April 13, 2008

interludes to the prelude to a goodbye: speaking of song

2 days later


it was a quite evening for sugar. wiseguy was out at a family function. earlier in the day tingles had come over as they wanted to work on a college assignment together. when they had stopped work for awhile for lunch she told tingles about wiseguy's upcoming departure and her consent. tingles had been surprised.

"so he's actually going?", tingles had asked with her hand holding a fried chicken wing. they had cooked a simple lunch of rice, fried chicken and telur goreng masak kicap (which was spiked with lots of cili padi)

sugar finished chewing a mouthful of rice and took a sip of water while nodding slowly. she swallowed. "yes he is.. in three months time.."

"babes.. are you for real?", tingles said, her hand still holding the chicken wing.

"yeee.. why would i joke about it. i spent yesterday being sad. but i guess i'm alright with it now. or i will be anyway. i gotta make these upcoming three months count so much..", sugar said and continued to eat.

tingles stared blankly at her for a while.. then she finally took a bite of the chicken wing and went on eating.

the talk had continued as they cleared the table and cleaned up. tingles fired off questions that sugar had already expected: are you okay? will you guys keep on? aren't you afraid, etc. sugar had answered patiently and softly. i'm okay, we're gonna keep on, sure i'm afraid, who wouldn't be?

"but..", sugar said, "i do not want to make distance or time apart as an excuse to not keep this alive. he's my candle babes, and i'll do anything to keep this candle aflame.."

tingles finished washing her plate. "you really do love that bastard yeah?"

"oit", sugar scolded and swiped a tea towel at her friend. "that bastard is my boyfriend okay? and yes, i love him very very much"

they had looked at each other and then broke into laughter. then tingles had gone to sugar and gave her a hug. sugar hugged her back, feeling a deep love and appreciation for her best friend.

"you'll be okay", tingles then said as she broke the hug and smiled. they resumed their work afterwords, until, at about half past five, tingles said she had to go home as her parents were going to a wedding and she needed to be at home to babysit her twin baby brothers.

after tingles went home sugar had stashed away the notes and paperwork they were doing and watched the television for awhile. often she glanced at her mobile phone, waiting for a phone call or message from wiseguy. but he had told him he was going to be quite busy at the family function. so now she was sitting at home doing nothing.

she glanced at the electric piano near the dining table. it was her mother's, bought nearly 18 years ago. sugar did have piano lessons when she was younger, and had had graduated her lessons with flying colors. but she stopped playing about a few years back. now looking at the electric piano, she wondered why... then got up and went to the musical instrument. she sat at the stool, and switched it on, wondering if she still knew how to play it. she put her fingers on the black and white keys, and began to play..

.. and much to her surprise, she did remember. she began playing Fur Elise by memory, then fumbled a bit. she started again, and this time did much better, she thought to herself. she peeked at the small magazine rack beside the piano and took out some chord-books. they were mostly still there, unused for years, perhaps. she began to play, mostly the classical pieces.

then she got bored of those, and found a modern book of contemporary songs. inside were several movie themes, including 'speak softly love' (her mama's favorite song) and 'love story'. she played those two songs, feeling happy with herself for being able to. when she finished she flipped the page to go to the next song. it was 'unchained melody'.

she bit her lip and paused herself. this was wiseguy's favorite love song of all time. he had said that because she had asked him, just about a few days after they started seeing each other.


"hey wiseguy, what's your favorite love song of all time?", she had asked him. they were walking, just after classes, to go to the cafe in front of college.

"my favorite all time love song? what's yours?", he had said.

"i asked you first wiseguy"

"but i won't tell until you do", wiseguy said with a charming smile. "because you'll think i'm sappy"

sugar had laughed. "you memang pun. jiwang. haha. but fine. my favorite of all time is Elton John's 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight?'".

wiseguy smiled. "from Lion King? that's nice"

"yes it is. so tell me what's yours nowww..", sugar said as she linked her arm around his. he had his hands in his pockets.

"'Unchained Melody'", wiseguy said. "The Righteous Brothers' version"

sugar looked at her boyfriend. "why 'Unchained Melody'?", she asked curiously, with a smile.

"because", wiseguy said, "it seems to embody everything there is to love. you know. listen to the song and then you'll see. or hear, more like it. and the melody; whoop-dee-doo. i know you've probably heard the song 1000 times before, but now try to hear it again"

"and why should i hear it again?", sugar said teasingly.

"because now you know it's my favorite love song", wiseguy had answered with a smile.


she never did went on to listen to the song after that day; it had sort of slipped her mind.

now sitting at the piano, she looked at the notes to 'Unchained Melody'. she knew the words to the song already, and, as wiseguy had said, she probably has listened to it 1000 times before. she took a deep breathe, feeling suddenly emotional (stop it evie! she told herself), she began to play.

as she played, she sang softly.

"oh my love, my darling.."

she went on playing.

"time goes by, so slowly..."

her fingers pressed the keys accordingly, almost caressing the keys, playing it accurately and suddenly without flaw or fumble. she continued to sing softly, in tune with the music. and then came the line which suddenly made her feel deeply touched and sad at the same time. she felt that she had been crying too much lately. but she sang that verse anyway, and kept playing the music.

"lonely rivers sigh, wait for me, wait for me. i'll be coming home, wait for me.."

she choked back a tear.

"oh my love my darling, i've hungered for your touch, a long lonely time.. and time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much; are you still mine? i need your love. i need your love.. God speed your love, to me.."

she finished the song, and her fingers finished playing. she switched off the piano and put her hands to her face and cried. she knew now why wiseguy loved that song. and she knew now that she will be missing wiseguy so, so much when he finally goes.

but part of her, deep inside, also knew that, like the song, her love for wiseguy, and in turn his love for her, will be an unchained melody. insyaallah, never ending, ever ever after, until the end of their days together.

now she knew she believed in it that much; a belief only wiseguy had held in the first place..


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