..they were at the airport..it was a gathering of sorts..she was with their 2 daughters, sils and grandchildren, he was with his 3 teenage sons..it was 11.00 o'clock on a Tuesday night..they were waiting for the arrival of their 3rd daughter, Ida, husband Tom and their two children, Adam and Sofia..with Sofia their latest granddaughter..all of three months old..and it was Sofia's maiden trip to Malaysia...
..anxious grandma at Arrival Hall..
...she was my third daughter..when she was in Year Six, Primary, and entering her Lower Secondary, her mother and I parted...it was not easy for everyone, especially her..Ida had always been independent..being the third, and left to her devices most times, she had to be...and to top it of, she was accepted into one of Malaysia's premier school for girls...Tun Fatimah Secondary School, Johore...and the general concensus was she was to go..."but I want both papa and mama send me," was her terms...setting out terms at a tender age of twelve..and I said,"ok,"..mama agreed..so, swords and daggers sheathed, we left together for her first day at Tun Fatimah...
..Lina, welcoming committee..
..and later, I was to make frequent trips to Johor Bharu..almost once a month...in my Mazda 626..a 12 hour journey...departing Thursdays and returning Saturdays..journeys made out of guilt and love that was not expressed...
a few years later, I was to repeat that journey with her mama..she had landed a Public Services Department scholarship to do a degree in Business Marketing, Greenwich University, England...only this time the journey was to Subang Airport, Kuala Lumpur..to send her off to London..she graduated soon enough..but she did not returned..
...Tok Chom, giving Sofia a lookover..
she met Tom, instead..and on a fateful day, a call came..."papa, I'm getting married"..to a native of England..to a Thomas Marsh..and will papa please delegate the power to marry her off to an Imam here in London?..and, somehow, I was not stumped..neither was I flabbergasted..matter-of-fact, I have half expected it..only later was I to wonder..will she ever returned?..
..Amnan, with niece, Sofia..
..the wounds had all but healed..but the welts remained..things had more or less petered out..like that soft glow in a setting sun sky..a smile that came like the soft breeze from over a bluing sea..
..there they are, pa...as they caught a glimpse of Tom..
..he could not put into words his feelings upon seeing Adam and Sofia.. grandchildren born of a union between two different galaxies..their future he could but hazard..it is beyond his ken..and way beyond his time..
..in a silent prayer, as he took Sofia in his arms, he gave his thanks to the Almighty..