01 October 2013
He sipped his cup of tea occasionally, while I already dried off the plastic cup, slurping every last drop of the milked tea.
I was half listening, half dreaming throughout our conversation. Only responding necessarily on parts I could understand to give out the illusion that I was still engaged in the talk. Lord knows how many times I swore I’m just going to leave him on the table. Or better yet, yawn periodically to demonstrate my disinterest in talking, or rather, listening to him.
But I love how his presence this evening changed a handful of things.
First, of so many people, he provided me with fresh juicy gossips. Gossips too obscure for people to pick up, yet just too easy for him, thanks to his connections.
And uh, if only he could learn how to tell those gossips in more interesting ways rather than stutter his way through, with all those awkward pauses and connecting words – err, apa nama, alaa, yang tu, hmmm, kau tau kan?
Secondly, he gave me a pleasant surprise. He led me to meet (sort of) an old, good friend of mine. And he did that in a short span of time – 2 hours tops. So what’s there to not like about him? He did well than 99% of my friends (though quite sure my friends are smaller than 99 in number).
To be fair to him, he has great ideas. He can talk on so many things; connecting ideas and thoughts. He can mumble on environmentalism, engineering, social science and God-knows-what, and conclude his multi field ideas in one.
He is one of those people that you simply could not define a relationship with; I’m still not sure either he was talking to me as a father, a friend, a course mate or a mentor. Because quite frankly, our talk has no destinations; particularly because he was piloting; and he is not the best person to conduct a discussion. So I was not sure about his role in our conversation. He is also one of those people that you know nothing about, except that he was in your class for a subject.
You know that he is not young from his appearances, but you don’t even know his full name or either he’s married or not, for that matter. And you certainly would not ask because you know the answer that he would produce would more likely confuse you than enlighten you. But, despite all these obscureness and oblivion, he would still looked excited when he saw you from across the hall like you and him are on some kind of bromance term.
He’s that clumsy person you know as a kid that would lost his watch during a camping, one that would be the first to fall and cry while playing football, one that would never iron his shirts to classes. Proof of this prolonging disorder – he was running through his porch bag, looking for some small change to pass to the cashier. And while he was doing that, many of the notes in the bag flown and landed on the ground, and being a good companion as I am, I collected them duly and passed it to him with a clearly calm face – most probably resulted from the boredom and exhaustion of having to entertain him.
“Lama tak jumpa kau! Banyak nak cerita!” he said to me, quite a few times already, which acts like some kind of reminder that I should perhaps best avoid him in the near future.
He was really a nice person. But all I was looking at was all his incompetencies, his shortcomings and his faults. I know I am a bad person.
So the evening was spent listening to his rantings and ramblings, and the good side of me tells me that I should keep him entertained this time, after knowing that he sent me a message few months prior because he was depressed with his studies. I mean, of all people - me. That tells me a lot about his loneliness.
A man of his age, I presume, would always have difficulties competing with the young shoots. Not his fault really.
Then comes the hard part. “Bila nak habis belajar?” he asked.
Really, I just wanted him to stop talking.