K. Romance #3: The One My Mother Approved

Continuation of Karat Romance #2.

I realised after spending the little time I did with him, that I had the most genuine laughter I’ve heard from myself since my grandmother had passed away. How do you forget someone that you connected with on a level you shared with no one else? You don’t. The memories just become distant enough that you forget them temporarily.

After ignoring his last text message to me, we continued playing the roles of strangers. Even though we were in the same college, we rarely saw each other because luck was on my side aka I’d ask my friends to search the premise to see if he was in the area. Yes, my middle name is Braveheart.

I was always careful about where to go after class or to do my assignments. I didn’t know how I’d react to him so I felt I’d better be safe than sorry. One day, I was working on an assignment in a cafe that I frequented regularly — it was the only genius idea I had in regards to where I could do my work because our library was too noisy. The irony, amirite? But of course, being in a public area made the likeliness of me bumping into the person I spent almost a year avoiding that much higher.

Just as I said to myself, “I don’t think he has class, I’m safe for today…” he waltzed in the cafe with a friend to have their afternoon pint(s). I’ll let the Universe have this point, I said to myself and continued to mind my own business.

Remember, every time you think “This couldn’t get any worse, right?” the Universe will do something to prove you wrong.

“Hey man, stop looking at the girl with the white t-shirt and the red bag,” his friend said, loud enough for the dead to hear. I’ll give you, loyal KUL reader, 1 million dollars in Monopoly’s currency if you can guess who his friend was describing…

(You are now a millionaire in Monopoly land. Please pass ‘Go’ to collect your winnings!) I obviously looked up to see who was using my name — or possessions, rather — in vain. The two of them are looking directly at me — very subtle, boys — then, his friend invites me to join them. I remember rejecting the offer in my mind but what came out of my mouth was the complete opposite. This was one of the “heart is not listening to the brain” situation I use to laugh at people for going through.

Karma really works in mysterious ways.

As I walked over to his table, I remember thinking what a disaster it was going to be because we hadn’t spoken to each other in a long time. Why was I doing this? Is it too late to turn around? I asked myself. But as it turned out, absence really did make the heart grow fonder. The two of us were very present in our conversation, and it didn’t feel like we had gone through the previous emotional roller coaster ride. It felt like we were friends.

We were too busy catching up with each other, we failed to realise that his friend had left. This was a “nobody else matters when I’m with you” situation. Disgustingly sweet but accurate. You know the saying of when one person leaves, another one walks in? I know it’s about doors, but let’s pretend it’s about people for a moment. In this situation, his friend went home and my mother walked in.

My mum had texted me to say that we’d have dinner at the cafe I was at, but due to the intense discussion I was involved in regarding the best Thrash metal band of all time, I missed it. In my defence — and I have a great one — my mother always reminded (read: nagged) my sisters and I that using phones while socialising was impolite. So really, I was just being the well-mannered daughter she brought up. Of course she couldn’t see it like that at the time, but this story isn’t about how I was raised. No, the story is about how my mother ended up having dinner with the guy I liked by accident.

I learnt two very valuable lessons that day. One, never leave my phone on silent unless I’m hiding under a bed from a serial killer. Two, never miss my mother’s texts or calls unless I’d like her to meet someone who I’m trying to erase from my life. In stationery terms, I’m the eraser that costs 20 cents that’s ambitiously trying to erase permanent marker strokes on a wall. So, y’know, the process wasn’t easy.

The night was awkward, only because my mother was actually getting along with him. Me, the daughter she swore was a magnet to boys that were destined for trouble, was able to introduce my mother to someone that was, well, decent. Whenever my mum made fun of my lack of domestic skills, he’d defend me. At one point he said, “… but anyone would be lucky to be with her,” This sweetness was alarming, what did it mean? I thought. He hadn’t finished his sentence is what happened. “Thankfully we’ve food delivery services, else there’d be no hope.”

Y’all ain’t ready for me to channel my inner Nigella Lawson. My kitchen is far from ready for me to step in, like, can I just buy insurance for that part of my house?

I was grateful for that night. The two of us managed to move past the tense situation we were in a while ago, that gave me hope that we could eventually become friends without any traces of harsh feelings towards one another. I was optimistic, but that’s when things became worst.

Karat Romance #4 will be published in February — it’ll be a Valentine’s Day special! Follow this writer on Instagram here

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