Back when I was 16, I remember having a make-believe family. One with a Dad, mum, and kids. I know that was probrably the weirdest age to be having a family made up of friends, but that particular group of friends (including myself) were very young at heart and loved fooling and playing around.
In that 'family' I was the 'dad'. I won't tell you about the rest of the family because they aren't really that important to me anymore, but I had myself a little 'daughther' by the name of Gladys. We were of the same age, but because most family's had kids, we figured that she, as the most childlike, was to be the daughter.
Of all my days as her 'father' I was the closest to her, I never supplied the pocket money, but I always tried to show little bits of 'fatherly love' Joking with her, being there, with the rest of the 'family', whenever she was at Band competitions and so on, for now, I'd spare you the rest of the retinue of being a 'father'. But the more I acted, the more the 'fatherly love' became more ,well, love for her.
One afternoon I had a private talk with her. Thats when I told her how I felt and how much I had started to really like her. Without saying a word, she stared at me for awhile then ran off. From then on until we both left school, she never spoke a word to me, she didn't even want to be near me. No matter what I did, she wouldn't talk to me, at most giving me a hurried smile.
After leaving school, I left Malaysia to go further my studies in Australia at the New South Wales University. No matter how many girls I had met and dated there, none of them were the same. After graduating with honors as a software engineer, I returned to Malaysia and found a job as a programmer for the EDUSOFT (Education Software) branch in Malaysia, where I programmed software that was designed to help computer geeks learn their studies syllabus in an intresting way.
In the course of my work, I met a female accountant at the company that I really liked. After a year of dating, I married Faith. A year later, We had a baby girl that we named Grace.
After 2 years, I became famous as the 'man who made e-learning more fun then Star Wars Arena, then the 'hottest game of the century'. I was awarded the title of Datuk by the Yang Dipertuan Agung at the age of 28, one of the youngest ever to be awarded that title.
Four years later, Faith died in a terrorist strike against the Petronas Twin Towers, much similiar to the 9/11 incident in 2001. According to sources, my wife joined a group of 5 men and 3 women who preferred their own death to the death of many others and jumped the terrorists, my wife was stabbed in the chest before the terrorists were subdued. Her condition was critical by the time the plane landed safetly at KLIA. She was very weak when my daughter and I arrived at the terminal where she was cared for. Giving us a brave smile before she left her body to go to heaven. The plane was saved, and so were the other hijacked ones due to similiar efforts.
My wife was hailed as a hero and given a burial fit for a Queen, I brought Grace with me to her burial service and every month I'd bring her to visit her mum's grave. We'd clean it up and lay fresh white roses on her grave every month.
On one such occasion, Grace asked me 'Why did mummy have to go to heaven so fast?'
I thought for awhile, 'I think it's because God wants mummy in his choir because she sings like an angel.' Which was quite true, Faith indeed had a voice like an angel.
Grace then said sullenly 'Now I'll NEVER have a sister.'
I stared at Grace for awhile and a smile formed on my face as the memories flooded back, sweet and bitter alike. Then I chuckled.
Grace stared at me 'Whats so funny, Daddy?'
I looked her in the eye and said, 'Technically, you do have a sister.' Then I told her about Gladys.
Time passed me by fast and I turned 36, Grace was 10.
One day, I walked with Grace to a nearby coffee shop. Halfway through my coffee I heard a voice say my name, I froze, because that voice sounded extremely familiar.
I turned to behold the beauty of my former 'daughter', I quickly invited her to sit down and we started to chat.
She was a lawyer whose husband was seriously injured in the similiar struggle as my wife had been in, just on a different plane. He survived the flight but died 2 months aftewards after being involved in a car accident. His old Perodua Kancil hit the Daihatsu Dalaran head on, both him and the Daihatsu's drunk teenage driver were killed on the spot.
Grace got up from her seat and whispered to me, ' Who's she Daddy?'
I smiled at Gladys then at Grace, 'She's your sister'.
We invited her home for a drink and when Gladys went out to be her school friends house, I queried Gladys about the cold treatment I had received back in the old school days. She told me of the constant threats of her jealous boyfriend and his friends who vowed to hurt the both of us if she broke up with him to join another man. She didn't fear him, but she feared that I wouldn't be able to fend for myself and might die, so she kept quiet.
'But did you love me in return?' I asked.
'Yeah,' she replied, 'I did'.
Now as you might've guessed, we're married and happy, Grace is 16 and she has a 5 year old sister.
I named her Faith.
For your information, this is a half true story, I'm still 17 and the names are changed.
FYI - Yang dipertuan Agung is the King of Malaysia, Datuk is a prestigious title that also means Grandfather.
To the victims of the WTC attack on 9/11, my condolences go out to you.
Huang Yen KhaiÂ©2002