Every Eid, my family would go back to my dad’s home town to visit my paternal grandmother and other relatives. This year wasn’t any different even though my grandmother passed away the day after Christmas last year.
The journey started late as my dad had to do his Friday prayers before we left. We knew that the house wasn’t going to be the same without her but we didn’t realise how different it was going to be.
When we arrived to the wooden and mortar house, it was late afternoon and my cousin opened the door for us. The compound around the house was quite and neglected, with dead, drying grass and gravel everywhere. The lemon grass that my cousin was farming at the back of the house looked overgrown and neglected as well. The house was silent, safe for the sound of TV in the kitchen and my aunt welcoming us into the house.
In previous years, the compound would be full of cars belonging to my uncles, aunts and cousins, as well as my dad’s other relatives. When I was younger, my cousins and uncles would light oil lamps at night and we’d play firecrackers and sparklers, celebrating the coming of Eid. The house would be full of voices, talking and laughing as the relatives catch up with each other and my grandmother urging everyone to have seconds or thirds. My grandmother was the heart of the house; you could feel her love through out the house and you would always feel welcomed in it. With her gone, the house feels so cold and silent.
There’s not much left in the house that had her mark on it. The only thing left are her cats, Manja and Sayang.
Manja and Sayang would now follow my aunt around the house when she did her chores, attaching themselves to my late grandma’s caretaker. They’re well looked after by my aunt, though lately, Manja hasn’t been his greedy, fat self. My aunt’s worried that something might have gotten into his eyes since he was tearing and had a loss of appetite. There were snakes in the orchard and she was worried that he might have gotten snake venom in his eyes. I’m just hoping that it’s not the case and he’d recover soon.
There’s noone else staying in the house other than my aunt, my cousin and the two cats. I missed my grandmother, her warmth and her love. She was the reason for the family to gather. She was the reason I got to meet my cousins since they lived in different states in Malaysia and I lived in another country. With her gone, I don’t know when I’m going to meet my uncles, aunts and cousins again.
With the heart gone, there’s nothing left but an empty, silent house.