Friday, July 15, 2005

Tying up loose ends

I hate ending friendships. You wake up in the morning feeling so perturbed. It's like having enemies without the vengeance. So I'm thankful that this year so far has seen two reconciliations. Both were with guys whose lives I screwed up at some point in time because of the grass stuffed between my ears. I've learnt my lessons, and would like to think that I have grown out of my poor-little-confused-girl phase.


I just had lunch with a guy I haven't seen in 2 years.

Z and I used to hang out a lot due to a similar taste, or rather distaste, in humour. Tearing down the bomb shelter hallways of our underground college (as in running, not vandalising) and causing a general ruckus wherever we went, people avoided us completely for their own welfare. We made plans to take over the world with our own radio show and tabasco french fry franchise. And we both shared a soft spot for assam laksa.

The addiction to our harmonizing fun lead to us questioning the platonic nature of our relationship, and the potential of something more began to mushroom. Z was aware that another guy on the opposite side of the personality spectrum was pursuing me, whom I was also giving signs of a serious pair-up. S was possessive and insecure but I felt I understood him and wanted to take care of him. I didn't dare tell him about my dilemma for fear of him going ballistic.

He did eventually find out by himself. He went ballistic.

I was forced to make a decision. After a lot of deliberation, I chose S over Z. S was intent on "f***ing killing" Z if he ever saw his face in college. Me, feeling that I understood him and wanting to take care of him, couldn't do much about it. As much as I still wanted to keep things neutral between Z and I, I was also fearful for what my new boyfriend would have done to me, or more importantly, Z, had he seen us exchanging casual words at the college stairs. My friendship with Z, and whatever grew from it, came to an abrupt end. From then on we never talked; he then went to Oz to finish his degree.

My relationship with S had its ups and downs, and all the while I was feeling horrible for abandoning Z without ever knowing how he coped with it. A few months after the break-up, I picked up the courage to send Z a profusely apologetic message on Friendster, that I missed how things were between us. He responded quite nonchalantly, that he gave up trying to figure things out a long time ago. But he was looking forward to my proposal of catching up over our favorite meal when he got back to Malaysia.

Yesterday I got an MSN messenger contact request. I had no idea who it was until I took a closer look at Z's ambiguous display picture. He told me that he had already graduated and been back in town since January. I couldn't wait to see him again.

So we met up. He said I haven't changed much at all, and thankfully, he hasn't either. We bitched about how old we were getting, revived our dreams of taking over a frequency on the airwaves and laughed like the nutcases we are... all over steaming, satisfying bowls of assam laksa.

Be Right Here

He and I were theatre acquaintances who ended up being college classmates. We hung out regularly despite our separate cliques, and out of respect grew admiration. But there was always this boldness about him that made me feel inferior. And the people he hung out with were relatively eloquent and opinionated. To make up for it, I unwittingly created this new, too-cool-to-care ego around him, whenever we were with college friends. He noticed the difference and told me that it hurt him a lot. He didn't understand it and neither did I. Every time I went home beating myself up for it and making a note to treat him better, the fake pride would inevitably surface again the next day.

Nine months later, out of mental fatigue and frustration, he decided to cut all ties with me. I realized my mistake, but it was too late for reconciliation. He ousted me out of his life and my attempts to talk to him bounced off a cold shoulder. I cried to a few friends, whom all told me that he only did what was the most rational thing to do.

Another two years passed, and after a chance encounter at a shopping mall, we scheduled a day to catch up, during which the topic of our relationship briefly surfaced. We agreed that the odds were always against us, and that we were never meant to be together. By this time, considering the guilt trip that had been plaguing me since college days, I suspected that my cockiness had dissolved. I was gravely wrong; when I saw him in a club a few months later, I froze, whizzed around and deprived myself of the opportunity to greet him. I longingly watched him exit the club with his friends as the night came to an official close. I gave him a text confessing to him that I saw him that night and didn't do anything about it. That familiar feeling of exasperation led him to resume his shroud of apathy.

For years, I had been wondering how and why I had gone wrong. There was really no excuse to act this way. After discussing with a friend about my issue, he helped me realize an obvious denial: that I really loved this guy. Something so straightforward was to me a mindblowing epiphany. The transformation of regret to remorse killed me for a few weeks. Why only now did this dawn on me? And long after things have happened and people have moved on, should I still tell him? Would it matter? Would he care? After much fretting and determination to make it known, I gradually melted into this mellow stage of letting things pass. I gave up all hope of starting our friendship anew... But after acquiring this new piece of knowledge and subscribing to a new perspective, I now kept in mind that if I ever bump into him again, I will give him a seriously big hug. No more hiding. Only now did self-inflicted emotional damage sound like a pretty retarded concept.

Months creeped into another year and being your average soul haunted by lack of closure, I continued pouring out the energy through my pen. Only this time, the words flowed out a lot more easily. I was on a roll. At the same time, I kept myself happy by meeting new people and catching up with old friends.

One fateful Friday night a few months ago, my buds and I decided to venture out of our clubbing comfort zone, migrating down the road to another popular bar. It was disco anthems galore and I was having a ball. As the second last song, the summer grooves of "Right Here" sweetened the thick air. On the dancefloor, my eyes were keeping a look-out for a friend whom had gone to the restroom when I saw the back of someone else's head bobbing out towards the exit.

My heart made an audible pop.

It was him.

Without the aid of cognitive activity I excused myself from my friends and waded through the sea of party-goers, trying to catch a glimpse of him again. I squeezed myself out between the last people sandwich in front of me and I saw his back facing me on the right. I grabbed his shoulder. He spun around and gave me a look of befuddlement for two extremely long seconds. I was waiting for the obligatory "Oh, Hi. What's up?" But he instead sprung back, gave a hard blink, shook his face into the widest grin and shouted a deafening "HI!"

Whatever defenses I would have usually built in front of him was completely nonexistent. He asked me how I was and instead of replying, I rushed into his arms and held him tight. He did the same. And the song ringing in our ears stepped up to an entirely new level of significance.

He was saying everything I thought he had buried ages ago. He also seemed to notice the demise of my guarded exterior. For the first time ever, my words effortlessly oozed with mutual warmth. In that unassuming corner of the bar, a moment was thoroughly devoured. It felt very surreal - compliments to the cigarette smoke providing that ethereal effect - and most of the time I was just guffawing in disbelief.

So here I am in my office on a so-so day, with the radio playing "Right Here" Human Nature remix by SWV. Being reminded of what a sucker I am for praising the notion of good things happening when you least expect them to. Reminding myself of how all my poems now sound like Care Bear rhymes.

Liberation is a cool feeling indeed.


Anonymous Az Samad said...


10:36 AM  
Blogger Ying said...

If only I have a chance to reconcile with estranged friends or mend damaged friendships, I really would. Glad it went well for you...:)

10:38 PM  
Blogger burn666 said...

Hrmmm... i guess life really is just an adventure in forgiveness after all...

PS: Sorry to hear about the dengue - nasty!

12:45 PM  
Anonymous ah pink said...

Aw. A happy ending! : )

4:27 PM  
Blogger midnite lily said...

^__^ hey, i know Z rite?

4:14 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

like, totally.

thanks, all the best to you too.

adventure in forgiveness... i like that choice of words. no worries about the dengue, just gotta be more wary.

ah pink,
*sniffle* :)

midnite lily,
that's not the Z, we were close but nothing happened between us :P
we still keep in touch every now and then.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Albert said...

Aiyaaa I had cocky pretense what, you know. Would it be too incriminating to say that he was in an ad with you?

10:50 AM  
Blogger Amakanchi said...

Good that everything went well with you and your friends. Bad to loose a friend just becoz of some misunderstanding. Happened to many times in my life..:(. Wonder if I ever see them again...

7:41 PM  

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