Abah has finally retired.
We had been listening to his yens some years ago, especially when he came home from work, lethargic, emotionally disturbed and felt very much like John Wick deadly seeking vengeance. We could not comfort him and his frustration. He used to tell us how blue his blood was, as blue as PDRM color. He loved his profession. He was proud wearing his uniform.
March this year, the day finally came. He sought for no one’s approval to enjoy the entitlement. It was a compulsory retirement. He could no longer proceed after his 60’s. Guess what was the first thing he did – leaving the office Whatsapp group. We had a great laugh that night and until today that moment is still fresh in my memory.
For good, in May, Abah and Mama had gone back to Kedah living those hours they couldn’t spend before. They held each other’s hands more often without any distraction, not even us. My siblings and I are still struggling to adapt with our new routines without my parents – mostly without Mama’s funny jokes and sudden rattling noises and Abah’s food request, his favourite TV shows and always the sarcasm as indication of his disapproval. You can never miss only the good things whereas the bad ones always leave the deepest spots.
Starting after raya, we try to commit going back to kampong at least once in a month. To be perfectly frank, it requires a lot of energy. Since my parents settled themselves in Changlun up-north, we spend at least 14 hours on road; back and forth. My Kelantenese friends can relate of course but such commitment does not only happen festively, but consecutively. Irregardless, seeing my parents waiting outside of the house, looking ever so wrapped, feeding us excessively – really you cannot complain much. And for this, I really have to thank whoever (I knew actually) had the craziest idea connecting Kuala Lumpur and Changlun on that long-winding road. Despite the crazy haul, all the peat swamps recognize us as their regular passer and that really is an achievement.
Abah’s vision of retirement as been repeated to us was pretty much simple – hanging around his wife’s waist, wherever she goes! Nine months now, Mama’s waist doesn’t seem to be any slimmer as both of them gained a lot of weight. Abah told us in great laugh how do they spend the day – it usually starts with sinful breakfast; sometimes Roti Canai, most of the times Nasi Lemak berlauk, some other times, just mouthful kuih. Then they will go to market (or merket) buying stuffs for lunch and this constantly takes up to 2-3 hours. Both husband and wife are famously lauded for their pleasant overfriendliness. Market is the place they denoting the skills, especially networking. Lunch then will be served quite late, close to Asar so they will pretend to skip the dinner because, supper will after 10pm be a compulsory nosh before they sleep. Yeah.
In between all the meals, we will receive video-call(s) from them, so cheerful wanting to see their grandkids. Mama typically enjoy ringing me up while I am at work with a very content prelim before the conversation, “Kerja ka tu?”. She will purposely insert her annoying titter in the most ingratiating manner.
I see the retirement vacay is going smooth at the moment, despite trivial complaints of quiet home without us monkeys. They got all the times for them and I want them to enjoy the whole more than yards.