Back in 2013, at the end of the year actually, when things were looking pretty good in my life of non-committal responsibility and kinship, a friend suddenly called me up one night and asked for a favour. The favour being; taking the phone number that he was about to give me, contact the girl at the end of the line, and see what happens. The girl was his high school friend. Well, it was a huge favour for me to oblige at that time. Not to mention the prospect of unnecessary misery that might occur along the way. But refusing to disappoint a friend, I went along with the favour, in a hesitant manner.

Before engaging in a tele-communication, I did a little research on this girl. It so happens that I knew this girl from work, not actually a colleague, but I remembered that she was the girl who modelled in the company’s campaign posters from a few years back. And the posters were posted at all branch offices of the company, all telecommunication exchange buildings of the company, all kiosks and customer service centres, all over the country. And yeah, from the posters, she was hot, sizzling hot. My excitement level increased a bit, but not too much because for those who didn’t know, I am actually a gentleman.

So, one night, I called her number. She picked up and briefly told me that she was at the mosque for Isya’ prayers. I apologized and told her that I’ll call her later. Much, much later, we had our first phone conversation, albeit in a slightly awkward manner. But after mentioning the name of our mutual friend, our comfort level increased and our conversation became smooth and affable.

It took us three phone calls (and numerous text messages) before we decided to meet up. So, one weekend, we had breakfast together. When I first saw her in person, I was immediately reminded of the namesake mentioned in the title of this entry. And to make it clear, it was more of the Noorkumalasari of recent times; with black wide shawl and black abaya. In a way, it was more compelling to me, to be honest. Nothing at all like the individual inside the campaign posters from previous years.

We greeted each other and had our breakfast. For the record, the eatery that we had breakfast at was a family joint and it was always 80 percent full during weekend mornings. Done eating, we started to converse in a more attentive manner. We returned several pleasant sentences, up until I asked her, “So, what’s your story?”

She bowed her head down and kept her silence for a few seconds. Then she started sobbing. I was flabbergasted, but managed to keep my cool. My eyes were checking out the patrons from the nearby tables, praying hard that they didn’t noticed. The sobbing became slightly louder as she looked at me and told me her story. In between her sentences, she would wipe her running eyeliner with the sleeves of her black abaya. After managing to stabilize my unnecessary insecurities at that particular moment, being the gentleman that I am, I comforted her with words of warmth and grace. And of course, provided her with tissue papers, courtesy of the eatery.

Her story was basically about her ruined relationship with a man. Full stop.

*****

Two weeks later, we had breakfast at the same place. Some may consider it to be our second date, but there’s no point in putting labels at something as simple as two individuals of the opposite sex having breakfast together. Anyway, we were at the same table, had the same food, the same drinks, her same styled black wide shawl & black abaya and similarly enjoying the company of the same persons. The sobbing was still there but much lesser than our previous encounter. As if like an assumed role and responsibility, being the gentleman that I am, again I comforted her with words of warmth and grace.

*****

We were having breakfast at a different eatery one fine weekend. This time her mother was present. Yes, her mother! She informed me that her mother was tagging along just moments before I left my house. It did freaked me out a little bit, but come to think about it, it can be a positive thing, plus I am a gentleman. Apparently, it did. It was awesomely positive. I had a great conversation with her mother. The old lady repeatedly saying that she liked me very much; the maturity, the intelligent jokes that I cracked and the way I presented myself. That was when it struck me. This may be it. The search for the ever eluding wandering soul of my life may be over after all.

Her sobbing stopped at our third meeting.

*****

One chirpy Thursday afternoon at the office, I received a text message from her. It read, “Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on for the past three months. I will be getting married at the end of this month. I wish you all the best for your future undertakings”.

FU

*What is this devilry??!!

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