February 12, 2009

Surprise


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It was past eight o’clock when Adam finally dropped Evie off at her apartment. Their goodbye was curt, short and sweet: he had taken her hand in his and gently caressed her fingers. And all he said was “I’ll see you.” Evie had felt the heat rise in her cheeks and she just knew she was blushing; all of a sudden she was thankful that it was dim enough so the rouge wouldn’t show. Then Adam had winked and drove off.

After they had watched the sunset together, they had gone to a public restroom (which was thankfully lighted and more importantly clean) to change. Afterwards they had a light early dinner at a warong. For the first time they were not speaking much over a meal; they were quiet, both of them not wanting to say much, both of them knowing that too much words would have ruined the moment. Then they had walked back to the car hand in hand and Adam drove them back to Kuala Lumpur.

The drive home was a relatively quiet one as well. Suddenly both of them seemed to be avoiding eye contact, but not out of discomfort. Evie, for one, knew she was suddenly shy to look him in the face. She felt ridiculous. She felt the way she felt the day many years ago when she had fallen in love for the first time. And Adam seemed a bit nervous whilst driving, like he was taking an exam under the uncomfortable stare of a grumpy JPJ officer. Evie felt like they were getting to know each other all over again; as in, really get to know each other. The flirting and the pick-up lines were all a pretense to this moment in time.

Both of them had prodded and tested each others’ waters, trying to seek a way to start a conversation that would flow naturally, but both of them found it suddenly hard. Evie thought she was being corny and felt lame, and Adam was suddenly out of lines. And yet, in a way, it was not at all inappropriate. Maybe what Evie felt was correct after all: nothing much needed to be said; it was perfect as it is.

She knew, though, that sooner or later, they both would need to have ‘the talk’, because clearly something new was blossoming between them, something unchained by telephone calls or text messages or winking. Something purer and deeper had been stirred in both of their hearts today, at that moment their hands linked together and she had leaned her head on his shoulder, both of them watching the sunset.

It was like a scene from a movie. The kind where people would boo and criticize out loud but secretly watch over and over again because, despite the corniness and the cheesiness, they felt good watching it, and they felt good watching it because it gave them some hope and belief that yes, life can be as beautiful as it is in fairy tales and Hollywood scripts.

To Evie, it had felt exactly like that. Maybe once upon a time she would have thought that the very notion of a moment such as the one she had only existed in fantasy. But having experienced it for herself, she must say its every bit as romantic and beautiful as the movies suggest it is. Even better, she thought, I was in it.

Upon entering her home she immediately stripped off her clothes and had a long hot shower. She dried off and dressed and crashed herself on the bed with a book in hand (‘The Historian’ by Elizabeth Kostova). She read a few chapters, lying on her stomach with her feet dangling in the air. Then she felt distracted and chucked the book away and lay down staring at the ceiling.

Evie sighed, and in her mind she kept picturing that moment on the beach over and over again; sometimes it was in slow motion but more often it was like she saw herself through the eyes of another person. And every time she thought of the way his hand had closed around hers, and the way he had gently pulled her close, her cheeks would flush with pleasure and she would feel giddy.

I haven’t felt this way since I was nineteen years old, Evie thought. Indeed, the last time she had felt giddy and exasperated about a boy (though Adam was not technically a boy) was when she first realized she was falling in love with Rafar, eleven years ago. Eleven years ago, that’s such a long time, Evie thought. She put an arm across her forehead and stared at the ceiling. Inside her head, a little monologue was going on:

But am I actually falling in love, or is this just infatuation with someone new, someone who’s bringing new things in my life? God that sounded weird… He’s so sweet, so wonderful to be around with. He treats me the way I want to be and he makes me feel… why, worth my weight in gold.

It’s not everyday I find someone like that. Indeed I’d probably never find someone like Adam ever again... And that moment at the beach… that was wonderful! It’s almost as if he read my mind. I loved it… I loved the way his hands felt, and I loved being able to put my head on his shoulder like I did.

He’s so different from all those jerks I unfortunately dated before I met him. Remind me to thank the Dragon Lady; if it weren’t for her I never would have met Adam!

Adam… he’s in love with me. I can see it, feel it. But… what about my self? Am I already in love with him as he is with me?


Evie ignored the question for now and turned onto her side on the bed and grabbed her cell phone. She opened the file manager and looked through the pictures she had taken with him. She did not realize she had a smile on her face as she did so. Some part of her again felt like a nineteen year old; but hey, what the hell, I’ll cling on to the best parts of youth for as long as I can, she thought. She browsed through the 100-plus pictures and remembered everything about what happened in them.

For instance, there was one which showed Adam frowning, his eyes closed and his face twisted; that was when he had put too much wasabi in his soy sauce dip when they went for sushi. Another showed the two of them smiling into the camera with tired and sweaty faces; that was when Adam had invited her to play futsal with his friends. Evie browsed through more pictures when a text message came in from Adam.

“I had a great day ;D”

Evie smiled. She quickly replied.

“Me too. But why was yours great? :P”

A minute later:

“Lets just say it involved the sun and a very pretty girl in a red tank top who was too afraid to swim further than I did. ;)”

Like a little girl, Evie hugged the phone to her chest and felt her cheeks flush; she shook her feet in the air and squeezed her eyes, all while a huge grin was carved on her lips. She tapped the keys on her phone.

“Really? Mine was great because of this guy who happens to be the sweetest. Maybe because he also drives a black sports car? :P”

Buzz. “I bet he’s very good looking too ;D”

Tip-tap. “Ok la, not bad, kinda cute, a bit annoying”

Buzz. “ ;( “

Tip-tap. “Aww, just kidding. He is good looking ;)”

Buzz. “Fell for the Guilt-trip? :P”

Tip-tap. “No! I was being honest :) “

And then the replies stopped for a moment, to Evie’s mild disappointment. She put the phone aside and tried to read her book again. After an hour or so she fell asleep, the book open on her chest, the bedroom light still on. She slept for a few hours, and only woke up when she heard her phone ringing the intro riff to ‘We Are One Tonight’. She glanced at the time and saw it was five past eleven. She pressed the ‘answer’ key.

“Hey…” she said, a bit groggily.

“Oh you’re asleep? I'm sorry.” It was Adam. Evie squeezed her eyes and stretched her body.

“It’s okay, hi, what’s up?”

“Nothing. Just thought I’d call you.”

Evie smiled. “Do you miss me already? Kangen yea?”

A snicker over the line. “Yes, actually. Kangen. I did miss you.”

They were both quiet for a while, letting that sentence sink in. Evie hugged her bolster.

“I missed you too…” she said. Then their conversation began to flow more openly. Evie noted Adam was still a bit careful in the way he said things. She, too, was still trying to figure out what was happening between them at the moment. She sensed transcendence; there was a current of change in the rivers of her emotions, a current she felt like diving into and letting it drift her away to the shores of Paradise. But Evie wanted to play it slow.

Most of all, she wanted to be sure. Some part of her wanted him to say the words first. The L word. Evie thought that only then would she be able to ascertain how she really, truly felt about Adam. The truth was she already knew how he felt; but she wanted to hear it from him anyway. She wanted this to happen ‘officially’. At the same time she did not want to hear it over the phone, so she chose her words very carefully as they talked, always skimming the surface but never really plunging in.

They ended up talking for about an hour or so. When they said their goodbyes, it was with a simple and sweet “Goodnight and sweet dreams. I’ll see you.”

Evie plugged her phone into the charger seeing as it was nearly drained. She got up to switch off the lights. Tomorrow was Monday after all, a working day. She slipped into her blankets but just before she went to bed she grabbed her phone again and changed her wallpaper to a picture of her and Adam together. She smiled and lay down, and sleep came fast. She dreamed of Adam that night.

The next morning was bright and beautiful. She woke up with a smile on her lips and a song in her heart when she saw a text message in her inbox:

“Morning Honey, I miss you already :x – Adam The Hensem One”

Evie was exceptionally cheerful as she drove to work; she bought packets of nasi lemak and gave them to her officemates, and she sat down at a coffee table eating and gossiping with her receptionist, Alya. Her workload was coincidentally light, so she breezed her way through most of it. During lunchtime she and Alya went for a small shopping spree, and again bought goodies for the office to share. Even her boss remarked how bright and chirpy she was on that day.

At five o’clock she called Adam and they agreed to meet each other that night, at, oh, say KLCC and watch a movie? Then she packed her stuff and said bye-byes to her colleagues and went down to drive home, freshen up and get ready for another date. As she descended in the elevator she could not help but smile, and some of the people in the lift gave her an odd look. But she did not care if she looked like the Cheshire cat. She reached the building lobby and was searching for her car keys when a man suddenly stepped up beside her. She gave a small yelp of surprise.

Evie looked at the man; he was thin and gaunt, the cheeks sallow and the whites of his eyes had thin streaks of red. His clothes hung loose on his body. The subtle scent of Calvin Klein Be encircled him. Evie knew him. How could she not?

“Rafar,” Evie said.

“Hi Evie,” Rafar smiled weakly, the smile never reaching his eyes. “Can we please talk?”




(to be continued, of course)



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5 comments:

Rasyiqah Khairul Anuar said...

rafar sibuk! u had ur chance rafar...it's just too late now.

Mardhiah said...

its too short for my liking pulak :| It's a giddy, giggly, girly episode, but the ending mcm too abrupt.

the two dudes are definitely you broken down in two halves :)

pinkbanana_ said...

i agree with rasyiqah

geram sikit dgn rafar

Muhammad Edwan Shaharir said...

rasyiqah: :)

mardhiah: purposely bubbly, purposely abrupt

dalila: :P

nuraainaa said...

har har. return of the rafar.

i like.

:X