Just like the previous night, I had trouble sleeping. Remembering that it was a working day for the rest of the family, I tiptoed out of the room and headed to the bathroom downstairs. I didn't want anybody to be late for work just because there was an extra person queuing for the bathroom.
Monday in Malaysia would mean that I have to leave home extra early for work. Otherwise I would be caught in the massive Monday morning traffic jams. The same rules applied to my host family. By 5am, Kakak, KP, and Mutiara's mom were ready to leave for work. Unsure whether I should hug them, I settled for a universal business-like-handshake for goodbyes.
I returned to the guest room and continued with my packing. Thanks to MP’s excellent bargaining skill, I bought a few clothes from the “pasar kaget”. Since I only brought a small bag, I had to carefully pack and fold everything to fit into the small backpack. While I was busy packing, I heard MP leaving the house.
Once I fit everything into my small backpack, I looked around to see if I had accidentally left anything. Close friends would know that I have a tendency to leave things behind – which included myself at an international border during some point of our travels together. I checked and double-checked. Satisfied, I went upstairs to wait for Mutiara.
There she was, getting ready for work. I was kind of anxious for her. It was, after all, a working day for her. She had mentioned earlier that normally MP would send her to work on Mondays. However, since I was around, she and I would go to Jakarta together. I didn’t want her to be late because of me. She assured me that it would not be a problem. She took her time, said her morning prayer, and if I wasn’t mistaken, changed into three different blouses before finally settled for the one that she like.
It was around 6.30 am when we left the house. Before closing the door, Mutiara asked whether I had everything with me and left nothing behind. To this, my answer was, if I did left anything, it would be hers. We walked to the main road and hopped on an “angkutan”. Instead of heading toward the Cibinong Terminal, we headed the opposite direction. The “angkutan” picked up and dropped off passengers along the way. We chatted throughout the ride. My weird accent might have drawn the gazes from fellow passengers. Not to forget, my bulging-backpack. I must have looked like someone running away from somewhere.
Mutiara and I got down by a roadside. She had mentioned that we would be riding "kereta" (in Malaysia that would meant a 'car' but in Jakarta it means a 'train'). But I couldn’t see any railway station. With Mutiara leading the way, we walked through a small damp lane sandwiched by little shops on both sides. It wasn’t much of a lane. More like a walkway. The shops sell mostly groceries, and foodstuff (such as vegetables and onions). The shops’ roof shaded the walkway from direct sunlight, making it a little dark. I felt like walking through wet market.
At the end of the dark was light. Cliché. But that was how I felt. There it was, the railway station. It wasn’t a big station, more like a platform. Something like “Hentian Putra” of KTM commuter but at the same time nothing likes it. The scene I saw, resembles nothing of the usual scene in any KTM commuter station. I thought it was because of ‘Monday blues’. No. According to Mutiara it was a normal scene. And yes, I was “kaget” to see what I saw.
(p.s. This post was written earlier than the next post. But due to writer's block, it was not published earlier. Sorry for the delay, and stay tuned to know what I saw.)