The eve before today, we decided (between me and D) that we would not want to stay at home, neither that we (I insisted) want to be in crowded places like shopping malls. Agreed? Okay, by noon, we drove out and headed for a destiny that we did not quite know where. But we agreed to it.
After filling in the tank of my Citroen Evasion out of Kuala Lumpur City we headed. This young lady sat excitedly beside me in this venture of "searching" to no valid address. Indeed I was looking for this old friend of mine who sat beside me in the classroom for a couple of years in our secondary school. We departed since after our fifth form. Letters were scarce but memories lived on and on..
Often dreams after dreams came by and we met in our dreams. But where could she be? I kept telling my children of this long lost friend whom one day, I would like to look for. She was a sweet lady, who wore sweet smile, having a mole on her face (bottom right side) with gentle voice and friendly self. She lived in Temerloh, Pahang. But I have forgotten her address, neither could I remember the name of her village.
While driving out of KL evidently we noticed the traffic was clear and smooth. But not the other way, going towards KL was slow and heavy with holiday makers. Aa, are we foreseeing problems in getting home this evening? Never mind that. I was ever so determined to reach this place and for a long time have dreamed of making this journey.
After about two hours of driving, we came to a petrol station, Shell station it was. We were finally in Temerloh town. I got down and asked for the direction I was heading. But I did not know the name of the village, at least it did not come to my mind at that time. Anyway, the young petrol assistant showed me the direction along the Pahang River where all the villages were. Had the journey went further, we could end up in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.
One village after another, we read the signage. As we drove on, we made several stops to ask where the once village-head by the name of Mr.Abdul Rahman lived. Those people did not seem to know. The suggested we drove on, further up. On our left was the dark brown swollen Pahang River which looked almost level to the ground. It was flowing fast but we took not so much notice of it as it did not play any significant role to our journey. Admittedly, it was scary. It flowed too fast but assumed, it never bothered the villagers a single bit. That was and still is their constant companion.
We came to a place called Durian Daun . I got down and asked one villager where could the house of Mr.Abdul Rahman be? He showed me the house. I went there and asked for the house owner. He was much too young to be Jas's father ( I managed to do quick calculation in my mind), then I drove on. Not trying or wishing to abandon the trip at all...oh, here we go again... I forgot now what is the name of this place that we were looking....!!!Haaaaaaa, it was Mengkarak (corrected on the 22.5.08)and (not Mentakak as was first written).
YES! Here we were alas. There was this huge signage that said "Mengkarak" (corrected on 23rd May 08). But where to start asking? Which house to go to? It appeared quite deserted. Houses were far apart. It was full with green vegetation, cooling and sooting indeed. There was a small stall on the left side of the road, selling fried bananas. I stopped the vehicle and got down and approached the young lady. Lucky day! She showed me the house where Jas's family used to live. It was only approximately twenty feet away. I parked outside the house and addressed the owner.
An old lady came out and answered me. After introducing myself, she invited me in. It was late evening then. I told D, it was impossible to go home that night as the traffic would have got worsened by then. She agreed, though we were without any extra clothings and everything else, needless to mention here. After prayer, we phone Jas' house in the town centre of Temerloh and was informed by her daughter, Siti, that she was away in Kuantan, having farewell dinner with her colleagues.
Anyway, after such a lovely treatment to a tea and some cakes, we departed and left Jas's family. We headed for the town center. By then it was night time. So, we found ourselves in a shop that sells everything we needed. Then we found our way to fill up our tummy and finally, to the hotel. It was Seri Malaysia, located on a hill top.
Just before we left home, I remembered I was having food poisoning from the dinner (the night before) we had somewhere in Shah Alam. It came that night with this funny head ache, like I was going to pass out. Down I went to get some Panadols. Meanwhile a doctor friend working in Kuantan ( a pathologist) had insisted to get me admitted into Temerloh hospital that night. But I declined. If I did, where would my little D be sleeping? Anyway, that night I was on the phone with Siti, Jas's daughter. Of course, it was impossible to find her place although Siti insisted it was easy to find.
Believe it or not? The next day was Teacher's Day, a Friday it was. We decided to stay on until my head-ache lightened. D had nothing to complain. She was excited to be away from school. There would be celebrations in her school but she was cooperative and comfortable to be there with me...at least I believed so. Quite adventurous for her to miss school?
I kept phoning, but Jas's phone just would not answer. Everything would be told in the next night... that is the night after tonight.
Let me recap what had happened then. After two nights in Temerloh and despite not meeting who I was looking for, I was satisfied for the lead I discovered. At least, she now has my phone number and I had hers. Only time would tell the unknown reasons why we did not meet.
A month later, I received an early morning call from Jas. My! Wasn't I overjoyed? I rushed to see her still having breakfast at the Federal Hotel where she and her colleagues were having their Seminars. Overjoyed indeed. We sat at the lounge after she finished her breakfast and managed a snap of a picture to mark our simple reunion.
Apparently, she was all those while wondering where I was too. But, the visit not only took her by surprise, instead I went too far...I misjudged an old friend. After years of separations since teenagers, I overlooked some parts in our lives that have been different. We have developed into different personalities and the missing parts were actually "different perspective" altogether.
Probably her mother had described me and the car I drove but to me it was nothing grand. I did somehow scared her off. She admitted to me after a few subsequent meetings that I could have been "some big shot's wife" or some successful person living in KL. Anyway, so what if I were?
After the ice breaking session with her, she opened up her sad stories. Upon discovering mine which was not any better than her's, she was relaxed about the whole thing and trying to stop thinking that all of us in KL were that successful. No doubt some have clearly climbed the society ladder and some are women of substance, as I put it.
Well, that was my long time dream and I considered it a great triumph! At least I am proud to think that I was the first person from this class to start searching. The next "searching trip" was recently (April 2008) done by a few of us (excluding me) directly to Kota Bharu where they had a reunion with those residing there.
WELL done me and D!