19 September 2004 - Nafi was sleeping soundly in his room until his mom suddenly knocked his door. “Adik, bukak pintu ni!! What’re you doing in there? Wake up!” his mom shouted followed by a few bangs on the door. “Ya la, ya la, sabor le” he replied profusely, and hurried to the door an unlocked it.
“Yeah mom, what is that you want?’
“I wanna talk something to you”
“What’s wrong? I don’t think I’ve crashed your car or anything...”
“It’s almost maghrib, go and take your bath first, after that we’ll discuss about it”
“Hmm, ya lah,” he replied while looking to his watch. ‘Damn, melepas lagi la main bola hari ni nampaknya’ he murmured. Later that night, he went to see his mother in her room. “Mom, what is it you wanted to discuss with me earlier?’ he asked, having no idea what she really wanted to speak about while clearing up some space to sit. The room’s so crowded with question papers and student’s examination answer sheet. Not to mention the pile of reference books and files that has been cramping up the room thus making him wished that his mother had a bigger room.
“You know, I really wanted you to meet this particular person…”
“You know that man…”
“That man who refused to stay with us? The man who didn’t want to identify himself when he wanted to know about my PMR results? The man who asked me to be sent to the welfare’s house?” suddenly he interrupted, giving her mother no chance to answer each question coming from him.
“Ha, mom, don’t get it wrong, I’ve no grudge, or whatsoever against him, but I just…” he continued.
“I know, I know, but it’s high time for you to meet him. If it’s not now, I don’t think you’ll have this chance again. Besides, we’re getting older everyday, if anything happened to him, I don’t want you to blame me” his mom’s turn to interrupt his words. Nafi was silent for a while. He thought that grown-ups must really hate their words to be interrupted and how her statement was quite true, and began to wonder about lots of things.
“Ok lah, but what should I address him?”
“It’s up to you”
“Hmm, ya lah”
“Okay, so tomorrow night, we’ll go and meet him”
“Tapi, mak janganla pegi mana-mana lak. I want you by my side”
“Mesti la” his mother replied, with a faint smile, thus giving her son a little sense of relief from his beginning-to-occur nervousness.
20 September 2004 - The Proton car accelerating towards Ampang. “Mom, do we really have to go this fast?” Nafi asked. He realized his heart began to beat faster. This is the first time he felt nervous while sitting in a car that was driven 70 km/ph. “Why? Are you really that nervous?” his mom asked, realizing her son’s feelings also affected hers. “No, why should I?” he tried to cover up, knowing that his mother could sense his nervousness. He learnt at that time that there are things he couldn’t hide from his mother. They were silent after that throughout the journey, only accompanied by the loud songs played by the radio.
Later, after they reached the destination, located in front of Hospital Ampang Puteri, his mother said “so, looks like this is the place” as she gets out of the car. “Mom, do we really have to do this?” Nafi asked, hoping his mother would say no and go back home. “Of course,” his mother replied, short but firmly.
They went across the street and into the restaurant. As they enter the premise, they saw a man sitting, with a stick next to him.
“Is that the guy?”
“Yes, that’s the one”
“Oh, okay…” he whispered as they sit together. He tried to examine him carefully, trying not to show any sign of fatigue or sleepy due to his football game earlier that evening. It’s been years since he gave such concentration to something and sometimes wonders how to initiate the same effect in classroom. “Ni Nafi la ni?” the man asked as they both shake hands. “Er... ya saya,” he replied hesitantly. “Ni dah ada girlfriend belum?” he asked looking to his mother, realizing the boy’s feelings. ‘Ha? After all this years you’ve been leaving me, and now, the first question you asked is this?’ he whispered to himself in disbelief. ‘Am I that ugly that you think I couldn’t find a girlfriend?’ he continued.
“Do you play any sports?” that man asked again. “Er..ada la sikit. I play football sometimes” Nafi replied. ‘Apa ni? Now you’re trying to say I’m fat because I don’t exercise enough? Just because I’m 89 kg, doesn’t mean my punches could become any slower! So you wanna fight, huh? Bring it…’ he paused murmuring, realizing he’s becoming too prejudice of that person. He suddenly felt that he had now become a real jerk, and decided to stop giving out negative statements.
“Excuse me sir, may I take your order please?”
“Let me have this…” that man replied while browsing the menu. After finished ordering, they had some conversation.
“How’s your study?”
“SPM’s around the corner, are you prepared?”
“I hope so”
“I wish you the best”
While eating, Nafi spent most of his time looking on the food, and hears his mom with that guy swapping stories and news. Sometimes he glanced towards him. He tried to find any similarities between him and that man.
After the meal, that man asked Nafi to buy cigarettes from the 7-11 nearby. Nafi accepted the request thinking how ironic that he on the other hand, never took up smoking as a way to past time after eating and hoped he won’t be like him. As he walk slowly towards outside, he heard that man, and his mom chattered, reminiscing their old days.
Later that night, Nafi and his mom gave a lift to that man to his house. After that, Nafi walked him straight to the gate, helping him with his stick. Before the final farewell, that man managed to hug him. In that dark night, brightened by a dim neon lights of the street, Nafi saw a tear, shed by that man.
He realized that that man had made a big mistake, the one that couldn’t be undone, and the damage couldn’t be fixed, the feelings that were hurt could never be healed and it was already too late.
Later, in the car while driving back home, it was silent for a while until his mom suddenly asked.
“So, what do you think?”
“It’s like what you said”
“Do you feel angry, or upset? Or anything else?”
“Nope, mom, you’ve given me lots of things, and I realize, ever since I was born, I’ve been living like a silver spoon in my mouth and never once I regret him not being together with us. All my needs were fulfilled, and that’s enough,” he said while looking outside.
“Yes, and I realize you didn’t address him anything”
“Hmm, I felt kinda awkward”
“And perplexed. Sure, you can’t expect to force 17 years of time to be packed in one night’s time, besides…”
“Besides it’s already too late.”
“Hmm…right.” They ended that conversation there. And tomorrow, everything was back to usual like they had always had.