A touching story yang d type Prince dengan gigihnya last nite… Taken from Readers Digest August 2009. Arap dapat memberi inspirasi sesiapa yang masih mempunyai nenek.. How lucky u r…. huhu
“WHERE IS DADDY”
A black car whizzed past me. Apart from their colour, all cars looked the same to me. They all had four wheels and moved faster than trishaws.
She tightened her grip on my hand. In her other hand she held a bag of groceries. “We are having kalian for dinner tonight”, I thought.
Her strong grip caused my arm to ache, and I wondered for a moment which she held tighter: me or the groceries. She pulled me across the busy road. I scampered along, trying to keep up with her while gripping a melting strawberry ice cream cone.
She walked quickly. My young legs lacked the power to keep up with the pace of hardened, strong, determined woman. Despite her age, her physical vigour was comparable to anyone I knew, although my social circles at the age of four were considerably limited. She was a superwoman who single-handedly raised eight children. She was lowly paid washerwoman, working extra hours every day to scrape through the month and to ensure each and every one of her children got an education. She tried to improve her children’s future, a dollar at a time, one soiled garment at a time.
She is my granny, I am her Ah Hock, her grandson. When I was growing up, I lived with her on weekdays, while my parents worked long hours.
Life is better now. Both of us enjoy the luxuries of ice cream cones and trishaw rides during our days together. The only tension we experience comes from the television set every afternoon, while we speculate about the fate of the characters in the drama serials. With our eyes glued to the goggle box, we munch on wah ko kueh (cupcakes) and slurp her favourite drink, sarsi.
When I was little, my world revolved around granny. I felt blessed, for all the word “blessed” stood for in my tiny mind. I felt blessed that I was one of the three things that would have her attention daily-the other two were the television and the rice cooker. She found happiness in providing me with ice cream, wah ko kuehs and delicious soups. She took care of my nosebleeds, high temperatures and bruises (caused by my “adventures of the ninja who saved the world”), in addition to my occasional tantrums.
It’s hard to say what love is-the meaning of love seemed to differ from drama serial to drama serial-but in my world, she is love.
A black car whizzes past me. It’s a Mercedes sedan. As I watch the cars drive past, I tighten my grip on her arm. I take care that my grip does not hurt her. I look at her. Her strong, determined gaze is gone, replaced by a timid, lost expression. As soon as the road is clear, we cross the street. He pace, albeit slow, is firm and steady. I raise my hand to warn oncoming drivers of our presence.
She ask where is daddy-her son and my father-is. “At work. He will be back this evening,” I reply. He still works long hours.
“Ok,” she says.
She’s 84 years old now, every single bit showing her face. Granny has moved in with my family, which now includes my younger brother. Everyone in my family, including aunties and an uncle, helps with her care. I work as a paralegal in Singapore and spend time with her when I can.
Despite all the changes, some things stay the same. I have a strawberry ice cream cone in my other hand, but I am sure to hold on to her tighter than my ice cream. She is still superwoman to me, as she holds on to her can of sarsi in her other hand, swallowing big gulp of the carbonated fizz to satisfy her thirst.
I have not known any other lady, regardless of age, who depended so much on carbonated soft drinks for gastronomical satisfaction, and my social circles have widened considerably since I was four.
“Where is daddy?” she asks me again. “At work.”
She nods silently as I unlock the gate. She enters the house, not bothering to turn on the television set or check the rice cooker. Before entering her room, she turns to me, as if searching for bruises or spotting an unexpected nosebleed.
“Where’s daddy? She enquires. I hold her hand and reply, “At work.”
She enters her room and lies down, resting her tired legs.
In the comfort of my room, I lay on my bed. I reminisce about my childhood-the wah koh kuehs, drama serials and trishaw rides. They are memories of us together. My memories are entrenched deeply within me, but granny’s are being consumed, figment by figment, by Alzheimer’s.
I ache at the thought of Alzheimer’s eroding her memories, along with me in them. Anger flushes through me. The Alzheimer’s monster affects me too, leaving a gaping hole in my life, a void that I am at a loss to fill. Against rationality I feel failure. Failure to protect her and her memories of our times together, and everything else she had lived for. I failed to protect my granny.
The gentle knock on my door brings me out of my thoughts and onto my feet. I open the door to find her looking at me.
“Where is daddy?” she asks.
A single tear runs from my eye down to my lips, where I can taste my own helplessness and anguish. She raises her frail, thin arm, gently wiping away the tear, while I answer, “At work.”
Contented to know her son’s whereabouts for now, she turns into her room, seeking to rest her tired bones and weary heart.