It was an ordinary day, acouple of months ago, just like many other ordinary days in my lifetime. I was pottering about the house, just like usual. But I did think about what to do with the vegetables that hubby had bought in his out of the ordinary splurge at pasar Keramat. Yes, I had thought of what to do -- cook or decorate or compost -- with the vegetables.
In moments like that, I'd give myself some time to ponder about it, and more often than not, a solution would turn up. On that ordinary day, it was ordinary that it did.
It did by way of a middle aged lady calling out to me as I was sweeping my back porch. She peered from the other side of the fence and called out to me in a weak voice. She said that she needed help, she had nothing to feed her children with, she had already been given some rice, and that she was poor.
I straightened from the sweeping position and as soon as I heard that she had nothing to feed her children with, I was overjoyed and my brains worked quickly to alert me of the cabbage that hadn't been touched.
I gestured to the lady outside the fence to go round to the front as I leapt to the fridge, wrapped the cabbage and placed it in a plastic bag and headed to the front door. I did not open the gate as I was wary of accomplices (yes, I had my doubts, which I call safe behaviour). I handed her the plastic bag which she eagerly reached for, opened and stared at. She then stared back at me.
I believe I had a triumphant smile on my face. But she stared back at me like I had given her dust from the vaccuum cleaner's bag. She slowly retreated, still with that look on her face, while my smile slowly diminished: didn't she say she had children to feed? Should I have also given cooking oil, salt and cooking gas?
Did she thank me? No.
Was I disappointed? Definitely.