A few years ago today (according to the Muslim calendar), at around 11 am, my house phone rang. There were only me and my father. Everyone else was not at home. They’re either next door at my grandparents’ or at the mosque. I picked up the phone and heard a woman’s voice. She was crying. She asked for my mother. When I said she’s not here, the woman said, “Tell your parents, Prof G passed away a few minutes ago”. The woman on the phone was Prof G’s wife. I hung up the phone, took a deep breath and walked a very long walk to my father’s study. “Abah, Prof G meninggal”. My father tried to get up from his chair but couldn’t. He just sat there, didn’t say a word whilst tears ran down his face. Prof G was his best friend.

The story was, that morning Prof G was at his community mosque performing qurban with the locals. Suddenly, he felt pain at his chest and decided to walk home. Upon arriving, he told his wife about the pain and said that he needed to rest. The next thing, he vomited blood and died on his wife’s lap.

That day, it was the first time I saw my father cry. Shedding tears at the death of a best friend.