I was lying on my bed looking at the ceiling while I crossed my arms and placed my head on them against the pillow. The big room looked rather empty, dark and quiet, most probably because it was already late at night and there was not much movement in it except for the air-conditioner flap going up and down to blow the air evenly around the room. The only light there was was from the streetlights shooting weakly into the room via the glass and steel-made windowpanes, shining up the ceiling and some small area of the room including the cupboard and the huge, heavy curtains on the other window. I looked at the heavy wooden door, the only way into and out the room that led to the stairs going another level below, and the door looked at me back.
Oh how bored I was.
The second day of Eid it was, by right, since the time was already 1.00am in the morning. But I was still wide awake, accompanied by the soft whispering sound from the air-conditioner and my white male cat who was already sleeping at the end of my feet, rolling himself on the cozy, thick comfortable. I looked at how he slept and I wondered what made him so tired. After all, all he did the whole day was to hang around the big number of guests who came visiting, only the females, and got to be cuddled by them over and over. Lucky bastard.
I slowly slipped out from the bed slowly and I stood close to the window, looking outside. Bukit Antarabangsa looked bright as usual even though the rain was still pouring nonstop. The street looked dead, probably because everyone was already strolled into their own defined lullabies.
I stood long at the window holding onto the metal grill, looking blindly at the pouring rain. In my mind, I thought about the one with rosy cheeks.
* * *
"Selamat Hari Raya & Maaf Zahir Batin. I minta maaf atas segala kesalahan I. I hope you are well there. Please take care of yourself and ampunkan I."
I was making some pizzas for the crowds when it entered my old phone. There were only me and my brother in our family of four, so we were and still the daughters of the home when we were already the sons. We have to help the parents with the chores and whatnot in the kitchen while my mom entertained the guests with her explosive laughter and my dad with his good old man stories. My brother went out to the dining hall with hot rendang while I was busy with the pizza sauce and toppings.
I stood by the oven waiting for the pizzas to be ready in eight minutes, and I read the message over and over. It was not easy to explain my feelings especially after what happened a few days before this, the incident where a revelation was uncomfortably made to me and my alpha-dog trait was put to the test. To which I failed to defend. I read the text message carefully on every word and tried not to be judgmental on it and also to fall into the ease of forgiving, and the more I did it the more it got me overly confused.
The oven gave out the usual beep telling that the pizzas were ready. I put down the phone at the side of the table and worked the pizzas out from the oven, placed them on two plates and cut them into six slices each. A bit more of mozarella and cheddar shreds and there we go, two plates of pizzas ready for the consumption of some fifty something hungry people out in the hall. And these were the 8th sets already, more coming. My brother who then was back in the kitchen brought the plates out and I stayed in the kitchen. I didn't want to meet them aunties up, because I just knew what they're going to ask - the same bloody question every year in variations that didn't really vary:
" (while patting my back) Dah besar dah orang muda ni, bila nak bagi auntie makan nasi minyak?"
"Kerja dah ada, kereta dah ada, rumah dah ada. Orang rumahnya bila nak ada?"
"(with her hand on my face) Hensem dah orang bujang ni. Bila nak hantar kad jemputan?"
"(with a sad face) Entah sempat ke tak auntie nak tepung tawar awak nanti,"
and even worst,
"Kesian mamanya tak ada cucu lagi."
It wasn't fun already when they started to twist with the teasing. No, it is not because I was afraid to face them, only that I did not want to face them. I was not ashamed, no, nor I felt bad about myself. I just did not want to face them for the reason that I did not want to come out with anymore excuses. I could have got myself a wife, to which for me was not a problem at all. The problem was not getting one, but getting one and make her stays.
Suddenly the phone made a sound again. Another incoming message. From the song, I straightly knew from who that message was. I let the song played till it ended, a song that reminded me always about her.
Kau datang dan pergi begitu saja
Semua kuterima apa adanya
Mata terpejam dan hati menggumam
Di ruang rindu kita bertemu.
None other than Miss Rosy Cheeks.
* * *
"U xnak sms I lg?"
I lied in my bed in the dark as I went through that second message she sent me since they day things went really wrong. It had been almost four hours since that message reached me, and I didn't reply her at all. Now should I? Would I, and could I?
But it's raya and I didn't plan to play the Grinch anyway, so I took the diplomatic way and sent her a text anyway, sending her the hari raya template message which I typed and sent to everyone else too. She was no special to me, at least not anymore. Once I sent the text out, I placed the phone next to my pillow and closed my eyes. It didn't take a few minutes when a reply came, to which I supposed will end up in a series of more messaging moments.
"Tak tido lagi? Buat apa?" she asked. Well obviously I was not the one awake at this odd hour.
"Nothing. Just about to sleep. You?"
"Was about to sleep too. How's raya?"
How was my raya? Even I could not really explain how I felt about raya this year.
"Biasa je. U marah I?"
Angry? No, darling. Now why would I be angry at you? For what you did to me? No, I could have not possibly be angry at all. In fact I felt happy. What were you thinking? She obviously did not have any idea of how she did get me into being one of the most well-played buddy in the globe. No, baby, I was not angry at all at you, even though deep in my mind I pictured myself burning in my own flame of hidden anger from all your bloody lies.
"No. I was but no longer."
It took some time before she replied me again.
"Ok la then. I'm sleepy. Good night sir."
I didn't reply her message but to just place my phone next to the pillow and closed my eyes. In my mind there were a lot of things that were hard to solve, even harder to explain. Slowly they went away, one by one, and I saw nothing but blank white walls of hopes and dreams. In minutes, I fell asleep into my own world where happiness never really ends like the way we have always wanted, where places were warm and the people were so loving. Green meadows everywhere, flowers they bloomed around the ponds and lakes of fresh water and colorful fishes. And I saw her waiting for me at the end of the road, offering her hand for me to catch.
But she was not rosy cheeks.
* * *
When I woke up that morning, I saw there was a message left unread in the inbox from an unknown number.
"Bila blk UTP? I want to see you immediately. -man-"