"Who's pasta is that dad?"
"Have it," dad piered through the glass window.
A scoop of the greasy yellow hair angel pasta colored with green and red capsicum awakened tastebuds and tamed the rumbles of a starved tummy after a long day of brain draining, weight bearing day.
College isnt just the 8-5 shizzles of long desks in the air conditioned classrooms, but consist of tagging and running around from buildings and clerking patients. Not to mention the OTs (doesn’t matter la if it's Over time or the operation theatres) and BSTs (read: bedsideteachings not bedtimes song time) lol.
It's medical school, and final year, everyone is planning graduation trips, study dates and life of settling down. On top of the already stressful every other month exams that have become so bread and butter of life (I prefer waffles and pancakes anyday, so you see the problem?). Everyone has their cliques, their partners and their other halves. Not me.
The next day, when I came back home, the angel haired pasta was thrown into the dustbin, the whole pack of it. As if the only person that had taken it was me. As if I had contaminated the pack that it needed to be thrown away. Well, that was just the paranoid me talking.
Dad wasnt home for me to ask anything, usual for him to be away for days, and seen once in a week or so. But oddly enough, I remembered Daniel was complaining of hunger just the night before, did Ibu deny Daniel from the delicious pasta? Surely Ibu wasnt the type to cook pasta, since this household never has olive oil, what more capsicum and fresh olives that was still fresh in my mind of its texture in my mouth.
Ibu wasnt around either.
Well, not that I saw.
It was Sunday after all.
So i continued Primary Care OSCEs as i watched it on my Ipad Mini dad had bought me last month to gear me for Pro III. Lazily I sat on the couch, of course with the Plasma TV dad had bought Ibu last month, obviously.
"Why did you buy her an ipad? Doesnt she already have the tab?" Ibu asked casually over breakfast.
"La...that is an old one," Dad answered casually over his newspaper.
"But it's still working," Ibu rebutted.
I wasnt entirely comfortable of this situation.
"Do you not find it more useful and compatible with all your other apple products Nak?" Dad looked piered at me with a smile.
I nodded simply, as Ibu had already turned her back towards me.
I could imagine her smug face, dissatisfied.
The next week, I saw the Plasma TV complete with all kinds of features I'd never learn how to use (not that I have the time or energy nor interest to learn it) in the living room with my very excited little step brother Daniel jumping with his nintendo (or whatever you call-a-majiggy) installed to it.
"Im hungry! Im hungry!" I heard Daniel scream.
I was startled, cause little did I notice, I was actually lullabied by YouTube, my legs sprawled on the couch. Darn. Ibu would be so upset.
"Wait! Im cooking!" Ibu trying to calm down Daniel; whom I think is kicking his might out, obviously making him more and more hungry.
The ventilation fans were then switched on, and i heard her arranging the kitchen. Most probably trying to cook up another nasi goreng for Daniel.
I dint want to interupt the commotion, but I had to pass the kitchen to get into my room, and the loud TV had to be silenced. (Okayh, I dint know it was loud, it dint sound loud earlier =.=") As I shut it down,
"Nak, please make sure the cushions are arranged back! If people were to come, we wouldnt want to leave a bad impression of our home would we?" Ibu called out to me.
"Okayh Ibu," I replied.
"Are you cooking Ibu?" I was trying to make conversation to ease the tension.
"Nothing much," Ibu as if shooing me away.
"Nak, where were you last Sunday?" dad asked me the next Friday evening.
I halted before going up.
"Oncall?" I raised an eyebrow.
My dad dint seem mad. He just sighed.
Dad was the type that wasn’t easily disappointed with me. Although I sometimes missed having him around, I also liked to be out and alone. Typical introvert I think (even the internet agrees) lol.
I grabbed a drink, I mean, living on the third floor seemed so far, even if I run 5 km effortlessly at the gym. The fridge full with fridge magnets Dad would buy for Ibu everytime he went anywhere. If it weren't a fridge magnet, some sort of momento that could be displayed on the magnet. Sometimes, multiple magnets from the same place. Evident with the extra magnetic boards Ibu bought from Ikea.
That's my kitchen. A typical Malay kitchen (minus the wooden para you would see in the kampongs and minus the obvious fridge magnet collection) with all the types of soy sauce, belacan, budu, tempoyak and cencaluk. Sometimes, I think Ibu just dreams of going to places but would nearly die if she did. Literally. The last time (which also happened to be the only time) she followed Dad overseas was to Turkey. Honestly, I'd go. But I wasn’t invited, it was their honey moon, and I was gona have SPM, Ibu was sick the entire time. It seems she tried some local cuisine, that tasted "funny" and the next thing we knew was, they were on the flight home earlier than the proposed date home. Turns out, she was just pregnant. Lol.
As I went up the stairs, I heard Dad as if in a whisper, "Didn’t you tell her?"
"Of course I did!" Ibu sounded defensive.
"I know Suzie is your good friend, but I know the son is a good boy, he's even starting his housemanship soon,"
"So?" Ibu dissatisfied.
"He cooks so well, she would love to meet him, did you even taste his pasta last week?"
"Oh that one?" smirked Ibu. Even if I dint see her face, I knew it too well.
"Why do you sound like that?"
I knew what happened.
"The Culinary Arts School is having their open day!" blared the boomboxes of uni.
White jackets were stancing around giving out fliers, with their tall hats and black boots.
The loud earphones blaring Ed Sheeran couldn’t stop the announcements. Instantaneously, I looked up.
"Just 30bucks," a short plum girl with white scarf in full Culinary arts regalia handed out a red leaflet.
I couldn’t help but smiling to this bright girl.
"It's a western menu, in our mock dining room, but nothing mocking about it, cos its real!"
I then laughed, standing in the middle of the corridor, shifting my iphone to the hand holding my white coat to take the leaflet. It intrigued me.
"Western?" my voice croaked, as if unsure what to say.
"Yes sir! We even have 'champagne'" she added with a wink.
She made me giggle.
The next Thursday, I found myself all by myself in my best dress, literally a dress, black like an abaya (okayh, it is some sort of an abaya, so that I could easily go for the yaseen recitation later that night, and Dad bought it for me from Dubai) in the mock dining room. I was the first to queue. Pardon me for being a little way too excited, and a little way too punctual.
The three course meal that started with handmade rolls and crafted butter was a delicacy for a carb lover like me. I had a table all to myself, all the rolls to myself. The appetizer was a crunchy salad that was tantalizing in colour that made my black abaya disown it's own color to be that every shade of the salad. Dressed with a special sauce made by the culinary arts students, something minty yet sticky in the midst of cherry tomatoes, baby lettuce, carrots and purple cabbage. I was back in the scenes of Essex where Dad brought me for my post-SPM trip. It was blissful. I literally could smell the crisp air, and could see dew drops at the ends of leaves as the morning mist arose to allow the sun to shine. Rabbits hopping out of their soiled rabbit holes. Followed by the housekeeping dogs barking the wits out of the rabbits back into their burrows. I was brought back to uni by the hot sizzling steak, juicy as the main course made me feel not fasting that day was worthing. Subhanallah. My thoughts then diverted to wondering what jannah would be like if this felt like heaven. If this world was just one rahmah of the many bouties of Allah, my praises to Allah must be even less than a needle head's capacity of the vast ocean. Dad had been busy these past few years, supposedly there was something big he was working on. Even Ibu complained at times. But he always kept me company through doa, if only Ibu could appreciate Dad in that manner too, well, she gets the moolah. Okayh la. Lol. Mak always lullabyed my with selawat and asma ul husna to sleep. Reminding me that Dad was busy working for us. The smell of butter in her hair would nearly always make me sleep licking my lips, smacking to the imagination of food. The dessert was sweet delicate crème brulee, even if it wasn’t my favourite, it was Mak's. Mak would have commented on its texture and guessed the number of spoons of sugar used to caramalize the 'brulee' of the crème brulee. Mak knew everything there was about western food, in this eastern culture. I just am not confident enough to say I inherited that. And with that Kampong of a kitchen at home, the smell of mozarella grilling will make Ibu have fits of frenzy. even if the cure to AGE (acute grastroenteritis or stomach ache/pain/flu) was just oral rehydrating salts and plenty of water, she'd boil that water in her head with fury anyways. Lol. I missed Mak. I missed walking down to the kitchen and decorating cakes with my sloppy mess and my spilling pizza topping over her counter top. But when the renovation to the kitchen home happened, all seemed to vanish. As I looked through the glass countertop to the hot steaming kitchen. I imagined walking in.
"You can do the twinning course in PJ, then continue in UK, the fees arent so bad." Dad tried burning my spirit.
I just looked through the brochures Dad had found on my desk. It was the last month of school. And SPM seemed so unawaited for as I wanted to get it over and done with.
"We can use your trials to get a place, I know they'd be honoured to have such a student amongst them,"
Dad always knew how to make me laugh. But I had made up my mind, I wanted to push myself in medicine.
"Enjoyed your meal miss?" asked a voice.
I looked up.
A tall hat towered over a square face with black rimmed spectacles. The only thing that was missing from his face were freckles and braces, he'd easily slip into this quintessential geek of medicine.
"Yes." I blinked, half a smile.
"Anything that I could make the experience better?" he asked in a politely rehearsed manner.
"Yes." I gulped. Not really understanding his question.
"And how is that miss?" a concerned expression spread through his face.
"No...no…" I quickly began shaking my head left and right, noticing I said something wrong. Damn. I had to be an introvert.
He smiled, a set of teeth that surely had some years in the brace. (I’d know, cause no one can have that perfect of a set of teeth. No one!)
"Thank you for coming, and please continue to enjoy your meal, have a nice day." This time, he sounded confident, and with his sleeves folded, he made a small bow, a step back and headed off to the kitchen.
I unconsciously bowed back.
Subconsciously feeling super princess-y.
At that moment I was lucky I was single, cause it seemed like the perfect start of a love story. By the time I finished the dessert he had served me, I was happily engaged to him in my pink regalia as he came over to my house to meet Dad at the end of the ceremony. Thankfully the dessert was one very sweet that naturally would have made my smile endlessly, so I had a reason why I was grinning like mad to myself. Not that anyone would ask, they must have assumed I'm a mad woman anyhow. Lol.
its four in armenian.
a man can have four wives, just like the number of chambers of his heart.
a story though, can have multiple endings.
just like this one. Cause even I am not sure what would happen at my oath taking, what more during my Pro III. But the best way to a person's heart is always the tummy.