A man in the supermarket


Working time is over. I left the office. The weather outside is cloudy. The blue sky is covered with gray clouds. Signs of rain will fall. Remember the kitchen items that are shrinking. Continue speeding the car towards a nearby supermarket.
The atmosphere in the supermarket is still busy. People filled every space. Each seems to focus on the desired item.
My eyes searched for the items listed in the mind box. While busy choosing items, I noticed someone watching me. I examined my clothes, if anything was strange. It happened that at my workplace there was a photo session for the retirement ceremony of one of my friends.
My appearance follows the theme of the ceremony. A red songket kebaya and a matching headscarf. Nothing strange for me. Maybe he was attracted to the bright colors I wore. Or maybe it’s just my feelings. I let it go without suspecting anything.
When at the payment counter, the glimpse is no longer visible. Done with business, I was in a hurry to go home. Worried about getting stuck in traffic jams, especially if it’s raining heavily.
I’m quite worried if I get stuck on the road. It’s scariest if it rains heavily accompanied by lightning. In addition, lately, it has been raining heavily with storms every evening. I want to get home quickly.
As I walked towards the parking lot, I could feel someone following me. My heart is pounding. I quickened my pace.
I dared to turn around, apparently no one was there. Taking a deep breath of relief. Maybe that’s just my imagination. The quiet situation was followed by the feeling of wanting to go home quickly.
When I opened the car door, again I thought there was someone behind me. It feels close to me. My chest started heaving. A feeling of fear enveloped me. I apologized several times. Be strong. I immediately turned away.
I guessed right, a man stood in front of me. I tried to calm myself down.
Looking at his face, he immediately lowered his face while looking at the floor. I could see the lines of wrinkles on his forehead. A man in his 70s. Tanned skin. Ragged shirt, white hat and black rubber shoes.
I’m sure he’s the one who keeps looking at me when I’m in the supermarket. I greet you with greetings. He was silent. He raised his face and his eyes looked straight at me. I was so nervous.
“Where are you from and where are you going?” I asked even though there was a tremor in the end of my voice.
“I don’t know!” he answered in a daze. I was confused for a moment. At that moment I also played with feelings.
‘Maybe this man is a scammer who is trying to manipulate me. Today there are many ways people want to cheat. Do not believe easily. I better save myself before something bad happens.’
As fast as lightning, he pointed the knife at my neck. I panicked. I tried to scream as hard as I could. My voice was not heard. I struggled to be released. No one came to help me. I can imagine the faces of my beloved husband and children. I think life must be floating in the hands of that man. It’s like a scene in a television drama that I always watch.
‘Ah, that’s just my imagination! I’m still safe. Thank God.’
I quickly got into the car. Wanted to leave the man and the supermarket immediately. Suddenly my cell phone rang. I heard a very familiar voice.
“Nurin, how are you? Why haven’t you come back to the village for a long time?” called his voice. Holding back tears.
“Good news father, forgive Nurin. Nurin will be back this weekend!” my answer
“Don’t forget your promise, I can’t wait to hug my beloved grandson Noah.” Dad said prudently.
I was shocked for a moment. Many times I blame myself. Alpa with people who sacrificed a lot. Since my mother died, I rarely go back to visit her in the village. The hustle and bustle of working in the city limits time.
I shouldn’t have let my longing for Ranum’s father be consumed by time. I just realized my father’s love is very deep. Of course father is lonely. I miss my father, a friendly person who always gives useful advice.
“Don’t be arrogant in this life. If we have more sustenance, help the poor. God will multiply the sustenance. If we make things easier for people, God will make things easier for us. Remember, always be kind to people.”
I remembered the man who still didn’t know where to go. I immediately turned back to look for him. He’s gone. Maybe sulking or deliberately hiding.
‘Was I dreaming or was it just a fantasy?’ my heart snapped.
I tried looking around the parking lot. He asked the people around him but no one saw him. I almost gave up.
Suddenly I heard a sigh behind a pillar. I approached him. He lowered his wrinkled face. Occasionally wiping tears. He pressed his stomach as if he was hungry. My sympathy overflows.
Feeling guilty. Why am I so quick to think badly? I should be nice. There is no harm in helping people in need.
“Uncle wants to go back to his original uncle’s house, please send him back, son,” he pleaded.
“How can you be here?” I asked in surprise.
“This morning, uncle sent my youngest son here. He told uncle to wait and promised to come back. But until now it hasn’t appeared.”
“In that case, follow me to the police station to make a report.” I am firm
“I don’t want to, I don’t want to go to the police station, the police will find me with my aunt’s son. My uncle doesn’t want to go back to his house anymore, my uncle wants to go back to my uncle’s house!” he screamed.
I was amazed. Confused to solve the problem.
Outside the supermarket building, it looks like it’s starting to rain. I’m getting angry. Thinking about the difficulty of the journey home later. It is more confusing how to solve the man’s problem.
Suddenly he took out a blue paper. He handed it to me. Bus tickets to the south of the country. As a result of the review, the date and time recorded on the ticket are indeed correct. Departure time is 8pm. It was 5 pm on the clock.
I asked the security guard there. According to him, the man had been standing at the door of the supermarket since early morning. When asked, he remained silent. When the doors of the supermarket opened, he wandered around, not knowing which way to go.
The supermarket has made several announcements about the man but to no avail. No one came to pick him up. Until he fell asleep in the storage room.
After waking up from sleep, he seemed confused. Looking for someone. Sometimes cry alone. Calling someone’s name but not pronouncing it clearly. He didn’t know who to complain to.
People who saw him thought he was insane. The security guards had to put him at the outer door of the supermarket. The concerned party hopes to find his heir before being handed over to the authorities.
I took the man to a nearby restaurant. He is really hungry. When food was served, he ate it greedily because he had been starving for a day. Gulped down the drink with gusto. I’m really sorry to see him like that.
I remember my father’s face in the village. I always cook his favorite food vegetable fat sprouts and turmeric fried fish. My father will eat with appetite and always praise the deliciousness of my cooking. Father stubbornly does not want to live with me in the city. He still wants to stay in the village. He loved the house of memories with his late mother so much.
“Are you full?” I asked after seeing him lean back with a smile.
“Alhamdulillah, thank you son. It would be great if you had a child like you,” he said as if he wanted to start the story.
He also lost his beloved wife. Brought by his youngest son to live in the city. His son and son-in-law work and are always busy, there is no time to attend to him full time. He is lonely in a two-story bungalow house.
The face that started to be happy turned into an anxious one in a moment. Looking left and right. Don’t know what else to say. He is not able to tell more, let everything stored in his soul be kept.
“Where is Aman? Why didn’t he come here?” said the question suddenly.
“Oh, Aman is so busy with work that he forgets me, he doesn’t even care about me!”
“You don’t have to come Aman, I can take care of myself.”
He walked back and forth. Occasionally glances at me.
“Zizah, look at the behavior of our son whom we love the most, whom we spoil too much.”
Every now and then he tapped his head, as if trying to remember something.
I just listened to his expression and observed his behavior.
I did not force him to tell the truth. Seeing his unbroken state of remembering all the events, he is likely senile. My anger towards Aman was bubbling up even though I didn’t know him. Surprised he left his father alone there. Where is the value of a child’s love for a father. There is no more compassion in his heart. I’m not sure why Aman acted like that. It turns out that there are many secrets that I don’t know, maybe he has a certain reason that is hard to imagine.
“Pak cik has a love letter from Zizah.”
I was really surprised but tried to calm the situation down. He held out a piece of white paper in the shape of a note.
“Whoever finds my father, please send him back to the village. Let brother and sister take care of it.”
I read it with mixed feelings. Furious, angry and sad. Crumple the note in my hand. I feel crushed in my soul. I sent him to the bus station as written on the ticket. I want to make sure he arrives safely at his real destination. I hope his life will be calmer in the village.
“Uncle, this is the end of our meeting. In about 2 hours the bus will arrive. Aunt can pray Maghrib first. Take care of yourself,” I finally said to him.
He looked at me sadly. I saw his glassy eyes. I wiped my tears. Even if I don’t have the heart to leave him, I have no other choice. I’m sure he will be happy with the way of life in his hometown.
The rain is getting heavier. I held out an umbrella for him but was rejected. He immediately closed the car door. Suddenly he ran in the rain screaming.
“Aman, Aman dear father? Dear father Aman!”
I mumbled. Lost for words. I can’t face it if it happens to my father.
My car continued to slide leaving a scene of tears. In the heavy rain accompanying my heartache. My tears are pouring down my cheeks.
‘Dad, Nurin misses dad, Nurin won’t let dad be alone anymore. Nurin will take care of dad until the end of his life. Dad will not be far from Nurin again. Father’s love all the time.’ – MALAYSIAN WEEKLY





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