It rained heavily again that night.
The air-conditioning unit was constantly blowing chilled air into the room, but the cold temperature seemed to be unhelpful enough in cooling my boiling heart down. The rain splashed against the glass window fiercely; the sound it made roared around the dark, empty room. The same little night lamp desperately blasting rays of red light around the perimeter but to no clear avail. The streetlight outside shone through the window, making patterns of radical watermark shadow on the plain, huge wall. I stared at the shadow closely, trying to make sense of what exactly it was trying to paint, but in my mind I was somewhere else.
I sat down at the edge of the bed and rub my face with my hands, pushing all the soft strands of hair backward. I closed my eyes and let all my other senses grew, just so that I know I could still feel. Total darkness in my eyes, I heard more than I could see. The tapping sound on the glass windows, the ticking from the clock on the wall, the rattling sound from the air-conditioning unit and many other remote sounds, but none of them were similar to that of what I wanted to listen to - the sound of an incoming text on my phone, a simple reply from you.
I tried to replay again the scenes in my head, over and over again, trying to interpret all the hidden messages I failed to see, only in the end I saw myself surrounded with nothing but utter frustration, if not an entire confusion. From the corner of my eyes I looked at the phone that was lying motionlessly on the bedside table. It had been in that position for almost a few hours now. The clock showed 2.00am in the morning. The time to me, was slowly moving. But of course this was due to my own mental state -- apparently time is the longest when you wait for something that, to you, is the most meaningful. In this case, I was waiting for Min's reply, to almost ten individual short messages I sent to her via the phone, to which none was answered, and even worse, not a single one was delivered.
Of all things, why must it be her that wandered in my mind at this very odd hour? Why couldn't I forget her at all? Why her face kept on appearing in my mind whenever I opened my eyes, and when I closed them, I saw her apparition more? The way she smiled, the way she tidied up her loose hair around her fair ears, the way she walked in front of me and turned around to peek, and worst of all, the way she cried while waving at me? All these sudden attacks got through me defenselessly. I just had to endure all these very tormenting array of memories, while in the same time I had to try to crack the mystery open.
What did I miss, what did I fail to see?
I stood up from my bed, and a coin fell out from the pocket of my short, and all the way it fell, rotating side to side, only to hit the floor, producing the wholly-familiar sound.
* * *
The coin rolled all the way and off the platform and into the space down beneath, close to the tracks.
"Oh boy," she said. "Not again."
She shut her purse closed and placed in into her tote again, carefully enough not to disturb the flower at its end. In her hand was a Touch N' Go card that she was previously trying to store safely in the purse, but lost a coin instead, and decided to keep it in her hand at the end. We entered the LRT carriage and chose a place to sit. Min's face was a little sour.
"It's only a coin." I said.
She looked at me, giving me a some sort of fierce look. I was actually taken aback. She stared right into my eyes, examining something, before turning her face back to the opened door.
"It might be just a coin, but you cannot buy something, had you not enough cash to pay, for the amount is less a coin, in which where that one coin, could be your only savior."
Holy shit. Now where did that come from? I looked at her in disbelief. Wow, I said to myself, this young lady here could be one of the smartest, if not the wittiest, girl I had ever met all my life!
"I'm sorry," I said in my defense, whatever defense that was. "I didn't mean to offend you."
"It's alright," she said. "Maybe you don't value money the way I do."
Alright. That could be the biggest imaginary slap I had ever received that one whole year. It felt like getting trapped in between the large, metallic hands of Optimus Prime while he claps them together. It felt like my cheeks were slammed together by a pair of sledgehammer continuously from each side. At that instantaneous moment, I was actually searching for something to cover my face, if not my whole body with, from such an extreme embarrassment. I let out an awkward cough.
"Very well then," I said to her.
The LRT doors closed shut and it started moving towards our destination. There were not many people in the LRT at that time, for the time was already passing 10.00pm at night. The seats were mostly empty, and the air-conditioning temperature of the carriages was by far at the lowest. But this wasn't the coldest yet, for the coldest would be the reaction I received from Min following the comment I made over her rolling coin. She didn't say any word at all after that. Given the coldest shoulder, almost every man will start to wonder of what exactly did he do that caused the entire much-regretful event, and if he already knew, what exactly does he need to do in order to fix the entire ordeal. In my case, I was trying to figure out the latter, for the silence between me and her was already quite a killer.
"Look," I said. "I am terribly sorry for saying that."
She turned her head at me and tried to curve a smile on those cherry lips. Albeit the cold and dry temperature in there, the lips maintained their moist and shiny state. The looks on her eyes were rather softer this time. Her heartwarming lashes and her well-aligned eyebrows caught my attention quickly. Her long hair wrapped her around her neck and fell freely to the front side of her right chest. She used her index finger to fix the hair that fell within her peripheral view, and jerked her head to let them all pushed away to the back. So very beautiful she was when she did that. Please, do it again.
"It's alright." She brushed her bag with her hand softly before continuing, "I'm sorry for being harsh as well."
I looked at her while she was saying that. She smiled nervously to hide her embarrassment. I gave her a nod to signify that I accepted her apology, to which she replied with also a nod, signifying the end to the cold war which we had for five minutes or so -- probably one of the shortest in history.
"You're working tomorrow?"
"I do," she replied. "In the morning."
"Can I come and visit you?"
She laughed a little. Her sparkling white teeth gave a surprising show up. She leaned back against the plastic seat and rested her head on the wall panel; her eyes stared at me in the most daring, if not entirely flirtatious, way. Her fingers played with her hair. She bit her lower lips gently.
"Can I say 'why not'?"
* * *
There was nothing wrong at all.
All the details had been accounted for. Everything was so perfect. There was no reason at all for Min to act in such a peculiar way. First, she lied about her end destination. Secondly, she didn't reply any of my messages, and thirdly, she went away with my jacket. I recalled just how soaked I was after running under the heavy rain towards my car. To drive in those wet clothes made driving even more difficult, knowing that there was no other way to maneuver the car safely in that weather other than to turn on the air-conditioning unit to keep the dew from forming on the cockpit screen. I shivered all the way home. From then on, I felt that my body was warmer than usual.
Maybe I was catching a fever.
I went to the toilet at the corner of the room and washed my face with cold water just to refresh myself for a bit. I didn't foresee the fact that I was going to get any sleep anyway, so might as well I just stay awake and do something doable in that cold, rainy night. I took the towel and dried my face and hair with it before tossing it back on the towel rack. I walked out the toilet and back into the dark room, and turned off the toilet light, where everything went pitch-black except for three sources of light - the streetlight outdoor, the little night lamp at the room's corner, and an even tinier light from the mobile phone on the bedside table.
I rushed to the bedside table and on the way there I accidentally hit the corner of the bed with my shin, causing me to curse in the most inappropriate manner as tears started to accumulate around my eyes. But this of course didn't stop me at all, for I literally dragged myself to the bed and took the phone with my hand. With a few maneuvering, I saw that all the pending messages previously sent to Min had been delivered. She finally turned on her phone... at this hour? The delivery reports showed 3.15am in the morning. Did she just arrive home, or did she just woke up? I thought about it for a while but it appeared that the pain on my shin was very unbearable. I checked for blood but there was none, only a bluish spot instead. I rubbed my shin vigorously trying to make the pain disappear while my head iterated about the possibility of why only then Min turned her phone on. Before I was even able to determine what exactly was the explanation behind that very odd phenomena, the phone started to vibrate in a pulsing manner continuously, signifying an incoming call, waiting to be answered. Caller ID: Milia Yasmin.
And the pain on my shin disappeared entirely.
...to be continued.