This sort of thing shouldn't happen to him. It should happen to Samantha, for example. She's more skilled at being a person. Or Chao Xu or Edlyn or Joy. They're the ones who aspire to be psychologists. Not him, no, not him.
It was a bolt from the blue - unexpected, unforeseen, unknowable. It was ... simply ... awfully ... just ... (Readers-friends/family, as empathic beings, please pause to feel for his frustration as he seeks suitable words to describe his turbulent emotions. Words, as we all know, are inadequate.)
It was memory made manifest.
It was just so unexpected.
The surprise came in the form of a Mr Adhie Shafiq bearing a Chinese New Year card.
Adhie was a resident in a local home for the intellectually disabled where he used to volunteer and it had been years since he last saw Adhie.
Being who he was, Adhie could only mutter a string of incoherent murmurs and stab indignantly at the door's lock. When he feinted ignorance - after all, it was clear that Adhie wanted to enter his home - Adhie grew agitated and took a CNY card out from an unwieldy bag. All Adhie wanted was to enter his home, use his table to write some well-wishes for him. Intuitively, he sensed this. Yet, he was reluctant to let him in. How could he turn Adhie out from his home thereafter?
His uncle hovered in the background and both of them were at a loss. Should they let him in? Suspicion kicked into high gear.
Inspired, he decided to SOS. His friend - Samantha - was a senior volunteer at the home. Surely, she'd know what to do, how best to react.
'Adhie was evicted from the home a long time since. For being violent to his fellow residents. They sent him to IMH but apparently, it didn't help. So, now, he's just staying at his own home.'
'What should I do? He's just standing outside now...'
'Don't worry, you're not the first. He had been visiting all the volunteers who had given him their addresses. To give them Christmas or New Year cards. Just take his card and don't let him in. I wouldn't be able to save you if he refuses to leave your home, haha.'
With a nervous fizz in his blood, he quickly grabbed a random packet of sweets and threw in some Julie's biscuits. He slithered out from a small gap, easing the metal door such that he could exit awkwardly and yet prevent the expectant Adhie from entering.
*The little boy. This incident reminded him of it.
What he was willing to give wasn't what they needed.
What he gave wasn't -
*He waved goodbye to a retreating shadow but there was no reciprocal farewells. Adhie had refused to look back.
He must have been disappointed, he thought and he knew such dismay well.
How great it was to hope and how devastating it is to realise the futility of optimism! Is this how people become embittered? Shrivelled up from being disappointed one too many times?
He let his right hand fall limply to his side.
*To the divine architect,
please grant peace, prosperity and plenty to the people around you. May Tranquility leave indelible imprints on the psyche of all. All the best to one and all,