I was dressing up to work when he crept up behind me, clutching his 'poo-bee' (nickname for his bantal busuk).
"Ibu nak pergi kerja ke?", he asked. Mata kuyu, terkebil-kebil trying to avoid the lights.
"Ya sayang. Paginya Hafiz dah bangun?" I answered and asked and knelt down and hugged and kissed him.
"Bila ibu cuti?". He kissed me back.
"Cuti? Kenapa?", while running my fingers through his hair.
Still clutching tightly his poo-bee, he laid his head on my shoulder.
"Hafiz nak ibu".
"Oh, ok... esok dah Friday, then dah Saturday. Kita boleh pegi jalan2 sama dgn Ayah sekali, dgn Abang Idin & Ameer ok."
"OK. Tapi Hafiz nak ibu".
"Ya lah, ni ibu ada ni".
"Hmm... Hafiz nak ibu. Nak tengok TV dengan ibu".
"Oh.. Nanti ibu balik kerja, kita tengok TV sama-sama eh?"
"Hmmm... tapi ibu balik nanti, Hafiz dah tidur. Hafiz nak ibu".
I was lost for words. I felt the lump in my throat. I hugged him tightly.
Ibu bisik kat telinga dia, "Sorry Hafiz. Ibu banyak kerja kat ofis. Nanti kita tengok TV sama-sama ok?"
I looked at my watch. 6.45 am. Running out of time and had to hit the road.
I had a quick breakfast with Hafiz that morning. In front of the kitchen TV. Just a sip or two of my usual Tesco Coffee and a bite or two of Bibi's french toast. Hafiz minum susu - dalam botol.
"OK Hafiz, Ibu kena pergi kerja la. Nanti lepas mandi, Hafiz pegi sekolah tau?"
"OK. Nanti Hafiz lukis gambar untuk ibu".
"That's my boy! " I kissed him again, both left & right cheeks. Hafiz reached out for my hand, salam & cium tangan ibu.
And off I went to work.
That morning I drove to work with tears.
Lots and lots of tears.