Back in Malaysia all those years ago, we used to go up for holidays in Penang. We’d stay in one of those beach hotels in Ferringhi and my recollection is always sweet. I remember when as a very little girl, kiddo was afraid even to tread on sand. We had to ease her into it – taking one literal baby step at a time. I saw fear and held her hand.
Soon however she loved the beach. But the heat and humidity meant we weren’t at the beach a lot. Strange I know, that we’d stay in a beach hotel and didn’t spend virtually all the time at the beach. We would however, spend hours in the pool. We’d be at the beach for a short while and then come back to the pool and be there for the most part.
In one of the hotels there were slides on the edge of the pool and kids would have a whale of a time climbing up to the top and sliding into the pool. I remember one had two slides – a low and gradually sloped one and a higher, steeper one.
Once kiddo decided to be adventurous and decided to go for the higher one. At some point between scaling the height of that slide and hitting the water, her excitement clearly turned into fear. That point of transformation was in the lower half. She must have picked up speed somewhat. As I often did, I was waiting at the point where she’d hit the water, ready to pick her up from the water. As I looked at her, I saw the fear in her eyes. There are several points in her life I remember well. That was one of them and I still see it when I close my eyes and reminisce.
Like I said, there were others. Obviously the moment of her birth is up there. I hope even if the day comes where I am struck by dementia, I would never forget that moment, when a dark purplish bulb turned, in a twinkling of an eye, into a beautiful angelic pink face. Then there was the time she was in a park for a corporate family function. She had climbed a structure all the way to the top. When she stopped to look down she swore for the first time – she was maybe 4 years old then and I saw that fear in her eyes. Then there was that hot soup scalding she had and the days of treatment – after that. The trips to the doctors, with the gauze removed, wound cleaned and new gauze applied. She was resolute but I saw fear in her eyes.
I can no longer hold her hand as she treads sand for the first time, or be at the bottom of the waterslide to pick her up, or climb up the monkey bar to carry her down. Or hold her hand as she lay on the doctor’s bed. But every day, I still pray she would not have that look of fear in her eyes.