Of all the years that I’ve been going through, I have to say that the best ever year in my life has to be 1997. The year 1997 was a very special in my life, not least because of many milestones that have happened in my life.
The year was the time where I finally graduated from high school and entering the adulthood. It was the year where I learn learn to live away from my parental boundaries and exploring the world outside. It was the first time I live away in overseas country and learn how to adjust to life in foreign society.
And the best of all, it was also the first time I fell in love with a woman….and getting madly in love and feeling passionate about her. To be honest, my love story with her is what actually motivates me to write this story.
What was supposed to be a brief excerpt of the highlights of the year turned into a lengthy story!
So the story begins here.
It was the last day of 1996. We were having a party in our house where our extended family from my father’s side would gather to celebrate my father and my (now late) uncle’s birthday. Although their birthday actually fall on 30th December, to make the party more lively, it would normally deferred by a day so we can also celebrate the New Year eve too.
The birthday and New Year party was rousing one. Everyone enjoy it, we had great dinner, exchanging stories and jokes. It is one of a several family gathering events in our extended family that we would normally take each year, aside of Eid gathering.
Typical of year end family gathering in my house. This one was taken in 2007, or 10 year after the story took place. I can be seen sitting on lower right, in blue shirt.
As the night progresses, some family members headed home as they were too tired. Some such as my parents, siblings, my father’s younger brother and his wife, and also my father’s youngest brother who is a very comical and entertaining figure stay awake. Since we want to enjoy the night, our discussions were more sedated and serious. Sometime it was accompanied by some bottled sparkling apple juice drink, or even liquor.
As we enjoyed our conversation, the clock is ticking at 12, and the fireworks event in the nearby mall started erupting, marking the beginning of the brand new year. Happy New Year 1997!
Suddenly my auntie and my uncle shook everyone’s hand, congratulating me and also every one for the New Year. This gesture is quite unusual as I never had something like this before or since then. We normally shook hand during Eidul Fitri, but never in New Year Eve.
But whatever that is, this gesture is later seen as an omen, that the year will be a beautiful one. I didn’t realize that what await me would be a surreal one, something that will change my perception of the world.
But back then, I had no clue of what lies ahead and what does the future have for me…..