I’ve only got a few days left to settle my Ramadhan visits. So yesterday I went to the hypermarket (again!) – this time to buy groceries for Sofie’s family, and also milk powder and diapers for Zalia’s daughter.
So this morning off I went heading to Sofie’s house. I had already told her last week (after I got the letter from the doctor as requested by Sofie earlier) that I’d be coming on Tuesday, so I didn’t bother to remind her again this morning.
But as I got to her house this morning, the house was quiet. The windows were closed, the wooden door (which doesn’t have a knob or handle – just a a rafia string) was closed but not fully shut, and the grill door was locked, with the keys at the door! From the door I could see Sofie’s 2nd son, Azman, sound asleep. I knocked on the door and gave the salam a few times, but nope, he didn’t budge. Sofie was nowhere to be seen either. So I decided to give Sofie a call. She was at the nearby district hospital to take some medication for her asthma. When I told her I was already at her house, she said she should be back in 10 minutes.
I decided to try wake Azman up again while waiting for Sofie to come back. Finally, he got up… looking a bit blur but when he saw me he immediately opened the door for me. And knowing that usually during my visits I’d bring along some groceries, he came out of the house and followed me to my car to help unload the groceries. This time other than the usual groceries, I also brought along some raya cookies.
“Tak sekolah ke?” I asked Azman.
“Hari ni betul-betul tak larat la makcik,” came the reply.
Apparently to get some extra income for himself, during the month of Ramadhan he helps out one guy staying in a nearby kampong to bake raya cookies to be sold and the guy would pay him some money on daily basis. Now that Raya is approaching very very soon, baking of the cookies is in full swing to fulfil orders and so on Monday night, they went on to work until 4 am before the guy sent Azman home. I told Azman he shouldn’t be working so late especially on a school day! As a result, he skipped school. And he will be sitting for his PMR this year! (but somehow Azman didn’t seem to be too bothered with his PMR)
Anyway, after a while Sofie got home. I passed her the letter from the doctor, and also some money being zakat given by some friends through me to be passed to deserving families, and Sofie certainly deserved it. She had been working hard to earn some income. For this year’s Ramadhan she had been making and supplying kuih to a canteen (but not really much because the supply was mainly for the non-Muslims) and from time to time she’d be helping out at one of the stalls at the nearby pasar Ramadhan whenever the stall owner needed an extra pair of hands at the stall.
With the income she had got so far, she has bought baju raya for her 2 younger children. Now she’s trying to get more money to buy baju raya for the older 2. I asked if she’d be going back to her hometown for Raya (she hails from somewhere up north). She said she wouldn’t be able to afford it – there’d be 5 tickets to buy if they were to balik kampong. When I asked if she’d be going to her mother-in-law’s house nearby, she said probably she’d just let her children go while she’d just stay home.
I got curious. I knew for a fact Sofie had been going to her MIL’s house quite regularly despite things not working out between her and her estranged ex-hubby, so why is she avoiding the MIL’s house now?
For the uninitiated, Sofie filed for divorce after her hubby stopped coming home for quite some time. He never even went back to his own mother’s house. Even when they were still married, the guy, a known Romeo, seldom came home. So what’s the whole point of marriage huh? The children had learnt to grow up without him.
Apparently, his family did try to search for him and one of them found him in KL. A whole lot thinner than before. And now his mother and his siblings are trying to bring him and Sofie back together again. Huh? After all that he had done… leaving her with nothing (but HIV)? Now that he is getting weaker his family wants him and Sofie to get back together? What on earth for? To add more burden on Sofie’s shoulders?!
Ahh, no wonder Sofie doesn’t want to spend Raya at her MIL’s house although it is not that far. She said she’d just let her children go over, and if they give the “line clear” indicating that their father is not there, then she may drop by for a while. If they say he’s there, she’d just stay home.
“Kalau dia yang datang sini macam mana?” I asked.
“Ahh, saya tutup tingkap, kunci pintu semua, dok diam-diam dalam rumah!” she replied.
Can’t blame her, really. I’d probably do the same if I were her…