Hana and Wifey - October 2008

I was away in a jungle north of Perak when she was born. From the time she was 3 months old through 4 years old, she would sleep with me or alone if I am not around.

That’s my eldest child, Farhanah.

And because of her closeness to me, she became the subject of mistreatment by her mother after the divorce; and those were the days, during the Asian Financial Crisis, I would scrape whatever notes and coins I could find just so I could drive up from KL to the Thai border, just to visit her and her sister, Fazira. Everytime I had to leave her at the end of that day trip, she would hold on to my thigh and begged me not to leave her, or to take her along. Parting with her has always been a heart-wrenching experience. I would take her for a walk to the park near where she used to live with her mother, and taught her how to look at the stars of the night sky, show her where south is by teaching her to recognise certain stars, and tell her if she misses me, all she had to do was to look at those stars, and I’d be in that general direction thinking of her too.

She now lives in the house I used to live in, with her mother and her sister. Her younger siblings, Farhan and Nisaa, are with the bitch their mom somewhere else.

Yesterday, Hana sent me a text asking me what was I doing later that night. So I called her. She told me she had to represent her school in a district-level bowling tournament, and if I could pick her up that night as she would be going to the venue with her friends by cab. When I said I could, she broke down and cried. It was a full half a minute before she regained her composure and told me she was okay. I sensed that something was wrong.

Wifey and I had to go to the university to send some provisions to her brother, Shah. When Shah said that he was hungry, I suggested that we go for mamak food somewhere near where Hana is in case she couldn’t get a cab. True enough, Hana called me soon after, and sobbing, she told me she could not get a cab.

I asked her to walk to the mamak joint, some fifteen minutes walking from the house. So, Wifey and Shah alighted the car. Wifey gave her a good hug and told her not to cry. On the way to the bowling venue, she never said a thing. I asked her what was wrong but she never said anything. Suddenly, she held my hand, put her head on my shoulder and started sobbing again. Softly I told her that I love her and it hurts me not to know what was bothering her, that she’d always have my ears and shoulders if she needed them.

The first thing Wifey and I noticed about her was that she had lost some weight. In the photo above, she looked fine, but when we saw her yesterday, we could see that her cheeks had shrunk. I gave her a good long hug when I dropped her outside the house, reassuring her that I’d always be there for her. From the conversation I had with Fazira, it was clear to me that Hana was not being treated as well by the mother again. And I am so worried as she will be sitting for her SPM examinations later this year.

As Wifey said, if only we live like five to ten minutes away from them instead of the ‘almost-an-hour’ per way trip to get to them, both Fazira and her would be staying with us, or at least come home from school to us before going home later in the night.

As a father, I can only pray for the best for her. But for now, I guess I will have to make more effort to be with her more often, to give her strength again, and to be that guiding star in her life again.

9 Replies to “Heartbreaker”

  1. SD, this is so sad. I always wonder why some mothers can’t love and protect their own children like they’re supposed to. Instead they become the tormentors. How sad for your Hana, that the mother is taking things out on her. From the sound of it, she really needs you to protect her although she’s not saying much. Poor girl.

  2. *watery eyes* This is my niece, you are talking here. We don’t even know each other. The whole thing ( her story, your story, our used-to-be close and happy FAMILY)is wrong. We drifted and it is affecting us in many ways. Mostly awkward and sad!

    1. Prissy…I know. I suspect so. Hana is the type who’d keep everything inside.

      Fidah…once, we cousins were all close. I don’t know why have we all drifted apart. Is it because we have all grown up and have our own family? Or is it because the very reason for us to be close to each other is no longer there since both tok passed away? I don’t know for what reason that none of my family members went to visit Wa in Kajang when Mak Wa passed away. I was in a meeting but I went with my wife anyway, and am glad that I did. Is it because my mother quarreled with Wa? I don’t know why is it so wrong for me to stand up for myself, my rights to happiness, that I am just some figment of someone’s imagination now, someone surreal? At least my kids are happy for me now than I was the last time, knowing that I was being manipulated, cheated on, by someone who slept with me in the same bed and mother 2 of my children. No one even bothered to listen to my side of the story…and it was only later that they discovered that they were wrong, but still my mother refuse to acknowledge even when her friend mentioned to her about my going to JB with her son for some work. Even Ajo has left the house. In a way, I feel sad. Sad because the three people whom I used to have, for me to turn to, are no longer there, namely both toks and your mother. I am glad I now have a wife who respects me as her life partner, whom I can truly call my life partnerand a true friend, beside me.

      One day I’ll invite you over to the house for you to meet my wife, your nieces and nephew, and your step-niece and nephews.

      Razlin…according to the Syariah Law, a girl only has to be of akil baligh age to decide whom to live with, and that would be the age of 9, 14 for a boy. But it is my parents’ constant meddling in the affairs of my family that has caused this breakup between Hana/Fazira, and Farhan/Nisaa – by not allowing them to follow me, and to go back to their mothers. So I cannot ask Hana to stay with me while Fazira has to school near where her mom lives. I wish life is simpler than it is. That is why we sought for a landed property so I can take all my children to stay with me during weekends.

      Forlorn Soldier…am being very patient now. Even when my then-wife was trying to get into your friend’s underwear, I was patient.

  3. i started crying even before finished reading the whole post. its unfair on hana that she has to suffer all the pain (whatever that may have caused it). I so wish and hope that u as her daddy & the parent she’s closer to, can take charge of her…instead of that mom of hers. she does need your tender loving care.

    sob sob :(((

  4. There will be a time and whilst patience is painful she knows you are there somewhere and in the end all will come good. Pray for her peace of mind and surely you will be answered so sabar donk

  5. I really dont know what to say John….. I am sorry you have to go thru this. Sigh….. well, at least your little girl knows you are there for her. She probably kept her silence for fear it would cause more trouble John. 😦

  6. People always take things for granted. I always wish for Medina to grow up faster because I can’t wait to share things with her – clothes, passion for shopping, music etc… And I’m so glad to have a stepdaughter like Farhanah, because she’s 17 and I feel that we could connect, same with Fazira. If it weren’t for the distance to USJ, I would’ve taken them out and hang out at Starbucks with them, go shopping with them, etc. What a waste to have a mother that doesn’t treat their teenage kids as friends…

  7. It is sad when children are forced to be in a situation like this. They should be allowed to chose who to live with when their parents go separate ways. Lend her your strength, my friend. It’s not easy being a 17 year old girl and feeling unloved one’s own mother.

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