A scream ripped through the air then a loud shushing followed after, but it was too late. I was already roused – irritated at that – from my Sunday slumber. The noise emanated from a group of young children off to the mosque for the seventh day of Ramadan. Annoyingly, it was not your usual holy silent troop to the mosque. Of course, I’ve forgotten for a moment that they’re kids. Before that was the incessant alarm of a hand phone. It’s a Sunday and yet I’ve been roused from my sleep! The absence of the bread-on-wheels circling Prima Lingkar Asri was a welcome respite. On regular days, at the crack of dawn, he’d be playing the little jingle, reminding the early risers not to forget to get their buns for breakfast and their children’s packed snack. I was miffed. There was really something unthinkable about waking up before six on the weekends.
Fully roused, I sit still and wait for everything to realign, to orient myself with the day’s routine. It’s a Sunday but not a regular Sunday. It’s Ramadan Sunday, which means 24 days to go before Idul Fitri. I shouldn’t really gripe about waking up earlier than usual. Was it only a little while back that I felt that serendipitous solitude at 7-11 one fine early morning? My musings, provoked by the impromptu solitude, suddenly hurled me back to Z and Ramadan. Garbed in his songkok and traditional Muslim attire, he’d always be toting porridge back to my flat from the mosque after his prayers. I’d heat it up and dinner was served. I remember him mentioning that tables heavily laden with porridge would be lined up outside the mosque for buka puasa, and everyone could just pick up a bowl or bowls.
The arrival of the meals-on-wheels vendors outside Prima Lingkar Asri heralds the coming of buka puasa in Bekasi. The usual spot is devoid of the usual food trolleys in the morning but they return shortly before buka puasa. One is busy frying sliced banana dipped in batter while another readies the coconut juice and other drinks. I don’t see any porridge but I surmise that the other stall across the pisang goreng and coconut juice is preparing something similar. My favourite Zuppa Soup isn’t going to set up business, not until after Ramadan. Owner Ibu Ine had mentioned that her cream soup and baked macaroni would only be available at Galaxy during August.
Musing further, if Z and I were together in Bekasi, it’d be pisang goreng and coconut juice for buka puasa and I would have also greeted him, “Selamat menunaikan ibadah puasa, Hon”.