There were two men. One I didn’t know as well I should. The other a complete stranger, I am not even sure that he was male. But somehow, in the dead of this rainy Jeli night, I feel a strange affinity to both.
The first one was a relative. He was my mother’s cousin. I called him Pak Su, as he was the youngest among his siblings. Being on my mother’s side, he came from Kedah, But he moved to KL when he started working (as an engineer I think). Soft spoken, dark skinned, gaunt, willowy, almost effeminate. He used to drive a black two-seater Honda. But the keyword here is ‘was’. He passed away almost ten years ago, rather prematurely. Wasn’t married, and obviously had no kid. I remember the day I learnt of his death. In fact, I was the first to learn about it in my immediate family, as my family was supposed to come back from an overseas vacation which I decided not to go with, the day he died. Leukaemia or something. Sickly-looking, that’s the word I was looking for. He was buried, and that’s about it. I know about him now as much as I knew back then. All that’s left of him, as far as I know, is his Honda, which I had last seen in front of his mother, my grand-aunt’s house, around a month ago went I visited my mother’s hometown. Shit, even his mother is still alive. But sometimes, that’s how life is, with the old outliving, and burying, the young.
The other, to say that I know less of him would be outright lying. I never met him. Let’s just say that he’s the former tenant of the house next to mine. I’ve explained about him in an earlier entry. He’s also dead, and when he died, it took people a few days to realise that he was dead. When he died, he died alone. Now his house is abandoned, with a wall missing and facing my kitchen window. But that’s besides the point. He was ill and rarely went out, and lived alone. So it was no surprise, I guess, that he also died alone.
This is where I’m supposed to segue into the point I’m trying to make. But it’s 1.30 in the morning, I’m sleepy and I’ve been drinking a little (fine, a lot), so fuck subtleness. The long-winded point I am trying to make here is I think I am going to share the demise of the two people I just described. Alone, premature or due to a fatal illness. I’m putting my money on lung cancer. Or aneurysm. Or heart attack. Or stroke. One of those illnesses which used to only afflict the elderly, but are now starting to affect the younger generation. I smoke to keep myself distracted from the dreariness of my nights. I don’t exercise at all, because I have been reduced to chasing down instant gratification from the internet, Playstation and cheap booze, and I don’t see myself wanting and being able to commit to the kind of women I am into as long as I’m in Jeli. Wooing a woman has been rendered nigh impossible these days, and I am not a man with a lot of patience to begin with. So if I were to suffer a heart attack while I’m alone at home, that’s it from me.
But there’s also this cousin of mine on my father’s side, who used to be single and lived with his rich mother, and honestly looked kinda sad without having a lot going in his life, until he surprisingly (at least to me) married a Kelantanese woman, took over some of his mother’s enterprise and now has two kids of his own.