It was back to shopping for me again today. This time 2 young girls, aged 6 and 8, daughters of Zainab.
Since Zainab work on shifts, I had to check with her first, when she’d be working night shifts so that I’d be able to bring her and her kids out shopping for the girls’ schooling needs. Zainab told me last week she’d be on leave on Sunday and Monday (that’s yesterday and today), and since I wanted Sunday to be my rest day, I told her I’d fetch them this morning at 9.30.
Before I could even have my bath this morning, I received a text message from Zainab, asking if our date was on. She wanted to get the girls ready. I remember when I brought them shopping last year, I told them I’d be coming at 2.30 pm, they were ready by 2 pm and the older girl, affectionately called Kakak, was already asking her mother why I wasn’t there yet at 2.15 pm. The 2 girls seldom got the chance to go out shopping, so when they knew they were going shopping, they were of course very excited.
Likewise this morning, when I got to their house about 5 minutes before the promised time, they were ready. I just honked and out they came, all set to go.
I think over the weekend quite a number of people went to do their “back-to-school” shopping as well. Unlike last week when the uniforms were all still tidy and in place according to the sizes segregated by compartments, today we had a tougher time looking for the right sizes. The sizes were all mixed up, probably simply chucked by customers into the different compartments.
But we managed to find the right sizes for the girls. The girls weren’t choosy either. They just let their mother and myself choose the uniforms, shoes and other stuff for them. Even for the school bags and stationeries, they just followed our recommendations without any objections at all. So really, I had quite an easy time today.
Even when I brought them for brunch right after, they simply ordered the same things I ordered. None of those “Ibu, nak itu! Ibu, nak ini!” (they call their mother Ibu). Very obedient, well-behaved girls.
On the way back, I asked Zainab if her husband, Zaki had been looking for a job. Zainab had been the bread winner for the family ever since they (Zainab and Zaki ) were diagnosed HIV positive. Zaki had been finding any teenie weenie excuse to quit his job – first he was helping out to cook at a restaurant, then he quit because “takut nanti saya luka berdarah masuk dalam makanan, orang lain makan” (duh, so if he doesn’t have HIV it’s ok if his blood gets into the food?); then he got a job as a security guard, he quit because “tak tahanlah kawan sekerja dengan saya tu banyak songel” (seems to me he’s the one yang banyak songel!); then another security job and he quit again, “letihlah asyik kena kerja malam aje”; then he got a job as an assistant at a mamak shop, “tak sesuai lah kerja kat situ, yang lain semua bangsa asing”; oh you get the drift…
And Zainab’s answer when I asked her if Zaki had made any efforts at all to find a job?
“Biasalah dia tu kak. Letih sikit, dah tak nak pergi kerja. Demam sikit dah tak nak pergi kerja. Kita ni jugaklah walau sakit demam sekalipun, pergi jugak kerja pikirkan anak-anak.”
Sigh… looks like some things haven't changed...