Eventually, I took that step I had wanted to take ages ago. I packed up my clothes and my worldly possession in small boxes and moved out. If this is the only way to save my sanity, let it be. As Kak Za reminded me so often, 'Agak2 menyusahkan, tak payah je la...'

Finally, I'm free!

But as reality sinks in, I looked around my new 'palace' (as Jen joked in her sms) with mixed feelings. After a long day at work, and playing host at official function (my cheeks hurt from forcing myself to smile all the time) etc., I was in no mood to even wave a magic wand. Let alone wave a broomstick. And the room which had been left months ago is in a pitiful condition. I stood, and stared, and stared until I felt the familiar sensation pushing itself upwards from my stomach, to my throat almost choking me.

I have one disease which is despairing me and making life a bit hard for me. I CANNOT stand lizard's dropping (tahi cicak). At any sign of one in my dwelling place (I'm homeless now), I either feel like fainting, or vomitting.

Of course, as the area is situated in a kampung setting, I can expect to see plenty of this vile thing. In fact, Jen told me it was worse last time and she had cleaned up her house so it looks more bearable. I admire Jen's courage to stay for more than one year under this condition. If Jen can do it, I have to force myself to do it too.

I opened the back door and the front door to let in fresh air (finally, I can have fresh air in the house!), turned up the volume of my mp3 (Vertical Horizons - Everything You Want), picked up the broom and swept as if my life depends on it. To distract myself, I thought of funny thoughts (and chuckled by myself remembering Azlan's email on the Malay vampire movie he watched recently with Shah - 'Adakah pontianak mencangkung bawah meja??!'), then to Beloved, and to my website project, my sister and my mom, my half-completed graphic designs waiting for new ideas, and my business trip the next day. I also thought of events in my life, before and after raya. Funny when you think what will make everyone happy does not make anybody happy, including yourself. Funny, funny, funny.

Jen came back home, and I was so pleased to see her. Together, we hauled my things into the swept and mopped room. Then I spread the rug, we moved Jen's mattress into my room (I gave away mine to somebody else) and assembled the DYI shelf. At 1.00 am, the room looks more or less, liveable. Thank you for helping me Jen! Ur a doll! Muacks!

Then came the big moment. When I stepped into the bathroom (gulp), Jen called out to me, 'Feel like in some ulu places, huh? Like kampung house, right? Haha!' I hanged my towel, and replied hesitantly but with confidence, 'Yes. But... I dun really mind now. As long as I have a great housemate. Feel like heavens.' 'You're a doll!' Jen laughed. 'Aww...'

After a quick shower, chit chat session for a while, then prayers. As usual, after moving into a new place, I had to take a bottle of plain water, placed it in front of me and proceeded to recite Yasin and Surah Kursi, as taught by somebody years ago. It's to protect your vicinity from bad elements, be it human or supernatural, the person had advised. Even though my eyes begged me to let them 'close shop', I did not stop until I had recited the last verse, kissed the Quran and then rose to sprinkle the water in four corners of the room.

My phone clock showed it was 2.30 am by the time I finished. A rooster crowed seven times (doesn't he know the time?) and I finally curled myself on my side after I packed my bag for the trip the next day. Yet I couldn't sleep. My body is still trying to adjust myself in this new environment and my mind is programming the message, 'Everywhere and everything is clean as clean.' (which it always does whenever I am in new places)

Huhu. Camne la kalau aku jumpa mak mertua pastu terserlah sangat sifat penggeli aku nih? Aku selalu menafikan yang aku budak bandar, tapi bila bab2 camni, aku memang tak dapat menyembunyikan kegelian aku ngan benda2 kotor. Walaupun aku tak kisah nak bersihkan kalau tak terlalu kotor, aku akan dilanda mimpi buruk, hilang selera makan, tak boleh tido dsb. lepas aku bersihkan rumah. Bakal suami aku mestilah sorang yang tak penggeli, tak pengotor dan suka berkemas – itu satu syarat wajib untuk hidup bahagia ngan aku. Kalau tak... sadaqallahul 'azim je la. Dia dok rumah lain, aku dok rumah lain.

Dan sepanjang malam tu aku tak tido, sampai Subuh. Hmm... biasalah tu. Sebab tulah aku cakap aku nih berpenyakit. Penyakit takut rumah baru & takut kotor. Anyway Jen, thanks so much for putting me up at your house. Apart from the problem which is not your fault, I really like staying at your house although I will take some time to adjust myself. Your sincerity and hospitality really touch my heart and make the place like home. So, thanks so much. I'm so indebted to you.

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