First time tulis dalam English. Obviously not from scratch, just a rewrite atau reconstruct daripada cerpen Perompak Hati yang saya tulis suatu masa dahulu. tiga tahun lepas kalau tak silap. Bagi matang sikitlah kan sebab dulu tulis macam mushy sangat.. hehe.
There are always two sides of a coin,
so does our heart.
[Short Story] The Heart Thief
The song ‘Qabil dan Habil’ by Hijaz immediately bombs up in my Proton Iswara when I start the engine. It was parked pretty much close to my mutarabbi’s house whose also named Hijaz. I relax a while on the seat just to excuse some tiredness I acquired from my job as a Chemistry lecturer at Sungai Kicap Matriculation College and conducting my usrah right afterwards. As my Blackberry 9780 caught my attention, I grab it from the dashboard and straight away open my twitter apps. And, there he is. Tweet from a popular blogger known as Enjel-Patah-Gigi. He is my fellow brothers-in-Islam, who is also on the path of dakwah and tarbiyah .
‘Tolong tolong! Saya dirompak!’
‘Hah?? Siapa rompak? Apa yang dirompak?!’ *cemas*
‘Ikhwah perompak. Dia rompak hati saya.’
So, the tweet said. I found myself in a broad smile, even broader than the smile of Joker from Batman Series. Why is that? That is because I felt that label ‘perompak’ applied the most to me as I was once called ‘perompak’ back in my schooldays… except back then, it was on different term.
Veryyy long time agooo…
“It’s all yours, was it?” The voice is bothering me again. I look at him standing beside the stairs. Since we are on the top floor of the hostel, the wind is pretty strong. I can see his ‘baju melayu’ waving.
“Which ‘it’ are you referring to?” I ask sarcastically while raising my left eyebrow. It is not an insignificant question anyway; I need to know which troubles I caused that captured his attention. But… I actually do know which event he is talking about; must be the one that forced the warden to call the ambulance. A form two boy who I hit for pleasure was found unconscious in the laundry room… with bleeding nose and bruises all over his body. However, it is not because of my ‘hit and run’ action that knocked him out. It is because I made him smelled the chloroform. Haha. I grin while I recall the event, which upsets the guy in front of me.
“I know you do understand me. You beated Ruslan, did you? Why Faiq? He didn’t do anything wrong to you.” I can hear angry tone in his voice.
“Do you have any proof then?” I reply, still in my sarcastic tone and maintained grin. I have no intention to deny his accusation since it was really my doing. Everyone knows that but no one has comes forward with evidence. My status as teachers’ pet due to my intelligence and talent in playing football secures me as well. They genuinely think I would be the next Didier Drogba, Malaysian version. Like, seriously??
“Proof? Why would you need proof when we have Allah to prove it? He is watching us right now, nothing can escape Him. He is the CCTV.” I pull my face away. I make sure my heart is as hard as stone before I answer to him, or instead of him maybe I could say his name which is Hafiz.
“That is fairly a good speech by you… a star prefect! Now, please don’t mind my business. Take care of your own.” I start to feel bored with our conversation as the same questions are thrown to me every time he confronts me. It feels like you are watching the same drama again and again. Poor me! Hafiz shows no sign of giving up.
“Come on Faiq. Tell me, why? For the past four years, you were behaving well. Why all of sudden you changed? What happened to you really?” Hafiz attacks me with a bunch of questions. I feel upset. This is the sort of feeling that can turn my temper switch on. I can feel my fingers slowly form a puncher.
“Stop asking question and leave me alone, please… “ I breath heavily. Anytime now, my puncher will fly. Hafiz takes a deep breath.
“I can’t leave you alone, Faiq. Please, let me help you.” Hafiz ask. I clinch my teeth. Help? I don’t need any help. No one had ever helped me when I need help the most. My parents’ divorce left me powerless. No one had helped me back then. When finally I got power by being what I am today, you want to help? Thanks but yuck! I throw a punch at Hafiz’s chest. He falls on the floor, trying to hold the pain. He is suffering, bending his body like lobster on a hot pan, so I better make my leave.
“Next time, it is you in the ambulance.” I give him a sharp glimpse before running down the stairs. Next in my teasing plan has something to do in ironing room. Let Hafiz know. Muhammad Faiq never stops.
“ It is unbelievable! We now have a thief in SMK Bebas Pencuri!” Sir Harun Ar-Rasyid or commonly known as Sir Har opens his speech at the morning assembly. His voice is intense. His eagle eyes coldly look at each student in every queue. I raise my left eyebrow while stalking on other students’ reactions. It was obvious that all of them are still left in the dark, no understanding of what Sir Har is talking about. Which robbery had involved students from their school? Habib Jewels, wealthy people, or bank?
“I am not referring to a thief who robs valuable things. What I mean is… “ Sir Har speaks word by word, projecting how serious he is about the issue.
“A thief who robs others’ peacefulness by creating troubles, commotions, bullies and so much more. He also robs our time to clean up his mess, robs our safety and leave us in terror, fear that we might be his next victim… he robs our pride as a community until we doubt each other’s trust. In brief, he is a thief who robs our heart and breaks our psyche.” The speech was so clear that it annoys me. I bite my lips. I sure know that Sir Har is talking about me. Since his first arrival two weeks ago, I am not as free as I used to be. The phrase ‘teacher’s pet’ does not exist in his dictionary. Additionally, he was also assigned as a discipline teacher, always a few seconds behind my back after I finished making trouble. He may not able to find me yet but I still dislike his speech. I take my black-framed glasses off and the world instantly disappears into a blur, including Sir Har’s face.
“Sounds familiar, huh?” A cynical voice reaches my ears. I stun a bit before acting normal again, trying to cover my initial response. Hafiz is standing close to my body so I can hear his whisper. I smirk at him.
“Dare to care? Impressive!” I reply back. Hafiz grins, like he is expecting that kind of answer from me. He pats my back a couple of times and walks back to the line of school prefects. I breathe out some unsatisfied feeling. The grin on Hafiz’s face irritates me. I feel like he has no fear of me which is a no-no situation. Everyone should feel scared when I am present. That is a must and if anything opposite happens, I will do anything to turn it the other way around. Sir Har’s speech is now out of my attention. I busy myself trying to pull something that should shake and warn everyone including Hafiz.
“Dee, give me your pencil lead case,” demand me from the boy standing in front of me. I know he has one because he always brings his bulky stationary case wherever he goes. Without asking further question, Dee passes me his Stabilo pencil lead case. I take my ruler from the back of my organizer and a number of orange rubber bands from my pocket. I use some tricks to make a handmade rubber band-bulleted pistol and finally, smile at my handwork. Carefully, I hook a rubber band at the end of the ruler, stretch it backwards and hook it on the Stabilo. I hold my pistol tight and ready for action. I search for my first target which was pretty easy since we are in school hall. I pull the bottom end of Stabilo and here we go…
“Ouch!” The scream starts. I fire my rubber bands one after another and I kind of enjoy the situation. The silent atmosphere suddenly turns into a chaos. Sir Har speech closure hangs. He startle at the unexpected event. Teachers get up from their seats and looking at us panicking.
“Ouch!” I hit someone’s cheek.
“Ouch!” Another hit on someone’s head.
“Ouchhhhh!” A girl get a hit on her back. And the ‘ouch’ continues for a few minutes before someone twists my arms to the back and push me to knee on the floor. What the heck…
“Stop it!” Here he is again. All students are looking at us right now. Pufff! Don’t look at me! I am not a celebrity!
“Let me go!” I try to escape but it seems that Hafiz holds me firmer. And out of sudden, Sir Har and the principal are standing right in front of us.
“Muhammad Faiq Danial, surprise, surprise…” Sir Har raises his left eyebrow like I used to do. Jerk! I scream inside.
“Bring him to my office,” order the principal. And so, my ‘very-close’ friend drags me out from the hall, watched by a school of spectators. What an epic fall, I guess.
It has been a week since my arrestment. I got to wash all students’ laundries for two weeks, helping in the dining hall’s kitchen for a month and some more ‘charity’ work as my punishment. I don’t mind all of that. The real impact that hits me is I am back to who I am when my parents first divorced. A powerless, rejected person. The students are no longer afraid of me. Some of them are courageous enough to tease me. They pour ketchup in the washing machine, switch off the washing machine while it is running, and the worst part of all is calling me the ‘heart-thief’. I hate the name. I keep my mouth shut and as far as I can remember, I only speak when the teachers ask me to answer their question in class. There are still some teachers who still love me; my mischievous behavior during last assembly is considered as naughty pranks only. But… the numbers are not enough for me to have my good reputation back. So, here I am now. Ruined.
This afternoon, as I am washing dishes at the back of the kitchen, Hafiz approaches me, holding his food tray. I suspect that he is going to throw the food on me but he didn’t. He smiles and asks if I would like to join him eating lunch. I am surprised but I attempt to hide it.
“No!” I give him a short answer. I feel uncomfortable actually. He is coming with some friends. I am emotionally mashed up. I feel guilty as they are also my victims in one of my ‘crimes’. I am embarrassed too because back then, I was too much cocky. Hafiz does not response to my answer. He walks to the table where his friends are seating. Once in a while, I glance at him and so does he. I took a deep breath when I see Hafiz and his friends are walking towards me. There is no food tray this time so I don’t have to worry about being poured with leftover foods. Rizal speaks first.
“Faiq, you are too busy in the kitchen. Let’s have some fun, shall we?” I am blurred. I stop my work and look at them in puzzle. Rizal’s intonation sounds friendly but I used to practice same trick to lure other students into my trap. Realizing that I did not understand what they mean, Hairul opens his mouth.
“We are planning to go for bowling this evening. And Hafiz here, promises to buy us an ice cream each before we come back.” Hairul said with a big grin on his face. Hafiz chuckled. I give a narrow smile. It is hard to believe that someone is asking me to go outing with them after what I have done. Most surprising is that the person asking is the one that get me caught, not to mention red-handed. I am not convinced.
“And why me? I am the ‘heart-thief’, remember?” I try to remind them but all they do are laughing. Hafiz pats my back and says,
“There is another meaning to ‘heart-thief’ you have not explored yet. It can be the definition given by Sir Har or it can be the opposite… “
“You can start exploring the new meaning of ‘heart-thief’ by joining us this evening,” Rizal trying to assure me. I am moved at how pure their hearts are. They are ready to forgive and forget my wrongdoings. In addition to that, they also are happy to support me and get my life straight again by introducing the good ‘heart-thief’. I never thought of a good ‘heart-thief’ before. If there is a good ‘heart-thief’, it is my second chance. I am more than willing to take it.
“So you think I can be a good ‘heart-thief’ and clean up my name?” I am sick of being the troublemaker anyway… especially when I lose my power. Maybe it is time I try to be good again. All three of them nod their heads.
“But, only if…” I raise my left eyebrow for that. Is there any terms and conditions applied? “Only if?” Hairul smile at my impatience.
“Only if you ask for it from Allah.” Hairul completes his sentences while his friends agree. And for the second time, I am touched. The word Allah has long lost from my life. To hear it after a very long time (except when there is Azan) almost make me tear. I am satisfied.
“Okay.” I agree to the plan and we are deal.
And so that is my story as a heart-thief. Soon after that, the name ‘heart-thief’ is still my nickname but it is then on good term. After I join happy circle or also known as usrah, I totally forgot about that until Enjel-Patah-Gigi brings up the topic. It feels good to recall that memory and I found Hlovate’s quote,
Everyone has a past. Everyone lives a present. Everyone deserves a future.
to be true. I love the fact that I am now a heart-thief who steals other people’s heart to bring them closer to Allah and building up another generation of heart-thief.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
I turn my head to the right and Hijaz is standing there. I lower down the window and hear him asking.
“Why are you not leaving yet? Is there any problem?” I smile.
“I am just relaxing for a while. I am leaving now, my dear bro,” reply me. I lower the handbrake and start to drive. As the song Qabil and Habil plays for its tenth time, I hear Hijaz shouting,
“Drive carefully my dearest murabbi. I’ll be missing you!” I grin while I elevate my window back and continue driving.
p/s: pardon my grammar, thanks!