Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Journey to the One...

Ini post jiwang.... Bismillah....

He-who-doesn't-know... Seated on the waiting bench; my half-opened eyes were fixed on the analog clock hanging on the wall. There were a few minutes left before I could leave and recoup my slumber. The tapping sound of my feet echoed in the empty hall and I hummed softly to keep myself awake that morning. That was when a man, a doctor, in his white coat and masked face walked from the corner of the corridor with papers in his hands. I could barely recognize his face under those surgical mask until our gaze met. It was him.. He-who-doesn't-know....

I swear my heart skipped a beat before it started to beat in an incredibly fast pace that I later found myself difficult to breath. He stopped in front of me;

"Ape kau buat kat sini?"
"O.. Kerja semalam.. Da nak balik da.. Babye.."
"Laaaa.. Ko ke yang keje semalam.."
"Hurm.. Aah.. Da nak balik da pon.. Hehe See you..."
"Okay.."

He left... And after a few second, as I was trying to inhale deeply to calm my heart beat, he came back...

"Eh... Ko kat mane skang? Da balik gi sini eh? Da tak dekat sana eh?"
"Hurm.. Dah balik sini.. Dekat hillside.. Kau di mana?"
"Kat Yellow.. Eh Green.. Eh Red!"

He was still as cute as I always remember though 8 months have passed since we last met.. A lot must have happened to him.. He might have forgotten me.. While I had to put some effort to forget him.. But I was the one who chose to keep the distance.. And when I heard a rumour that he is getting married, I was surprised at how sad I was with that fact.

******

After I wrote about him for the first time, we actually did keep in touch though he was posted in a different setting for more than half a year. Though not as frequent as everyday or every week but we did keep up with each other and did meet in public. But I've kept it secret from friends in KK and only shared my excitement with close friends elsewhere. I was, as usual, afraid of gossips especially of things that are untrue and uncertain.

We have never crossed the friend zone; we were being very casual in our conversations that were mainly about our hobbies, common interests and past experiences. Even so, I found my feelings for him grew as months passed. It gorged inside my heart that I can start to feel the pain. I confided to my friends that I don't understand this strong feeling that I have for him from our very brief friendship. My friends told me "Confess if you have to.." But how could I when I don't even understand of my own feeling.

Despite my vocal declaration about my devotion to singledom, I do aspire to have someone to love and care for me and have my own kids. Who doesn't? But then currently finding a life partner is not a priority. Though I am suffocated with 'questions' that I have to face over and over again, they never really affect me or drive me to buckle up and start the search. And that was why I was not keen of this confession idea. Rejection was not the only thing that I was worried about. Lets say, if he responds positively, what would happen next?

Series of courtship? The beginning of premarital love story? Matrimony?? Truth be told; I don't have the guts!!!!!!!!!!!!

******

Things have been hard at work for me. One of the boss got transferred back to his hometown while one went for maternity leave. It was arranged so that I could manage the department from my own setting. But I later found it was hard to do so since most of my decisions, for the first few days, were based on what was relayed to me by intermediaries rather than information that came directly to me. So I decided to move to my boss' office while she is away. Surprisingly, when I was deciding whether or not to move, I actually took the 'possibility of meeting he-who-doesn't-know' into consideration.

It is really mentally distressing when you have a strong feeling that you don't understand for someone and you cannot let it out because you are not sure yourself. It is even more agonizing when you heard that he is getting married soon. So meeting him is the last thing that I want to happen while I'm in my boss' office. At first I thought, he is avoidable.. He'll be in different zones in different days and his working hours are not the same as mine. But then, fate has it that I bumped into him almost everyday!

1. I was rushing to punch in for the morning shift on a Sunday morning. There were no patients at the waiting area and everything seems so calm. And then there he was, with his sleepy face and some blood samples in his hand. I greeted him "Morning!!!" with the perkiest voice that I could project, essentially covering my adrenaline rush. He smiled and replied "Selamat Pagi...". And I thought "Kalau suda suka, muka buruk begitu pun jadi comel.."

2. We exchanged a few messages that morning; I was telling him that I can't give him back his change because I've given all my money to a lady who is actually a con. He saw me with that lady when he was on his way to A&E and he'd thought I was talking to a friend. I was really sad being deceived like that because all I wanted to do was help. So I walked out of the office at 4 pm to go for my Asar prayer. I trudged with a long face. I purposely picked that time because I know his shift ended at 3 pm that day. But voila! there he was at the punch card area.

"Oit! Janganla sedey.. Xpe.. 200 je.."
"Xdela banyak macam tu.. Tapi sedeylaaa..."
"100 je..."
Malas  nak jawab.. Dalam hati "Tolong jangan senyum... Ujian tau..."

3. It was my best friend's reception that night. I know he was coming because he asked me that morning during another reception held at my best friend's house.

"Malam ni kau ade kan?"
"Mestila ade. Orang penting ok.. Eh?? Dia jemput kau malam ni!!??" I exclaimed; unable to control my shock because the dinner reception is meant for family and close friends only. I don't know they are close.
"Ye la.. Orang penting ok.."
(^^") dalam hati "Ujian betol la..."

I arrived later than scheduled and decided to head straight to the table instead of joining the rest at the newly-wed's suite. I was seated at table 25 and was chatting with friends in whatsapp when suddenly a phone call came in. It was D's number but at the end of the line was the frantic voice of the bridegroom.

"Haziah, sorry betol Haziah. You are actually at table 42..  Yang table ko sekarang reserve untuk kawan aku dari semenanjung... bla bla bla.."
"K.. Kalo ko tipu aku, aku akan bunuh kau, dan cincang cincang daging kau sampai hancur..."

I left my seat and went to search for table no. 42. I saw table no. 38 next to the door. So, I peeked outside and saw table no. 39.I went out to continue my search. At that time, I was actually fighting back tears because I thought K have really forgotten about me and placed me outside the hall. And then, I found out there were only 41 tables. Table no. 42 doesn't exist!

I was so mad at K and went back in only to find that my seat have been taken. I stood at one corner to search for a table with people I know and that was how I end up sitting next to he-who-doesn't know (although there is actually an empty seat between us but I later moved to that empty seat). And then at one time, the song 'Selalu Miliku' was played. I swear, I almost cried... (-_-") It felt like I was in some movie scene.. Me sitting next to that one and only person that I like so much after so many years, and he doesn't know.. And the lyrics just match! It was torturous...

******

I've hoped to forget him by creating the distance between us. I tried to avoid from meeting him for the past 8 months and yes I succeed. But what I failed to do is erase the feelings. It never went away, not even a day and now knowing that he is ultimately not going to be mine got me thinking of the beauty of Allah's plan....

I was sitting alone at one corner with an opened book on the table. But my eyes were fixed at a couple seated a few meters away from me. There were too carried away with each other that they didn't notice that I was actually staring. Their fingers interlocked, staring pensively at each other and perhaps whispering words of love to each other. I was not jealous nor I was judging them. My thoughts drifted as I watch these love birds.. I asked myself, "If I were to have a lover, will my love for Allah be strong enough to enable me to avoid all those things that He forbids?"

In all those months of silence, I tried to make my intention straight. When I chose to leave my previous relationship, I embarked on a journey of self discovery and have very much tried to strengthen my ties with the Creator. From submission to Him, I finally found peace and tranquility. It was not an easy journey especially to carry out 'Istaqamah' which means standing firm on the straight path. There were times when I drift away in negligence but Allah have blessed me with such a loving family and friends that keep on reminding me and maneuvered me back on track. Alhamdulillah...

I remember very well that very day when he first smiled at me. I could also clearly recall, almost like watching an image projected on a big screen, of his smile that evening at the surau. That was the day when I actually... hurm.. fell for him.. For me to fall for someone, is particularly a rare occasion. I rarely respond to messages from courting guys because to me it is such a waste of time and energy and you won't know whether he is saying the same lines to all women in the world. I was not playing hard to get but what I did was something I call self-regulation. I like him very much that I don't want us to go into delusive flirtations that will end into nothing. If you ask me again, am I still sad? Yes, slightly but getting better by now.. I don't know why Allah planted such fondness towards him in my heart but what I'm sure of is He wants me to learn something... Mungkin lelaki kuat makan itu bukan untuk aku.....

Allah knows what's best for His servants.. No matter how challenging 2013 is, I have to keep on moving forward... I know, by the end of all this turmoil, I'll be a better person, InshaAllah.... Perhaps, Allah wants me to be patient and have another year filled with thrilling adventures...

Monday, September 2, 2013

1st Syawal without Nurul Maizura Maidan Dali...

Asslamualaikum.. :)

It's been two months since she left us and I still feel like writing about her... I know in years to come, I'll read this again..

I purposely wrote her full name in the title with the intention to make this post to appear first in the search engine when I type her name; to override the news captioned '3 pelajar IPTA maut dalam kemalangan' that usually appeared. How I wish this blog is famous enough to make such impact. But that is another wishful thinking of mine. I usually freak out if anybody tells  me that he or she read my blog because this blog can be at times, very personal.

I gathered the strength to read the news; the version in which the incident was given in chronological details. I even watched the video that showed her lifeless body lying on the asphalt.. Her hands clasped on her navel, her face was covered by her red scarf and some of her hair was exposed.... To my surprise, I didn't cry when I saw that.. I scrolled down to see the comments too and indeed some of the comments broke my heart..


I can sense the sarcasm and cynical in their platitudes. It hurt to see these people, these strangers throwing judgement to the innocent kids who have passed from just reading an article of few paragraphs. I was angry for a moment. I was thinking,

"Why are you guys so mean?"

"How would you feel if you are in my shoes, a loved one looking at this bunch of crap and baseless apprehensions?"

"Aren't we suppose to think of how we would die from seeing the accident rather than poking our nose on a business that we have no knowledge of, trying to figure out what happened before the accident?"

I was immersed in a myriad of hateful thoughts for a moment. I felt like yelling at those insensitive people. I refrained myself from adding any comment on the web and took a deep breath to calm down. I tried to shoo away the whispers of syaitan that might have been laughing at me at that time who flushed in anger..
"Forgive these people, Haziah.... They are ordinary human being just like you. Who make mistakes and sometimes utter hurtful words... They don't know who Nurul is and how she was when she was alive...."


السلام عليكم يا اهل الديار من الموءمنين و المسلمين و إن 

إنشا الله تعالى بكم لا حقون نسأل الله لنا ولكم العافية

"Peace be upon you all, O inhabitants of the dwellings, amongst the believers and the Muslims. Indeed we are, Allah willing, soon to follow, we ask Allah for well being for us and for you"

I was revising the doa with dear mommy when I suddenly recalled the conversation that Nurul and I had during the 5th day of Eidul Fitr last year. We'd spent the 1st Eid in KK and was only back in Labuan on the evening of the fourth. We went to visit the grave on the morning of the 5th. We were the only family around and we spent quite some time there clearing dried leaves and the bottles that people had left behind. 

"Nurul tau ka sebenarnya maksud salam tu yang kita ni akan menyusul dorang ni... Sebab tu main reason kita lawat bukan mengingat dorang yang suda pergi.. Tapi mengingatkan diri kita yang masih hidup..."

I remember she responded in silence; perhaps she drifted away in her own thoughts for it was a very still morning at the grave....

Well, I understood the doa with this very little Arabic knowledge of mine but I never really felt it in my heart until I walked into the graveyard 1st Syawal this year.. I stepped into the graveyard looking at that new grave that loomed in front of me as I moved forward.. The only new grave in our family's compound.. The soil is still red and fresh, the grave was not yet cemented and it was marked by a temporary tombstone made of wood wrapped in white clothe. We were not the first to come.. There were already flower petals on the soil..



I froze for a moment as I looked at Nurul's grave for the first time. Her death never seem so real until that day. She was not with us and I was staring at her new abode.. And less than 365 days ago I'd reminded her that one day we will be 'among them'...

I could not hold back my tears and cried in silence. Then I realized that only the kids were not crying and they have not recited Al Fatihah. Nurul and I usually recite Al Fatihah aloud so the kids could follow.. So with a trembling voice I started to recite Al Fatihah followed by the soft voices of the little ones...

We recited Yassin in charity to the family members that have passed away. Mommy was slower than the rest of us that she was still in the middle of the surah when the rest of us have finished. I sat beside her, listened to her stuttering recitation and corrected some of the minor mistakes that I managed to detect. It reminded me that Nurul have played her role in teaching my mom in reading the Quran too. She was a more persistent teacher than I was.. A soft but stern teacher; that's how mommy always describe her..

A friend of Nurul was with us on the first day of raya. I saw tears keep falling down her cheeks. So I asked Aunty how was the friendship of the two.. I was surprised to know that, Nurul, during her life have helped this girl a lot since she was from a family of 11 siblings, raised by a single mother. Nurul sometimes invited her to join us whenever we went for visit at the hostel. Nurul even shared her books with this girl. MashaAllah...

That afternoon, I browsed through the old albums and looked at the pictures of when we were little. She was either sitting on my lap or carried in my hands... We were always so close... Until the last day we hugged each other and did our signature handshake... We were always so close....



She is still the first person that crossed my mind when I opened my eyes in the morning "Alhamdulillah... Here I am still alive and she is no longer with us" tears would pool in my eyes.

At first I thought how fragile I am to have not stop crying until today. The frequency reduced, tough, but I still cry when I see something that remind me of her and this is very hard because these things revolve around me in daily basis. There are clothes and scarves of mine that she used to wear and that we bought together. There are parts of the fence at her house that she had painted a week before she left for UPM and even the design of their house's new gate was picked by her.. My mom still choked in the mention of Nurul's name then her voice would turn hoarse before tears fall... We have accepted her passing but it is the longing.. Our longing to see her again, to hold her in our arms and hear her voice and hearty laughter... That is the hardest part...

Her last message


But day by day, we start to learn the beauty of Allah's plan.. How the loss have drawn us nearer to Him more than before. It strengthen our bond as a family. Well, we are always close with the frequent meals and activities together but this new bond is somewhat more meaningful because we are there for each other to keep all of us strong..

I, for a change, become a less fierce aunt. I'm actually the strictest in the family and who usually won't back off when a decision is made. Nurul was the softer and the more tolerant. Nurul used to be the savior of the kids from my wrath and rage. Now that she is no longer around, I think I should loosen up a little bit and use a different approach to handle their monkey business.

Mom and I spent more time in my uncle's house when I'm back for the weekend. When Nurul was around, we used to spend at least one night there. Nothing special, just a simple dinner together or watch a movie together or Nurul and I would be inside the room chatting. But now a new thing is added to the normal routine; congregational prayer. And after that we now have this short session where we would discuss the translation of a surah, how and why it was revealed and Ucu would share some new tajwid knowledge that he learnt from his weekend tajwid classes. I find it soothing to be around them, draped in our silky prayer clothes and sharing knowledge. I feel really close to the Divine with the love of my family around me. Sometimes I feel like Nurul is there with us; watching, smiling, happy that her passing have led to something so fruitful.

The calls I made on the day I left for Europe.. 


When I sit alone, memories of my last moments with her would rush in. I realize there were times that I sensed that there was something not quite right about her. I remember how she frequently emphasized to me that she don't know why she had chosen UPM despite hoping to go to UIA or study abroad. She said, it felt right but at the same time it scares her.. "Takut sangat kak jiji.." She said it during dinner.. She said it while we were packing her stuffs.. She said it before we go to sleep.. She said in my car while we were on our way to the airport.. She said it again while we were waiting for her family.. And before she entered the departure hall she said she hoped I could make it for her registration...

I remember when she said "Sara.. Kalau kakak tiada nanti Sara tak bole nakal macam ni tau.." when sara was jumping on the table. Fazed, I stared at them in bewilderment to what I've just heard. But then I went back to what I was doing and waived all the bad thoughts away.

And that last picture we took together.. She was embracing me so tight that I actually jumped and looked at her hand pressing on my waist. Hold it for a moment before I made that peace sign (^^)v And to this day, the image of her hand on my waist is actually among the most vivid memory in my mind....

I have felt it.. I knew something bad was going to happen.. I carried a very heavy load in my heart for weeks and I was sad whenever I think of Nurul. I even cried when I was browsing through her pictures in Instagram before I went to sleep in Brussels. Despite all the signs and all the weird feelings, I didn't figured it out.. Because the day we return to Allah will always be His secret, only known to Him :)

I miss her very much and this is a fact that I won't deny.. I don't want to live in pretense that I'm all strong and sturdy.. That her absence didn't stir me.. I'm going to cry for as long as I want and as much as I want because these tears are not tears of weakness but these are the tears of longing. In my longing I find strength.. Every time I'm hurt, I'm just grateful to be alive.. When I'm pushed away, I feel Allah is near and and He will let the right people to come nearer too. When I'm tired from relentless work, I see the image of a petite girl cycling to work under the scorching sun.. And the best thing about this longing.. I could send her a simple gift of a short prayer when she crosses my mind...