Part 3: A Storm is Coming4/10/2017Nurul Afifah
The clock closing to 7.00pm when Tihani opened the door. Tihani was puzzled as her mum didn't answer her salam. She heard small voices from her mum's room assuming she is talking to someone on her phone. She drops her handbag to the floor and literally crashed onto the couch willing each muscle to relax and hoping she would not have a muscle stretch. It was a very long day.
To tell the truth, Tihani wasn't big on fashion but always a little bit curious about watching people living their passion. If anything, Wani has been giving the most boring bedtime stories a week straight and made her listen because "this is a study for acing interview" and because "you're should be grateful I made you do this and you will profusely thank me later".
Apparently, Raudhah has been Wani's role model in her most precious dream - to be an entrepreneur. Wani is an objective driven person and she chose everything carefully and looking upon Raudhah was only after a thorough understanding of how Raudhah builds her clothing line - Kekwa. On the other hand, the only reason Tihani knew about Kekwa (but none about Raudhah) is that Mum got her a pair of Kekwa's blouses for her birthday. At first, she was a bit mad because she knew these kinds of clothing cost a lot which her mum should not pamper her with but mum nonchalantly says that it is Kekwa's so it does not cost that much.
Apparently, as she Googled so hard feeling challenged that she did not have any knowledge about Kekwa, she founds out that it is among the few clothing line to have sparse collection for both high-end fashions and for the middle-income population as well. Nevertheless, mum has been telling her that even if it cost a lot she should not be so worked out over it because it is natural for a mum to spend to made her daughter look like an absolute princess. She has been donning it since for events like big class presentations or simply to feel good because she slays in those blouses. Mum has good eyes.
Even though sprawling into dead sleep sound so like the top 10 best life decision to do now, Maghrib is nearing and she still had to bath. She quickly gets up and dash for her room upon hearing mum rattling the door knob so to spare any nagging.
"Tihani I swore I heard you coming in 10 minutes ago and you haven't bath yet!"
Tihani quickly throw her tudung bawal and wrist watch on the bed and snatch her big blue towel. Smiling a small smile remembering the excitement chatters Raudhah spoils her every once in a while telling she had her Mini Cooper in blue because she use.the car every day and wanted to feel happy each time looking at it. So she chooses blue to match her favourite actors eye colour. Who knew she could be that geek. But then she will be quiet for what feels like foeever and made Tihani feel so awkward before suddenly becoms chirpy. It is kinda weird.
Mum was waiting in front of her room and Tihani almost runs into her. But instead of giving her the customary cursory death stare, she was fidgeting.
"Ya Allah, mum! You surprise me! I'm taking my shower now you can trust me" . Tihani tries to joke it off as she knew mum always fell for her annoying easy spirit. However, she still fidgeting. Tihani notices it.
"What is it?"
"Dad called me just now"
That few words took a toll on Tihani. She was not sure how to even react when dad is mentioned. The new feels so alien but at the same time relieving. However, the most obvious thing is that it strike her as if a storm just burst into her. She knew she would be the worst poker game player as her face drop alongside her heart as well. Mum must notice it as she put both her palm on each side of Tihani cheeks trying to will away how Tihani eyes seems to lost the joys she had just now.
"When you come home, it was him on the phone"
"What does he say?"
"He gets a job. It was an NGO specialised in helping people like him"
"He want to have a dinner with us when he get his first salary"
Tihani pulls her mum's hands away weakly and smile bitterly before walking away to the bathroom. Few minutes under the shower she heard mum shutting the door heading for surau. Her heart still feels strangled but it seems she has trained herself not to cry anymore. She can hear weakly the azan and her trained eyes quickly looks for any windows to close until she realised there is none since she is still under the shower. Slowly, warm streams of water feel rolling over her face as she squeezed her eyes shut focusing into the darkness behind her closed eyelids.
It was dad who always reminds her to shut the window,
Mum usually gets back after Isyak and she always has her dinner in the evening so Tihani is going to have her dinner alone tonight.
Mum has fried some noodles and even though she is not that hungry, the noodles look too good. As she fills the plate, she heard her phone signalling an incoming text message. She then brings the plate to the living room, put the plate on the coffee table and reach her phone in the bedroom.
Someone is having a tahlil tonight so I'm going to the house. It is in the apartment block behind us. I'll be late.
Tihani replies a quick "ok" and continues to sit on the couch and after her second bites, her phone rings again.
"Oh my god, is there an unspoken deal to stop me from eating??"
She reaches out to her phone and realised Wani is calling for her. Subconsciously she thought of not answering because she really did not feel like talking but apparently she loves Wani more. On the hand, we should always put ourselves first, right? Tihani is tired both mentally and physically so some alone time with a good food is just a little something good to be done at the time. However, logically, Wani wouldn't be talking that long since in about half an hour it would be Isyak and they always have this unspoken rule to leave everything and solat first so Tihani can relax afterwards. Not to mention, how good it is economically to be able to still keeps in touch with your BFF but not using a dime since it is Wani who calls.
Suddenly, the ring dies out. Tihani was not sure to feel relaxed or not until the phone rings again so she just quickly answers it.
"Waalaikummussalam, are busy or what? Why didn't you pick up at my first call?"
"I was having a moral dilemma"
"Stop answering in puzzles"
"I didn't do that!"
"You do it all the times"
"Ok that is absurd, I didn't do it all the time"
"I got you to admit though"
"Damn you, deceptive woman"
"I'm taking that as a compliment, anywho, how about your first day?"
Tihani exhales a heavy breath and little that she realised, that small "talk" she had with Wani made everything feels clearer. Sometime Tihani wonder does friends will always make you feel better or is it just Wani? She did not really mind the answer because all she knew, she will always have Wani. She is so proudly sure of that.
"It was such a long day - no, it was a very long walking day"
"I drove her to Jalan TAR first and we freaking walk the entire length! Somehow Raudhah has her own special route so that we will walk back to the car alongside different shops which only means a longer route. I swore we have been into at least a hundred store. We spent the entire morning there. Actually, I was excused to just stay in the car but what do you know, curiosity literally kills me. I just can't help to tag along when Raudhah said she is doing a little research for her new project. Well, a little is such an understatement. We ended up buying 10 different fabric with 2 metre length each, some shawls and took countless photos and there is a shop selling sewing items which I swore that Raudhah eyes brighten with the most childish light as she bought at least a dozen different lace and those easy ironed patches"
"You should be grateful you ignorant little brats! She includes you in her creative thought process!"
"My feet has never been this sore!"
Tihani heard a small cheery laugh on the other side of the line. She can't help but laugh a little bit.
"Ya, ya, go on laugh at my pain"
"I got a question though"
"How did you carry all of that? I mean, she didn't actually expect to have you carry her stuff is at first she told you to stay in the car"
"You gonna love this, she has those small trolleys, like those aunties bring to their wet market shopping"
"Seriously? That is hardcore stuff"
It Tihani turns to laugh now. It was seriously hardcore stuff. No one actually brings a trolley to Jalan TAR! The continue to talk. Tihani learns that Wani's is going to spend the holiday to learn to cook which means she is going to be cooking her family lunch and dinner - daily, while Tihani shared more about the car she drove and the building Raudhah lives in.
If the talk ended with no mentions of how Tihani dad finally calls, well, Wani would not have noticed.
If the night's sleep come a little harder than usual, surely, no one can hear how Tihani's mind filled with all the reasoning of why she did not have any responsibility to meet his own father.