Le Big Easy.

 

That was his email. Thus his name, Tuan Senang Besar. As I drove from my house to my friend Suzie’s office this morning, I basically written an eulogy for Kharis in my head. But everything got mixed up with the lack of sleep and the cluttered memories I tried to dig while steering the wheel through the traffic. I was pretty much still sobbing, either from the fact that I already had eyebags before I heard the news, or for the fact I can’t really remember our last conversation.

 

I met Kharis a few years ago, maybe early last year, I think. I have heard of him from my brother, Muid who was doing some freelance job for the foundation he used to work in. We met at TTDI Lembah Kiara Park for running. He was Muid’s and Suzie’s friend and that was my first ever evening jog routine. He introduced himself as TSB, but I insisted in knowing his real name. I don’t think I want to call a true friend by their pseudonym. And a true friend he became.

 

There’s something about Kharis that stood out. His honesty. Like they say, truth hurts. And truth is harmless. Again, that’s him. He’ll say what’s on his mind, what he thinks, and he doesn’t give a shit. Rafai earlier corrected me on this, he does give a shit. He’ll stand or sit beside you like a guy who knows it all. And you’ll just nod and listen and smile. And when you say your own mind, he’ll accept it. Because that’s what he wants you to do, accept his opinion as his opinion and he’ll let you with yours. And he earns my respect for being that.

 

We’ve gtalked, chatted, BBMed, tweeted through our friendship. He acts like a concerned big brother to me. He has helped me get some freelance jobs. His network is so massive, you know he’s born to do Public Relations. And he always treat me like a little brother. Why ‘a brother’? Well, last year for my birthday, he promised me that he’ll buy me lunch. So we picked a date and despite going to our agreed venue which is closer to my logistic, he asked me to come closer to where he was at, at SS14, PJ. So I went in the midst of lunch hour traffic, and struggled to find a parking, met him at the food court. He said the nasi ayam there was good. We ordered and we ate. As we finished, he gave me money and told me to go pay at the counter. Yes, that’s my birthday treat, which I gladly go pay using his money. Exactly like a little brother, he treated me. But a brother, family, nonetheless.

 

Recently at Yuna’s DFP show, I was surprised when I bumped into him, his wife Yanty, his sister and brother-in-law. I’m surprised because I remembered how he was ranting about how bad Yuna was and he spoke his mind quite loudly actually. It was on twitterverse and Facebook. But a man with conscience, he said, it’s only fair if he give her a try, watch a live show of hers and then make a revised judgement. And he did, which he end up liking her.

 

I remember one of our random breakfast outing. I was at home on a Sunday, bored, and he gtalked me. The next thing I know, we were at D’Cengkih TTDI, me having my first nasi ambeng. Just the two of us. Some quality time. Brother-talk. Like a big brother, he gives me relationship advises. He told me how he courted his wife Yanty, how he traveled from PJ to Kajang during their courtship. At the time, I was courting someone who lives in Ipoh. And Kharis became Doctor Love for a week or two. He’ll get excited when he see my lovey dovey tweets. He’ll be like, “Weh, bila nak nasi minyak.” He was more excited than my own bestfriend.

 

Kharis has motivated me a lot with my running races. He’s always there to share advise, although sometimes we find his advise a bit too unnecessary. But I admire his determination in his runs. We went to a few races together, but it was the Larian Bersama Orang Asli at a Temuan settlement off Jalan Genting Sempah that we bonded more. After all, it was a 2 hours of jungle trekking than of running. He introduced me to the triathletes who were there. It’s amazing how most of them are seasoned runners and fitter than me. I remembered him doing a tribute 42 km KL Marathon for his late father-in-law. I wish I can do one for him, if I’m capable of it, but for now, this Saturday, we’ll run our 10km for him.

 

When I arrived at the finish line for my SHAPE 12.3km Night Run last July 31st, he was already there cheering me, shouting me to run. I was sprinting despite being so tired. It felt like a moment of victory, as if there was a ribbon I will run into and break. But he was there, running with me till the very end.

 

I can’t believe our last BBM was him not being able to find me during the start of Adidas King of the Road run last Oct 2. But he admire my determination because it was my first 16.8km. I saw him last, as I was passing by him at the other side of the highway. I waved but he didn’t see me. Then he had to leave for a kenduri and couldn’t join us for breakfast. All we could think of was TSB FFKing us again. Later he gtalked me apologising for not coming to my open house which was held a week earlier. I told him it’s okay, there’ll be next time.

 

When I received a call this morning, I wasn’t prepared for any of this. I slept at 6am (blame Gossip Girl Season 4), and at 8.45am, my friend Adi called me. “Abby, Kharis passed away while running this morning.” I was just idle. After I hang up, I started crying. I broke down again when I saw Suzie. And when I saw the vacant look in Yanty’s face. And when I saw Rafai. And when I saw his mother. And again when I saw Yasmin, Kharis’s 4 year old precious daughter he often refers to as ‘kiddo’.

 

As the ustad read the talkin, the only thing that goes on repeat was this, “Setiap yang bernyawa, pasti akan mati.” I looked at the trees and people around the cemetary. Semua orang masih bernyawa. Except for Kharis Idris. He stopped breathing when he collapsed while doing his morning run nearby the MPPJ Stadium. He died alone until a passer-by found him, dialed the last called number on his cellphone and called the ambulance. Kharis Idris, a 35 year old man who left a gorgeous wife and an adorable little girl to continue his journey on Earth while he meets his Maker.

 

As I ponder about my own life and circumstances, I pray for all the strength in this world for his wife, daughter and family. It’s not going to be easy.

 

Si besar berlari termengah-mengah
Langkahnya kecil bagaikan menari
Kaca mata bersinar, senyumnya megah
Tiba di garisan penamat disambut sahabat ramai di sisi.

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