Monday came and as I had mentioned in my previous posting, I’d be bringing Yati’s children to shop for their schooling needs. Since Yati doesn’t want me to visit them at home to avoid “interrogations” by Yati’s mother, I told Yati to meet me at the main entrance of the hypermarket where I had intended to take them shopping. AJ was still in the hospital, and so it was just Yati and the kids.
The moment Yati saw me she asked, “Tak ada orang lain ke kak?” She probably thought we’d be having a whole group of children at one time to shop for their schooling needs.
“Takde. Saya bawa satu keluarga je satu masa. Tak nak pening-pening kepala bawa ramai-ramai sekali,” I said.
Well, it was proven later that I had made the right move. Yati’s 2 children, aged 6 and 8, were so… errmmm… shall I say over active??
“Ibu, nak ni!”
“Ibu, nak tu!”
“Ibu, tengok adik!”
“Ibu, kakak dapat, adik pun nak!”
Their mother couldn’t really say much. The kids don’t listen to her. Apparently they do listen to their father but he wasn’t around. Sometimes the kids would insist they wanted something no matter what their mother said. I had to step in and give them a firm, “TAK BOLEH!”
The worse, again, just like it was with Ika earlier, was at the school bags and the stationeries section. You know how it is with kids… they’d go for the ones with famous cartoon or comic characters. And you know this kind of bags or stationeries can cost a bomb, more so due to the branding. It wasn’t too bad at the stationeries section but for the school bags, I set a limit to the price. We were there to help them with their schooling needs, not to pamper them. So, they only qualify for the simple school bags – but realizing how heavy these bags can be when they put in all the school books, I agreed to let them buy the trolley bags.
Anyway, after making sure we got all that was necessary, the kids were still running around here and there. Before they started grabbing and insisting they wanted this and that again, I asked them, “Nak gi minum tak?”
“Nak! Nak!” they said excitedly.
“Nak, jom gi bayar dulu.”
It worked. They stopped running around and followed us to the cashier.
“Maaflah kak, anak-anak saya ni tak reti dok diam.” said Yati while we were heading down to the food corner.
“Tu pasal saya cuma bawa satu keluarga satu masa. Tak ke haru kalau saya bawa ramai-ramai sekali?” I responded.
“Ya tak ya juga ek? Anak saya baru 2 orang dah macam 20 orang!” she said.
Hah, tau takper!
While we having the drinks, Yati told me how her mother wanted to come along to follow her shopping. Yati had told her earlier that she’d bring her children to buy their schooling needs. Konon-konon she had just got her duit kutu and she’d be using that money. In actual fact, she did get her duit kutu but had finished them paying off her debts.
Yati gave all sorts of excuses to her mother so that her mother wouldn’t come along. She didn’t want her mother to ask me all sorts of things. She was afraid her mother may finally suspect what AJ’s illness really was.
I advised Yati that if in any event her mother asks her who I was, just tell her mother that I’m from a “Pertubuhan Kebajikan”. The mother is fully aware that AJ is unwell and unable to work for the time being and so the family does need financial assistance. That’s where I come in.
“Ya jugak, kak. Budak-budak ni bukan boleh simpan rahsia. Nanti karang balik, depa gi cerita kata Makcik yang bayar. Mesti mak saya tanya.”
I’m not too sure how long Yati and AJ would be able to keep the secret (about AJ’s HIV) from the rest of the family though…