I have two stories.
When I was about 14, my friend and his brother hosted a small gathering at their house. We had known them for two years. They have a little since, about 5 or 6 years of age at that time.
A couple of my friends and I baby-talked to the girl, just the usual, "Tengah main apa tu?" etc.
I don't remember how exactly the conversation went, maybe one of us asked her, "Mak dekat mana?" because I remember the little girl said,
"Mak tak ada. Dah mati..."
We were shocked and looked at each other, what did she mean by her mother is dead, she was in the kitchen preparing food for us!
"Mak ada bawah tanah..." she explained. "Yang dekat dapur tu mak lagi satu...Mak betul dah mati..."
We figured out she must be the adopted child.
We never said anything to the two brothers because we think they wouldn't want us to know. If they did, we would have known about it because we were pretty close.
I was reminded to this incident because I just met that friend of mine for supper just now after three years of not seeing each other.
When we were about 15, there was a new boy in school. He was from Terengganu and we would giggle and tease him everytime his Terengganu accent was heard. To us at that time, the Terengganu accent sounded too foreign.
At first, we saw him going back from school in a Mercedez, we instantly thought this boy was somebody. Later, we noticed he came to school everyday with a popular senior, known for her wealthy family.
We asked him why, he said the senior was his cousin and he was living with them at the moment.
We believed him.
One day, he just stopped coming to school, after two or three months and the teacher said nothing except that he was now back in Terengganu.
He didn't say anything to us about his departure. It was all very sudden. We didn't ask his 'cousin' because she was a popular girl, everybody knew her but she didn't know us, how would we approach her to ask about the missing boy?
A few months later, during Raya holiday, a classmate went back to her kampung and visited her relatives in Terengganu. She saw a familiar face in the house near to her relative and recognized the boy.
The boy was dressed in a singlet and kain pelikat, looking very different from the smart-dressed boy we knew, the one who used to bring the latest gadgets to school. He was feeding an old woman.
My classmate asked her relatives about the boy and her relatives confirmed his name.
They said the old woman was the boy's grandmother and she was his legal guardian. Didn't know what happened to his parents. He was adopted by a wealthy family for a few months until his grandmother got sick.
I guess, he must have decided to stay behind with his nenek to take care of her.
What a small world.
He didn't have to lie. We wouldn't force him to belanja makan ais krim (just because he had more money than us) or bully/ tease him for being the kid from Terengganu if we knew.
10 hours ago