I remember once my granny died when I was young—I was ten years old—matured enough to understand things happen around me. She passed away like the silent breeze seeped through your face, so soft and gentle as you didn't realise when it was gone. Ironically, I didn't cry at all when my mom told me she passed away in the early of the morning. I was yawning when she told me but at the same time, I was brushing my eyes when I got woken up. That day was the first ever experienced for me to view death in front of my eyes other than watching from television.
I saw my granny's cold body that had been closed with batek as I wondered why she didn't move under it.
"Maybe she was sleeping. I'll ask her later." I thought to myself.
The first encounter of death, I didn't cry. I wondered if it was because I was too young or I didn't understand the word 'death'. My mom told me tomorrow that my granny went to a very far place but, was it too far away when she needed to transport in a van?
Not long after that, I got another news from my father. He asked me about my friend, and I thought it was weird of him to ask because he never care any of my friends. Unless... I was silent at that time and looked at him with a confused face. His face didn't show any sadness behind it, maybe he wasn't close to my friend.
"Your friend, Lilac had passed away."
He slowly told me and that was my second encounter of death. She was my best friend and I knew she had been sick from leukaemia but as a ten-year-old child, I didn't understand what was that. I had a flashback when I was with her months ago, she asked me to be her friend forever. I asked her, why? Then she simply replied to me with a small smile.
"Because you're so kind."
But at that time when I knew she had gone for real, I was shock and I thought to myself.
"I'm really not a kind person."
My subconscious mind asked me, why? But what I remembered, I didn't even shed any tears when I knew she will be gone forever. I asked myself why I didn't cry at that time but, I was trying. I tried to make myself cry but it was pointless or maybe, I was heartless. I lied to her that I am a good friend of hers, I lied to myself that I love her.
If it's so, why I still keep her kindergarten picture until now in my drawer? Moreover, why I felt heartache whenever I look to her picture?
I didn't understand why I didn't cry for someone that I love too much. As if fate was making a joke on me for lying to myself. But I loved them. I loved them to death.
As I was maturing to become a teenage girl, I encounter another episodes of death. Another chapter for me in my daily life, as if I was flipping another page of novel about someone's death. I kept losing people around me which made me think that they were hot cakes.
Ironically, I didn't cry of losing them forever either they are my friends, my teachers and some other people like my cousins, uncles and aunties but... Why do I shed tears when I was losing my cat? Or is it because, I don't have any pity at all to human even though they've been with me longer than the pet cat. I even cried when I was watching drama about people dying but why not when people is really dying in front of me?
I was frustrated.
I was mad.
I didn't understand this.
Why can't I cry or even shed a drop of tears when they passed away?
Oh God! I really want to know what was the meaning behind this. As I pray, I tend to build up some walls around me and I jumped to conclusion that if I don't love them, maybe I could cry. I was obsessed by the thought, as if I'd been craving it for a long time ago.
"If I don't love them, maybe I could cry a river for them because I will take pity on them."
I was confident that it was gonna work and it would be a success for me. I smiled with the thought as I fell asleep with the smile stamped on my face. Months after, I heard the news that my cousin had miscarriage. My mom called me through the phone to go to my cousin's house so we could comfort her since it was her first child.
I was crying.
Yes, I was crying!
If I wanted to, I could tell out loud so people would know that I was crying for someone's death. But something irked me when I got back from my cousin's house, as I was thinking deeply. For hours. Was I happy when I cried just now?
Yes, I took pity on my cousin, but not the baby.
But if you asked me, am I happy for that?
No! Of course, not. I wanted to cry because I feel love toward them not because I took pity on them that they would be buried alone under the ground. My subconscious mind was laughing at me that time, as it would think I was making a joke in my life. As I was thinking for hours that time, my eyes felt droopy and I was surrounded by darkness after that.
Years of growing up, I became a grown up woman who didn't yearn to cry when I lost something, I mean, someone I loved. It was rude to think that I was a heartless person when you never been in my shoes. I already newly built up walls that nobody could ever break nor climb up into my comfort zone.
I was staying the same.
At the same time, I was pushing everybody around me as I thought to myself once,
"I'll become lonely when I'm dead."
I was chuckling by the remark but I couldn't deny how it was too real to be the truth. I had lots of friends but never one of them are my best friend, because it was my fault that I always ended up deceiving them. They should know by now, I was lonely so I needed someone and that was why they were with me. Because they were at the same time when I felt the same way.
At home, I didn't talk much with my parents and siblings, and never once I tried to start a conversation. It was either I was fighting with them or, my dad was mad at me so I need to have a comeback. Was I scared if they are going to leave me? Yes. For sure. But why do I still push them away?
That made me thinking when I was lying in my bed, am I lonely to begin with? Or I am scared of losing someone I loved and I didn't cry for them when they died?
I was confused.
But I didn't have anybody to tell that. Pity myself, but instead I was amused by the fact that I know already.
I encountered another deaths as i remembered one of them since I tend to forget about other's death. It was another of my friends but we weren't that close. I watched her mom cried as my other friends was mourning at him but I was standing there. At the side of the walls, leaning my body against it while I was watching as if it was my everyday scenery. I took pity on him because his fate to die was too short, but I didn't cry.
Late night my mom called me and she only said,
"I am sad for his lost, Anna. He passed away too young. I'm sad for you that you lost your friend. Are you okay?"
Am I okay?
My mouth twitched but I didn't reply anything to her as I ended the call right away, not knowing what to reply. I decided that it was useless to cry over someone that you didn't know. But I sympathise for them.
Yet another conclusion I made in my experimental life.
Two years later, I heard one of my loving teachers passed away from heart attack. I was really sad to hear it because she was really kind to me and helped me a lot with my study. Weirdly, I cried about it at night even thought I didn't visit her house to give my last respect for her. I... I was crying.
I didn't understand about it either. I was remembering my good times with her; when she scolded me for not completing the homework given, when I skipped school classes and when she praised me for getting better in her subject.
It was a weird feelings for me. Why should I be sad when I remembered she was scolding me? Shouldn't I be mad at her because she scolded me over a little thing?
Shouldn't I be cursing at her for that?
I was sobbing as I shook my head. No. I knew she loved me for doing so, if not, she didn't care at all about me if I've ever left behind in my class.
Yet I cried for her until my eyes were puffy, I still didn't understand what I was crying for?
The question still remained deep inside my heart that had been scarred every time I encountered with deaths. Deaths of people that I loved very much.
Being older didn't mean I can understand things around me enough to explain for youngsters. Or was it because I'm not old enough? That was a tricky question for me to answer because if I said 'yes' that would mean everybody in this world isn't old enough yet.
If I said 'no', it would be the another question of understanding this life. It was complicated like that.
I was in the bus at the time I was busy thinking the question, I was on my way to get home from my classes. It was a sunny day, apparently showing the smile of the 27 million degrees Fahrenheit star.
My ears could pick up some of the conversations in the middle of the hushed tones. One of the passenger in front of me was really happy to tell her friend that they had a summer holiday as the passenger behind my back. Um, well. He was really disappointed that his holiday would be wasted on camping out with his family.
I scoffed. He should be grateful that he still has a considerate parents. I thought to myself as my eyes looked down at my phone that was on my lap.
Someone's calling me and without looking at the contact's name, I picked up the call.
My eyes widened when I was watching at the front as everybody on board was screaming in panicked. I felt the time slowed down and everything around me was moving in slow motion, but there was only one thing in my mind.
“The fate really make a joke on me.”
My cheeks felt something hot trickling down as I realised I was crying when I was facing my death at the moment.
Is it because I fear of death?
But there was a lingering feelings when the death was knocking the door of your life, you will wonder what you did in your life and how happy you were.
Was this how my granny, my cousins and my friends were feelings when they were facing death?
Did they lived their life to the fullest?
Are they sad?
Am I happy?
No. I’m not, I thought at the very moment.
I was lonely and I didn’t have many friends. I pushed people away because I though they’ll be far away from my problems. I didn’t cry when someone I loved died because I’d always been taught to be strong when I was facing the hardest phase in my life.
Sometimes I didn’t understand why I was crying, because I wasn’t someone that easily be sad about anything around me. It started when I was young until a grown up girl, I learnt how to swallow all my tears and smiled when I was hurting because it was the sake for other people that turned to habit.
I’ve always been thinking of other people without putting myself first. I always think I don’t wanna hurt people that I loved but I hurt myself instead. My eyes watched them dissipate while the time was ticking very slowly as they left me without bidding a goodbye. When I woke up tomorrow, every moment I encountered with other people’s deaths it felt like I was taking a deep breath and let it out after a second after.
So slow to myself but fast, and very meaningful to me.
As the bus was about to fall from the cliff, I had one think that I wanted for myself. Then I closed my eyes and said,
“I want—I want to see my family, my siblings, my friends and everyone I loved.”
I miss them.
I’ve been straying away from their life, and it was actually selfish for myself. Everything was so fast when you actually saw other’s death in front of you and, you will be so sad and cried for them. But why I was crying at this moment?
Am I scared for being alone?
Do I fear death?
I have no answer. The bus was rolling and everything felt dramatic, people was shrieking hysterically. The driver already passed out as his face placed on the airbag as some of the passenger weren’t moving in their seats. Some of them was trying to break the glass window but to think that the would jump, it wasn’t a choice.
Would they rather jump, just because someone’s waiting for them?
Is there someone who’s waiting for me?
I thought to myself, this was it. I had no one since the beginning.
It was too bright, it was suffocating.
Where was I?
I slowly opened my eyes and blinked. The white lights were blinding my eyes and I was hearing some of whispers around me. I didn’t expect myself to be in heaven so soon, I scoffed.
“Anna? You’re awake?”
My eyes slowly began to see my brother was in front of me, as he smiled looking at me. I tried to say something but only let out some gasp, but he said it’s okay and gave me a glass of water.
I gulped slowly as he said,” Drink slowly. Mom and dad are outside. We are very worried, Anna.”
I got my answer.
Yes. Someone did wait for me.
If you ask me, would I cry if someone’s dead? My answer would be, maybe yes, maybe no. Then you will want to know, why? I want to keep it as a simple answer, because I didn’t cry out of pity on them, or I was sad because I’ll never meet them.
It just... I learnt something in myself in this one day.
At the late night, when I was sleeping, my phone was ringing loudly. It was the early morning of the weekend day, and i remembered, I was excited to meet brother for the first time in my college. It’d been awhile since I met him after I’ve decided to live at dorm rather than at house.
I picked up the call and realised it was one of my closest cousin, and I thought it was weird of him to call me this late. Without any thinking, I answered the call without waiting any second.
“Anna?” A stuttered voice of woman can be heard for the other side.
It wasn’t my cousin’s voice but his wife, and my brow arched. My lips stretched for a smile and I greeted her with a simple ‘hi’. She was taking a deep breathe after listening my voice and it was weird that she took a long time to reply when I asked her,
“What is it, Emma?”
My cousin took the phone from her and replied me instead,” Anna. Don’t be too shock about this. You need to calm down after you know this.”
He continued,” Your brother. Your brother is gone.”
I replied nothing, my eyes widened. My legs are shaking that I felt wobbly to keep standing, as I had another thinking. Fate has another turn in my life, so I was excited last night for no reason.
Am I crying?
Yes. I cried as if I was crying for a river. For the first time, I didn’t shed my tears out of pity but I was crying because he was someone I loved. And I will always loved him. I—I achieved at crying for someone that will leave me forever.
I felt heartache. I was confused at that time. I saw his body in the forensic steel bed, he was lying there in comfort as if he was sleeping to meet tomorrow. Strangely, I was praying that it wasn’t him when I unzipped the body bag because I thought it was a joke.
I kissed his cold, pale cheeks for the last time even though I’ve never kissed him on the cheeks for a lifetime before. Everything was surreal for me and I couldn’t comprehend at first why I was crying too badly.
Now, I’d got my answer.
“I just hate that... At one time, I will wait for him and he never come.”
That’s why I didn’t cry for my granny and my best friends because they always bid me a goodbye with their eyes.
But ‘he’ didn’t.