What We Were Taught Then, We Remember Forever…

This semester, my Monday classes aren’t as early as the previous ones. I have a late one hour class that starts at 6 every Monday. Meaning extra extra quality time at home. Since I drive to campus, I’m in no rush to have my feet on campus grounds by Sunday like most people. So, my mom would normally get me to take her grocery shopping on Monday mornings or even to the market at times. Most of the time, no one would be around at home at that hour, it’d be just me and my mom. The fact that she cannot drive is why I have to be her chauffeur at needed times. (Is it just my mom or do most mothers have driving licenses but don’t have the guts to drive but yet take the time to renew when expired??) But anyway, I’m always more than glad to get her around to places especially when it involves shopping. Regardless of what kind of shopping. Either it’s grocery shopping which she always ends up spending more than intended when I’m around(you know, every time I go to the supermarket, I get all these sudden craves for so many things and I just can’t stop my hands from reaching to my cravings and stuffing it into our almost overflowing cart) or even shopping for clothes to which I end up buying more too! Two of my brothers once announced during different occasions, “Bila kaklong balik, barulah fridge ni penuh, kalau tak… bukak fridge ni kosong je.” Okay now what’s that supposed to mean!?? I feel like a pig…

I was at the gas station early yesterday getting the car tank filled. Somehow, I was at the last gas pump parked behind a blue Satria. As I was patiently waiting for the gas to slowly fill up, I turned my head as I heard a little commotion between the driver of the blue Satria and one of the serviceman there. Something was clearly wrong with the car although I couldn’t really catch what had happened. I saw the serviceman bent over the front of the car(can’t really recall why) and the driver stood in front of him peering over. I on the other hand was looking past the two but I was silently taken aback when the driver jerked his head and offered a smile. I returned his smile and turned away, looking away for as long as possible. A few seconds later he came and tried to initiate a conversation…

Him: So, you ni student lagi ke? (He must’ve seen my university sticker plastered on the front screen)
Naz: Yea, student lagi.
Him: Kat mana?
Naz: In ….
Him: Ooh yes yes! So bila habis your studies?
Naz: (Hesitated but finally said….) In a few years.
Him: I see, I see, so do you live around here or something?
Naz: Yea I live around here.
Him: Patutlah, rasa macam penah nampak you. (I really doubt that.)

He then came up to me, offered his hand for a handshake and introduced himself. He must’ve been in his mid or late 20’s at most. I took his hand reluctantly but couldn’t really make out what he was saying, only bits and pieces. I think he was trying to say so many things so fast in one single sentence. The only thing I managed to utter next was, “Oh okay, hi!” and gave him a smile. He tried to make another conversation but since I was in a hurry, I took my leave and managed to say, “I’ll see you around.” I fled from the station and returned home to my waiting mother. I was driving home when I realized that I didn’t introduce myself when he did and I had acted a tad bit cold although I wasn’t stingy with smiles at all. Probably very much taken aback by his sudden boldness. I had somehow felt the need to quickly flee from the situation. It’s like there’s this alarm going off in my head saying, “Don’t talk to strangers!” A common notation instilled in most of us during childhood but to which we carry around until now without noticing. Funny how strong we grasp on to things like that…

P/S: Picha! I had a great time catching up with you last night and laughing over the old days. It made me feel like a kid(okay fine, young-ER kid) all over again…

Childhood is the fiery furnace in which we are melted down to essentials and that essential shaped for good. –Katherine Anne Porter


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