Wednesday 14 February 2007

Love in the Autumn Years

It was a cool autumn morning and the sun was shining through the almost bare trees lining the winding street leading to the hospital. The couple walked silently, arms linked, both entertaining thoughts about the season, with its golden yellow leaves and almost bare branches- a season so rich in colour, yet so near the end of the year.

They reached the hospital and found their way to the breast scan unit. The woman was a bit hesitant, but he gave her a gentle push and the same reassuring look as he had been giving all these years. She registered while he sat with his Guardian among other middle aged women waiting their turn for the breast scan. He was the thorn among the withering roses and yet felt quite comfortable being there, as he had been numerous times before at pre-natal classes, baby scans, baby births – everywhere, holding her hand and giving moral support, and just being there.

Like autumn, their life together has been rich enough to make a beautiful picture. They had gone through spring and its head spinning, heart fluttering moments. Summer came as the children made their appearances and now it is autumn. But unlike autumn the season, the autumn of their life together will not repeat itself after winter. But it can be framed and treasured.

The gold plated pendant that she received on Valentine’s Day 1978 was perhaps the first and the last Valentine’s Day gift she had ever received. And she had long forgotten how to sulk as the day came and went without a register of recognition of the day’s significance in his eyes. To him, it is not important. And now to her it is not important too.

What is important is the companionship, the togetherness even if unspoken.

What matters are those times; when he woke up two or three times during the night to read and check on her attempts at feature writing, when he travelled miles to bring their first born to wherever she was for the baby to be breastfed, when he bought her not flowers but books to read and enrich her mind, when he made her leg of lamb and roast potatos at the end of her long day at work.

What is important is that wait; at the platform, at the book shop, at the cafe. Fifteen minutes, half an hour, one hour – with the knowledge that the other will turn up.

What is unforgettable is the picture of him reading books on pregnancy, on PMT, on migrane and poring over recipes to make keropok when she craved for keropok while heavy with child, and tying her shoe laces as she was too big to bend down and do it herself.

What is also precious is that reminder to take vitamins early in the morning, the gentle tug at midnight with a glass of water and vitamins that he feeds her. What is more precious is the ‘Bismillahirahmanirrahim’ that he utters as she swallows the vitamins and goes back to sleep. Similarly precious is the “Tawakkal tuAllah’ from him that accompanies her daily as she sets out for work.

Last night, at the usual place by the fountain, she waited for half an hour. After all these years, she knew he’d turn up. After all these years, she was aware that he was lost among the bookshelves of Waterstones. But she waited. And yes, did he turn up. No more tantrums and sulks of those spring years or fiery anger of summer. This autumn stage of our life has become so predictable; as predictable as the leaves falling, as predictable as winter being around the corner. With that realisation, I think love in the autumn of our life is not too bad at all – even without the flowers and the chocolates.

So, without much fuss, today she says thank you and let us make the most of this autumn years in our life.


J.A.D said...

this is soo beautiful... :)

Anonymous said...

kak teh,


ps: awang goneng mesti duk senyum-senyum tu!!!!!

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

So enriching. Love is real, not a fairy tale.

"If music be the food of love, play on..."

may said...

I love those sweet little gestures that 'speak' of true love!

Happy Valentine's Day, my dear kak teh!

Jane Sunshine said...

Awwwww.....that warmed my heart. AG and you give me hope that it is entirely possible to be more in love with each other as the years roll by.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Beautiful story, Kak Teh. Happy V.

wonda said...

Lost for words as I read this. What more can one ask?

silversarina said...

Kak teh,

So much to share...wonderful....

Luv u kakteh...

demonsinme said...

(a gift from the demon to be made as a gift to your loved ones)

In my lonely heart,
hate plays a great part,
it wills the my action from the start,
it herd me words with such grand art,
it is the very thing that bounds our two hearts.

I hate the moments when you are not in sight,
coz it is the time that I could not see your plight,
and I can't remedy the things that bring you fright,

I hate the days that my might seeps by,
and when I can't stop your sad cry,
making your smile dry,
making me feel worst than having to die.

I hate the months when draught come to visit,
coz it would hinder my rose seeds,
making me dread the times we meet,
as I have no flower to place on your lovely feet,
and be shied from your smile so sweet.

But, the greatest that I hate,
is the day that you saw me not even as a mate,
and my love has become your hate,
as it is the most dreadfull of my fate.

D said...

autumn years, eh? feel so frail now!

Excellent piece! Kudos! Double Kudos!

wmw said...

Beautiful, I can feel the love you have for each other! I'm in the singing mood *sings* "Can you feel the love tonight....?"Happy Valentine's Day to you.

A Mature Student said...

Kak Teh, Happy Valentine's Day to AG and you. Wah, so romantic eh. I think the tea you gave him this morning tasted extra beautiful and flavoursome. :))

Blabarella said...

"What is important is that wait; at the platform, at the book shop, at the cafe. Fifteen minutes, half an hour, one hour – with the knowledge that the other will turn up." This has taken time for me to get used to, but like you, I too have adapted myself to the small foibles of the one who loves me perhaps more than I love myself, something which is also very evidently clear from AG's love for you, throughout the seasons.

I won't wish you Happy Valentine's Day, but I celebrate your love for one another, and may it be an example for all of us. Congratulations on a love so well-nurtured!

Anonymous said...

semuga kasih kakteh berdua berpanjangan & berkekalan..

k.d said...

pwmsbKTeh..I hope to reach autumn years with my love one..and enrich each others life while journey together towards it.

This piece is inspiring. There are everlasting love!

Theta said...

Hearing all the horror, heart-wrenching stories about broken homes that have come to pass, I'm glad to find a paragon of wedded bliss in yours.

Thanks for sharing your love stories :)ti

Nazrah Leopolis said...

with AG at the helm, your love will definitely remain at its zenith. Aren't you glad you followed your heart some 2* years ago?

Anonymous said... lovely. So sweet. So romantic in its own way.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh :

How sweet it must have been to be able to savour the seasons of life with the one you love.

As for me, it's the case of P Ramlee's (music please!)

" Ku Sangka Panas Sampai Ke Petang, Rupanya Hujan Di Tengah Hari..."

Sedih rasanya hati di dalam
Mengenangkan peristiwa masa yang telah silam
Di mana aku hidup bersama si dia
Tak pernah rasa aman bah’gia

Perselisihan sering terjadi
Walaupun jauh dari nyata dan juga bukti
Namun begitu dia selalu terburu
Tegak meluru menurut nafsuAndainya dia dapat mengubah
Tetap ku terima
Mendirikan mahligai ria
Tapi tak berdaya

Ku sangka panas hingga ke petang
Rupanya hujan di tengahari

*Andainya dia dapat mengubah
Tetap ku terima
Mendirikan mahligai ria
Tapi tak berdaya

**Andainya dia dapat mengubah
Tetap ku terima
Mendirikan mahligai riaTapi tak berdaya
Ku sangka panas hingga ke petang
Rupanya hujan di tengahari
Di tengahari
Di tengahari

(translation for your non-Malay readers - credit to Sean Ghazi's Semalam's album :-) )

How sad I feel inside
Reminiscing about the past
When we were together
We knew neither happiness nor peace

Misunderstandings often occurred
Although far from truth and fact
Nevertheless he would always act in haste
And follow his own desires

If only he’d had a change of heart
I would have relented
And built us a palace – a palace of joy
But it was not to be

*If only he’d had a change of heart
I would have relented
And built us a palace – a palace of joy
But it was not to be

I thought the heat would last all day
But it rained in the afternoon

I thought the heat would last all day
But it rained in the afternoon
In the afternoon
In the afternoon


NorAiniJ said...

So beautifully written, I am speechless.

Thank you Kak Teh for reminding us that love is real not a fairy tale (quoting Hi&Lo).

Every person creates his/her own reality/fantasy. But when we begin to live our life understanding that what we make of it is up to us, it will lead us to the life we were meant to live.

tokasid said...

Salam to kak teh.

How romantic you are. Semoga kak teh dan AG serta anak2 sentiasa di rahmati ALLAH Azza Wa Jalla dan di beri hidayah setiap masa.
Ameen ya Rabb.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh

It is really a niece and romantic piece..... suka saya baca.....

Salam fm Liza-Jamil and Linda-Fauzi for you and your family. Both of them are here in New York.

Again HAPPY Vday.


Arena said...

I remembered you telling me about the bismillah which acommpanies all those vitamins.

Moga sentiasa berbahagia..

ilene said...

KAK TEH, what a display of affection! This IS true love that many would envy! Sometimes we tend to overlook these kind gestures. Happy Valentine's day.

Anonymous said...

i hope he read've made autumn the season's to look forward to in a relationship..;)

IBU said...

kak teh, ibu makan banyak chocolate on valentine's day. sebab my dept tu ada a few girls yg come lote, yg ramai peminat. terkenang zaman muda... dapat musical box on valentine's day. y'know, the one with a balerina twirling on her toe? oh romantis nya!!

Anonymous said...

dear kak teh, i've been a silent stalker in your blog and a fan of your amazing writing for quite sometime, and this entry is so sweet and touching that i just have t break my silence and verbalise my awe at its heartfelt love and sincerity.

really hope my husband and i will find beauty in our autumn years, just like you do :)

Anonymous said...

Hello there London people!! I just want to share some piece of good news with you, especially Cik Ah (aka Kak Teh). You remember Karim Sulaiman, fellow journalist whose down with an extremely rare skin disease? Well, a couple of days before V-Day, Karim and wife, Hawa, were told by the doctors treating him that our friend appears to be on the mend! He's gained several kilos and he can swallow his food more comfortably. These are very encouraging signs! The disease causes his skin to tighten and become taut, making it difficult for him move and swallow.
At this point in time, medical science has yet to find a cure for the ailment.

Let's hope he'll improve further in the coming weeks. Hawa has shown much devotion to Karim, enabling the latter to continue to fight for dear life. As for Karim, you are looking at a man making every effort to reciprocate that devotion and love by being strong and not showing signs of ever giving up! Let's rally around them. Salams.

Kak Teh said...

mommy, thank you. I believe even in our autumn years, life can be beautiful, kan?

pokman, ish kalau dia senyum pun kak teh tak tau dia senyum pasai apa.

hi&lo, Its true. Love is no fairy tale. Not a bed of roses either. But we must believe that it can work.

may, thank you. I hope you had a good day too with your special one.

Kak Teh said...

jane, Enjoy yr spring, appreciate yr summer and cherish yr autumn before winter comes.

x-matters, thank you. I trust you must have had a wonderful day as well.

wonda, dont u dare becoming speechless here!

loveujordan, thank you, thank you!

Kak Teh said...

ms blabs, from what I can gather both of you are just so besotted by each other and it is so refreshing to see young love like that!

demonsinme, what a wonderful gesture! you do make a lot of effort to warm our hearts.

d, autumn is beautiful, trust me.

wmw, hope you had a great day yourself!

dr ve thru, he didnt know whatwas in the tea!

Kak Teh said...

klmuk, aaah - yr first V day with Pak Syed, eh?

kd, you are still in the initial bursts of spring stage - enjoy it!

theta, share yours! please.

nazrah - yes!!!

norabella, thank you.

Kak Teh said...

MA, janganlah gitu. Hujan di tengah hari pun ada nikmatnya.

nj, kita orang lama, kan?

edelweis, Insyaallah and thank you.

tokasid, terima kasih kerana doa untuk kami sekeluarga.

nani, laaaa! so depa pun dok baca blog kak teh ka? aiyayayaya! kirim salam balik kat depa, ok?

Kak Teh said...

arena, kak teh doakan yang sama untuk arena dan ed.

ilene, we tend to overlook these little gestures..that's right - but when we have more time to think, we know that these things matter.

anon, thank you. and did he read? if he did, i will never know...he will be too embarrassed to say.

Kak Teh said...

ibu, syoknya makan banyak coklat! kak teh nak kena cut down laah sikit.

khalidah, I am so touched. what can i say but thank you for letting me know how you feel. it means so much to me. and I am sure - you and yours too will reach your autumn years and make it memorable! Insyaallah.

AAT, thank you sir for this wonderful piece of information about karim. I am so happy and i believe Hawa's and the children's love and dedication have a lot to contribute to his recovery too! what a wonderful valentine story as well. My son visited them but Karim was in hospital. I hope to see him soon too. And let me say how wonderful a friend you have been to Karim and family. God bless!

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh
Don't fret! we still have some spunk in us. I love Autumni

Unknown said...

Hi Kak Teh, what a beautiful piece. So touching.

I'm glad my hubby too is like yours, where everyday is valentine's day. I je suka menyibuk getting drawn in all the hype but he has been sporting. He know's there's that kid in me that has not grown up!!

Tumpang lalu. I terbaca MA's comments and tercuit hati. Hang in there dear, everybody has a chance for happiness. You will too insy.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh - what a lovely post. But surely it's late summer rather than the autumn of our lives. Being in my early 40s, I see it as early summer for me :)

Anonymous said...

I am just too speechless kak teh. That is just too beautifully written....
And kak teh, I appreciate it :)

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
It's true that at the autumn of our lives, we don't really expect any more flowers, as befitting an autumn, the season is filled with dried leaves.....and we are grateful and lucky if the leaves are those of an aromatic ones...sigh....

Typhoon Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Typhoon Sue said...

I've been opening this comment box for days now and failed to come up with anything profound to say. Heck, I even deleted the last comment I put up a while ago coz it might sound stupid.

'Tis so beautiful kakteh. That's all i can say.

NorAiniJ said...

Salam Kak Teh, minta maaf ye saya masuk balik rumah Kak Teh ni (ishh..ishh…penat lah Kak Teh nak melayan mak cik sorang ni..hehehe).

First and foremost, thanks for dropping by my blog.

I have a confession to make. I am still so deeply touched by your piece here, for its gentle yet strong reminder of how I should be thankful and enjoying/making the most of my mid summer season. After all, besides the usual wonders, the sulks, tantrums and fiery angers, can also make sweet reruns in autumn or winter of our life, insyaallah. How I wish I have known you & AG when my hubby & I were vacationing in London last year.

By the way Kak Teh, Leg of Lamb ngan Rack of Lamb tu sama ke? Londonnya resepi lain sikit kot. Teringin pulak nak buat ngan roast potatoes, dah Kak Teh sebut2 ni.

Kak Teh said...

anon, ya...its okay. Autumn is fine, there's so much to look back on. and to smile about. All the best to you too.

ruby, Mine too knows there's a child in me that refuses to grow up...and then guess what? that child suddenly turned into an old woman right before his eyes..hahahaha! God bless you too Ruby. Abt MA, she'll be fine. I know.

Tunku, aaah when it is autumn for the both of you, you will know that it is autumn. In early summer you can still taste, feel, the sweetness of spring. In autumn we can only think aboutit! hahaha!

Kak Teh said...

mar, when are you coming back???

mama irma, i didnt think of it that way! what a wonderful idea...sweet scented autumn leaves !!

typhoon sue..thank you for kind words (times two!)

nj, dont worry! I do welcome your kind words and do make the most of midsummer! You know even in autumn, we do have the unexpected Indian summer! something to look forward to, dont u think?
abt leg of lamb - senang saja - marinade with salt , pepper, honey and mixed herbs. you can plant in cloves of garlic all around it. the juice from the lamb boleh buat gravy. selamat mencuba.

Anonymous said...

Lama kita tidak berjumpa
Lama tidak berpusi seloka
Lama tidak bertanya berita
Bukan marah bukan tak suka
Apa lagi benci dan murka
Sekadar tidak diizinkan masa
Rasa pula gundah gulana
Demikian lumrah hidup manusia
Ada waktu suka
Ada waktu duka.
Untuk Adik Teh, Edel dan Kenanga
Kawan dan taulan merata dunia
Pengunjung Blog Kak Teh semua
Sebuah puisi Kahlil Gibran diterjemahkan
Untuk renungan untuk ingatan
Tentang rumah tangga dan perkahwinan
Kerana Kak Teh mendedikasikan
Sebuah tulisan sebuah nukilan
Kepada suami dan seorang teman.
Almitra berkata: Ceritakan tentang perkahwinan
Dan dia berkata:
“Engkau dan dia dilahirkan bersama
Dan untuk selama-lamanya akan berdua
Engkau akan bersama
Pabila sayap putih kematian datang menyapa
Dan engkau akan bersama
Dalam memori sepi Yang Maha Esa
Tetapi biarlah ada ruang antara engkau dan dia
Dan biarkan angin syurga menari di antaranya
Jalinkan cinta antara engkau dan dia
Tetapi jangan engkau bersumpah atas nama cinta
Biarkan ia menjadi umpama lautan yang bernyawa
Penyambung rohmu dengan rohnya
Isikan cangkirmu dan cangkirnya
Tetapi janganlah engkau minum dari cangkir yang sama
Berkongsilah rotimu dan rotinya
Tetapi jangan engkau makan sebuku yang sama
Menyanyi dan menarilah dengan gembira
Tetapi berikanlah kekasihmu itu ruang dan masa
Umpama tali kecapi, bersendirian
Tetapi muziknya seiring dan sepadan
Berikan hatimu tetapi bukan untuk disimpan
Kerana hanya tangan keramat kehidupan
Boleh memegang apa yang engkau berikan
Maka berdirilah bersama
Tetapi biar ada ruang dan jaraknya
Kerana tiang-tiang pada rumah suci
Ada ruang dan jarak mereka berdiri
Kerana pohon-pohon tidak subur dalam lindungan
Demikianlah engkau dan dia dalam perkahwinan.

Anonymous said...

dear kak teh, you make my teardrops fall. so touching.

Kak Teh said...

aaah, abang malaya, kau datang jua,
tertanya-tanya abang di mana,
tentunya sibuk mengejar masa,
walau dah pencen ada-ada saja.

dengan khalil gibran kawan yang setia,
abang malaya datang berpantun seloka,
indahnya irama manis kata-kata,
pesan disimpan di dalam dada.

ruang dah jarak mesti diutamakan,
dalam persahabatan dan juga perkahwinan,
segar bernafas subur setaman,
insyaallah, tidak kami abaikan.

adik teh pohon undur dahulu,
kerja semakin datang bertalu,
jemputlah datang janganlah malu,
kunjungan abang malaya dialukan selalu.

Kak Teh said...

anon, thank you. Its not supposed to be sad - but to be celebrated. Thank you once again.

Anonymous said...

kak teh..have been a silent observer but can no longer keep my silence when i read this...brought tears to my eyes to read about the love you shared..beautifully written.
When I was younger, expected the romance in the marriage to always be there..reality is that there are so many more ways to show your love and you have clearly enlighten us on the love you shared with your hubby..Semoga kasih sayang sentiasa berkekalan hingga ke akhir hayat..


Kak Teh said...

salam zahlia, thanks for commenting and sharing yr views.I think when we were younger we had too expectations. now that we are older and wiser, i certainly think being romantic twenty four hours a day and seven days a week, penat laaah! we need space. And I think abang malaya's verses are very apt. I wish you all the best too.