The teh tarik in the tall mug which I made for myself that morning had turned cold. The multi-grain bread that I toasted had gone limp. The plates, cups and saucers (remnants of the breakfast which my husband and boys had for breakfast) remained unwashed in my kitchen sink.
My brain was in over-drive. The phrase "Nightmare before Christmas" kept playing and swarming my mind that morning. The day before I had had a heart-to-heart talk and discussion with one of my foreign students. We were talking about her impending marriage.
This student had been one of my favourite students when I was teaching English at one of the local colleges in town. She was very hardworking and was like a sponge. Whatever was imparted to her, she would absorb them fervently and enthusiastically. She was a fast and an eager learner. It was a joy teaching her. She has an exquisite face and much loved by her friends and lecturers alike.
As she is an orphan, she looks up to me like her own mum. She lost both her parents when she was four years old. Her parents had both been killed during the civil war in her country. They had been brutally murdered. She lived with foster parents during her growing-up years.
After completing her high school, she decided to leave her country and came to Malaysia to study English. That was when our paths crossed. As she is such a lovable and a likeable person, I've learnt to love her like my own. Two years ago, she met an awesome Malaysian who asked for her hands in marriage. Needless to say, she accepted. I could see how much she loves her beau.
I had offered to sponsor her wedding and hold the reception in my house. After all, none of my kids are anywhere near marriagedom... Naturally she was excited and was so very much looking forward to her wedding.
But when told that I was going to give up my room to enable her and her husband-to-be to use it as their wedding room (I was prepared to give it up for a couple of days, of course with the consent of my husband) she looked at me in disbelief and to my consternation and heartache had exclaimed "Mum, I can't use your room. It's just not right."
Tried as I might to cajole her to change her mind, she was adamant and insistent that she only used my daughter's much-smaller room as her wedding room. I was heart-broken, as I had wanted so much for her to use my room as it is more spacious and more comfortable.
I was puzzled and kept wracking my brain to find out her reasons for not wanting to use my room. After all, it's not everyday that you become a bride or Queen of the day. And I had wanted so much for her to feel special and be swathed in a little luxury.
As curiosity might kill a cat, and it might just kill me, I had called her up to find out the actual reasons why she was resolute and steadfast in her decision not to use my room. After a little bickering and nerve-wrecking moments (as it had turned into an almost heated discussion), she breathed into the phone and spoke in a whisper-like tone and told me "Mum, if I were to use your room, it'll be just like a Nightmare Before Christmas!"
I was flabbergasted and was rendered speechless!!! Nightmare before Christmas!!! Now I wonder what she meant. Alas, and sad to say, I never did find out as she went on to use my daughter's room for her wedding night, and since then, had left to visit her foster parents in her birth-country bringing along the love of her life plus her bundles of joy. God had blessed her with twins, a boy and a girl.
My darling "daughter", may Allah bless you and whatever your reasons were for rejecting the use of my room, you've left me wondering till today what you meant by "NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS!"