Today my father made me cry.
The day started early. We sent our (little) sister Nadia to the airport as she’s flying back to wherever she’s studying. That was quite early in the morning. Then we went for roti canai, I went to the gym after that, then come back for a big lunch in Cik Fuah’s place next door.
That’s where it happened.
We were talking about little kids flying. My uncle Wak Halim has five very young grandchildren (age 4 years old and below), four of them needed to travel on the airplane for this festive season. Some cried the whole journey and some would not cry if the flight is on daytime. Then my mother said, one of my brothers would cry for the whole journey (when he was a baby, of course), and would only be pacified by playing in the sink at the back of the airplane.
I said, “Well, Nadia used to cry only during take-off and landing.”
Then my father said, “She used to cry when YOUR plane took off.”
My eyes started to well up.
He explained to the rest, “She’d cry whenever we sent Maya to the airport all those years ago when she was studying. Then embah used to try to pacify her. She’d say, softly, ‘your sister went there to study…'”
Not the sobbing kind of cry but my tears flowed rather steadily.
* * *
She used to count down to the day I get home. She would circle the date, and cross the calendar everyday up to the day I come back.
Now I would do the same for her.