May 5, 2008

A Goodbye

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sugar sat on her bed, in a pair of comfy pyjamas. she cupped her chin in the palms of her hand. her eyes were a bit red and watery from crying moments before. her glasses lay by the bedside table, folded up. if wiseguy had seen her in that moment, in the dim light of her bedroom, he would have thought how beautiful sugar is.

but he wasn't there, of course.

sugar felt tears coming back, but she held them in. she took a deep breathe. she took a piece of paper which was on the bedside table; she read it for the tenth time this night. each time she read it she felt like crying and smiling at the same time.

finally she lay her head on her pillow. she stared at the ceiling, the piece of paper still in her hand, her mind wandering elsewhere..

---------

hours earlier..

the sound of planes overhead in the night sky. the bustle of people checking in at the counters. families, friends, airport staff trying to be helpful. the air-conditioning was working a little too well, sugar though, as she buttoned up the pink cardigan she was wearing. she took off her glasses and wiped them with a tissue.

2130, KLIA. wiseguy's flight would be in 3 hours time. she had driven along with wiseguy's 'entourage'.

"sugar..!", a voice called out. she turned her head to see cookie, who was carrying a box of chocolates in one hand, walking up to her. she was alone.

"hi! glad you made it", sugar replied and gave cookie a hug. they smiled at each other.

"how are you? where is he?", cookie asked.

"i'm fine, thanks. he's checking in with the other winners. family dia ada kat situ", she answered and motioned towards wiseguy's family. cookie waved when wiseguy's mother saw her. both of them looked at wiseguy who was at the check in counter with the other competition winners who were going to Japan.

a few moments later tingles, redfoot, bubblegum and lucky turned up, all bearing small goodbye gifts, sugar noticed. she herself was holding a small paper bag; the contents known only to her. they talked while they waited for wiseguy. they also went to his parents', to salam-salam and talk. also there were wiseguys' aunts and uncles and close cousins.

finally wiseguy finished checking in. he stopped by to say something to his mom and dad, then came to the group of friends.

"hey, hello hello.. so, coming to bid me farewell?", he said as he (sub-consciously) took sugar's hand in his. she blushed slightly.

"and hoping you won't come back", cookie said. bubblegum added: "if you do, bring back presents. no presents, jgn ngada ngada nak balik okayy gedik?"

"haha, i'm not gedik", wiseguy said to bubblegum. "and you kisah apa i nak balik or not?", he said to cookie. all of them laughed. lucky asked to check out wiseguy's camera, and took photos of them. tingles talked to sugar as redfoot asked wiseguy some stuff.

sugar looked at them and suddenly felt that all this small talk is just like a pre-tense to saying goodbye. after all, this was what they came for right? a goodbye? she felt her heart break a bit. she still didn't feel ready. she peeked inside the small paper bag she had brought along. she hoped wiseguy would love it.

mr. pinstripes, wiseguy's dad, came up to them to say that the family were going to have some drinks at the cafe, and that they were free to come along. the small group of friends politely declined, and wiseguy opted to hang around with them. they sat at the benches, and did some last minute reminiscing and chatted. they broke a moment when wiseguy and lucky went to get drinks for all of them, then the talk resumed.

time flew by. wiseguy's flight was announced, and a coordinator of the competition he had won in came up to him to tell him to get ready, they were going for boarding now. wiseguy said 'ok' and went to tell his family that he was getting ready to go to the flight gate. sugar, along with the friends, followed suit, walking along with the wiseguy's family. he was walking beside his mother with his arm on his mother's shoulders. sugar walked slowly behind him. wiseguy was dressed in his usual casual way: a long sleeve t-shirt, levi's and sneakers. his jacket hung on his shoulder. sugar again felt the heart-ache rise in her.

"you okay?", tingles said on her right. on her left, cookie put a hand on her shoulder. sugar looked at both of them and smiled weakly. she looked again ahead at wiseguy as he excused himself from his mother. he walked up to her and took her hand.

"sayang, ikut saya kejap", he said and led her away from the group of people to a quieter spot near the border control gate. sugar felt her knees going weak. she didn't feel like it at all, to say goodbye. wiseguy led her to a bench where there weren't many people around. they sat down, slanting a bit so they faced each other. again, he took her hands in hers.

"so", he said.

"so..", she said.

"are you alright sugar?"

she sighed. "i guess i am..". a single tear-drop fell on her cheek. wiseguy gently wiped it away with his thumb.

"hey.. come on. don't cry. well.. at least don't cry so much.." he said in a caressing voice. that did it. the floodgates opened and sugar let the tears fall freely. wiseguy pulled her closer and let her rest her head on his shoulder.

"sayang, when you said i could go, you knew this day would eventually come right?", he said.

"i know!", sugar said through her tears. "but it doesn't make it any less harder alright wiseguy?"

"eheh.. yeah i know.. to be honest i feel a bit like crying myself. but nanti tak cool dah saya"

"awak memang tak cool. ish! don't make jokes, i'm emotional right now!"

he managed to laugh a bit, which in turn made her laugh a bit. for a few seconds they were silent.

"so are you going to say goodbye now?", sugar asked as she wiped her eyes.

"no..", wiseguy said and took out an envelope from the backpack he was carrying. "not just yet"

sugar eyed the envelope. "what's that?", she asked as he handed it to her. he mouthed 'open it' to her. she slowly opened the envelope; inside was a beautiful white gift card, with a simple heart motif embossed on it. it was quite thick. she opened the card, and inside, wiseguy had put several pictures of them together. again she felt like crying.

the photographs were the regular 'couple' self-taken ones. there were a few of them when they had dinner at OU; some when they had gone to Zoo Negara, and some when they had breakfast at a mamak shop. unlike his other photographs, these were camera phone pictures. they weren't terribly sharp, but somehow they were sweeter and more charming in meaning. they had a sense of magic to them, she thought.

"i just thought you'd like it..", he said as she flipped through the photographs. she looked up at her beloved boyfriend and nodded. then a piece of paper, neatly folded, fell on her lap. it had been inside the card. she picked it up and saw that her name was written neatly in black ink on one side.

"what's this sayang?", she asked him.

"now that, is a letter", wiseguy said, "i want you to read only when i've taken off and you're home tonight alright? promise me?"

"oh? alright.. i promise..", she said. then she handed over the small paper bag to him.

"you can see what's inside now", she said. wiseguy reached inside the small paper bag. it was a plush snowman, and attached to it was a small card. he smiled warmly as he read the card out loud.

"for my baby to remember me; ur not cool like a snowman! i love u xoxoxo sugar", he read. then he asked, "but why a snowman?"

sugar laughed. "i just thought it was cute! haha.. i hope you like it.. i didn't know what to get you as a farewell gift"

"ehehe.. you didn't have to get me anything..", wiseguy said. he took her hand and kissed it. "thank you sayang.."

they smiled at each other. finally they got up, as wiseguy had to make a move now. they walked back to the group of people hand in hand. the coordinator looked relieved when he saw wiseguy, as he was worried they might be late. it was goodbye time.

wiseguy let go of sugar for a moment, and hugged and salam-ed his mom and dad and brother; he salam-ed his aunts, uncles, cousins. he said goodbyes as they showered him with good luck wishes and prayers. he shook hands with redfoot and tingles, telling tingles to look out for sugar. lucky gave him an awkward hug, and bubbegum punched him on the shoulder, telling him to 'not be too gedik in Tokyo', to which he replied 'ye kakak lawyer, saya dengar cakap okay?'. when he came to cookie, they just stood in front of each other for awhile. he held out his hand, and cookie took it in both of hers. take care you lucky bastard, cookie said as she wiped a tear and told wiseguy she'll miss him.

finally he came back to sugar. she had begun crying again, not bothering to wipe the tears from her eyes. in one hand she held the envelope with the pictures and the letter. wiseguy held out his arms and sugar walked into them. he hugged her, in full view of his parents and family and friends. she let herself drown in that hug.

"sugar", wiseguy said softly as he broke the embrace. "i love you.. with all my heart. just wait one year alright? it'll be over before you know it.. sayang, thanks for letting me do this. i promise i'll come back your wiseguy.."

"i know.. i love you too..", sugar said. they held hands. the coordinator called his name, saying they have to go now.

"i have to go..", he said, still holding her hand. " so i guess, this is the--"

"goodbye", sugar finished. wiseguy bit his lip and nodded.

"goodbye sayang.. i'll miss and love you always..", he said as he slowly let go of her hands. tingles had come up beside her and put her arms across her shoulders. sugar wiped her eyes again as wiseguy walked towards passport control. he showed the officers his passport and boarding pass, and went down the escalator. his family and friends now stood on the balcony, looking at him go.

his eyes remained fixed on sugar though. he walked backwards for a moment, and sugar saw him mouth 'i love you' before he blew a kiss her way. she caught the kiss and held it in her hand. wiseguy smiled up. he raised his hands and waved goodbye. then he went through passport control, and went out of view.

minutes later sugar and the friends went to see wiseguy's family to say bye, and his family thanked them for coming. the friends stayed awhile, talking. then they parted ways. sugar exchanged numbers with cookie, and they promised they'd meet up to talk sometime. finally she drove home, with her window down, and let the wind blow in her face to dry her tears.

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back to present time..

so she lay on her bed, staring into space.

wiseguy had called her one last time about an hour ago to say his last goodbyes and chat a bit before he boarded his plane. they talked, then he had to go, but not before promising that he'll call her as soon as he arrived in Tokyo.

sugar glanced at her mobile phone to see the time; 0214. she won't be hearing from him for another 8 hours at least. she felt tired now. but instead of turning off the bedside lamp straight away, she read the letter wiseguy had given her one last time. it was simple; but it made her feel absolutely beautiful. minutes later, she fell asleep, a soft, sweet smile on her lips, and the letter held close to her heart..

the letter
(click to view)



-fin-

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Talking With An Alternate You
-season two-

December 07 - May 08

5 comments:

nuraainaa said...

sedihnyaaa..i nak dekat nangis.

but the letter's really touching.

(i want one of those too. hehh.)

muhammad edwan shaharir said...

what if i told u the letter exists? but obviously the one here has been concentrated la. and thanks..

;)

nuraainaa said...

well, i believe you. :) i know ada a few (not many la) guys are capable of writing letters. sweet gilaa..


:D

chakry said...

nice nice. you know what i had to say, so, there. heh, nice ending!

Francesca said...

so sad wei the ending to this season..
like the letter though, so sweet..

overall, good job! :)