November 4, 2007

One


3 years later
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i've been with you for 7 years now. that's 4 years of dating; and the past 3 years of marriage. sure, we've had the ups and downs. which relationship doesn't, right? but i guess i could say that you and i have reached a plateau in our relationship. if this was a graph, we'd be at the phase where it's flat, with no sudden peaks or valleys. it's not to say we're not happy; but we're content. maybe there's a reason as to why.

last year, we made a grand decision. one morning when i walked out of the shower, you were standing in front of the dressing table mirror with your t-shirt halfway up your torso, revealing that flat tummy i (and countless other women) admired so much. you wore a look on your face i had immediately recognized as your 'i wonder' look.

"you look fine sayang.. you're not growing sideways..", i said jokingly.

you were startled; i guess you didn't notice me when i came in. you blushed, and gave me a curt smile.

"it's not that..", you said. i waited for the punchline; but none came. you almost always had a cheeky follow up in your lines. i walked to you and embraced you from behind.

"you okay sweetness..?", i asked. you were looking at the mirror, and joined your gaze. you took my hands and placed them on your bare stomach.

"it is very nice to touch, i know..", i said. you smiled again and blew a strand of hair that fell on your face.

"it's flat..", you said. i nodded.

"i want it to be round", you said. i kissed your cheek.

"so you want to be tubby in the gut?"

you turned around and faced me. "no, wiseguy".

you hung your arms on my neck and gazed at me in the eye. the you said those words:

"i want a baby.."

i almost fell to the floor. but we talked about it afterwards, a long, serious discussion. we talked about how it would change our lives forever; but we also talked about how the timing was just right; we were married 2 years last year, and had spend the first 2 years of our marriage enjoying each other. and although when you mentioned you wanted a baby i almost lost it, i felt deep inside that you were ready, and surprisingly, i felt that i was ready. so after that discussion, we made the decision: we were going to try for a baby.

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a year ago we made that decision, and we were still trying. we both went for check-ups to ensure we were both clinically fine and able to have a mini version of me or you. at first, both of us were excited; after all, we were both healthy young adults. the odds were with us. we studied the cycles, we attempted timing. we prayed to Allah to bless us with our first child.

but it's yet to happen, and not for lack of trying. both our moms said "belum rezeki lagi.." and of course they were right. however i was getting worried because you seemed so sad you haven't conceived yet. i could tell you really wanted this to happen. you were really eager to hold our baby in your arms, and nurse him or her and look after him or her.

what really worried me was that for the past few months you were losing your spark; you weren't as bright eyed and cheerful and chirpy like you used to be. you were still there, don't get me wrong, but you were turning quiet. you still joked around, and occasionally made your quirky comments. but the radiance in your eyes were dimmer, and it didn't sound as naturally when it came out from you. to make things worse, when i tried to console you, when i tried to tell you that all we had to do was keep trying and praying, you'd get irritated and often angry. we fought more than once about this whole having a baby thing. you'd accuse me of not really trying, and i'd retaliate by saying you were too impatient. i want one as much as you do, but not at the expense of the Sugar i knew. i mean, i know things would change and be different; but i just don't want you to turn quiet and lose that beautiful shining light you have in your soul.

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all these thoughts were swirling in my head as i was driving aimlessly in the city. i usually had the radio on; but today i was driving in silence. it was late afternoon, about 1630, and the sun was hot and still. not the nicest day in KL. there was a stillness in the air that was annoying me. there was also something else.

last night we had yet another argument, which unfortunately escalated. and again, it was baby related. we were watching the television in our apartment, when suddenly you said:

"wiseguy, wouldn't it be sweet if we had a tiny you between us right now?"

i looked at you and smiled. "yes sayang, it would be..", i said and held you tighter in my arms.

you were quiet for a moment. "that's it?" you said.

that caught me off guard. "what?", i said.

"that's it? 'yes sayang i would be?' wiseguy, why can't you be more enthusiastic about this huh?", you said with sudden fury.

"sugar, i--"

"if you don't want a baby just tell me! but you're trying to be cool with it just makes it worse!"

you pushed me aside and burst into tears.

"sayang..", i started, but you cut me off.

"don't say anything!", you hissed.

i threw my hands up in disbelief, and looked at you.

"sugar.."

"diam!"

"sugar, listen to me.."

"just tell me that you're not really ready to have a child! i'd accept it!"

"SUGAR, LISTEN!", i said sternly and held your shoulders. you stared at me with watery eyes.

"sugar, i want a baby as much as you do.. believe me; but you have got to be patient. have you seen yourself lately? you're not smiling as much as you used to, and you're not as 'sugary' as you always were. what's the matter? you can't force these things sweetheart."

i opened up my arms to hug you; much to my hurt, you pushed me away again.

"so you're saying i'm too obsessed about this? huh?", you said.

"no, i'm just saying that--"

"you think i have to be smiling for you all the time? make you happy all the time? huh?"

"sugar, that is NOT what i said". i was keeping my voice low; in contrast, yours was getting higher.

"then what wiseguy? what?"

"look, all i said is that we need to be patient, and that YOU need to be calm about this.."

"shut up! just shut up wiseguy. if you're not ready then just tell me; DON'T say I NEED TO BE CALM", you said and got up. you walked to the bedroom and i followed you.

"sugar..", i said and reached for your hand. you turned around with fire in your expression.

"go away. get out and leave me alone. i don't want to see you."

you've never hurt me with words before; with those words, you just did.

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when you said those words last night, i was too stunned and hurt to say anything back. you ran to our room crying. i stood still for a few moments, and finally got my car keys and began driving around KL. i knew i should have gone home, but instead i checked into a city hotel and spent the night there. i left my mobile phone on silent mode, thinking that i did not want to interact with anyone. when morning came i hastily checked out and began driving around KL again. i visited some old haunts, found them depressingly different and continued my wandering. i wasn't really thinking much; i just wanted some quiet time.

you and i, we don't fight that often. and when we do, rarely would we say things that hurt deeply. so i guess i was in shock, mostly. i never expected you to say those words, which were echoing in my mind.. and heart.

go away. get out and leave me alone. i don't want to see you.


i genuinely wanted to cry, but i knew i wouldn't want to do that in public. i finally brought myself to a cafe in Jalan Ampang. i wanted a drink, and maybe something to eat. i sat myself down and ordered my meal. when it came i ate it, not particularly savoring the food, but just eating it out of necessity. it was then a familiar voice called out to me.

"wiseguy? wiseguy, is that you?"

i looked towards the direction of the voice and saw a delicate looking young woman, my age, with dark brown hair and honey tanned skin. it took awhile, but when the memory clicked, it clicked loud and clear.

"rosebud?", i said.

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rosebud was my ex; i dated her about 2 years before i met you. we broke up on good terms, when rosebud and her family shifted homes. i last met her on that day we broke up. on occasions we would send each other e-mails, but we had lost touch for quite awhile now. seeing her in front of me now was.. a pleasant surprise. we sat down together and talked talked talked. we reminisced about our memories and the times we spent. finally she got up to go, and we exchanged phone numbers.

that meeting cheered me up a bit... and when i realized i felt cheered up, it made me feel guilty all the more. i checked my mobile phone and saw you had sent me a lot texts; there was also a lot of missed calls from you and even from my parents and friends. you must have gone to them when i went AWOL last night. i decided to go home...

...straight into your arms. you cried and scolded me in alternate bursts. in the end when your tears subsided, you began apologizing for last night, saying you weren't being yourself and that you promised to try not to think or obsess about having a baby.

"i'm sorry..will you forgive me sayang..?", you said.

"it's alright sweetness..", i said in my most soothing voice. we then spent some time in the living room, not doing anything but being quiet. you finally decided you felt tired and wanted to take a hot shower and a nap. you got up to go prepare yourself. just then my phone buzzed. a text message; rosebud.

"wiseguy, are you free tomorrow for lunch? do you want to meet up say, at The Curve? i'm buying - Rosebud"

i pondered the invitation when you came out again, wrapped in your bathrobe and about to go shower.

"wiseguy sayang..", you said. there was a hint of the old sugary sweetness in your voice.

"yes dear..?", i said.

"i love you so much.."

i looked at you for awhile. "i love you too sugar..", i said.

"are you doing anything tomorrow sayang..?", you asked.

"i'm going out for lunch.." ...i am?

"oh. okay." you said. "with who..?"

i almost stammered. "with the guys from the Photo Club.."

"oh..okay..will you be out long?"

"why dear..?"

you paused and looked at your feet. "i just..", you said. "i just thought that...after you go for lunch, we can go to the lake gardens.. have ice cream maybe..?"

"sure..", i smiled. "after lunch, okay?"

you nodded and smiled sweetly. you left me alone then for your shower. i took a look at my phone and the text from rosebud again. i replied:

"sure. lunch at The Curve sounds great.."

i pressed 'send'. rosebud replied saying to meet her there at half past one. i glanced at the message. i could hear faint singing from the shower.

i sat there on the sofa in the living room, looking at the appointment i had just made with an ex-girlfriend of mine. it struck me then that i never mentioned i was married when i met rosebud today. then, like a sledgehammer hitting me in the chest, i realized something.

i was about to meet an ex-girlfriend for lunch; and i had just lied to you about it.



2 comments:

datin azrin said...

wiseguy yg jahat.. ade ke tipu bini sebab awek lain.. ish.. ish.. ish..

nurdini izni said...

omg. he just HAD to do that :l