First and foremost, I am not Cik Normah. Tang mana did I hint that I am Cik Normah? Cik Normah is a columnist from Berita Harian. I don’t do write ups for Malaysian artists. Well, any artist for that matter. Unless it’s essentially necessary for me to do so. Having said that, let’s get back to life.
Where was I? Oh yes. The little girl that I met.
I came late for Terawikh a few nights ago. All huffy and puffy from the short brisk walk from home to the surau. So there I was, late and all, taking my place standing at the very last saf in the midst of all these much much younger girls with little strawberries and fruits and flowers sewn on their telekung. Mine definitely paled in comparison.
I sat next to a girl with the little strawberries. She has the prettiest round eyes with long curly lashes.
As we sat waiting for prayers to begin, I watched her watch me fidgeting around with my keys. I carry around a bunch of keys that would put a school janitor to shame. If there were keys for keys, I think I might have them.
The little girl with the strawberries looked up while at the same time I was thinking of having those little strawberries sewn to my telekung as well.
“Akak ada kereta?”
“akak dah kerja?”
“Mesti best kan, dah besar, boleh ada kereta sendiri, dah kerja boleh beli macam macam. Tak sabar nak besar!” So the little girl with the strawberries determinedly said with a twinkle in her eyes.
I remember when I was about her age. Parading around the front porch in my mother’s working shoes and an imaginary handbag dangling from my left arm. I would criss-cross the graveled path in front of the house, pretending I was crossing the streets of KL. All grown up. All confident and all tres chic. Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.
Now that I am here, all grown up, confidence level would vary depending on situations and not that very tres chic mind you, I looked at the girl with strawberries and tried to think of something inspiring to say and ended up saying something lame as “belajar la rajin rajin, nanti dapat kerja best boleh beli apa je” Having heard myself say that, I wish that the earth would swallow me up. How typical-orang dah besar-kind of response was that. When what I actually wanted to say was this;
Don’t be in a rush to grow up just yet because you have to start paying your own bills, the car doesn’t run on its own and owning one is more of a necessity and it starts to become a royal pain on your behind. The phone line doesn’t come for free and girlfriends wouldn’t be so easily accessible once we’ve all grown up. You actually need to make appointments 2 weeks in advance just to schedule a lunch date. You’d start to miss those days when your friends are just a yell away. You can always show up at their doorstep unannounced and be rest assured that your friend will be there. You also start to worry about gravity and it’s pull on your body down south.
Sometimes little girl, grown ups become so jaded with the small pleasures in life. Like splashing around in the rain, or dribbling hot chocolate down their chin, or finding that free gift from the cereal box. You don’t get to play galah panjang anymore, or baling selipar every evening at 6 with your friends. You don’t feel the same giddy happiness you felt when your neighbourhood bai roti came honking pass your house. Horses or rabbits don’t make us squeal in delight anymore. Grown ups worry too much. Grown ups are sometimes cranky, and have terrible mood swings like me. Heartbreaks will either break you, or make you stronger. But either way, heartbreaks break the heart.
So the girl with the strawberries, don’t grow up too fast.The future will be there waiting for you, come rain or shine. Enjoy running around and screaming at the top of your lungs just because you can and nobody would think that you’ve lost a marble because once you’ve grown, you can never go back. Don’t grow up too fast because I need to slow down and enjoy my life as well.
But it isn’t all that bad, when you’re a grown up, you get to drink endless cups of coffee every morning and have ice cream whenever you feel like it.
Life is good, let’s just slow it down a bit.