It was basically just one of those days when I actually talked about topics other than excellent grammar and impressive writing, with Sahrul, one of the kids at school. Sahrul, well (some day I might regret saying this but for now this will have to do) - he can be very annoying at times. And he can be very thoughtful at some other times as well so I'm not painting him any specific color for now. But there are some times when Sahrul can be a little bit smarter for his age, mature even - these are some really rare occasions so I appreciate them very much. It's just that he goes back to being annoying really, really fast.
So it was one of those days. Lunch time. Slightly crowded college cafe. Sahrul was sitting across from me and I was eating. And he said, 'Teacher,' in the very familiar tone of someone calling you before they ask you a very difficult question. Teacher Nani, apparently, was too intoxicated by her nasik puteh with sup ayam to notice his intonation.
So she offered a short, 'Hm?' in response. Nonchalantly. She didn't even look up. That day's nasik puteh with sup ayam was extra tasty.
'Is there anything in life that you really, really want and still haven't gotten it?' he asked, without even stuttering.
OK. Wow? Swallowing quickly, I looked up. He stared right into my eyes and smiled.
'Or you already have everything you want?' he added, playfully.
That took me by a small surprise. It wasn't something kids ask their teachers. I mean, I never bothered about my teachers' lives when I was in school. What they had and what they wanted. I had Sailormoon and Harry Potter to keep me occupied. I still have Sailormoon and Harry Potter today (plus GoT and Pokemon GO), so yeah let's go back to Sahrul's question. I guess I never really thought about it, which explains why I was a little surprised? Heh. It wasn't even one of the crazy questions I often ask myself when I'm alone. Or maybe, I have always known the answer to that question before it even became a question that day.
'I think I do have everything that can possibly make me happy for a very long time,' I began. Nasik puteh and sup ayam tasted a little bland all of a sudden. How do I word my answer to his question without choking up a bit?
'I just want my parents to live longer than I ever will,' I finished.
Sahrul had no response to that. His eyebrows rose. I didn't know what he thought of my answer. I don't think he got where I was coming from. So sudden. So out of nowhere. So Teacher Nani thought she owed this one student of hers a proper explanation.
'Maak dengan ayah I dah pernah hidup tak ada I. They used to spend years of their lives not having to deal with the chaos that I am,' I said. 'I think they'll do fine if I leave first. It'd be like going back to not having me. They already know what it was like.'
Sahrul still didn't utter a response. Maybe he didn't have one.
'I however, tak pernah tak ada maak ayah. I wouldn't know how to live if I don't have them,' I concluded, trying not to choke. Because how do you get used to living without the people who gave you life?
How do you get used to not having air? You can't. You don't. You die.
I think Sahrul understood me then and there. He smiled.
And my nasik puteh with sup ayam didn't really taste the same anymore. Because I had just realized how fucked up we all really are. All of us who still have parents. One day, reality is gonna hit us in the face and we'll be too lost to even realize it.
You see, mothers and fathers are incredible beings. Heaven sent. They can tell you everything there is to know about life and its intricate workings. They know so much. They will always know more than you do. They will always find answers to your insane enquiries no matter how ridiculous they are. They will always have time for you even when you don't deserve it. They will always have your back even when the whole world turns away from you. They will always have a reason to love you when no one else could. And they can teach you anything, ANYTHING you want to know
- except how to live without them.
And that, is what I will leave you guys with for now. Just let that truth sink in.
I'm gonna go tell my parents I love them.
And I'll see you guys later.