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Burgundy Sweater

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An Unabridged Memoir - Final Part
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Suicide Note to Maisara

  Ann was listening, drinking to every word that flowed out from the amplifier. Staring at the ceiling, the 27 year-old were lost in thought.

‘Cause nobody wants to be the last one there

‘Cause everyone wants to fell like someone cares
Nickelback


  And the sound died. It was Nad.

  ‘Ouh yeah. I was not listening to that song anyways. It was just my imaginary boyfriend trying to enjoy the song,’ Ann talked to the ceiling, ignoring Nad who was now standing in Ann’s hall.

  ‘Stop it,’ Nad commanded.

  ‘ From what? Being sarcastic? I’m just being me,’ Ann turned her head, which was full of curly hair, towards Nad.

  ‘Not that. Being a burgundy sweater. Stop being stupid.’

  With that word, Ann pulled herself up. She was moved, not because of the word stupid but of the mention of burgundy sweater.

  ‘Oh my. You are still on the burgundy sweater thing?’ Ann sighed.

  ‘ It was never off the topic. Not with you like this.’
 
 ‘ Why? What is so wrong with being me?’ Ann obviously knew where this is going. Years of practice, she was very sure another discussion on her lovelife will begin. Again. Like right now.
 
  ‘ Where were you from?’ Nad straightened her posture.

  ‘ Just back from work,’ Ann twirled the corner of her small cushion. She was sitting with a mug of hot chocolate, a sign of resting during the start of a weekend. 

  ‘ 11pm? You signed in at 7am and got back at 11pm?’ Nad squinted her eyes to look at Ann.

  ‘ You see, there’s a term that they come up for people who can’t seem to leave the office. I think they are called workaholics.”

  ‘ Ha-di-ha. You are out with Nik again, right?’

  ‘I’m sorry. Since when have you taken the role being my mother?’ Ann said, her facial expression resembled that of a panther about to pounce on a deer.

  ‘Oh goodness. I can’t believe you are still doing that,’ Nad scowled.

   ‘What? What have I done exactly?’ this time Ann stood up.

  ‘ You are surprisingly stupid for a 27 year-old, sophisticated and elegant post-graduate executive aren’t you?’ this time Nad sneered.

  ‘ Hey! Watch your mouth!’ this time a warning finger entered the scene.

  ‘ No! You watch your actions. I can’t believe this. You are a burgundy sweater. His burgundy sweater. It is convenient for him to have you around so he can always ask you out. Because he’s bored and he knows you will actually jump at his clap of hands. When are you going to realize this?’

  ‘ What…?’

  ‘ Yes, I wondered too. I wonder why you have to be his burgundy sweater when it’s clear that he’s just not into you. He told you about the girls he wanted to court… wrong! Girls that he is seeing. He poured all the details and you lapped it all up.

  Can’t you see that he’s not into you? No, he’ll just be your bestfriend. He’ll never look at you that way. He cares but that’s it. He’s eyeing other girls. Not you,’ Nad can feel her blood boiling. Ann can’t keep doing this. This, as in to perfect and polish herself to become Nik’s girlfriend.

  ‘ He just didn’t realize it yet, Nad. Can you just give us time?’

  ‘ Time? Ann, my son, Afif is now five years old. You guys have started becoming best buds since I got engaged. It doesn’t take another Newton or Einstein to see how much time was there to develop anything that needs developing or discovering. Good God, are you blind or are you blind?’

  Ann bit her lower lip. Lost for reasons, words or excuses for Nik.

  ‘ If he knows what he wants, he’ll say it. Nik is not stupid. Remember the times when he just walked up to the girls to ask their phone numbers? Nik will be able to do so if he wants too.

  But look at you guys. He isn’t doing anything. And you? You cook him food every single week. Sometimes you make breakfast for him. You even got the haircut he recommended because he claimed he likes girls wearing that hairstyle. Honey, he said he likes girls with the haircut. He didn’t say you.’

  Ann stared at Nad who was still standing in the middle of the hall. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing right now. Nad, her counselor, the one who always say all the positive stuff and supported her. And this, this ‘in-the-face’ revelation.

  ‘ And that will become a major problem to you because?’ Ann felt her body temperature rising due to anger.

  ‘ Because I care. Because you are looking at the wrong place. You deserve better than this. You can’t be waiting for him forever. Do you want to be waiting for him forever? What if he never actually looks at you that way?

  Every single month you’ll have a good weep about you guys. About how he’ll never make a move. About you getting older and not knowing that maybe you’ve thrown the potentials along the way because of him. And then you tried to brace it all again and then again falling prey for him. That, in case you haven’t notice, will lead to a major problem because I think you may have unconsciously throw potentials away’ Nad didn’t care about yielding anything this time. It’s about time that Ann got some truth thrown in her face. 

  ‘ My heart tells me he’s the one,’ Ann said, almost too grimly.

  Nad laughed. ‘The bitch laughs,’ Ann’s inner voice said.

  ‘ You must be joking right? I can’t believe you managed to convince yourself. Let me repeat; you guys will be friends forever. Just friends. Accept it and just frigging move on.’

  ‘ Out. I want you out!’

  ‘ You can’t handle the truth?’ the expression on Nad’s face was nearly incomprehensible.

  ‘ What? He likes me. He cares for me. He remembers all my favorite things…’

  ‘ No, he doesn’t like you. He likes the fake you.’

  ‘ Hey!’

  ‘ Don’t hey me. It’s true. You polished yourself to be of his liking. He doesn’t know you.’

  ‘ That’s it. You really have to go.’

  ‘ Think about it, Ann. Think carefully. Who really knows you,’ Nad backed from the room, towards the door.

  ‘ Bye bye Nad,’ Ann blocked the door.

  ‘ Throw me out but just remember what I said.’

  Nad’s eyes plead with honesty. And deep down inside, despite the anger, Ann felt that whatever that came out of Nad’s mouth, was for her own good. It was never meant to hurt her.

  Tears welled in Ann’s eyes. Yes, whatever Nad said made sense. Seven years and still, friends. Nik did the right thing, said the right words and offered the right stuff. But there was nothing definite. No ‘we can take it slowly’. No ‘maybe this will lead somewhere’. None. All Nik did was to rant about all the girls he dated, his crushes and stuff. And Ann will be staying up on the phone, listening to him; as if having a pillow talk. Ann made all the correct responses, offered the perfect advices and never fails to be the rescuer when there’s another break up.

  But Ann believed that there’s hope for them. If there’s no hope, why did he go through all the trouble to cook meals for her? Why did he make surprises when he knew Ann was down?

  Ann dialed the phone. She needed to talk to someone. Of course, it will be committing suicide to actually call Nik and talk all about it.

  Ann punched the number on her house phone. Two rings and an extremely familiar voice chirped in.

  ‘ Hey Buttercups!’ Fahmi answered cheerily.

  Fahmi has always used the name since they became friends more than a decade ago. And Ann called him Sunshine because he was truly her sunshine. Being there when she needed someone the most.

  ‘ Hi,’ and Ann’s voice trailed away. Tears immediately streamed down her chin and onto her lap. She poured all her heart out. All her fears, tears, hopes and dreams. And Fahmi listened. Listened and asked with sincerity. Made jokes he created himself as well as inserted their own inside jokes.

  At the end of the conversation, Fahmi agreed to take Ann out for a walk tomorrow near the beach; like she always loved; having a small packed lunch or picnic; like she loved as well as having an impromptu vacation near the sea.

  If only Ann could think and digest what Nad has already said, maybe she could really see at the right places...

Previous short story:
An Unabridged Memoir - Final Part
Next short story:
Suicide Note to Maisara
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about the writer

Siti Aishah Abdul Aziz

the one who loses her rose-tinted glasses, with the tendency to borrow others thinking caps. 
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