It was a cool night. I had slid the windows open, letting in the refreshing air that is unmistakably cool in every sense of the word. The humidity whooshed away, having spent the whole day ensconed in the room.
Behind me, my friend, visiting from Singapore, was flicking through some of the pictures that I have on my desk. I had made it a habit to have pictures of my friends and family on my desk, just to remind me of what’s important in life.
I laid down in bed, willing to let the fatigue wash itself out of me. On the mattress I’d laid out for him on the floor, Zul was near the end of the picture collection. His hands flicked the photos one behind another, his eyes quickly registering the picture in front of him.
Seeing that he’s near the end of the picture collection, I offered him another, smaller, batch, from my wallet. He took these, and began flicking through them as well. I provided a running commentary of the story behind the photos.
“And that was after dinner, during which we had satay...can you believe she doesn't know what ketupat is...and that was at the ball last year, you remember that...”
“I think you’re too attached lah,” he mentioned suddenly. That got me a bit. “What made you say that?” I asked.
“Well, you hold on to the memories,” he replied without looking up, “and, though it’s not a necessarily bad thing, I think that might not help you move on.”
“Perhaps,” I began to counter him, “but these are the memories that I hold close to my heart for a reason. They’re the people that I love and care about. These photos just reminds me of the moments.”
“Yeah, but I think you’re too attached, alright…and I think that…well, it’s difficult lah.” I get what he’s saying at, funnily enough, and can see his point.
He finished flicking through. We talked a bit, before he turned in for the night.
I left the light on for a bit, and flicked through the photos myself. Here, a picture of my and my friends at Kuala Selangor, after a seafood session. There, my mum teasing my little sister by putting birthday cake cream on her face.
Of me and my friends in the M Lab.
Me and my friend in my room, as we took pictures of each other.
A group shot of my colleagues at the property company I used to work for.
A passport photo of my grandmother.
Of my and my cousin when he surprised me with a visit to my house.
Of me and my friend at the ball.
A surprise birthday party for my friend, an event fraught with difficulties to organize and coordinate, but one which the smile on her face made up for.
A picture of my cousin and his girlfriend, given the night that his mother died from cancer after two weeks in hospital (the event which kicked off two years of personal hell). “I just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done for me and my family,” I remember him saying. “I’ve nothing else to give you.”
There were more, but I didn’t want to finish flicking through.
I put the pictures on the bedside table, and turned off the light, not quite feeling sure of myself.
Perhaps he’s right.
*Written on 18th March 2006.