Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Breaking of A Heart


My memory is somewhat hazy on the date but not the event. If I remember correctly, the year was 1962 and she was 22. A maiden so sweet and fair, gentle in speech and manner, she was the toast of her small town, after having been crowned Ratu Kebaya in a local beauty pageant.

A picture of her smiling bashfully while holding the winning trophy appeared in Utusan Melayu. That picture and the accompanying news item brought her admirers from near and far; she received letters by the dozen from all over the country.

One smitten young man (who would, one day in the future, become a novelist of repute), courted her for a while through beautifully written letters. While flattered, she dismissed it as a fleeting fancy. She knew nothing would ever come of it, for her heart belonged to someone else.

Occasionally she would help me with my schoolwork, but most times she would sit quietly in her room, sewing her wedding trousseau, dreaming of the day when her beau, in faraway Manchester finishing his studies, return and make her his bride.

He had been away three long years. Just another year and he would be home, to a new life together. She had lived and prayed for this moment. Her face blushed each time his name was mentioned. She was aglow with love.

He sent her newsy, affection-laden letters filled with accounts of his life in faraway England. She read and re-read each one, running her fingers on the words, her love growing with every noun, verb, consonant. Although she wouldn't admit it, she missed him terribly.

The letter that tore her heart asunder arrived in the midst of her nuptial preparations. Nestled in the bolts of fine satin and lace of what was to have adorned the wedding dais and bridal chamber, she sobbed piteously.

"I am sorry to break your heart and I didn't mean it to end this way. The years of separation have taken its toll and I could no longer be true. I have fallen for someone else, she's a colleague, and we intend to marry."

The gloom in our household never lifted. While she stoically put on a brave front among friends and colleagues at the hospital where she worked as a nurse, her mother carried the 'shame' until the day she died.

Grandma never recovered from her nephew's seemingly cruel rejection of his cousin, her youngest daughter. I was eight years old and unable to fathom why mother and daughter often wept while caressing bolts of fine satin and lace....

13 comments:

bergen said...

I thought she was anok cik zainung ropar, i.e Encik Ghafar - he was among a few Malays who spoke English and had a good job kat Bukit Besi. They were our neighbour. Anok dia, forgot her name, menang ratu kebaya - gambar masih ada di kedai Hollywood, Dungun. She was pretty, but her sister was prettier - the one I thought I'd marry and live happily ever after.

Good entry - (tak tau nak call you puteri ke cage, he he)

Puteri Kamaliah at-Tarawis said...

hehehe bergen.. you still remember cage, eh. I haven't forgotten her, either :)

this lady in question is my late aunt. she died four years ago. that's why I berani write about it.

btw, i remember cik ghafar tapi lupa which one anak dara dia. must be a lot younger than my aunt la tu bergen, if you berkenan kat dia..after all you are muuucchhhhh younger than me la..hehehe

Bukit Besi said...

This is a story of life. It happens all the time. As it turned out the girl found a new happiness and started a new chapter in her life. For every woman there is a man they say. But this story touches the heart of every reader I am sure. You certainly present this tear jerker very skillfully. A Mek Goneng in the making?

Bukit Besi said...

I remember En Ghafar worked in the Accounts Department in Bukit Besi. I knew him well. He was in charge of Pay Roll. Others with him in that Department I remember were Ramly, Harun Rashid and Yaacob Buang. He came from Penang. He was a member of Bukit Club Band and he played Saxophone. I met one of his daughters in the USA in the 80s. She accompanied her husband one Tengku Nordin from Kuala Terengganu now in KUSZA I think.

Puteri Kamaliah at-Tarawis said...

Indeed BB, my aunt did marry someone else. sadly enough, ties between the two families (they were cousins) became strained because of the break-up. Mek Goneng? not by a mile. I am still menoneng-noneng..:)

Kak Enon said...

Akak,
1.What happen to that fella? the one that left your late aunty?
2.The words "mek goneng" and " menoneng-noneng" sound "delicious" macam bunyi "koi" bukak poser..hehehe

Puteri Kamaliah at-Tarawis said...

kak enon
1. he married his new love and they live happily ever after, in KL :)

2. menoneng is trengganuspeak for 'hanging' (bergantungan/ bergayutan). definitely not kuih (koi) bukak posa..hehehe

bergen said...

Masa kecik2 teacher asked; 'what's is your name?' Jawapan dia: 'Tok mung noneng' Lepas tu teacher kata 'You go back!' Dan jawapannya: 'Baiklah, tok mung ggobek sireh'.

kak enon said...

HAHAHAHAHA bergen... wondering that "tok" bergayutan"g" tang mana?

Akak..masing-masing ada bahagian masing-masing..

Kak Teh said...

puteri , what a sad story!!
But why is it that when men do things like that, they then mitigate by saying, I didnt mean to...Read, watch all those stories of betrayals...always, always, I didnt mean too, but they did it anyway.
Such a beautiful story beautifully told. Am sure my Goneng would agree. will alert him when he wakes up.

bangkai said...

Sorry to hear about what happened to you aunt, ma'am. It was probably for the best; something tells me he would have been mean to her.

Puteri Kamaliah at-Tarawis said...

I can't even begin to rationalise, kak teh, but what you said is true. The words that roll off their tongues cair ajaa...

mat dear, you may well be right, personally, I think four years of exposure to 'angin england' probably set him thinking about his fiancee's academic deficiency. tak setaraf, perhaps. she was gadis kampung and a mere nurse with form five qualification while he qualified as an architect from a British university.

Laptop said...

The moral/(immoral) of the story. If you want to go for an oversea stinct, don't leave your beau behind -- (pergilah,nanti menyesal).