Miss Aida
Ramadhan will be over this Saturday. I'll be spending Aidilfitri, or Eid, staring at pictures of histology slides, wondering why they all look the same. Instead of the formal tradition of the family members gathering at my grandmother's house in Muar, the tradition of everyone asking for forgiveness and the children excited over those tiny green envelopes of money, for the first time ever I'll be spending Eid away from my family.

When I was younger, I used to look forward to getting those little green envelopes from my family members so, so much. My uncle used to call me the materialistic one. He claims I got this gleam in my eye when it came to money. He might have been right. As I got older, material things got a little less important. In recent years, the whole session of asking for forgiveness, from my parents, from my grandmother, from my aunts and uncles, and being granted that forgiveness for all the wrongs I had done them throughout the year became a significant part of my life.

I know my mum used to joke that I was just saying what I said. I think she couldn't get through it without getting misty eyed cause I know she must have felt the same way I did. The strong emotions I felt whenever I asked for forgiveness from my parents, when I knelt down and kissed their hands, were because of my sincere reptenance. On Eid, it was my chance to be forgiven for all the slights I had done towards them, be it the most trivial of words or a much bigger sin. And being granted that forgiveness from my parents just made the bond between us so much closer. I never fail to be moved by that. The powerful emotions invoked in me during those times bring back such memories.

Sometimes it's so difficult expressing the way I feel. It's so much harder to look my mum in the face and say what's in my heart. That I'm sorry for the small things I might have said in anger that caused her those extra moments of pain in her life. Or to look at my dad and tell him how much I love him and how much I admire his patience for putting up with my wiles and my wants and me. Or to tell my grandmother to be strong without my grandfather at her side. And yet, all I have to do is to clasp their hands in mine and look at them, and I know my mum and dad know how I feel.

This will be my first Eid away from home. An Eid in the company of friends I love, but nevertheless, friends are a poor substitute for the deeply rooted traditions and company of the people I truly want to be with on that day. My parents, my sisters, my aunts and uncles, my cousins... I feel like things are changing so fast, and this year marks the first out of many changes to come.

I don't know when I will be able to kneel down and kiss my mother's hands and my father's hands and ask for their forgiveness. Life is all too transient, and I dare not even wonder if any of us will live long enough for me to do that again. So I pray for their souls, and mine, and as I fall into slumber, I reminisince a time when life was simple and traditions would never change. A time when I was convinced that I would spend every Eid in the exact same place with the exact same people. And as much as I wish, I can't relive those times...

But I miss them. Ya Allah, how I miss them.
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