Three strangers and hot porridge

It’s me again. So my flight to Penang landed safely at the airport last Monday. A late night flight? It was never a priority to me which in a nutshell Mom bought the tix for me upon a last-minute promotion a month before, or for whatever probable reason behind that. Ah, don’t ask me, of course I was a bit terrified even though I couldn’t express how it felt like. It wasn’t about the new semester I had under my sleeves, well, I was pretty sure it was going to be a slow start of the week, anyway. But if you ever happen to encounter this situation, getting stuck at the airport overnight with no one to accompany you, I wouldn’t have to explain myself over again. But there I was – I decided to head straight to the prayer room like I would usually do, take a rest and stay there until I get to grab a cab in the morning for my next destination. More often than not, I would have someone to accompany me since we go the same university. It was easy that way. For some reasons, my friend already confirmed it to me that she couldn’t make it. She got early flight to catch on two days before me. As much as I wanted it to get over soon, I didn’t want my parents to take care of everything or blame themselves for any uncertainties. Simple, there was no other choice but to convince my parents that it’s going to be okay, that I could handle it well. It did sound like a joke to me. Of course my parents would get worried about it although I’m a big girl already.

So I walked into the prayer room with my luggage. The place was empty – only me – until few minutes later someone entered in a rush. I tried to maintain and cover my anxious. Later then she finished her prayer and we had a little chit-chat. Nothing serious, just to kill time. She thought I was there waiting for the last flight of the night – where do you come from, where are you heading, are you alone, she asked surprisingly – so I simply explained to her about my situation. No empathy intended, really. I wasn’t sure if I was being nice to someone I just met but it wasn’t like I’d meet her anyway after that, right?

After some time she came back into the prayer room. Apart from thinking she might have left her stuff, I saw a concerned remark on her face. “Would you like to come over to my house? Not too far, I can send you tomorrow. I have daughters too and I wouldn’t leave them alone this way. Too cold here.” She asked again if I’m okay with that and her husband too was waiting outside. We both knew well to never talk to strangers but I myself couldn’t resist the offer. She sounded just like Mom. I guessed I’d just follow my heart, so I struggled to pack all my stuff with her leading me to the bench outside where her husband was. “Uncle Azizul too is a Mechanical Engineer,” she introduced him to me. I nodded and introduced myself back. “Just call me Auntie Zarina.”

Then I texted my parents to inform them regarding the invitation only after we got into the car. Mom too had her flight to KL an hour after mine had departured. She didn’t reply to my text – though she was supposed to arrive earlier than me – because her flight got delayed for some time. It was midnight as the road was already empty. They asked if I wanted to eat something so we went to McD drive-thru and ordered porridge for me. It was such a nice ride because they really wanted the conversation to go real between us so I didn’t feel left out at the passenger seat. She reminded me these for many times, “If it wasn’t because we decided to delay to perform the prayer before our flight back to here, god wouldn’t let us meet each other.” She was sad and really wanted to send off her daughter to NZ but their flight came off first so they couldn’t make it. “And then I found you.”

I think that would be the first time since forever that I thanked god for sending kind people to me – not because I deserve such kindness or I truly beg for it or I rush into making decisions. Probably because I was tested to be more grateful towards anything people have offered to me. Also the prayers I got from my parents, well, without them I won’t become the person I am today.

So here’s to many more years and the lessons I’m willing to learn from any strangers I’d call family.

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