Saturday, 26 February 2011

First Anniversary (Part II) - Watershed

The sound of the closing door reverberated through the room. Every thing was familiar but it now felt emptier than when I left a month ago. All by myself now, I no longer had to hold them back. The welled up tears broke loose.

I was missing her already. What's left with me now was the memories of the things we did together in the previous month. Those memories that I had diligently etched to my mind so that I could relive them at times like this. But instead of relieving me of my longingness for her, I grew even more dispirited. Despite the feelings that we had for each other, there was this psychological watershed we were not ready to cross. The fact that I was still going to be in Japan for the next few years shut the door on any prospects we could have.

I wanted to give her a call, to listen to her voice once more but wasn't sure how she would react. Would she be delighted to hear from me? Or would she prefer to relegate me to the recess of her memory? But I needed to talk to her. I picked up the phone and dialled her number. With faltering voice, I told her that I'd safely reached home.

"And... I miss you," I added. I thought I sounded like a pathetic cry baby. But instead of freaking out, she was being understanding enough to console me. That night, we talked for more than half an hour. At the end of the phone call, she reminded me that I could call her any time I felt lonely. Sure enough, I called her again the next day, and the day after that. Before long, calling her before bed became a daily ritual. We talked about school, work, what we ate for dinner, things that happened in our childhood... Sometimes, we talk for an hour, sometimes, more. No worries about phone bills, thanks to Skype. (For the price of a bowl of ramen every month, I could call her all I wanted.) So if there were any persons to thank during our wedding speech, Skype would be on top of our list.

We found ourselves making plans for my next trip home during the spring holidays. We were counting the days. 4 months weren't exactly long but just like any kid could tell you, counting down to the school holidays isn't going to make it come any faster. Yet, how could our excitement abate when I was to go with her on a family trip the very next day after I touched down in Penang?

26-27 February 2010
Waiting at the bus stop, I stared blankly at my iPhone. Needless to say, I was nervous. After all, this was the first time I was going to meet not just her parents but her relatives too. Besides, we weren't officially seeing each other yet. She would later admit that she was nervous too. What if it didn't go well? What if I wasn't the kind of person she anticipated? However, the fact that we were making the trip together proved that deep within our hearts, we knew that we wanted to be with each other and that we wanted this to work out.

Soon, a cab swerved into the side lane and came to a stop. She came out of the cab with her parents. I couldn't be more glad to see her. I felt the sudden urge to rush forward and hold her hands and tell her how much I missed her. Reminding myself that it would be churlish to do so in front of her parents during the first meeting, I saved it for another time.

She introduced me to her parents. Luckily they were both friendly folks so I was totally at ease with them. Otherwise, I wouldn't dare imagine how things would turn out. I believe it is their encouragement that lent us support to our fledgling relationship. In fact, I'm very thankful that they treat me like part of the family.

That night, we sneaked out from the room before midnight and loitered around. We soon found a spot where we could look down at some stage performance five or six floors below. Leaning against the railing, I wrapped my arms around her shoulder. This was the first time we got so close. My heart threatened to tear out of the chest. I whispered into her left ear what I couldn't say aloud in the morning. That I missed her very much.

The song playing downstairs faded into the background like cream melting into a cup of coffee. We were singing our own serenade.

0 persons flung their shoes: