14 November

Once upon a time, my mother lived together with my brother, her wife and their two lovely kids. It was an ideal arrangement. My brother just got married and had kids. He just got posted as a teacher in Kajang. His wife is a homemaker. They can’t afford to buy a house just yet and instead of renting a house somewhere, living in with their mother(in law) seems like a sound idea. The thing about living with your mothers is that you tend to get into fights after a while. I know because I used to live with my mother two along with my wife and my little kid when we didn’t make much over a decade ago. As expected we got into a fight. Well my mother got into an argument with me, about something trivial. That’s what happen when you see each other too often. Honestly, 3 days is the maximum you should stay with your mother. After that prepare for some heated exchange or sour faces.

Anyway I digress. Back to my brother and his wife. One day my mother got into a heated argument with his daughter in life (that’s my brother’s wife, let’s call her Yam). And at the heat of the moment, my mother kinda slapped Yam’s face. Well, according to my mother it was a gentle tap. According to the victim, it was a full blown slap. Needless to say Yam got really upset and demanded my brother send her and the kids back home to her mother right away. And that’s why my brother did. My mother didn’t get to see Yam or her grandchildren ever since.

Days passed and my brother now can finally afford a place to call his own in faraway Rinching. My mother helped my brother to look for that house in the beginning. She even left some of her stuff there in case she comes by to visit. After the incident however, she never really got the chance to. Until about last week when I went to visit my brother’s place to return his bike. My mother upon hearing the plan decided to tag along. In all honesty she just wanted to see her grandchildren because she misses them so much. We arrived right on time, before 5:00 PM because that’s when my brother said a buyer was going to see the bike. When we got there, the gates was locked and Yam is nowhere to be seen. We waited over an hour before finally giving up. I even bought a bucket of KFC as a token of gratitude to share with Yam and the kids. Since my brother said to come on time and there’s a buyer waiting, Yam should have known better than to go out somewhere at that exact time. It is obvious to me that my brother warned his wife in advance of my mother’s arrival so that she can be prepared (i.e ran away as far as possible). She has no plan to see my mother. When I called her she said she’s somewhere in Seri Kembangan on the way home. Said she’s stuck in a jam (in Seri Kembangan on a Sunday) and will be late. She further instructed me to leave the bike and the key in the post box.

After waiting for an hour, we decided to visit the nearest mosque to pray since it’s already time. After that while I was making my way home, mother asked me to turn around and try visiting my brother’s house again. To nobody’s surprise we saw my brother’s car in front of the house and Yam probably just arrived home. I bet she just hid somewhere a couple of blocks away until we leave. So I did the right thing and asked to push the bike inside. Then I told Yam that my mother would like to see the kids for a while which she somewhat agreed. My mother was nearly in tears then we she finally get to see and hug the kids. Yam meanwhile decided to make herself busy inside the house pretending to find the bike’s key or something. After about 5 minutes or so, my mother said goodbye to the kids (in tears of course) and Yam pretended like she didn’t exist and told the kids to come in. We left the house with my mother sobbing uncontrollably.

Was my mother guilty of slapping her daughter in law’s face then? Probably yes. Did she repent and tried to make amends to her? About half a dozen times already I think. Somehow Yam made it her mission not to forgive mother and carries her vendetta up until now. I don’t know whether because she’s still young (she was married in her teens, not even 20 years old yet) or she’s just being mean and immature. Or is it because my brother is to timid to advise his wife to act more becoming of her age today and status as a daughter in law. Whatever it is, my mother is pretty upset about the whole affair and she made sure everybody in the family knows about it. If I were in my brother’s shoe, I’d give my wife a good telling off and smack her into her sense. Well, I won’t literally hit my wife (never did) but I would have done something to ease the tension and eventually make peace with everyone. He went out of his way to spread the words of God to strangers as far away as Pakistan and Korea but couldn’t even advise his own wife. I don’t know dude. You’ve got to get your priorities in order.

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