Two children ago, Yani was the subject of my End of the tunnel (Pt 5). Yes, that was what I said, two ‘children’ ago, covering a period of about two years. Yesterday Makcik and Pakcik met her again at a wedding of her old classmate, Zira. Yani ‘baru lepas pantang’ ( a 44- day period of detention indoor after delivery? ).
Almost seventeen years ago Yani and Zira, two timid kampong girls, joined the form 1 tuition class at Almanar. Yani has been working with a private college in Selangor and she delivered her second child one-and-a half months ago. And yesterday, after Yani’s second child, Zira was married. Today the two are no longer girls, nor timid any more.----------------------
Zira, all the years I had known her, used to live just a couple of kilometers away from us; but the family moved to a new home about a year ago. “Please come to visit our new place, especially during a fruit season,” said Zira to us a couple of times. Somehow we never made it there until her wedding day, yesterday; and that was not without some difficulty.The new house cannot be more than about 30 kilometers away from us; but such a distance from the coast line of Terengganu can take us to some uninhabited and very deserted areas indeed.
Guided by a sketch we reached the vicinity of Zira’s house in under thirty minutes. But we took another half-an-hour getting ourselves lost, driving up and down, stopping here and there seeking directions. As we were in the midst of it, my handphone rang. It was none other than the bride herself. In a tone tinged with disappointment she asked, “ Pakcik, aren’t you coming to my wedding?’ No, I would not miss her wedding for the entire world. And I realised then what our absence would mean to her, this very special girl.
Towards the end of our search, very certain of where we were heading for, we found ourselves driving along a road running through what looked like a virgin jungle. We were told that only a lone Felcra office was at the very dead end. Then somewhat relieved we began to notice some vehicles parked on both sides of the road. We knew for sure we had finally reached our destination. After parking our car at the end of the row we took a foot-path leading to a clearing in the middle of nowhere, a two-acre piece of land with coconut palms, assorted fruit trees and trees of all sorts – and perhaps animals of all sort, too, lurking around!
Somehow the wild surroundings looked beautiful to me. In this wild but peaceful environment I could imagine myself reminiscing, perhaps with greater details and clarity. Poets and writers would surely find their ‘enlightenment’ and inspiration in this sort of place.
Yani and first child (L) and the grooms (R) flanking pakcik's bride---------------------------
So what is so special about Zira that deserves a place in this End-of-the-tunnel episode?She took the less traveled road.
I had no hesitation to tell her newly wed husband, “You are a very, very lucky person. Look after her as well as you can.” And I meant every word of it. And my Zira smiled and looked straight at me with eyes brimming with tears.
….. to continue
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.