Sunday, November 4, 2012

Al-Fatihah to my tok Zainal Mokhtar Harun

“Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.”
 Mitch Albom, For One More Day

How do you lose someone and be ok, knowing that your life will never ever be the same ? My tok was no one special, a teacher, a grandfather, a husband, a father a friend. All normal roles played by many people.

But he was very special to me. He used to tell me that I looked just like his mom, that I was fussy about the way I dressed just like her.

I hated my curly hair, I was always trying to tame it, straighten it failing which I will scrape everything into a tight bun. He would always tell me my curls were pretty. He would tell me stories about how back in the day people paid good money to get their hair set in curls at the salon.

When I was twelve, he took me to get my ID done, a pretty significant day as my dad was away at work in Australia. He wore a blue and brown batik shirt drove us to the centre told me stories I don’t remember and we stood in line together.

During my teenage years when the cousins used to spend the weekend at their house in Gurney, he would include us in his errands telling us stories of the time he worked in University Malaya. He would make silly jokes in the car about words or farts. I learned  most of my fart jokes from him believe it or not.

He would go * diam diam senyap * and we would go quiet from all the running and screaming and he would fart. A big loud fart and we would laugh our heads off.

Hari Raya was a big occasion to him. Up until a few years ago, he still insisted on putting on the fairy lights, changing the curtains, cleaning the compound * nak raya kena kemas kemas pasang lampu untuk cucu cucu *

I stayed with my tok and opah when I first started working newly married fumbling my way through life. In a room downstairs. Every breakfast served. Every late night a concerned call.

When I moved, they asked when will I come and visit? Always so busy always working nights not good. * Yana tak nak sambung belajar ke* buat masters jadi lecturer mcm mama* just a smile a nod from me.

So much waste too much clutter I thought I was figuring out my life, when I should have just taken some time and spent it with you.

The last phonecall a week before you left. Again asking for a visit. Again I got delayed at work and you left for the hospital. I thought I still have time I’ll make it. I’ll make the date.

A few days before I would never see you again, you were not yourself not much conversation just sitting observing the big family the laughter smiling at the little ones running amok in your house. A request from Opah, take you to your room you are tired needed some rest.

This is my regret. Not being there whenever you asked just for a little of my time. And then you were gone. Just like that one phonecall.

Mama told me bila teringat baca fatihah sedeqah so that you will be surrounded by light. I read one for you almost every day. I hope you are surrounded by light. I hope you know how much you were loved by me. May you blessed placed among  the soliheen in Jannah.