Penaku Patah

One pot of rice to cook

One pot of rice to cook


When I first arrived in Marrakech, there were six other women for me to stare at. One-roomed, two living rooms for seven women to live in easily destroyed any type of privacy.


We would cook 2&1/2 pots of rice for dinner, finishing it off in one eating. We would spread the alas wide open, pots and pans surrounding us, eating in one ginormous talam. Talking and laughing until our day was done. Slept side-by-side in the middle of our soluun(living room), snug into our small frame of a tilam, occasionally nudging our tilam-mates.


If we needed any advice, we would seek Kak Syifa and Kak Aliah, both Masters’ Students and masters on how to live in Morocco by now.

Therefore, when Kak Syifa left, we seemed to lose balance for how heavy of a weight she was on our lives. Then Kak Aliah left, taking away her funny-cute cat memes with her.

I started to like petting cats and haven’t done so since I was seven.


We cooked 1&1/2 pots of rice now. Five of us becoming closer each day. I blame it on the cold weather in early 2018. Cuddling and nudging became a source of heat we heavily depended on. We talked much longer on random topics, picking on each other at any chance, disruptive laughter filling our home. Night arrived and in our soluun we rested.

I came back to Malaysia to find myself sleeping in the living room. Force of habit, I guess.


When Kak Suhailah left for Tetouan, I honestly, honestly thought she was coming back…

-She now studies there, barely cooking any pots of rice for herself.

Then… Kak Aisyah left.


It was 9.30 pm. We had just gotten back from Menara Airport, Marrakesh. The cab driver dropped us a distant from home. We walked on. Dark, yet the red paint on the walls illuminated an orange glow. It revoked countless memories of my housemates and I walking at night-time, out to buy yet another sock or two at the night bazaar 2 minutes from our house. But…this time…“She wouldn’t be coming home with us tonight”.


As per usual when someone leaves, we tidied up and donated off their things. It has been a month since she left us three Malaysian girls to live in Daoudiate, Marrakesh. We only have to cook one pot of rice these days. Leaving half of it for tomorrow.

– Rufaidah Nordin

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