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It was my second time to his house that night. I was trying hard to maintain my cool, at the same time trying to forget the events of my first visit. As we were comfortably seated in his living room, I slipped a few glances at his staircase, hoping to envision the very reason I was there in the first place. Nate has been silent for the past 15 minutes. Then he started his story, in a slightly louder than a whisper tone.

“I was married for 22 years. Had a lovely wife, a beautiful daughter and a life where ordinary people categorize as ordinarily normal. Then my wife died of an illness. I was in sorrow, well, I should be, but unfortunately not for long. In just over a month I felt awkwardly liberated, again. Funny thing was, the men from the Women’s Club, my old intimate ‘friends’, immediately contacted me after they heard the news. For a good 22 years I’ve left the club, never expecting to return to the memories of my hey-days in Kuala Kangsar. And now, I once again became a slave to my unruly hedonistic past.”

I listened carefully in silence to what he had to say. Trying to understand his sentences. My eyes were still glancing at his staircase as he continued, still in his soft tone.

“Then I met you. A fresh meat that I was interested in. Young male with bulky figure. I understand that our first encounter at this very place ended in a ruckus. Got a permanent scar from last time. For that I’m terribly sorry. I thought that you were the bending kind. Well, I assumed too much. Now, since I’ve cleared the air between us, you can proceed with whatever the reason you came here for. She’s upstairs in the second room on your right. But remember, all this is just between you and me.”

I stood up and started walking slowly to the staircase. Like an amateur magician I conjured up a stem of rose from my sleeve. Holding it steady, I climbed up each steps carefully, leaving Nate all alone, in his living room downstairs.

“Stop all these sentimental crap! Be realistic for once!” he shouted at me. Cold night wind began to rustle the dry leaves, scattering them on the darken pathway ahead. From the corner of my eyes, I can see the frown on his face, a serious frown. I looked back down, continued walking forward.

“Forget about her! You and your pointless loyalty! Do you even remember that you have a responsibility to your own self? Or are you just weak?!” he continued his intimidations.

“You don’t have to insult me” I replied after a long stance of silence.

The pathway was getting darker and darker following each step we took. Until it was pitch black.

“Well, when a person won’t follow good advice and won’t face the facts, then maybe he should be insulted!”

I stopped. I held up my hands trying to locate his voice, helplessly. After a while I realized that I was all alone.

In the dark.