Suddenly this morning I remembered Abah and one story that he told me long time ago. I think it's because of Othman's birthday today (well he is the Abah to my girls), so probably my mind is doing that 'synonym' thoughts.
Abah's story goes like this.
When he was very very small, about 5 or 6 years old, my grandpa sent him to learn to read Quran with one lady in his village. This lady was already middle aged & was never married, and she taught Quran to a few other children from that village as well.
From the very beginning, she was being so tough on him. The poor little guy always need to pronounced clearer, always have to read loudest, and always have to finish last.... as such. Only him. Not the other boys and girls. And he was to be seated separately from the rest of the children. He started to hate this lady. He thought she is picking on him for no apparent reason at all.
But being an obedient village boy who was taught to love his religion (God bless his soul), he never retaliated. Even at that very young age, he was very patient and swallowed it all.
Untill one day, the lady wanted to celebrate a religious day, wasn't sure if it was Ramadan, or Eid, or Maulid Al Rasul.... well one of those. So she prepared some very festive traditional food (pulut kuning, rendang and boiled eggs). Everyone was anxious to finish their Quran reading that day to enjoy the food right after. You see, where my Abah came from, those food was a rare luxury.
Time to eat, and the children gathered around the lady to get their share. My Abah was front in line but the lady just went passed him and was passing the food only to the other children. He started became impatient and start to gesture his hand towards the next passed plate, and the lady slapped his hand away and glared !!! He was dumbfounded, withdrew, went back to sit at his usual spot and started to cry.
After she done with the rest of the children, she called out his name, "Mohd Zain, come sit next to me". But his little heart was already broken, he was staring at the wall, crying and won't budge. He even attempted some little kick to the wall to show protest.
Then he heard her approaching him, and put something on the floor where he sat. Sounded heavy. When he turned, to his pleasant surprise, in front of him was tray with a big special arrangement of food for two... pulut, rendang, boiled eggs ... and looking so much grander than the rest. And there she was, with a sweet motherly smile.
Still with tears streaming down his cheeks, they ate the food together.
Abah was telling me the story with a little chuckle every now and then, thinking about how silly it was. But I was thinking of that middle-aged childless lady all the time .... and how big her love to my Abah ... although she had a funny way of showing it :)
God bless her soul. God bless them all.