Monday, 8 April 2013


His face glowed a pale white as he stared at the monitor. Every once in a while he would blink and scribble on the papers in front of him. Overhead the dusty fan buzzed, rustling the papers as it ventilated the room.

The room was spacy and had two sticky sofas positioned facing each other. Two of the four tables were occupied with students wearing nothing besides their boxer shorts, sitting with one leg on the chair as though they were having tea at a coffee shop.

Occasionally one of the two boys would turn to another asking for help, but besides the occasional question, they were deeply immersed in revising.

At the edge of one of the tables with piles of exercises and books a phone vibrated until it fell off. Only then did the skinnier of the two students notice that someone had called him.

"1 Missed Call"

Unlocking the phone, he wondered who could be calling him so late at night. Just as he punched in the security code, the phone rang again:
It was his father.

"Anak sibukkah?"

The young man looked at the pile of exercises of which he still had'nt done. He was slightly annoyed; he had to sit for the exams the following week.

"Tidak, Anak free saja"

He walked into his room, in which were two beds and two cabinets. On one of the beds was a pile of clothes, spilling onto the dusty floor. That bed was his.

"Mari minum kopi."

He agreed and hung up. He put on his  shirt and track suit pants and left the room hastily. When asked by his study partner where he was going, he had simply replied

"Minum kopi"

When the truth was, it was much more complicated than that.

He reached the coffee shop which was just in front where he stayed. He had always waited for this day. Could she really be dead? Or was it something else.

He sat down in front of his father. His old man took out a cigarette, lighting it up. While igniting the cigarette, he looked to his son,

"Anak merokok?"

The young man shook his head. An awkward silence surrounded the two, as always. His father tried to make small talk, knowing that it would help him build the courage to get the burden off his chest.

"Belajar okay?"

He was always asked this question. Though it seemed worn out, he knew that his father truly cared. He said he exams were next week, and everything was okay. His father nodded in approval, oblivious that he might be disturbing his son studying.

His father's shoulders seem to lower slighty. The old man sighed and put out his cigarette.

"Anak... Bapa sudah lama mahu beritahu.."

Instead of continuing his sentence, he looked around as though waiting for someone to come and say it for him instead of having to do so himself. Still not making eye contact, he continued

"Bapa ada isteri baharu"

The son looked at his father. The news didn't seem to bother him as much as his father had expected. Then again, what was he meant to do? crying in public didn't solve anything.

They paid for their drinks and were ready to head their own ways. While saying goodbye, he kissed his father's hand and declined money that his father offered. Before driving off, the window of the car rolled down.

"Belajar elok-elok Nak"

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