Sounds of the Moment
I woke up that night feeling overwhelmed with a lot of sweet sounds around me. Looking at Park Street through my bedroom window, things seemed to be locked in an eerie, unfounded, once-upon-a-time fairyland. From a far distance, Melbourne’s city skyline was showing off its neon lights and Aussie charms. Then, I began to listen to everything around me: cockatoos singing on the swaying trees, leaves falling on the accepting earth, neighbours snoring on the comforting pillows. It was an exercise of the enthusiastic ears, learned easily by children and forgotten naturally by adults. I had previously communicated and received mysterious responses from these things, but something was telling me that tonight would be extra special.
The air suddenly felt chilly. I could clearly hear the wind hissing through the slight opening of my bedroom window, sending some cold winter air into my tiny apartment. Nights were getting longer and icier. But at least, I didn’t wake up feeling lonelier now. The panic button appeared to be missing somewhere that it was hard to recall how it used to look like. Mr Loneliness must be lonely out there.
Close to me now, the melodic sound of Nurul’s sleep warmed my heart. She was breathing peacefully in her faraway dream. She must be talking to Alice in the Wonderland, sharing the breaking news of her nasi lemak business in Melbourne. I hope Alice would send some miracles to our mortal world, but who would have thought that this could have actually happened? While I was still trying to comprehend this latest joke in my life, a few packs of nasi lemak were sold that day. And I could hear the voice of Mother Victory saying confidently to me: “Listen to your heart, my dear. Remember, fans who lack the faith can make a team lose a game it is already winning.”
I was not sure whether Mother Victory was talking about nasi lemak or about the Olympic Games in London. Before I could ask anything, she vanished into the air like fairy Godmother. I heard another tender voice coming from a corner of my bedroom. “Welcome to our happy world,” she said. Aha, it was Ms Joy from the Happy Universe. I looked at her and wondered how on earth she had arrived in my life. She must have beaten up Mr Loneliness with her sexy legs and wicked smiles.
I was still thinking of Ms Joy when my apartment was suddenly filled with a lot of strange figures. I couldn’t clearly see their faces since it was a bit dark, but it was getting noisier, as if there was some sort of a birthday party going on. They were all talking simultaneously to each other in what seemed to be an ancient language. I thought I was dreaming, but they sounded so real. The next thing I knew, I went into a kind of trance that frightened me, but I wanted to continue the game until I was tired of it.
“We are all gathered here tonight to wish you the best of lucks for your presentation soon in Shanghai,” said one of them with the loveliest voice I had ever heard. I thanked them for their cordial words and asked them where they came from. But they kept talking so excitedly like they had never talked before.
“Hey, Hilmi. Congratulations for submitting another paper to an international conference in Sydney!” said a middle-aged woman who sounded almost like my supervisor. I told her, while I appreciated her kind gestures, she seriously needed to leave since it was getting so late at night. The office hours had certainly ended and I was sure it was already past midnight. What would my neighbours think of me tomorrow?
Few minutes later, the party of sweet voices grew even louder and louder. I felt dizzy with imagination and fantasies. I tried to segregate the sounds, layer and by layer, and struggled to comprehend what they were really saying.
“I’m having a baby soon!” said a bubbly woman who sounded just like Pilah. I smiled and tried to imagine how Pilah must have looked like now – a six-month pregnant lady!
“Ayoh must be the happiest of all. He would be expecting three grandkids this year – what a productive year!” said a man in what looked like a white kopiah. Just when I wanted to ask who he was, I heard a girl said, “Congratulations on your graduation, Hisham Hamzah!” Oh, I remembered that my cute little brother had just graduated and joined the Wall of Graduation in our living room in Binjal. Way to go, Hamzah clans!
Suddenly, everyone was quiet. A slim-looking man with funny spiky hairstyle entered the room with elegance and style. He might be one of the famous members of One Direction. Beaming proudly, he said: “Hey, look at me. Ain’t I gorgeous? I’m 53 kilograms now!” Haha, that must be my own body talking. What a joke.
“You look happier now, Cekmi,” said a nice lady in tudung next to me. She came with her two naughty boys who had been running wildly around the apartment. She could be one of my dear blogsahabats. How I missed their good company and warmth.
“Thank you all for coming tonight,” I said. “I know I have been too occupied with my down-under world in Melbourne, but you guys are always within my circle of happiness and joy. My day has been good, so let night fall.”
I stayed awake for a long time and tried to entertain the unexpected guests that night. The dawn must be nearly breaking when the party was over. I went back to my bed, feeling thrilled with what I had just experienced. Mystical or not, I certainly had had one of the best nights in my life.
While I pressed my head on the pillow, I felt the slight puff in my ears. Someone was whispering and I could practically smell the familiar perfume of the distant past. She said: “Get some sleep, my dear. You have accomplished a lot of things tonight. Be good, okay?” It was my late mother.
I finally said my prayers and thanked all the sweet sounds for their surprise visit. They were the Sounds of the Moment, accumulated from my past and my future, reminding me of how wonderful life had been, and would always be.