“Don’t touch my hair!”
The Five years old boy, Darin pushed the small, annoying hands away that were reaching out to touch his soft, fluffy crimson hair, shining even brighter in the bright sunny day.
Carlos, a playful little boy was sitting next to his elder cousin besides the swimming pool, his feet splashing the water.
The younger boy faltered by Darin's strength and pouted his lips as he said innocently. “But... but I just wanted to take a look.”
“Just look without touching,” Darin said gruffly.
“But... But I just wanted to touch,” Carlos tilted his head a little downward as his lips formed a pout, twiddling his fingers before reaching out again.
Darin scowled at him, moving further away from him, “Keep your hands away from my hair.”
“But it... It looks like fire! You have the same hair as my favourite superhero! Let me touch!” The little boy moved his hands up, gesturing, creating the imaginary flames of fire with his small hands.
“No! Or I will push you in the water,” Darin threatened the younger boy.
“Carlos wanna touch!” He demanded stubbornly before he once again extended his hand to grab the fiery crimson locks.
“I said no!” Darin shoved him away aggressively, almost throwing him in the pool.
The little boy barely caught himself from falling into the water. Carlos lowered his head as he stuck the quivering bottom lip out, slowly rubbing his little, delicate arm.
“Now do not start crying!” Darin scolded.
That’s exactly what he did, His eyes welled up as he sniffled and a big fat tear rolled down his face.
“No. Shsh! Don't cry.” Seeing him crying for real, Darin immediately moved closer, patting him on the back. His finger raised in front of his lips, gesturing to the small, fragile boy to stop crying before his mom came.
Carols’ sniffles turned into a loud wail as he complained, “ You are bad! You are not like my super hero!” He started to cry even louder.
“Shut up or I will really throw yo-” The words got stuck in his throat as he saw Carlos' mom, standing behind the patio door, her wavering glare holding him in place.
Darin knew he was done for. He gulped down a sudden throb of fear smilingly as he watched her approaching them with heavy steps.
“What did you do now?” The blonde woman asked with a cold voice, her face scrunched up in irritation.
Darin hesitantly stood up straight, thinking for excuses, “I... Uh...”
“Why is he crying like this?” She studied the boy with the critical squint, her tone aggressive.
Darin's eyes darted around as he stuttered, “Aunty Grace... We... We were just...”
“TELL ME!” she suddenly raised her voice, startling the life out of Darin.
“We were just... Playing and he... He-”
The women grabbed his small arm, jolted him as she asked, “You hit him again? Right?”
“I... No I did not,” he shook his head, frightened.
Carlos also stood up, rubbing his eyes, wiping the tears off of his face as he murmured “Mom...”
“Shut up! How many times do I tell you to stop playing with this arrogant brat?” She snapped, making the little boy cry even harder.
“I don’t know why Vina picked this punk up in the first place,” she mumbled rudely, rolling her eyes.
She did it again. She said the same thing again for the thousandth time. The words Darin hated the most to hear. Every time she said it, Darin stayed quiet trying not to disrespect elders as his mom thought him. However, as Darin is gradually growing older, he finds it harder to gulp down his anger until finally he gave in as his anger eventually overpowered him.
“You are a liar! Mom didn’t picked me up! She said I'm her son!” Darin yelled as he felt the tears gathering up into his eyes but shut his mouth as a loud slap stunned him.
The cold women slapped him all of a sudden, as she yelled “How dare you raise your voice at me!? Huh? Vina really didn’t teach you any manners.”
Carlos flinched as he heard the sound of sudden slap, he shot his head up, holding onto his mother's hand as he cried, “Mom! Don’t hit Darin. Don’t hit Darin.”
Darin stared blankly at him, his mouth agape, his small palm placed on his reddened cheek, weeping silently.
The women jerked her arm from her son's grip and grabbed his jaw harshly, making the little boy to look up into her cold eyes, her warning glare keeping him still, “I will slap you too if I saw you playing with him again!”
“Mom... But Mom...” Carlos tried to utter the words, sobbing before his mother shot him a piercing glare that shut him right up, dragging him along with her, leaving Darin standing with his red, swollen cheek.
The sun was shining brilliant, high up in the bright blue sky, as if one perfect petal was stretched so wide around all the world while the little Darin was standing on the green, shining grass in the backyard with his head lowered, appearing like a shrivelled crimson rose in the bright early summer days.
Darin's cheek was still hurting by the slap, however he didn’t cried, there was anger in his eyes instead of sadness, thinking to himself.
What did Aunty Grace mean by that? What did she mean by your mom shouldn’t have picked you up? She didn’t pick me up from anywhere. I'm his son!
Darin's eyes shot up instantly as he heard his mother's soft voice, he hurriedly ran towards her, wrapping his small arms around her, “Mom!”
The gentle woman leaned her head down to the boy's height as she placed her warm hands on his cheeks, placing a soft kiss on his forehead as she asked with the honey-sweet tone, “What happened Darin? Why are you standing alone here?”