No Need For Apologies

After a few hectic weeks back-to-back it was nice to finally have a Saturday evening to myself – just me, some comfort food and a good book. I plonked myself at Pappa Rich for its hot honey lemon and some soup noodles (the flu bug is making its rounds and I guess its current stop is me), followed by a comforting bowl of warm tang yuen (glutinous rice balls).

And through all that, I was reading. I bought a secondhand book in Malacca recently and I just couldn’t put it down the moment I started. There’s something about reading that fascinates and scares me at the same time. What fascinates me is the whole new world I would be embarking on by the notion of flipping the pages – but what scares me would be that I’d be completely absorbed in that world and lost to my surroundings. Normally, the first would triumph the latter.

So there I was, reading and reading a book called When Horse Became Saw, a true story about the writer’s (Anthony Macris) upside down journey dealing with his autistic son Alex. His healthy and incredibly smart baby boy spiraled down rapidly into the pits of autism at eighteen-months and their journey in learning more about autism as well as the lack of government support (and knowledge) in that area was absolutely enlightening. I’m not a parent, but I believe there’s nothing worse to know that your child (whose future had already been imagined even before he was born) would no longer be able to care for himself, or even ask you to pass the milk during breakfast. When “mommy” becomes “um-mah” and “horse” became “saw”…you know you’re in for a journey of a lifetime with your kid.

Then it started to drizzle. I was surprised I realized that it was drizzling. It would’ve been the perfect setting to sit in and read some more, but the pitter patters of the rain was telling me that I have laundry to keep. A little annoyed that I couldn’t stay on, I quickly asked for the bill.

And then I heard someone talking at the table behind me, “Wan, tengok kakak dah nak pergi dah, sebab Wan bising sangat. Quickly say you’re sorry.”

And in the cutest voice, I heard a little boy, probably 3 years old, utter, “Sorry.”

I turned to look and realized he was looking at me. Surprised, I replied, “Were you apologizing to me?”

Turned out that he was busy chanting “Ball! Ball! Run! Run!” repetitively while watching the football match on the screen. His sister thought I was leaving because I couldn’t stand his noise. I looked at him and remembered that just earlier, he was politely saying “Excuse me” so that I would move my chair to let him pass.

Smiling back at him, I patted his head and said, “You have nothing to apologize about. Don’t be sorry for being a kid.”

How could you be angry at a kid who would then wave and say “Bye bye” to you? I looked on back to his family and could see that he was their pride and joy. Would they still have that glow on their faces then, if “horse” became “saw”?

They would. I’m sure they would.

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