There are monsters amongst us and all it takes for them to pounce is a split second lapse of concentration.
My heartfelt prayers go to the parents of missing 5-year old Nurul Nadirah Abdullah in their time of grief.
Amin to her being safe return, and soon.
Yes; at such a vulnerable young age she shouldn’t have been out running errands of older children and adults, but it is far easier for us who’re not hit by such tragic and painful events to utter judgmental statements.
Only recently I had a similar momentary lapse which could have easily turned tragic.
In a rush from afternoon (religious) school pickup and returning home, I had stopped at a Hypermarket near my house to buy a much needed fluorescent bulb.
My two girls wanted to follow and a quick and sharp “No” turned to “Okay, but no shopping” when they sulked.
Both in tow, I went to a DIY store and quickly grabbed a unit before proceeding to the cashier to test and pay for the items but the testing took a while as the girl manning the cash register poked about.
Minutes later, money and item were exchanged and off we went to my (then-pregnant) wife waiting at the Hypermarket car park.
An initially-curious-turned-harrowing conversation ensued as we were sauntering down the escalator.
“Abah, Adik mistook someone of calling out to her just now,” said the sister to a grimaced protest from her younger sibling.
I was immediately all ears: “What?”
“She thought a man was calling out to her just now. Turned out his friend was near us.”
My mind was a mixed of zipping thoughts as I stuttered a quick succession of questions: Who was it, when and what happened.
A male staff of the store. During testing and she was nearly walking over to the man the split second of realizing that it wasn’t her at all that he was motioning to.
Right there I developed a cold sweat and a heavy feeling of guilt enveloped me.
Fortunately the incident was genuine. Fortunately the store was sparse with shoppers. Well lit and open. Fortunately nothing untoward had occurred.
Had it been one of those slicks, devious and thoroughly evil monsters masquerading as fellow men and women, though …
I sushed my mind from such thoughts but they didn’t go away. Not for a long, long while.
Later, I got a good tongue lashing from my wife. We all did.
My youngest in forgetting the constant reminder to not respond to strangers’ beckoning. Her sister for not being more protective of her sibling.
And, ME for being the neglecting adult in the midst of children innocent.
Yes; be wary of the monsters walking amongst us.
BUT they depend entirely on us slipping.
A few seconds. That’s all they need.