I had geared myself up for one more day of workmen in the apartment today.
The carpenter was coming to do one last bit to the AV panel and cabinet. I didn’t like the way the lights had been fixed under the hanging cabinet so he had to fix some kind of pelmet to conceal it. Plus there was a bit of defect in the wood right above the flat screen TV which was so annoying and which he could not fix. Adam asked him to add a kind of plinth and he was going to fix that today too. Well, actually it was supposed to be Monday. Which got postponed to Tuesday. Then yesterday. Then today. Fine I thought, because we had decided to tint the balcony door and all the windows because the morning sun was just too intense and the installation appointment was today.
At 9:30am I received a text message from my sister, Ann, that Aunty Nab, my parents’ next door neighbour and hubby’s “foster mum” had passed away. Apparently, at around 9am Uncle Mansor had been yelling for my dad and mum across the fence but they were both still resting. Dad finally heard and told Ann to go see what Uncle Mansor needed. He was distraught because Aunty Nab would not wake up. Her body was cold. They had both rested after the dawn prayers in the room downstairs. Ann did the needful because Uncle Mansor was obviously in shock. She looked up phone numbers for Rosena, Jamal and Khir and made the calls. At some point she told mum and dad what had happened and sent me that text message.
I was shocked. Mum and I had been talking about Aunty Nab and Uncle Mansor just yesterday. Mum and dad had been out with them a few days ago. I had not seen either of them since Eid which was five weeks ago. We went over to their house as we usually did mid-morning on the first day of Eid for Aunty Nab’s Penang laksa. It was always a treat for me. I have know her most of my adult life. Us “kids” had basically grown up together although most of us went our own way when we finished school, started working and had our own families. But we saw each other every Eid at least, when we’re back for Eid. So yes, I feel their loss.
When I recovered from the initial shock, I called Danial and all my brothers to let them know. Shock. Of course, since she hadn’t been ill. Uncle Mansor was frail but not Aunty Nab. She was feisty and certainly looked fit. But that’s it though, isn’t it? Life is so fragile. Its not short as you frequently might say, just fragile.
I called Mum but the phone was busy as you might expect. I think she’s calling all their friends to let them know the sad news. That’s what you do here when someone passes, you let their friends know. Everyone will make their way there to pay their respects and offer condolences. It will be a day of prayer and togetherness. When I managed to speak with Mum, I could hear and feel the sadness in her voice. All she could say was “Are you coming?”.
Of course I wanted to go. But these workers were supposed to be here. It was past 10am. No one was here. I called CP and after checking with the carpenter, he said they were unable to come today. Tomorrow, he said. I was upset because they had cancelled so many times but relieved at the same time…I called Helen at V-Kool and asked her what time her workers were coming to do the tinting, thinking that maybe I could reschedule. But she checked and said they were on the way.
So I’ve been stuck here, waiting for these guys to finish. Its just past noon and they’re done with the living room and the study. They’re working on Danial’s room and our room right now. As soon as they’re done, I’ll go over. Mum said Rosena was there when I called but I guess most people are there by now. They’ll be waiting for Dahlia and her family to fly back from Jakarta and if she arrives very late today, it’ll be doubly sad.
At this moment, I still can’t believe she’s gone. Its always like that when someone passes, isn’t it? Life is fragile. So handle with care. Al-Fatihah.