Saturday, March 17, 2012

Episode 4: The First Goodbye

"Are you hungry?"

She didn't reply. Her eyes were staring at the blood red rose, admiring its petals. The end of her index finger gently caressed the petals one after another. Her pinkish lips shone under the glimmering yellow light. Some strands of her hair fell from the tie and hung in the air; they moved about when she withdrew her breath. Her soft, rosy cheeks blushed naturally in such a captivating manner. There were so many lovely things about this girl that could not go unnoticed, not even by someone close to her, let alone me, a definitely still a stranger. 

If only I know what is in your mind, Min.

She was still encased in her own imaginary world with the blood red rose in her hands. I didn't know that a single rose could have had her affected that well, or badly, whichever fit. I admired her in my eyes as she admired the blooming flower in her hands. There were so many things that I didn't know about her yet, well at least not yet. It was a good thing that we weren't able to secure a pair of seats for ourselves previously in the cinema because, apparently, it was a full house that day, except for some crappy movies, in which both of us didn't have the slightest interest to watch. Had we been able to go for the movie, I wouldn't be able to obtain this otherwise very pricey moment. So here we were, sitting on this wooden bench, overlooking all the busy evening shoppers who moved fast and furiously between each other, with bags in their hands and tired feet down under.

Min continuously admired the rose, indulged in her own world until after some time, when she returned to the real life and turned her face towards mine. She smiled a little. 

"Are you hungry?" she asked. 

Well this is awkward, I thought. I just asked you the very same thing.

"Slightly," I replied. "You must be famished now," I continued, "so why not we find some food?"


She wrapped the blood red rose carefully into its wrapper and placed it standing at the end of her tote bag so that it wouldn't be crushed. She carefully sling the bag on her left shoulder and hugged it in such a way that she could protect the flower from anything that could make a physical contact on it. Apparently the flower meant so much to her, more or less equal to just how much she meant to me. Deep inside my heart slightly melted. 

"So, what's good around here?" I asked. I looked around, trying to locate any good food outlet but to no positive result. There were only departmental stores along this aisle and on this level. Perhaps more promising ventures awaited for us at the ground level.

"You want to eat here?" 

I turned around to face Min again before I shrugged my shoulder. "Well where else could we have dinner at?"

She smiled widely at me and her face showed an amount of unforeseen excitement. 

"I know a great place." 

* * *

There were only two of us.

The elevator casually moved us from the cold and empty underground level up to the surface. It was my first time there - the Kg. Baru LRT station. The unfamiliar surrounding caught my attention, but never in a way similar to how the person, who stood in front of me now, did. For some certain reasons, she chose to stand towards me and against the movement of the elevator. Perhaps she didn't want me to secretly admire her very much admirable bottom, and if that was the case, she had certainly been successful enough to lock me in such an embarrassing posture. I must say that, albeit all the confidence I had in particularly handling women, this one somewhat took the top of my confidence a whole mile higher, making it rather difficult for me to maintain an otherwise very casual posture. That moment on that moving machinery could be one of the longest I ever had in the accounted history of my travelling on an elevator. I lifted my head up and looked at her straight in the eyes. My cheeks instantly thickened again.

Bad move indeed.

This could be the third cheeks-thickening moments I had ever experienced in one single day. The first was at the coffee outlet previously, and the last would be this one. The second however was the most memorable; for the first time in my life my cheeks thickened so badly that there was no doubt my face turned into a some sort of those large burger variety. It happened just some few minutes previously, in an unforeseen embarrassing moment I had with Min in the LRT.

In the LRT previously as we commuted from KLCC to Kg. Baru, the compartment where we decided to crash into was very crowded. Luckily enough I managed to secure an empty space right next to the door, although much to my own disappointment was barely enough for us two. As the commuters crammed into the already bloating compartment, I pulled Min to the space aforementioned, where she could safely stand against the wall and a glass divider next to the door, as I, although not heroically enough, barricaded her from other commuters, using my body as the shielding protector. I pressed my hand against the poly-carbonate wall, and my other hand gripped on the overhead metal bar tightly.

What I experienced next was the most challenging.

There she was, pushing herself closest to the corner, hugging her bag tightly. She held her head downward slightly, in which as a result exposing her rather thick brown hair, located right below my nose. Some flowery scents stroke my nose again, in which at that moment I was merely guessing what type of shampoo she used. But of course that wasn't the most notable thing. Imagine, I was only a few inches away from her in that crammed compartment. People continuously pushed me closer to her, in which I could feel the warmth from her body radiating on mine, if not the striking flowery scents that continuously fed my hungry smelling buds. As the LRT moved, and so did other passengers behind me, the circumstances pushed me closer to Min, and by far this was the closest I could have had ever gotten to her.

Suddenly, there was a bump on one of the rail track, causing the compartment to shake a little. Many people, me included, were jerked to a side, in which in this case the side I was jerked to, was where Min was standing. As an impulsive reaction, or maybe more to a self defense mechanism, she laid her hands on my chest, protecting herself from being crushed by me. She quickly withdrew her hands gently and she didn't raise up her head at all, perhaps to cover her blushing cheeks, but I could clearly see her lips from behind that charmingly-looking nose -- they were indeed smiling after uttering in the softest m anner the word 'sorry'. And quite at that instantaneous moment too, I felt so very much overwhelmed from that little romantic gesture.

"What are you smiling for?"

My mind came back from the flashback moment to where I was literally standing - on the elevator going up from the underground level of Kg. Baru Station to a level above. We were almost at the end of the elevator by that time. I raised my head again to look at Min before stepping off the moving plates to the ground floor after she did.

"Oh nothing," I said to reply her previous inquiry. I stared at her confused face, nevertheless still pretty, before continuing.

"Nothing at all."

* * *

The meal was great.

I didn't know there was this humongous food fiesta along the roads at this spectacularly wonderful side of Kg. Baru. Min brought me to this one place where they served us two plates of Chinese fried rice, a plate of battered and fried calamari, a plate of fried water spinach with salted fish, and my favorite -- a bowl of char-grilled cockles, or kerang bakar. My delight for cockle was nurtured when I was a boy, and it never really at all faded over time. Apparently, Min enjoyed the tiny creatures as well as I did, so I ordered another bowl of it soon when the content in the first one nearly reached its bottom.

I stared at her desperately trying to open one of the cockle up using her tiny fingers. I took it from her and opened it up in one single move, and returned it to her, who was already waiting with a plastic fork and a small bowl of spicy sauce that went well with the moist and sweet cockle flesh.

"You like cockle huh?"

"I do," she replied. "Only that I always have trouble opening it up."

She took one of the largest cockle in the bowl (I was actually aiming for it too to satisfy my own appetite) and tried to open it up using her tiny fingers again.

"Need help with that?"

She didn't reply at all. Her eyebrows made expressions in such a way similar to that of someone's who was trying to deal with the result of a seven-day constipation. I immediately took the cockle from her hands, opened it up and ate it in just a few seconds. She stared at me in total disbelief.

"That's bad. You're a bad man." She placed the plastic fork to rest on the sauce bowl, hung from its circular wall. She leaned back and rested her hands on the edge of the table, showing an obvious sign of protests.

"Calm down," I told her. "Come, let me open them up all for you."

She didn't say anything but remained in that protesting gesture. Her face was the sourest for the first time ever. But I knew how exactly to lure that sweetness out of her sour costume. I gently opened the grilled cockles one after another and laid them on the plastic plate right in front of her. After ten or so naked cockles in the plate, I retired from the work and wiped my hands with some serviettes.

"Come on now," I said. "Otherwise I'm going to eat them all one by one in front of you."

"No!" she shrieked and quickly grabbed the plastic fork. She dunked all the cockle contents into the sauce bowl and took the bowl close to her. "No one take my food away from me," she said while pointing the fork at me, "not even you."    

She later devoured them cockles one after another while making a satisfied face. I laughed from her reaction, from which I considered to be the cutest so far, and in return she laughed as well. My, just how I hoped that moment will last forever, where, despite the fact that the place was full with customers, only what happened between the two of us really mattered.

Once done with our meals, I cleared the bill and both of us took a walk back to the LRT station, around a few hundred meters away from the food outlet. The night sky was accumulating thick clouds and it was pretty windy too, signifying an incoming downpour any minute then. But both of us were walking pretty casually nevertheless, mostly due to the fact that both of us ate quite a lot just now, and also to the fact that I didn't want the night to end this quickly. Not a word was spoken after we left the food premise, and both of us were entrapped in our own world of imaginations, speculating how exactly do we kill this silence between us.

"I had fun today," I said while looking at her.

Min turned her head at me and smiled. "Me too." 

"When can we meet again, I wonder."

She let out a small giggle. I looked at her still, confused. She let out a small sigh and she untied her hair and let the shiny and wavy, thick dark brown hair fell around and onto her shoulder. She combed it with her fingers and styled it out casually before she wore the hair band on her hand as a bangle. She looked at me again and gave me an even wider smile. Her white teeth sparkled in between those pink, full-blown bee-stung  lips. I knew that daring look on her. Clearly something witty was about to come out from her mouth.

"You miss me already?"

I was dumbstruck again right away.

* * *

"Next station, Wangsa Maju."

Upon hearing the announcement, I turned to Min, who was sitting next to me in the almost empty carriage and reminded her.

"It's our station next."

She nodded gracefully. Strange, just when I thought that of all these times, she actually lived in Wangsa Maju, just a few kilometers shy from where I did. We were so close, yet so far away. This also was especially true, pondering on the fact that we didn't talk quite much en route from Kg. Baru to our current location on board the LRT, except exchanging a few words over our plans for the next day and...and that was all about it. Nothing much else was spoken about. The rain outside was getting heavier. I undid my jacket and gave it to Min.

"Use this to cover yourself in the rain later," I told her as I handed her the thick, corduroy jacket. "My car is parked just next to the station."

I took out my Touch N' Go card from the pocket of my shirt and I saw she did the same thing from her bag. She hugged her bag and my jacket pretty tightly. Perhaps the air-conditioning temperature of the carriage was too low for her petite body. Her look was thrown far outside the window where raindrops  brutally slammed on the thick glass wall, creating heartwarming ticks every time they did. Very little did I know what was in her mind, only that I could see that her face showed a little bit of worry. As the LRT proceeded to enter the platform area, we stood up and went towards the opening door opposite to where we sat. I stepped out of the compartment and walked ahead, only to realize after a few steps that Min wasn't behind me. I turned around and saw her standing at the space where she stood while we were travelling to Kg. Baru just now, smiling. The door alarm rang off, signalling that all doors of the LRT will be shut close soon.

Oh no, I said to myself. No no no no no.

I tried to climb into the compartment back but the doors were already three-quarter closed by that time. I saw Min from behind the doors, still smiling, still hugging her bag and my jacket close to herself. I was confused. I got a little panic. What is going on? I asked myself, and in the same gesture, I asked her. I could feel my heart throbbing fast. 

She waved a little and said something I couldn't understand. By chance I saw a little drop of tear fell from her eyes. This of course drove me into an immediate madness from wanting to know what the hell was going on. Why was she crying? When I walked out, why didn't she follow? She told me that she will exit at Wangsa Maju station, but why didn't her? While these questions continuously attacked me, I had to step away because the LRT was already moving. Cold raindrops showered onto my hair and face from the rooftop above. My eyes were on her at all time. I felt so helpless. In fact I felt so very damn useless.  Worse, I didn't have the chance to even properly say goodbye.

I felt my throbbing heart stopped beating. In my head the images of her waving at me as she moved far away in that carriage flashed upon continuously over and over like a broken movie player. I pulled myself together and stared at the LRT that was then only a small trace of light in the heavy rain. The LRT moved even further away. As she disappeared into the darkness that rainy night, deep inside myself I felt something dying. There was only one thing to say in that kind of situation, and that was the only thing appropriate to say after all. And I had to say it.

Goodbye, Min. be continued.


tira said...

One lady like her is hard to get. Tulis la lagi cepat2. Need to know about this lady that you loved so much. :)

love live good life said...

just blog walking..
u made me recall on how falling-in-love-to-someone feels like :)

Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi said...

Dear Tira and Fiza;

Thanks very much. I am currently finishing Episode 6, in which episode 5 will be published shortly.