November 4, 2007



i walked into the kitchen, where the sound of running tapwater and the bustle of you cleaning up came from. i walked slowly inside and stood at the kitchen doorway. you stood over the kitchen sink, angrily scrubbing some bowls and utensils. you finished, dried your hands, grabbed a tea towel and took out a tray of cookies out of the oven.

"sugar..", i said softly; i was feeling terribly ashamed.

CLANG! you crashed the tray on the kitchen counter. some of the cookies were thrown off the tray. BANG! you slammed the oven door hard. you turned to face me and just stood there, standing as straight as a stick with your hands clenched into fists by your sides. your eyeglasses dropped a bit on the bridge of your nose. a nose i often kissed.

"who. is. rosebud?", you said.

in shame i glanced at my feet. i know i had to answer; but it seems as if my courage has failed me for this one moment. i felt like i just lost my dignity. here is the moment where i have to tell you that for the past few weeks i had lied to you, and in essence i had cheated on you. being able to have resisted further would not be my saving grace; the mere fact i had fallen was enough to label me traitor, even if i had repented.

you walked up to me and shoved me on one shoulder.

"wiseguy you're not mute nor are you deaf. i just asked you, who is rosebud?"

i glanced at you. faint rims of tears were starting to form around your eyes. a glance at your clenched fists showed me you were trembling, most probably out of rage. i tried to reach for your hands but you pulled them away. i had no escape; it's now or never.

"rosebud..", i said. "rosebud is someone i knew.."

you raised your eyebrows. "someone you knew..???"

"i used to see her.. before you.. before us..", i sighed.

"what? so, an ex? did i just hear you right?", you said, your tone quicker than the usual sweet melody i so often hear. you looked down for a moment, and when you raised your head back up the tears were flowing freely. the sight of you crying, and the knowledge that i had caused it, stung me so hard i could have sworn my heart stopped a beat.

"sugar... i can explain..", i said.

"explain then wiseguy", you said through gritted teeth.

and thus i told you about what has been going on these past few weeks. i told you about the time i had gone driving alone after that fight we had, and how, by pure chance, i met rosebud. and as i told you about the time i lied to you for the first time because i had a lunch date with rosebud, i had begun to feel teary as well. i was feeling teary for the hurt heart i knew you were cradling. i told you about the 'dates' rosebud and i went on, and how i had made up stories to you. your own crying worsened by now, and you were sobbing, albeit controllably.. for now.

"but sayang, please forgive me..", i said. "i made the most terrible mistake... and i'm so, so damn sorry sweetness.. i know i've betrayed you.."

you held your hands to your face and cried; we were still standing in the kitchen doorway. i reached out to hold you, but, unsurprisingly, you slapped my arms away and ran off to the living room, screaming "no..NO!!". you hurled yourself on the living room sofa, grabbed a cushion and put it to your face. i walked to you and knelt in front of you.

"sugar..", i said slowly. i have never felt so low in my life. "maafkan saya.."

other than the the sound of you sobbing, the house was silent.

"sugar, i know i have done you great wrong.. but i realize my mistake now.. i won't ever do it again.. sugar, i love you.."

you put down the cushion from your face and looked at me. your glasses had fallen of your face, and i could see your eyes, which, incredibly, remained crystalline and beautiful despite the redness and tears. you bit your lower lip, still crying, and looked at me.

"why?", you said. "why did you do it. why did you lie to me. WHY?", you demanded, before breaking into sobs again. i sighed heavily.

"i.. i was being stupid..", i said.

"OH REALLY? tell me something i don't already KNOW wiseguy", you shot back.

"sugar, i wasn't thinking clearly.. i was.. i was afraid i was losing you.."

"losing me? you were afraid you'd lose me so you went to someone else?", you hissed. and even crying, you could still come up with:

"i don't know what logic you're using wiseguy, but it's obviously NOT of this reality"

i stared into your teary eyes. i opened my mouth to say something, than closed it abruptly. i was thinking about what to say. and i was drawing blanks in my mind, in my thoughts.

"i didn't mean it that way sayang..", i said.

"don't you sayang-sayang me right now..! god, what makes you think you can still call me that right now?!", you scolded at me with hurt in your voice. and i just kept quiet; you had every right to be angry. i had every right to keep my mouth shut. for now. you moaned and sobbed again, and let your body fall on the sofa, and you wept and wept. when i reached my hands out you harshly pushed them away. meraung-raung.

"NO! don't touch me..!", you shrieked and wailed again. you sat up, pushed your head back and looked to the ceiling. those bitter tears streamed down your cheeks, and you did not bother wiping them away. i knelt quietly in front of you, unsure of what to do and what to say, perhaps for the first time in our 7 year relationship. all my 'wit' had ran out of me... not that it would have been much help anyway. suddenly you came and knelt in front of me, and took my hands in yours; but far from holding them gently, you grasped them with all your strength.

"what were you thinking? what in the world were you thinking!!?", you said in an angry hiss. i only looked at you and shifted my gaze away from your burning sight. i felt so at loss, so at odds with you.

"wiseguy!!! TALK TO ME DAMMIT! what in the world were you thinking?! Ya Allahh..!!!

"why, wiseguy? what happened to your promise that you would never hurt me?", you asked.

"i won't, sugar..", i managed to say.

"you just did! you just goddamn did! wiseguy, i trusted you, i trusted you with all my heart and soul and faith. you lied to me, you LIED to me, you LIED to YOUR SUGAR!"

"sayang..", i said.

"you lied to my face and CHEATED on me.."

"sugar, i didn't cheat.."

"YES YOU DID..! don't tell me you didn't cheat! you lied to me, and just by lying means you cheated on me. do not tell me otherwise..! you'd be insulting me by telling me otherwise..god, you.."

i sat quiet again. you were still grasping my hands. again you broke into sobs and choked tears; you let go of my hands and put your forehead to my chest. i put my arms around you.

"sugar, please believe me that i'm truly sorry..", i said, when you suddenly, and with surprising violent force, pushed me away.

" being sorry doesn't change the fact you lied and cheated! and not just once..! all those times i stood by you and believed you..!!", you said, barely controlling the volume and anger of your voice.

"what in the world was going on in your head, wiseguy? what did i ever do to you huh?"

at this i returned your gaze fully. at that moment it was as if we were battling our wits against each other, our wills head to head for the first time since we met.

"you became different", i said, in a voice more stern and convicting than i intended.

"what?", you asked, honestly confused. "i became different??"

"yes..", i said. "ever since we made the decision to have a baby... to start a family, you've been moody. you've been grumpy, and you've been losing your usual cheery demeanor.. and don't tell me you don't know that as well..."

"i know that!"

"so i was afraid that i would be losing you in THAT way, sugar. i was afraid you were turning into someone different, someone i didn't know. i was afraid i'd lose the sugar i knew and loved. i didn't want things to change.. so maybe that's why i had a lapse of judgement and went to see rosebud.. maybe i was looking for someone like you again.."

"wiseguy, of course things change..! we made a decision to start a family. you're smarter than this, Ya Allah..! wiseguy!!! of course i'd be too caught up! i'm a woman, wiseguy! you have to let these things be sometimes. and it's not like i wasn't trying to be my usual self. i was trying, wasn't i?"

"i know you were.. but you were still not yourself sugar.. ", i said softly.

"so you were afraid you'd lose me? good god, wiseguy, i'll always be sugar!! i'll always be that person you fell in love with! but think wiseguy: we're not dating each other without a care in the world anymore... Ya Alllah, wiseguy, you, of all people. i can't believe i have to explain this to YOU, of all people!", you said. you were regaining your mental prowess now; the sobbing and crying tide was receding, and full, calculated anger, such was your character, was building momentum. you got up and rushed to the bedroom. i quickly followed suit.

"what if it's not supposed to be this hard, sugar?", i said as i followed you into the bedroom. you had sat yourself in front of the dressing table, and you were rubbing your slightly swollen eyes. then you looked at me through my reflection in the dressing table mirror. you turned around.

"did you seriously think marriage would be an easy thing, wiseguy?", you asked with a hint of contempt.

i flung my arms. "i didn't say that.."

"then what? what wiseguy? apa yang awak tak puas hati sangat?"

"you..!", i snapped.

"well what about me..?!?", you snarled back.

"like i said! you weren't being yourself! you were becoming someone i didn't know..!!"

"maybe i was! but have you ever considered what i was feeling? didn't you see how much i wanted to have a child of our own wiseguy?"

"i saw it. believe me i saw it.. but it didn't mean i was ready to give up the girl i fell in love with.."

"i'm still the girl you fell in love with, IDIOT. but the girl turned into a woman, wiseguy. and i'm sorry if i was being a bit too MATERNAL. is that what you want me to say?!"


"and what gave you the right to LIE and CHEAT on me wiseguy? i could have understood it if you had just been.. been depressed or sad, but you actually went against your own sanctity, your own beliefs when you did that.."

"i told you i'm sorry.. and i came back to you didn't i? i came back to you and told you i wanted to be with you, right?"

you got up from the dressing table chair and walked up to me. i thought you were going to slap me or something, but instead you said softly.

"do you know how much i love you?"

i looked at your beautiful, tear stained face and turned the other way.

"next question: do you know how much you've hurt me?", you said. you went to the bed and sat there.

"look..", i began. "i know what i did was wrong.. ". you looked at me, your face a mask of fury and disbelief.

"you're damn right it was..", you said. i ignored that remark. i went on.

"but you have to understand.. i was afraid. like i said, i was confused and afraid that i was losing my Sugar.."

you shook your head. "you're lousy at excuses, wiseguy.."

"well, what do you want me to say huh?!", again, i snapped. "argh. it's all this stupid having a baby thing. if it's gonna be like this, we might as well just forget about a little wiseguy or a little sugar! baik tak payah, tau tak?!"

as soon as i said that i regretted it. i realized it was the worst thing i could say; it was probably worse than the revelations to you that i had lied and cheated; it almost confirmed an accusation you made in anger a few weeks back that i didn't really want a child. the sad thing was i did want it have a baby with you; but with what i just said, i had probably hurt you deeper than i ever thought i would be capable of.

you were silent. your head was slightly bowed down. your hands gripped the sheets of the mattress, shaking. fresh teardrops fell from your eyes, and stained your lap.

"sugar, i didn't mean that..", i attempted to begin the apology.

"leave", you said.


"LEAVE!", you suddenly shouted at the top of your lungs. you got up, pushed me aside and went out of the bedroom. you rummaged through the key basket we kept near the door. you finally found what you were looking for: my set of the housekeys, your set, and my car keys. i walked towards you, holding my hands out.

"sugar, i'm sorry..", i said.

you thrust the car keys in my hand. but you held on to the housekeys. you were sobbing hoarsely. in the lines of your face, i could almost physically feel the hurt i had just inflicted on you. the lying, the cheating, the sudden statement. you held a hand to your mouth, and in a muffled, tear choked voice you said again:

"leave..". your breathe came in hitches.

"sayang, please.."

"I SAID LEAVE!", you shouted. "JUST LEAVE! LEAVE! GET OUT!!"

you opened the door and beckoned me to go. i made one last attempt to say something, a lame attempt at reconciliation, but you pushed me away. some part of me was dying inside; i could feel it. i walked to the open door, heavy hearted, with heavy footfalls. the sudden stillness in the air made it even more of a burden.

"put your shoes on and just LEAVE!", you said.

i did as you said, and as i stood in the open doorway, i looked at you.


slam. the door closed on me.

outside the door, 1645hrs
i kept calling your name. i kept saying i'm sorry. i could hear you crying in the living room. i repeated your name, loud enough so you would hear, but low enough not to bother our neighbours. still, nothing. you kept on sobbing in the living room.

outside the door, 1755hrs:
mr longjohns from the floor above us is taking the stairs down. he says hi to me, and i return the greeting. as soon as he goes out of view, i call your name again. i knock on the door, repeatedly, calling out your name, saying i was sorry. the only response i got was a sudden hard THUD on the door. that's all. i start calling your cellphone every 5 seconds. but you turned it off. when i started ringing the house, it got cut off. you must have disconnected the line.

outside the door, 1905hrs:
"sayang, please open the door.. we can talk this over..", i said at the door. i thought i could hear the shuffle of your feet close, and i wished hard the door would open, or at least unlock. but nothing. false hope. i continue calling your name.

outside the door, 1940hrs:
mrs tumbleweeds, her husband and children, our next door neighbours, arrive at their own doorstep. they say hi to me and ask me if i was okay. i must have looked awful to them. i said i was fine, and just mentioned that you and i were having some 'little problems'. mrs tumbleweeds nodded her sympathy and asked me if i wanted anything. i politely declined. they went inside their own apartment, but not before inviting me in. again, i declined.

outside the door, 2017hrs:
mrs tumbleweeds husband, mr porcelain, comes out and hands me a cup of coffee. i welcomed this. we chatted awhile, and he gave me some 'useful marriage tips'. i amused him for awhile, then he went back inside. i thanked him for the coffee. he told me to not to give up. i alternate between knocking on the door, calling your name, dialing your phone. no such luck. i write 'i'm sorry' on scraps of paper i found in my wallet, and push it under the door. no response.

outside the door, 2135hrs:
i lean on the door, and rhythmically knock my head on it. i was feeling mentally tired now. but still i kept on calling your name. my phone went dead a few minutes ago. i rummage through my wallet again. i found an RM10 note with the phrase 'if you believe in love, there's always hope for a better tomorrow' written on it. i cheered up a bit. surely this would soften your heart? i add "sayang, i'm sorry" on the note and push it under the door again.

outside the door, 2137hrs:
the note gets pushed back from under the door: it's in pieces now.

outside the door, 2215hrs:
i lean on the door again. but i'm tired. i call your name in infrequent, tired bursts. my head is sore from me knocking it on the door. still, nothing. i fell asleep..

outside the door, 2349hrs:
i woke up when i thought i heard the lock turning. turns out it was just mrs tumbleweeds checking to see if i was still out. she sympathized, and offered me to stay at her place for the night. mr porcelain also came out, and again he gave me a cup of coffee. the drink gave me a bit of warmth and strength. but i had to decline their offer. after a few moments, i told them they should get their own rest. i thanked them, and told them i would be alright. they smiled sadly at me.

outside the door, 0006hrs:
i stood outside the door. my hand stopped just as i wanted to knock on it. i sighed, and felt this deep pain and heartache inside my chest. sighing deeply, i grabbed my car keys, and took the stairs down. i got into my car, and drove for the nearest 24hr mamak shop.

i had a big meal there; i was famished. i thought of going to my brother's house, or my parents' but no. this isn't the time yet. besides, it would be inappropriate, even if they are family. i decided to sit out at the mamak shop for awhile, ended up drinking 6 glasses of teh tarik, and started feeling a bit sick. i couldn't think of anyplace to go.

i paid for my meal and drinks, went back to the car, filled up at the nearby petrol station. i also bought 5-6 bottles of red bull and loads of sweets; chewing gum, hacks, etc. i didn't really know what i was doing. but i had to be doing something. i washed my face at the petrol station's restroom, and afterwards put 6 sticks of wrigley's spearmint in my mouth. feeling a bit freshened up, if mentally strained, i got into my car, tuned in to my favorite radio station, and went for a long, long drive.

to where, i did not know. i wished i could drive back in time.


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