Someone rang the doorbell as I was preparing the breakfast. I knew who it was. Aswad. He told me that he wanted to have breakfast at home. Still wearing the apron, I greeted him at the front door. He shook and kissed my hand – the way the Malays respect the elders when shaking hands. I told him I was making fried rice.
We trotted to the kitchen. I served the food on the expensive-looking dining table. It was our mom’s and dad’s favourite table. We always have our meals here. Aswad sat on the chair and I put the rice on the plate and handed to him.
“It smells nice,” smiled Aswad.
“And taste nice too,” I added. “This is the special fried rice.”
Aswad tasted the fried rice and lifted his eyebrows at me. “You’re right.”
“Hey, don’t talk when your mouth is full,” I chuckled.
Aswad is the apple of my mother’s eyes because he’s the youngest. He looks exactly like me but his eyes are like mom. Mom used to say that I look exactly like my late dad. I even kept my hair long, just like dad.
“Are you going to see mom today, abang?” asked Aswad.
“Yeah. Aunt Naz and Humaira were staying there last night,” I replied. “How’s your class?”
Aswad shrugged. “Nothing much. The examination will start next month.”
“Do your best, Aswad. For mom,” I said, looking at him with hope.
Aswad nodded. “Oh, by the way, Hydir called me last night. He said he’s going to visit mom with Aunt Merdu today.”
Aunt Merdu. The name reminded me of what I’ve read in the second diary. Aunt Merdu is the one of the people who was closed with mom besides Aunt Nazatul. I really wanted to know what happened between mom and Aunt Nazatul.
“Abang,” called Aswad.
I snapped back into reality. “Yes?”
“Are you okay?” Aswad frowned in concern.
“Yeah,” I nodded. “I’m just worried about mom.”
“I know. We are all worry about her. I hope she’ll wake up soon,” said Aswad in a sad tone.
I glanced at the clock on the wall. It’s nearly 10.
“Finish your meal, Aswad. We’re going to see mom in ten minutes,” I stood up.
Aswad licked his fingers quickly and washed his plates in the sink.
We’re hovering at the hospital lobby while waiting for Hydir and Aunt Merdu. They arrived few minutes later. Hydir shook hand with me and Aswad. I shook and kissed Aunt Merdu’s hand. I ushered them to where mom has been ward. Humaira and Aunt Nazatul were happy to see Aunt Merdu. They hugged and kissed cheek. Aunt Merdu went to mom’s bed and kissed her forehead.
Aunt Nazatul told Aunt Merdu about mom’s condition. My heart cringed as I heard that mom’s getting weaker. Aswad sat closer to mom’s bed and held her hand tight. I knew that he’s crying silently. Hydir patted Aswad’s shoulder, trying to console him. Hydir is a year younger than Aswad and they’re very close since they were kids.
I sat on the sofa next to Humaira. I watched Aunt Nazatul and Aunt Merdu talking near the window. I really wanted to ask Aunt Nazatul about mom’s diary but I didn’t think that it’s the right time.
It wasn’t the heart-fluttering moment for Kalsom meeting with Nazatul as they haven’t seen each other for four years. Karamah invited Nazatul to come inside. Kalsom didn’t say a word but scowl angrily to Nazatul. Nazatul, on the other hand, was making a tremendous effort to appear calm. She knew that Kalsom was mad at her.
Merdu and Rugayah served drinks and some kuihs. Merdu offered Nazatul to drink. Nazatul nodded and thanked her. Kalsom didn’t even look at her. Anger was overwhelming her heart.
“What do you want?” Kalsom broke the silent but she still scowl at Nazatul.
“I want to see you, Som,” replied Nazatul, trying to stay calm.
“You’re wasting your time. I don’t want to see you anymore,” she muttered with anger.
“Please, Som. Listen to what I’m going to tell you,” Nazatul pleaded.
Kalsom turned away.
“Som, please don’t act like this, dear. She’s your sister. She came all the way searching for you,” said Karamah gently.
Kalsom sighed heavily.
“Mama doesn’t know I come here to see you, Som. Neither do Papa and Abang Lan. I came here on my own,” said Nazatul in sad voice.
“If you want to beg me to return to that house anymore, I’m not going,” Kalsom crossed her arms to her chest.
“I’m coming here not to ask you to go back, Som. I come here to take you to Tok Wan’s house. He’s dying, Som. He really wanted to see you badly,” Nazatul held back her tears.
Kalsom felt her throat was dry. Her anger subsided.
“Is this true?” asked Kalsom in a trembling voice.
Kalsom turned to Karamah and Malik. She wanted to go to her Tok Wan’s house at this moment. Karamah and Malik looked at each other.
“You should go and see him, Som. After all, he’s your grandfather,” said Malik calmly. Inside his heart, he felt like something bad will happen if Kalsom goes there. But he wanted to push that bad feeling away.
“I’ll go with her,” said Subhi suddenly.
Everyone was surprised, especially Kalsom. Subhi was the quietest among his siblings and he rarely spoke to Kalsom. Kalsom, on the other hand, was quite scared to Subhi because of his serious attitude.
“Okay, then,” Malik nodded, giving his permission to Subhi to escort Kalsom to her Tok Wan’s house and come back safely.
Kalsom agreed to follow her sister, Nazatul, although half-heartedly. But she must go and meet her beloved grandfather was sick. Merdu and Rugayah helped her to pack her clothes while Karamah prepared some foods for the three of them.
Kalsom was ready to go to her Tok Wan’s house. She waved goodbye to her family and walked to the bus stand. But she never knew what will happen when she arrived there.