Suba Aluth Awuruddak Wewa
Walking back home last night with my brother, we noticed a familiar figure at the top of our lane. As he recognized us he took his hands together and greeted us, and he wished us a happy new year. It was Jagath, the guy who convinced me 2 years back to quit smoking, even if it was only for a short while.
I hadn’t met him in a long time, and I still owed him a drink, but there was something about him this time. Maybe it was just the fact that it was dark, the only light source being the sulfur lamps of the air force camp, or maybe it was fate. He told us that he would be going to Korea soon, I didn’t believe him.
“Boru boru”, I said. “Aththa aththa”, he assured me. He didn’t seem as excited as he was the last time he told me about his plan to leave the country. At that point I wondered if he was going to ask us for help, financial assistance or something, but he went on instead.
He spoke of his mother, he had never mentioned her before. He told us how she had fallen gravely ill, I couldn’t understand every word of his Sinhala, but I could make out that it wasn’t at all a good thing. He then told us about his father, how he had injured his foot, at least that was all I could gather from what he was saying.
He was still holding each of our hands throughout this entire time, his eyes moving from one to the other, sometimes unable to hold his gaze. His voice changed for a split second, as he told us that he has no new year this year, “mata awuruddak nehe”. It was then that I realized both his parents had passed on.
He told us that he no longer had a will to live, he told us that he wouldn’t be alive much longer. He looked on to a light-post behind us and said that soon we’d see his face in black and white on that very same place. He told us that he had no one now, no one to go back to, “budu saranai”, he said.
I couldn’t even mention the word “God” or even the concept, to someone who doesn’t believe in the existence, to someone whom their parents are the only thing they have, “God” would probably sound sardonic. I kept quiet.
I let go of his hand and he rubbed his eyes, I’d never seen his eyes tear before. We asked about Korea, what chance he had of getting a job there. He said it could go either way, he was uncertain, but there was very little hope in his voice.
He told us of the work he was doing here, the salary he earns is gone within a few days. But before this it didn’t matter, as long as he had someone to return to. He told us that he’s alone.
He told us he’d be leaving at 5.45 in the morning, he didn’t ask us for anything. Before we went my brother only said one thing, “for your good heart, I’m sure you’ll get a job”. And with that we left him, I don’t know if I’ll see him again.
Oh, and Happy New Year.