The stars wink at me across the sky in Bukit Setiawangsa. The wind breezes softly lulling its residents to a deep slumber. The trees radiate fresh air adding soft sound to the still of the night. Tonight, the hill is just magnificent.
I love this balcony at night. Over the years, we have formed a profound companionship throughout my lonely nights. At this very same balcony, I wrote countless posts for this blog. It would be a sad day when we finally have to move out from this tiny apartment my family called home for the past four years. Ah, that needs a posting on its own – just for the balcony.
A friend of mine, Ati, died a week ago after battling cancer for years; she left behind a grieving husband and two girls to fend for themselves – forever. Ati and I went to college in the mid nineties to sit for our A-Levels. Though we were never the best of friends, I remember her beauty and comforting voice above others. Back then, Ati was quite a catch.
I first learnt about Ati’s terminal illness through Nina – my flat mate in the UK. Late last year, when Nina flew back from London and hurried to KL from her hometown in Penang, I was a little perplexed with her haste. I got up at six that day to catch an hour with Nina at KL Sentral before she headed back to Penang. Nina told me about Ati’s ailment with tears threatening to burst the damp in her eyes. Nina said “Mish, this could be my last meeting with Ati.” Even to this moment, I could still feel the stumbling lump in my throat as I thought about Ati and her now-motherless children.
Nina and I bade each other goodbyes after the short meeting. Nina cried while giving me her signature-bear hug. She said “Mish, take care…pray for Ati, pray for us all.” Ah, Nina… My mind immediately played tricks on me; I was transported back to our varsity days in Sheffield. Nina and I shared many nights chattering away about boys and other intimate things at 84, Stafford Street. Nina’s bedroom ceiling has a window which overlooks the skyline. We will sit at the foot of her bed staring at the sky. I am sure, Nina can remember all these…
Late in the afternoon today, I had Noren badgering me about when was the last time I had a mammogram done? When was the last time I had my pap-smear done? She went ballistic after her 29-year-old friend been diagnosed with cancer. Noren adamantly insisted to talk about the law of probate & testament, insurance coverage and every pecuniary interest involved when someone dies. Friend, these issues are just plain harrowing!
Reality dawned on me in no time. I know these are the things one must not ignore. I got to put things in order – just in case. My languid conversation with Noren ended with me fearing about the possibilities of life, or rather, how fragile life is at times.
Sleep well dear Ati, till we meet again in eternity. I end this post with a phrase from the Quran which I copy from Zeaty Jane’ facebook: “Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. And to Us you will be returned” [Al-Quran 21:35].
Goodnight Sleepless in Setiawangsa.