He was too casual about it. Too casual and too calm for my tattered nerves. He pulled the hood over his head, gave me a peck on the cheek and promised to be back within an hour. The tight knot deep in my stomach grew tighter by the minute and when the promised hour came and went and still no sight of him, I decided to do some retail therapy. I went to the mall to do some shopping.
Mak would have handled it differently. She’d sit patiently on the old trusty iron swing, handbag on her lap. Only the intensity of the swings hinted on what she must be feeling inside, waiting for my return.
The mall wasn’t quite the place to be in. Not on a day like this. Everywhere I looked, there were teenagers screaming and laughing and clutching THAT white envelope that holds their future. They had just received their results and were celebrating in the mall, planning the next course of action. My calls to the house went unanswered. There was no point calling him as he said he wouldn’t bring his phone to the school. By then, my shopping trolley was almost full with things I didn’t need; condensed milk, ready cut pineapple, loads of detergents and chocolate biscuits for comfort eating. And still no news from him.
I had just finished a big baked potato with melted cheese and butter when the call came. His voice told it all. He made it and he made it with flying colours! And there and then at the shopping mall, I wanted to shout out to the world that my sayang mama had made this mama very happy and weepy and the tight knot in the stomach had miraculously disappeared. I wanted to tell the old lady pushing her shopping bag that my son had done me proud, I wanted to hug the old tramp feeding the pigeons with stale bread, I wanted to share the joy with the group of giggly girls celebrating at the next table. I wanted to phone up his father to share the good news but couldn’t locate him. I left a message at his workplace and sms’ed the good news to my siblings across the oceans. And I wanted to rush home and give him the biggest hug ever.
My concern, which has been proven unfounded, was that he had had too busy a year. During such an important year when he should be concentrating on his studies he was appointed imam of his small congregation at school; preparing the khutbah during Friday prayers, solving disputes amongst the congregation, he was then made deputy head boy and went off on a youth exchange programme. He embarked on silat so seriously that it started to worry me. He was attending silat classes twice a week right up to the time of his exams until the silat teacher told him not to return until his exams was over.
Last night, he was back at his silat class, but not before attending our weekly prayer session where we joined other happy parents for a special doa selamat and doa kesyukuran.