Some weeks back when my sis-in-law asked us if we could take Markus for a night walk organised by his school, we said, “Sure, sounds fun!”. What we had in mind was a stroll under the moonlight through the nature reserve with the kids, looking out for fire flies and watching the stars. We got all that last Saturday night plus a 10km hike from the MacRitchie Nature Reserve to the Bukit Timah Reserve through jungle and unfriendly terrain made up of loose rocks, potholes and steep slopes.
Markus was a real trooper. Not only did he complete the 4-hour hike with little help, he did it with no complaints even though at some points we could see that he was really tired. He was also an absolute angel – he shared his sweets with the other kids and made easy conversation with everyone, including the adults. He also impressed the parents with his knowledge of practically everything under the sun. From which country makes the best vodka to what makes a firefly glow. I felt like a proud little “auntie” hen at the end of the night.
I on the other hand was a clumsy mess. You see, I don’t see too well at night. Warnings of “steps ahead!” or “loose rocks!” or “potholes!” were lost on me. I would go, “huh, where?” and then walk directly into those things. The Hubs had to hold on to me cos I was basically functioning like a blind bat flapping around in the jungle and at the same time, he had to make sure that the real child (i.e. Markus) was okay. It turned out to be an incredibly frustrating 4-hour hike for me. And when I’m frustrated, I am really no fun. I think it has to do with this stubborn streak in me to want to be able to do things independently. The same streak that made me go to my mom when I was three to ask her to teach me how to wipe my own bum cos I was going to start nursery school and I wanted to be able to handle going to the loo all by myself. And this streak causes me to turn into a cranky nut every time I need help. So when The Hubs offered to help me or asked if I was doing okay, all he got were ungrateful grunts and threats to snap his head off. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he decided to leave me then and there in the jungle and go off in search of a new wife. One who could at least see better in the dark. But you know what? He didn’t let go of my hand. Not one time. He held on the same way he did throughout our climb up Fox Glacier. And the same way he puts up with all my crap day after day. It’s nice to know I can always count on him. And in a marriage, that’s what matters most.