I was still strapped in my seat as the huge aircraft penetrated the dense cloud on approach to Kuala Lumpur airport. From the window seat, I could see September rains drenching the Earth, feeding the greens and cattle and once the plane touched down and settled on one of those vacant terminals, I froze in my seat—stationary and numb like a rag doll. “To all Malaysians, welcome home,” the pilot had half-heartedly and listlessly said and like a knee-jerk reaction, tears began to well up in my eyes beyond my control, further, driven across my cheeks like those droplets of rain that were racing across the window. The greeting never fails to send a shudder through me but this time, it got me.
I leaned forward, resting my face in my hands and casting about some happy moments that could possibly lure those tears away but it was too late. The kind old woman next to me noticed my patent anguish and asked if I was okay.
“Oh yes. Just feeling dizzy. Thanks.”
She smiled, gave me a pat on my shoulder and said, “That shall pass, my dear”. Surely, if I had told her the truth, she would have regretted the question. If I had told her that the air I breathe reminded me of complete despair and if I had told her, the ground I was about to step on was haunted with the ghost I once loved, wouldn’t it be a lot for her to wrap her head around to? She was after all only a stranger and she probably had the need to ask, for she might have thought that it was the right thing to do. Of course, she wasn’t niggardly. But I think, people shouldn’t ask things they do not want to know, like asking people how they are and surreptitiously wishing that they have no bad stories to offer. People began unfastening their seatbelts the second the airplane went to a complete halt, afterward unloading their small baggage from the overheard compartment and alighting the airplane. I was the last one to leave. My gestures went on with complete familiarity—wheeling my luggage from the aircraft, through the immigration, getting my oversized luggage from the assigned carousel and arriving at the arrival hall. But this time, he wasn’t there.
Before I arrived at the arrival hall, I wheeled across the departure area and the very scene I had gone through half a decade ago flashed before me. I was about to depart, to further my studies in Australia and he was holding my hands, slightly teary-eyed and said, “I will wait for you, that I promise.” He almost choked on his words but it came out beautifully and I was assertive. What other choice did I have but to believe? To hold on to something that was so easily damaged and yet, so comforting and beckoning? To believe that the possibility could outrun the impossibility? To believe that amongst others, I wouldn’t suffer for my leap of faith? It was all too believable until it wasn’t anymore.
“I am sorry my dear, I think, our moment has passed.”
He had said, and that was the end of us, the end of everything that mattered.
And so I found myself standing in the midst of the arrival hall in solitude until a stranger roared at me from behind, “Move along, will you?”
The world is falling apart.
As we speak, innocent souls are forcefully being ripped from their chests. Little children, who could possibly share the same age as your little brother or sister, or son or daughter, lying motionlessly on the ground embedded in rubbles. Some has no other option but to witness their parents or their loved ones being ruthlessly murdered before them. See, I wish I could say I totally understand how that feels like but I don’t. My parents are still alive and my brothers are probably sound asleep across the hall. And i still have a home. I have every reason to be grateful, of course. The only disturbance we would get would be from the awful mosquitoes. The loudest sound I have ever heard would be my mother’s voice when she yelled at my brothers. Definitely, not the horrific sound of bombs falling from the sky like rains. Nor have I ever heard people howling as blood of their relatives splattered across their chests. I can’t picture those scenes. It seemed unrealistic at first, as though it would only happen in the movies. Those horrid pictures, they seemed like the ones from Game of Thrones. But you and I both know, they are pretty damn real.
I can’t go through my days without giving a thought about this. These lives, these people, these children. They are crying for our help. How do you expect me to live life normally? How do you expect me to be ignorant and completely oblivious to what is going on? And as a compassionate soul you can be, how can anyone live life normally when they are completely aware of what is going on? How many more lives need to be lost for one to actually give a damn?
I contemplated on making every cent I had at the moment to be used only in time of desperation. For, I did not possess much—barely sufficient to keep on going for the next few days but my mother has always taught me to not fret so much about the unforeseen. Otherwise, you shall be smothered with nothing less than inconsequential feeling of pensive sadness and frustration. But I was desperate. I longed for such comfort only she could offer. I longed for her grace in her voice and those fine words she could utter. As I pressed the buttons that spelled out the only contact number that I could recall, I could feel my mind simultaneously berating me in cruelest words possible for being fickle and a horrible weakling.
After a ring or two, a faint voice that I’d grown to miss so deeply greeted me from the other end of the line, jaded and weary—the aftermath of working two jobs, day and night; to ensure that her four children could go to college and live life the way she never had. “Hi mom,” I said, in hopes that I would not choke on my tears I’ve assembled throughout the course of two months. “Hi sweetie, how are you?” she said, amassing the strength she barely even had to speak. I wanted to say how I wasn’t well and how I flunked two of my subjects out of four this semester. I wanted to tell her how the love of my life has left me for his love of his life. I wanted to tell her how I feared the darkness and the rain, for the landlord wanted me out of the house by Friday for my ‘lack of responsibility’, he would say. I wanted to tell her how ravenous I was and how humiliated I was to be caught red-handed by a fellow mate when I was rummaging the dumpster for winter coats or boots for warmth and comfort. I wanted to tell her how exhausted I was from work and how I failed to juggle my time between work and study; and how I’d occasionally, contemplated on ending my life with a single rope or a gun wound to concede defeat. But I couldn’t.
Instead, I told her how thoughtful some people were to offer some help and that the world needs more thoughtful people like kind Uncle John—he would offer me free pancakes every morning. I told her about my hopes and dreams. I told her about the books I’ve read and the sunset in the sky. I told her about how long my hair was and how I had lost some weight. She hadn’t seen me in two years. I told her about that funny looking professor that had beard that dances as he speaks and I could hear a faint weary laughter that resuscitated me. I bit my lips in distress, trying to hold back those words I wanted to say. I did not want to let her know that I needed my mother. The silence was cheap and deafening. Some things are best left unsaid, you see.
“I am so glad to hear that you are well, sweetheart.”
And those words echoed in the mouths of my family for months.
She is very very well.
Anonymous said: Hi there, why did you tweet its your last day in Melbourne ? Are you going back to Malaysia for good ? :)
Yes! Back for good.
Anonymous said: kak lisa, you pernah bekerja dengan toyota right? for how long? and which department are you in?
For three weeks je! Financial and reporting team. :)
Anonymous said: can you write a story about an overprotective parents and anak yg tak suka dikongkong? please
Okay, I’ll try? Thanks for your suggestion :)
Anonymous said: so kak sara i have confessed to him. but i think he's slow. hahaha. i approached him twice and i mulakan conversation twice. so i guess i am tired of trying. this time, i would never text him first again, im going to wait he to tegur me first. thank you for your feedback :))) . but apa nasihat you for me? tq:)
Hi sweetie, I am sorry to hear. But I’m sure you’ve done the right thing, at least he knows. And you won’t get caught up with these bad feelings if you weren’t to tell him. But don’t take it too hard okay. It’s really a brave thing to do I never had the courage to confront someone like that coz I don’t like to be rejected. But anyway, I hope he’d feel the same way for you.
I’m writing this at 4 a.m—
the gust of wind creeping through those windows
and kissing my skin and off to the door
And I thought of you
the way you would press your gentle full lips on my forehead
my head on your chest
our hands intertwined
like a beautiful masterpiece in the museum
and when you had to say goodbye in the morning
all I was often left with were these hollow emptiness and a definite longing
of every inch of you
and of course
a solemn assurance that
lies my everything
aqilaaliya said: It has been awhile since I last saw you on my dashboard ! Used to re-read some of your writings when I have nothing else to do, lol. I love every pieces of short stories you wrote :D
That’s so very sweet and nice of you! It means a lot to me. Thank you so much aqila! Yeah i seriously need to stop abandoning my blog =/
Anonymous said: lol @ you i read ur tweets about the people and the place dangerous/ bad/ and such hm try to remember it back nyanyok woman ;) chaw
Errr, in case you haven’t noticed, Malaysia is pretty dangerous. The theft, the stabbing, the pecah kereta. But i never really said anything about other places being better than Malaysia. At least, i can’t recall saying that. I memang nyanyuk pon tapi i don’t think i bodoh macam you. Open your eyes wideeee sweetie. It’s not safe to live in this world with your eyes closed.