Some time ago I was at a surau at my prayer mat to pray when I instinctively turned around to find a young teenage girl looking down at her pool of stomach contents. I watched her mom roll her eyes at her and left her just like that. My mother was a perfectionist woman who gave me that look whenever I did something wrong as a child too. The look that only heightened fear and diminished any sense of real confidence in a person. I did not want the cycle to go on.
Immediately I abandoned my praying intentions and rushed to the alone girl with my bag. I’m known as Doraemon in my family, so my bag has everything. Lots and lots of tissues I offered her and even helped her push the spew away from other people who were there to pray. We covered it with tissues. She looked confused, alone, and I can probably tell, sad.
“Are you having a headache?” I asked.
She nodded solemnly, and I offered her a mint. I happened to have a paper bag and I opened it up and taught her to scoop up her vomit (using the lots and lots of tissues) into the bag.
Her mother returned with a cleaner and pointed it to the cleaner, and she brought her daughter to the washing area where she gave her daughter another lecture. I think she briefly thanked me (or didn’t, I remember the girl saying thank you quietly though). They left, and the cleaner mopped the floor. The girl and I had picked up 90% of the gag.
There I was, about to pray, but went to clean up a stranger’s vomit instead.