22nd Feb was my Abah's birthday. If he is still around, he will be 72 this year. And Mak's birthday is coming in 3 days time, on the 25th Feb. They were so close to each other even their birthdays just 3 days apart. Maybe match-made in heaven.
I'd love to reminisce how they were with each other, as how I saw it for the first 25 years of my life...
Abah & Mak was never the affectionate type, well not openly, I saw him once or twice peck her on the cheek when I was very small, and I became so noticeably jealous and remembered they will together laughed about it.
Their love for each other shown in different language. For instance she would warned us not to bug or ask anything from him when he came back from work... the warning was so strongly put that we obeyed it religiously. We will eat our meals first, because usually he would be home after dinner time, but before we ate, she would scoop a portion first and put it neatly aside especially for him. As he reached home, even though she already ate, she would sit in front of him throughout his meal. Entertaining him with small talks, even jokes. Perfect meal every time, how the table was set, food to his taste. Everyday without fail. I don't remember hearing him complaining. He was her KING.
She passed away when I was 25. And he was very sick at the time, his kidney failed 6 months before. The day she left us I cried hysterically. I couldn't stop crying for the whole week. But Abah, he was cool. Didn't shed single tear. In my midst of grief I thought, hmm... he's a cold one.
Some of y'all may not know, that whenever there's death in the house, we Malay people won't be doing any cooking, at least for a few days. Meals will be given to us by our neighbours, or even we get take-outs. I am not sure if this is by religion or tradition, but I followed it anyway. By the 4th day after her demise, I made us lunch. It was some kind of a whole-fish dish.
He was staring at the food... And said...
"the most thing that I would remember of your Mak was the way she served my every meal. You know, this fish, she would always separate the bones and pile it into my plate while I am eating..."
And he burst out crying. We spent the whole lunch time that afternoon crying at the dining table... and oh how I regretted thinking of him as cold before when actually the sadness that you couldn't ever imagine was eating him from inside.
Yes, she was ultimately his PERFECT WIFE.
He followed her about 6 months after. Somehow I knew in my heart he couldn't go on without her. Sadly I was expecting it.
Happy Birthday Mak & Abah, Al-Fatihah and prayers to you both.