When my little chocolate fudge dismounted our cake mobile to attend the formal school for the first time, my heart ballooned. Inflated with concern and anxiety, I was uncertain whether or not he was ready to tread the corridors of school on his own. His hand has always been in mine and mine in his. As sweaty and clammy as they might get, letting go was never part of the story. But on the first day of school, I had to let it swing free. I had to see him off walking to his class with tears in his eyes. But he didn't cry, his eyes were just watery, claimed he.
The teachers had warned us not to stick around the class during learning hours. I complied. Instead, I hid behind a wall several metres away from his classroom....just to see if he remembered to put his over sized bag down, or to put his water bottle on the table, or to take his pencil box out. The plan was to be near just in case he needed me. He didn't.
I waited till recess time and followed him from afar. He was as instructed, with all the items in his hands. As planned, he was to eat the lunch I had packed for him as he was too small to queue in line to buy food. He finished it and then was seen queuing at the nasi lemak counter. I ran frantically towards him as he was easing his way into the crowd. He just had a broken wrist weeks ago, a slight knock or fall might hinder proper recovery. I jumped behind him and made a wall to block the bigger kids from pushing and pressing him to the counter. He raised his hand for attention and said "...Assalamualaikum, assalamualaikum makcik, saya nak nasi lemak tapi tak der sambal, tak der sayur dan tak der kacang." Of course in the chaos of it all the the makcik just yanked the 50sen from his palm and passed him a plate of nasi lemak, with sambal, with sayur and with kacang! He walked away looking at his plate bewildered, but later finished his nasi lemak nevertheless, with sambal, sayur and kacang unharmed of course.
Earlier at the canteen, I saw mothers just like me , tagging on to their little ones. Acts of endearment manifested that day in the big school compound with each parent expressing their love and affection to their child in their own special way. Some fathers chose to exchange funny handshakes and high fives to their sons whilst mothers were deep in their facial expressions rubbing noses, smothering last minute talcum powder on the kids' faces before they lined up to class. I on the other hand, had to pull the sleeves of my baju longer so that my son could have a whiff of my scent to satisfy his ration of the day before he lost sight of me.
The moment I saw him chatting away with his new friend as they adjourned to class, I quickly took my exit. I realized that he was fine without me. His hand was swinging accordingly, his steps purposefully. He was his own person in his own new world now, trotting knowingly to his seat, standing in attention screaming "Assalamualaikum Cikgu!"
The last I saw of him that day.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Posted by Wiz at 1:16 AM