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I have been longing to write about this. I just couldn’t find the right time. Too busy? Naa. I don’t wanna find excuses for it. But I really want to make sure that I am all ready to bear the pain telling stories over the year and spit all out here at one go. I don’t want to miss out anything. Before I forget anything about Dad.


Dad is ill. Very ill.

Dad and Mum used to tell me how much I love oranges when I was still a toddler. Dad peeled loads of oranges for me to stop me from crying when Mum was working. I was too young to remember it and I’m not sure how true the story is, till now. But I always think that if it’s true, that’s a fking special moment between me and Dad (well, at least to Dad).

From my earliest memories, Dad has been working real hard for the family. From selling random stuff to having a goat farm (jeez, those days), to planting trees. Dad once told me teaching is only his part-time job and planting trees is his real passion of his life. (He only found out when he’s 50) I can always remember his hands. Slightly darker (due to long time exposure under the sun), huge, rough, and warm. And his legs, of course. Extremely rough I would say. And I always wonder why his nails are always full of dirt.

I never had intimate moments with dad most of the time. He comes home when it is already dark, sometimes we kids need to call him and say the same thing over and over again. I bet he knows every time he picks up the phone.

“Dad, Mummy wants you to come home earlier.”

I can still remember how his old blue Saga sounds like. When he’s back, he will go straight to the tap to wash his muddy legs. It is like a daily routine. And I will open the back wooden door, or the rusty grill at the front, and take over his things (fruits, most of the time). Durians, mangoes, bananas, dragonfruits, pineapples, papayas, (gosh) you name it. And lastly, serve him dinner. Dad doesn’t talk much and sleeps very early after dinner (maybe he’s just tired). But when he does, he’s the funniest person on earth. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love weekends, Dad talks more. :) Sometimes, I overheard Mum and Dad’s conversation at late night. They probably never knew that their little girl sometimes crawled to their window and just sit there to listen to their adult-talk. I don’t always understand what were they talking about, but one thing I realised, Dad does talk quite a lot. Well, Mum talks more, obviously.

Dad fell down in his farm one day and no one knows when and how. But that incident left him a pronounced limp. He can no longer bend his leg. (Shit, I forgot left or right) There was a time period that I helped him to wear his socks every morning before school. And since then, I have more intimate moments with Dad. Those moments that I appreciate the most? I say, dyeing his hair and cutting his toe nails. I always feel proud whenever he says I am being more careful than Mum. No matter how many times he’d said it.

Dad is the most well-educated in his family, respected by people from the village (where he grew up), but I can’t deny that he has some real bad habits. I remember those nights he got too drunk and fell asleep outside our house, or Mum staying up and waiting for him to come home. Oh, and those furious moments of Mum when she found cigarettes in Dad’s drawers/pockets/car.

Deep down in my heart, I secretly judging Dad. Why is he not listening to Mum’s advice? Why is he being so stubborn? He’s a teacher, a much respected profession. And I always secretly look down to teachers who (sneakily) smoked in the PE room at school. They stink. They all stink. I hate the fact that Dad smokes. I even find it very embarrassing if anyone finds out that my dad smokes. But I never understand why Dad never wanna change. For good. I am always his little secret keeper. I knew he was smoking whenever he closes the glass sliding door and all the windows. Dad, I can still smell it, even from my room. I never told you. Sometimes, I just wanted to test your reaction and I tried to call you from the living room. I saw everything, Dad. And I never told you, or Mum.

And after only-God-knows-how-many-years of being a smoker, you quit. Honestly, I wish you wouldn’t have to quit.

When I first knew about your illness. I was in a train, going to the airport, about to fly to Copenhagen. I broke down. I couldn’t believe what I’ve read. Sis told me it’s a rare disease with unknown causes. I was upset, but furious. I knew it wasn’t you, but I still blame you, Dad. Maybe, if you quit smoking as Mum told you, you wouldn’t get ill. Maybe it was because of you being that stubborn and now you have to pay for it.

Maybe, I just didn’t want to accept the news.

I was helpless. I couldn’t talk to you because Sis told me that you didn’t want me to know yet. I was so far away from home. It was too much for me to handle all of sudden. I lost myself, completely.

It has been a year, Dad. Things aren’t smooth for us. Many things have changed since you’re ill. You retired. Your lifestyle changed, completely. But I’m glad that you’re still sticking around. I already need to clear my nose after writing over 900 words above. I guess I’m never gonna be ready to lose you. Ever.

Here's a picture of us, having our annual family vacation at Port Dickson. Glad that you enjoyed your time there, Dad. We all did, too. Love you lots.

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