Monday, January 18, 2010

Promise Me

"Can I ask you a question?"

She looked rather lovely that night. Knowing her for long as a research partner, I never really did realize that she could appear that lovely at all. Daily attire for us both would be T-shirt and jeans and a layer of white cotton coat on top of all that. No makeup, no accessories, no nothing. She usually put on her retro glasses and just had her hair clipped in a very casual manner.

But in front of me there at that particular time she appeared to be the sort of lady one could never really put their eyes off her. Good choice of attire I must compliment; a good looking black evening dress that followed the curve of her body covering all the way to slightly under her knees while the top area exposed a bit of her shoulder; her hair tied to a bun at the back of her head; and a matching set of pearl earrings and necklace that completed her extravagant look that evening. On her face were a thin layer of facial powder and a few light brushes of blusher on her cheeks, among other things like eyeliner and the such. Her lips were covered with pink-reddish lipstick.

The ambient, dim lighting in the open-air restaurant located somewhere in the uptown area of Ipoh enhanced her beauty to even blossom in a greatly manner, other than to create such romantic mood, spectacularly speaking. And there she was, sitting straight on the cushioned chair at the opposite end of the rectangular mahogany-like dinner table, where in between us was nothing but a rather tiny table lamp to mimic the light usually shone from a lighted candle. Not many customers were there at the moment, despite the usual dinner time which was about to kick in.

Simply said, she's gorgeous.

"Can I?" she repeated that question again. This caused me to slip out from the rather displaced world of mine quite immediately.

"Well sure," I said as I fixed my shirt from under the evening jacket I was wearing while my eyes were on hers. "What is it about?"

"Why out of a sudden you asked me out for dinner?"

"No particular reasons," I replied quite instantly. "I was hungry, still am, and it's Friday night. So I thought it would be great to spend the evening over a decent plate of steak or something. And we are colleagues."

"Well you could have asked some other women, couldn't you now?"

"Well of course I could," I answered her with slight chuckles. "Why, how did that occurred to you? The question I mean."

She rearranged the cutleries on her side of the table using her ring and little fingers. "Nothing,"she replied after a while. "I was just curious that's all."

"Well I thought it would be lovely to have you as a companion tonight," I said.

She responded with a beautiful smile to that. And I replied with one, though not very much of a beauty of a kind. We didn't talk for a while there but to exchange looks from one another.

"You have been single for some time," she finally said something. "Why don't you find someone who suits you?"

I stopped smiling.

* * *

The food was great.

The steak especially; tender and juicy though medium-cooked. The steamed veges were excellent and the dessert too was mind-blowing. We did enjoy our dinner very much, and while waiting for the food to settle we decided to sit at the lounge area where there were plush cushioned sofas and light music. If I was not mistaken, the song that was playing was Ballade for Adeline.

After I ordered a pot of black Javanese for myself and a glass of lime juice for her, I took one of the cigarettes I earlier hand-rolled by myself from the cigarette box and lighted it up. The smell of cherry and vanilla filled the air apart from the usual tobacco smoke.

"You have been overall too quiet during dinner," she said. "Was it something I said?"

"Nah," I replied as I blew the smoke into ring-shapes. "Me, maybe."

"I am very sorry if I did offend you earlier. I did not mean to."

I looked at her. She was sitting straight on the other sofa next to mine with both her legs bent to her left. I saw her fair-skinned legs and her black strap heels. She was playing with one of her earring while her eyes were on the bouquet of red roses on the table next to the ashtray. She looked upset for some reasons.

"Hey," I said to her. "Cheer up. It wasn't your fault."

She remained still on the sofa. My, I have been working with this girl in the lab for some time now, and very little did I know that she could be this sensitive. In the lab she was always considered to be as one of the guys. She's the type who grinds metal like a man, but tonight there she was, being all feminine on me.

"Darla," I said to her (I oftenly use the word Darla to address someone in a softer, loving manner) but she did not respond to me. "Darla, look at me." This time she did, and she looked at me.

"You were right about me," I said and took some time to cleared my throat before continuing. "I have been single for quite some time, yes. How I long for someone to hold and how I crave for a company right by my side for me to have wonderful talk with - at times these feelings pounded onto my spine like a hammer does to a nail, but very little did I ever do about it. At times I chose to only ignore and live my life to the fullest each and every day."

"I started to join many clubs and societies. I got myself indulged in politic. I buried myself in books. Research all day long. Too many activities at one time that sometimes I found myself losing out on doing any of them, for the sake of being busy so that my mind does not linger too much about this loneliness issues."

Our drinks came finally. I tapped the cigarette ash into the ashtray and took two more puffs before killing the cigarette and then proceeded to looking at the ceiling. From the end of my eyes I saw her looking at me.

"But at the end of the day when I come back to that little space I call home, I always wish that there is someone whom I can share my day with. Someone from which I could tell how I got that bloody gasifier working, how the meeting with the engineers went, how big the fishes I fed at the clubhouse, this and that. How I wish I could have that. Did I have one? Had for me hell."

She stood up and sat next to me on my left. I could feel the warmth of her body showering on my face and arms, though they were not touching. Her perfume stroke my nose like a bus does to an unknowing pedestrian, only in a little way too wonderful to explain. She then put her left hand on my chest, on top of my barely beating heart.

"I am sorry. I find myself hurting you just now with my careless words," she said. "But deep in my mind I think that this heart is a strong one, and I am pretty sure that one day it will find one good heart too as a company. I hope that it does not stop beating in before the event takes place."

"I have my sympathy of what you are going through. But I know that matters not at all to you. I hope that my company today somewhat means something to you."

I just smiled half-heartedly to that. What's the point of comforting me anyway? Why, would you want to be my company? Oh no. You have that skinny man you call a boyfriend from which both of us knew that he was out at the time heading to a club in the nation's capital city with his friends and different kinds of chicks he called companies. And what about you Darla? Why the hell were you here and he was there? And why were you letting your tears out of a sudden?

"Promise me that this heart will not stop beating," she said. "Promise me."

* * *

I do.


MeiLin said...

you should write a novel, your writings feel so surreal... love it! So, is the lady, real? :)

Zuraida said...

such a romantic.

huge sigh.

Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi said...

Melinda: thank you, probably i should =)

the lady is real.

Zuraida: eh? sigh for what specifically?