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"Hey," he took her hand and gave it a squeeze, peering into her eyes. "Trust me, maybe?"
She looked at their linked hands. Her hand looked small in his, the way he could wrap his fingers all the way around her palm. How could another person's hand radiate so much heat and not be scorching? Squaring her shoulders, she looked up to meet his earnest gaze. A breath she didn't realise she was holding escaped her lips in a rush. "There's no maybe about it."
He broke into a wide smile and whooped. "I knew you'll come through," he said, tugging her along, his hand still clasping hers. "C'mon, let's go!"
Rainy days and Monday always get me down...
She swirled the contents in her teacup, staring idly as the tea leaves float around in a neat circle. The porcelain felt cool in her hands. She checked her watch and glanced outside, resting her chin against her hand. A sigh escaped her lips, briefly fogging the glass wall in front of her. Raindrops chased after one another in long streaks as the rain continue to pour. Her phone vibrated. Accessing her inbox, she read the message. Tea forgotten, she stood up, shrugged on her coat, grabbed her purse and made a beeline for the exit. A smile played on her lips.
Funny but it seems that it's the only thing to do,
The door swung open. A bell tinkled overhead. He stood framed in the doorway as his gaze swept across the cafe. She wasn't there. He ducked out into the rain once more, his feet already walking towards the next cafe. As he turned around the corner, his feet stilled. He breathed her name. She glanced up. Stopped. An arrested expression on her face. They moved at the same time, not caring that they collided, their arms wrapping around each other. A kiss on the forehead. He pulled back and cupped her face with a hand. A soft smile on his lips. "Missed me?"
Run and find the one who loves me.
When you turn it upside down, it begins to flow, even before you set it down on the table. Slowly but surely. Counting down the time. No, not ticking away. It trickles. Grain by grain. Time goes on. Trickling away.
Now you turn the dial backwards. Winding it up. You release it. The hand moves. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Softly but surely. Time just goes on. Ticking away. Second by second. Unhurried and steadfast.
Before you know it, the last grain of sand has fallen and the hand halts. Knowing that your time is up, what will you do then?
You know that feeling when you tear open a present to find the one thing you have been wishing or wanted for a very long time inside it? I felt that way when I was writing down my wishlist for the Secret Santa thingy. As though I'm a kid again.
Back in the day, we had a six-foot Christmas tree adorning a corner of the living room in December. When I grew tall enough, I would always be the one who decorates the evergreen boughs with baubles and strings of fairy lights. The tree was given away when we moved. I actually kinda miss it.
A muttered expletive sounded behind her. Angling her head just enough to look back, she looked curiously at him standing at a profile, his left hand aloft while the other held a stack of documents. His eyebrows slant downwards in a frown as he inspected his free hand. She swivelled her chair to face him.
“What happened?” she asked.
“Paper cut,” he muttered darkly, inspecting the offending cut on his finger. “Forgotten how bloody painful these tiny cuts could be.”
“Ah,” she winced at the remembered memory. “I used to have them all the time back in my interning days.”
“I was quite the pro,” she grinned. “Queen of bundles and all things stationery.”
"Why do you write?"
You paused, pen hovering over the foolscap paper, as you thought how to answer her question. It came out of the blue. One moment, she sat cross-legged on the rug in the middle of the living room floor, idly flipping through a magazine with Shaun curled at her feet. The next moment, her curious gaze settled on yours, the magazine lay forgotten on her lap. Bathed in glow of the late afternoon sun filtering through the window, she looked ethereal. Something in the vicinity of your chest squeezed. Your fingers curled tighter around your pen.
His fingers tightened on the pen in his hand then relaxed. His eye brows pinched together in thought. You run your hand through the dozing husky's fluffy fur in long strokes as you waited for him to gather his thoughts. After a moment, his fingers relaxed and the pen drooped, creating an ink blot on the paper. He paid it no mind. Though his eyes had drifted open, the faraway look in those green orbs made you long to wrap your arms around him and tell him everything is okay. When he spoke, his usual teasing smile was missing. Looking straight into your eyes, he said softly, "Just because."
His hair was mussed up as though he walked through a wind tunnel to get here. Dressed in a grey t-shirt and faded jeans with the sun shining in his hair from the window behind him, he stood at the bottom of the steps, looking up at her with a smile so happy she couldn't help but smile in return. He took the stairs two at a time and reached her within seconds. It still amazed her how his presence instantly brightens the atmosphere like sunshine. Like summer, she mused.
"Hello," he murmured, leaning in to press a chaste kiss on her cheek. Pulling back, he winked at her. "Lovely as always."
A flirty summer, she amended with a grin.
Immersed in your work, you sift through the papers on the table. As though sensing my regard, you glance up. If I could blush, I would have. You tuck an errant strand of hair behind your ear, smile and simply go back to work. That small smile still gracing your lips. Looking at you, my heart aches and I can't help but wonder: what did I do to have someone as wonderful as you by my side? I'm no dreamer but you make me feel like one sometimes. Not all dreams come true but the ones that do, are beyond my wildest imagination.
"Mommy, mommy, look at that!" I said, pointing excitedly at the animal walking alongside a tall man on the street. "A wolf!"
"No dear, it’s a husky."
"A husky. It's a big dog that looks like a wolf." Blinking owlishly at the large dog, I tugged at Mom’s hand. “Will it bite me if I say hi?”
"Not if you bite it first," she chuckled and ruffled my hair. "Why don’t you go over and see?"
I ran over to the tall man and stuck out my right hand. “Hi. I’m Jeff.”
Looking at my outstretched hand, he crouched down and shook it. “Oh, hello,” he grinned. “I’m Jeff too.”
There is a letter I wrote which I never sent to you. It sits in my drawer, neatly sealed in a brown envelope. Your name and the house address you live in all handwritten in neat, capital letters. I needn't include a return address or the name of the sender. You would know it is me by the handwriting alone. I wrote everything down in that letter. You will understand once you read it. Don't ask me why I still keep it. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. But one day, when I feel brave enough, I will mail it you. And maybe, just maybe, you will write back. In your own hand. To me. Just like old times.
Come on. Take my hand. Let's run down the hallway towards that open door. Look! The polished hardwood floor beckons, gleaming with a soft glow. Shall we pretend the orchestra is playing a waltz? Spinning around the ballroom till we're dizzy. Fall down in a heap on the floor. Laughing. Crystal chandeliers sparkling like diamonds in the domed ceiling above. Reach out your hand. The ceiling seems as vast and fathomless as the sky. Close your eyes. Listen. You can almost hear strains of music wafting out through the open French windows into the night air. Wouldn't it be lovely if this isn't a dream?
No grand gestures. Small, simple ones. The sort that occurs when no is looking. The sort that if you blink or look away for a moment, you would miss it. No, he doesn’t buy her flowers. But when he does (which is few and far in between) it is not because of an occasion. A spur of the moment. Since feeling is first. Not a single red rose, as clichéd and romantic as it is, but flowers that are beautiful in their simplicity. A spray of daisies. White lilies. And that wreath of mistletoe on her doorknob this year.
She stared. "You didn't."
Deafening silence. A cough. Shifting feet. A gentle touch. Hand upon hand. Gazes lock.
"Tell me," she says, "Don't look away. I want to know. I-I need to know. For myself. So, please. Tell me."
"I want to," he says. Quietly. Regret in his voice. "I want to tell you everything. About me, the voices in my head, why I-"
"Wait, what? Voices?"
"See, you're pulling away," his tone bitter, "and I have to tell you."
"No, no, you've got it all wrong." Hands fist in his shirt. "I'm not going away till you make me understand."
It is amazing how fluid he is when he dances. Even with no music, he moves with such innate grace and breath that leaves me gaping and green with envy. "It's always the little things," he said. "The extension of the fingers. Hands. Arms. Legs. Don't stop at one point. Continue to grow, lengthen, just that little bit more. Don't do it half-heartedly." All that controlled power and energy is just mesmerizing to watch. If you could see it, you will know what I mean. Dance isn't poetry in motion. It is art in its purest form, coming to life.
He landed on his feet, his outstretched arms falling to his sides, eyes glued to the orange ball. It sailed through the air in a graceful arc and into the basket hoop with a swish. Clap, clap, clap. He turned around. She stood at the edge of the court, hands poised mid-clap. He chased after the ball and dribbled it back to centre court.
"That was an impressive three pointer," she observed. He shrugged. "I got lucky."
"I don't believe you."
"Believe what you want."
He shouldered his backpack and walked towards the bus stop. "C'mon. Or we'll miss the bus."
She ran up to the bus waiting at the curb and climbed in just as the doors slid shut. He stared straight ahead when she slid into the empty seat next to him. The bus lurched forward and eased its way into the afternoon traffic. Her hands gripped her backpack. Fingers drummed erratically against the straps. She was staring at his averted profile. He pretended not to notice. She was brimming with curiosity, a question at the tip of her tongue. Five stops later, he sighed. "All right. Spit it out."
She didn't miss a beat. "Where did you learn how to play like that?"
She held up the notebook to the lamp light. Her mouth formed the words silently as she read. She glanced at him.
"A regular Shakespeare, aren't you."
He felt a tell-tale warmth on his cheeks. Turning away from the light, he busied himself with the scattered papers on his desk, straightening them into a neat stack. He shrugged his shoulders.
"I'm actually more of a Frost."
She flipped to another section of the notebook.
"But there is romantic soul in these," she said, her voice soft as she perused the handwritten poems. "Not very Frost-like, in my humble opinion."
I don't know if this is a seasonal thing or that I've been thinking too much lately. Or the fact that I am a little too prone to muse while on the job. Being introspective. Reflecting. The whole thingamajig, if you get what I mean. Or I'm just getting a lil older (as we all are) and a lil wiser. It occurred to me that having meals together (whether with family or friends) is something precious that we take for granted at times, thinking: oh, I can always have dinner with them tomorrow or this weekend. What if tomorrow never comes? What then?
It was half past eight in the morning. First period just ended. She was hiding behind a door waiting for an opportunity to sneak in. As soon as Mrs Lee exited, she sneaked into through the back door and made a beeline for her desk. She dumped her bag on the wooden surface with a thud and breathed a sigh of relief. As she unzipped her bag and unloaded her textbooks into the drawer, he leaned back on his chair. "You're early."
She clutched a hand to her chest and gasped, "Oh my gosh, really? I didn't know."
Instead of taking offence, he grinned. "What happened?"
A string of profanities exploded in the seat beside her. She shot her best friend a look. He looked back at her with a defiant one of his own. "What?"
"Language," she reminded him.
"He cut into my lane!"
It was so easy with him. She never felt that ease with you. Not really anyway. When you asked her about him, she wondered, were you jealous of their relationship? You never did understand their love for each other. It was the sort of love shared between siblings. You let it get to you and that was why you two broke up.
“I woke up late,” she muttered. She slumped in her seat and covered her eyes with her hands. “Ugh.”
“Lucky you,” a voice said. Peeking through her fingers, she saw the class monitor pause at her desk, arms crossed and a mock stern expression on her face. “I marked you ‘hadir’. You owe me one.”
"You did that for me?" She stood up and wrapped her arms around her usually sarcastic class monitor in a hug. Pulling back, she beamed. “Aww, thanks, Tong Kwun. You’re the best!”
“Yeah, yeah," she grumbled half-heartedly, "just don’t expect me to do this every time.”
"Wait," he held up a palm to stop her flow of words. "I know what you're gonna say."
She crossed her arms and frowned. Before she could retort, he said, "In fact, let me tell you a little secret."
The frown disappeared. She uncrossed her arms and clapped. Grinning.
"Ooh, I love secrets! What is it?"
"Shhh, lower your voice. They'll overhear."
He gestured to her. "Come closer."
She shook her head and scooted in a little closer, a hand cupped behind her ear as she leaned towards him. He leaned in, closing the distance between them.
"You forgot to zip up your skirt."
Unlike last year, Christmas was a pretty quiet affair this time round. Even so, it was wonderful in a subtle way. 'Love Came Down' by Kari Jobe, the song I danced to this morning, touched me in the way only God could. While it was no 'Everworld', I was doing what I love the most as my gift to Jesus on His birthday. Being home alone this season made me find joy in the simplest of things. Thoughtful words, whether spoken or written. Unexpected presents. Company for dinner. Uninterrupted sleep. It would've been better if the family was around. Still, it was a Merry Christmas for me.
It never occurred to me that for a single makeup brush, there are half a dozen of materials to choose from and at an exceedingly wide price range too. Granted the general market is kind in the sense that it either sells synthetic or natural hair (usually pony or goat). Thing is, what was supposed to be a hunt for a replacement for the blush brush I lost yesterday became an impromptu shopping for something else instead. Yes, I get distracted easily. In my defence, I
need them. The downside is that I am significantly poorer by several hundred bucks. BRAS, Y U SO EXPENSIVE?!
Last day. Bittersweet feeling. Not torn exactly, just a thought of whether is it the right path to tread. Still had work. Lunch at KLCC with the the two young partners, newly ex-LA, pupils and fellow paralegal. Photos here and there. None for me. All for her. Said my goodbyes. Dinner with the dad. Short, not that sweet. Walked around the mall for a while. Tried on a few pair of jeans. Can't find a flattering fit. Sighed. Went home. Bathed and packed bags for the road trip tomorrow. Thinking of chickening out. Thought better. Slept on it instead.
First road trip with friends ever! Drove up north to SP to visit Cikgu Alex with Andrea and Jee Wang. Pity Erika fell sick and could not make it. I bet it would have been more fun if she went along. And I thought to myself, why have I not done this before? I am a grown adult. I can take care of myself. I technically do not need permission to do things any more. I am fully liable for my actions, or lack of thereof. So yeah, why not? I should do this more often. Shall plan for one in the coming year!
I used to wonder why there were no rolling meadows, fat black and white cows grazing or farmhouses along the North-South highway during the family road trips I had as a child. Reading Enid Blyton's 'Children of Willow Farm' and 'Children of Cherry Tree Farm' ruined the idea of an idyllic countryside for me. All I saw were acres of plantation - either palm oil or rubber trees - and thought to myself,
. As As I stood in the middle of the paddy field with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face this morning, I came to appreciate the Malaysian countryside for what it is: picturesque. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
First day back home and life is good. Forgotten how it feels like to be a bum. Thanks to a friend, now I have the song 'If I Never Knew You' from Pocahantas stuck in my head. I can't stop playing it in my head. Or humming it under my breath. Feeling all the feels I have no business feeling. But it is a good feeling. The fluffy kind. The sort that give you warm fuzzies and butterflies in your stomach the way only feel good Disney movies can. I should stop. I really should. I have too many feels as it is.
It has been a year now since I started writing here. I am one year older. Wiser too, hopefully. 2013 wasn't altogether that great. Shit happened in spades, got stuck in a rut. Despite that, I thank God for the good moments in between & third chances. But y'know what, 2014 is gonna be kickass. I'll make sure of it. I will hold on to this promise in Psalm 23:6;
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
2014, you're gonna be worth remembering for all the right reasons.
The Tip Jar