Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For some certain reasons, the air-conditioner was blowing out chilled air a bit too cold today even though the temperature was set to the usual.

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?"

or worst,

"(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.

"Great. Yours?"

"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-"


Saturday, September 19, 2009

We have reached the last day of Ramadhan, in which now we see the incoming of Syawal where we celebrate Eidul Fitr with mixed emotions.

Some may have waited with happiness while they may be others who may have waited with otherwise.

To me, this Raya means a lot worth to remember.

* * *

To my family,

For more than twenty-four years you have been taking good care of me despite my resistance that occurred sometimes when we were not in favor with each other. I appreciate the love you have given me, and I cherished all the moments we have had enjoyed together. I am looking forward for more time to be spent together, and I apologize for every inconveniences that I have caused in the past times.

To my friends,

I could have never made it without you people in this dog eat dog world. I could count on the heads that actually worth to call friends, and some of you who have made it into the circle of my brothers and sisters who were there when in need. This is to your time and your support towards me all these while, standing next to me fearlessly, without being anymore judgmental and anarchist like ordinary others, for being with me during my most imperfections and for seeing me as one of you too. I do pledge for forgiveness for all my wrongdoings to all of you, and I hope the relationships stay long and strong in the time of tides of high and low.

To my fans,

Nobody understands better about my life journeys and adventures more than you guys do. You have seen how I rose to the peak of my time, and you have seen how I collided on life and landed hard on my own two feet at the start of the mountain back again, on bended knees, fallen unwillingly from the battle against nature. You have seen how I laughed and how I cried, you have got to know me so deeply to a point that you have firmly understood how I act and think. You deserve applause for your loyalty, and therefore I fully express my gratitude towards the all of you who have came and stayed until this date. Also, I would like to apologize for all my words that may have caused you pain and sufferings.

To my foes,

I would like to generally apologize for what I have done that incoherently caused you pain that caused us not to be in the same team.

To the lost ones,

For all my doings that have caused you tears, I apologize. For me being so imperfect in your eyes that caused all of you to leave in the end, I apologize. I was and still am only human, and there were certain things in the past that were not within my control to reach for me to handle like you expected me to.

To Rosy Cheeks,

I apologize.

Selamat Hari Raya Eidul Fitr and Maaf Zahir Batin. May this Raya bring you joy and happiness n the spirit of the season. Cheers, good luck and Godbless.

* * *

I have got to learned that one of the pair - Hiro & Fifi - had died after the first few days when I became single again. Mother hid the news from me in the ordeal not to cause me anymore 'twitches' as to quote from her words. Hiro & Fifi was left with my parents to be taken care of while I was gone in UTP.

I feel bad and upset for them. I look at them as a parent does, and to lose your child whom you have taken care of and loved for one too long of a time, it caused me devastating heartbreaks. The news was broken at the dinner table, accidentally, and I stopped eating almost as suddenly.

But it is okay. I will take care of the one which is still alive with love and attention, for that it has only me as a parent now.

R.I.P, buddy.

If only there were explanations that could satisfy.

Entirely soaked by the heavy rain, I sat in my seat without having even the slight intention to move anywhere. This was the last stop I did since I left McDonald quite some time ago. The rain they just didn't seem to stop and to drive in that kind of situation with me being all confused was not the best idea I could've had coming. So I parked the car under a tree in Ipoh Polo Field and looked at the rain smashing on my front windshield, creating shadows of abstracts as they reflected the yellow shades from the street lights. The streams of water seemed to occupy me for quite a while until it came hitting me again.

I could not help but to stare at the empty seat next to me while hovering my left hand into touching the edge of the seat, where rosy cheeks used to place hers on her legs. I closed my eyes and I imagined her sitting and looking at me with her smiles, her fringe covering a part of her face and her sparkling white teeth shone in between her two pink lips. And I imagined of those two rosy cheeks, and the smell of her perfume that never fail to drive me nervous every time I took a hint of it. I took a deep breath, and slowly I opened my eyes to see.

But she was not there. The seat was still empty. I didn't smell anything but my own perfume mixed with stale cigarette scent. My hand, it didn't find anything but the empty cold seat. I pulled my hand back to myself, and I looked into my empty palm - it was all wet from the rain, pale and wrinkled due to the cold weather.

I sipped the hot coffee from the polystyrene cup I bought from the Starbucks in Ipoh Parade earlier. They feel warm and pleasing as they passed my throat, leaving the bitter aftertaste soon afterward. I lied back on my seat, and I saw it again playing before my eyes.

* * *

"Move away."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to," I replied to him while I gave way to him as he requested.

He bended over and kneeled on his knees as he sought after her hand and shoulder as she rubbed her arm that hit the tarmac just now. All I did was to stand in front of them, trying to figure out what to do. Please don't get me wrong for being such a pussy- I could have been a gentleman and helped her out, but, but, I was not the person with the highest priority. He was.

I tried to get near and helped her out but he pointed a finger to me, and with the fiercest face he said, "just stay where you are."

I stared into his eyes as he did mine. Being both alpha males, I could say that we were entirely driven by ego and pride as to react to saving the lady at hands. I felt my cheeks went bloated and thickening up when I heard him. My blood rushed through my veins and to my head, and I clamped my hands together, ready for a fight. But instantly I could have guessed where this way going so I took the diplomatic way to just do as he requested to further avoid anymore confrontation.

"I'm sorry," I said it again with hopes. But he didn't even look at me, neither too rosy cheeks. He helped her up, took the umbrella and walked her to his car, parked just a few vehicles away from mine. I saw how he opened the door for her, tossed her tote into the back seat before he did the same thing to the umbrella, got into the car and left without a single word but tire marks on the wet asphalt. Well at least I now knew how it felt when I left them without a word just now.

As the car moved across the street and into the main road, I stood in the rain watching until they disappeared in the clouds of red lights from other vehicles that trailed.

And there she went, the one with rosy cheeks, away with hopes and dreams that were never for me to share with.

* * *

If only one could understand how I felt, it would have been very clear to say that I found it very difficult to withstand the typhoon of emotions I had in mind. It was so sudden that a garden of hopes changed into an empty field of my own miseries. Nothing I could have asked for but just a tiny sensation that makes one smile, and I did get what I have asked for, only little that I knew the price for a smile was this God forsaken miseries that literally only I would have to suffer from.

Many things in mind worth a ponder. Many questions left unanswered. I wondered, how far broken one could be until he finally gives love up?

I will never forget that night, the night when only rain accompanied my loneliness. The night I was soaking wet by the rain and also my pouring emotions. The night when I admitted defeat so easily without even pulling the bravest fight. The night I was left alone bleeding to my last drop, wailing for someone to come and offer help. The night I felt so at rage towards her and her every lie. The night I sat in my car with my head in my hands, thinking about nothing else but you and I.

Rosy cheeks, look what you've done.

* * *

One message received:

"sampai hati you tolak I. apa dosa I?"
Rosy Cheeks, 10.38pm.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"So you work here in Ipoh?"

"Yeah," he replied as he took one of rosy cheeks' fries and into his mouth, slowly disintegrating the hopeless fried potato cut into well-made starch. I paid that, damn you. I took a look at the rain outside the McD's outlet before I put my attention to him again.

"What field?" I crossed my legs and pat on my Wimbledon's to match his style while he clapped both of his hands to remove the crust from the fries he just ate, which was quite plenty. I took a cigarette and lighted it up in front of him, pushing the smoke next to my right side where the wind blew. He coughed a little. Not very tough boy now, huh?

But we're not competing each other, we're just being men.

"I'm a physician," he continued as his hand dug in his left pocket on his black slack, came out a highly stylish steel case that I assumed contained cigarettes. He took one of them lined-up cigarette, lighted it up with a lighter that from the look of it was a Zippo, and crossed his legs too. He's mimicking me, and he's a smoker too. What surprises?

"I thought doctors discourage smoking?"

"I do," he said as he exhale the smoke out. "But I am human first, doctor second."

Smart. I didn't realize how this particular man was trying to poke on my fragile bag of patience by provoking my intelligence, as if he was testing just how far I could go. I was a smart man and he was a smart man too, but both of us we had this non-conventional attitude trait oftenly found in urban men that only comes out once in a while - the tendency of being smartasses as to act for self defense. And this caused the situation between us two men to be tensional enough to have us look at each other in burning envy, masked with fake smiles.

Well probably he was jealous as well, because while he worked his lady was with me. But then again, to rosy cheeks I was just her tutor. Just a tutor, like when she introduced me to him.

"You're an engineer?" he asked right before he puffed in the Dunhill and tapped the ash into the metal ashtray.

I just nodded. Hell right I am, a professional just like you. I tried hard to keep calm, and likewise he also tried to maintain his assertiveness in such an awkward situation. I took off my spectacle so that my impaired vision will be compromised, blurry enough to keep me from seeing what he's doing clearly. And that will give me the advantage, because I didn't need to react to things I saw. Plus, people said my eyebrows intimidate more when the spectacle is off.

I killed the cigarette I had been smoking in the ashtray and fixed my seat when rosy cheeks suddenly appeared from the back of me, making her way back to her seat from the bathroom escape. As she sat, she placed her left arm on the guy's shoulder, slightly touching his neck and hairline, brushing her soft, silky skin against his. He looked at her while reaching for her hands and she looked back, smiling, showing her sparkling white teeth from between those pink lips. Then he looked at me - with his cigarette in his hand, legs crossed, his shiny P. Smith slim fit striped shirt (everyone knew it was P.Smith from that stripes) and slack glared at me - and he smiled.

I ticked. And I smiled too.

I took my phone, my cigarette box, my lighter and my car keys, and gently pushing the chair backward. I stood up and offered my hand for him to shake, to which he did in surprise. I held his hand in mine and I looked at the now confused rosy cheeks, trying to figure what was going on in between me and his Abang Man. I shook his hand for the last time, and I admitted defeat.

I admitted defeat, and I retreated away from the winning man. In the heavy rain I walked to my lonely car, leaving them without a single word behind me. The cold rain poured on me, thunders and lightnings stroke openly creating shadows of me on the wet tarmac when they did. My heart felt empty. I didn't have a heart that worked anymore. Everything didn't make sense. My face didn't make move, they just stayed static. I didn't even blink my eyes. Things from past memories came flashing in front of me, and I could see how they laughed at me. Pain, I felt painful as one after another image appeared, they didn't leave even if I closed my eyes. I looked at my way as I walked, water came passing my eyes and lips, wetting my hair and my shirt and pant and shoes. But did I care? I did not. I just didn't care anymore.

You already have lost before it even started, Jacksparrow. It's game over.

My car was parked at a corner far away from the shop, so walking took some time. I heard running steps behind me catching up. Probably it's rosy cheeks. Probably the Chinese kid who parked in front of me. Or probably just another passer-by tried to escape the rain. I didn't care. I just walked instead. The steps got closer, and I felt my shoulder was pulled from behind, straight away I knew who it was. But I did not stop walking.

The hand fell off my shoulder as I walked forward. I swore I could feel how the warmth from it disappeared. But that was not the hand for me to hold. Not the hand for me to adore and kiss, let alone for me to miss. No, rosy cheeks, you were not mine to hold. Go back to where you come from. He's waiting for you there.

I reached my car I tried to unlock the doors manually using the keys but the pitch-dark, unlighted surroundings made it difficult for me to. And that was when my left arm was pulled rather extremely from behind, causing me to turn around and see rosy cheeks standing in front of me. Her hair was all wet, and too her clothes. She held my arm close and in a grip - I could feel how her nails dug into my skin.

"Kenapa pergi macam tu je?"

"What?" The rain was too loud. I couldn't hear her.

"Jangan la buat macam ni," she had to raise her voice to match the rain. "Nanti you demam kena hujan. Jom la masuk dalam balik."

"It's alright," I told her. "Don't worry about me. Go back to him. He'll be worried."

"I taknak."

"If that makes you happy."

"Kenapa ni?!" She sound pissed already.

Gosh, you just don't have any idea do you, sayang?, I asked myself and smiled. I turned around again and tried to find the lock to place the car key in and unlock the door. And for the second time I was pulled from the back, causing me to turn around.

"What?" I asked her, pissed.

"Kenapa buat macam ni?"

"Buat apa?" I asked her with a cynical voice. "What did I do?"

"Kenapa tiba-tiba je nak balik?"

"Saja. Terasa nak balik."

"Habis I nak balik naik apa?"

I lifted my shoulder and sarcastically said, "I don't know, probably the three series would do?

I didn't wait for her but to turn around and tried on the door again. This time it worked and the doors were unlocked, so I opened it and wanted to make my way in when again, that hand turned me around. But this time she pulled me way too forceful that I slipped and accidentally swung my hand and hit rosy cheeks in the process to balance myself. She fell and hit the ground on her bottom with one hand holding to the road tarmac. She screamed a little, but all I did was to stand in front of her not knowing what to do. I just froze. It shocked me half to death to see how she fell, but nothing shocked me more than to see what I saw next in front of me.

He was standing under an umbrella quite a distance away from us. I guessed from what he saw just now, he didn't look happy. And he started walking towards us, fast.

Oh fuck.

Situated just next to the North-South Highway and massive Ipoh's neighborhood, this had to be one of the busiest McDonald in town. Endless number or cars came in and out, while more and more customers entered from the main door and left via the other as the time got nearer to breakfast schedule. The place seemed to get busy by the seconds.

I looked at the people around me as the sun set in slowly, creating wonderful colors in the sky, of orange and yellow and red and purple. Everybody disappeared in the shadows of the pleasant evening. Seated in one of the table, I did not pay any attention at all to the person who sat in front of me - most probably because I did want to put myself in even the most basic communication with her, at least not until I calm down and figure just what the hell had happened earlier. In my mind the same phrase played over and over.

"My boyfriend."

I could feel the static charges storming in my head as my mind continuously analyzing the situation from every corner, trying to judge every event with my experiences and predictions, trying to find patterns in which every argument collided and merged into one understandable explanation on why this happened to me. But I was just too scared to face the fear.

Cheated, used, manipulated. Anger seemed to be the best thing to enjoy at the particular moment. But I kept cool and steady, not to be tricked into my own emotions again, for that I was trying my best to be in control. But as the elders used to say; the strongest current flow underneath the calmest.

"You," she said.

I turned to her and tried my very best to smile. I could have sworn that more or less I looked like a smirking donkey. Nevertheless, I waited for her next line. In between, I put an eye on the fried chickens and the burgers on the table. They looked yummy.

"Do you mind if someone wants to join us?"

"Oh no, no. Not at all," I replied in my most confident tone. "Siapa? Your friends?"

"No la," she said as she checked her phone. "Abang Man nak join kita berbuka."

"Abang Man mana?"

She didn't even look at me while the conversation was ongoing.

"Abang Man," she said before pausing and later continued with a soft tone close to a whisper,

"my boyfriend."

I could hear both my ears dropped to the floor with a thud.

* * *

The pastry crust went past my throat like sandpapers scraping my food channel. That was the worst pie I ever ate, not because it was horrible but because I swallowed them bit by bit without munching. What I saw in front of my eyes could was damn unbelievable.

They talked and talked and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed. The patted each other and they stared in each others' eyes. They smiled and they joked. And where was I again? At the other corner of the table like a bloody idiot munching on an apple pie, looking at them. Man, I felt like I wanted to lift the table off from the ground and smack it on his head. What was I, just a shadow? Just a week back we were having fun at the same table, me and rosy cheeks, where she asked if I would love her. Talking about how people change.

But there was no doubt why she would choose him over me.

He wore an office attire, which I assumed he just got back from work. Stylishly he came to our table shy a few minutes from breakfast, shook my hand and took a seat. The fair and handsome late-twenties man wore no spectacle, his hair looked great, his shoes shone like sun does and he smelt of Dunhill. His watch was no match for my Tag Heuer, let alone his car - a bloody silver eagle-eye Beemer. A freaking three series Beemer. The guy drove a freaking three series eagle-eye Beemer. I looked at my car that was parked alone by the road in total sadness.

Sometimes rosy cheeks glanced at me while she was conversing with him. And every time she did that, a crack appeared on what's left of my severely broken heart. Under the table I clamped my hands together, and I could feel how every nerve of my body twitched. I could just stand for myself and leave from this madness, but all that I could do was to smile at her every time she looked at me. I just didn't want to ruin anybody's mood today but mine. After all, I didn't have anything to lose.

After some time rosy cheeks excused herself to the bathroom. She fixed her hair as she walked, showing the underneath of the fair, soft arms as she walked around the table as if she danced on the floor smoothly. Her perfume came stroking me as she passed my seat and, satin shawl brushed against my shoulder. I looked at her as she walked into the premise and all the way to the back through the glass wall. When she disappeared, I turned to him who also followed rosy cheeks with his eyes. He took a notice and looked at me. I smiled.

Well buddy, looks like it's just the two of us now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sprinkles in my head.

Why did you go missing?

Not even one day went by without me thinking about the same bloody question. We still haven't met each other since the last week incident - where things got too emotionally intense that I felt something must have tipped that cause her walk her path to a point where there is no turning back. At one point too, I did dig into the worst of reality by thinking that she might never return anymore. And if only I could tell how devastated I was.

But I was wrong. She finally texted me the other day and asked if i did miss her. Well of course, of course I did. I missed her a lot. And that was what I told her, unwillingly, only to see that there was no reply whatsoever after that. Again, she went missing. And again, I got myself speculating things, asking numerous questions that in the end hurt me and only me. Regardless, I never stop questioning.

But I still didn't get the answer for that one bloody question.

* * *

"Why did you go missing?"

She brushed her hair as the evening breeze blew onto them from the opened window of the car. She placed her left hand on the door's armrest while the other stationed firmly on her small petite hip. The sun was to set and the road was full with speeding vehicles, but that did not bother me much than her. I had too many questions in mind that I would love to ask, but I decided to go directly to the point where a slap could instantly kill, figuratively speaking, in the form of a question. I just happened to be so pissed with her, but I managed to put myself calmly on my seat for a week or so while waiting in vanity, and nothing satisfies me better than a softly spoken sort of explanation.

She didn't look at me but at the outside.

"I was busy."

"Even to attend to an SMS?"


There. Firmed and gripped, her answer was. I knew that if I pushed her a little bit, things will not be in my favor and the evening will be over without me knowing. And I still was confused on the issue why she asked me out to have our breakfast in McDonald out of a sudden after disappearing for so long. But being the one with courtesy driven with extreme curiosity after meeting her just now at her block to pick her up, I put away my resistance and got myself in control again soon as I saw the expressions on her face - a mix of upset, disappointment and burnout. She was depressed and still, so I did not want her to blow up. At least not now, no matter how swollen my heart was as to react to her disappearance.

"Why are we going to McD?" I just wanted to remove the awkward moments by tossing out casual talk. But she didn't reply at all but to throw her looks to the scenery outside, from the back of her shades, looking at a crowd of kite-fliers at an open field in Falim right before I took a right turn to head into Ipoh. Her hair got messed up by the wind already, so I turned on the air-conditioner from a touch of a button. As soon as I put my hand on the switch that turned the air-conditioner on, she slowly lifted her hand and held my wrist. I felt her warm, soft skin as it gripped me slowly.

"I nak rasa angin luar, if you don't mind?"

"Sure," I said. But the hand didn't let go. Instead from the top of my hand it found the gaps in between my fingers, and slowly gripping in by filling the gaps with hers. She then pulled both hands and placed them on her blue acid-washed Levis. In my mind, I started to feel a lot of things, random inquiries came hitting. Why, now? What went wrong? Why did she behave so weirdly? At once she repelled me and now she came hitting on me again. That was when I recalled on what both Noraz and Dzul told me the other day - about the game she's playing. So I responded by gripping her fingers firmly back, feeling the gentle touch that warmed my hand up, sending this kind of energy that I could never really interpret but I could say that the feelings were extremely wonderful.

I looked at her and she was looking at our hands gripping each other. Well probably she felt it too. Probably.

As we passed the last traffic light next to Jusco, her mobile phone rang out its message tone - the sound of a frog went 'bribbit bribbit'. So she pulled her hand back from mine and she dug her tote for it. She read the text, looked at it for some time, typed the reply message and sent it before placing the phone back into her tote.

"Your dad?" I was just too curious.


"Then? Your sis?"


"Hm," I was being careful not to tip the standing bedrock and cause it to collapse, but I just couldn't help but to ask, "then who was it?"

She took a deep breath and clasped her hands together for a while before removing her shades and placed it on the dashboard. She brushed her hair and fixed her fringe, as if she did not hear me. And that did it for me - I just couldn't take the pressure anymore. I turned to her and was about to ask her again when she turned at me too, her face was expressionless.

"My boyfriend."

Everything froze.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Kau dah sangkut dengan dia ke?"

He lifted his cup and drank up the coffee halfway before placing the cup back into its plate. The cup made a clinking sound as its bottom hit the plate. He then pushed the set to the middle of the table before leaning back to his chair. The yellow shades in the Old Town outlet disguised his true tones. Under the lights, Noraz looked relax and calm after the rush we had en route to Ipoh for breakfast just now. Dzul sat at the other side of the round table, forming a triangle of these three men who came to the outlet to enjoy some decent cups of coffee and some toasts.

“I thought she did,” I said as I bit some of the butter toast. There were always ways to evade from succumbing to questions. It’s the matter of pride and ego. “I told you about it, right?”

“Yeah,” Noraz replied. He paused for a while before he continued, “but why she disappeared?”

I took the last bite of the toast and patted my hands together to get rid of the crumbs. I took a sip of my coffee and laid back onto the rattan-made chair and eased myself before my mind got to the question.

When I told them about rosy cheeks’ disappearance, they seemed to be surprised and confused. Well I myself too. It had been six days since we met, and since then she disappeared just like that. I gave up on the calls and texts two days shy from today over the reasons that I finally gave up on it. I could not stand the torture, especially when she was earlier behaving like a doctor who mended my wounds before she left with all the only working medicines, without a trace. Not even one night went by without me lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling, wondering of what actually went wrong – only to reach to the same conclusion – nothing. Nothing at all went wrong, well at least for me. But I did not know what got to rosy cheeks that made her made her flee.

“But isn’t it a bit too early for you? Nak start over?” Noraz said casually in the softest but most effective way to pin me into his traps of provoking questions. Noraz knew about my recent relationship breakup, and he was referring to it.

“It is,” I said as I calmly drank my coffee up. The bitter aftertaste, they just got bitter, especially with this heavy conversation going on. “Of course it is too early.”

“Aku takut dia jadi rebound item je.”

That, I was not very sure of. What happened since the past weeks, they were just too natural to describe. The feelings I had for her were valid. There were no pretending and playing roles – everything was just too natural. Except about her disappearance.

Noraz placed a hand on his cup and started to rotate it on the plate. The pieces made shrieking sounds as they moved. His eyes were on the cup as if he was thinking deep. None a word was said from him, so I landed my eyes on Dzul who was then munching on the toast. I turned to Noraz again, only to notice that he was staring at me – his eyes were set and locked. And then he smiled.

“You’re not over her yet, are you?”

I tried to swallow the saliva from my dry mouth but the bitter coffee taste disturbed my throat.

Why did you have to ask that, Noraz?

* * *

It would be a lie to say that I have already forgotten about the last battle I had with someone who once used to call me a lover. A year worth of memories, they just didn’t fade away so easily. It would only be a hypocrite of me to claim that I already had gotten over the memories, for memories they stick to my head like tar does to tarmac roads. All the joyful moments and the bitter arguments, they were still fresh in my mind as if they just happened yesterday. No, I didn’t simply forget things that I put an ode to, not that simple.

Because if I did, that showed that I never really wanted the relationship in the first place. A year had gone past since the first day both of me and her – the previous love – rode in the ship we that built from scratch, steering in the oceans of dreams and turndowns in the hopes that we will finally end up at the best of islands, where we will be to end with residing together forever.

But it didn’t happen.

Instead I was left sinking in my own ship, refusing to let go of the rudder wheel while trying hard to fix all punctures on the wall, only to see that the work went all too hopeless to even begin with. It was just useless, and I sank with my pride and prejudice, heavily wounded, stranded at this beach of no-man’s-land.

And she appeared – with a wound in her hand.

* * *

“What do I do now?”

Noraz took the last sip of his coffee slowly. I made a triangle with my fingers and pushed it against my lips. He then placed the cup and took a look at me.

“Tunggu. Wait and see.”

“Kau macam mana Dzul?” I turned to Dzul and asked the question. I just needed a second opinion. Noraz put his view to Dzul, all eyes on him.

Dzul just smiled and tapped the table with his finger. “She’s playing games with you, brother,” he said before continuing, “so you’ve just gotta be patience with it.” And the tapping stopped.

Games. She’d better not be playing with me. People said a wounded tiger is the fiercest. Another beating will only set him off in the worst of behavior in the name of pain.

We stayed in silence as all of us were swept away in our own minds. It took a while when we finally decided to leave. I stood up from my seat and made my way into the shop to clear the bill. There was already a few at the counter so I had to queue up, and in the meantime I looked around the environment inside. There were a lot of couples, both young and old. Everyone looked so happy together.

Somehow it got to me. The passing memories came hitting again, this time the images of the two ladies appeared in my head. Now now, I told myself. Let’s not go there now, buddy.

When it was my turn to pay, I took my wallet and passed the counter lady a note of fifty. She took it from my hands with smiles before asking if I have any coin to match the amount showed on the bill. I happened to have some but I needed to take out my cigarette box and my mobile phone from the side pocket of my pants before doing the digging work.

I handed her the coins she needed before checking my phone which I put in silent mode for messages as she counted for the change. There were three – one from my student who was asking for helps in his research, one was an advertisement from Celcom, and the last one made me wanted to crush the phone in my grip.

“Hi. Missed me?”

Damn right I did.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

As the afternoon rain poured down showering the driest of Tronoh's land, I sat on my chair with two legs on the table and my eyes thrown far outside the window. 'Speak Softly Love' from the movie The Godfather played beautifully from the old headphone, straightly knocking the passionate Italian violin to ringing my drums with drugged, mixed feelings. My eyes were not looking at the rain but the mobile phone that hung next to the window pane.

It has been days since our last encounter.

It cannot be very obvious to say that I missed rosy cheeks. Four days it has been since we danced in the rain. And if it is not too much to ask, I would love to meet her up for the usual chats and drinks, to see how is she doing and how life has been treating her since we have met. Probably I'll throw some questions about her sister and something else on her studies, just to keep the conversation going, so that her shiny eyes are mine to see for the whole night.

But sometimes, some things are just pretty much unexplained.

When I said that it has been four days since the day I and rosy cheeks danced in the rain, it also has been four days since we ever talked to each other. We never did bump into each other in between now and then. I did try to make contact with her and even stayed at one of the pillars in UTP Library where she oftenly be sitting on the carpeted floor under the shady yellow light, resting alone while reading her cookeries books. The spot came empty every time I was there, never be filled. I didn't see her at all. For each night, my calls turned unanswered, my text messages came unreplied.

And I could not sleep as soundly anymore. In fact, I couldn't even sleep at all. So I sat on my chair with the headphone stuck on my ears for hours playing endless songs while I throw my views to looking outside the window blindly, thinking. My fingers smelt of cigarette while my lips were dried like edging sandpapers. In my hand was a lighter that I sparked over and over with raging waves of thoughts in my mind.

Why did she not reply my messages, nor to return my calls? Why did not she come and see me like usual? Why did she disappear? What have I done that repelled her from me, my own self? Why did she leave after all the things we did and said? Was she in trouble? How was I supposed to know? Why was she being so cold out of a sudden? Why out of a sudden, I was now insignificant to her?

What's with when you said you were missing me? And all the things you said? And the conversations that we both picked? The smiles, the stares, Rush, rosy cheeks?

My mixed feelings were as if stirred in large bowls of sand and stones. These questions came hitting me like a hammer to a nail on the wood, shaking my head as they hit. These hanging, unanswered questions, they piled up in just a few hours with open-ended solutions, none I was sure of its truth. So I kept thinking, and thinking until my mind broke down only to notify myself that there was only one last question left to ask that, if answered, will unveil every answer to every question. The last thing on my mind that ever came out to ask.

And when it did, I felt myself in complete rage. I felt my neck burning and my fist clenching. I felt the muscles in my face started to contract and both the upper side and the lower side of my jaw to push on each other. I could hear how the teeth ground each other as they collided. I closed my eyes and tried hard to calm down. I tried to let loose and let go, but it seemed this time the force was just way too powerful. In my heart I asked for forgiveness and at least for an answer, an explanation. Please, don't let me be the last to know, but,

"Did she play me?

The healing battle wounds from the last war, they started to bleed again.

* * *

This episode uses the last available line from Iris. Let's just hope this is not the last post too.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

If only there are words that best describe what I feel inside.

The previous two nights seemed to be the most relieving part after such God forsaken drowning that I had gone through since the last forty-four days. It had been forty-four days that I had found myself sleepless on the bed but on the sajadah in the darkest of nights, pleading for mercy from Him - for forgiveness; for warmth of love; for eternal solace from this battle wound that hurt so much, so much that sometimes I found myself lost deep in my own confusing confusions. For fourty-four days, I was that.

But now if someone should come to me and ask, I would say that I had never been better.

And tonight I write just to share this thing inside me - the raging ocean of neverending hopes, both answered and turned down; the burning passion of being in love again; and the bitter part where it rots down the previous two feelings. And I hope this will make you understand better.

Being with her even only for a few hours somehow drew me into her game.

Her open arms seemed to be pleasingly inviting. The way she touched the coldness in me and the way she warmed me up with her brightest smiles brought me down onto my own bended knees. The way she sat right next to me on chilly wooden bench and the way she blanketed me with her gestures locked me into believing that things were changing. The way she danced freely in the rain and the looks she made as she offered her hand for me to reach and join her in the downpour hushed me into my own silence. The way she stroke her hands into my wet hair as she looked at me in the eyes and whispered something I could never understand put me into breaking my own dams of tears that I solemnly beforehand shed only for someone who had left me in my own miseries, helpless, counting days.

But that night I let my tears out in the rain as she let hers. And there were no reasons at all to why we cried, but we did. And while we did, we smiled.

Slowly the pain that lingered around for so long went away. I no longer felt the coldness. I no longer felt bitter. The wounds from previous battle healed up almost as instantly as she lied her hand on my cheek. Not even a word was muttered, but I guessed we just happened to understand each other by just looking into the staring eyes. The loneliness faded away, the void was slowly filled.

Never again I pulled a face whenever I gazed at the shining star. Never again I hated the falling rain. Never again. And if you ask me, I'd say I had never ever felt any better than this.

But then again, there is this still bitter feelings deep inside of me, bothering.

* * *

"Would you love me?"

I looked at her and gently I wiped her lips that was smothered with the leftovers from the fries she just ate. I put down the serviette paper and stroke her fringe with two fingers, exposing her hazel eyes that stared at me, gleaming in hopes.

I rubbed her moist, pink lips with my thumb as gently as silk does to skin, and I pressed on her soft chin, lifting her head towards mine. I placed my warm hand on her smooth rosy cheeks that was hidden beneath her fallen hair, and I felt thin streams of water came down on my cheeks. I was not crying, but there was no way I could explain why tears started to flow down my eyes. But I could explain just one thing.

"Only if you love me back."

I miss you rosy cheeks.



She played with my watch. Her finger danced on the glass cover, following the needle as it made around. She held her head up.

"Had you been in love?"

I looked at her in the eyes before answering. Those glassy eyes looked wonderful.

"Many times. Why?"

She bit her lips. "I had never been in one."



Awkward silence followed. She placed a finger on one of mine.



"Would you love me?"

Ehmagawd. Somebody get me the paddles. My heart's gonna crash. NOW!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

It happened that the state and the rest of the country are having long weekend for two times in a row, thanks to the holidays that fell on both Mondays.

It has been days since I met rosy cheeks. We were both busy running our on chores, trying to keep up with the scores like other people did, just for a bit of sensible achievement, just to feel good about oneself. For five to seven days we fight each week - being busy with works, running around the blocks, keeping up with the new world order, handling the endless beatings we usually get- but we keep ourselves at least just one day at the end of the week to keep up with our personal lives, the things that we missed, one last day that ends the week only with ourselves and the people that we care.

This is a story about that day.

* * *

It had been raining for almost four hours now.

Drops of rain water banged onto the windshield of the car with heavy knocks every time they did. The journey to Ipoh took so long, way too long for a ride, unlike usual. The road was busy since it was only ten-thirty at night, and with the rain and the wind, there was no way these cars were going to speed anyway. The radio was playing 'Cuai' by Butterfingers, and somehow the lyric reminded me of certain things that clouded my head like unsettled dusts in shaken bowl of water. But I didn't really bother to check since I had other important things in mind to do.

I reached my left hand to the then empty passenger seat and felt the presence of a cotton-polyester padded bag that seemed to be overfilled with things. I held the bag, slowly gripping it, while keeping on driving - eyes on the road but not my mind. I took a long deep breath and made my mind up.

It had to be done. Tonight.

* * *

"How's the fries?"

She munched on them oversalted fries like a kid does to a delicious icecream. Her chubby cheeks moved as she moved her jaw, and her hand continuously take the fries uno per uno from the pack while the other hand handled the Pepsi. She didn't reply my question but kept munching instead, her eyes grew rounder, shinier like a cat's when she ate. She seemed lost in her own wonderful world where no thinking was required and no dream was crushed - in the lost world of McDonald's french fries.

"Hey!" I patted on the table. She shrieked in surprise. One of the fries flew onto my lap.

She looked at me, now with her usual angry face, and passing subliminal message to my brain through her big, round eyes and chubby rosy cheeks. But it didn't happen. Instead, I took the fries on my lap and put it in my mouth, making such expression face as I enjoyed it.

"Thanks," I said.

She lasted not for even a minute before she started again on the fries. From an angry someone, she turned into becoming the cookie monster in just a blink of an eye, munching on her fries like nobody does. And I found her cute.

So slowly, I took my padded bag without her realizing and did something really, really wrong.

* * *

I wish I could write longer.

But I have someone waiting for me now in Ipoh. You-know-who.

In the meantime, please do read this entries about this page:

Entry 1 by Miss L

Entry 2 by Miss Jaa

I am very sorry for keeping you guys awake in the wait for the story to continue. But I promise you that the next entry would we wonderful. Seriously!

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Since everyone showed quite huge efforts in getting the lyric of 'the song' for me the other day, I decided to write about all of you who tried instead of just one particular person.

So here goes.

#1: Cik Jaa (

The first who made it to the score board was Cik Jaa, a young lady at her prime twenty-two from the nearby Kampung Gajah, Perak. Cik Jaa and me used to have histories together one time quite long ago, relationship non-related. However we somehow lost contact, until recently we happened to bump into each other again and back into the once lost friendship now into none of an end, hopefully.

A single lady, perhaps, and is always seen to be very active in her daily chores and side activities. I have seen how she fell knocked-down to the grown and how she stood again on her then ruptured bones of her feet, just to show the world that never will the word surrender ever make it out from her throat, nor never the act of defeat will ever shown from her gestures. I believe she will color her future with tones of ups and downs, and that, also I believe, will nurture her into becoming one day a fine young lady. You go, Jaa.

#2: Farah (

A 23-year old female executive in human resource industry, by assumption, Farah Y. recently registered herself to following this blog. But due to her mysterious nature there are not many things that I could actually discuss about this young lady, except that she is somehow very fond of rosy cheeks, having the urge to read about her regardless how long the story is. To which, I would want to say thank you for.

#3: Old Man Muspa (

Muspa and me, we shared a lot of common values - except that he is happily married to a lady of his choice to which I am not; not to his lady nor even to anybody else. I have known him for almost 4 years now, at one time he was one of the most reputable person in UTP in certain fields where I was largely known for another, and that was how we met - as strangers with different backgrounds, but with the same bloody intention. He is now working as an engineer in the heart of the country, owning more and more each day to which one day I believe he will surprise me for having me to greet him once we meet as Dato' Muspa. Well thank you and good luck, Old Man Muspa.

#4: Abuzar (

A fine young man from the Borneo part of the country. We met when he was one of my students during which I taught last semester. At his early twenties, he is now undergoing his first undergraduate year in Mechanical Engineering. Quite to my surprise, we hardly talk in the class but as time passed by, we somehow made it into being buddies now.

Being one of the students that I entirely have my trust in them, Abuzar has earned the reputation of being a solid gentleman by nature and affirmation, and not self-proclaimed like certain others. And for that, Abuzar, my congratulations.

#5: Miss L (

A recently graduated Miss L who happened to have been caught reading my blog in disguise not too long ago, by me myself. She had been a literally hidden follower for long until she decided to open an account up in Blogger and started writing again carrying the flagship. She is happily in relationship, to which she was always found writing about wanting to get married at certain intervals in her blog. Well I will pray for your happiness.

#6: Farishta

I was told not to talk about this particular someone unless ordered to :D

#7: Fiza Falak (

Fiza! What an honor to have her around here. A young lady with a gap of two years to me, she has the tendency to write in long post sometimes like I do. Being one with the urge for football and reading, apart from having the chick needs to shop, bake and whatnot, she surprises me with many of her interesting traits. One of them, to my relief, she enjoys coffee. Another, she is an MU supporter. And she enjoys having meals at TGI Fridays. And Starbucks. What else do I need to ask in a lady?

Fiza, take me! :D

Friday, September 04, 2009

Prepping up to playing Nick Wheeler

The song was :-

Swing Swing, a single release made popular by the band All-American Rejects, taken from the album The All-American Rejects; 2002; Dreamworks Record.

Whoever comes up first with the lyric at the comment corner will be entitled to win a single review about yourself in post written by me. I'll write a total one page about you, srsly! =D

So, go! Run, bloggers, run!

p/s: hope you love it

Thursday, September 03, 2009

So today I went out for a date for iftar (or sungkai, according to dearest Maurina, in Brunei Malay).

The date mate however, turned out to be none other than our favorite, pious, fair-skinned, Japanese-looking and SINGLE engineer, Mr Noraz Al-Khairi. I had to make up to him for what happened yesterday (please refer to the post 'Cause I Know That You Feel Me Somehow').

We went to Batu Gajah today in the pursuit for food, but it happened that we arrived as the adzan was already loudly cited from a nearby mosque. So we decided to stop for Maghrib first then only continue to our destination.

When we were done with the prayer, we went to the restaurant we were earlier heading to - Top One Western Food & Ice-Cream. Please enjoy the story along with the photos below.

This is the front side of the menu. You can clearly see the food they serve, along with the reasonable price.

The other side of the menu. More surprises.

"This has got to be a joke..." Hungry Noraz couldn't make his mind on the order due to so many tempting dishes.

In between order and the food to arrive, I took this lovely decorations they did to the wall. It reminded me of someone so instantly as I looked at them.

The place was empty except for three tables - two couples, three then including us, if we were ever seen as one. The two ladies ran the bar while the rest were at the kitchen behind those doors.

They used Philly Cream Cheese for their pastries. Good choice, I'd say. Kraft produced good cream cheese.

Floating hearts, baby. Eiffel, I'm in love.

The cakes looked tasty from behind the glass wall. But it would be weird to share a piece with a guy, so...forget it.

Here's the ice-blended mocha latte with additional chocolate ice-cream on top of it. It made me cry.

Rosemary Lamb with Fried Rice. I'm in heaven. "Uh, momma?"

How the mirror sees me.

Sorry for the gay-ish title. It's a line taken from Pitbull's I Know You Want Me.

This picture was taken just a few minutes ago. I was happy.

I sang her favorite tune over the line. Scratched my middle finger on the strings while in the pursuit. But I feel good.

Real good. No.

I feel great.

p/s: the song, you people really wanna know the title?

What we had for iftar today. I just happened to be so hungry...

KFC was organizing this charity project to aid world hunger. At RM2 per piece, we bought each for ourselves.

She bought the Ladies Night sticker for me =D

Bunch of Mat Sallehs having fun at Clearwater Sanctuary Golf club house

The empty environment in Clearwater Sanctuary Golf club house

A kitchen crew cleaning the tables at Clearwater Sanctuary Golf club house

The sleepyhead, super-filled and jambu-looking me ahahahahah

p/s: thanx for the sticker and the picture =b

"What do you want to have for iftar?"

"I don't know. You?"

I drove past the guard check point at the entrance gate and waved at the guards who happened to know me personally from past encounters. They smiled and gave the heyyy-look-who's-here kind of looks. I blinked an eye at them and made our way to the Ipoh-Lumut causeway.

"I'm craving for some fried chicken la," she said.

"Alright," I said as I took the left lane and into the causeway, Ipoh direction. "Kita pergi KFC la then?"

"Okay," she replied me back as she placed her bag at the back of the car. She then pulled her loose hair backward and tied them up to a pony tail. As she moved, her Rush came rushing, filling the voids in air around in the inside of the car. It got myself drugged again.

It was already 7.00pm when we left UTP. The sun was already about to set, so I pressed on the gas to get to the KFC outlet in Batu Gajah before the iftar time. The causeway was rather crowded, probably because everyone was rushing to their own destinations for iftar. In between times, I took quick glances at her when she wasn't looking.

She wore a plain, black long-sleeve cotton shirt except for a silver love imprint at the right chest, a pair of blue acid-wash jeans and her colorful sandals. There was a silver bracelet on her right wrist with love pendants at every tie that shone in the lights from the setting sun. I was in my black-and-white Blackwatch Polo, my usual Snail's black cargo and my Paul Smith, with additional magnetic bracelet on my right wrist and my black SLR Tag Heuer on my left. Somehow our clothes matched each others'.

"You okay tak ni?" She turned her head to me when she asked.


"Diam je."

"Okay je," I said while trying hard to hide the expression in my face. Probably she could read me already?

She didn't reply but to lean forward and play with the Flip-flap that I placed on the dashboard. I looked at her small, fair-skinned fingers as she touched the moving artificial leaves.

"I hope you don't hide things from me," she said softly but with it sounded she really meant it, her fingers still playing with the leaves. "It shows."

I felt a sharp pain in my heart when she said that. She already did read me. It seemed that I had hurt her without me realizing. To hurt her would be the last thing in my mind I'd ever do, and it probably will never happen at all. I took a look at her from the side of her face. She looked upset, and that made me feel even more worst. I didn't want this outing to be spoiled before it even started, so I needed to come out with the best I could to save it before it was too late.

"Nantilah I cerita," I said to her before throwing my eyes onto the road again. "Kita makan dulu okay?"

She turned to me with an expressionless face. You look damn adorable when you did that, didn't you know that?


I looked at her and nodded, "promise."

And those lovely lips smiled again.

* * *

"Ipoh White coffee, please," I told the waiter as he took the order before turning to the one with rosy cheeks. She pulled two fingers up to the waiter, signaling for two cups of the same drink.

The night in Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort was somehow pleasing. It was very quiet except the voices from chattering mat sallehs from the rear tables. There was nobody in the club house except us, them mat sallehs and the kitchen crews. The place was well lighted by these cozy, romantic yellow-orangery lights. I chose to come here for a cup of coffee after the heavy meals we had in KFC just now for iftar. I still could feel one of those cheesy wedges stuck on my throat.

"So," she said, "what was it that bothering you just now?"

I placed my eyes on her who was then sitting next to me. She looked pleasant from the radiance of those romantic lights, hence improving my mood somehow to becoming rather romantic as well. She sank in the big wooden chair with fluffy cushions while resting both of her arms on the armrests, her legs crossed. With her hair now let loose covering a part of her vision, I felt the urge to brush my fingers to reposition them, but I decided not to.

"Today we did the Experiment 3, the heat of reaction," I said slowly, word by word.


"There was this spill of concentrated acids in the fume chamber. You know? The 11.6 mole sulfuric acid?"

"Uh-huh?" she nodded for a bit. "What's with it?"

"See," I leaned forward to her, "I am currently the longest serving instructor in Chemistry Lab II. So I have this responsibility to keep the lab going smoothly, and when something bad happens, I have to answer to the board of safety."

She listened carefully while staring at me in focus.

"So now I have to answer to them. You know, damage reports and stuffs. And the result might be nasty," I said to her before I leaned back again and continued, "and that's what I was worried about."

"Did anybody get hurt?"


"Then what's the problem?"

I just smiled at her while tapping a finger on the table. Honey, honey. It is always a big issue when it comes to laboratory safety, not only in UTP but also anywhere else. In engineering world, safety is always a number one priority. When things like this happened, those held in responsibilities have to take charge to correct the wrongs, and usually in the way, their futures are at stake.

"But it wasn't your fault kan?" She was serious when she asked that.

"Bukan. It was an accident."

"Then? Takkan diorang nak buang you dari handling the lab?"

"Takdelah sampai macam tu," I said. "But I might be facing some stuffs la nanti."

As I finished the sentence, our drinks arrived at the table. The steaming hot coffee did not stop me from enjoying the bitter-tasting drink as I slowly sipped on them. She didn't touch her drink at all.

"This is ridiculous," she said, pissed. Her face looked angry.

"Don't worry about it lah."

"No. This is ridiculous. It's not your fault. Why should you yang responsible?"

"It's just a duty I need to fulfill." I sipped more on the coffee.

"Did you even fight for it?"

"Nak fight apa pulak?"

"For your rights la. Takkan you just want to sit here doing nothing and just hope things would be okay? That's weak tau."

I did not blink when I looked at her. Somehow her statement poked the sensitive part in me. I placed the glass of hot coffee onto the table and threw my eyes somewhere else, somewhere where she was not visible in my eyes. I did, I did try my very best to make up so that everything would be normal again. I did try hard. How could she just said that? I was a capable fighter even against the much skilled opponents. I did fight for it. My mind played along with the sharp blows that constantly pounded on my chest. I felt hurt, hurt by her words. I felt a small, burning rage in me - talking about being rebellious.

Suddenly I felt a warm touch on my hand. I looked at it and saw hers was on top of mine. I raised my head to see her staring at me with worried looks on her face.

"Sorry," she said as she caressed my hand slowly. "I shouldn't have said what I said. I'm sorry."

I stared into her watery eyes deeply and wondered about what just happened. She looked really worried and somehow the signs of deep regrets showed on her face. I felt that my rage went away like smokes in air. I felt the hardest part in my heart melted like the Rocher did in my hands days ago. I felt the coldest part in me slowly warmed up as she stroke her fingers against mine. For the first time since so long, I felt cared and well taken care of. I was amused at how she could change the atmosphere quite so suddenly a hundred-and-eighty degree. Slowly my lips formed a sincere, warm smile.

"It's ok," I said.

She smiled back too, still stroking her hands, patting mine. "I will pray for you. I hope things will be okay again."

"Thank you."

* * *

03/09/09 2.13am, a text message entered the mobile phone.

"I baru habis sembahyang. I prayed for you. Good night n thx 4 just now. Jgn terlepas sahur lg. :)"

Thank you rosy cheeks.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"You kat mana?"

It took me a while to digest the message by reading it a number of times. I didn't sleep since 11am yesterday so my brain were having numerous misfires that disrupted the ability for me to catch things easily like usual. When I finally got it, I put down my pen and started to type the reply message by hitting the keypads of my aged mobile phone.

"Dekat lab." I hit the send button.

I placed the phone at the end of the table and got back to my task again - marking piles and piles of laboratory reports from the just now session and also from the previous week. It was my lab day today - two sessions of chemistry laboratory conducts. The laboratory was all empty and dark since the last session for the day ended except at the part where my table was, where a row of white pendafluors shone brightly creating rays of lights along them. It was very quiet inside the lab that I could hear the air-conditioning ducts shaking as the chilled air inside them moved.

One after another I slowly progressed to marking the reports. I wasn't in a hurry, so I took my time on doing the task. After all there was only one left to mark after the one I was currently marking, and once done I could call it a day, at least. But there was something else in my mind that occupied me from looking forward for the day to end as easily. The incident that happened during the laboratory session just now somehow was pressing me. But I needed to keep it out from my mind for a while, at least until the marking work was done. One step at a time, I'd say.

The heavy door on my right side was pushed inward, creating screeching sounds as the rubber pad at the bottom of the door scraped the floor as it moved. I didn't bother to even look, because I knew who it was. Instead, I pretended to be busy with my work. I heard the sound of a chair was pulled to in front of me and stopped, then the sound of hydraulic support as it hissed when someone took a seat on it. I dropped my pen slowly, raised my head and I saw her.

She sat on a laboratory chair in front of me. She wore a gray, three-quarter sleeve cotton shirt with some chick designs and glitters on it. Her hair was as usual; carefully-tied pony tail but loose fringe. Her usual tote rested calmly in her arms. She then placed the tote next to my bag on the table and moved the mobile chair and herself forward by pulling on the static table using her hands. She then placed her hands, folded, on the table and looked at me in smile as I slowly leaned back to the backrest of the chair, both my arms folded around me.


She smiled, showing her teeth in between those pink lips and replied, "hello."

I looked at her in silence, enjoying the warm view in front of me as seconds passed as if time was frozen. The poundings of my nervous heart slowly tuned down to none. It lasted for a while before I leaned forward, picked up the pen and started marking again. I placed my eyes wholly on the report, but from the corner of my eyes I could see her slowly placing her chin on top of her arms. The smell of her hair and her Rush stroke my nose like a mechanical drill does to a piece of soft wood.

"Sibuk ke?"

"Takdelah," I said. "Last one je. Sekejap eh."

I quickly scanned over the one last report and marked it accordingly. It took me around 4 minutes to complete one usually, but when she was here in front of me, the time for one marking took only a minute and a half, roughly. The perfume she wore must be some kind of a performance drug. I wrote the total mark for the report at the top right corner of the front page, placed it on the completed piles of reports, arranged them a little and rested them on my bag. Now, my attention was a hundred and ten percent for her. I leaned back to the backrest while she was still like that, hiding her whole lips inside her folded arms on the table. Her fringe covered her right eye.

"How's your day?" I asked her. I folded my arms around me. It was cold inside the lab.

"Um-hmm?" She looked at me and played with her eyes and brows as she answered me with that soft hum reply from her nose. Somehow she reminded me of Puss-in-Boots from the movie 'Shrek'; the cat who manipulates his cute nature by holding his hat and staring up at his foes with an innocent, wide-eyed, expression, which softens his foes hearts.

"No class anymore?"

"Um-um?" There came the same sound and the look again.

"Nak kena slap?"


I quickly leaned forward to reach her guard, to which she shrieked and tried to evade my attack. She then laughed and stuck her reddish tongue at me as she pulled away from the table to where I could not reach her. I leaned back again in smiles, since I knew by doing so I was drawing her back to me. Which she did - she slowly pulled herself towards the table again. She then rested her chin on her standing arms on the table. She fixed her fringe by blowing on it using directed air from her mouth.

"You buka kat mana hari ni?" she asked.


"Seriously la."

"Tak tau lagi," I said confidently, when actually I had a boys-day-out plan with Noraz already. We planned to go to some places in Ipoh for some food-tasting and all the crazy things we boys oftenly seen to be doing.

She smiled excitedly. Her rosy cheeks lifted to show her cheekbones. Her eyes shone brightly. In a way or another, I sensed that she already had a plan in mind, which she put it verbally almost as quickly as I expected her to:

"Kita berbuka sama-sama nak?"

I stared at her for a while, thinking and judging hard, making my mind up on it. She was making me an offer I couldn't refuse, and she knew I could never resist. She waited as my mind raced for a deal-breaker, slowly blowing on her fringe that fell back to her eye soon after every time she did that. She's playing with my emotions and my rationale. My heart said yes when my heart said no. After a few of this and that, I finally made my decision.

I'm so sorry Noraz. It seems that there is a sudden change in the plan.