The duck having a fabulous time in the rain!
My Dad once had this fantasy that he will one day become a Malay version of Old McDonald. He wanted to have all kinds of farm animals and keep it in a piece of land he bought (which was why he bought a truck). To kick off his new obsession, he got himself a duck. It was a colorful duck with green brown and white feathers. He placed the duck at the back of the house in a small gated area.
Somehow, though I couldn’t quite understand how this turned out, the duck became a really tame duck. Now I’ve always pictured ducks as one of those dreadful animals that quacks all the time and snaps at people’s feet. Well I was right about that quacking thing. But the duck turned out to be nothing as I had expected. He was tame. He was really good friends with our cat, Piper (yes, a male cat that was named Piper. Gay.). He follows my Dad everywhere around the house. When he was smaller my Mom would let him swim in our bath tub.
When we were packing the car to go off for a holiday, the duck would watch us and become just as excited as we were packing. Whenever we left the house with the car, the duck would chase after us (I imagined that he must’ve wanted to say “don’t leave meee!”) until we disappear from the driveway. When we got back, the duck would be standing right by the door. My Mom never let him inside the house, but I think he really wished he could. Everytime the kitchen door is open he would stand by the doorway and watch longingly as Piper the cat goes in and out of the house.
When my Dad first got the duck, he was always saying things like “I can’t wait till this duck grows bigger so we can eat it”, or “I wonder how you taste like as rendang”, but gradually he stopped saying these things. I even caught him having moments with the duck, like him watering the plants and then giving the duck a shower and ducks always love showers! If it rains the duck would paddle around the front lawn having the time of his life swimming in the puddles and pretending to catch fish in there. If we leave the house for too long my Dad would now worry if the duck is not being fed or if the duck is not safe alone.
One day the duck got older and we knew he would have to go soon. He also started to shit everywhere, including the front porch and the staircase, which drove my Mom nuts. So my Dad decided to give him away to our neighbor. He said, “Whatever you do with the duck, don’t tell me about it.” My Dad never looked so sad, and believe me, my Dad is no animal lover. We later found out that our neighbor ate the poor duck.
That’s why I hate having pets. They always die! And also, I think from then on, I sort of get it why some people become vegetarians.
This week one of my oldest friends, Raudhatul Akmal, or Odd as she is fondly called, got hitched. We had known each other since I was thirteen. This means that I had been friends with this girl longer than;
1. Two latest Prime Ministers of Malaysia in service.
2. Brad Pitt’s marriage to Jennifer Aniston
3. World War II
During the solemnization ceremony, as I sat a few feet away from her, watching her sitting beautifully waiting to be married, I thought about how we got here. How twelve years had passed since we became friends, and ended up as dorm mates for the most of our lifetimes in boarding school, how we entered each other’s lives as wide-eyed girls with lots to learn about life, and came out of it as women. If I am to write about my adolescent memories without Odd in it, I will get probably only two pages worth of experience. On the contrary, a lot of highs and lows of growing up had her face somewhere in the background.
Here I have ten top moments of Odd that I will treasure and tell my grandchildren, one day when I’m sitting on my front porch having tea with my buddy Odd at the ripe-age of ninety.
Odd , me and a couple of other friends hiding under the beds during dinner time, because we didn’t feel like going to the dining hall. We were caught by the school prefect eating a bucket of fried chicken in the dark.
Odd, Hana and I in Canberra, Australia, enjoying the final days of college winter break together. All we saw was a boring parliament house, but all I remembered was how much fun we had, like we were school kids again.
A slumber party at her house when we were about fifteen years old. We stayed up watching Korean TV episodes and cried like idiots.
Odd turning up at my college dorm with a dozen of Dunkin Donuts with custard center, because in high school it was the only type of donut I really liked.
The late night conversations we liked to have with the rest of the gang, and talked about life, changes and dumb encounters. Thank God we still do it sometimes up to this day J
When Odd was fourteen or fifteen I let her read a short story I wrote. I couldn’t remember what the story was, but I remembered her crying and saying that it was a good story. Honestly, I think that was just the PMS talking.
Our road trips we take once a year. They always make me feel young again.
When we were sixteen there was this sudden craze on the movie ‘A Walk to Remember’. We watched it hundreds of times and couldn’t stop listening to the soundtracks. One rainy weekend there was nothing to do, so Odd and I decided to take a nap on the cold cement floor while listening to my Walkman. We played the song ‘Only Hope’ by Mandy Moore over and over again. Then she said, “You know, I think we’ll remember this moment for a long time.” It is nine years later and you’re right, girl.
I had a really bad fever and by bad, I mean really bad to the point that I was hallucinating things and going to see the doctor is a ‘less than appropriate’ attire. Odd, bless her heart, didn’t laugh at me (well at least not to my face) and chased me up on the way to go to the clinic to help me get properly dressed. This is when I knew I’ve got a really good friend in this fabulous chick.
The first day in boarding school. Our lockers were next to each other, and I remembered we talked about Goosebumps books. Then her Mom came by and said to her, “Ha, kan dah ada kawan tu! (There, you found a friend!)”. She was right. Alhamdulillah, I found such a good friend.
I’m feeling a bit sentimental because she’s married, and it’ll probably never be the same again, but I know that with us it will be like one of those pals who rarely get to see each other but when we do, it’ll be like we just saw each other yesterday. I really am stoked that she finally found Mr. Right! I sincerely hope for her happiness in the future. And true, I don’t know much about life, marriage, relationships and motherhood, but if there’s something I do know, it’s that a woman who has that much life as Odd has will pull it off looking like a champ.
Winter Break 2008. She hates this picture.