April 7, 2008

interludes to the prelude to a goodbye

in the quiet of that night after she made the phone call to wiseguy, sugar lay in bed, curled in a fetal position, feeling cold and sad and relieved at the same time.

can i really do this? she thought to herself. she tried holding in her tears, but they flowed freely, glistening on her cheeks, making her pillow damp. she glanced at her bedside clock: 2334. she wiped off her tears, and went out her bedroom. glancing across the upstairs hallway she saw daddy inside his room, reading a paperback novel. Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, if she wasn't mistaken. he had bought that a few days ago.

from downstairs floated the voice of Andy Williams singing 'Where Do I Begin?'. mama must still be downstairs then, sugar thought. she made her way down.

indeed mama was still down there, in front of the television. a radio channel was on, the one playing oldies. mama sat on the sofa, a cup of hot drink in one hand and another Jane Austen book in the other.

she walked and 'thwumped' herself beside her mama. they looked at each other. sugar made a sad face and mama raised an eyebrow. mama took a sip of her drink, which smelled like tea infused with ginger.

"hmmm", her mama began. "what is it dearest?"

"evie dah cakap dengan wiseguy", she replied.

"and what did you say dear?"

sugar edged herself closer to her mama and put her head on mama's shoulder.

"i told him", sugar said, "that he should go.. and that i wanted him to go.."

her mama nodded. "and?"

"mama, evie sedih..~", sugar said and broke into fresh tears. her mama put an arm around her only child's shoulders and hugged her tightly. she kissed her daughter's forehead, a gesture filled with love and affection.

"shh.. dah dah. it's okay. it doesn't mean this is over right? and one year isn't that long a period of time. sedar-sedar saja it'll be over and he'll be back here", mama said.

"i know..", sugar sobbed and wiped her eyes. "somehow that makes it sadder; because i know he'll love me from thousands of miles away. it'll make me miss him even more and the distance seem so far.."

"well, at least you know you can count on him kan? wiseguy's a good boy. there's something about him that mama suka sangat.."

"really? what is that?"

"it's in his manners i think. he's... different. he's a good boy is the best way of describing it. and daddy also likes him. which you should be glad about"

they both smiled.

"so when is he leaving again?", mama asked.

"in 3 months time. June 20 is the date", sugar said, her tears in check now.

"so make these 3 months count, alright?"

sugar nodded quietly. a thought occured to her, and she voiced it out loud.

"mama, how come you and daddy are so.. so.. uhm, so cool about this?", sugar asked.

"cool?", mama said, a bit confused.

"i mean, about me, about my relationships. about wiseguy. i love and appreciate the way i can be so honest with both of you.. well, with you, mostly because segan juga nak cakap-cakap with daddy about these things.. but you know.. mama and daddy, you're both so... cavalier, if i could say it that way.."

mama smiled. "ish. maybe it didn't occur to you that daddy and i were once in love as well? what, you think parents around the world just happened to get together?"

sugar blushed. "i didn't mean it that way.."

mama laughed. "i knowww.. mama just usik saja.."

sugar smiled and leaned on her mama.

"i remember when daddy took his degree in Australia, and i was in the States", her mama said. "it was a hard time for both of us. i missed him so much back then"

sugar looked at her mama. she knew this story, but maybe she just hadn't seen it in the way mama was talking right now. mama was talking in a way that wasn't the parent-telling-old-story way.. but she was telling it the way she felt all those years ago, when she was younger, and the way she felt back then.

"i remember when we both applied for the scholarships..", her mama said. "and when it came out we got different places to go.. mama ingat lagi mama menangis masa dapat tau your daddy wasto go somewhere far away from me.. i always thought we would go to the same places...

"but i guess, in a way it was a blessing.. because we ended up loving each other more and more as time passed by.. i didn't see him for 3 years.. and remember, back then there wasn't any internet, or email or mobile phones.. so snail mail it was. and postcards. and photographs.."

sugar managed to smile and said "no flickR?"

mama grinned. "no, no flickR. but those letters and photos kept us alive and going on. and then when we finally came back after those years, your daddy asked me to marry him and i said yes. i have never loved anyone so much as when he asked me that.."

mama sighed as she said this. sugar hugged her.

"so", mama said, "i don't want you to be too sad...alright?"

"i'll try, mama", sugar replied.

"he loves you. and he will come back for you.."

sugar got up, and again hugged her mama. "thank you mama... evie rasa nak tidur dulu.."

"go ahead sayang.. do you want to go grocery shopping with me tomorrow?"

"sure.. but wake me up!", sugar replied as she skipped up the steps, feeling a bit better. as she entered her room, her phone buzzed. a text message. she read it, smiled, and crashed herself on her bed. within moments she fell asleep. but she fell asleep with a faint hint of a smile. she was thinking about the text she just got.

it said:

"it doesn't matter if i'm in Tokyo or KL; i miss you all the time and love you always anyway.. thanks sayang. when i go it only means i'm gonna be back for you. mmwahs..'

wiseguy, of course.

who else..?

--

1 comment:

nuraainaa said...

cantik page.
i like.

:)