She openned the back door, so I could squeezed my Wave 100 in. There's a lot of thieves lurking outside, so it would be much safer to keep this priceless Wave 100 of mine inside the house.
Mother looked at me. From top to toe. I realized her action, but I pretended Ididn't. I've been away close to half a year. The last time I've been home was when my sister got married. And that was December last year. Maybe not...I did came back somewhere between that, once...but I couldn't remember properly.
She must have missed me very much.
I headed straight to my sister's room. My sister wasn't home. According to mother, she'll only be home on Saturday. I'll be staying in her room for the moment.
My father was away working...and my younger brother was away too, with his new motorcycle. Father is fast reaching his 60's...he shouldn't be working any longer. He should have had a good rest at home by now. It was all my fault. At 23, I should be working. But due to some circumstances, I didn't. And my youngest brother was already in his dreams.
This was the second successive years I've been home at the eleventh hour for Aidilfitri. I couldn't help it...Syawal no longer a charm for me. It was all gone.
During my early years, I used to get very excited as Aidilfitri loomed. Aidilfitri was the day of the year for me back then.
My mother would dressed me and my brother up early in the morning. After making sure we were both neatly dressed, my father would then send us to Tok's house.
We never wore Baju Melayu. Mother and father preferred us to wear normal shirt and trousers...albeit a new one. There in Tok's house, we would stood there doing nothing. I remember on one occasion, I stood haplessly in the kitchen, wondering what to do next. I didn't have any clue of what I was doing. Tok would just passed by us because she was too busy preparing dishes.
When she finished, we would eat together. Then Tok would gave us 'duit raya'. Mother and father would arrived later to join the celebration.
I didn't go around the village collecting money untill I was in primary 3 or 4. I had very few friends...I would just stayed at Tok's house the whole morning of Raya. Usually I visited Pak Chaq during the interval, and not to forget my grandmother. And I would went straight back home after that.
On one occasion, on the way home from Tok's house, a cow let loose and ran straight towards me. As it darted towards me, I was so frightened that I went down awkwardly to the ground even though the cow never touched me. But then I claimed to my mother that I was hit by a cow. I didn't mean to deceive her, but at that time, I was very confident that wild cow really hit me. I guessed it was just my wild imagination.
Nek would gave out RM10 for 'Duit Raya' most of the time. She kept her money under her pillow. Somewhere in 1999, her health deteriorated, and she was transferred to Tok's house. So that she could be under close scrutiny from all of us. Everybody loved her, and everybody took turn to take care of her.
Pak Ngah was the best thing in my life during those years. Whenever mother mentioned that Pak Ngah would come, I'd almost jumping in joy. He owned a car, and he loved to take us around in his car. We haven't had any car at our disposal, that was the case. Aidilfitri would never be the same without him.
As I grew older, I started to gain friends. My friendship with Pi-on, Azimie and the rest prospered. Together with Pi-on, we never failed to accompany each other visiting from house to house, collecting 'Duit Raya'.
A sure destination was 'Salem Cool Planet' house. We called it so because the house owner planted a Pine tree in front of his house. And it resembled perfectly the tree we saw almost everyday in Salem commercial that was hugely popular back then. They would served us Pepsi or Coke, that was the reason why we loved 'Salem Cool Planet' house very much.