A car was parked in front of the house. The two boys of the same age, and a man over forty got out of the car while carrying a bundle of things.

”Bradley, don run. You may fall over the dew. ”

The man chided that boy who was running to him as hes taking the shopping bags. In this place, despite the fact that English was spoken most of the time, the majority of the people could speak at least two languages.

”Gramel, wheres Noh Noh? ”

Aunt Nilar inquired that man called Gramel.

”Oh, hes at the boot, unloading the car. ”

That man replied to Aunt Nilar. There were no less than three people who were waiting for Noh Noh at the entrance of the door, including the previous girl who came to open the door for Dun.

Along with the sound of closing the trunk, the sight of a boy who was walking entered his sight. The boy was dressed in a light blue thick woollen sweater combined with white regular tapered jeans and he was wrapped a white muffle covering half of his face.

While holding a box in his hands, Nobel Lin slowly walked towards the entrance. When hes getting near, the girl grabbed the paper box and ran into the house. Until the sight of that girl disappeared, the boy standing in front of Dun didn even turn around to look at him.

”Noh Noh ”

Only when aunt Nilar called out his name, he finally looked over to see her. Indeed, he became taller than 10-years-old. But he still seemed smaller compared with others of the same age.

”Come here. The muffler must be wet due to snow, mustn it? Hand it to me. ”

Dun didn greet him first and just watched him whose hands were resting on both sides and letting her do anything she liked.

When the muffler was slowly removed, one could see that his tip of nose and ear turned red slightly due to biting cold. It was more obvious compared to his white complexion. His chubby face remained unchanged. One more thing different from before was that he gained a little weight. Apart from that, everything stayed the same. His indifferent face including round eyes which didn understand a thing and his thin lips which didn use to talk much also remained the same as ever.

”Noh Noh, do you remember Dun, your brother? Before, I told you that your big brother was gonna bring you back. ”

Nobel Lin took a glance at Dun and nodded in response to her question. Then, he shifted his gaze at the sight of the children who were playing near the pine tree.

”I placed a present in your room, Noh Noh. You have to cook dinner before you open it. Okay? ”

He nodded again. But he seemed like he wanted to go take a look at the present.

”Good boy! Come, heres your reward. ”

When Aunt Nilar said that she would reward him, he came closer to her and offered his cheek.

”Mwa! Well, Ive given you a big reward. Ill give it to you again after dinner. For now, say hi to your brother. ”

Watching how aunt Nilar gave a big kiss on his cheek, Dun happened to recall his mother. His mom also kissed heartily on the cheeks of Dun and Noble Lin after putting on Thanaka. Noh Noh was a type of always-take-it-lying-down person so he stayed where he was told to stay, wore what he was given, ate what he was fed.

Mom once told him that Noh Noh was easy to tend to.

”He….ll….o. ”

Even though Nobel Lin could talk, he stuttered from time to time. Every now and then, he made pauses between the words or the letters.

”Hows your life during the stay? ”

He asked the question while smiling brightly, but he really didn want to ask. Nobel Lin nodded his head and all of a sudden, grabbed Duns hands. Because of his sudden behaviour, Dun was dumbfounded and stared at him. Afterwards, he unconsciously followed where Nobel Lin was leading.

When they stood near piled presents, Nobel Lin let go of his hand, and picked a violet package up. Then, he placed it into Duns hands. After that, he went directly to the kitchen without mentioning anything. His eyes conveyed a message that he recognized Dun.

”Well, he does remember you. Im worried that he won because when I brought him here, he was too young. ”

Dun carefully put down the box and nodded in agreement. He really hoped that Nobel Lin would forget him. But, Dun, in their eyes, was seen as a big brother who took care of his little brother.

”Fortunately, Nobel Lin still remembers you. ”

”With you around him, Im not worried about Noh Noh. To be honest, I didn expect you to major in psychiatry. Is that because you personally want to help him? Right? ”

Must everything Dun does be related to Nobel Lin? His father left a message for him before he died. His father was relieved if Nobel Lin was left in his care. Shouldn it be this way like his father should have someone take care of him, a blood-related son? However, why did his father assure to have someone – a total stranger at that – under his custody?

Everyone in the house was preparing for dinner. Long tables occupied the whole room in which about fifty children had got enough seats. Dun also got himself a place where it was right beside aunt Nilar. Another seat by her was intended for Nobel Lin.

”Noh Noh is bringing the soup and ham curry. ”

Because of a girls voice, the room fell into silence. Pushing the trolley on which the soup and ham curry was placed, Nobel Lin entered along with the other three boys. Then, everyone got up and took their plates respectively. They also brought the dishes for others whose legs were disabled. For the soup, Nobel Lin was in charge of pouring it into their bowls.

In spite of being a guest, Dun knew the custom so holding the bowl, he walked towards Nobel Lin. But, Nobel Lin who paid all his attention in the soup didn even have the time to look up at him. Adorning with a white apron and rolling up his long sleeves, that boy who was carefully pouring the soup once ran in the house because he didn want to have meals. He, who once got burned as he accidentally knocked down the soup, didn have a clue to cry in pain. At the moment, he was being a cook. Did he even taste it? No, wait! Did he even know what he was cooking?

When Dun got a portion of soup, a child handed ham curry to him. He took it and sat down in his place. While dining, after getting ones share, one had to wait for another. They got to eat together only when everyone had taken their seats.

A moment later when they all received their portions, Nobel Lin helped himself seated beside aunt Nilar. When she told them to pray first, their hands were clasped together and said prayers. As they all were Christians, they had a custom of thanking God before meals. As soon as they finished praying, they resumed their conversation and started having their meal.

Nobel Lin, without touching the ham curry in front of him, drank only the soup.

”Nobel Lin, why don you try the ham? ”

Although Dun said it out of wasting the food, much to his surprise, Nobel Lin pushed it in front of him. When Aunt Nilar witnessed this, she thought Nobel Lin lost his appetite as he was tired from cooking,

”Apparently, I think Noh Noh isn quite starving. Noh Noh is always like this; when he doesn want to eat, he can be forced. Let him be! He will eat when he wants to. ”

Truth to be told, Dun knew the reason behind why Nobel Lin did so. When he was young, on the days when his favourite food was served, he used to grab a bite from Nobel Lins plate before his mom noticed. Later, Nobel Lin also pushed his own dish towards him when Dun ate up his portion. At that time, he was over the moon for having his favourite dish. What he didn know was people with mental illnesses went crazy if the meals were not served on time. Because of him, Nobel Lin got distracted and he was hard to control. And he hated it the most whenever Nobel Lin went wild and was out of control.

”Im not quite fond of it. Serve yourself. ”

Dun said in a low voice that only Nobel Lin could hear him and cut the ham into thin slices. Then he sent the dish back to Nobel Lin.

Afterwards, Nobel Lin took bites of the ham which Dun sliced it.

”Oh, I didn notice Nobel Lin wanted Dun to cut it for himself. I thought he just didn want to eat. Well, he no longer remembers me when theres someone he wants to wheedle. Bad boy! Come here. I have to reward you for dinner. ”

Nobel Lin put his forks down, wiped his lips, and obediently stepped towards Aunt Nilar. He then lowered his head. Subsequently, Aunt Nilar gave a peck on his fluffy round head,

”Noh Noh, do you forget to take a bath or shampoo your hair? It stinks. ”

This time, Dun let out a laugh. He didn know why but this child was scared of taking a bath more than death. When they were young, he and his mom worked together to push him into a bathroom because he didn wash himself.

”Noh Noh, be honest. How long has it been without having a bath?

After Aunt Nilar asked him, he showed his two fingers.

”Two days?? ”

”No. ”

”Oh my God, two weeks!! ”

Aunt Nilar knitted her brows while watching that dirty boy surprisingly. And she turned around to Dun,

”This habit of his didn change at all, ” she said.

”Noh Noh, after your meal, you have to wash your hair. Otherwise, youll fall ill because of dirty hair. Promise me that you will make sure to wash. ”

”No. ”

While Aunt Nilar was trying to hook his little finger to make a promise, he removed his finger from her grasp and afterwards, he settled down beside Dun and resumed his dinner.

”Noh Noh is a good child, isn it? A good child has to wash his hair. ”

Even though Aunt Nilar coaxed him, he didn care about her anymore, instead he focused on the ham.

”See, Dun? From the first start, two people had to pull him to take a bath. These days, although he is no longer afraid of bathing, he is still scared of washing his hair. He tends to listen to me at other times, yet hes not obedient at all when it comes to this. ”

Dun also knew it. When it comes to Nobel Lin, he knew more than anyone else. But, he gave a smile at Aunt Nilar and shifted his gaze to Nobel Lin,

”Nobel Lin, you should bathe after a meal. ”

Nobel Lin didn nod or respond to him. Yet, he knew Nobel Lin would obey him.

The children came to Nobel Lin after filling their stomach,

” Thanks for dinner, Noh Noh, ” they replied.

They thanked Noh Noh for cooking dinner for them. Without looking over them, Noh Noh continued his meal.

”Im also done. Noh Noh, thanks for dinner. ”

He nodded his head in his acknowledgement to Aunt Nilar. Slowly, people went out one after another and Nobel Lin was still immersed in eating slowly. Dun watched him eating out of boredom. After eating, Nobel Lin took his plates and went to the kitchen. The kids who were on duty to wash the dishes snatched his plate. It seemed they didn see Dun who was standing near them.

”Thanks. ”

Noh Noh thanked a girl who took his plates. The girl smiled at him in return. Dun just put his plate beside the piled plates. His father once told him that Nobel Lin had a sweet face that attracted people to like him and a voice that made people pity him. However, to Dun, it doesn seem true though.

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