Once, I screwed up an important paper in college so badly that for 2 seconds I contemplated suicide.
I turned my phone off and sped home so fast Sonic couldn’t catch me, ditching my friends who were waiting in Asia Café to “celebrate” the end of our exams. I didn’t know what to do! My parents were going to kill me! This paper is going to pull down my GPA, I’m never going to get into uni, I’m never going to get a good job, no man is going to want to marry me, no cats are going to want to live with me, it’s all over. My hopes and dreams. Gone.
On the drive home, I hatched a plan.
Number one: Don’t tell anyone. Even when mummy asks how was the paper, just nod and say convincingly, “It was great! Sure-fire A!”
Number two: Find cyanide.
So I reached home, made sure I had my poker face on and headed straight for my room. But half-way to my room, my mum rushes in my way with this huge smile on her face,
“Hey baby girl, how was your final paper?”
She took one look at my face and said, “What happened?”
I broke down crying in her arms.
It’s a bit melodramatic but I blame the pressures of the Malaysian education system.
My mum held me in her arms, stroked my hair and said the most un-Asian words ever to leave her mouth in the 18 years I’d known her:
“It’s just a paper. It’s not the end of the world.”
Of course now, 5 years later, that paper seems trivial (also because in the end I did not fail) but I’ll never forget the feeling I got when my immature teenage mind thought it was the “end of the world”, my mother’s hug was enough to make every feeling of fear just vanish.I can’t explain my mother’s hug but if I had to put it into crude words, it was as if her lap took not only the tears but every ugly feeling this world tainted me with. For a moment, her arms wrapped around me was like a bubble in which I felt safe, sheltered and protected against life and its cruelty. And the kisses on my forehead was her silent reassurance that as long as she can, she’ll never let anything harm me.
I thought in light of Mother’s Day, I’d share my mother’s favourite bible verse:
“The eye that mocks a father,
that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
will be eaten by the vultures.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Thinking of: A very beautiful mother, Eric Benét’s Why You Follow Me, how much Natalie Portman’s talents were wasted on Thor and the very, very, very ugly truth.