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Picture a situation of a bunch of males sitting at a table one night, presumably at a mamak joint in Kelana Jaya, or maybe at a Thai food restaurant in Bandar Baru Bangi, with half-empty glasses of cheap beverages on their table. There were about ten of them and from the outside it looked like they were the closest of friends. They were blissfully talking about life in general, about work, about money and more specifically about the luxury of leading a single life.

Then the idjit began his sermon, “I had the greatest love of all. On my first date with this particular girl, we went to the movies, a midnight show. The girl bought the tickets. And as I was waiting for her that eventful night in front of the movie theatre, in my red t-shirt, blue jeans and black sweater, there she was, adorably walking towards me, serendipitously in a red t-shirt, blue jeans and a black sweater. And not to mention, she bought us couples seats!”

*****

The idjit paused and had a sip of his teh o’ais limau. Two of his friends stood up, got married and never to return to the table ever again. The rest were unimpressed with the story told by the idjit, as if they’ve heard it a thousand times before.

But the idjit just had to continue. “One time, the same particular girl and I went for a night stroll at Dataran Merdeka. We were walking hand in hand, with smiles on our faces. Then we noticed Baggio from the famous early 90s glam rock band Damasutra with his family; wife and two kids, sitting on a bench at one corner of the dataran, having quality time together. In a spontaneous manner, we approached the cheerful family and sang, “Umpama mimpi, dalam mimpi…” Baggio looked up at us and smiled rather than blush, admitting our chorus as a sign acknowledgement rather than a mockery. Which was true because that night, our spontaneous gesture was innocently cute.”

*****

Three persons walked away from the table. Two decided to get married and the other one decided to be gay. All three vowed never to return to the table ever again. The idjit smiled. He ordered a glass of kopi o‘ais kosong, his third beverage that night. One of the guys, Ariff, decided to take this opportunity to start another topic but the idjit was sly. He cut Ariff even before Ariff can utter his first word.

“One evening after work, the same particular girl asked me out to dinner. She was buying, she said. She picked Bangsar’s Madam Kwan’s. Her reason was simply because it was near my office at that time, which was at Menara TM. Without any thoughts on my mind, I just drove to Bangsar straight from the office. We met at Bangsar Village II and walked together to Madam Kwan’s. The ground floor eating area was packed with patrons. I can see a pole sign at the foot of the staircase saying that the smoking area upstairs was closed. This particular girl walked straight to the staircase heading upstairs. I stopped her and said, “The area is closed. I don’t mind waiting and not smoking tonight.” She replied, “It’s ok, just follow me.” The eating area upstairs was dim and empty. Not a soul. Then I saw one table in the middle of the area which on top of it was a lit candle and bud vase with a stem of red rose inside. We had a romantic dinner, just the two of us and of course the designated waiter!”

*****

The idjit slurped his kopi o’ais kosong. Two more guys left and decided to get married. They too, never returned to the table, ever. Now, there were just the idjit, Ariff and another guy, Azim left at the table. The latter two looked at each other, signaling each other on what to do next. Should they bear the misery of listening to the idjit’s flowery but egotistical stories or should they too leave and never to return? Azim gave up and left the table. He married his scuba diving trips. But unlike the others, Azim may eventually one day come back to the table.

Ariff knew he had to do something. He needed to act fast. Alas, before he could do anything, the idjit continued his story.

“One evening, when I was just finishing my weekly rugby training at ILSAS field, this same particular girl texted me, asking to meet up. She wanted to sit down and talk to me. So I took a quick shower and drove to Plaza Damas, where she was at that time just finishing her body massage session at one of the spas. We then sat at an outdoor table at a restaurant, ordered drinks and started the typical small talks. Nothing particularly important was being said, only insignificant discourse. At 11:00PM that night, at that particular table and at that particular restaurant, we went silent. Not a word, at all. Fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, nothing. We just exchanged smiles and glimpses at each other. Thirty minutes, an hour, still nothing. At 12:00AM the restaurant closed its shutters. The rest of the tables at the outdoor section were already folded and stored inside the restaurant. A restaurant worker approached our table and said, “Abang ngan akak nak lepak sini sampai pagi pun boleh. Kitorang tinggalkan table nih untuk abang ngan akak.” There were only us, still in silence.”

“At approximately 1:30AM, she broke the silence and said, “Jom balik” after two and a half hours of meaningful silence.”

“The next morning, I woke up with a text on my mobile phone. It was from the same particular girl. It read, “Thank you for the best evening of my life.”

*****

The idjit was widely smiling upon completing his stories, uncaringly proud of the real-life tales he had just told. His smile was so wide that his eyes were narrowly slit, making him unable to see that he was eventually alone at the table. He then realized that the only things left were twenty five empty glasses, several crumpled cigarette boxes and a piece of note left by Ariff.

The note wrote, “You’re obviously just remembering the good memories of your past. You failed to realize that you are still single. That girl is long gone now, thanks to the bad memories that you ommitted from your mind. What can your stories do for you now? Move on. I don’t need to hear anymore of the stories every time we meet ever again. Idiot!”

The idjit was dumbfounded, like an absolute idiot that he really was.

*****

“Semua sekali RM56.70”, a restaurant worker told the idjit in the end.