Saturday, 3 November 2012

Awakening

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Assalamu'alaikum, everyone!!

Alhamdulillah, I've finished the 2nd chapter, , after struggling with studies last semester.  I finally had time to finish.  I'm not sure if it's better than 'Intertwined Minds' but I hope I'll get more good comments and also more suggestions so that I can know what my readers (if any) want.

So, here you go.  Chapter 2 of 'UK Tales', ........

~*~*~*~

There's nothing like waking up in London and smelling the coffee in the morning.  I was surfing the internet as usual after the Subuh prayers.  I still can't wrap around my head the fact that I'm doing my Subuh prayers at 4 a.m.  But hey, when in Rome right?  Well, in my case, when in London (Wow that sounded wrong).  At 6.15 a.m, the sun was already shining its blinding rays upon the place that is Canary Wharf.  As my dad was glued to the telly, watching 'Nothing To Declare', my mom was making breakfast.  Say what you want but Malaysian coffee is always the best.  Period.

Lots of my friends sent heir regards on Facebook.  Some even tweeted me.  Some of my blog followers also asked if they could get any souvenirs.  Being the person that I am, I made no promises.  I scrolled down my Facebook feed when my mom asked me something.  "Adik, what was the name of that girl hari tu?"  I was a bit distracted because I saw a picture my friend posted.


"Apa dia, Ibu?  Sorry tak dengar," I said.

"That girl yang Syauqi jumpa hari tu.  That Malay girl tu," she said.

"Oh.  Hannah.  Hannah Dahlia," my cheeks felt hot just saying her name.

"Syauqi ada nak jumpa dia lagi ke?" I really didn't like how this was going.

"Uhmmm.  Possibly.  Kenapa, Ibu?"At this point, I was just so curious.

"Saja tanya.  Plus, Ibu dengan Ayah nanti busy taking care of Ariq.  You can go la explore London.  And you said that girl dah duduk sini lama kan?  She'll be your tour guide la kot."

"Ibu, what's the catch?  Hehe," I didn't think my parents would let me go out with a girl whom they've never met and who I've met only once and by chance at that.

"Apa la adik ni.  Go la merayau.  Menyesal nanti.  Tak apa la Ibu dengan Ayah jaga Ariq.  Tapi ingat, Syauqi.  Jangan buat benda yang pelik-pelik," my mom said.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  My own mom was encouraging me to go out with a girl.  I consider myself approachable.  So I didn't actually mind going out with anybody especially when I already 'click' with that person.  This girl.  Hannah.  She's really..Something else.

~*~

At this time, It's been more than a week since my parents and I landed in London.  It was just like yesterday when we set foot on London Heathrow Airport.  My parents were a bit cold but I was freezing.  When we arrived at Angah's flat, we saw the new member of the clan.  Seeing Ariq for the first time was really a moment that will always be the highlight of the UK trip.  after a few days of babysitting 3-month old Ariq and getting familiar with the surroundings, I was loving the short 2-month trip to the UK.  I haven't visited the whole of Central London yet.  Not to mention the trip to Edinburgh and Manchester that my brother planned.

Angah and Kak Sha were very busy working so my parents and I had Ariq to ourselves.  We didn’t mind taking care of that little ball of sunshine.  Namely me because I’ve never taken care of babies since I’m the baby of the family.  My mom did have a point though.  If I don’t explore London much, it’ll be a waste.  Plus, I was still small the last time I went to London.  My parents had frequent visits.  Business related.  But that was years ago.  Vacation time is always the best.

It’s a Wednesday and my daily routine was the usual.  Get up, take a shower, watch the telly, go online, watch more T.V and go to sleep at night.  Of course, my solat, meals and time of playing and taking care of Ariq were in between that routine.  Today, however, there was a little change in my schedule.

Hannah asked me if I wanted to go somewhere.  She called me a few days ago.  After our first meeting she added me on Facebook and asked for my phone number.  I was flattered to be honest.  She wanted to show the sights and wondered if I wanna do some shopping.  “Well, I did saw a bag I wanted.  I think I saw it when my parents and I went to Petticoat Lane,” I told her.  “Oh, Petticoat Lane.  Yup, it’s like the Petaling Street of London over there,” she said.

“That’s exactly what I thought,” I said.  I was liking this girl more and more.

“Cool.  Kita pergi hari Rabu nanti nak?”

Rabu?  Hannah, I tengah vacation.  You lain cerita. Hehe.  Don’t you have classes?”

“Actually, no.  My classes are cancelled.  So macam manaNak I teman kan?”

“Well, promise me that you let your parents know la.  Haha.  Don’t want anything bad to happen now, do we love?” I said with a hint of British.

“Hehe.  Of course la I’ll tell them.  Don’t worry about that.”

“Alright then.  You know, I tak selalu sangat naik bus tauAsyik naik DLR dengan Tube je.  How about we take the bus?”

“Bus?  I don’t actually know how la, Syauqi.”

“It’s ok.  I ingat the first time I went there with my parents.  Just take the 135 from ASDA.  Kita stop dekat Liverpool Street.”

“Hehe.  Ingat pulak you kan?”

“Yup.  Just in case I nak pergi mana-manaMacam I keluar dengan you ni la.”

“Ok.  See you on Wednesday, Syauqi.”

Insya-Allah, my lady,” if I was talking to her face to face, I would’ve bowed.

~*~

Ibu made this huge breakfast (for me I mean).  In the UK, there are such things as a ‘full English’ or ‘continental’ breakfast.  What my mom made was what I like to call the ‘Absolute Malay’ breakfast.


Nasi lemak with sambal udang, cucumber and eggs, cucur ubi and coffee.  Go wherever you want but it’s the Malay dishes that will always hit the spot.

“Syauqi, Ayah.  Makan niNanti sejuk pulak,” Ibu called.  After putting the laptop away, I went to the dining table.  Ayah followed.  Right after I sat down, ayah asked,”So hari ni buat apa?”

“Syauqi ingat nak pergi Petticoat Lane lagi sekali la, Ayah.  Hari tu ada nampak this bag.  Nak tengok ada lagi ke takKalau ada lagi beli la kot.”

“Oh, ok.  Syauqi nak pergi sana ni ada duit ke tak?”

“Hehe.  Actually a bit short of cash,” My face was red.  And it wasn’t because of the cold.

“Ok.  Nanti Ayah bagi duit sikit.  Ayah bagi extra la kotNak lunch lagi.  Your Oyster ada duit lagi tak?”  The Oyster card is the equivalent to the ‘Kad Rabbit’ we have in Malaysia.

Ada lagiPukul 9.30 macam tu Syauqi gerak,” in my head I was hoping that he won’t ask me this one particular question.

Pergi dengan siapa nanti?” me and my big mouth (or brain since I only thought about it).

“Uhmmm.  Syauqi plan nak pergi dengan this Malay girl ni.  She studies at London Met.  Hari ni dia tak ada classes so dia kata dia can teman Syauqi pergi,” I just had to confess.

“Hmmm.  Kalau Ibu kata ok, Ayah ok la.  Take care of your wallet and phone semua,” he reminded me.

Halfway through my breakfast, I heard,” Assalamu’alaikum, SayangBangun dah cucu Wan ye?”  Ibu excitedly chimed when Kak Sha walked out to the living room with Ariq in her arms.

“Wa’alaikumussalam, Wan Ros,” Kak Sha said.  My family’s quirky like that.

“Sha, Sha makan duluBagi Ibu jaga Ariq,” Ibu told her.

“Ok.  Tapi Sha makan sikit je tauKena pergi office awal sikit,” she said as she handed Ariq to Ibu.

Ibu carried Ariq to the sofa and played with him and entertained him.  It’s funny how he can be so playful early in the morning.  You can’t help but to just crack up when he laughs.  While munching on my breakfast, my dad asked my sister-in-law,” Ada meeting ke this morning?”

Ha’ahKena pergi awal sikit sebab nak kena prepare,” Kak Sha said.

“Oh, ok.  Kimi dah bangun belum?”

Dia dah bangun dah, Ayah.  Dia tengah ready nak pergi office dah tu.”

After cleaning and washing my plate, I went back to the dining table and munched on a few cucur ubi and sipping my coffee.  While my dad and Kak Sha were talking, in my head, all I can think was, “What am I gonna where later?”  Come to think of it, I’ll be wearing my jacket when I go out anyway.  It’s still a bit cold outside.  That’s the problem sometimes with the UK.  The weather is quite dull.  Unpredictable if you will.  Sometimes it’s sunny, sometimes it’s always raining and drizzling.  Even when it’s sunny, the cool air makes it a bit cold.  But hey, coming from Malaysia, I didn't think I’d mind.

My brother came out to the living room a few minutes later and the first words that he said was, “Ariq!  Top o’ the morning to you, Gov’nor.”  Ariq smiled and bounced around on my mom.  “Kimi pergi makan.  Ibu buat nasi lemak dengan cucur tu,” my mom said.

He did what he was told.  Soon after that, Angah started to join in the conversation with my dad and my sister-in-law.  I sat at the couch after finishing my coffee.  The time was 8.30 and I still haven’t taken my shower yet.  “Ibu, let me jaga Ariq la.  Ibu pergi makan dengan ayah,” I told my mom.  “Tak apa laTunggu ayah kejap,” she said.

“Ok.  I’m going at 9.30 tau.  Syauqi pergi rumah Hannah dulu,” I said.

“Syauqi keluar dengan dia ke hari ni?  Going where?” she asked.  It was like an interrogation but the cop was my mom.

Ha’ah.  Classes dia cancel so dia ada kat rumah sekarang.  We’re going to Petticoat Lane.  Naik bus kot,” I explained.

“Bus? Kenapa tak naik Tube?”

Dah asyik naik Tube dengan DLR je, Ibu.  Naik bus pulak laKita pergi Petticoat Lane hari tu pun kita naik the 135 dekat ASDA.”

“Go bathe laDah pukul berapa dah ni.”

I got up and went to salam my brother and his wife.  While holding out my hand, I told my brother,” Angah, salam dulu laNak pergi mandi kejap.  9.30 nak pergi keluar.”
Nak pergi mana nanti?” he asked after I gave him my salam.

Pergi Petticoat Lane.  Nak cari bag,” I told him.

“Syauqi pergi dengan Hannah tu ke?” Kak Sha suddenly asked me after I gave her my salam.

Alamak kantoi.  Hehe.  Ha’ahDia nak teman Syauqi pergi sana.”

“Hannah?  Hannah mana pulak ni?” Angah asked.

“B tak tau keTak apaNanti orang explain masa keluar nantiHaha.” She has a sense of humour that only a few can relate to.

~*~

Knowing my sister-in-law, I’m sure she’ll spill the beans on Hannah and I.  Only my family has that kind of sense of humour and that is what actually makes my family even more awesome.  I didn’t mind anyway because I have fallen for her and quite hard to be honest.  Of course, I got the feeling she felt the same way but I just didn’t wanna jinx it.  Nothing is certain but on the other hand, everything is possible.

After taking my shower and getting dressed, the clock was 9.15.  I wasn’t sure to consider our outing a date.  So I didn’t actually know what to wear.  Since it was still a bit cold and we just met, I didn’t choose to dress too smartly.  I just threw on some jeans, a round-collared shirt and my red hoodie.  My hair was still quite long so I didn’t really wasted any time on my hair that much.  I just combed my hair with my fingers.  I walked out to the living room and as expected my brother and his wife went off to work already.  “Ibu, Ayah, Syauqi nak keluar dah.  Syauqi pergi rumah Hannah dulu and amik dia.  Ibu dengan Ayah nak apa-apa ke?” I said when I reached the living room.

Tak ada kot.  Take care of your stuff nanti, Adik.  Have fun la,” my mom said while she was wiping Ariq dry with a towel.

“Ok.  Heeee.  Ariq dah mandi dah la,” my randomness got the best of me.

Iya la, Pak su.  Tak nak la busuk-busuk.  Hehe,” my mom said.  I think that’s what Ariq would’ve said anyway.  Spot on.

“What time are you coming back?” my dad asked.

Tak sure lagi la, Ayah.  I think before Asar la.  Solat zuhur dekat rumah,” I replied.  Even if it’s a flat, I consider it a house.

“Syauqi keluar dengan Hannah tu take care of her, Syauqi.  Anak orang tu,” my mom reminded me as she put on Ariq’s clothes.

“Ibu, I’m your son la, Ibu.  Hehe.  Ibu dengan Ayah taught all your sons how to treat people with respect especially ladies.  Insya-Allah I’ll take care of her and be a perfect gentleman,” I told her.

“Hehe.  Now dah ada another gentleman in the family.  Kan, Ariq?” my mom said.

Tau tak apa.  Hehe.  The guys in our family are LEGEND-wait for it…..DARY.  Ain’t that right, Gov’nor?” I said to Ariq on the floor before kneeling beside him and kissing his head.


“Ok.  Syauqi gerak dulu laKalau ada apa-apa call ehAssalamu’alaikum,” I gave my parents my salam and went out the door.  The replies of my parents’ salam echoed.  I was just about to get in the elevator and I already missed that little ball of joy.  I wondered how it’s gonna be when it’s time for me to go back.  In my head, I could just imagine the whole of London being flooded by my own tears.


~*~

I went out the flat's building and made my way to Manchester Road.  The wind blew lightly on my messy hair, making me push me hair back behind my ear.  I wasn't wearing my black jacket and the cold wind started to get to me.  I really considered going back to the flat and getting it but my watched showed that it was 9.25.   5 minit je lagi, I thought.  I made nothing of the cold and went straight to Hannah's house.

I was getting closer to her house.  I felt odd.  Everything was starting to move on slow-motion, my mouth was dry and I really felt warm despite the cold.  This girl really got to me.  I really hoped that our day out would be a great one.  I stood at her house's doorstep for a few seconds before pressing the doorbell.

You can do this.  You can do this.  Relax.  Tarik nafas.  Chill, I reminded myself.

I pushed the doorbell and wished that I won't make a fool of myself in any way for the rest of the day.  The door opened and it wasn't what I was expecting.  "Yes?  Can I help you?"  A lady answered the door.  "Oh.  Excuse me.  I'm here to see Hannah, ma'am," somehow a hint of British came out unintentionally.

"Oh, you must be Syauqi.  I've been expecting you.  WE...Have been expecting you," the lady said.

"Hehe.  I'm nothing much, ma'am," as soon as I finished I saw a familiar face coming from behind the lady.

"Ma, jangan la spook Syauqi.  Hehe," now everything started to make sense.

"No la.  We barely said anything pun.  Hehe.  Nice to meet you, Syauqi," her mom said.

"Likewise, ma'am.  Just wanna make sure.  Hannah did say that we were going out today kan?" I just had to asked.

"Dia ada cakap the other day.  Don't worry.  Hehe.  You two have fun at Petticoat Lane ok?" her mom seemed nice.

"I told you kan I'll let them know.  Hehe," I just thought it was better to make sure.

"Hehe.  Do take care of Hannah ok, Syauqi?" her mom reminded me.

"Don't worry, ma.  The only gentleman around.  I'm sure he will," that really made my cheeks flush.

"Hehe.  I try.  Well, I guess we should get going.  Hannah?  Shall we?" I motioned my hand towards the road.

"I told you, ma.  Gentleman.  Hehe.  Bye, ma.  See you later," she salam her mom's hand and went down to the driveway.

"I'll take care of her, aunty.  Insya-Allah.  Assalamu'alaikum," she replied and I heard the door closed.

"You tak cakap your mom ada dekat rumah," I was still shocked.

"Hehe.  Saja nak surprise you.  I think she likes you tau," she said.

"Well.  I just hope it remains that way," we set out to ASDA to take the 135 bus.

There were actually a lot of people waiting for the buses that come and go there.  Some of which are actually Muslims.  I know this because most of them were ladies wearing black robes and head scarves.  I don't know why but I find that really appealing.  There is something chic and graceful when I see these ladies wearing black robes.  "Lawa diorg pakai jubah hitam," I must've said that a bit too loud because Hannah reacted to that.

"Orang Islam makin ramai dekat area Canary Wharf ni.  You can see them almost everywhere now," she said.

"Yeah, I can see that.  There's something that I just can't put my finger on it.  I just melt somehow.  Hehe," I guess my honesty made her feel a bit low because her face turned gloomy.

"But the sight I'm looking at is even better," I said in a low voice.  She looked at me with those eyes that made me melt like butter.  She smiled and said, "Thanks, Syauqi."

"No problem, my lady, " I said, bowing.  Some people looked at me but I didn't care.  A few minutes later, our bus arrived and we got right on it.

~*~


It was very cramped inside the bus but we still managed to get seats because we were the first ones to get inside.  I let Hannah slide in first and I earned a blushed and a smile from her.  “Are you always this nice to people?” she asked.

“Nope.  Only the pretty ones,” I responded.  She gave a ‘you’re kidding’ look.  “Haha.  No la.  Of course la I’m nice to everyone.  Well, I try to.  My parents taught me to treat people with respect.  Especially ladies,” I told her.

“Oh.  Your parents are very wise.  Hehe.”

“Yeah, I’m lucky.  But I have my limits also la.”

“I hope I won’t see you reach your limit.”

“Me too.  But I highly doubt it,” I smiled and winked at her.  Again, I earned a smile and a blush.


We talked about some of our interests.  Movies, music, sports, food.  “I actually dah lama sangat tak makan Malaysian food.  As in betul-betul, proper Malaysian food,” she told me.


“Tipu la you.  Your mom tak kan tak masak kot?” I asked.

“She does but sometimes macam ada campur western sikit la.  Plus, I dah lama tak makan the typical Malaysian food tau.”

“Typical Malaysian food eh?  Such as?” I was curious.

“You know.  Roti telur, satay, lontongKalau drinks plakSirap limau, teh aisTeh tarik also masa dulu tapi jarang-jarang la,” Hannah said.

“Laaaa.  Those ke?  Haha!  Dekat Malaysia Hall kan ada.”

Memang la ada tapi bila la sangat I nak pergi sana?”

“True also.  Alaaa.  Tak apa.  Nanti you’ll get the chance to eat Malaysian food again, ok?”

An old lady walked in when we were at Watney Market.  I was the nearest person seated to her when she walked in.  She must’ve been about 60 plus.  “Excuse me, madam.  Here, you can have my seat,” I told the old lady.

“Oh, bless you, boy.  My knees are killing me,” the old lady was all smiles.

“No problem,” there’s always a glint of satisfaction when you do something good.  I stood right next to the old lady so that I can keep a look eye on Hannah.  We exchanged smiles.  Like I said before, Hannah is really something else.

We reached Liverpool Street and got off the bus.  The second our feet touch the sidewalk, the cold just crept to our bones.  I was really starting to regret not getting my jacket earlier.  “Syauqi, you ok tak?  Looks like you’re freezing,” Hannah told me.  She was right.  “A bit but nothing to worry about,” I said with chattering teeth.

We walked along the sidewalk to get to a street light so that we can cross the road.  At this part of London, things are always busy.  People walking by, cars honking their horns and shop owners handling their businesses.  Anywhere you go, you can see people rushing by to go to their current affairs.  Honestly, that is the clear contrast that I see between the people in Malaysia and the people in the UK or even the people from the West for that matter.  In my opinion, in the UK they walk a bit quicker than we do in Malaysia.  Even though there’s nothing to rush off to, to me, the way you are describes who you are.  The way you walk, whether you drag your feet or if you walk too slowly, the way you talk, whether or not if you mumble or stutter too much.  It shows your personality.  But hey, maybe it’s just me.  I mean we all have our own opinions, right?

When we were already in the area of Petticoat Lane, it wasn’t really a surprise that there were not many people who were buying and shopping.  It was a weekday after all.  To the left and the right you can see a lot of stalls that sells accessories, clothes, souvenirs and even shoes.  “Ok, we’re here.  You ingat tak kedai tu dekat mana?” Hannah asked me. “Not really.  I think nak kena cari la.  Hmmm.  Look on the bright side.  We can cari some other stuff also,” I told her.

So we set out on our search to find my bag.  It was somewhere around there but I just didn’t think I should buy it at the time.  We looked around and we found some interesting stuff.  I found a Great Britain guitar pick.  It looked pretty awesome but when I saw the price I thought twice (hey, that rhymed!).  I didn’t wanna pay 5 pounds (which is RM 25) for a guitar pick.  We were still walking around and Hannah found this stall that sold some clothes.  The prices weren’t that bad either.  She picked out a cardigan.  “What do you think?  Ok tak?” she asked my opinion.  People say that I know how to dress properly.  To me, I just have a keen sense when it comes to clothes and dressing up.  So my personality just changed.  I just ‘took off’.

“Hannah, seriously?  That colour?  Put that away and let ‘Abang Syauqi’ do his magic, ok?”

“Uhmmm..Syauqi?  What are you doing?” she hesitantly gave me the cardigan and was a bit freaked out by how I was behaving and so was the lady selling the clothes.

“The cardigan tu comel but the colour tak sangat.  Trust me, honey.  Abang Syauqi knows you better than you know yourself (even though I met her only twice),” I took the cardigan and hung it back at the rack.  After a few seconds of choosing, I picked out a greyish cardigan that had longer sleeves.  “Here, love.  Try it on,” I gave the cardigan.

“You’re right la.  This looks better.  But how did you-“

“Do that?  Simple.  You have a light complexion.  With a darker and paler shade on the cardigan, your face stands out a bit more.  And also, it compliments your eyes.  Your B-E-A-utiful hazel eyes,” I’m a fashion nut.  Sue me.

“Actually, miss.  He has a point.  That looks great on you,” the salesgirl said.

“Hehe.  Ok, then.  I’ll take it,” Hannah paid for it and we went off.  She was still shocked about my transformation to ‘Abang Syauqi’.

Jangan la tengok I macam tu.  Hehe.  I have an eye for clothes dressing up.  It comes in handy,” I told her.

“Hehe.  Yup.  Thanks by the way.  Now, let’s find that bag of yours,” she told me.

~*~

We searched all over Petticoat Lane and we just couldn’t find the bag.  There were other bags but none of them were….Me.  I’m a fussy shopper.  That’s why I look good most of the times if I do say so myself.  There were some stalls that sold food but we weren’t really sure whether or not it was Halal.  We’d rather starve for a few more minutes.  Hannah, however, didn’t really like the idea.  She looked a bit pale.  The weather wasn’t helping either.  It was getting colder and it started to drizzle a bit.  Some of the makeshift roofs the sellers made almost tumbled down and came off.  We walked towards a junction to make our way to the road.  Then I saw this Arab restaurant.  It had a Halal sign so I just thought we should try it.  “Hey, there’s a restaurant here.  Jom la lunch.  Looks like you need it, too,” I told Hannah. “Yes, please.  I lapar sangat,” she said.  We walked in and were greeted by a Middle Eastern man behind the counter.  “Haaaa!  Welcome to Middle East Desires.  Come on don’t be shy.  What can I get you?” one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever gotten from anyone.

“Thank you, sir.  Hmmm.  Give me the..Chicken tikka and cappuccino, please?  And what will the lovely lady have?” I looked at Hannah.

“Chicken curry kebab and tea for me, please?” she said before smiling at me.
After waiting for a few minutes, an English guy came out with our orders.  “Here you go.  Enjoy.”

“Cheers, mate,” I said.  The restaurant was a modest corner lot shop to be honest.  It wasn’t that big.  I set the tray on a table and we washed our hands.  I pulled the chair out for Hannah.  “Your seat, miss,” I said.  She sat down and said,”Thanks, Syauqi.”

“Of course, my lady.  Hehe..Makan la.”


We devoured our lunch instantly even though the portion was quite big.  We sat for a long time in the restaurant because our drinks were too hot.  And we wanted the drizzle to stop.  I wanted to sweeten my cappuccino.  Then, I saw a small bowl of large lumps of sugar.  “Hannah, you perasan tak ni tadi?” I asked.



Tak.  Haha.  Besarnya gula diorang ni.  I think you letak satu je pun dah cukup.”

She wasn't kidding.  It was just right.  We didn’t talk much because we were too tired.  When the drizzle stopped and the cool subsided, we decided that it was time to go back.  We haven’t done our Zuhur prayers yet.  We went right out of the restaurant and then we saw the Petticoat Lane sign.  “Hey, Hannah, jom tangkap gambar dekat sign tu nak? The two of us,” I offered.  “Uhmmm.  Tak apa la, Syauqi.  Hehe,” she said.  “Are you sure? Jom la.  I mintak tolong someone take a picture,” I tried.  “It’s ok.  I camera shy la.  Hehe.  I tangkap gambar you la,” she told me.  “Well, your loss then.  Haha.  Ok, then. Here’s my camera, love,” I passed the camera.  “Ok, now.  One, two, three.”



With my memory of shopping at Petticoat Lane cemented, we went to Aldgate East’s Tube Station and hopped on the next train to Canary Wharf.  We wanted to get back quick because we haven’t prayed and we were too tired.  We didn't talk much though.  Just the fact that I was the person actually wanting to shop for something but Hannah’s the one who bought something.  It was fine by me actually.  I mean I’ve only been in London a few weeks at the time.  If I found the bag then, I won’t have an excuse to go out anymore.

Even though we were riding the Tube which is way faster than riding the bus, it was still quite a distance.  And we had to change stations and get to the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) back to Angah’s flat in Crossharbour.  By taking the District Line, we went to the Tower Hill Stop.  From there, we changed trains and took the DLR to Crossharbour.  “So tired laTapi tak jumpa jugak my bag.  Kena cari tempat lain la kot, right?” I told Hannah.  We were on the way to Limehouse.  Just a few more stops.

“Yeah but there are a few other places you can cari tau,” after that last word, she yawned.

“True.  Bertambah la sebab-sebab I nak keluar with you lagi kan?” she was quiet.  Then I noticed she was asleep next to me.  A few seconds later, the DLR took a turn and Hannah’s head fell on my shoulder.  I froze for a while.  I didn’t know what to do.  So I waited till we got to Heron Quays (pronounced as ‘keys’ by the way) to wake her up.  Heron Quays is 2 stops before Crossharbour.  I shook my shoulder lightly and whispered lightly as close as I can for Hannah to hear me, “Hannah, bangunNak sampai dah.”  She woke up slowly, red-faced and looked at me.

“Oh.  Thanks.  And sorry about…You know,” she said.

“It’s ok.  Hey, jom la masuk my Angah’s flat.  I mean, I dah jumpa your mom.”

“Ish.  Segan la.  You sure?”

“Yeah why not? You can layan Ariq sekali.  Hehe.  She can meet ‘Aunty Hannah’.”

Ada-ada je you ni.  Haha.  Ok, then.”

So we went off the train at Crossharbour.  After that, we walked to Angah’s flat, rode the elevator to the 2nd floor and made our way to the door.  I had the spare key.  I opened the door and my heart was pounding.  Scared and nervous at the same time to introduce an amazing girl to my parents.  “Assalamu’alaikum.  Ibu, Ayah.  Someone here I want you to meet,” I said at the first sight of my parents.

Wa’alaikumussalam.  Tak cakap nak bawak kawan,” my mom said.  Ayah was playing with Ariq.

“Hehe.  Lupa.  Ibu, ni Hannah Dahlia.  Yang Syauqi cakap tu,” I told my mom.

~*~

Assalamu’alaikum, aunty.  Panggil Hannah je pun ok,” she said after giving salam to my mom.

Wa’alaikumussalamMasuk la.  Aunty dengan uncle duduk layan Ariq ni.  Ayah, Syauqi brought a friend ni.”

“Ariq, Pak Su ada bawak kawan laSiapa tu?” he brought Ariq along for him to see.

“Hehe.  Hannah, you nak solat dulu ke?” I asked Hannah.

“Solat? Uhmmm.  I can’t,” she answered.  She looked unsettled as she said it.

“Oh, ok.  I pergi solat kejap.  Ariq layan Aunty Hannah kejap tau and be nice,” Ariq stared at me with his mouth open.

After doing my Zuhur prayers, I stayed in the room for a while to let my parents get better acquainted with Hannah.  At the time, I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.  Later, I went back out to the living room and saw Ariq giggling with Hannah, while my parents ate.  She has a way with kidsThat’s a good sign, I thought.  I sat on the couch and watched Hannah playing with Ariq.  Every now and then I heard Ariq laughed.  I turned to look at my parents and saw that they were smiling.  I assumed they had a good chat while I was praying.

~*~

Hannah told me that she had some assignments to do.  So, after they finished eating, Hannah and I headed out to her house.  “Terima kasih, Aunty.  Sebab bagi saya tumpang sekejap.  And for letting me meet Ariq.  Ariq, Aunty Hannah balik dulu tau,” she said before Ariq smiled.

“He likes you.  Hehe.  Ibu, Syauqi pergi hantar Hannah kejap,” I told my mom.

“Ok.  Do come again, Hannah,” my mom said.

We went down the flat and headed down the street.  She was so excited about meeting Ariq.  “Comelnya Ariq!  Hehe.  How old is he?  A few months eh?” she asked me.

“Yup.  About 3 months.  Dia lahir January hari tu.  You can come again and play with him if you want.  Just give me the heads up la.  Hehe,” I told her.  We were walking slow just to spend a few more minutes together.

“You have a good family.  Tak sabar pulak nak jumpa your brother dengan wife dia.”

“Haha!  Yeah you’re gonna love them.  Lebih kurang macam I laKepala masuk air.”

“Hehe.  No lah.  I’d say you have your moments.  Tapi at least you kepala masuk air pun, bab-bab agama ni you tau banyak.  I can tell,” I had no idea where she was going with this.

“Eh, tak ada lah.  Just the basics je.  And what makes you say that anyway?” I asked her.

“Well, to delve into something you have to know the basics kan?  You selalu solat on time.  You always bagi salam when meeting.  Like masa nak masuk rumah tadi.  I’m sure your parents had to do something with it.  When I met your parents tadi, I was right.  Diorang taught you everything that they can about Islam,” her voice was shaking.  She was almost in tears.  As if saying what she said was making her very shameful and embarrassed.

“Well, Alhamdulillah my brothers and I…I mean, we learn almost everything from our parents including Islam.  I’m very grateful.  I’m sure your parents pun do the same thing, don’t they?” I just had to ask.

“My dad’s usually busy.  He’s rarely at home.  Mama pulak.  Well, she does but jarang-jarang.  Let’s just say that ever since I jejak ke London ni, I forget bit by bit everyday.  I just want someone to remind me.  And to teach me what I don’t know if possible.”

“Wait, when you kata you tak boleh solat tu, you lied to me?”

“Eh, bukan.  No.  I really tak boleh solatKebetulan,” she said.

“Oh.  Sorry for assuming.  Just wondering,” I felt bad for accusing her.

We walked in silence for a while.  We were almost at her house.  My heartbeat was racing by what she said and by what I’m assuming.  Even though I was still deciphering what she said, it was actually obvious but I was just trying to think of other possibilities.  I was sure of what she was trying to ask of me.  Even so, I just had to ask her.  We arrived at her house.  I walked with her but I stopped at the driveway.  I was standing in front of her and she gave me this look.  A look of hope.  She was in the dark.  She hoped of her own awakening.  An awakening to the true way of living.

“So what are you trying to say, Hannah?” I finally asked.

Kalau boleh, I nak mintak tolong you ajar I.  I know you duduk sini 2 bulan je but at least I can learn something,” she said.  It was real.  It was a sincere wish to turn over a new leaf.

“I'm touched that you want me to do that.  I ni bukan la warak mana sangat to teach you,” I said after a moment’s pause.

She looked very sad and she wanted to cry.  But she didn’t know something: I wasn’t done talking.  I stood closer to her.  Just a few inches away.

“But I care about you.  Hannah, when I look into your eyes and you looking back into mine, everything feels different.  I feel stronger and weaker at the same time.  Stronger because I have another reason to live my life.  Weaker because I don’t know what will happen to me if I lose you.  All I know is that I know what kind of a man I wanna be.  So I will try my best to teach everything that I know.  And we can go through this together.  The two of us, ok?” I said.  She was crying.  But a smile was along with those tears.  She was so happy that she did something that just made me freeze.

She hugged me.  IN FRONT OF HER HOUSE…

“Uhmmm, Hannah.  You know, when we first met and I was on the ground and I took your hand to get up from the dirt.  I think tu tak apa sebab berlapik.  I was wearing gloves.  But this is a bit diff-,” she quickly pulled away from me.  Her face was as red as a lobster being boiled in a pot.  But at least she was still smiling.

“Oh, uhmm.  I’m sorry about that.  I don’t know why I did that.  But thanks sangat-sangat, Syauqi.  I’m glad you can help.  I need it,” she said.  We walked to her front door and she opened it.  I stood at the doorstep.

“I’m just doing our job.  Nak berda’wah and teach setakat mana yang I can.  It’s one thing to berda’wah but to do that in the UK, that’s a bonus.  Hehe.  Well, you dah follow I on Twitter, friended me on Facebook and you have my phone number.  Kalau ada apa-apa let me know tauKirim salam dekat your mom,” I told her.

“I will.  Syauqi, again, thanks.”

“No thanks necessary, love.  Well, I’ll be off now.  Till we meet again.  Assalamu’alaikum, my lady,” I said with a pinch of British (except for the Salam), bowing my head a little.

“Hehe.  Wa’alaikumussalam, Syauqi.”

After she closed the door, I went down to the driveway to head back to the house.  Then I stopped there.  One thing came to mind: I got A LOT of work to do.


~*~*~*~

Alhamdulillah.  That's the end of Chapter 2.  I'm currently on my holiday.  I wanna take a break for a while but Insya-Allah I'll continue to write.  Do give me your comments.  Good or bad, both are accepted.  I wanna be an awesome writer and I won't be such if I won't have any help from you guys.  Y'all really made writing a big passion of mine.  Love you guys.  Well gotta go.  Stay awesome, people!!

See you guys on the flip side!!


P.S: May Allah bless you all!! :-)