We cannot afford a lot. Most of our resources are currently being used to our debts collected while living in Kuala Lumpur below the poverty line. I even think twice refuelling the car.
But one of my responsibilities is to ensure the family have fun. For many years, even when we were living back at the Tenth Floor, we all take pleasure in a good drive. We tell jokes, chide each other, sing along with the radio, make funny observations and try our best to make each other laugh. And we do. Laugh that is. It seems as if we laugh more here than we did back there.
Weekends are when we take a drive somewhere. Sometimes when we drive somewhere, the time is just right for a meal. So we found ourselves by the sea in Kuala Perlis one dark, cloudy Friday afternoon after work as light began to ebb away not just under the horizon but behind thick clouds.
Storm clouds closed in and it began to rain. The rain turned into a heavy torrent as we ordered our mee goreng.
Water wound its way around pebbles and detritus on the sand below us at our table under the umbrella. Once in a while the wind pushed part of the umbrella to splash the rainwater that was collecting on it onto the ground.
Soon, a grey curtain over the sea had covered our view of Langkawi Island which we have never visited since moving here; not even a day trip from the jetty here.
Then it struck me that this was what I needed. To huddle with the family with the pitter patter of rain above us and the cold winds gusting through us. This reminded me of my childhood, of me growing up and thinking that life is not ever fully comfortable, but for every single moment you just have to be grateful for the people around you. I am grateful that they are there with me.
Then we paid, got wet even more running for the car, drove through even heavier downpour (which required me to stop for a while) and discovered that back at home, surprisingly it had not rained at all.
We all looked at the sky and went, “Huh.”