March 28, 2009

Retrospect Talking With An Alternate You



'Talking With An Alternate You' is about.. well, love. And just like love, it's flawed. But I hope it's in these imperfections that you'd find space in your heart to read and like the stories. Just like you'd accept somebody you love through their imperfections.

As of now the Seasons have ended; so here's a hub to get to all episodes. Hope it's useful to newcomers. Episodes are listed in order; just click on the titles.

- Muhammad Edwan Shaharir


Talking With An Alternate You I:
  1. A Prequel
  2. Beach
  3. Breakfast
  4. Different Seasons
  5. Cookie Crumbs
  6. A Sugary Dinner
  7. Heartbeat
  8. Ice Cream
  9. A Refrigerator Note
  10. After A Prequel, Before Beach
  11. In A Diary
  12. One
  13. Two
  14. Three
  15. Four
  16. Five - Talking With An Alternate You
Songs: 'Beautiful Love' - The Afters, 'LoveSong' - 311


Talking With An Alternate You II:
  1. Sugar
  2. Sugar Goes Online
  3. Over Chocolate Cake
  4. Of One Mind
  5. Getting Closer, Maybe
  6. Suddenly
  7. Something Rediscovered
  8. What Now...
  9. ... Of This Moment?
  10. After The Spoon Fell
  11. And Then...
  12. So There It Is
  13. Interlude To The Prelude To A Goodbye
  14. Interludes: Teka-Teki
  15. Interludes: Speaking Of Song
  16. Interludes: Oh Hum..
  17. The Last Interlude To A Prelude To A Goodbye
  18. The Prelude To A Goodbye
  19. A Goodbye
Songs: 'That's When I Love You' - Aslyn, 'Hey There Delilah' - Plain White Tees


Talking With An Alternate You III:
  1. Teaser
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three
  5. Four
  6. Five
  7. Six
  8. Seven
  9. Eight
  10. Nine
  11. ... And Ten
Songs: 'Written In The Stars' - Elton John & LeAnn Rimes, 'Unchained Melody' - Righteous Brothers


Talking With An Alternate You IV:
  1. Four Years Later
  2. At Juliza's Wedding
  3. We Talked By The Window
  4. Afterwards We Went For Coffee
  5. Evie Nadia I
  6. Muhammad Rafar I
  7. Evie And Adam, Then
  8. She Felt Stronger
  9. Muhammad Rafar II
  10. The Memory Of A Dream
  11. The Beach
  12. Surprise
  13. Over Coffee and Briefly At KLCC
  14. Evie. Rafar. Adam.
  15. Evie Nadia II: These Photographs and A Note In The Dark
  16. The Man She Loves The Most
  17. It Is Time...
  18. Here In This Perfect Dark
  19. Evie Nadia III: There Will Be No Regret
  20. Just The Two Of Us, You And I
  21. Here, At The End Of All Things
Songs: 'Thanatos - If I Can't Be Yours' - Eminence Orchestra, 'Unchained Melody', 'LoveSong' - 311


Special Episodes and Miscellany:
  1. Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin 2008
  2. Valentine's Day 2009
  3. Evie Nadia Sketches
  4. Rough Sketches

March 20, 2009

Here, At The End Of All Things


A Foreword From Muhammad Edwan:
Hello. This finale is in the form of a podcast. It's about 10 minutes long. Please load completely before listening (depending on your connection, this might take awhile) to avoid pauses. Stick around to the end. The video has some 'extras', but there's also an audio only podcast provided.

I do apologize for the voice/audio quality of the file; it is compressed, and I'm not the best AV editor. You may want to turn up the volume a little to catch all of it.

One last request: to everyone who listened or is going to listen to the following final episode:Please leave a parting word; feedback, a goodbye, a rant, a rave; tell me your favorite episode, and least favorite episode or season; whatever you please. In turn I will see to it that I thank each and everyone of you personally (even if in comment form ke ape :P).

email me for inquiries


Talking With An Alternate You 2007 - 2009

March 17, 2009

Just The Two Of Us, You And I

this is a rather long episode, but please, do take time to read it.
we're almost there. stick around.

leave feedback; thanks!


- Edwan


(picture from TWAAY S1)

Part One


Evie Nadia
When I came in to work this morning everyone seemed to note how I was smiling and cheerful again. It made me wonder: did I really seem ‘off’ lately? Maybe I had then, or certainly people wouldn’t have said how I was cheerful ‘again’. Alya, the receptionist, was the first to notice it when I walked through the office doors. She immediately asked me, “What happened?”

Alya is the only person I’ve been confiding to about my recent, uhm, issues. I haven’t told her in too much detail, but she knows enough to understand and offer a shoulder to cry on. I do feel bad that I offloaded it to her, but she always confides in me about her relationship stuff too. This morning as I told her about what I was about to do, she almost squealed in delight. She noticed that I had a ring dangling from a leather string around my neck and asked to see it. Alya said it was lovely. She wished me luck and told me to tell her everything after all is said and done.

I suppose I was feeling rather buoyant. It felt like I was walking on air, or maybe my heels grew wings on it, like the shoes worn by Hermes of Greek mythology. If this were a musical I’d probably break into song and tap dance my way all over Kuala Lumpur. Strange thing was, I actually did feel like singing. I’d sing Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’.

But I better hold my horses! For all my raised spirits and moods, I still haven’t told him yet. Eek! Half of me is still afraid, but it is also certain. The other half on the other hand is excited and eager, looking forward to telling him how I feel. In my mind I could already imagine how he would… wait! Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves now. Talk first. Sappy romantic ending later.

When work was over I asked Alya if she would accompany me on a little shopping trip; I offered to drive her back afterwards. The younger lady jumped at the opportunity, and we had fun trying on clothes and accessories. She kept teasing me like a schoolgirl.

“What’s the occasion Kak Evie? Gotta date?” Alya said.

“Maybe I do. Jealous much?” I said.

“Ehehe. Maybe. Is it okay to say I’ve always thought he looked hot?”

“No, it’s not okay! Hahaha.”

After a couple of hours we called it a day. I bought a nice, short, merlot colored evening dress, a baby blue cardigan and a long, white, billowy skirt with light blue paisley embroidery. Alya bought herself two tops and a pair of jeans. I remembered during my college days that my best friend, Juliza, and I would go on similar shopping trips. Juliza is now happily married. I made a mental note that I should see her. Maybe after I tell Rafar? It’d be sort of nice I think.

I dropped Alya off at her house in Taman Dato’ Keramat and went home. I tried on the clothes I bought again and felt satisfied, and I wondered if he would like it?

It’s been a few days since I made my choice; and the only reason I haven’t told Rafar sooner was because… well, I wanted to make this special. It is a special moment for me, and I believe it’ll be special for him too. I don’t know if he’s still hoping for me to return to him; in fact he’s been quiet lately, although he does occasionally text me to let me know he’s doing alright. But even in expressionless text messages I sensed that he wanted to tell me more but wasn’t doing so. Probably because he thinks he shouldn’t be.

But I will prove him wrong.

Muhammad Rafar… eleven years ago I fell in love with him after what I thought was a strange set of circumstances. Who would dream of something so intricately detailed like he had? It was crazy at first. But something’s happened then I guess, and we made that dream come true, even if it was cut short. But now the time has come to pick up where we left off. I believe so.

I kept glancing at the phone. I needed to call him and tell him that I wanted to see him and talk to him. I didn’t want to tell him over the telephone; that would be so impersonal! But I was also sort of nervous at the moment. To pass time while I decide on what to say to him before I call, I pulled out my secret notebook and began scribbling a few notes.

As I jotted down those words in my (ugly) small handwriting, I think of how I got here now. I think it is a strange thing to realize that I should want what I had. Another cliché true then: that we only realize what we have until it’s gone. The difference is, I think, that not many of us get that chance to reclaim the things we had. I shall make the best of this opportunity. I shall build the rest of my life with this.

Because I love him, I wrote down in the notebook. I think I’ve always had, even after the split, and I think no matter where life would have taken me if I chose not to be with him, I would love him regardless. Nobody has managed to sear his or her images and love inside my heart like he did. Like he still does. With him, my love went through several stages of different emotions: trust, belief, faith, anger, hurt, etcetera. But even after the things we went through, the fundamental belief in my heart has never changed. That is to say, I have loved him even through the hardest times of my life so far. And I will love him until the very end. I truly think he is meant for me, and I was meant for him, no matter the circumstances.

I love him so much. I just can’t stress just how much; but it’s a lot. A lot. And my birthday is coming up soon; there’s only one perfect present that I would want.

I was lying on my stomach, my feet in the air when I felt those stomach cramps again. This was getting annoying, and they hurt, but still Mrs. Red was nowhere in sight. I hoped this wouldn’t ruin what I was planning. Which reminds me: I need to call him! Enough procrastinating. I went outside to the living room and curled up on the sofa beside the telephone. I picked up the receiver, and after taking a deep breath (a thousand images of Rafar and I flashed in my mind within milliseconds) I dialed his number.

RiiiiiiiiingRiiiiiiiiiiing. RiiiiiiiiiiiiiingRiiiiiiiiing.


Muhammad Rafar
I hate being stuck in traffic jams. They get on my nerves. I find that whenever I'm in the car, stuck on a road where the cars move at a snails pace, my temper seems to rise. Traffic jams are boilers to my angry bits. They seem to amplify all the little things that make me upset.

Take, for instance, this middle aged, blonde haired, wrinkly, tanned woman in a BMW on my left, in the emergency lane, who’s trying to cut in front of me although clearly there’s no space. Maybe on a normal day, if I wasn’t in traffic, I’d have just ignored her and let her go her own way in her spiffy Bimmer. But today, along this here Jalan Tun Razak, I couldn’t stand it.

She edged her car in front of mine; in response, I edged further up. Then she was so close to nicking my car, all because she thought it was a grand idea to take the emergency lane and cut in front of others who are enduring this cue; I rolled down my passenger side window and urged her to lower hers; when she did I said “Have patience you idiot, you’re not making this easier, Idiot,” while waving my fist. At first she glared at me, but then she cowered when I kept staring at her. She rolled up her window and let me go ahead.

My point is, I was already feeling edgy and being stuck in this traffic jam was just… too… much. But serves me right I guess for choosing to leave Kuala Lumpur at half past five on a weekday. Sigh. I looked at the empty seat beside me.

Some time ago Evie would have been sitting there. And if she was there, it wouldn’t be so bad, stuck in a jam, you know? Because then it’d just be an excuse to be alone with her for longer. She was also the yin to my yang; if she was here, I wouldn’t feel so pissed off. She neutralized every negative emotion I had. She’d make me feel nice with her words, or maybe by just holding my hand as we drove.

God, I miss her so much. I wonder if she got the ring I dropped in her mailbox. I miss seeing that ring on her finger. I liked looking at it back then. Somehow it made things real. It said to me “Rafar, you’re a lucky guy. Look who’s wearing me on her finger”. But lucky men aren’t necessarily the smartest. We all know how that had ended. I don’t need to re-tell my pathetic story.

Earlier today at the studio before closing down, my partner at work, Saladin, who is a videographer (that’s right; we run a complete imaging services company, so to speak: need pictures? Video? We’ll do it for you. Call zero one two, two six four, seven triple six) asked me if I would join him and his wife for dinner. He said his wife could call one of her single friends and introduce me to her.

“Sal, that’s very kind of you, but I couldn’t possibly,” I said.

“Come on, man, you need to get out. You can’t work all the time,” Saladin said.

“Why the sudden offer anyway?”


“Sal; do I really look that lonely and miserable?”

“Honest answer? Yes. Even my wife said so. This was her idea.”

“Ehehe. Well, tell her I appreciate it. But no thanks, I think I’ll… I’ll stay home and do some work.”

Saladin had looked at me then put a hand on my shoulder. “Look, I get it: you miss your ex-wife. But you can’t mope around like this, you know? Come on, you don’t know if life has treats in store for you. Join Mimie and me for dinner. She’ll call her one of her single, hot friends.”

“Sal, I,” I said. Saladin had this hopeful look in his eyes. In all honesty I was grateful for what he was attempting to do. “Look, seriously, thank you so much, to both you and Mimie. But… well, I don’t think I can. Not tonight anyway. I'm sorry.”

He sighed. “Okay, fine, have it your way. But the offer stands. Alright? Just tell me, anytime buddy.”

We parted; I presume he went for dinner with his lovely wife, Mimie. I envied him; why wasn’t I like him? He’s been married 5 years now to his wife. I don’t think he’ll ever screw it up. I, however, wasn’t sure where my life was headed. I just wanted Evie again. I want to hold her in my arms again and caress the silky skin of her face and kiss the tender flesh of her neck. But… I just can’t see right now how that would be possible again. I fear I’ve burned down the bridge, and now all that is left is a little plank that could break at any moment. The least I am hoping for is that she knows that I love her. Because I do. More than anything else in the world.

After three quarters of an hour I finally managed to drag myself out of the slow crawl along Jalan Tun Razak and headed off to the highway, back home to Mutiara Damansara where I lived. The roads were still busy, but they were flowing smoothly and I made good time getting home, arriving just after the Maghrib call to prayer. When I reached home I prayed first; then I took a shower and made myself dinner. With the little appetite I had, it was just a packet of Maggi Tom Yum with the added benefit of an egg thrown in.

The thought of sitting in front of a computer monitor doing work, like I said to Saladin, made me sick. There was nothing good on television either. Instead I grabbed my battered and dog-eared copy of The Lord Of The Rings and crashed on the sofa. I was feeling tired. I thought maybe I’d read a few pages and then go to bed.

I’ve always liked the Lord Of The Rings. There is tale that is part of the saga that tells of a man named Beren and an elf-woman named Luthien. Despite their different lineage, their love for each other was so strong. Together they defeated monsters and endured many pains… but always their love prevailed. Indeed, their love was so strong and so pure, even Luthien’s father, who at first opposed to their coupling, softened his heart and took pity upon them. When Beren died a tragic death, Luthien went on alone, singing haunting songs until finally she left the world to join her love where it would be undying.

I loved that little tale; it was all so simple a concept: man loves woman despite numerous setbacks, and in the end their love still conquers all. I guess I have a romanticized view of love; in my defense I believe there is no other view, especially when the world itself is such a cruel place. If I could believe that love is beautiful and that it could transcend everything, then I will. And I do.

I know my love for Evie has endured. I do not know how long, and at times, like I’ve said before, my love for her feels like punishment for leaving her when there was nothing wrong with out relationship. Sometimes my heart, it aches, and sometimes it beats to a tune more alive than ever. As I read the book my thoughts are elsewhere. My thoughts were on my very own Luthien. I wonder where she was, what she was doing, would she ever come to love me again. I wonde—

RiiiiiiiiingRiiiiiiiiiiing. RiiiiiiiiiiiiingRiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.

Now who could be calling me tonight? I sighed as I answered the telephone.


Evie Nadia & Muhammad Rafar

“Hello,” Rafar said into the phone.

Evie closed her eyes; her heart was suddenly beating a bit too fast. “Rafar?” she said. In contrast, at the other end of the line, Rafar’s eyes widened and his heart almost stopped. “Evie?” he said.

Evie took a deep breath. “Hi.”

“Uh, hi, hi,” he answered.


“Am I bothering you? Were you busy? Do you want me to call another time?” Evie said and she thought she was speaking a bit too quickly and excitedly.

“Hey,” he said. “Hey, uhm, no, not at all. It’s fine, sure.”



“Uhm… okay. What are you doing?”

“Nothing. Just reading a book.”

“Is it the Lord Of The Rings?”

“Eheh. Yeah, it is. How’d you guess?”

“You were always reading it, remember?”

“I was? I was. Yeah, and you’d get angry because I’d be too engrossed with the book rather than with you, ehehe.”

“Ehehe… yeah.”


“Uhm, Rafar…?”

“Yes, Su --, I mean, yeah?”

Evie noticed how he had almost called her Sugar. That made her smile and feel warm all over. “Hey… are you busy tomorrow afternoon? Say around one o’clock?”

Rafar checked the date. “Yeah, I'm free. What’s up?” He felt unsure talking to Evie. He was worried he’d let some words slip by; he almost called her Sugar.

“Well, I was thinking…” Evie stammered a little and cleared her throat. “I was thinking if… uhm, you’d like to go for lunch? With me?”

“Lunch? I… well, of course. Where at?”

Evie thought quickly. “There’s this place called Saffron at Solaris Hartamas. Would that be alright?”

“Sure, wherever you please.”

“Great! I’ll see you there at one o’clock?”

“Sure,” Rafar said. He detected that she was slightly excited. He wondered why, and secretly thought that Evie wanted to tell him that someone had proposed to her and she was going to marry the man. In a much to casual-implying-I'm-not-thinking-too-much voice, he asked her,

“So anything big you want to talk about? You sound… well, you sound excited.”

Evie bit her lip at the other end of the line. She suddenly felt bursting with energy; so much so that she was doing quite a good job of ignoring the stomach pains in her lower abdomen. Ow, she thought, but she didn’t want to let PMS ruin this. She wanted to shout out “Rafar, I love you!” but thought it best to hold it in for now. Besides, she planned on holding him in her own arms when she says it.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” she said, keeping the anticipation down. “I just thought, well, I just thought I wanted to see you, see how you are. How are you anyway? Eating okay? Sleeping well?”

“Oh okay. I'm alright, I'm alright. Just had dinner. Maggi Tom Yum.”

“My favorite!”

“Eheh. Yes, indeed, I forgot about that. How are you? How’s work?”

“I'm good. I think a little PMS-y, if you know what I mean. But great.”

“That’s good to hear…”


Awkward silence. Finally Evie thought if she lingered on the phone she’d break and ruin her much anticipated moment. So she excused herself.

“Well, thanks for the call Rafar,” she said.

“Uhm, Evie, it was you that called me.”

“Oh it was. Sorry. I'm a bit, uh, tired I guess. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Eheh. Okay, go rest then. Yeah, tomorrow, one o’clock, Saffron at Solaris.”


Neither of them wanted to hang-up nor say goodbye. They just hovered over the line, not speaking. The tension was palpable and thick. Both of them felt like one of them needed to say something. It was Rafar who finally did:

“Hey Evie… thanks.”

“For what?” she said, puzzled.


“It’s… You’re welcome… Well, I’ll let you go back to your elves and whatnot.”

“Eheh. Okay… I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Sure… Uh, Rafar?”


“Nothing. Good night Wiseguy,” Evie said and she hung up. Rafar held the receiver in front of him for a few minutes. Then he put it back down. “She called me Wiseguy.”


Friday Night

Evie Nadia
It was so nice to hear his voice! She thought. I think he suspects something… I do hope he’s not thinking too much about it. But maybe that would make what I want to say to him tomorrow all the more meaningful.

She couldn’t wait. She couldn’t wait to tell him that she loves him. She couldn’t wait to have him hold her again, and couldn’t wait to hold his hands and stare into his deep, shady eyes. I want to be with him again, she thought. I want to be with him because this time I know we’ll be happy. I want to have his babies. I want for us to have eternity together. I can’t wait.

Evie thought about what to wear tomorrow. Should it be the new dress? Or maybe she should wear the new cardigan and the new skirt? That’d be much simpler. She remembered he liked it when she was wore simpler things. He once said it was because “nothing is as beautiful as the person wearing it” and that made her blush. God, how she misses those moments. But then:

Ow. Ow. OWWW.

Her stomach was hurting again. All while she was speaking on the phone with Rafar it was hurting. She managed to ignore it when she was speaking, but pain increased steadily. Senggugut? She thought. She made her way to the bedroom, walking slowly and clutching her stomach. She thought she might have some more painkillers in her handbag.

This really hurts, she thought. Ow. She had to stop and lean on one of the dining chairs; she bent down, hands pressed to her tummy; but when she pressed and let go, the pain spiked through her abdomen. Evie grimaced, her eyes closed; what was this? She realized she was starting to sweat and she felt nauseous. Evie walked slowly to her bedroom and tried to look for her handbag; suddenly she vomited and collapsed to her knees. She began to cry out of the pain; it was spreading and it felt like fiery knives were stabbing her.

Kneeling on the floor, Evie Nadia grabbed for her mobile phone; but the reach suddenly seemed too far. She gagged, and this somehow intensified the pain in her stomach. She finally managed to grab the phone, but found that she couldn’t even dial the numbers, so great was the pain. She fell on her side, hands on her stomach, as if trying to contain it. She cried, not comprehending what was happening. She couldn’t think, couldn’t even scream.

She tried getting up again and attempt to call somebody, anybody. But as she barely got halfway up on her trembling elbows and dialed seemingly random numbers on her phone, Evie Nadia fainted.


>The Following Day, Saturday 12.55PM

Muhammad Rafar
He arrived five minutes early to the agreed time. Rafar dressed himself in a black long sleeve shirt and jeans, and a pair of loafers. He waited in the car for a few minutes before making his way to the restaurant. He thought Evie must have arrived as well; she was usually early on dates.

Dates, he thought. Is this a date?

He checked himself in the rear view mirror, adjusting his messy hair and wiping his face with a moist napkin. Satisfied that he didn’t look too shabby, he got out and made his way to the restaurant. He had texted Evie earlier, but she hasn’t replied. But that was alright. He was here already. All he had to do was wait.

He arrived in front of the restaurant expecting to see her there, but she wasn’t. He had mentally prepared himself for this meeting; he told himself over and over again on the drive here to play it cool at whatever it is that she would talk about. At some point, he didn’t really care; he was massively happy just to be able to see her again. He had even practiced how to greet Evie upon seeing her. So he was slightly disappointed when he realized he had arrived first. That’s fine, she said one o’clock anyway, maybe she’d be a few minutes late, he said to himself.

At eight minutes after one, Evie still hadn’t shown up. He asked one of the waitresses if there was a reservation under her name; the waitress said yes, there was, table for two at one o’clock. Rafar asked if the person who made the booking was here earlier but the waitress said no, I'm sorry, she hasn’t. Are you with her? Rafar had just replied thanks. He decided he was being edgy so he made himself wait. He tried calling but there was no answer. Okay, maybe she’s on her way. Must have been caught up or something.

He tried calling again after fifteen minutes had passed. No answer, but he convinced himself not to think about it too much. Besides, it’s not like she’s going anywhere else. There was no need to be a chore to your self Rafar, he thought.

At forty minutes past the hour, Evie was still nowhere to be seen. Rafar had begun calling her at roughly five-minute intervals. This was unlike her to be late or not answer the phone. He became a little bit worried. He still decided to wait, and that’s when it occurred to him to call her house. Still no answer, but that made him think that she was already out.

It was two o’clock; Evie still wasn’t there. Rafar began to feel deflated. He sighed. He thought maybe he had been stood up. He didn’t know to feel angry or disappointed. But the urge to see her was too strong. He told himself he would wait. Five minutes. No, ten. Make it thirty. He kept calling both house and cell phone. Still no answer.

At half past two Rafar thought he should just head home. But as a last resort, he decided to place a call to her parents: his ex-mother and father in law.

“Hello, Mrs. Nadzrah?” he said as he identified the soft-spoken lady on the phone.

“Hello, yes. Who is this?”

“It’s me, Rafar.”

“Ohh Rafar, Ya Allah, I'm sorry, I didn’t recognize you. It’s been so long.”

Rafar felt pangs of guilt at that statement. “It’s okay Mrs. Nadzrah –“

“Oh, just call me Ibu, it’s alright.”

“Okay, uhm, Ibu, I just would like to ask, is Evie over at your house?”

“Evie? No, she’s not. Why?”

“Well… she asked me to see her today, but I’ve been waiting since one o’clock and she’s still not here. I tried calling her house and cell, but no answer.”

“Really?” Mrs. Nadzrah said; she suddenly sounded worried. “Well, I'm sorry, but she didn’t tell me if she was going anywhere. She did mention that she wanted to see you this week though. I'm glad she got to you. This is quite unlike her to not show up.”

“Yes, it quite is. Look, sorry I bothered you Mrs. – I mean, Ibu. But if you could…”

“Of course, I’ll let you know if I hear from her. And I think I’ll try calling her as well. I'm a little worried. You take care. It was nice to hear from you again, Rafar. Come on over for dinner someday.”

“Okay, thanks Ibu,” Rafar said. He found it slightly amusing that his ex-mother in law would be so nice. But that didn’t matter at the moment. Right now he was wondering where in the world was Evie Nadia? He began calling her mobile phone again. Still no answer. He began calling their old friends.

“Evie? No I haven’t seen her for a while. Really? Well I’ll try to call her,” said Marina. “I haven’t seen her; I'm in Bali at the moment, sorry Rafar,” said Juliza. Rafar made a few more calls, including to her office, but nobody knew where Evie was. After what was probably the hundredth call to her cell phone, Evie’s mobile diverted him to her voicemail. Her phone had probably run out of juice. It was three o’clock. If Evie would show up at all, she’d be two hours late, and it’s not like her to be that late.

Okay, something’s happened, he thought. He left Solaris and sped to Ampang, to the Sri Kenanga apartments, the home they once shared. He parked his car outside and quickly told the security guards he was here to see a friend. They mostly ignored him anyway. Rafar noticed her white Volkswagen was still in the parking lot; that couldn’t be good. He paced his way to their old apartment, taking three steps at a time on the stairs. When he reached the door, he found it overwhelmingly familiar, down to the shoe cabinet beside it. It was a door he used to come home to. Rafar knocked.

“Evie? Evie, are you home?”

Nothing. He knocked again. “Evie? It’s me, Rafar. Are you home?” He realized that was a stupid question but he was feeling worried. He called the house and heard the telephone ringing. Still, no answer. He knocked again, this time harder, and raised the volume of his voice.


A door opened, but it was the next-door neighbor. It was a woman, in her fifties. She was wearing a t-shirt and pants, and had probably been cooking, judging by the oil-stains on her cloth. She squinted at Rafar. He knew her, of course; he used to live here after all, and he was slightly surprised his former neighbor was still there.

“Kak Mira,” he said. He realized he was panting from climbing up the stairs.

“Rafar? Ya Allah, it’s been so long. I thought.. you know,” the older woman said.

“Yes, well, it’s complicated. Kak Mira, have you seen or heard Evie leave the house today?”

“No, why? Is something wrong?”

“I, I don’t know. I was supposed to meet her two hours ago but she didn’t show up. I tried calling but no answer, and none of her friends or her parents knows where she is. So I thought… well, I came here. Her car is still downstairs.”

“Really? Wait, let me try.”

Rafar thought what was the point? But he let Kak Mira knock and call Evie’s name. As expected, no answer. They tried again, calling and knocking on the door alternately. One of Kak Mira’s children, a boy of about 10, came to see what the fuss was about. Rafar remembered the kid; he was four when he last saw him, and the child didn’t know who he was.

“Where could she be? You didn’t hear her leave?” Rafar asked again.

“No, I'm sorry, I didn’t. Is there any reason to be worried? You look worried,” Kak Mira said.

“I don’t know. Her car is still down there. And she’s not answering both phones. I know Evie; she’s not the kind to show up late. I don’t know, I'm worried. But if I could hear from her right now, it’ll be a Godsend.”

“Well, don’t you used to have a spare key? But I guess you gave it back to her.”

“Wait, what did you say?”

Kak Mira looked like she said something wrong. “I said, don’t you have a spare key?”

Rafar went blank for a moment. He remembered when they were still married, they had four sets of keys for the house; one was hers, one was his, one was kept in a key cupboard labeled ‘SPARES’… and the other one was stashed secretly behind…

He squatted down, moving so fast it startled Kak Mira. He began pulling the locked shoe cabinet beside the doorway.

“What are you doing?” Kak Mira asked. As he pulled the cabinet, which was heavy (he forgot how heavy it was with Evie’s loads of shoes inside it), he explained.

“We always kept a spare key outside, hidden, just in case,” he said. He managed to open a six-inch gap between the cabinet and the wall. He felt around with his hands; he hoped it was still there… and… bingo! His fingers touched upon a hard cold object beneath a smooth layer of cellophane. He pried it off and showed it to Kak Mira, who raised her eyebrows.

“We taped it to the back of the cabinet,” he said. Kak Mira motioned for him to open the door, and Rafar nodded. His hands were trembling as he tried to insert the key into the lock; he fumbled twice, but finally managed to jam it in. He turned, and heard the satisfying clunk! of the mechanism releasing. Rafar opened the door and stepped in. Kak Mira followed.


Saturday, 3.19PM

Muhammad Rafar
As I stepped into the apartment, an immense feeling of familiarity and nostalgia swept over me. This was the first time I set foot into its walls for four long years. And now, as I look at every corner, every angle of its walls, I see us together. For a moment I just stood there still. It felt surreal.

The apartment was pretty much the same as it was when I left four years ago. Some of the decorations have changed, and a lot of the stuff that was mine was of course no longer there. But the furniture was the same; the TV was the same, and the colors of the walls were all like it was years ago. The only things that were new was a very Zen, Japanese style lamp in corner; on a small table beside the sofa, Evie had put framed pictures of her and her family and friends. I felt slightly hurt that there wasn’t a picture of me.

“It’s quiet. Sounds like she’s not home?” Kak Mira said, interrupting my thoughts but reminding me why I was here.

“Let me have a look,” I said. I stepped softly, putting my hands on the familiar furniture. I came to the dinner table; I glanced right, towards the kitchen. The windows were closed and I could hear no activity. I swept my gaze from right to left: my old ‘media room’ was empty; the guest room in front of me was empty save for some huge teddy bears Evie kept there. When my gaze came to the left, it was our old bedroom. The door was open. I stepped towards it and a sickly sweet smell rose to my nose; I looked down and saw what looked like a dried puddle of vomit; immediately my fears were raised.

“Evie?” I called out and walked into the bedroom. My eyes scanned the oh-so-familiar room. There was nothing but then I realized I was looking too high up. As I looked down on the floor, I saw her. She lay still on the carpet, her cell phone lying a few inches from her right hand; her left was on her stomach. She was dressed in a t-shirt that was slightly raised, exposing her belly, which looked slightly swollen, and a pair of shorts.

“Evie!!” I shouted and immediately went to her side; I lifted her into my arms and felt her body was hot; then I saw her chest rise and that at least told me she was alive. “Evie? Ya Allah, what happened? Kak Mira!!”

The elder woman appeared at the door and put a hand to her mouth. I told her to call an ambulance and she nodded, rushing to make the call. I sat on the floor, feeling helpless, not knowing what to do. “Evie? Are you alright?” I said as I cradled her head in my arms. She looked so lifeless, like she was drained of life. I held, not realizing I had begun to cry, worried to death.

“Rafar…” a weak voice called out my name. I looked at her face; her eyes were slightly open. Her body was sweating and feverish, and she was slightly trembling. I caressed her hair (I realized it was styled differently; in other circumstances, she would have looked gorgeous).

“Rafar, you came…” she said, her voice feeble and strained.

“Shh.. Of course I came… It’s okay; I’ve called for help. Hang in there, you’ll be alright.”

Kak Mira came in and told me the ambulance was on its way. Then she rushed out and came back with a blanket and a cool, moist towel. She made me wipe Evie’s forehead with it.

“Rafar…” Evie said, but I put a finger to her lips.

“Shh.. Save your energy. You’ll need it.”

Evie gave the slightest hint of a smile, but then she grimaced again and her hand went to her stomach. “It... It hurts…” she said. I could only watch in pain. In truth I thought I couldn’t. This was worse than seeing her cry after our divorce.

“Hush, Evie, you’ll be alright. Have patience,” I said. Without thinking, I kissed her forehead. “I'm here.”

About ten minutes later the emergency medical transponders arrived. They put Evie on board a stretcher and I followed suit in the ambulance. The nearest hospital was Gleneagles, about 5 minutes away. As we rode there, Evie lay motionless. The medical guys had put in an IV for her. One of them had put his hands on his stomach and mouthed ‘appendix’ to me. I had nodded. I felt less worried; appendicitis was very treatable… but how long had she been lying there on the floor? Did it happen after our phone call?

I pushed these thoughts out of my head as we arrived at the hospital. A grey haired male doctor came by us; he assessed the situation in what I thought was lighting speed. I followed as they took Evie into surgery. All along, I held her hands and kept looking at her, telling her she’ll be alright.

“Rafar…” she said in her weakened state. The rumbles of the gurney’s wheels were drowning out her voice. I bent in closer while still keeping my feet on the move.

“Yes? Shh, you shouldn’t speak,” I said.

“Rafar… I…” she said. She had been given anesthetics, and she was losing consciousness. I held her hand tighter, but her own grip was loosing. “Hang in there, Baby,” I said.

“You… you called me Baby…”

I smiled at her, if only to alleviate some worry. “I guess I did…”

“Sir, we have to take her inside the OR now,” said a grim nurse beside me. I looked at her; she must have seen the worry on my face, as her expression softened. “We’ll take care of her, Sir. Don’t worry.”

I nodded, reluctantly. “Rafar…” Evie called my name again. She looked paler and weaker by the minute as the drugs kicked in.

“Yes, Evie?”

Then, somehow, she smiled. She stretched her lips, and in that instant I saw the girl I fell in love with eleven years ago and the woman I married, and the woman I was still madly in love with. She smiled, and just before she went through the doors of which I could not follow, Evie said,

“Wait… Promise me… Promise… wait for me. Wait for me… Wait…”

And then the doors closed; but I had already made the promise.

I will wait for her.

There's a time for everyone if they only learn
That the twisting kaleidoscope moves us all in turn
There's a rhyme and reason to the wild outdoors
When the heart of this star-crossed voyager beats in time with yours


to be...... concluded......

March 13, 2009

Evie Nadia III: There Will Be No Regret

episode 20 Part One will follow shortly after.
do tell me if you've read this at the cbox
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- edwan



Sunlight fell on her face; Evie roused from sleep. She turned, placing the palms of her hand beneath her, on her stomach. The stomach cramps and pains were getting worse. She rarely got bad period pains; in fact she couldn’t remember the last bad one. She grumbled and woke up, not feeling too well in her tummy. She took a swig of water from a bottle she always kept bedside, and that seemed to comfort her stomach a little.

Evie stretched and yawned, her hair messed up and all over the place. As she sat, slightly drowsy, on the bed, she did some breathing exercises to get some oxygen up and running in her bloodstream. She had things to do; and she meant to do them as soon as possible.

Her eyes fell on the ring and the wedding album. Immediately she got up and went to her dressing table, where she kept her jewelry box. She fished around in there and came out with a thin, black leather string with a clasp. She removed the original pendant (a brushed steel medallion with a tribal motif on; where did she get that? She could not remember) and threaded the leather through her wedding ring, creating a makeshift necklace. Pleased with herself, she put it on around her neck and checked the mirror to see how it looked.

The ring rested just below the middle of her clavicles, above her bosoms. The black string contrasted starkly against her skin, and seemed to be a very youthful accessory for someone her age. But she had already decided she would not wear the ring; not yet anyway. At the same time she didn’t just want to leave it on top of a shelf or chuck it in her jewelry box (which contained mostly costume jewelry; she wasn’t a big fan of precious stones and metal). So hanging the ring on her neck was an ideal compromise.

Evie showered and made herself breakfast: two chicken frankfurters, baked beans, two soft-boiled eggs, three pieces of toast and a pear, with hot tea. As she ate she planned her day; at the same time her hand kept touching the ring hanging below her neck.

Would Adam be free today? She needed to talk to him. But it was Saturday, not the best of times for someone working in a restaurant; it was highly unlikely that he would have the time to spare. And she didn’t want to talk about anything unless he really had the time, because this has to count.

What was Rafar doing? But no, no, no. She can’t see Rafar. Not now. Not yet.

She decided that she would visit her parents in Shah Alam and take them to lunch; she wanted to tell them what she was planning. She wanted to tell them what she wanted in her life. So she called her parents’ house, and her father, Mr. Hakimi picked up. He was delighted as ever to hear Evie was coming over.

“I'm buying lunch today, okay Ayah? Tell Ibu alright,” she said.

Her father agreed and actually shouted over the phone to her Ibu, who sounded a bit further away. Evie heard a murmured ‘Okay okay’. Later as the clock struck noon, she was already in her parents’ house, waiting for them to get ready. The day was hot and sunny and humid; ‘cuaca rimas’ as she likes to call it. Evie dressed in a loose and comfortable white short sleeve button down shirt and jeans with flip-flops. She waited in the living room, talking with her mother. Her father was getting ready.

“How have you been dear?” Mrs. Nadzrah asked. “You look better. Less tired.”

“I'm alright, Ibu. Been getting stomach cramps and pains for a few days now, but otherwise I'm fine,” Evie said.

“Stomach cramps? You should go to a doctor.”

“Ibu, I'm okay, I think it’s my menses, don’t worry alright?”

Mrs. Nadzrah nodded. Evie thumbed through a copy of Anjung Seri that was on the coffee table.

“By the way I heard about your… predicament. Ayah told me,” her mother said. She adjusted her tudung.

“Ayah really can’t keep a secret huh?” Evie said, joking.

“Even if he did I’d have pried it from him anyway,” Mrs. Nadzrah said, smiling. “But you do look much better dear. I'm glad. And what’s that on your neck?”

“Hm? Oh. It’s… well,” Evie pulled it out. “I didn’t want to leave it around. But I also don’t want to wear it… yet.”

Mrs. Nadzrah raised her eyebrows when Evie showed her. She turned to her daughter. “Don’t want to wear it yet?”

Evie smiled. “We’ll talk about it over lunch. Ayah’s ready.”

“Yes I am, and I am hungry as a… as a what dear?” Mr. Hakimi said to Mrs., Nadzrah as he came down the stairs. Evie’s mother said dryly.

“As an old man?”

Evie laughed and the three of them left the house, riding in Evie’s car. Evie brought them to a dim sum restaurant at Shah Alam Mall, near Shah Alam’s city center. Despite her big breakfast she was already hungry, and the steaming bamboo containers contained delicious morsels of Chinese delicacies for her to ravage. They talked as they ate, though it was sometime before Evie herself began to talk; the food was too good to ignore.

Mrs. Nadzrah asked her what has brought the sudden change in demeanor. “I'm guessing it has something to do with that little thing around your neck?”

“What’s around her neck?” asked Mr. Hakimi, chewing on a wonton dumpling. Evie showed him. “Isn’t that your wedding ring? Why are you wearing it there?”

Evie rolled her eyes and playfully scolded her father for not remembering what she already told him. But she gave a brief recap anyway. “Anyway a few days ago I checked my mail and it was there. No stamps too. He must have dropped it himself.”

“Interesting,” Mrs. Nadzrah said. “And?”

Evie sipped some hot tea. Her father eyed her quietly, no doubt recalling the conversation he had with her. “Don’t push the girl, let her tell in her own time,” he said to Mrs. Nadzrah. “I'm sure she’s made the right decision.”

“I know, I was just curious. It’s just been so long since I’ve seen you really happy,” Mrs. Nadzrah said and touched her daughter’s hand.

Evie Nadia waved a hand. “It’s alright, I was going to tell you two anyway. So, uhm, I think I…”

Evie told her parents over their dim sum lunch. Upon receiving the news, her parents seemed glad; but most obviously, Evie felt there was a wave of relief coming off their expressions. They must have been thinking of her happiness. Evie felt touched; thirty years on and they still haven’t stopped caring.

“But it’s funny huh, how things turn out?” Evie said. “I never saw this coming, Ayah, Ibu.”

“Well of course you didn’t dear,” her mother said. “Nobody can anyway. What’s important is that you’re clear about what you want. You’re taking a step forwards.”

“Yes, of course,” her father chided in. “Remember what I told you, Evie. It’s your decision. And I trust your judgment.”

“I just don’t want to be in one spot anymore. I want to be happy. I think I deserve to be.” Evie said.

“And as long as you’re happy, my girl, then we’re happy,” said Mrs. Nadzrah. Evie saw she was almost crying, but she hid it well. Her father, though, suddenly seemed too preoccupied with ordering dessert rather than saying anything to Evie. Mrs. Nadzrah elbowed him in the ribs.

“What?” There’s nothing left for me to say. She’s a smart girl. She’s my daughter after all,” he said. Then he turned to Evie, with a tender and fond look in his eyes. “But yes, I'm glad. Like your Ibu said, we’ll always pray for your happiness dear.”

“Thank Ayah. Thanks Ibu. I needed to hear that.”

All three of them ended up ordering dessert; Evie was feeling more cheered up every second. After lunch they walked around the small shopping centre. Mr. Hakimi, much to Evie’s amusement, suddenly decided to get a haircut even thought there was nothing much to cut. “It looks bushy,” he said. Evie found it funny and didn’t bother hiding it. Her father told her to shoo away and help her mother shop or something. She saw her mother checking out scarves, engrossed in what was probably bargaining with the awkward teenage girl manning the stall. Evie made her way to a mobile phone kiosk and in a spur of the moment decision, decided to shell out for one of the latest handsets.

Afterwards they went back home and the three of them talked in the living room. Outside it was still hot and sticky so Evie was relieved to be in the cool living room of her parents’ house. Later Mrs. Nadzrah fell asleep on the sofa. Her father was lying on the marble floor, head resting on cushion, and soon he too fell asleep. Evie flipped through magazines for a few minutes, enjoying the serenity of the moment. She gazed lovingly at her parents; silently grateful to God for this life she was living in. She ticked off a box in a mental checklist; parents, done.

She thought about the person she needed to talk to next. But first she fell asleep on the sofa.



On the previous Friday Evie had taken home some of her work and she spent the rest of her weekend and Sunday doing it. On Monday she took the work back to her office; they were already three quarters of the way done, and on Monday she forced herself to finish them and not procrastinate. The last piece of work was done by quarter to six o’clock. She felt triumphant. Now she could arrange a meeting with him to talk.

But first she got her hair done; before going home yesterday she dropped by her favorite salon and asked for a wash and a haircut. Today, she has a new ‘do. Her hair is now slightly shorter, just shoulder length, but it had that layered look and now she sported short bangs that she thought would make her eyes stand out. She was mightily pleased with the new look; her receptionist, Alya, immediately proclaimed she wanted the same look, which Evie found flattering. She felt pleased.

When she came into her office and saw that her workload was not so heavy, it made her very happy for no reason. There was still a lot to do, of course, but most of it was trivial stuff she could do with her eyes closed and her hands tied behind her back. What this meant was that she could have a clearer mind to talk to him. And the thought made her slightly nervous. But she was adamant; this must be done, in all fairness.

She drew in a deep breath and picked up the phone. It took only one ring for him to pick up; he must have been eager for her call.

“Hey,” he said over the phone. Evie sensed his joy and felt a tiny bit guilty.

“Hey Adam,” she said. “Are you free sometime this week? Can we talk?”

“This week? Yeah, yeah. Sure, anytime. You name it”

Evie sensed the sudden up swell of wariness in his tone. She had to make this easy. “Okay. How abo--, ouff..”

“Evie? Evie, what’s wrong? Are you okay? Evie?”

Evie winced; she held one hand to her tummy. “I'm okay, sorry.”

“You sure? Did you hurt yourself? Do you want me to come over?”

“What? No, no. I'm fine. It’s that time of the month, I think.”

“Oh, okay… Well, if you need anything…”

“I'm alright, thanks. So,uh, as I was saying, what about tonight? Are you free tonight, or does Luna need its boss?”

“Tonight’s great. Where and when?”

Evie thought for a few seconds. Where should they go? Preferably someplace nice. She got it. “Do you know Tamarind Springs in Ampang?”

“Know it? Lady, I worked there once. Yeah, that sounds great.”

“Okay, that’s good. I’ll make the reservation. Eight o clock?”

“Eight it is; I’ll pick you up. It’s along the way anyway.”

“Uhm, I think I’ll go myself, if you don’t mind.”


Silence. Then he said, “Well, eight o’clock then. See you.”

“See you Adam Amirulkhair.”

Evie hung up. It was time for her and Adam to really have the talk. In essence she already knew what she wanted, but all the same she wanted to see Adam again. It was only fair. She would not want to go down as the bad person.

She breezed through the rest of that day’s work; when lunchtime came she ordered pizza and shared it with Alya. The young receptionist kept praising her new hairstyle and Evie found it cutely irritating after awhile. The whole day she kept looking at the clock, and it seemed like the more she looked, the slower time seemed to pass. To help make it easier she brought forward work that wasn’t due and set out completing them; finally, at six o’clock, she packed her belongings and went home, where she allowed herself a short, 20 minute nap before showering and getting ready.

At half past seven she drove to Tamarind Springs, a nice Vietnamese-Cambodian restaurant in Ampang. She reached there at ten to eight, and when she pulled into the parking lot she glimpsed Adam’s black NSX. So he’s here, she thought. Very nice of him to be early. Evie made her way to the entrance where she found Adam waiting; he had a small bouquet of roses and held it out to her.

“I didn’t have time to get a bigger bunch or nicer ones,” he said. Evie accepted them.

“You didn’t have to, Adam,” she said.

“It’s okay… Its just flowers. And I love your new haircut,” he said and winked. They were led to a table by the hostess and sat themselves. The hostess handed them their menus.

“So,” Adam said as he opened the menu card. “How have you been?”

“I'm.. I'm alright,” she said.

“Just the time of the month yea?”

“Yea.. eheh.”

Evie thought Adam was being really careful. The flowers were nice, but they also seemed like an afterthought. It was like he already knew what she was going to say, and had bought the flowers as a coupon to win her over. Evie felt sad. She decided to talk more general stuff and have dinner first. Adam tried to steer the conversation into ‘the talk’, and he kept injecting his words with praise and niceties for Evie. When their dinner arrived they ate in relative silence; there weren’t that many people in the restaurant.

“Evie,” Adam said, softly.


“I thought you said you wanted to talk?”

Evie nodded. “I do.”

He waited. Evie wiped her mouth with a napkin. She felt nervous all of a sudden. But her resolve was strong. It was now or never; she would say it today, come hell or high water. “Adam…”

“Yes, Evie?”

“I want to say that of all the men I’ve ever dated in my years as a singleton, I think… no, I believe you’re the sweetest, nicest, handsomest and the most interesting. You’re funny, smart, you dress nice. Your charming, with your winking and your cooking. Adam, you stand out among them so clearly that it’s a wonder I haven’t met you before. Plus you drive a sports car. I'm surprised some Mak Datin hasn’t made you her toy-boy yet.”

They both laughed a little; it was a lame joke, but it eased some of the dread. Evie took a deep breath.

“Adam, do you really love me?”


“I ask; do you really love me?”

“Why, yes, sure,” he held Evie’s hand. “I do love you.”

“Say it to me, like you said it before. Like the first time you said it.”


“Please, I need to know something.”

Adam paused; he seemed perplexed, and he stared at Evie for a moment, unsure. “Alright,” he said and this time he took a deep breath. “Evie Nadia, I love you. I really do.”

As his voice formed those words Evie Nadia closed her eyes; in the brief darkness she tried to catch the words and see if they had pierced. She tried to glimpse if those words would stir her soul or send her heart into crazed palpitations. She heard Adam say her name, but it was vague and distant. He loves me, she thought in a split second of time. But I…


She opened her eyes and saw Adam was still holding her hand. “Evie, did you hear me?” Adam said.

“I heard you Adam,” she said. He waited to see if she would say something else, but Evie seemed quiet at the moment.

“Evie,” he sighed. “I know you’ve had a lot on your mind. But I need to know. I need to know how you feel and I need to know where we are.”

He was right, Evie thought. He needed to know where they were. It would be unfair and cruel for her to keep him in the dark about this. Honesty was the least she could do. She has made her choice. And now she would tell Adam.

“Adam,” she said, gently, her voice caressing. He looked at her with hopeful eyes. “Adam, when I said you’re one of the most amazing men I’ve gone out with… I really meant it. And I think perhaps I'm forever indebted to you, because in the briefest of times you showed me how my life needn’t be lonely and alone. You showed me I still had much to live for.”

“What are you saying, Babe?” he asked, but his face and the tremble of his voice showed he already knew the truth.

Evie felt tears welling behind her eyes. She couldn’t help it. “I do love you Adam, but I'm sorry I have to say that I don’t love you in the same way you love me. I'm sorry. I needed to tell you this because I don’t want to give you false hope or half-truths. You deserve to be told the truth and only the truth.”

Adam looked down on the table. Evie couldn’t read his expression. But she spoke.

“I can’t be the woman you want me to be. I'm sorry.”

They both became quiet. It was awkward; very awkward. Evie managed to keep her tears in check, and she had to concede that telling that to Adam, effectively breaking his heart, left a nasty taste in her mouth. This feeling was heightened by his silence.

“Adam,” Evie said. “Adam, say something.”

He looked up at her, his face defeated. But he managed to smile. “What is there to say?”

“I just wanted… no, I was hoping you’d understand…”

“Understand?” he said, his voice sounding, for the first time since they met, tired. “I think I do. It’s quite simple to be honest: Your heart doesn’t belong to me…”

“Adam, I'm sorry.”

“Sorry for what?”

“Well, if you think I’ve been leading you on, or giving you wrong impressions.”

He rubbed his face. “No, don’t. Please. You don’t have to apologize.”


“I mean it. Don’t apologize,” Adam said, this time leaning closer to her. He toyed with her fingers again. “Let me tell you something, okay?”


“When I asked you about him last time, I knew your decision was made. It was in the way you talked about him; your voice had wavered but there was this… vitality in your eyes. I think I saw the path you’d take. I was hoping to try, to get another go, but secretly… well, secretly I knew it was all but over. I knew I had lost.”

Evie was speechless. Adam’s words were tinged with a pale blue sadness. He spoke again.

“But I don’t want you to apologize, because there is nothing to be sorry for. What you’re doing is admirable you know… A lot of us think about ‘taking the risk’ but few ever go through with it. Evie, do you want to be happy?”

Evie nodded. “I do…”

“And I want you to be happy. I'd rather you be happy with someone else than to be regretful your entire life with me... Nothing should stop you from this. Not me. Not anyone. So you don’t have to be sorry…”

“But… aren’t you hurt? Shouldn’t I be sorry for that, at the very least?”

“I am hurt,” he said, laughing a little. “But… I guess you mean more to me right now than my own feelings? How’s that? Is that romantic or corny? Haha… but seriously, don’t worry about it. I’ll be… Well, I’ll be alright I guess. I’ll move on. What about you?”

“Me?” Evie said, caught off guard.

“Yeah, you. What next?”

“I… well, I'm not sure yet.”

“You haven’t told him?” Adam asked and laughed when Evie put her hands to her face and shook her head. “Well, I feel a bit special now, haha.”

“I'm not ready yet. I will though. Soon.”

Evie suddenly seemed to drift off in her own world, and her lips were curled softly at the corners. Adam snickered. “You really do love him that much, do you?”

“I… I do…” she said and blushed. Adam leaned back in his seat, his face content but undoubtedly sad. They continued talking; Adam said he wanted to know more about the other guy so Evie told him, although reluctantly out of fear she’d only cause Adam more hurt. But he insisted hard, so Evie told him snippets of her former life, choosing her words carefully. Then the talk moved on to lighter matter. Luna was apparently doing great so far in its maiden year of operation; Evie’s firm just won a contract to do advertising for a major telecommunications company and she was part of the team. Finally they decided to call it a night. Evie paid the bill; she said it was the least she could do. Adam joked that if so, he was going to call her often asking her to buy him dinner. They walked out of the restaurant together.

“So…” Adam said.

“Yes?” Evie said. She stood in front of him and it occurred to her how tall he was; at 5’5”, she only came up to his shoulders. Even Rafar was slightly shorter than Adam. She looked at him.

“Will I see you around after this?” he asked.

“Hm,” Evie bit her lip. “I hope so. We’re still friends, right?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I guess so. Back to square one. Hi, I'm Adam. Ehehe…”

“Evie Nadia Hakimi. Haha…”

Adam shuffled his feet. Evie looked to her sides. This was weird.

“Well,” Adam said, rubbing his neck. “See you soon.”

Evie stepped closer and embraced him. At first he seemed surprised, then Evie felt his hands rest gently on her shoulders. “Thank you Adam.”

“I’ll still love you, if that’s okay,” he said as they broke the embrace. He looked sad again. Evie nodded her consent. They stepped away from each other. He offered to walk Evie to her car, and opened the door for her.

“Goodbye Adam Amirulkhair,” she said as she stepped in. Evie started her engine and pulled out of the parking lot. Before she drove away however, Adam tapped her window. She rolled it down. He leaned on the windowsill.

“You know, if ever you change your mind…” he said.

Evie thought of saying something but she didn’t. She smiled instead, and just before she drove off, she looked at Adam. And she winked.


The first thing she did when she arrived home that night was to cry: she cried for breaking Adam’s heart. She needed to let it out. When she finished, she felt an enormous burden lift off her shoulders. It was hard to be cruel to be kind. She prayed she would never have to do that again.

When she had asked Adam to say ‘I love you’ like he did the first time, it was not because she was setting him up to put him down. Rather, she wanted him to say it to see how she felt like. Would she reciprocate that love automatically, showing her that she was wrong and that her true devotions lay with this charming chef?

The answer came immediately; at the very moment Adam ended his sentence. And it was simple: her love wasn’t for Adam. She did not feel the electric pulses racing through her body when he said it. She did not feel choked up when he had said it. She did love him… but it wasn’t in the way she expected she would, or the way he wanted her to. And when she confirmed this truth in her heart, she became surer. Her resolve turned to concrete.

This was it.

This was the beginning of the moment where she would seal all her past sadness in an airtight jar and throw it all away. She walked around the apartment, placing her fingers on the furniture. Though most of the Rafar stuff had long been put away, there was a touch of him in everything in the house. Evie began to think about him under the same roof again, sharing her living room again, sharing her bed again. Sharing lives again.

She was excited. From this point henceforth, there will be no regret. All she wanted was to face tomorrow, and she wanted to face tomorrow with the one she loved and truly loves with a burning and eternal fire. All that was left was to tell him.

Muhammad Rafar.

Maybe a greater thing will happen,
Maybe all will see,
Maybe our love will catch like fire,
as it burns through me.


Episode 20 coming on Monday, 17/3/2009

it's almost over.

March 10, 2009

Here In This Perfect Dark

episode 19 will follow shortly after; give and take 3 days

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- edwan

p/s: how soon do you want the ending?


Of all the gifts bestowed upon us humans, foresight is not one of them. None can truly see what the future holds, and none can really guess more than a few minutes ahead of their time. Some have cursed this apparent deficiency; you hear it all too often when someone says, “If only I could tell” or in its more disguised form: “If only I knew.”

But there lies the hidden beauty of not knowing: if we knew things beforehand, would life be as meaningful as it is? After all, it is the journey we take is what makes the answers we receive at the other end more fulfilling. Foresight would have taken away the anticipation and the hopes and more importantly, our will to seek the truth.

And is that not what we all seek? Truth? Truth that would put our fears at ease? Truth is why we endure life.

And after all we go through, when the truth finally unveils itself from the clouds and fog of our hearts and mind, we would finally be able to find courage to face it; a courage that by all means was probably there all along.

Veritas vos liberabit: “And the truth shall set you free…”


He stood there in front of his bathroom mirror, cheeks and chin lathered with shaving foam. He washed his razor beneath a slow, steady stream of warm water; bringing the blade up to his face, he cut straight, swift strokes through the foam, each swipe revealing a smoother patch of skin; he left only a small, roughly square patch beneath his chin. He washed his face with cold water and dried it with a towel.

Muhammad Rafar looked at his own reflection.

He looked weary although he promised to take care of himself to Evie weeks ago; he still wasn’t eating or resting properly. At times he allowed himself to be consumed with work, spending hours either in his studio, out in the field, or in front of a computer. That, coupled with his relative disregard for himself lately, contributed greatly to his weary look.

A few days back as he was cleaning out his jeans, he found an object in one of the pockets; he had forgotten it was there. He took it out and saw it was a ring. The very same wedding ring he had put on Evie’s finger with his own hands, six years ago. He had held the small gold band in his hand, studying it, examining it.

The metal was still shiny and the diamond sparkled like the brightest star. He had tried to put it on, but it was tiny: it barely got through the mid-section of his ring finger. Rafar thought of how small Evie’s hands are.

He had put the ring on a bedside stand, and often before he went to sleep, he would look at it. He would pick it up, fiddle with it in his hands and put it back down. Sometimes he caressed it; a very Gollum-like behavior he found quite amusing (if somewhat disturbing). The difference was that his ‘precious’ wasn’t the ring itself; it was the owner.

Then one day he bought an envelope and wrote a note; he put the ring in the envelope along with the note, and drove to the apartment he had once shared with Evie. He dropped it in her mailbox. He wasn’t really sure what would happen, but the truth was looking at the ring was too much of a reminder of her. And these days, he was reminded enough of his mistakes. Besides, the ring was rightfully hers. It was a gift, a symbol of his love to her before, Rafar thought. And so it should be until the end of days, lest he never see her again.

He had told himself to drop the ring and forget about it. But now he finds himself wondering what Evie was thinking when she received it. Part of him was worried Evie hasn’t noticed the envelope at all, or that some mail-stealing jerk had stolen it and it was now lost. But something also told him that, yes, Evie found the ring. And she kept it.

Rafar was at odds with what to do. He knows he shouldn’t be blatant and fight for it, because that would over-complicate Evie’s life. Anyway he had tried this before and got rebuked, hard. It wasn't something he wanted to happen again; he had been pretentious before and he did not want to repeat the mistake. He also did not want to do anything that would make her drift away even further. All he wanted was to be with her again. But he did not have the means to do it.

Not right now anyway.

The whole ‘makan tak kenyang, mandi tak basah, tidur tak lena’ thing was wearing thin on him. He hated feeling so empty. He felt this was punishment. The day he realized he was still deeply in love with Evie Nadia and wanted her back was a day that was both terrible and liberating. Terrible in the sense that he felt like a jerk and a fool for his abandoning her years ago; liberating in the fact that he realized now what was missing in his life all along. He was very sure Evie would complete him, just as she had years ago, despite his foolishness.

But after being openly rejected by Evie Nadia months before, Rafar’s hopes were waning and torn. At the back of his mind he still thinks that after all this he will eventually end up with her again, but that part was unthinking, hopeful and idealistic. It was the part that still believes in love stories. His more rational mind was telling him to cut this shit and move on; just move on.

But it’s so hard. Of course it is.
I don’t think I can do it. Why can’t you?
Because I love her. But you had your chance and you blew it.
But she loves me. Love doesn’t mean being together.
I can’t move on. Yes you can.


And that was the conversation that played on an infinite loop in his mind. Resigned to the fact, Rafar let it play. He didn’t want to move on. He was too old to be chasing tail. So he tells himself that even if loving and yearning for Evie means he’d live a miserable, empty and unfulfilled life… so be it.

Now, as the city lights of Kuala Lumpur began to switch on and bathe the streets in it’s harsh but lovely neon glow, Rafar sits at home, nursing a cup of hot green tea. He wasn’t much of a tea person; but his coffee habit was causing him headaches and he was too tired to even have headaches. He wondered where Evie was; what she was doing. She’s been calling recently, which he thought she did because she was worried for his health. Secretly he wishes that the calls were a beacon of hope; something for him to hold on to.

He wanted to see her badly. But he chose not to intrude in her life. If she wanted to see him, let her be the one to initiate it. Enough with the surprise appearances and calls. He has already made his feelings clear. She has yet to say anything, and as every little candle he lights for her in his heart blows out, he thinks she will never say anything. He felt dismayed and lost, an empty, almost pathetic shell of his former self. His life seemed to have evaporated overnight, because of his one love for this one woman. Isn't it just grand what love can do?

Rafar stretched his neck, rubbing it and carried his tea to his reclining psychiatrists’ chair in the balcony. A playful memory jogs into his mind.

"I'm free tonight. Do you want to do something? Go out maybe?" he had said. I" don’t want to go out tonight," she had said. She had had a misty look in her eyes. She wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed him. "I want to stay home. I want you. Make love to me."

But as easily as that memory had come, it vanished. He found himself lying on the sofa, his arm thrown across his forehead.

I wonder where you are, he thought. What are you doing? I wonder if you are thinking of me? Do you feel my thoughts calling out to you, wishing for your touch?


Not too far away from where he was, Evie was sitting on her bed, her back against the headboard, dressed in comfortable cotton pyjamas. Her cheeks had a slight glow to them and there was a hint of a smile on her lips. She was fiddling with her wedding ring in her hands; since the day she received it, she had alternated between putting it on and taking it off to examine and play with it. When it was on her finger, she’d glance admiringly at the polished gold band and the sparkling diamond. It looked ‘right’ on her. She felt like she’s never taken it off at all.

Beside her on the bed was a photo-album of their wedding. Sometime after their divorce, Evie had climbed on a chair and stowed that album away in the highest shelf in her home ‘office’ (which had once been Rafar’s so called ‘media room’) and refused to even acknowledge it was there. But the day after she had put her ring back on, she found herself standing on top of the same chair to reach for it. It had a fine layer of dust on it, which she carefully wiped away with a moist cloth. She had taken the large album and carried it to bed with her.

She spent hours poring over the photographs. How happy they looked back then! The smiles on their faces had been as bright as the sun. There was a close up photograph of her hands folded together and the wedding ring visible. She kept comparing the photo to her hands; but of course they looked the same. She thought they looked bonier back then, but her hands haven't aged visibly yet. They were the same urchins' hands, petite and fragile looking.

Over these past few days Evie has been slowly regaining her self. She felt as fine as paint, apart from the occasional stomach cramps, which she was sure was PMS. Other than that, she felt slightly brighter and in control.

Evie did not fully understand how the human mind or heart works. She did not understand, for instance, how she suddenly feels more focused and driven when just a few weeks ago she cried herself to sleep due to feelings of confusion and guilt. She was not sure how she suddenly realized where her true wants and desires really lie, although she has yet to say it out loud. She did not know how her heart was suddenly so sure and so certain regarding this point of her life. She did not know how she knew that this was to be a pivotal moment for her; she just knew.

All of it just happened, seemingly overnight, brought forth by a tiny circle of metal that seemed to symbolize everything for her.

Since that day she had that little chat with her father, she somewhat gained a new perspective on things. Like she’s mentioned before; for once, she saw not through the tear-clogged eyes of a confused woman, but instead she saw herself through the eyes of another 'Evie', one that was stronger and unhampered by fear and guilt; it was like she was sitting on the outside looking in.

Through this new perspective Evie saw that it all looked like a corny soap opera, the kind with bad cinematography and tense, dramatic dialogue that were interspersed with equally dramatic music. But here’s the thing: all of a sudden, everything made sense to her.

Not many people are gifted with a sudden moment of clarity; that is probably the reason why so many of us choose to ponder and mope for days on end about our lives, instead of choosing to act and step into tomorrow rather than be dragged into it. But now Evie was one of the lucky few; and when she had that epiphany, it became so painfully obvious to her that it looked ridiculous.

In a sudden flash of inspiration, she understood everything.

She understood why some loves remain undying. She understood why we forgive the people we love even when they’ve hurt us. She understood why it is so hard to move past certain things whilst others get thrown away like one throws away the cellophane wrapper from a pack of chewing gum. And although it might be construed as overly dramatic to say so, Evie supposed she understood now what true love really means.

It’s truth; the meaning of true love is about being true to the one you love, but above it all, it is about being true to herself, to what she wants to achieve and have. Sometimes, to be truly happy, you have to put yourself above others. Sometimes it's okay to be selfish.

Because surely she’ll never forgive herself if one day, in the future, she realizes that she had given up the one she truly loves?

And with the realization of that truth, she accepted. She accepted her past and she forgave it; this time she truly forgave Rafar and most importantly, she forgave herself. She accepted that life is full of setbacks and cruel twists of Fate, but that was no reason to be angry and resent her own luck. All she had to do was to take the best out of it, not the worst.

Evie sighed on her bed, still toying around with her ring.

She will have things to attend to in the next few days. It is time.. She thought of someone else for a brief moment; it threw her mood of a little, but it was necessary. Curiously, Evie did not feel afraid, and there was only the smallest bit of guilt. He should understand, Evie thought. She was confident he would understand.

The fears of the future were almost completely gone now from within her heart. In its place was a belief that tomorrow is full hope and promise; this tomorrow was fueled by nothing else but love, and it will be unconquerable.

Evie Nadia Hakimi took the photo album beside her and put it on the little bedside table. She placed the ring carefully on top. She went outside to her balcony and stared into the city lights of Kuala Lumpur. They were mesmerizing. A cool breeze ruffled her hair and she wrapped her arm around herself. A crystal clear memory gently inserted itself into her thoughts.

"Wake up, my lovely wife," he had said. She had rubbed her eyes and opened them to see her husband gazing a loving gaze at her. "Good morning my husband," she had said and reached up to kiss him. It was the morning after their wedding. They were in the bridal chamber at her old house. "I can’t believe we’re married," they had told each other in unison.

The memory was a fond one; Evie smiled and she felt hot in her cheeks. She knew she was blushing; she remembered how Rafar used to tease her because of how often her face would turn red, even if there was no reason. She wondered where he was; that night where was Rafar? Where was Wiseguy?

What are you up to? She thought, as she looked across the horizon into the city lights of Kuala Lumpur.

Are you still missing me, even right now; and are you thinking of me like you say you do? Do you know that I feel your beating heart, and that I love you?


As the night draws deeper, Kuala Lumpur slowly falls asleep. The lights stay on, but skies are now almost pitch black, dotted sporadically by celestial objects that refuse to give in to the diminshed light.

Here, in this perfect dark, there is nothing but love and desire. Evie and Rafar yawn and the two of them retire to their bedrooms, separated by no more than 20 miles; both were aware of each other’s presence beneath this blanket of darkness. Both wondered what the other was thinking about.

But neither knew that a million candles were to be set aflame for them; and neither could guess how when that happens, there will be no darkness.

Just their love and desire.


this is a short episode; the previous one was unnecessarily long.
but almost everything that needs to be said has been said.

it's almost... there.