So while waiting for the kid to arrive, I entertained her, starting a conversation and such. The starting point of the brief chit chat, she had tears welling up her small eyes. I stared down and saw a plastic bag of bread. I assumed it was for her son. It touched me even deeper! Yet, I had to keep my self easy. It's always hard keeping my tears from falling seeing parents like that, for whatever reasons. And so, I offered her my box of tissues. She thanked me. So I continued:
"Your son is a smart boy. Very well behaved. He always does well in class .." bla bla bla hoping that she'd calm down a bit. Then she replied:
"Oh that's good. How about his Maths? He failed his Maths last year." Wiping off her tears, I could see the worried look on her face. So I told her I wasn't so sure about that as I am not teaching him that subject. Then the serious conversation started:
"Very long time already I don't see him. My son. So I want to see him."
"Are you always away?" I asked.
"You mean?" she echoed.
"I mean, are you always away from Brunei? It seems like you seldom see him."
"Yes. I seldom see him (sighed and wiped her tears again). He is staying with his father. I am not allowed to see him. His stepmother won't allow me (wiped her tears again)."
"I see .." was all I could say.
The next minute, she was asking permission to see her son during break time. I said, it's not advisable seeing him at the school canteen but she can do so at my office instead. She thanked me. This time her eyes were glowing. I hoped then I was doing the right thing. All I knew then was it was wrong, VERY wrong, to forbid a mother from seeing her very own child, no matter the reasons may be. Very very wrong!!
Our conversation was cut short. She had a wide smile on her face as her eyes laid on a boy figure at the door. He was surprised. A happy surprised. Then he looked at me and said:
"I thought I had done something wrong that I was called here .."
"No. You didn't do anything wrong. Salam your mom.."
So he did and I excused my self.
From my table, I hid my face behind my laptop screen. At times, I peeked through seeing both mother and son talking. I overheard their conversation too as from where they were was just a few metres away from my table. She was asking about his studies, his tests. A lot of stuff. She was crying all the way as she kept wiping her tears away. The son was trying to comfort her but in the end, he himself took a piece and wiped his own. Both mother and son were crying softly within conversation.
I then overheard the mother complaining about the son's torn songkok. He was just smiling. He didn't want to answer her but simply saying, "Nevermind. It's ok." It was obvious that he didn't want to trouble her. What touched me even deeper was when she said that she still kept his new year's 'ang pow' and she would buy a new songkok for him if he wanted her to. My heart melted hearing this. He didn't want to burden her and she at the same time was trying to make him feel less of that! What a beautiful bond. Such strong power of love!
The bell rang and the kid should be in class soon for his next test paper. She followed him out, leaving my office. Both with teary eyes but all smiley :') Such touching scene.
She thanked me and I was lost for words that I only nodded. The two left and I cried my self a tear of pain.
I hate when this happens! Divorced parents should not end up like this! I pity the kid more. He's a strong boy. Very smart. I hope that he will go through this situation wisely.
PS: The first month of me teaching, he was left without a workbook while his other classmates had had theirs. His reason was always the same: "My father is busy because my stepmom is pregnant now. He is looking after her." So I offered to buy him the book and he just had to pay me back. Or he could ask his friend to do that for him. I bet he chose to ask his friend to do him the favour as he got his workbook the next lesson I entered his class. Such a mature kid. I hope he can handle his emotion well. I pray Allah will give him strength at heart always aaamiiinnn....