…and hopefully the final part.
Warning: Very lengthy wall of text.
I’ve decided, no matter what the outcome is, I’m gonna write it.
After finishing off the last crumb on my plate, I left the table and went to join the rest of the families in the living room.
“Have you tried this chocolate chip? Oh you’ve bought it, I forgot”, said the fairy princess. “What about this one?” she asked again while handing me a jar of greenish coloured 2.5 inch cookies. I forgot the name. I was totally caught in the moment. “Oh, sure” said I. I took a small bite, a small bite which gave my taste buds a pleasant sensation of creamy, brittle-like, sweet, just nice home made cookie. Small pieces fell onto the carpet and I scrambled to pick it up. “That’s not how you eat it. You have to put the whole thing in your mouth”, she said. “Oh begitu”. I wasn’t aware of what I was saying.
When I wanted to put the cap of the jar back on, she intervened, “Nah, it’s ok, lemme do it”. Alright. “Try this mazola”. They were awesome, simply put. One was not enough, I took a few. While I was, munching the 3rd or 4th mazola, I looked at her, she was resting her chin on her arms on the coffee table and her eyes… They were sparkling.
Only few secs later that I realized that her gaze met mine. I would be the biggest liar if I said I didn’t feel anything.
I was not sure if this feeling was mutual. But on my side, it was as if the world stopped. I forgot that her mother was nearby. Her family was nearby. I forgot who I was, I forgot my place. Upon waking up from that brief reverie, I shifted my gaze.
Blank as before, I sat on the carpet and listened to the chatter of the family members. Suddenly, the princess’ sister said something about taking pictures of them. She gave the princess her blackberry, her bf’s and I think even the princess tried to use hers too. She called for me to help her. “Sure I’ll give you a hand”, said I. A trembling hand.
I hate that moment so much. Mind over matter didn’t work that time for my mind was disorganized. Didn’t feel like the mind of an engineer, more like that of a foolish boy who was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by what? God knows what.
“Does this camera have autofocus?” I asked. “Yes”, one of them answered. I couldn’t see it because my view was not properly interpreted. Like I said, my mind was disorganized. Everything was kinda blurry. As a result I had to take their pictures twice, for the first one was a complete disaster. The 2nd one was, half a disaster.
They sat again, chat again, and myself, looking like a fool again. I looked at my watch a couple of times. Then I decided, it was close to maghrib. Time to go. “Puan, thanks a lot for everything, I think it’s time for me to take my leave now”, said I. I repeated the same phrase to all of them. “Should I call you uncle or abang?” I asked En/Abang/Uncle Zainal. “Call me whatever you want”, he said whilst laughing. “Come here anytime yeah”, he said again when I released his handshake. I just answered with a nod.
“Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin, Terima kasih banyak ye” I repeated again whilst walking towards the door.
“Going back already? We barely get to know you!” said the princess’ sister’s boyfriend.
“I’m a nobody” my conscience answered. I just smiled in reply.
“Thanks for coming!” said the princess’ sister.
“Thanks for entertaining” I answered.
“Entertaining? Was it?” the sister asked again. Again smile was all I could do. Entertaining as in entertaining your guest. A complete stranger.
Then,there she was standing in front of me. I put on my shoes and looked into her innocent eyes. How could anything hurt someone as beautiful as her? Pretty images came into my mind. But one that stood out the most was the image of the sunbeam trying to penetrate through the forest canopy.
Again, I would be the biggest liar if I said I didn’t feel anything. I was smitten. A smitten kitten.
I couldn’t say anything else other than the lame o’s thanks, farewell and Selamat Hari Raya. Mesmerized. Hypnotized.
When I walked to my car, my knees felt weak. I felt like if I was somebody else I wouldn’t have to endure this bittersweet reality. Then my senses came back again, turning on the engine, I said to myself, “You’ve had a fair share of that beautiful feeling for a while, be grateful”. You wouldn’t know when would you feel it again. Be grateful.
As I drove further and further away, I realized that I even forgotten to take a picture of her, her family and all the beautiful things. I even forgot to give out the duit raya I’ve prepared for the kids for this holiday. That night, there was a bit of regret. But as days passed, I realized that the mental images that I brought with me were far more clear. They are connected to the heart and the mind. A strong feeling of the goodness in people, of the longing for love, and a respect for the people who took you in without prejudice, without any pre-judgement. And to find them in a family whom I’ve never met, I am glad that I am alive and still able to appreciate this. Thanks. A heartfelt thanks.
p/s: I’ve edited this post a more than five times already, not sure which live performance should I use as the closing video. Sigh, not cool at all. Reason? My Ego says don’t reveal your feeling too much.