I walked past the store. And this lady peeked over the counter. "Noodles for you, young boy?" I looked up and thought that she came back. She resembled someone I miss dearly.
I made it a point to go to the same stall every day, breakfast and lunch. I would sit there looking at her. She looks like a caring mother, a really nice person. I felt warm within. Happy just to see her even though it wasn't really "her".
The canteen was old and hot. But that doesn't matter. Because when I see her, I find some comfort and perhaps, consolation.
Well, I became her regular customer. And got to know her better. We chat sometimes but most of the time, a smile was more than enough.
One day, I dropped by and noticed she sat in a corner slumped. She looked dejected. I walked closer and noticed tears. I was crushed. Why was she crying? I mustered enough courage and asked her.
It was her husband. A compulsive gambler and jobless. She has been working hard to upkeep the family. Taking up two jobs at one time even. She was tired, really tired. Told her to be strong for the family for her son. Because she is the pillar of strength. Like all mothers out there. I couldn't concentrate on my work that day. Was thinking real hard how I could help her. But I do not have the financial strength to do so.
Helpless and utterly useless I am.
I continued to buy from her. Sometimes I would buy from her and refused to take the change. That was the best I can do. I could still remember there was once I came by after collecting a Gundam hamper which I won in Gunpla competition, saw her 10 year old son helping out at the stall. Passed the kid the hamper. He was thrilled and the look on her face was full of gratitude. I told the boy to be good to his mum when he grows up.
The next day I was there for my usual treat. But the stall was closed. And for the next few days as well. I was worried. I tried asking the owner of the canteen but he could not give me an answer. She was not contactable . So what happened? Days turned to weeks, weeks to months. She's not coming back obviously.
Just like my mum.
I will never know what happened to her. But I pray that she is well and happy.
And this happened many many years ago....
I drove past that place today. And I remembered her suddenly. I don't know why but tears just flowed. I might have look really awkward with my wife besides me. I told her the story. But I didn't tell her how sad I am. But I think she knows me better.
Some things you can't just take for granted. When your parents are around, let them know you love them and show it. You never know when that day will come. But when it does, make sure you don't look back with regret."
"Just like me" "Just let me go home"