Friday evening, I feel a little bit holy-moly. So, hubby who wanted to go to Tesco dropped me at church around 5.30 pm. Hubby said it saves petrol because my church is midway between Tesco and home. I think he couldn’t wait to plonk me at church so that he can go and shop alone.

Since mass is at 6 pm, I have 30 minutes to kill. So I brought along my Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Alkitab in case I have time to read. I feel like a ‘professional Catholic’, holding a Bible and going to church. I didn’t bother to bring my purse or any handbag. Just holding one Alkitab. Chewah…sunggu alim…..likedat.

I meekly walked into the church building, hugging the Bible and sat where I normally sit. (which is why I forget to pause and pick up some hymn books) Read my Alkitab a bit. Then, the church bells went ‘dong-dong-dong’ and I knew mass is about to start. The bell tolls every hour. Suddenly, I remember that I forgot to take the hymns book. On weekdays, there are no overhead projector so I cannot even recite ‘I believe’ or ‘I confess’. (I know I am bodoh, weekdays masses don’t have these.) I need those red and yellow books or I am totally mute.

I rushed to the bookshelf and it was quite a rush because I know the priest is coming out from that corner any minute. You do not want to bump into priests just before they got on the altar, I tell you. They got this serious looking face so you do not know whether to wish them or just leave them alone to prepare their homily.

The bookshelf is quite a distance from where I was sitting. Some people must have conveniently ‘borrow’ those hymns books home so there are very few left. Whatever there is, it is placed far away. I ran to the shelf, took the yellow hymn and the red hymn book. Went back to my pew and sit down.

Suddenly, one lady with white hair was bending down and whispering to me, in my ears. I pun terkejut because I was sitting alone in one corner and out of nowhere, someone is at my ears.

All I heard was OPEN.

I was holding those hymnal books and they were placed on my lap. I was thumbing through, wondering if it is the yellow book or the red book.

The lady was whispering and pointing to my lap. And again, I heard OPEN.

So, my stupid mind went > > > > > OPEN > > > > LAP > > > > JEANS > > > > ZIP.

My brain went OMYGOD, IS MY ZIP OPEN?

I asked her again, “Sorry, what were you saying again?” while I scoured my lap and jeans. Eh, I am wearing a big KINGKONG T-shirt, courtesy of Toshiba Laptop. The t-shirt is damn long, so zip open, also see nothing what?

And finally, I heard clearly, “Which opening hymn, what page?”

Oh dear….the poor lady. She has difficulty hearing and she has some problems with her vocal chords. She isn’t whispering but just that her voice is such.

I told her, “Oh…opening hymn? I am sorry, I didn’t quite get what the commentator said just now. But I know it is God Reigns.”

She went back to her pew which is two rows behind me. And the priest came out, from the other side.

So fast forward to later in the night.

I told my son the story and he said, “My ma is always so siao wan lah…”

Both of us got down to go to One-Stop to exchange some DVDs. I sub-consciously touched my jeans’ zip just to make sure. I told my son, “Eh, my confidence pecah ledi, now I am so conscious of open zip.”

He replied, “Scared what, not like you got balls. Zip open, also not like your balls can rolll out. DOH.”

Now, rewind back to church again. When I see these elderly folks, I am always humbled. Some of them are not very strong anymore. Some of them have problems with their hearings. Some have problems with their eyes. A few can’t walk much. But they never fail to be there, with their peaceful and calm selves, cheerful and very welcoming. When I see them, I know there is God. Only God can draws people like them to be there. Otherwise, many would probably be in bed, at home, waiting for the end.

I said a little prayer for them. Actually, it is quite a long prayer because the priest asked that no offertory hymn be sung. Instead, he wants us to keep a moment of silence and pray for faith and healing. I have very little ask for myself so I pray that God keeps them strong in faith and gives courage to face the remaining years of their lives, however difficult they are.

Now, I think I better don’t wear anything with zips, buttons or ribbons for a long time. The urge to touch and check my zip is just too great.

You better check your zip too? Is your fly open? Elephant trunk saying hi to the world? Pink lace showing? Bwahahaha…..