The taxi stopped in front of me after I had made a hand gesture to stop it.
“Come on! Get in!” The driver was trying to be friendly.
I suddenly folded my newly-bought bike which could be folded into two and that was the main reason I purchased it. I put it inside the boot of the taxi.
“Where do you want to go?” the taxi driver asked me politely while looking at the rear mirror.
“Home. Taman Iskandar Bestari.” He drove me back home. I saw his name at the tag in his taxi.
‘SUDIN’ was the name written in capital letters. It was his nickname. Then, he asked me what I was doing with my bike. Then, I started to tell him the story of my past glory.
Since primary school up to secondary school, I used to ride my bike to school every single day. It was not the fancy bicycle that we have commonly seen today, but it could get the job done. 8 kilometres per day bike ride and it was a piece of cake for me. I could even play football later that day.
Back in the old days, I was fit, as fit as fiddle. I could do everything that I wanted. Sometimes, I thought that I was still fit as I used to be when the current evidence suggested otherwise. So I told my wife that I was hiding my six packs out of ‘modesty’. Then I thought that it was normal for married men to develop belly after he said, “I do.”
“You have done a type of injustice towards marriage institution,” Sudin uttered after a while listening to my story. He seemed dissatisfied.
“What? How come?”
“You have said that marriage puts you on weight.”
I nonchalantly justified that claim by saying that increasing in weight equated to increasing in ‘happiness’.
“Boy, you keep blaming the external for what is clearly internal problem.” He advised me.
“It is because of our own laziness.” Then, I realised that it was my own laziness that put me on this weight.
Back in my college years ago, my fitness level slowly deteriorated because of lacking in exercise. I knew that I was not in my best physical shape because of my own laziness. Delusion upon delusion. I said that because I did not want my ego being hurt. Well, it actually hurt.
“Very few of us have the decency to do something about it,” he said again in a serious tone.
I had not just remembered my old glory, but I lived in it. In the effort to rip the delusion and stay grounded in reality, I bought a new bike. It was a folding bike. I decided to ride my bike all the way home. In total, 10 kilometres more or less. I started to ride it from the store where I bought the bike.
So, I thought, “It is a piece of cake. I have done better.” In the end, no cake was seen. It was indeed difficult. After 5 minutes cycling, I was exhausted and panting like a dog. That was why I stopped the taxi.
Our conversations ended when we had arrived at my house. I gave him the money and he said thanks. Before he left me, he said, “Perhaps you are a loving husband, perhaps you were physically fit, perhaps you were straight ‘As’ student. But the real question to ponder upon us is, ‘Who are you now?”
He left me with that. The experience that I had with Sudin really made me contemplate and motivate me to do better next time. I took my bike out of the taxi boot and waved him goodbye. I whistled and entered the house and straight away headed to my stationary bike and I pedalled it for 5 kilometres. My wife looked at me, feeling puzzled.