April 30, 2008

The Prelude To A Goodbye


there was her and wiseguy; also along for tonight's dinner was tingles, who came with her new boyfriend, redfoot; lucky and bubblegum, wiseguy's closest classmates; and of course there was cookie, wiseguy's best friend.

this was the first time sugar would be meeting cookie; and she felt a tiny twinge of jealousy when wiseguy introduced cookie to her. cookie was a beautiful girl. but anyway that feeling faded away when she started talking to cookie; she found her friendly, warm and above all, very very sisterly. as an added bonus, even tingles quickly warmed up to cookie.

they were all here at a TGI Friday's restaurant in Subang, as a farewell dinner for wiseguy who was going to leave for Japan tomorrow. all his preparations were done; all that was left was for him to get on that aeroplane and go. last week his family held a small kenduri doa selamat for him, which sugar attended. she had been pleasantly surprised when wiseguy's mama had asked her how she was coping. they got along well, she and his mother.

now, here at this restaurant, with their closest friends together, they were ready to bid farewell to wiseguy. they had ordered dinner and had laughed and talked merrily throughout the meal. lucky and bubblegum (who were going out together), proved to be the jokers of the table, making everyone laugh. they made off the wall jokes, pranks and slapstick humor. tingles and her new boyfriend were being rather shy, as this was only the third time they were going out as a couple. they did laugh and smile and talk with the others.

at one point, conversation turned to cookie, who was sitting beside wiseguy (he's being flanked by the girlfriend and the bestfriend, sugar thought bemusedly). the college friends begin talking about her, asking her stuff. cookie answered graciously, politely even. she even begin telling stories about her high school days with wiseguy. funny things, sad things.

sugar held wiseguy's hands throughout the dinner; she was really enjoying herself with laughter and stories, but inside she knew she was feeling sad. tomorrow her beloved wiseguy was leaving her for a year.

"you're okay babes?", he whispered to her at one point.

impulsively she kissed his cheek; a quick, sudden kiss she even surprised herself. but it lasted only a fraction of a second.

"i'm alright sayang", she said. wiseguy's face looked impassive, as if her tiny kiss never even occured.

conversation went on until they finished their desserts. the laughter and jokes slowly died down, and they begin talking about wiseguy's time away. they all knew, of course, what he was going for. but they wanted to talk about it all the same. it was getting late; and only a few tables were left at the restaurant.

tingles made a face at sugar. "come on", she mouthed to her. sugar nodded and cleared her throat to get attention.

"guys, and girls, thanks for coming tonight to this byebye dinner for my bushukness here", she said to the smiles of the others. wiseguy bowed his head down slightly, his ears red.

"i knowww this is cheesy", sugar continued, "but since he's leaving tomorrow, i'd like all of you to say something tonight. he'll be away from me and you guys for one whole year tauu? so please let's give him kata-kata semangat, haha, or something, okayy?"

the others laughed and nodded. sugar motioned for tingles to start.

"do i need to stand up?", tingles said jokingly. "okay okay. well wiseguy.. you and i only like, got a bit close when you started dating smartypants there, ehehe. i only knew you as that, ehem, rather cool guy who takes pictures, but now i see you're actually cool!"

wiseguy smiled and raised a glass at tingles. she continued.

"thanks for making my best friend happy, and i wish you good luck and all the best for your flight yeah? and yup, i'll be there at KLIA tomorrow", tingles said with a smile. sitting beside her was redfoot.

"redfoot, you're not exempt. anything to say?", sugar asked tingles' boyfriend. he was okay; as mentioned, he always wore red shoes.

"eheh..uhm, i guess i second tingles here", he said to the laughter around the table. "haha, but yeah, good luck dude. and get me a pair of red shoes! Japan kan banyak benda pelik-pelik, haha. but seriously, all the best.."

then it was lucky and bubblegums turn. they spoke almost in unison, finishing each other's sentences. lucky was a fun, cheerful guy, who got the perfect girlfriend in the form of bubblegum. bubblegum, who was studying to become a lawyer, was a sweet, friendly girl who loved karaoke.

"first i wanna say siot la kau", lucky said. "i also wanted to win that competition, haha!"

"i thinkkk..", bubblegum said as she pinched her boyfriend's thigh. "that we want to say that we'll miss you and we'll always pray for you. jangan lupa kitorang okay? and stop being so gedik! and we too, will be at KLIA tomorrow"

the two of them smiled warmly at sugar and wiseguy. sugar was starting to realize she felt like crying. but she held them in.

"cookie, you pun kena cakap okay?", she said to cookie. then she realized she was a bit jealous at cookie just because cookie had known wiseguy longer. but as before, that feeling evaporated quickly. cookie took a sip of water.

"i hope you won't come back, haha!", she said. wiseguy flicked his fingers at her hand. cookie laughed.

"ala marah konon. ehehe. alright, alright. for sugar's sake, i hope you'll come back the best photographer or paparazzi in the world. and i will miss you, you sombong ass. sorry sugar, hehe. but tengok la! bila dah nak pergi baru nak jumpa. anyway, do take care nanti, and do write or sms or email all of us here alright? sugar, when he's gone, give me your phone number, boleh kita ngumpat, hihi..~", cookie said. sugar noted how sincere cookie's little speech was, and sugar saw that in cookie's eyes, she was genuinely a bit upset that wiseguy will be leaving tomorrow. sugar made a mental note to keep i touch with cookie.

"thanks guys..", wiseguy said, breaking a silence. sugar thought he looked calm.. which was, she realized, how he always looks. composed, and cool. there was a difference tonight, though. she had the sneaking suspicion that only she knew why.

"i'll always remember what you guys said, tonight.. and anyway it'll only be one year right? soon enough i'll be home again", wiseguy said and smiled.

there was a silence around the table. then cookie asked, "sugar, don't you want to say anything?". all eyes at the table turned to her now. she felt suddenly exposed.

"i do..", she said. "but i need a moment, eheh", she laughed nervously. she shifted a bit in her seat so she faced wiseguy. she took a deep breathe and held his hands.

"wiseguy", she said.

"we began our relationship in an.. uhm, unorthodox way kan? when you played that 'prank' on me that fateful day, you stirred something within me. i think you lit a candle that showed me what i wanted and with whom i wanted to be, insyaallah for the rest of my life.."

she took another breathe. the others were quiet now, listening. wiseguy was looking directly into her eyes. she went on.

"but it happened eventually, we got together and told each other how we truly felt. and i was never happier than that day when you poured your heart out to me. wiseguy, every day since then has been wonderful to me."

"it upset me when you told me you were going to leave... and somehow i was even sadder when you told me you would stay if i asked you to. but i can't do that to you sayang, not when i love you so much. so i let you go, and i want you to promise me you'll come back as the best picture taker in the world and more importantly as my wiseguy"

wiseguy nodded gently, while his fingers caressed hers. she noticed that bubblegum and tingles were wiping their eyes. cookie was looking at her and wiseguy thoughtfully. sugar opened her mouth again.

"good luck and all the best nanti alright sayang? i will miss you always. wiseguy, everytime i look into your eyes, my world becomes beautiful. and yeah, i will be there at KLIA tomorrow to send you off tau sayang?"

she was crying now, barely hiding her tears. she felt a deep sadness that he was about to leave for a year. but she felt stronger, more in love than ever before. she wiped her eyes and laid her head on wiseguy's shoulder. he held her hands tight.

"so", tingles said, "i guess that's all for tonight?"

"wait wait", wiseguy said, "don't i get to say anything?"

"no!!", cookie, sugar, tingles and bubblegum said in unison. the guys laughed, and they talked again. finally they got up and left the restaurant, saying goodbyes at the entrance. tingles went off with redfoot, bubblegum with lucky.

"you're a lucky bastard wiseguy", cookie said as she said goodbye.

"i know i am", wiseguy said and smiled. "are you coming to KLIA tomorrow?"

"of course. i'll see you there alright?" cookie said. she gave sugar a hug and smiled at her. then she walked away. finally it was only sugar and wiseguy left. they started for his car. he put an arm around her waist as they walked. she leaned on him.

"you're gonna be okay sayang?", he asked.

"i guess i will be.. don't worry..", sugar said.

"that was a lovely speech. mesti practice depan cermin ni, ehehe"

"nooo.. that was spontaneous. i can do spontaneous okay wiseguy?"

they laughed and settled into a quiet walk until they reached the car. it was getting quite late. just as sugar went to the passenger side, wiseguy called her name.

"yes?", she said. he was standing there in front of her. he walked slowly towards her, then held out his arms and hugged her softly, warm and close to his body. sugar hugged him back. she felt him gently kiss her temples.

"sugar, you know i'm gonna miss you right?", he said as they broke the hug.

"i know..", sugar said as she realized she was beginning to cry again. wiseguy held her hands. he was quiet for awhile.

"wiseguy?", she asked.

he smiled. "eheh. i think i have a speech as well, haha.."

sugar smiled sadly.

"but", he continued. "i'll say it to you tomorrow, alright?"

sugar nodded. wiseguy kissed her hands and they both got into the car. they didn't talk much en route to home. sugar felt a bit tired. wiseguy was probaly trying to avoid being too emotional, hence the reason he wasn't talking much. when they got to her house, he got out of the car to open the door for her. she thanked him as they walked up the driveway to her house.

"kirim salam to your mom and dad yeah?", he said as sugar stepped into the gate.

"sure will", she said.

"i'll see you tomorrow?"

she nodded softly, smiling. wiseguy looked around him.

"i'm gonna miss picking you up for year, eheh", he said. sugar chose not to say anything. then wiseguy said "okay then", and walked back to his car.

"don't you wanna say goodbye?", sugar called out to him just as he was about to get inside his automobile. he paused at the door and said:

"not tonight. i'm saving my goodbye for tomorrow"

he blew her a kiss, which she caught, and drove off into the night. sugar watched his car until it turned a corner and went out of her sight. she sighed.

she didn't feel like a goodbye..



superfeist said...

*round of applause*

nuraainaa said...

the suspense is killing meee..


cute names btw..

and beautifully written, as always. :)