January 30, 2008

unexpectances, deja vu, and something rediscovered.

it's been 2 and a half weeks since wiseguy had come to her house asking permission to use those photographs of her to enter in a competition. 2 and a half weeks since she abruptly asked wiseguy whether or not he actually loved her.

she felt like a ghost at campus, drifting silently through the sidewalks and corridors. she felt transparent and nude, vulnerable. only the presence of tingles kept her grounded. inside her mind, she felt stupid and shallow. if it weren't for tingles and her other girl friends, she would have felt incredibly alone. arrows? well, that's something she didn't even think of anymore. they had just drifted apart with none of them saying anything to each other anymore. they still smiled or talked a little.. but that was all. almost as if they broke up mutually through a shared silence.

she didn't feel hurt about arrows. she knew arrows wasn't the kind of guy who would stay single for long. but somehow it hurt her to know that. arrows could easily get a girl.. while she was waiting for an uncertain answer that lay hidden deep beneath wiseguy's facade.

she scolded herself over and over again regarding the incident a few days back. had she seemed desperate? probably. but wasn't there a truth in wiseguy's look, and voice, that confirmed to her that her assumptions were right? wiseguy loves her. and she knew she already loved him to a certain extent. all she needed was confirmation. truth.

now, on a warm thursday afternoon, sugar was sitting at her desk in front of her laptop. a plate of oreo's and a cool glass of milk sat beside the computer. snacks, of course. she had just finished typing a written assignment for college. but she wasn't even thinking when she did that.. it was like her working mind was on auto-pilot, whilst her actual conscience was focused on something else.

she sighed. she hasn't been seeing wiseguy much around college. when she asked his classmates they said he was busy with assignments, free-lance photography jobs and other errands. even when she did see him around, he always seemed to avoid her gaze, or he always looked like he was walking with purpose. in other words, he always seemed occupied with something else.

sugar leaned back on her chair, stretching her muscles. that was when the bell rang. she heard the shuffle of her mama's feet downstairs as her mama went to the door. then her name was called.

"yea mama?", she called from the top of the stairs. she peeked down. her mama was at the bottom of the stairs, looking towards her with a gentle smile.

"deja vu. go see him.", her mama said and went to sit down in the lounge, watching television.

deja vu? sugar thought. her breathe stopped a moment. her cheeks flushed hot. it must be him, she thought.



in a space of 5 minutes she had put on a pretty purple baby-tee with a simple flower in a pot picture in the front and a pair of 3/4 jeans. she almost fell down the last few steps of the staircase but managed to maintain balance. she quickly checked her look in a mirror, adjusted her hair and pushed her glasses up her nose. her mama smiled gently looking at her.

sugar took a deep breathe and went to the gate.

surely enough, it was wiseguy. he was leaning on the hood of his car, dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans. his hair, again, a charming mess around his head. the clouds were beginning to fill the sky, promising rain. sugar stepped out of the gate and walked nervously up to him.

"hi wiseguy..", she said. he smiled sweetly at her. she took it as a good sign. they stood silent for a moment.

"are you free right now?", he said.

"yeah. whats up?", she asked him back, her voice a bit shaky.

"let's go to the playground"

"at 3pm in the afternoon?", she said, surprised.

wiseguy shrugged casually. sugar looked at him. finally she said "okay", and went to tell her mama that she would be at the playground for a moment.

they walked in silence to the playground, which was about a stone's throw from her house. surprisingly, there were already some kids playing there, no doubt encouraged by the sudden overcast. at one moment her hand brushed his, and she felt an electrical surge go through her body. she blushed for no reason, but was relieved when she saw wiseguy didn't notice. he was just staring ahead, with a curious, short smile on his lips.

an ice cream seller passed by; in fact the very same one that has passed by a few weeks back. but this time wiseguy halted the ice cream seller, and brought two cones of that cheap 50 sen ice cream.

"they only had durian, yam and corn. so i took a gamble and chose corn for you..", wiseguy said as he handed sugar the ice cream cone.

"you didn't give me the liberty of choosing?", she said teasingly. in her heart she felt suddenly warm; she missed talking to him in this way.

"well," wiseguy said. "despite the fact you have an incredibly sweet tooth, i figured you didn't like durian or yam. so if gave you the choice, it would be academic. hence corn it was.."

wiseguy smiled gently and sugar looked at him. inside her heart she felt this deep river of emotion flowing. she was falling in love. she just knew it. however wiseguy had fallen silent again. they had reached the playground, and they took a seat at a marble bench with MPAJ written on the backrest.

some of the kids who already there paused whatever games they were playing and looked at them. within 5 seconds they lost interest in the 2 young adults and went back to whatever games they were playing. sugar and wiseguy sat on the bench, perhaps 6 inches apart. wiseguy half-finished his 50 sen ice cream cone and chucked it on the ground.

"that's not really ethical of you..", sugar said as she decided to break the silence.

wiseguy looked at her. "that's okay. it's biodegradable. "

she laughed, covering her mouth. wiseguy shifted his position, and sat cross legged on the bench. he looked at sugar, seemingly deep in thought. sugar shifted as well, and faced wiseguy.

"wiseguy?", she said. he took a deep breathe.

"sugar; do you know.. that i have been talking with an alternate you?"

sugar looked at him, a bit confuzzled.

"you have been talking with an alternate me..?" she said. "i.. i don't get it.."

wiseguy held his head down. "if i tell..", he said. "you must promise not to think i'm an idiot.."

sugar nodded. wiseguy looked at her, and his eyes took on this dreamy yet fully conscious glaze. to sugar, it was like looking through an incredibly clear mirror. she could almost have seen her own soul in those eyes at that moment.

"you remember that night, when i pulled that 'prank' on you..", wiseguy began, and he relayed his side of the story, the true side of what had actually transpired.

he told her of how he had dreamed of a love so pure between them. he told her about Standing In The Rain. he told her about Beach, that Breakfast, of Waking Up In The Middle of The Night. he told her about The First Date, and how he dreamt of her writing a Diary Entry For Him. ultimately he told her about how he had dreamt that they were In A Rut in their dream marriage... and how it had all led to that 'Prank'.

sugar stared into his eyes and face as he told her all about that dream. as he told her all about how he had been 'talking with an alternate you in those dreams', as he had put it. sugar felt odd; but she found herself endeared by these dreams of his.. dreams that could only mean one thing.. and that one thing he had yet to say it.

he finished his story. "you probably think i'm crazy..", he finally said.

by this time, sugar found that she had regained, even if it was partial, that wit they had shared earlier in their relationship, when they were just friends.

"what are trying to tell me wiseguy?", she said. she knew there could only be joy after this. but she kept her excitement in check.

as if on cue, the clouds opened. it began to rain, a soft, but heavy drizzle. they ran towards a nearby gazebo, where the playground kids had put their bicycles. the kids kept on playing in the rain. sugar reached the gazebo first. she was wet with the sudden onslaught of rain. she reached inside the gazebo, wiped her face and turned around to see that wiseguy had stopped just in front of the entrance to the gazebo, and as a consequence, was standing in the rain. he had a puzzled smile on his lips.

"what are the odds?", he said, still standing in the rain.

"come inside here before you catch a cold!", sugar said to him. wiseguy just stood there.

"no!", he said through the rain. "if this is how it's supposed to be, then this is how it's supposed to be.."

sugar looked at him, eager, frightened, nervous and anxious all at once.

"sugar", wiseguy said. "i love you"

sugar looked at him. he went on.

"i'm sorry if things have changed. i don't know what shot i have by telling you this; but i am telling you, here, standing in this sudden rain, that i love you. and... and.. well, i guess that's all i wanted to say.."

sugar stood inside the gazebo. she was trembling, feeling cold now. but inside her heart she was feeling a joy she had never felt before. she had been right all along. this was the truth she had wanted to hear for so long. for a moment she stood silent.

"wiseguy!", she shouted at him.

"what?" he said. he was absolutely soaked.

"run with me!", she said as she burst out of the gazebo, grabbed his hand and began to run back towards her house. wiseguy ran with her, feeling amazed he was holding her hand as they ran together.

"i knew it!", she said as they ran in the rain, their feet splashing in the puddles that were already forming.

"knew what..?!", he said.

as they ran she turned her head to face him, smiling in the rain. "that you love me!"

wiseguy looked back at her. she was smiling sweetly at him, even though water streaked her face.

about half-way to her house, she stopped so suddenly wiseguy almost fell over. they stood there in the rain. suddenly threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. he awkwardly put his hands on her waist. she broke the hug and looked at him face to face.

"wiseguy i love you too", she said. "ever since that day. ever since that day i knew i was falling in love with you"

he looked at her for a moment, and brushed off some of the water on his face. "what about arrows??", he asked.

"we both know that doesn't matter anymore!", she said. and it was true; he had seen them drift apart as only she herself had known for sure.

"come on! i'm cold!", she said and began to break into a run again. but she stopped when she realized wiseguy didn't follow suit this time. he stood there in the rain, looking at her.

"wiseguy?", she called out.



back to the narrations of wiseguy..

i stand there, looking at you standing in front of me, in this rain, and i can't help but feel this over-whelming yet pleasant sense of deja vu. it's raining; we just told each other that we were indeed in love with one another. what are the odds of that? sure, it's a bit differently that what i dreamed (that seems like so long ago..), but i can live with that.

"wiseguy, are you alright?", you say, and you were starting to look a bit worried.

"i'm fine.. don't suppose you can lend me a towel at your house?", i say as we both broke into smiles. you hold out your hand and i take it in mine. we began running again towards your house. you began to laugh, sweetly. it was music to my ears.

as we reach the gates of your house, hand in hand, we stop. i look at you and you look at me.

"sugar, you know this much is true, don't you?", i say. "i love you.."

you smile. "i know that. i've known that for quite some time wiseguy"

i take your other hand in mine.

"come on; mama will give you a towel. and i can make you some hot chocolate with marshmallows!", you say cheerfully. i smile and follow you inside, feeling a bit segan.

"wait here", you say as you leave me at the door. you walk inside first, and i hear your mama exclaim "ya Allah, basah kuyup anak aku". i hear you talking to her for a moment; soon enough, your mama came to the door to hand me a towel. i say thank you and your mama smiled gently at me, saying she can get me some spare t-shirts.

i stand at the doorway, drying my hair. i then notice you standing at the bottom of the stairs, smiling at me; you had tears in your eyes.. or maybe it was the rain. you look at me and then you mouth the words 'i love u' at me before you walk up the stairs to obviously go change.

i sat myself down at the doorstep, and sighed, and felt a surge of gratitude rush through me. i realize, that this was real, this was happening, this was for sure.. i know i will not let this go to waste.. i know i wanted to make parts of that dream come true now, and i know i want to prevent parts of it from happening.

i sat there thinking of you when suddenly you appear at the doorstep and hand me some dry clothes and a mug of hot chocolate. there were little white marshmallows inside. you take a seat next to me.

"where's your mama? say thank you to her", i say.

"she's inside. she likes you. auntie kettle she is to you..", you say to me, smiling. you look beautiful, even with your hair matted down, wet.

we sat there in a comfortable quiet. that was when you lean your head on my shoulder.

"won't your mama see?", i ask.

"she's in her room, reading.."

"what about your dad?"

"he's out at work. shut up and don't worry. i'm just leaning my head on your shoulder.."

it feels like i have known and loved you forever. we chat, softly and with an irresistible romance to our conversation.. then you were quiet again. i take in the moment. i lean my head on yours, and smelled your wonderful perfume.

"this is where i wanna be.. thank you..", i hear you say softly..

this is for real, i think in my mind. somewhere in the deepest regions of my heart, i somehow knew i had found a beautiful love; somehow i just knew that i had found a happiness beyond measure with you. i just knew..

i just knew i could carve a beautiful forever, talking with.... you.


January 24, 2008


she woke up that day and felt a dizzying pain in her head. 1230pm. she had overslept. she felt tired and grumpy and cranky and crabby. she fell back to bed and decided she didn't really want to do anything except stay in her room all day.


that was her mama. feeling a bit irritated, she stumbled out of bed and went outside her room. she called down to her mama.

"mama? yee?"

and her mama replied: "come down dear, a friend of yours is here.."

a friend of mine? she thought. who would be coming to her house right now? it must be tingles. or maybe arrows. but mama would have said their names if it was them who had come. realizing she was dressed in only a skimpy tank top and shorts, she rushed to her bathroom to freshen up. she pulled on a fresh t-shirt and jeans and went down the stairs. her mama was at the dining table, already setting up lunch. her dad must be out then.

"who's at the door mama?", she asked.

"go see yourself..", her mama said with a gentle smile.

"ish mama ni.. bagitau je la..", sugar said, partially annoyed. she went to the front door of her house. she expected tingles or arrows. as she went to the door she tied up her hair in a ponytail. when she saw who was at the door, she paused; her hands still in her hair, and a hair-band in between her teeth.

"hey sugar..", the person at the door said.

it seemed like an eternity of silence.

"have you lost your ability to speak..?", said the person amiably.

sugar let her hair fall and took out the hair-band from between her teeth. hastily, and realizing she was blushing furiously, she straightened her hair and corrected the creases in her t-shirt. she stammered a little, but finally found her voice.

"hey.. hey wiseguy.."


sugar invited wiseguy in, but her heart was beating like machinery on high gear. she didn't know why he had come, but she'll find out soon enough. wiseguy was dressed in a black polo t-shirt and a pair of levi's. his hair was a charming mess around his head. he had with him a manila envelope. sugar was feeling so intrigued. after she let wiseguy take a seat in the living room, she went to the kitchen to make a drink. her mama was at the dinner table, covering up the lunch dishes with a saji. her mama was smiling.

"that's him isn't it?" her mama asked suddenly.

"who?", sugar asked back, wary.

"that's wiseguy. the boy you told me about."

sugar was silent, remembering now that she had told her mama all about wiseguy. she nodded and blushed. her mama just laughed.

"go and make him something to drink. and for the record, hensem la dia.", mama said. sugar made a face to her mama and made a cup of tea for wiseguy, who was being quiet in the living room. taking a deep breathe, she walked out to sit with him. she did not make a drink for herself. she just did not feel like it.

"thanks..", wiseguy said as he took the cup of tea from sugar. there was a moment of silence in which sugar felt an odd, but calming, wave coming off from wiseguy. it was probably just in her mind. in her heart she felt a mixture of excitement and fear of the unknowns. and she felt something else as well; a longing to tell him about her ow growing feelings. over these past few eeks she had grown more confident in her belief that wiseguy actually loved her. she just felt it, one could say. but still... nothing had happened. until today; this was a surprise.

"so..", she began.

"so..", he said, in that laid back voice of his.

"what brings you here todayy? and how did you know my house anyway?"

wiseguy took a sip of the tea. "you forget..", he said, "that i was here last raya.."

sugar smiled sheepishly. "oh. okay.."

"but anyway i'm here because of this," wiseguy said as he took the manila envelope he had brought and carefully slid out the contents. sugar edged closer to him, conscious of the fact that he was so close to her right now... and of course, of the fact that mama was probably watching them from the dining area. plus, her dad would probably be home soon for lunch.

as wiseguy showed her the contents of the envelope, sugar put a hand to her mouth. they were the photographs of her that she had seen before on his flickR page; but he had printed them off, beautifully in high resolution on high quality photo paper. why, she was to find out soon, she thought.

"first off, i'm sorry if this comes out as...well, creepy or something..", wiseguy said to her. she said nothing, so he continued.

"but i wanted these shots to be natural.. i wanted to catch you being, well, you. i do apologize though, sugar."

he handed her the photos, and she took them with trembling hands. she was overcome with emotion, and she was trying her best not to give them away.

"sugar?", wiseguy said. "you're not saying anything.." he laughed a little, nervous sounding laugh.

sugar looked at the photos again for a few seconds, and finally turned to wiseguy, who was smiling softly.

"wiseguy.. why?", she asked. she was hoping for an answer that would make her world beautiful.

wiseguy took a deep breathe; sugar held hers in.

"i..", he said.

"yeah..?", sugar said, instantly angry at herself for seeming to eager.

"i'm entering a photography competition..", wiseguy said. "and i chose to submit an entry for the 'portraits' category.. i came by to show you these pictures.. and to ask for your permission to use them.."

sugar was thrown off guard for awhile. not the answer she had wanted to hear.. but maybe that was better. she opened her mouth to say something, closed it, and finally said:

"yeah...yeah. yeah, sure. that'd be sweet.." she knew she needed something to cover up this moment of seeming vulnerability, so she quickly added: "but go half-sies with me on the prizes if you win okayy?"

"no half-sies. i'll give you gratitude cukup la.." wiseguy said seriously. then they both broke into laughter. and that seemed to break the apparent tension in the air between them. they chatted for awhile, as if they hadn't talked for a long time. which was partly true..

"i miss this wiseguy..", sugar said.

"miss this?", wiseguy said.

"you know.. jesting words, talking and what nots with you.."

"yeah.. i kinda miss it too..", wiseguy said as he took another sip of the tea, which had gone cold. he looked at his wristwatch, and sugar just knew he was getting a bit wary. but she also knew she can't press him further. by his looking at the watch, she knew he wanted to make a move.

"well i gotta go..", he said. sugar smiled.

"thanks for seeing me.. and letting me use the photos..", he said again. he got up, and sugar stood up as well. she smiled at wiseguy.

"thanks for coming.. it's a really pleasant surprise...", sugar said. they walked to the door and wiseguy put on his shoes to get going. sugar walked him to the front gate where he had parked his car nearby.

"well.." wiseguy said as he went out through the gate. "thanks.."

"thank you... and those pictures are really good, wiseguy.." sugar said.

he hesitated suddenly, then said: "it's because you're beautiful..". when he said that he didn't look into her eyes. sugar found herself blushing. what just happened? she thought.

wiseguy made to walk to his car, smiling at her almost bashfully. sugar was getting annoyed with herself. come on! her inside voice screamed.

"wiseguy..!", she called out. she went out of the gate and walked quickly towards him. he had stopped about 10 feet away from his car, his keys already in his hand. an ice cream seller suddenly passed by, the bells ringing. sugar waited until the sound of the bells were faint and far away. wiseguy was looking at her; his eyes piercing but gentle, a calm in a storm.

"wiseguy.." sugar said.

"yeah..?", he asked with a hint of caution in the tone.

she was quiet for maybe 8 seconds.

"do you love me?", she said. the words sounded loud to her own mind. wiseguy looked stunned.

"wiseguy, do you love me?", she said again, trying not to get emotional.

he stood by his car, looking at her. his face was quiet. he took a step forward to her.

"sugar.. i..", he started. she looked at him, not realizing she was making subtle nodding motions with her head. but then wiseguy stepped back, and said apologetically:

"i gotta go.."

he got into the car, brought the engine to life and slowly drove off. sugar looked at him go, knowing she was in his rear view mirror, becoming smaller and smaller as he drove further away.


for the rest of the day and well into the night, sugar went into moodswings. she'd cry and get angry in alternate bursts. she wasn't angry at wiseguy; she was angry at herself. when he had drove off, she had gone back into the house and went straight to her room, ignoring her mama's questions. luckily her mama wasn't the nosy type and had let her be when she realized that her daughter wasn't feeling great at all.

in between her crying and anger she called up tingles and relayed what had happened to her. tingles played the part of best friend well, saying words of comfort and telling her that all won't be so bad. sugar accepted those words and loved her friend for it, but she couldn't shake off that bad feeling she felt in her stomach. it made her feel sour, for lack of a better description.

later that evening she had calmed down enough, although she still felt sad. she had a big dinner of rice, asam pedas ikan keli and stir-fried kangkung followed by ice cream. food always made her feel better. she watched the tv for awhile as her parents sat out in the garden talking. finally she got bored, wished her parents goodnight and went to her room. in about fifteen minutes, she fell asleep. hours later she dreamed of a tomorrow where she and wiseguy would be holding hands.

30 minutes away, wiseguy was looking out his bedroom window, wondering it if was time to tell her the truth.

regardless, things will change after today, he thought to himself. for better or for worse, he did not know.