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I should be doing a dozen other things now rather than writing. I need to finish that assignment in my accounting course that is due tomorrow. I should be listing down some last minute reminders and instructions for the staff before I take my train back to KL in the morning. I should be packing my stuff making sure I don’t leave any dirty clothes and undies inside the bathroom. I should be crafting a one night Kuala Lumpur itinerary for my sister who is arriving tomorrow. I should be researching for places of interest in Penang and other nearby areas as what Kwang Yi has been asking earlier in his call. I should be doing a million other things than this.

But yeah, I have to write my thoughts now before they escape me, before I lose time and forget.

———

Night of October 10.

S and I had an early dinner. We ate some sizzling stuff in a clay pot. The goal was to save as much time as we can so we can finish one last round of ALL the shops and boutiques in Aeon Mall here in Ipoh as we will be leaving this town in a few days time. That mall is so nice, btw.

Come 10 PM and both of us were spent (literally and figuratively). We headed back to the hotel. I told S I want to lock myself in my room and spend the last remaining hours of my 20s contemplating. But really, I was just not in the mood to have company. Suddenly.

We parted in the hallway. I to my room. She to hers. Then she stopped dead on her tracks and reared her head from the wall dividing us. “Leslee!!!”, she shouted.  “Don’t cry, ok?!”

“Of course I won’t! What were you thinking?!”, and then I laughed.

I was in my room. And out of nowhere loneliness crept in. It must be the quietness. Here I am about to welcome one of the milestones of my life and I am stuck in an unknown hotel in the middle of nowhere, away from my country, and far from family and friends to celebrate and party with. What was I thinking agreeing to come here on my day?!

Then my BB beeped. A message. Somebody is asking me to go on Skype.

We have been friends for more than 15 years and if there is a person who knows me inside out, I will bet on him. He always knows when I am not ok. His instincts are worse than a mom.

He was making some small talk though I know he just wants to greet me and make sure I am ok.

“So, will I change the password now?”, he said.

Why does he have to bring up that topic the night before my day?! I was trying to forget about it.

“Yes, please.” I said. I better have that email address contained so I won’t feel like checking it on my moments of weakness. I know I don’t make sense. Anyway.

Then I blurted, “I just feel like crying.”

And on cue the tears fell.

I hanged up on him fast. I don’t wanna talk to anybody. I want to be left alone.

I lay face  down on my bed hoping the pillow will stop the tears from flowing. It didn’t. I was sobbing. Sobbing with the shoulders heaving up and down. And the funny part is I don’t even know why. Still, sobbed I did. A lot of conversations were running through my head. The mind must be panicking or something. Tick tock tick tock and 20s no more. It was really making a scene.

Then I talked to God. Asked Him lots of questions. Questioned Him. Pleaded on Him. He never answered. Not a word. He just listened. Quietly. And I felt better.

Before the clock struck twelve I was back to my composed self. I checked myself in the mirror. I still look the same save for the red eyes and some pillow lines around the forehead and cheeks.

Then messages and greetings came pouring in. All the sadness, loneliness, questions, etc. faded. Why the hell did I even cry? I am loved.

I was swimming in all the positive wishes and love from people. I know some were just prompted by that notification from FB but what the fudge. A good wish is a good wish. I welcome them. I relish them. I love them.

Then I went to bed.

———

October 11.

My Mom’s overseas call woke me up. She always wakes me up on my birthday. That is comforting and sweet.

After hanging up on her and after a good 30 minutes of convincing the body that I am really awake, the first thought that came in was “What changed?”. I am 30. Gulp. There must be something.

I went to the full length mirror and inspected myself. I still look the same. Some small pimples popping out but yeah, still the same. Whew. It wasn’t so bad.

I showered and dressed up then went to the lobby to wait for our ride to somewhere. S appeared with her big smile and overflowing vibrant energy. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!”, she shouted with her goofy face.

Yay! That woke me up. And the hug too. Thank you.

We had breakfast and I had my staple Kway Teow and Teh Tarik. S got me a gift. Sneaky her asking me to try on clothes in the mall last night feigning she is too lazy to fit them without me knowing she was shopping for my gift. I feel loved. 🙂

After work, the hotel owner offered to bring us out for dinner. It didn’t hurt that he looks like Harry Potter according to S. He is also young and he is just so nice. I agreed. We agreed.  I have no plans anyway.

He brought us to this steak house where I will never bother to eat if I have to pay for it myself. Almost 100 Ringgit for a meal?! Are you crazy?! No way! I can buy 50 glasses of Teh tarik with that money! Even a 10 Ringgit meal is expensive for me.

The hotel owner appeared shy and reserved when we first met him but really he was so personable in that dinner. Conversation flowed naturally and we never noticed the time. That was interesting.

And, to put icing on the cake of my day, they got me a cake! I just came back from the bathroom when several resto staff swarmed around our table singing a Happy Birthday song and carrying a cake with a lighted candle in the middle. Yay!

Here I am in the middle of nowhere celebrating my birthday with people I have known barely for a year (the owner and his accountant was barely a week) and I am just so happy and blessed.

Recounting all the greetings and messages from all the lovely people in my life, I cannot ask for more. Disappointments come here and there but really, what is there to have a long face for? My life and my loved ones are true testaments of the goodness of God.

I am still not done thanking all the people who cared to send me their positive thoughts and wishes on my birthday. You made my day. You made me feel special. You took a small portion of your time to remember me and I truly appreciate that. Thank you for your good hearts.

As what one of the greetings that was sent to me said,

Happy Birthday Leslee. Hope you are spoilt rotten today and that you will have a blessed year ahead.

I really was spoilt rotten.

Thank you very much. 🙂

P.S.

And the good feeling didn’t stop on my day. Why does God send me such wonderful friends like him? I am just so touched. Thank you.

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