My worst nightmare ever is to lose Zareef in a public place. So, just imagined how I felt when it became true last week at MidValley.
Both of us (I'm notoriously well knowned to drag Zareef for my shopping rendezvous when everyone else is slogging away at the office), went to MidValley after finishing my chores at the office. My plan was to grab lunch, do the groceries and get home before everyone else shoots off from the workplace to avoid traffic jams.
We had lunch then it was off to Carrefour for groceries. Nak buat cerita, Zareef fell in love with a bicycle there and he simply had to have it. Given that Zareef has been having 2nd hand toys for the longest time ever, I didn't have the heart to say no to his pleas for a new black shiny bike. I told him, just this once I'll succumb to him. Otherwise, it's a definitely no-no.
Since we've just moved to our new home, my trolley was filled to the brim with all kinds of stuffs from pots to storage bins to perishable items. All this while, Zareef was happily cycling around Carrefour on his new bike while happily ringing the bell around corners signaling that he was coming through.
After paying for everything, we slowly made our way to the lift near Manhattan Fish Market, me pushing the trolley and Zareef cycling his bike. We got into the lift heading down to P2. When the door opened, I got out first because I wanted to hold the door for Zareef to get out. Unfortunately, I wasn't fast enough and the door closed on Zareef! I was horrified!! I pressed the button repeatedly but the door won't open. Instead, it started to make its way up. Ya Allah... nak gugur jantung dibuatnya. I prayed and prayed that Zareef would stay put in the lift. The lift made its way up to the 5th floor and down. That was the longest wait that I had to endure.
When the lift arrived and opened its door at P2, it was empty! Oh my God! Now, I'm a total wreck. I started crying cry my eyes out. I didn't know what to do at first. I was rendered helpless. I went in the lift and decided to stop floor by floor to search for my boy but it was hopeless. He was nowhere to be seen. I went back to LG and got out. There were a couple of MFM's staff there and I asked whether they've seen a boy on his bike get out of the lift.
"Ada kak. Dia keluar lift naik basikal. Dia carik akak kot"
I was devastated. How was I supposed to find Zareef in a mall as huge as MidValley? I cried and cried. People looked but I didn't care a hoot. A lovely kind lady approached me and asked what's wrong. I told her I just lost my 4 year old son.
"Oh my goodness. This is bad. Never mind, I'll helf you find him"
I looked at her and could only manage a gratitude smile for I was so caught up in crying for my lost son.
"Why don't we go to the information counter and ask the people there to make a page about your son?"
Wonderful idea I thought! Apasal la aku tak pikir pasal benda nih?! I called B and told him I lost Zareef feeling all wretched and useless for losing my son.
"You kat mana?"
"I kat MidValley"
"Ok. I'm going there now"
While I was on the escalator heading upwards towards center court, I heard a page.
"Perhatian kepada semua ibubapa. Kepada mana2 ibubapa yang kehilangan anak lelaki berbangsa Melayu, berumur sekitar 3 hingga 4 tahun, memakai baju biru dan seluar cokelat, sila datang ke kaunter informasi sekarang juga"
I felt a relief washed over me like I have never felt before. I thanked God that nothing bad had happened to Zareef. From far I could see my boy at the information counter crying his eyes out. I rushed over and swept him in my arms hugging him tightly, all the while crying myself thanking God that he was safe and sound.
"I'm so sorry I lost you. I'm so sorry I was careless. I'm so sorry that you had to endure a traumatic moment", I whispered in his ears. It was a tearful and emotional reunion for the both of us.
The undercover security guard told me that a couple found him in the lift all alone going up and down. Concerned for his safety, they contacted a security guard and told her of a lost boy in the lift. She coerced him to come out of the lift but he wouldn't budge. She asked him, "ayah mana?" He replied, work. She asked him, "mama mana?" He pointed his fingers downwards. Blessed him, my boy for knowing exactly where I was. Then she asked him, "baru beli basikal ke?" and he nodded. Seeing that Zareef would not get out of the lift, she told him that she will help him to find his mummy. Only when hearing this, did Zareef agree to follow her and she brought him to the information counter.
I was eternally and still am grateful to the security guard. May God bless her kind soul! The security guard then accompanied us to our car seeing that both of us weren't in the right frame of mind. He praised Zareef for being a smart boy and being wary of strangers and for trying his hardest to find me.
We went home immediately both of us quiet having just endured a harrowing experience. I was so relief to reach our sanctuary. I carried a sleeping Zareef in and we cuddled on the sofa waiting for B to reach home.
I simply cannot put to words the feelings that I went through when I lost Zareef for a good 25 minutes. It may be short to you but to me it was the longest 25 minutes of my life. Horrible images passed through my mind but I am so thankful that nothing of that kind happened to him or else, I can never forgive myself.
That night, I held him and hugged him to sleep, never ever wanting to let him go. He's my life, my soul and my love. I could not imagine even for a second losing him but I had. God gave me a second chance to prove that I can once again be a better mom. And I thank Allah for that.