Aminah was sad. This was not uncommon. She was sad every day. Her mother had run
off with a man she met at her workplace last year. Her father was depressed. He
seemed to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Many a night he would come
back crying out, "Why, why did she leave me?" At times, when he spied her
cowering in a corner, he would lay his hands on her. Soon, her body was covered
with welts and bruises.
grades deteriorated. It was unfortunate that the teachers were only interested
in her test results. They nagged at her about her work as her school was in the
top 20 based on national school rankings. She felt that her teachers were not
the ones whom she could confide in about her plans.
One day, her patience gave way and her will to see the miserable day through
wavered. She decided there and then to leave home. "Where?" she wondered. She
did not know. All she knew was that she had to get away from it all: a horrible
father and school.
Packing some necessary documents and a few precious personal belongings, she
fled. She would leave her future to the gods.
The next few days passed in a blur. There was confusion, uncertainty and
suffering. In her heart, she knew that running away would not solve her
problems, but she had to do something. The first night saw her sleeping in the
void deck of an unnamed block of flat near her home. Curiously enough, she did
not feel hungry. Perhaps, she was keeping a wary eye on the strange
surroundings. In addition, she was feeling too miserable herself. Fortunately,
she passed the night undisturbed.
The second day, however, brought fully the realization of her decision to run
away. After a skimpy breakfast as she had to stinge
on her scant savings, she was still hungry. In the afternoon, she walked about
aimlessly in shopping centers to pass the time. By nightfall, she had actually
begun to long for the familiar surroundings of her home. However, passing the
second night peacefully in the void deck she had spent the previous night was
something to be thankful for.
Meanwhile, Mr Ahmad, Aminah's father, had realized her absence. After
checking with teachers, friends and relatives, his initial anger subsided. It
now turned to panic and then to remorse and worry. She was after all his own
flesh and blood. She was merely an innocent victim of his hatred towards her
mother. The police and media were alerted. The once depressed and
inebriated man had become fully aware of his
past and present actions.
On the fourth day of her running away and after a sleepless night, he awoke
to a heavy knocking on his door and excited shouts from his neighbor,
Ali. "Wake up! Wake up! Ahmad! Your daughter has been found." With trembling
hands and a pounding heart, he reached out for the newspaper his friend had
thrust out to him. The title of the article read:
"Missing girl found after narrowly escaping would-be rapists." The article
related that Aminah had spent her third night washing up in a toilet near Ikan
Bus Station. There, she had befriended some illegal workers who had invited her
to their shack. However, just past midnight, they made an attempt to capture
her. One man held her while the other attempted to rape her. Fortunately, her
screams unsettled them. In a moment of inattention from them, she escaped their
clutches and fled from the shack. A chase ensued around Ikan Bus Station.
Fortunately, her cries for help were heard by a group of passers-by. They
gave chase. Her pursuers fled but were apprehended later by the passers-by and
police. Aminah was then held in police custody.
Mr Ahmad rushed to the police station where his daughter was held. There and
then, he understood why the police had not attempted to contact him. His
daughter had told the police her sad story of his abuse. What followed was a
very touching scene. Both father and daughter were allowed a meeting before the
latter was taken away. In that meeting, Mr Ahmad knelt before his daughter and
asked for her forgiveness. She shed tears uncontrollably and nodded.