Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Scary Saturday

We were staying at my parents’ for weekend, as we do on most weekends. My husband and our 6-year-old son, Ariq went to see Star Trek. We knew that he wouldn’t fully understand the movie, but he loved spaceships, lasers, and everything else that we would expect to see in a Star Trek movie ;-) .. so, there he went to the mall with his dad.

Around lunch time, my husband called. He told me that Ariq enjoyed the movie (the lightning-speed spaceship, phasers and the spaceships’ weapons), and they were having lunch.

Anyway.. My parents came home from lunch with my auntie and uncle as I was just about to make a cup of coffee when my mobile phone rang. It was about an hour from when my husband called. I looked at the number displayed on the screen and I was certain that I didn’t recognise it. However, something deep in my heart told me to pick it up. So I picked it up.

“Hello.” I greeted whoever was on the other side as I pressed the ‘talk’ button.

There was no reply, only distant buzzing noises, like in a busy place. It’s very possible the caller couldn’t hear my voice clearly, so I repeated myself.


Still, there was no reply, but after a few seconds there was a distant voice, “Go on, talk.”

Then, I heard a soft growl. A very familiar voice, which made my heart stopped for a few seconds and I couldn’t feel my knees anymore. It was Ariq who made the soft growling sound, just like every time he refused to do something that I asked him to do.

I could sense panic rising in my heart. Why is Ariq using someone else’s phone? Where is my husband? Are they alright? Who was the man talking to Ariq on the background? My mind was already all over the place, but I knew I had to stay calm to be able to talk properly to Ariq.

“Ariq.. are you still at the mall? Whose phone are you using?”

“Mum.. I got separated from Dad. I can’t see him anywhere.”

Ouch! I knew exactly how the mall always was on Saturday night, my husband could just look away for a second, at the wrong time (as Ariq was interested in something else in, say, one metre away), they would easily be separated, and unable to find each other again..

“Alright, honey.. who are you with now? Whose phone are you using?”

“Mr. Security Guard, Mum. Would you quickly come, please?”

I hadn’t completely come back to earth, but at least I had started breathing.

“Is Mr. Security Guard with you?”


“Can I please speak with him?”

“Yes.” Then I heard distant voices, “It’s my mum.”

“Hello, Ma’am.”

“Hello. Thank you for watching my son, Sir. Where can I find you?”

“It’s alright, Ma’am. We’re in front of the chemist on 1st floor.”

“Alright. I’ll be there shortly.”

After I hang up, I called my husband’s mobile phone for so many times as I was getting changed, but the endless calling tone would only meant two things; he forgot to un-‘silent’ the phone or, he had lost the phone in the mall.

I kept thinking about what I should do, as I ran out of the house towards the row of bajajs (motorised rickshaw –exactly the same with the ones you find in India, where they originally came from before Indonesians started making them).

As I sat myself in one of the bajajs, I made up my mind. First, I decided to send a message to my parents.

Then, after weighing between the probability of the phone being in ‘silent’ mode or lost/stolen, I decided that it was more likely to be the earlier and I should leave a message to my husband about where Ariq was, so that he could get to him as soon as possible. I kept my message short and sound non-urgent. I only said, “Ariq is in front of the chemist on 1st floor.”

I thought that even if the phone was lost or stolen and the thief read the message, he/she would only think that the owner of the phone was supposed to meet someone at the mall.

Finally, the bajaj I was on reached the mall, right after my mum called to tell me that my dad had gone after me by car and I sent him the same message I sent my husband. I got off the bajaj and quickly ran to the entrance door where a security guard was standing. I asked her the direction to the chemist, which turned out to be pretty much right across the escalator which I went on.

Right away I saw Ariq with a stressed face next to a security guard, who was talking on his mobile phone. I ran to Ariq as I was calling him. When he saw me, he ran to me and gave me a big hug.

Then I greeted the security guard who had been staying with him.

“Had you gone far when I called you, Ma’am?”

“No, Sir. My son was actually here with his father. I was at home.”

“Oh.. That’s what your son meant. He was panicked and stressed. He only said he couldn’t see his dad and he didn’t know where his mum was. I asked if he knew his dad’s number, he said he only remembered his mum’s.”

I thanked the security guard many times before we finally went downstairs to meet my dad. Then we tried to find my husband. Which we did short after and, his phone was still on ‘silent’ mode.

The rest of the afternoon, I kept asking my son (little bit each time) about how he lost his dad and ended up with the security guard.

“I walked too fast ahead of Dad (my husband was putting his belongings at the deposit counter -we are not allowed to bring bags into bookshops in Indonesia). I went around the bookshop many times, but I couldn’t see him.”

“Then, what did you do?”

“Then, I remembered Dad said he wanted to go to the toilet, so I went to look there, but there was noone there. So I went back to the bookshop, but he was still nowhere to find.”

“Was that when you decided to go to the security guard?”

“No. Someone took me to security guard. In fact, I was taken to THREE security guards.” Despite his fear, he felt proud of being attended by that many security guards.

“Was the person taking you also a security guard?”


Then I teased him a little, “Did you cry?”

He grinned, “Yes, I cried. That’s why the man took me to the security guards.”

“What did the security guard asked you? Did they asked you name?”

“No they didn’t ask my name. He asked where Dad and you were. I said I was lost and I didn’t kow where you were. Then he asked if I wanted to call Dad or you. So I told him I didn’t remember Dad’s number, I only remembered yours. Then, he let me use his phone to call you.”

I also asked him, “Whenever you were going to places with me, and you couldn’t see me, you always shouted my name (He calls me ‘Ibu Indri’ – Ibu means Mum). Why didn’t you do the same with Dad when you realised for the first time you couldn’t see him?”

He want silent for a second, then answered with a cushion on his forehead, “I was embarrassed.”

I was a little surprised with his answer. I’m guessing it’s a guy thing, but I didn’t pursue further, as embarrassment for a 6-year-old wouldn’t be something easy to explain (I might have assumed wrong, but I think I can wait a while until he could figure out what he meant by that).

There are some things that I keep thinking about this incident..

I remembered how he was always calling me on my mobile phone, every time he was at home and he thought I had gone out too long, just because he knew my mobile phone numbers by heart. I used to think that his calls could be really annoying sometimes. Now, I’m glad he called me so often that those numbers stayed in his mind even in his most confused moments.

I also remembered that I often left unfamiliar incoming calls unanswered. Now, I’m glad that I decided to answer that one call that was made by my son using the security guard’s mobile phone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments will help us improve. Thank you.