growing up, but I’ve never had a best friend or—God forbid—a boyfriend, and I’m sixteen! I’m just tired of this. We never stay anywhere long enough to make real friends. Nui is only around because the school threw us together but I want to pick my own friends.”
Mom blew her nose and regrouped. “Nui will be here soon. You better get ready. We can discuss this later. Do you have enough money? You are paying for her lunch, taxis and any fees I hope?”
“Yeah, but Nui always haggles anyway. She’s so cheap.”
“Luna! Be nice. She’s really making an effort for you.” Mom admonished me. “And don’t forget to put on some sunscreen. Dad’s home for dinner tonight. Make sure you’re back by six, ok?”
“Whatever! I better get ready for my ‘baddy’!” I mocked Nui’s accent without much enthusiasm. Great. First a fight with Mom, and now I had to face The Pest. There goes the weekend
“I’m off, Khun Yaa,” I called out to Grandma, and bent down to scratch Joey’s head. He wagged his short, stubby tail running towards the front door, clearly hoping to go for a walk.“Sorry, Joey. Not now. I’ll see you later.”
“Where are you going, Nui?” Grandma walked out of the kitchen wiping her hands on a towel. “Aren’t you supposed to be helping your parents at the shop?”
“I can’t, Grandma, I promised to take Luna to Koh Kret this morning.”
“Did you check with your mom that it was ok? You’ve been spending a lot of time with your new friend lately, Nui. Don’t forget that you have family obligations too. And why haven’t we met her yet? You’ve been to her house a few times.” Grandma normally had the sweetest smile, but now she was frowning at me. “Who’s paying for all those trips? And when was the last time you were at the temple? You should come with Grandpa and me today.”
“But, Grandma, you know that the school asked us to show the newcomers the city. I’m only doing my job. And Luna is paying for everything, anyway. I really have to go now. I’ll see you later.”
“Not so fast, Nui! We don’t accept charity from anyone; you know better than that. If you need money, you ask your parents.”
“It’s not charity, Grandma, I’m doing her a favour. She would never get to see anything in Bangkok if she was on her own. I think she’s kind of scared and lonely.”
“In that case, bring her here for lunch today so we can all meet her. Don’t be late.” Her tone was final. No point in arguing when she was in this mood.
“Ok, fine. I’ll see you later.” I put my palms together in front of my chest to wai to Grandma one last time in deference but rolled my eyes as I turned to leave. The last thing I wanted to do was introduce Luna to my family. With her attitude she’d consider it slumming. I wasn’t sure why I’d told Grandma that Luna was lonely; with me she was just plain arrogant. Serves you right Nui. Now deal with it.
Getting on the skytrain, I was still annoyed with myself. Arguing with Grandma was a big no-no. As the matriarch of the family, her word was law, but equally she was the most caring woman in the world and deserved my respect. But bringing Luna home was bound to be a disaster. She basically lived on another planet. With her attitude, I was convinced that I had the worst buddy in the whole school. She was totally passive with zero interest in anything. Despite that, I had my own reasons for sticking close to Luna, even if that meant I had to swallow my pride occasionally. Today, she would just have to step outside her cushy world long enough to get a glimpse of how the other half lives. This could be either very interesting or very painful. Ok, deep breath and smile! Let’s see what mood she is in today.
I pressed the doorbell.