“Brother.” Stamford muttered matter-of-factly as I entered my bedroom. He was in his diapers, and he was drooling on the parquet in my room. Judging by the fixed smile on his large round face, he was obviously anticipating to have some fun with me today. I ignored him, unpacking my school textbooks onto my table for my nightly revision. It was troublesome enough that I had to babysit this mongoloid until my fitness instructor came, but today, the instructor could only make it at 5pm, instead of his usual timeslot of 4pm. I checked my Rolex – it was only 2pm. I went to Stamford and bent down, forcing a smile at him.
“Okay, dearest Stamford. What shall we be doing for today?” I stared into his cold blank eyes, hoping to terrify him into dying. If only I were that lucky. Stamford suddenly noticed me, smiled, and said, “Brother!” I forced myself to nod. Do not spank the retarded kid, I willed myself. Do not spank the retarded kid.
Mother had instructed me to bring him out for a walk in our garden, ‘get him to know the beautiful flora of the world’, she had said. Personally, I didn’t think that it would help Stamford one bit, but I would do anything to please Mother. I hastily dressed him in something, got Yati to clean up the drool in my room, and we set off.
My house is situated in Bukit Timah, one of those houses with attached enormous swimming pool, rooms and price tag. I didn’t swim much, but I loved the backyard. It was a mini-garden, one that Mother had spent a considerable amount of time working on after she had quit her job. There were many flowers, and I remembered an afternoon many years ago, where I had spent a few hours with Mother, who showed me all the flowers she had planted. The next day, I consulted Encyclopedia Britannica and memorised the common and scientific names of all the plants there.
I dragged Stamford over to a bunch of flowering orchids. He was, for some reason, staring blankly at my posterior, so I drew his attention to the flowers. I would start my lesson with these, then. You see, I hated Stamford, but I knew that he might have a chance at being normal. Who knew, maybe we’d finally have one less retarded kid, one more normal brother in my family. I had previously showed him these flowers a long time ago, to no effect. Yet I knew I had to keep trying.
“Flower. This is a Flower,” I enunciated clearly, pointing at the orchid. Stamford showed no signs of enlightenment, or of being alive at all. I shook him in frustration. “Flow-er. Flower.”
Stamford stirred. He stared at the object of my attention, and he blinked. “Orchid!”
I gasped, before patting him on the back heartily. This boy had hope yet. I brought him to another flower, and then another, and he named them all with aplomb, and he no longer spoke with a stutter. I began to wonder if any of the maids had fed him something.
“Master Esplanade?” Wati called from inside the house. “Your fitness instructor is here, sir.” I nodded in recognition, and brought Stamford back to his room – he even looked me in the eye and said, “Good afternoon, brother,” before shuffling off to his room. Therefore, I was beaming as I walked into my bedroom.
Mr Tan was already waiting inside the room. He nodded at me. We would start the marathon now.
“A hundred IQ questions in thirty minutes,” he beckoned at the IQ assessment book already lying on my table. “Your time starts now.”