many days before i met him, i mentally prepared myself of meeting him. i don't quite know what to expect. but from the daily reports that i got from mama, bib, and yah, he sounds very fragile, very overwhelmed with the whole situation, very quiet. that just sounds really different from what he used to be.
if you are lucky enough to get to know Bapak, he is a very jovial person, he is the life of the party. he cracks jokes all the time. when there is a sad situation, he is able to turn those downturned smiles, downside up. when someone is in trouble, he is there to lend a helping hand. when you don't know how to swim, he makes it so that you can swim as a fish in the next week. when you don't have a ride to balik kampung during those peak raya seasons, he flies you back in his chopper. if you have a fear of flying, he takes you in his personal plane and let you manouver the plane with his guidance. when you need someone to talk to, he is there for you to pour your heart out. he is the bind that keeps you together.
i can't remember times when i actually see him sad. because all i remember is his smile and his laughter that is somewhat contagious.
but yesterday, when i saw him, whatever that i have mentally prepared to say to him, just seemed to ebb away from my hippocampus. seeing him lying on the sofa, all thin and fragile, sleeping, my heart just broke like a shattered glass. he finally woke up after awhile. i went there, salam his hand, kiss his cheeks (they felt hollow), hugged him tight, which before, he usually reciprocates with a double whammo bear hug. but this time round, his hug was as light as a feathery touch. i don't even know what to say to him.
he sat there, quite. i moved away, trying to blend into other conversations with the others. but i can't. my mind was thinking of Bapak, the before and the now. from far, i took long looks at him. who is that person? i am afraid to be near him, afraid that i might hurt him. although, spirits were high around him, the smile just never appears. maybe because he physically can't do it due to the radiotherapy. i was already crying inside my heart.
finally when we left, i gave him kisses and another hug. i don't want to say the same things that others have whispered to him, again and again: "be strong, just abit more". instead i said: "i love you so much" but i doubt he heard me clearly because at that point, i was already choking on my words. still, i held back the emotions. he can't see me cry, we have to be his strength.
at night, when i finally upload his pictures on my lapt, i looked at his before, remembered his before, and compare it to his now. i keep on repeating the pictures again and again. my eyes burned, my cheeks felt wet. what is that? my tears start flowing....
i love you Bapak....