Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sometimes a good friend is all you need

Mary is packing up to leave and I'm transcribing furiously. Furiously. This guy is chattering on about strategic active hedges, and I grit my teeth and type. Did I mention furiously? I pause the recording and look up longingly for a while.

"You leaving?"

"Not unless you want me to stay."

I grin.

"Stay. Please. Then we can have dinner and I can send you home."

She seats herself right down, and decides to go through her voluminous google alerts.

I resume typing. Bad English and all. I don't bother to edit. Too tired. Too fucking tired.

Mel leaves. Then Gerry. And we're alone by the skin of a second. Mary removes her fancy sequinned red purse which contains the all-important keys. We will be LOCKING UP. For the first time. I cram my water cup and coffee mug into an overflowing sink. Lady will be coming tomorrow to wash. Mary moves things around at her desk.

We switch off the lights. Zap ourselves out. And then I rush into the bathroom outside leaving her to get on with it. I come out and she's on her knees trying to jam the keys into their supposed sockets.

"Child, I think she gave me the wrong keys. I've never tried these but they don't seem to fit."

"Give it here."

I try. And try. And try. Maybe there's a knack to this. Maybe not. We look at each other in consternation. "Mel? She only just left. Maybe she hasn't gotten far."

Mary calls her. Mel is already in her car driving away. She will call the boys to see if anyone is in Marketplace. If not she'll come back herself to effect rescue. By now, Mary and I are sitting cross legged on the welcome carpet outside. Except there's no welcome carpet. So we're basically sitting on the floor. Laughing at each other.

"Do you think Dana did this on purpose? Gave me the wrong keys cos I bugged her for them so much. Shoved this unlikely pair in my hands while thinking, he he he I got you, just wait till you try these?"

Now Dana is this inoffensive nice Indian girl. The mousy kind who hides behind her dupatta. You know what I'm talking about. I say, yes, yes, typical Indian drama queen. Maybe she will come here singing then run to one corner and then the other, shade her eyes, and sing...aaaaaaaaaaaaah (you must imagine the wobbliness of the aaaaahs)

Mary and I are rolling on the floor. Charles calls. He's the one coming to our rescue. He's a bit tipsy (they have been at it at Marketplace since 6. It's half 8 now) But he's coming up anyways. He does. Greets us sitting on the floor and shakes his head. Tries our keys just to make sure that the two ditzy females didn't get it wrong. We didn't.

So he locks up for us like the nice boy he is.

And says he might see me at Backyard later. If I'm going. Tired as I am, I tend to drag my ass to Backyard on Mondays just for the sheer punishment of it.

Mary and I make our way to Devi's Corner. Hungry as I am, I tell her my ghost story through mouthfuls of roti canai and mutton curry. Suddenly she remembers:

"Our boy is getting married. He was hanging around the other when you were paying and I wondered what he wanted, and he told me he was going to be away for a few days...going back to India to get married."

We look at each other. If our boy is going to get married, we have to give him an ang pow. Thing is, we don't have any red packets. Or white packets. Or even brown packets. I suggest we nip across the road to see if they have any likely looking envelopes. Mary is all for coming back on another day. But I say, no, we must give him the ang pow before he leaves, not after he comes back.

(For those not in the know, our boy is the best waiter in Devi's Corner. The one comes charging along when he sees us, providing us with water, napkins, and all the attention he possibly can, while attending to 100 or so other customers at Devi's. He's the reason we're platinum card holders there).

Anyway, we are nothing if not subtle. After asking him when he is leaving, we hurtle across the street, look for envelopes, find only ugly brown ones, ask the nice Bangladeshi fler there to show us other envelopes, he shows us some shocking shocking pink ones, Mary blanches, but I think they look I buy the packet, RM1 for all 25...and we take our own envelopes, write touching notes on the cover, stuff our money into it....then go across the street from him and signal for him to cross the street, present him with the envelopes....ahhh furtive....ahhh drama queens, I hear the tablas and the veenas...

And then Mary slips into the DVD shop and I follow her. She's promised to buy one, just one...or two, no more than two...and the first one is there and the second is sorrylar miss, not arrived yet....and she starts leafing through a pile and I grab her and drag her out of there bodily (I have to, if Mary gets going, we could be here all night).

And I send her home and hoping that one of my other colleagues doesn't come to Backyard with Charlie boy. "Mark doesn't like him lar...but then, knowing Mark he'd have to recognise him before he remembers he doesn't like him..."

Mary: "Oh yeah?"

Jen: "Yeah. Remember how hard I had to work to get him to remember me? I mean, he'd come out to get the morning paper and stumble over me at this front doorstep....Jen, what are you doing here? Me (giggling sheepishly): Oh I just happened to be in the neighbourhood...and then he goes to his neighbourhood mamak to have a teh tarek and there I am behind giant shades and a broadsheet....and then he's driving and glances in his rearview and there I am...

"Child, you're a stalker."

I acknowledge the truth with a sigh: "Yeah."

And we collapse in our seats laughing.

And I don't care that tomorrow is going to be even more complicated than today.

And oh yeah, I decided to give Backyard a miss after all.


Nessa said...

Only with a friend.

Car Goes Boom

Together We Save said...

Good friends.....