Sitting on the linen wooden box measuring may be 4.6 feet by 4 feet (I would make a non committal statement here as may be, for there was no sense of sizes then), at 11:30p.m. on forgotten day, in the year of 1971. We were pushing ourselves up onto it because it was quite tall for our heights. So eager were we, to share our stories that were not told and ever repeated elsewhere ...
This newly found friend, Gie, who has just joined this boarding school in form four, is a sweet, tall and slim girl, having wavy hair, wearing such a sweet enchanting smile on her face and bespectacled like me. We were in different classes, she was in the Science stream and I, in the Art. She lived locally and every week end, she was visited by her parents, sisters and a brother.
One night, after the prep was over, which normally started at 8:00p.m. and ended at 10:00p.m. somehow we found ourselves sharing different childhood stories with similar theme and plot. The wooden box that housed our used linens and clothes was our silent witness. Hence, the shared experience and stories were never told, repeated or breathed out to anyone else. It ended well past midnight with eyes full of tears, swollen lids and red out-shaped-noses...slightly swollen, honest!
Four long years that followed were full of bitter-sweet-memories of girls living in boarding school. That was our alma mater. Such place helped to shape us up, taught us independence as we were living away from families, having sense of sharing, high tolerance, authoritative, developed us into strong headed beauties, retaliate whenever possible but most of all, we all have sense of self belonging to one another.
Until today, we still keep in touch with one another although not living within the same town, via phone calls, group emails, meetings and gatherings. The last two remained of utmost importance because we could then test our soprano, B flat, B minus choruses...and all the music notes you could mention. Ignoring all else, we were forever excited to tell one another our stories, some never ending stories.
Within six months to a year after leaving school, most of us made way for colleges and universities. I was on a part-time teaching job in my hometown, Kemaman, Terengganu. That was the place where I was born and lived full time until I was 12 years of age. My write on Alma Mater mentioned part of this and that. A year after this part-time job, I joined an institute together with Sh.Normadiah in Special Dedication To The VIP Lady.
The irony part of it all...was we (me and Gie) were in a different campuses. I had applied for a course in Library Science but was unsuccessful.. Gie was in the main campus, while me and Sh.Normadiah were in a branch campus. The Terengganu campus was the best beach campus anyone could ever had. Then a couple of years later, I came to know Gie went to the
to further her studies. We kept in touch by mails, though quite irregular. UK
After I got married, I followed my spouse to the same place...by this time, I have not met Gie for a good four years.
One day, while having our lunch at the Malaysian Hall, in
, I heard this huge voice, familiar laughter, high pitched, broad base, followed by other unfamiliar uproar. I turned and stopped, gazed, froze my neck a little while longer...guess who was it? Of course, but of course, you are right. It was Gie, the mighty lady with a big voice and laughter. Wow, she has grown in size. She was no longer the tall and slim girl I once knew. When I called out her name, she was more than astonished to see me there, as though I have just came back from ….. beyond. We were almost shouting in excitement to see each other. That day, did not just end there. Mails after mails followed afterwards, phone calls, yes there were regular phone calls made to each other. London
Then two years passed, one day we visited her in her apartment in
with two plus one, my junior, Tasha. Gie had this white and pink fluffy elephant ready for Tasha and she claimed her as her god daughter. I would upload this picture taken in her home later...once I found it. We named this fluffy elephant, Echipant. Together, there was my cousin from my late father’s side, (now) Datuk Hamidi Abu Bakar, working in the London where our Royal Highnesses the King and Queen live. Grand Palace
In her final year, pursuing ACCA, she must have been busy…There was silence again, perhaps she was busy with her final exam and assignments. Before leaving for good, we were on the phone a couple of times more to update ourselves. Okay, fine...she was going home on the 23rd December 1983. I shall keep this date in mind.
It was a window seating, three rows to our right ...I caught a glimpse of a striped silky beige, black, creamy blouse just like mine. The blouse was a real coincidence. I quickly scribbled a note saying hello to this lady with a familiar voice, I could hear her talking...must be quite loud then. I passed it through an air hostess that quickly handed it over to her. We were on this MAS flight back to
, together. I knew this date but I kept it a secret from her. It was very sweet (on our parts) giving and receiving surprises… Kuala Lumpur
Eleven hours later, we landed in
and separated until several years after. (This link is the latest airport we have in our country). The airport we once landed was a smaller one located not far from the city. Strange, as it may sound but it was real. Separated but deep inside we remain close to each other. Kuala Lumpur International Airport
When we started our own business, we often met to have meals together. Several years later, we were silent again. We knew where we lived, but somehow, we were busy. Once in a while, we got together then disappeared. Reappeared and then disappeared. Somehow, we knew of our progress and development.
One night, at 1:00a.m. Gie and Beebe came to where I once lived and listened intently to my “stories”. Ditto, ditto, ditto…said my partner in crime. Needless to mention here, but they were taken by surprise to my latest development, then.
The relationship remained sweet as ever although we hardly met. A year ago, she came. YES, she came to help with her god daughter’s wedding...The Lady Who Lives Down The Staircase. We were once again at the top of our voices while preparing the “pelamin” as in the Malay wedding…
It was an evening on Thursday and another evening on Friday…before the 6th She even came on the 6th, I suppose to cover her would-be-absence for rest the year and the year of 2008…till the month of August. of January 2007.
Now she is supposed to come and get acquainted to Amir Harith (A.H. A Bundle of Joy) before he goes and claim the seven month old present that was seated in the boot of her old car and then in this new car. But for some apparent reason, it was taken into her apartment recently...as was informed through an sms.
Whatever the situation is, the relationship remains sweet as ever…even though there is no more wooden linen box around. Thirty seven years on…we are still in touch with each other, the only difference this time is, most updates arrived through my second daughter.Their meeting is more frequent in work places and shopping malls. Gie meets The Lady Living Next To My Room.