“So, you’re promoted up to a higher stage? Then, where do we move to dad?” my ten year old brother inquired as if we were actually leaving. I wondered how this rumor came out and why my dad had not told all of us at the same time. “Mom, are we seriously leaving Kuala Lumpur?” I croaked. Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia, located about hundred miles from Kedah, the place we are moving. Mom suggested I directly ask Dad since he is the one deciding whether to move or not. Dad said if should focus on studying and stop worrying about moving since he was still deciding the best for us all. Dad works in an agricultural company, and he enjoys moving to a new place. A few weeks later, my dad announced that we are surely moving to Kedah at the end of the school year. My heart was stunned into silence. When I went to bed, I wondered how I could leave my friends and go to Kedah. I stared at the photos on the wall. Memories of us at school on the Wednesdays where we all had to wear the uniforms we were assigned to, for after school activity. We, Syaza, Had, Mai, Mun, Mai, and I wore the same color. A small part of my heart somehow thought that it might be a good thing for my future to experience something new since I had already experienced moving to Malawi years ago. That night, I ended up having a mixture of feelings of whether to like it or not.
Girded by the apple of my eye at school and home was such a grateful thing along the years I had lived in Kuala Lumpur. That night, my sleep did not flow like a stream, but came in spurts, like the water that spewed from our faucet, on and off, in the heat of summer. The next morning I was tired and groggy. I could not accept the fact that I am leaving the place where I grew up and had the coolest friends since I was in kindergarten. I told Mun about my leaving to Kedah on our short way to school. She has not talked much but was disgruntled about why my dad always has to move. For the next few days, I hardly talked though I used to be loud and extroverted in class, but I was not ready to tell them about the news. In the cafeteria, Syaza asked if what Mun had told them was true. “Mus, are you seriously leaving?” Syaza gulped, “why didn’t you tell us? We heard this from Mun.” I kept concentrating on my food without answering her. I was not sure what was going on in my head. Probably, I cannot accept that I am going to leave her and my other friends. Imagined having lunch with different people, with a different Malay accent, in a different cafeteria and not be able to tease each other when the person we secretly admire walk passed our lunch table. There was never an inch of gap among five of us. Sometimes, if I forgot my money, I could just choose whose food was best and share with her. Being friends with people who I know nothing about seems impossible for me. I felt sorry for not telling them earlier. They were shocked and were concerned about me since then. Whatever I suggested, they will said “Mus is leaving, let’s do whatever she wants.” Everyday after school, we walked to the park and later spent hours at someone’s house among five of us. I promised myself to appreciate every second of the remaining time I have left with them. After the school year finished, they organized an official party of my leaving at a mall for our two years of middle year classes. Besides the party, we went hanging out quite a few times. I felt grateful to have friends like them and hoped to be friends forever.
Time goes fast. On the exact day of leaving Kuala Lumpur, the whole house fell wordless. Early in the morning, Mun and Had came to say goodbye for the last time even though we have already done so yesterday. It showed how valuable our friendship is. They told me about Syaza and Mai who could not make it this morning. “Nobody can tear us apart, don’t forget me and always keep in touch. We are going to be just the same like we are now except that we are not going to meet each other for every single day as how we used to,” I croaked while hugging them tightly. “We always love you,” they cried. They handed me a present which was from all of them. I wanted to thank her, but no words came out. I did not realize that I was trembling until she hugged me. My mom and my sister also hugged and thanked them for everything that they had done and hoping to see them again. “Mus, no matter which corner of the world you may go and live in, our heart, will always are open for you,” Mun bawled. I buried my face in the folds of her scarf. Few minutes later, neither one of us spoke. We captured each other’s gaze for a moment before I turned around and walked away. Our Toyota left the land yard of our house. The whole car was wet with tears of my three brothers and sister. I hardly saw my friends anymore and did not even wave at them because my eyes and my head were filled with tears of sadness. The journey to Kedah took about five hours.
My daily routine was slightly different from before, and I would say my first day of school was horribly unforgettable. I felt awkward waking up early on the Sundays. In Kedah and few other provinces, school goes from Sunday through Thursday. My school is located far from my house. I was forced to wake up much earlier to catch the school bus. Unlike before, Mun and I waited until the last ten minutes for the bell to ring to start walking. I felt like a buffoon when sometimes I did not get a seat so I had to stand for an hour on the bus. It was even more terrible when the driver pressed the break causing people to drop their books on the floor. “Don’t make people pay the fees if you don’t have enough seats!” I mumbled. I wished Mun was there and I promised I would never make her shut when she was talking. I had no friends to talk to on my way to school. Besides starting school on the Sunday, I attended a single sex school which was an extremely different. I remembered on my first day of school, during the second last period, while waiting for the next teacher, I had a daydream that I could not wait to go home and tell everyone “people weren’t that bad and teachers were nice.” However, my daydream instantly stopped when a woman wearing spectacles with dark skin, stepped in the class and walked straight away to her desk without looking around to us. “Are you the new girl?” she pointed at me, “what’s your name?” Since I was hypnotized by her asperity slamming the registration book on her desk, I did not realized that I was still sitting while my mouth opening answering her. Suddenly, “Hey you! Please stand up while I am talking to you” she growled, “doesn’t mean you’re from Kuala Lumpur you don’t have to respect teachers.” As I stood up, I heard a snicker from the teacher, and my face turned warm with shame and anger. Instead of standing up, I wished I could run away from the class, from the school, from the country, back to my old school. I almost burst out tears. Afterwards, the bell rang to indicate school was over. Without waiting for my new friend, Anis, I went ahead could not wait to get home. Luckily, I told my brother who was having holidays from his university to pick me up on my first day of school. Without turning left or right, I went out through the main gate instead of the small one where students were lining up. I wonder why they didn’t go out. Suddenly, the guard came and I was told to get in the gate and lined up with other students. I was so ashamed that I wanted to hide my face in my hands and become invisible. I blamed the school for having such a stupid rule. Like I expected, the first question was “Ira, how’s school?” I wondered why that needed to be the first question. I was hoping for “how big is the building?” or “how many friends have you gotten to know?” “It was okay” I simply answered hiding my sadness. When I arrived home, mom, dad, sister and my other brothers waited for me and asked the same question. I answered, “It was okay. I need time to get used to it,” I answered and went upstairs to take shower. I cried and cried. I always waited for Thursdays to come. All day long I was like a fluttering butterfly in a spring garden. There was so much to do. At night, I read the book that my friends from Kuala Lumpur had signed. It was full of advice and inspirations, which again made me burst into tears. Dad came and gave me some advice. “Things always change. Not all things happen as we want. Sometimes they turn out differently”, he smoothed my hair.
A few months later, I adapted myself better and got many friends in Kedah. With my extroverted attitude, it was easy to get along with all kinds of people. About the “monster teacher” I’d say, everyone said she is the scariest teacher they ever had. She once threw a student’s book from the second floor to the garden on the first floor due to her overdue homework. I told Syaza, Mun, Mai, and Had everything I went through for every single day. My new friends, Aisya, Atika, and I, often spent time together, having sleepovers at Aisya’s house and did studying for the upcoming exam. We had been through together a lot. One year had passed. One year, I left my best friends in Kuala Lumpur. Less than one year later I had known Aisya and Atika closer and wished we would be in the same class next year. Luckily, the three of us were placed in the same class. It felt good being in junior high school with best friends around. I wished Mai, Syaza, Had and Mun were here too. Two months after the new school year started, my dad mentioned moving to Japan.
“Why so sudden?” I moaned, “It was only a year and months that we moved to Kedah and now we’re moving again, in fact, to a different country?” At night, I sat on the bed staring at the moon by the window. It seemed close that I could almost grab it. The moon outshined all other luminaries in the night sky. Trying to be positive, I thought, my life was going to be a lot shinier as how the moon shined this night. Being fifteen taught me to be mature and support what is best in my family. “Things always changes” was true. I realized friends are precious thing to leave behind but life goes on. From then on, I believed, moving to another place is a real fun. My friends from Kuala Lumpur had never experienced being yelled at by a teacher on their first day of school. Some people know nothing about how it feels moving to a different place that I learned to be grateful and thankful. Experience disciplined me to be mature and accept fate. Experiences are very valuable and always believe that most things that the elderly says are often right. Understand that friends come and go, but with precious a few, we should hold on. Work hard to keep these friends even if we are separated by geography, because the older we get, the more we need the people who knew us when we were young. The more changes we went through throughout our life, the more colorful our experiences will be.
P/S: GUYS, CAN I BE A WRITER??