Arrived in Kuantan at 2.00 am Sunday morning. Tired, disheveled and groggy, I wasn’t in the mood but had to do a whole round of shaking and greeting awkwardly among the band of relatives strewn all over our living room. They were here for my cousin’s wedding to a local girl. It’s not that I want to be a rude and ungracious host, but it’s just too many people too much of the time.
S, as usual was being the perennial diva. Urged on by an adoring audience, she gave hell when we wanted to put her to bed. The pseudo-rotan (a plastic balloon handle, you know from malls) had been effective only as a mild deterrent and its influence is waning at an incredibly alarming rate. You can’t beat this kid to submission. You can but you wouldn’t want to.
I feel that I’m drifting apart from her. When I got back early that Sunday morning, I wanted to talk to her or listen to her ramble or at least see that toothy grin. Instead she gave her worst tantrum in ages, won’t look at me, won’t let me touch her. It felt like death.
This drifting apart, this distance will have to bridged. Surely it’s not her.
So last night I slept on the right side of the bed, next to hers. When all the lights were out, she called for her mama to hold her hand, as is her custom. She wouldn’t hold mine and would know the difference even in the dark. So A had to put her arm over me to hold her hand and I was caught between this mother-daughter embrace.
As S sank deeper into sleep, I managed to steal away that embrace and replaced A’s hand with mine. S protested a few times but her mama assured her that it was her hand instead of mine.
With my daughter’s little fingers clasped around mine, and my wife’s lips stealing kisses by my side, I am alive again. And live I shall.