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Did you know that when you join two bubbles together you get three surfaces?

If you don't believe me try it and see. You will notice that each surface could have come from a sphere.

It's weird and wacky things like this that turn me on.

You know, if I stand still in one place long enough and just stare at whatever is in front of me, after a while I see that everything is, in fact, made from little bubbles. Like, minute, tiny, almost microscopic, just-seeable bubbles. A coloured froth that only looks solid when I stop concentrating.

Don't laugh, I mean it, seriously.

Jackson and Louise...they laugh when I say stuff like this. But if you laugh, I'll have to shut up and keep my thoughts to myself altogether.

Louise says, 'Don't be ridiculous, Suck Man [that's what she calls me], everyone knows that everything is made of atoms.'

To which I reply, 'Have you ever seen an atom?'

'No-o-o...' she replies, but I've seen pictures...'

'Well, I see bubbles, so that's realer than atoms.'

The trouble about seeing the world as bubbles is that it gives you the feeling that the bubbles might all pop and there'll be nothing left.

Which is scary, so that's usually when I decide that I'll have to kick something to see if it's solid or not.

Like Louise, or Jackson.

Then they kick back and I kick them and they kick me and...we have a real party. Which ends up with me in a bad mood that I can't excape from.

EX-cuse me saying EX-cape , but that's how I've always said it and I'm not going to change.

I want to excape most of the time. I get that stuffy, congested feeling like a towel is round my waist and a strong person is pulling at each end of the towel and I'm being boa constrictored.

And everywhere I turn it seems like there's brown sauce on my glasses and I can't see the excape route.

'An ex-cape for an ex-ape ,' says Louise.

In the end I stomp home and sneak in hoping I won't be seen (and be given a chore) and I go to my room and look at the art books that my mother Matilda Wong's brother (my Uncle Walter) bought second-hand at the Karnyalimenya School Opportunity Knocks Shop (which Ian says does not mean a knocking shop, whatever that is...).

The only other person I know whose family has arty farty books like this is Alice's.

I don't call them arty farty--Ian does. Although I've noticed that Ian is interested in certain types of books.

At first I thought he only liked pictures of naked ladies. Like, in his father's pile of magazines under the bed that he borrows from--one at a time so his father won't notice--and shows me embarrassing stuff from--but I was wrong. Ian's actually a serious person when you get to know him. Like he was specially interested in one book-- which had mostly only black and white pictures in it anyway--and he borrowed it from Alice to help with his project.

Anyway, my family's art books are unbelievably cool and filled with the most amazing stuff by the Great Masters.

Of course, I have my favourites.

When I grow up I want to exape overseas to look at all the art galleries which Ms Rubenach says are definitely stuffed with Great Masters.

Ms Rubenach says I might not have had enough of art by the time I'm 80 so I don't have to be in an enormous rush now.

But I imagine getting all the great paintings in the world onto my computer so I can look at any of them any time.

Maybe by the time I'm old enough to go overseas they will all be available on the Internet or CD-ROMs or something.

Maybe I can go overseas with Scott. He's the only other person I know who's interested enough in art.

Mum and Dad aren't interested in anything except making money in their restaurant. That's why Mum gave me Unca Walter's books. She's not interested.

What worries me is that my parents think that when I grow up I'll want to run the restaurant myself.

Well, I don't mind cooking--or eating for that matter--and most of the time I can handle the people coming in and out of the restaurant (though sometimes it gets to me) but I don't want to be stuck in a restaurant every night for the rest of my life. I've got better things to do.

I mean, most people think that a restaurant closes at 11 o'clock or 12 o'clock at night at the latest. But they don't realise all the cleaning up and washing up and stuff that has to be done. And the orders and the books. Of course, you keep up with these things during the day, and during the evening, but there are always things to do when you finish.

Especially if you are fanatic like my mother who, when she's tired at the end of the day, gets all the left-over batter mixture from the fridge and puts it in a bowl and sits on a chair and puts her bare feet in it and soaks away. Even in winter.

'Ah...That's better,' she says.

It's the only thing my mother does that you could call unhygienic. Or weird.

My father has not got used to this, yet, even after they have worked together in the restaurant 364 days every year for 14 years. But Mum refuses to change her habit.

'I know where Duk San gets his stubborn from,' says my dad. And he goes hot in the cheeks and twitchy round the mouth.

'I know where Duk San gets distemper from,' says my mum. And she steps out of the batter mixture and walks across the kitchen floor leaving sloppy yellow footprints.

My father has never hit my mother but I think he pictures in his mind doing something with the big kitchen knives at this stage.

Whereas what I picture in my mind is doing things with steel bars and clubs and martial arts weapons--when I'm in a bad mood. But not to my mum, of course--just to the people and things that are my temporary enemies.

When I'm in a good mood I want to do things with needles. I don't know if it's because--maybe I'm mad??!!--I want to pop those bubbles that upset me so much (even though I love them) or whether it's because of my secret obsession with embroidery.

The embroidery needles I use are blunter than ordinary needles (so's you won't damage the linen you're embroidering...and so the needle slips through the linen easily) and the needles have bigger eyes than normal needles (to put the thick embroidery silk through).

But what I do first, after I have taken the photograbs (that's how I like to say it sometimes) and got them developed (sometimes I do this stage with the digital camera from school, if I'm allowed to borrow it) I get a colour photocopy or print out (again at school, when none of the other kids are looking--Ms Rubenach helps me)...

I'm getting confused...

Oh, yes. I draw all these circles and ellipses and regions on the blown-up photo showing the areas that have all the one colour.

Then I put together my palette of all the coloured threads that I will need for the emroidery. They all have to look good together of course. It's like a painter mixing the colours on a palette before starting a painting.

Then I draw the regions on the linen which I have stretched tight in an embroidery frame that I have borrowed from the school's virtual library. Which is very useful and sneaky because I only have to send an email to Danielle's grandmother who is also an embroidery freak and she will send me what I want in a plastic supermarket bag that no one will take any notice of.

Because no one else (except Danielle's grandmother and Ms Rubenach) know about my secret obsession.

 


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