A Long Journey ~ Part 3


Walaupun kini saya seorang isteri dan ibu, saya masih tetap seorang kakak sulung yang sentiasa merindui adik-adik. Sejak berumur 13 tahun, kami akan tinggal di asrama. Jadi kami hanya bersama-sama di rumah sehingga darjah 6 sahaja. Bukan mudah untuk kami berkumpul dan kami sangat menghargai peluang keemasan untuk berkumpul yang hanya datang sekali-sekala.

Antara kenangan termanis dalam hidup saya adalah tinggal di Korea selama sebulan bersama-sama adik perempuan saya. Wah, bestnyaaaaaaaaa! Makan, tidur, berjalan-jalan, bergosip kiranya semua dibuat bersama-sama. Saya harap satu hari nanti kami akan dapat merasa peluang sebegitu lagi.

Oh, my baby girls, I miss you so much!

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And of course I miss my brothers too! Hehe~

Ok sekarang kita sambung terjemahan cerpen ‘Perjalanan yang Jauh’ karya Zaharah Nawawi. Selamat membaca!

A Long Journey

By: Zaharah Nawawi

Translated by: Firuz Akhtar Mohamad Bohari

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“Abang Sham’s friend gave us those as presents, Mother.” It was the only excuse Rugayah could think of at the moment.

Mother went out, leaving Rugayah. She left the things just as they were, without rearranging them.

A look of disappointment and sadness appeared on her face. No words were uttered to Rugayah. Mother’s steps were furious and sulky. Rugayah’s feelings for her mother, which had already become distanced over the last two or three months, grew even more distant with this attitude. Rugayah lost all will. She remained still, like a dead log, like a plastic mannequin. Her thoughts began to fly far away. Why had Sham taken the baby’s clothes from the car trunk last week? Oh, it was because Sham had sent the car in for servicing. The answer appeared by itself, resolving the chaos of the question.

Why is mother showing such a sorrowful attitude during these final moments before I have to face a difficult struggle? To Rugayah, living in a critical moment like this was extremely torturing. It was as though she was becoming more distant from all her surroundings. Far from relatives, and far from the world. She was heading towards a battle at an unknown location. Far away, further and further.

Sweat dampened her forehead. Rugayah wiped it away. She struggled to fight the feelings that were rising within her. She tried to head towards Mother to calm her down, but did not have the strength to combat her own feelings of distance.

It’s too late. Mother is already heartbroken because I wouldn’t listen to her advice. All the baby preparations are ready. Getting rid of the items now would be useless. With that decision made, Rugayah resolved to continue her steps and bring along all of the baby items. The faraway world seemed to wave at her. The nearer the time came for Sham to return and bring her to the hospital, the smaller, gloomier, and darker she felt. The thought lingered: Will Mother’s words become reality?

Rugayah sat at the edge of the bed. No. Not because of the preparations made for the baby. Everything happens only because Allah permits it. Her thoughts convinced her. She clasped her hands, looking at the words Alif Lam Lam Ha,[1] which were clear in her head.

Once again, Rugayah tried to go to Mother and comfort her. She wanted to stress that diapers couldn’t cause anyone’s death. Only Allah had the power to make a person live or die. However, she could not lift her feet. Her heart was floating, as if the universe was slowly spinning further, towards a wide, empty space.

”Syahadah,”[2] she uttered several times, in an attempt to find the calmness that had already been buried in the heaps of anxious dust. The weird feeling finally could not be avoided any longer. She had to accept the fact that she would not say anything to her mother or, especially, to Sham and her children. She did not want to sadden her family. She did not want to force their tears by accompanying her on the long journey that she was about to experience. It would be critical to await the journey until the last sparkle of her eyes.

She steadied her feelings, looking to continue the journey to the faraway world, and began to prepare. She bathed herself, making herself as clean as possible. The doctor or nurse or the person who, later, would be in charge of cleaning her body for the last time would not feel nauseated or disgusted. She wanted to go in a clean and untroubled state.

[1] This is the alphabetical spelling of the word Allah.

[2] Syahadah is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of Allah and acceptance of Muhammad as God’s prophet. It is uttered on many occasions. In this case, it is to calm an uneasy heart.