Our steps were hasty and purposeful; it was 6 on a Sunday evening with the temperature nearing zero. We gingerly stepped into the building, lest we fell flat on our arses due to the slick and wet floor, closing the door behind us, ultimately ceasing the cold air from enveloping our shivering forms.
“Where is the robe measuring thingy gonna be held?” I stuttered out, my teeth chattering.
She shrugged. “Let’s just wait here. That was the order.”
We sat in companiable silence. She was probably thinking about what to cook for dinner. I myself couldn’t wait to get the graduation robe tailoring part over with; I still needed to brave the dark in order to catch a ride back home. The timing didn’t exactly thrill me. I’d take bungee jumping than walking in dark alleys any day.
“Hey, I finally understand why you had a crush on him,” she spoke suddenly.
I raised an eyebrow. “On whom?” Not on the bases that I had countless genuine crushes, just that it had been a long time since I had been so hung up on anybody.
“Aah…” I tilted my head to the side. I haven’t heard of him for a while now. “Why the sudden epiphany?”
She offered a small smile. “I saw him this afternoon.”
I smiled. Lucky her. “And?”
“And he’s good looking, that I agree. And friendly, goofy in his own way, charming too,” she listed all the qualities that I had known all along. “It helps that he’s very athletic too.” Insert a grin here.
I laughed. “Are we forming a fan club now?”
We sat back, thoughts filled our heads.
“Why haven’t you told him?” This time I didn’t bother to prod her to complete her question. She knows me well enough, I’d like to think I can finish her thoughts too, from time to time.
“Hmm. Let me put it in a simple way.” My head started to sprout metaphors that wouldn’t come out awfully clichéd. I grabbed one and laid it out. “He likes McDonalds for breakfast. I like nasik lemak.”
“How sure are you that he doesn’t like nasik lemak?” she argued, spot on.
“Well, maybe he does, but not as much as he likes McDonalds.”
“Have you made certain of his preferences?”
I shrugged. That I couldn’t certify. “It sure does look that way.” I pondered on this for awhile, before adding, “I don’t even think he knows the existence of nasik lemak, if you know what I mean.”
She laughed. “You’re impossible! Of course he knows of nasik lemak! And nasik lemak is great,” she replied, fully comprehending my double entendre.
A sweet gesture. But of course, coming from a friend whose job description entails being a personal cheerleader to you does so not count. “I’m sure you think nasik lemak is great, but her greatness seems to make no effect on him,” I retorted good-naturedly.
“You should, you know.”
I sighed. I wonder where this incessant probing energy was coming from. “It’s been four years.”
“All the more reasons to tell him. It is our final year here, you know.”
Oh, I need not a reminder.
“What good would it bring? I’d like to graduate with minimal embarrassment, please.”
“At least with that out of your system you can go on with your life without regrets,” she clarified, I swear there was some sparkles in her eyes, making her look all wise and knowing.
I rolled my eyes. “I am going on with my life just fine now, thank you very much.”
“Have you ever thought of the what-ifs?” she threw another winner my way.
But I was prepared. I had gotten this question only a million other times from other concerned girlfriends. “I don’t exactly lay my head down at night and start fantasizing on the what-ifs.”
“I know. You just skip right ahead to snoring,” she quipped, earning a jab from me. You fell asleep with a blocked nose one night and everybody would start comparing you to steam trumpets.
I pursed my lips and exhaled noisily. I really shouldn’t be doing that. It added another octave to my already staggering unattractiveness. “Maybe on our final day here.” The words seemed law to my own ear.
Shock painted on her face. “For real?”
“If I don’t chicken out.”
“I’ll make sure you won’t.”
“Dun dun dunnn.” I put on my best scared face.
“You’ll see. Nasik lemak shall prevail.”
I finally laughed.
Salam Tahun Baru 1430. An awful way to welcome the new year with the bombings in the Gaza Strip. I wonder how Tzipi Livni goes to sleep at night. Please spare a moment to pray for our sisters and brothers over there.
И в дожде, я услышу голос твой
Дрогнет сердце и зазвучит мечтой
В которой – ты со мной ~ Alibi, Melodiya Dojhdiya