Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gomenasai



The first time I saw her in the office was end of 2010. She was talking to my friend who was her colleague at that time. Whenever I walked passed my friend’s place, they were always engaged in work discussion. One day I briefly interrupted them to confirm lunch plan with my friend.  We were introduced. I gently acknowledged her and left them with their discussion. Since that day, I often walked by my friend’s place just to lookout for her. Many times, we exchanged glances but never say a word. I wanted to know her. When I came across her profile in facebook, I sent a request hoping that it might get us better acquainted. I was wrong, she did not respond.
 
Weeks after that, I saw her talking to another colleague during lunch. As I passed by, I jokingly said she is taking too long to accept my request. She was not amused; she had a serious look on her face instead. I tried to engage in their conversation but they were not interested. I left, feeling like an idiot. That day onwards, I stopped looking for her since she was not keen to befriend me. Unexpectedly in Jan 2011, she finally accepted my facebook request. Since then, I knew little about her.

Months later, I asked her to join Friday lunch with my mates. Most of the time she felt shy and a bit awkward. Every now and then, I engaged her in the group conversation to make her feel more comfortable and welcomed. After a few sessions, she was delighted to join. Seeing her adapting well with them makes me glad as I can spend lunchtime with her too.

A few times, we went go out for movies in the weekend. Once we had dinner and desserts afterwards as we felt bored after the movie. We both tried something new; she had her 1st Subway meal while I had my 1st taste of Tutti Frutti. We stayed until late night and talked about random thing, from work to friends, family and even personal. She made me feel like a good companion to talk about anything, including things that does not makes sense. That was the first time I felt so alive ever since I ended my relationship with Beautiful Liar in May 2011. Basically, that is all I need, a good friend having a great time together.

In the last few months of 2011, we seldom go out as she was busy with her wedding preparation. I was invited for her wedding in Feb 2012, really wanted to go but feel awkward to attend alone. I apologized to her for not attending her special day. I was worried she might not forgive me but was relieved that she totally understand me. After all, she was extremely happy being married as everything turned out the way she had planned.

A month after the wedding, I took her for lunch as it has been months since we last went out. While having lunch at Nando’s, she received a call from her colleague who was queueing outside with a mutual friend of ours whom she dislike very much. They were waiting for a table and wanted to know if they could join us. She was tempted not to let them but agreed after I convinced her that it would be selfish of us. Throughout the rest of our lunch, we did not talk much as we do not feel comfortable sharing conversation with them. We quickly finished our meal and excused ourselves. The moment we left the table, there was a sign of relief on her face. She was thinking of telling them off for interrupting lunch. I purposely made funny remarks about them just to calm her down. She eventually did and we both had a big laugh over the whole silly thing. As we walked outside the restaurant, she held my hand. At that moment, I felt a warm feeling surrounded me. However, her grip did not last long and I pretended not to notice. It certainly feels wonderful having someone to hold my hand, even just for a while. Perhaps it was her way of thanking me for a great time.

In April 2012, things suddenly changed. Our occasional IM and SMS have stopped. For some reason she preferred not to spend time with me. She did not directly imply but I sensed through her choice of words and attitude. Several times, I tried to approach her but she avoided talking to me. I was clueless on what happened. Maybe it was a stressful time to settle work issues, or perhaps her husband does not like me being around her anymore. Whatever the reason was, I decided to stay away from her. I even took longer route to get around the office, just for her sake. At times, it was very hard to be invisible to her no matter how much I tried. If that’s what she wanted then that’s exactly what I had to do.

A month after that, she was transferred to another group after program completion. Her cubicle is much further away. Still, there were times I accidentally bumped into her on the way to the pantry. We briefly nod without saying a word. We were like two colleagues in the same office who barely know each other. Many times, I wanted to ask what I did so wrong that made her kept a distance from me. I never had the chance, as she would walked in between cubicles whenever she saw me heading her way from far. It really hurt me deep inside not knowing what made her despise me that much.

I decided to let things as they were and hope someday we will be just like before. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Instead, she found new friends with lots of common interests. They clicked instantly and become closer than I ever was. At that moment, it made me realized that I'm not relevant to her anymore. Perhaps I never was from the beginning of our friendship. No matter what, I'm still glad to see her happy surrounded by wonderful friends. Situation makes people change and it is always for the best.

For the rest of 2012, we seldom talk except a few occasions where I surprised her with small gifts to show I still regard her as friend. Once I took her out for Subway lunch after seeing her looking stressful for days. It was the best lunch hours I had in months, reminded me of the times we used to have. However, there was no mention of what caused us to drift apart. We sort of made up with the past, no intention of looking back to where we were and what changed us. That was as good as it gets.

Almost a year later in 2013, situation slightly changed between us. Occasionally we exchanged IM, SMS and FB comments. We had casual chats in the pantry. I even called her up to make sure she was not in danger when part of 2nd Penang Bridge construction collapsed nearby office. She was surprised to receive my call and knowing how much I care about her. After so long, we finally went out for lunch, it was the last week before Christmas that year. We had a wonderful lunch at Habanero. It was only then I realized there would not be such outings anymore once she study abroad next year. What she had planned for that year has finally come true.

Earlier this year, things got even better between us. It was just like the times when we first become friends. When April comes, my heart starts racing, as it was her last month before leaving for Japan. I tend to find excuses to be around her.  I treat every moment as if they were my last. Her birthday that month gave me a reason to find her a perfect farewell gift. An earring is what I had in mind as she recently pierced her left ear to remind the passing of her dad. Diamond suits her best as it portrays a strong and tough character to help her get through life. I gave her one of them and kept the other, to remind our friendship. My only regret is not having the chance to put it on her. I have been wearing mine since the day I presented her with the gift. Not sure if she will ever be wearing hers.

A week before her flight, we went out for the very last time. We had a late breakfast, followed by a drive down town before headed to Queen Street. She wanted to buy Punjabi suit. Such a pleasure to take her around to find the best ones. Throughout the time I was accompanying her, I prayed for the search to never end. Whenever she puts on Punjabi suit, she reminds me of Bollywood Queen Kajol. Looking how excited she was trying all of them makes me feel like the King of Khan. Then we spend a few hours shopping in Prangin Mall before headed to New World Park for an early dinner. The place is unknown to her. I held her hand as we were walking around, just to make her feel safe as the surrounding is very quiet. She held onto my grip, I let it loose once we reached the bistro. After our 3-course meal, we went to Esplanade. We were sitting at the promenade when it started to rain. We stayed in the car instead and talked for hours about everything that crossed our mind that night. It was the longest conversation we shared. Even when my mum called, I do not feel like going home at all. Our last stop was Liverpool Nasi Lemak where we had a drink before ended the night. It was the best 12 hours with her, the longest and the closest we have ever been.

In the following week, I constantly feel uneasy as it was only days before her flight. The day she wore her pink Punjabi suit makes me wish that she didn’t have to go. She looks gorgeous with all the accessories from head to toe. Her last day in the office was the worst I felt. She went around the office to bid farewell to everyone. I was worried if I did not get to see her, as she was upset with me the day before. I went to check her cubicle but she was not there. I waited until the last few hours in late afternoon to find her again. Seeing her still upset with me, I totally lost words at that moment. Tears starts filling my eyes when she persistently asked me to say something since I was so eager to see her. A few times, I had to turn away as I do not want to upset her further. Seeing me in that emotional state, she finally said something to cheer me up. Words were exchanged, she said all that need to be said and I agreed to every single one of them. In not so many words, I said sorry for everything I wronged for all these years. Whatever that messed our friendship 2 years ago is still a mystery. I really wish things turned out differently. For the last time, we took a stroll along the corridor before she left with her friends for farewell party that night.

My last day with her was at the airport, as she wanted me to send her off. As promised, I waited for her that morning. She arrived with her family and friends. I did not talk much as I wanted her to spend the last few hours with them. When it was time for her to wait at departure hall, my heart beats fast. Seeing her shed tears with them made me feel like crying. I tried to be strong as it was finally time to let her go. I was the last one to bid farewell, she gave me a brief friendly hug as that's all I am to her. My last words to her still remain the same … sorry for everything.

 

"Gomenasai" My Dear Friend ...
 
What I thought wasn't mine
In the light, wasn't one of a kind
A precious pearl
When I wanted to cry
I couldn't 'cause I wasn't allowed

Gomenasai for everything
Gomenasai, I know I let you down
Gomenasai till the end, I never needed a friend
Like I do now

What I thought wasn't all so innocent
Was a delicate doll of porcelain
When I wanted to call you and ask you for help
I stopped myself

Gomenasai for everything
Gomenasai, I know I let you down
Gomenasai till the end, I never needed a friend
Like I do now

What I thought was a dream, a mirage
Was as real as it seemed, a privilege
When I wanted to tell you, I made a mistake
I walked away

Gomenasai, for everything,  Gomenasai,  Gomenasai
Gomenasai, I never needed a friend, like I do now
Gomenasai, I let you down,  Gomenasai,  Gomenasai
Gomenasai till the end, I never needed a friend
Like I do now

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