The Brave Child

I dreamt that my husband came to get me home to Malaysia.

I woke up and jumped out of bed. My husband was due to arrive that very day! My heart pounding with excitement I took a cab to the Greyhound station and there he was, looking none the worse for wear, despite the long trip he’d made, flying to New York and then traveling by Greyhound to Athens.

I’d spent a year at Ohio U in Athens, completed my studies and was ready to leave but we planned to spend a bit of time touring the country before going home to our three-and-a-half year old son, Amir, whom I’d not seen for a year.

At dinner that night I pounded him for news about Amir and about all that was going on at home. And then he told me – we were not going home. It took a long while for that to sink in. My husband wanted to go to school in the US, to do an MBA, and his school of choice was Michigan State University at East Lansing.

What about Amir? I wailed. What about my husband’s job with Shell Malaysia? And what about my sponsor, the MARA Institute of Technology? It sounded very complicated to me but my husband was determined to sort it all out.

So we headed for East Lansing, my husband armed with all the relevant papers. I was amazed when he gained admission very quickly. His resignation letter was graciously accepted by Shell. I called my sponsor expecting the worst. The Director talked excitedly about starting a School of Mass Communications at the Institute and he wanted me to set it up. But my degree was in Guidance and Counseling? Enroll for a Mass Communications program at Michigan State since you’ll be there with your husband, he said. I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. Everything seemed to be falling nicely into place.

We had to bring Amir over as soon as possible. But how? How could a three-and-a-half-year old boy travel all the way from Malaysia to the US on his own? Fortunately we discovered that my husband’s ex-colleague and his family, friend of ours, were then holidaying in Malaysia and could take Amir to London where they lived. And then what? We called the airline to find out if they could arrange for Amir to travel unaccompanied from London to the US. We’ll assign a stewardess to take care of him, they said.

In Malaysia, my father helped get Amir packed and ready to leave. He spent several days in London before we could find someone to accompany him to Detroit, the airport nearest to East Lansing.

I was a nervous wreck thinking about my little boy having to make the long journey with complete strangers. What if he felt cold? What if he was hungry? What if he needed to use the restroom? I spent many a sleepless night with these fears for company.

On the day of his arrival we drove to Detroit. His flight touched down at the scheduled time and we waited anxiously for him to appear. The door opened and a little boy walked in hauling a big suitcase. He gave us a huge smile and flew into our arms.

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