Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Home is in a different time-zone

I woke up today to a blistering cold winter morning. Put on a pair of leggings underneath my jeans and two layers of sweater on top. Then padded to the kitchen as slow as an 81-year-old with Arthritis to make myself a cup of green tea, cursing the cold floor under my feet. Then I put on my winter boots and got out of the house to get yesterday's mails and bills. It was shivering cold outside, but still somewhat lovely.

“Morning CD!”

That was 7A, off for his morning run round the block. Sometime I run with him, but I'm more of an evening runner than a morning runner. I smiled but didn't say anything. Too early and too cold to actually socialise right now. I made my way slowly to the mailbox, breathing in the fresh air, the peaceful silence of Queensland suburbia and think

“This is lovely. This is beautiful. I miss Klang.”

It came out of nowhere that dull ache. That throbbing homesickness. That burgeoning pain in your heart. Like a ninja trained in the best of dojos, it appeared out of thin air and strike you when you least expect it.

Ah Klang, Bandar diRaja tapi padahal macam celaka. I can say this cause that's my hometown but you have no right bitch, you have no right. Strange, I never actually was particularly proud about coming from Klang. I was never ashamed of it either. It just is. Kinda like the tumour on my brain. I never gave a moment's notice about it other than bitching about the amount of illegal immigrants that overflow it. I swear, Klang is like the unofficial capital of illegal Bangladeshi and Indonesians of Malaysia. Or about that one time when I almost get mugged by assholes on one of those rempits motorcycles and my first reaction after the fact was “Fucking Klang.” Cause let's face it, it's not the safest of towns now, is it? It used to be lovely I'm sure, but it is almost a ghetto now when you think about it.

Like Lucille Bluth, the deliciously racist matriarch on Arrested Development, I place all my blame on the illegal immigrants that overcrowd the place.

But here I am, seven hours away by distance and two hours ahead by time-zone waxing poetic about it. I miss the little things about it mostly.
I miss getting the weekly grocery list from mom before I head out to Jusco Bukit Raja to actually buy the groceries. I miss going to the movies in TGV on Wednesdays with Gypsy, cause that's the cheap day. I miss getting stuck in traffic on the way to Meru to buy nasi lemak at that little place by the road. I miss the pisang goreng guy in Andalas, who always give me extra pisang goreng just because. I miss going for evening runs at Taman Rakyat, and then running back the way I come from whenever I spot an old school teacher in the distance. I miss having chappati in Little India with dad on Sundays. I miss the A&W near Tesco and their God-awful and consistently undercooked waffles. I miss passing by my alma mater on the way home and feeling strangely envious of the girls who are still there, whose lives are simple and without complexities but for boys and TV shows. I miss driving to my friends' homes to pick them up without ever knowing their proper address. There's no need for that because everyone I know from Klang have lived in the same exact house they lived in their entire lives. Myself included.

It's weird being away. You start being nostalgic about things you never gave a fuck before, or in fact things you never knew you noticed before. In your head, everything is rosy. Everything is gorgeous. No, Little India don't have creepy men who openly stare at your boobs as your walk by. No, the traffic in Klang is not that bad, really! What illegal immigrants? I dunno what you're talking about. You guys, Klang is not that shitty! Honest!

Nostalgia works best when you edit the fuck out of all the shitty stuff and dress it up with pearls and Yves Saint Laurent.

Brisbane is not that far. It's not like I'm like my friends who are living in America or Europe. They have to take multiple planes, and sometimes days just to travel back home. I have a direct plane. In terms of distance, I'm better off. But when the aching in your heart comes, it doesn't matter how far or near you relatively are, the pain is still the same. That dull ache that hurts more than a broken femur and a root canal combined. But I cannot be sure. I never did broke a femur or had a root canal, all I ever had is this homesickness that would take days to go away.

But I'll be fine. It comes and goes this ache. Sometimes it'll last a day. Sometimes, a few. But it'll go away eventually to bid its time for another visit. In the meantime though, lets raise our teh tariks to Klang, the shitty-almost-ghetto town where I come from.

I miss you more than I can rationally comprehend and you will eternally be part of me.

***Apologies to my non-Malaysian readers. I do try to avoid the national colloquialism, but sometimes there's no avoiding it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Creepy" doesn't even cover it

So uh...I'm scared. I want to use the word “terrified” but that would be pushing it, so let's stick to scared.

I woke up at an unGodly hour today, despite going to sleep late. It was around 5ish in the morning and it was one of those bullshit thing and you can't go back to sleep. So cause I can't go back to sleep, I decided to do some room cleaning and then round 6.5ish decided to go do my laundry.

We have a public laundry here where I live. It's in this badly lighted room with a sensor light that flickers all the goddamn time in the name of “energy saving.” So it was round 6.15 ish this morning, it was really cold and windy...and dark. Winter is brutal this year. I was all alone in the laundry room, the light was flickering and I was measuring the detergent when he showed up. Who?

Creepy-ass Gym Dude.

For those who are new here, you can read all about the creepiness here and here. But the short version is this: This guy watched me at the gym when I go there to workout, hits on me and then followed me home. Like he fucken followed me home. I'm not even exaggerating. I have stopped going to the gym completely because of him. So yes, creepy doesn’t even begin to explain the extent of this fuckkery.

So again, it was 6.15 ish, it was dark, the light was flickering and there's just the two of us in the laundry room. I think he was coming back or either going for a morning run, walked by the laundry room and saw me. The thing was......he stopped and stood at the only entrance and exit of the room hence blocking it, leaned on the frame and stared at me. I looked up from measuring the detergent and he was there, leaning on the frame and stared at me like it was the most normal thing to do in the world.

I didn't know what to do. I stood there holding the detergent box and just looked at him. I mean, wtf, he didn't even say hi. Just stared at me. I was scared you guys. My whole body tensed, and all I could think of was “Fuck OMG there's no way out. There's no way out.”

Then I said “Hey, how are you?” Kinda wanted to get rid of the intense creepiness and maybe if I get him to talk he won't go all batshit insane on me.

He didn't replied. He just stood there. Staring.

I was overwhelmed with fear. I mean, it was really early in the morning, it was really quite. He stood there blocking the door and this guy, he's like 6'2? 6'3? He's not big, but lean and muscular. And I'm there all 5'1 and holding a detergent box and with no other exit. Physically, if anything were to happened, he has the advantage. I was, scared. I was thinking “If he does anything, motherfucking throw the detergent in his eyes then hit him in the balls! Hit him in the fucking balls!”

He stood there a little longer. Stared at me a little longer. Then he left.

I dunno how long it lasted. I dunno when he showed up. But fuck, fuck, that was so creepy. I mean, what the fuck right? I was so scared you guys. I mean, why would anyone do that?

I was shivering when he finally left. I don't think it was from winter alone. He didn't actually do anything but this is considered harassment right? I mean, why would anyone do that? Shit. I let him down easy, it wasn't I was a bitch or something. But that was scary. Holy shit you guys, that was so scary.

I'm still really shaken up from this.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I wash my hands off this bish

I have just submitted my final 4000 words essay for this sem on motherfucken war reporting. Fucken researched that bitch for 7 weeks. I have also been up, and stuck in front of the computer for the last 5 days working on it and now, I am done.

I'm going to sleep and not waking up till Friday.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


The following is a work of fiction. Though certain characters, locations, conversation and events that transpired within it might or might not have been based on real life, it is still a work of fiction and as such should only be read as a work of fiction.

**** **** ****

The maturest man I have ever been with was 35 years old. 35 is not really that old...but when you think about the fact that at 35, he was more than a decade older than I was...then is old.

The year was 2009. It could have been July or it could have been August....either way it was winter. I remember this distinctly as it was a rather cold winter that year. I remember stepping into the foyer of the bookstore and being thankful of the warmth it provided me. It was not just the heating in the store but more than anything, the warmth and the joy that I get just from looking at books. In no time had I managed to lose myself in the sea of books until an accented voice interrupted me in my hunt for the “perfect” book.

“Do you like crime fiction?
“Why do you ask that?
“You been thumbing that new Patterson trite for over 10 minutes, I was merely being curious...
“And I supposed you have fantastic taste in books?
“Superb. I could tell you all about them over coffee.”

He smiled cheekily.

Dark hair, brown eyes, tanned skin, and clever. Certainly clever, he's got that look to him. And judging by the accent...somewhere from the Latin region of the world.

“Smooth. Very smooth.
“I've been told that. I'm Rodrigo....and you are...bonita.
“That's not my name.
“But it certainly suits you.”

He was working me top to bottom. I knew this even then and the thing was, I was charmed. Very charmed. So charmed that I agreed to that coffee.

“You're not from this parts, are you?
“Oh no, I'm from Spain originally but I'm here for life now.
“What do you do?
“I'm a scientist.
“Scientist? That's a strange coincidence cause so am I. Rocket scientist.
“, no bonita, I am for real. I did Marine Science for my Bachelors, Biomedical for my Masters and then the government of this country offered me a full scholarship for PhD in Genetics if I agree to work for them later on. R and D. So yes, I am a scientist.
“I never met a scientist before...
“Now you have...How would you like to date one now too?”

The conversation went on. The chemistry was electric. We laughed and we talked and he wooed me the entire afternoon. When it finally came to an end, he reached over the table, squeezed my hand and asked if he could see me again. Tomorrow, perhaps? My heart skipped a beat. In fact, if I was honest it skipped a thousand beats and it was a miracle that I am still alive now. I knew then what I know now for all certainty, that I was in trouble. Historically speaking, whenever I follow my heart anywhere it gets me into trouble and this was no different.

We met up the next couple of days, we talked and we laughed. We stared into each other’s eyes and overtime we were holding each other's hands while crossing the street. We were holding hands even when we were sitting at the cafe. We were holding hands everywhere and anywhere. He took me to jazz clubs and ballets. We visited museum exhibitions and pretended to be more cultured than we actually are. He introduced me to his scientists friends as an equal, not as a university student completely clueless on where her life is going. I was...smitten. It was an exciting time, to be with a sophisticated older man who treated me with respect and care and overtime I feel like this could be more. Much more. But the L word has never crossed his lips and if I was being completely honest with myself, amidst all the glamour and fun we were having, he was holding back something from me.

I wanted to ask. I wanted to know. But I didn't want to pry. I told myself if he wanted to, he would have told me. I said this to myself as I stared at my reflection in the mirror. Consoling myself the only way I know how; by denial and more denial and half-concocted mistruths. “Everything is going so well, don't ruin this. Don't ruin this,” I told the increasingly apprehensive reflection in the mirror. “He cares about you, and that's enough” I said to the reflection, willing her to be satiated. But she wasn't.

And neither was I.

It was raining that day as he dropped me off at my place. He couldn't come in as he had somewhere else to go to. I smiled and what I wanted to say was....I couldn't remember what I wanted to say. But what I did say was “Why are you holding back from me?” It blurted out of nowhere. I did not plan it. All those time pleading to myself in the mirror did nothing, nothing at all.

The silence hung between us like an icicle waiting to fall and shatter into a million tiny pieces.

I didn't even have to explain what I meant because I knew that he knew what I meant. Rain was falling even harder outside. Dean Martin was crooning “Bye Bye Baby” softly out of the stereo. As if foreshadowing what's to come.

“Her name's Margaret.
“We were together for 5 years.
“She left me about 4 months before I met you.
“I asked her to marry me....but she wasn't ready. We fought a lot because of that. Then she left.

The icicle has fallen. And every and each of the tiny pieces managed to find its way into my heart.

“So I am.....your intermission?” Couldn't bring myself to say rebound, when clearly it was the more apt choice of word.

“It's not like that. I do care about's just that....
“Not nearly enough,” I finished the sentence for him.

It was his turn to be silent. I stared out of the window. Trees were swaying in the wind. The rain was not letting up. Somewhere in a distance, a cat hurriedly crossed the street. Things seemed to be going on as per normal outside when everything, entirely everything has changed in my world.

“I should get in, it's getting late” I said as I opened the door. I wanted to get away. Just get away.

He grabbed my hand as I was stepping out. Just like that very first time. 

“I didn't want it to be like this. I don't want it to end like this.
“But it just did.”

And with that I walked into the rain and to my place. He didn't come after me. My roommate was watching the telly in the living room when I came in.

“Hey, your mascara's running down your face” she said as she stuffed her face with pie.
“Well, hell of a rain outside.”

My mascara wasn't runny for the rain alone.

After that he called and we talked. We talked for a really long time....and I decided to end it. I knew that it hurt me more than it hurt him but I deserve better than to be the intermission. I am a head-liner and if I am not than there's really no point. I deserve better. This, I know.

This was of course 2 years ago. I've moved on since then. I thought so anyway.

Today I went to the bookstore where we met in 2 years ago. They were having a fire-sale. I used to avoid the store like a plague right after it happened, but not anymore. I was thumbing through a Sheldon book this time when

“Still reading trite I see” he said in that easy way of his, appearing next to me out of nowhere.

“Fancy bumping into you here” I said.
“Not really, cheap books!”

We smiled at each other when I noticed there was a woman watching us.

“Who's that? New girlfriend?
“Old actually.....that's Margaret.
“We kinda got back together.
“I could see that....ah well I should get going now.
“Wait, I want to tell you something......Margaret and I, we're getting married next month. I thought you should know.”

There's that icicle again, making an unwanted reappearance.

“Oh, congrats then. I'm happy for you. I kinda need to go now but congrats!”

I gave him a smile and exited the store as gracefully as possible. Leaving the pile of books I have carefully selected for the last hour behind me. It's been 2 years but my heart was still beating in my throat and my eyes were getting blurry. I could feel his eyes on me as I walked out. Drinking every inch of me for what could possibly be the very last time.

I would have turn back for one last look too but then....this time around there was no rain to mask the mascara streaking down my face.