This story is linked to; Strangest Encounter
Have you ever wondered…about those fairy tales. Fairies, sylphs, sprites....how did they come to be? Had us, mortal’s imagination been so marvellously fancy? Did we simply imagine things? Can us, mere mortal, conjure fancy tales to feed our love of lore? Or…were they real?
Four years ago I was abducted. No, not by kidnappers; really. I say abducted, so I do mean by the kind of alien abduction popularly explored and told by X-Files. But my case, it wasn’t by aliens. They did not come from outer space. I was taken away, whisked, by a forest sprite. He brought me to his place, a beautiful piece of land far away from the reaches of mortal. That was four years ago. I desperately tried to forget him but he haunted me down very diligently, keeping in touch via texts, emails and calls. And yep. I am talking about a modern day sprite, who drove Sirocco, live in a spanking glittering apartment in the capital and modelled for outrageously famous fashion houses.
A joke? No, not really. I am being serious here.
‘I am lonely. I want to go to Ikea. Come with me;’ was his text one afternoon, the very moment I stepped into the two-storey corner terrace house I reside with my parents. The only respond I could give him was a roll of eye, as I slushed down my document bag unto the sofa and flipped my phone’s keypad, ready to lash back at him.
‘It’s six! The area will be congested. Isn’t there any other time?’
‘This is the only time I have left! Jay has been getting at me lately he filled my schedule to the brim. T_T.’ That. Emoticon. He must have picked that up along the way, I guess. At times it was funny, the other time gave me an odd impression. Nonetheless they were such interesting addition to an otherwise mundane conversation, and it helped, sometimes to enliven the spirit (although I don’t quite understand how you would know when to use or what to use…)
I replied; ‘Serves you right. Who ask you to nick your programmes and run away to Sweden on a whim? If he hadn’t known of who you are he may have died out of headache and heart attack.’ I was referring to an antic he pulled a month or so ago when he abandoned all of his work and ran to Sweden. His reason? Some gay photographer had been courting him and he was terrified by his advances. Or probing.
‘Jay will only die when his bank balance reaches zero.’
I laughed. He has a point. Jay, his agent, is a well-known real-life Mr. Crab. His love for money wasn’t a secret and he seemed proud of it. I always joked that if Jay is Mr. Crab, he ought to be Spongebob; because he revels in money for Jay’s company in the bulk while appearing oblivious to the amount of cash he made and Jay made no effort to mask this love-for-money antic. The only differences were that Jay isn’t round like Mr. Crab is, and he isn’t yellow; he is green. For your record. I don’t know how green-skinned man survives, but he did. As a model, even. Strange world? You bet.
‘It’s congested, I just got back from work, I am tired and it’s 6 p.m.,’ I replied, hoping he would stop nagging me to come with him to Ikea. Of all places…
‘Not if I can help it.’
The horror of it! I quickly hit the call button in hope to catch him before he does that dimension shift but realized it was too late when I heard his ring tone outside the main door. In the next second I lunged for the door in an attempt to lock it, but it was too late. Shamelessly he invited himself in, grabbed my wrists and then poof.
I was gone.
Good Lord. How do I deal with this one sprite?!
The one thing I hated about this dimension shift had always been the fact that I will always be disoriented whenever we reappeared in the mortal realm. The first time he did that to me, back when I first met him in Papan, Perak, I fainted. After four years of being haunted by my personal sprite (or at times, poltergeist) I am finally used to his antics of grabbing something or someone (me, obviously) and take that leap, reappearing elsewhere. At most I will be slightly disoriented, but there were times when such deed will cause me headache; such as now.
“You never stop, do you?” as I pulled myself away from the firm hold of his arms, and realized that we landed somewhere near the thick foliage at the back of the Curve, feeling slightly dizzy.
“How could Jay ever show you any mercy, when you showed me no mercy,” I complained.
“The only person I can confide in is you,” he said, puppy-eyed. In normal time, at any given day, this look had never failed to melt girl’s heart or anger. I was in similar situation in the earlier days of our introduction, but as the years go by, I have learnt to evade that smouldering eyes. This time, I was baffled. It’s not like he’s the only sprite around, or involved in the fashion scene. “Carl is a goddamn sprite as well, you sissy! Go confide him or bring him on your impromptu dimensional roller-coaster! Doesn’t have to be me. I’m a mortal, for heaven’s sake! Just how much a human can take? Me? Ow my head!”
He laughed again. “What do I do with you, E?” he said as he patted my head. “Still dizzy?”
“Yes!” I hollered, holding my head. The throbbing did not go away and I nearly cried.
“I’ll give you a ride home, then.”
Right. In your potently gay Sirocco? If you had it here you wouldn’t have done this stupid dimension shift!
“I just finished a shoot in Sunway Giza,” he began, the mischievous look in his eyes easing out, “So I thought I maybe I can drop by here for dinner and some shopping. My car is in P2. Let’s go there. I’ll send you back.”
So he does have his car here! My irritation flared, causing me to pull my hand away from his. “Eya will be more than happy to go for dinner and shopping with you,” I said out of anger. Eya; that stylist. Very pretty girl. Petite, long hair. Although he had never mentioned her exclusively the signs were all there. She was head over heel over him. Perhaps still head over heel over him.
“I have no interest in Eya,” he stated as a matter-of-factly, his brow coming together to form a tight knit. I though, how interesting. He couldn’t have viewed her as…well, you see…prospective victim?
“So you have interest in me?” I was mocking him. But then, he replied nonchalantly; “Isn’t it obvious?” and I felt my face redden. I wanted to scream; you idiot of an ageless sprite and call him several other names but those words did not came through. My though were in jumble. For his mention caused me considerably discomfort, I screamed at him. Instead of my original though I screamed; “I don’t want meatballs! Take me to Senjyu!” which, of course, was to my horror. I wanted to cry, then. My headache, my inability to get my words straight or to remain undefeated before him; they were too much of an emotion to handle.
“Huh? Didn’t you say you have a headache?”
“Sashimi will cure it.”
He was baffled when he heard me (I was baffled myself), and was obviously trying hard to suppress a series of laugh but he entertained to my diva-ish demand and took a turn, facing right now, toward where Senjyu is, held out his hand as if asking me to take it. I took a deep breath, feeling the heat on my face flaring up. “Of course. Whatever you wish for, milady,” he said, along with it a glorious smile could be seen blossoming on his lips. As of then, I cursed my temper. I may have simply fallen into his trap, playing around his wishes as of then. Idiot me!
He spoiled me good while at Senyjyu, raising my alarm when he ordered a huge amount of sushi, sashimi, soba and whatnots, raising the eyebrow of the waiter as he jot down one by one of the items he mentioned. For your record I am in no way a big eater. Three pieces sushi fill me good, I share the normal portion of soba with whoever willing. I don’t remember him being a big eater either, although he had impressed me once in a blue mood by wolfing down huge portions of dishes. When he ordered for me alone three different plates of sashimi, my headache intensified.
“You went overboard again,” I took the liberty of beginning my commenting session, “Therefore I shall call you Harris-Overboard-Jonathan,” to which he simply burst out laughing, attracting some attention along the way. Idiot sprite. Already you attract too much attention walking down Curve’s plaza without your baseball cap on. Our little journey was slightly delayed when several people who recognized him asked for his autograph. I even heard wild whispers (really? A whisper? I can hear them loud and clear!) saying either ‘that girl is lucky to have such good looking boyfriend’ or something along the ‘why’s a very ordinary girl with such gorgeous man’ line. It was irritating because truthfully saying, he isn’t, wasn’t, and won’t be my boyfriend (more like, boy-fiend), and no matter how I tried to overlook it, they merely worsening my headache. I guess it shows terribly on my face when concern dotted his face.
“E, you look pathetic.”
“I FEEL pathetic,” I said, as honest as possible. I made a show of holding my head, the base of my palm pressed onto my temple. He smiled understandingly, but that mischievous glimpse in his forest green eyes barely faded.
“Sorry,” he apologized, which caused my jaw to drop. “It’s been so long since I last saw you,”
Which, well, actually, it was only roughly a month. Not that long…well, in my opinion. My head was spinning then.
“Cure your headache. I still need you…” he paused, realized the look on my face and continued, “…r company. For shopping. I want new curtains. Help me choose.”
“Go for white,” in split second, “Your place has always been white.”
“Not that place.”
I see. He’s talking about his Binjai’s place. You filthy rich brat! A Sirocco and then a property along Jalan Binjai…I am still a fresh employee at my current firm so I can only dream of owning such properties. But one day; I will make sure one day I will own them. And you will see! (Competitive mind, ain’t I? Only with him though.)
“I haven’t seen that place nearly a year now. Don’t know what it looked like so I am not the one to be helping…”
“It hadn’t changed.”
“Go with purple then,” I just wanted to shut him up. His place’s main colour was green. Wait. Is still green, I suppose, if I remember it correctly. He took me there once last year. It was, again, against my wish, but he did anyway (he always does!). A penthouse atop one of Kuala Lumpur’s elite condominiums, the view was astounding. Even the interior was tastefully done. I doubt he’ll need my help in determining, or well, help him look for a new curtain. I was contemplating, was trying to figure out his motive, or the meaning of that look on his face when I mentioned purple. He seemed confused and I found myself suddenly feeling triumphant.
But then, the sashimi platters came and blood drained from my face. Surprisingly it was a waitress who served us and she was smiling flirtatiously at him. I rolled my eyes, buried my head into the folds of my arms and waited for the girl to leave. When I was certain she was gone, I looked up, and found his eyes twinkling, his hands cupping the sides of the long sashimi plate. Uh oh. Trouble.
“Your medicine, milady?”
“You jerk…” I hissed under my breath, even more so when he deliberately broke my pair of chopstick for me. Poured the soy sauce, grated the wasabi and mixed them, slide them to me. When I gave him a dirty look, he laughed.
“Want me to feed you?”
“NO. Thank you. I am perfectly capable of managing my own meal.”
He laughed again, this time without restrain. Tables have turned. I am at his mercy again. I realized that we were being stared at. I mean, wouldn’t we? We were perhaps in the quietest section of the restaurant and he had to laugh that loudly, so much so that he was crying. I mean, literally. He had those pearl of tears at the corners of his eyes, for God’s sake!
“Such a dork. You are so lovable, E,”
“Architects are mostly dorks,” I skilfully agreed and stabbed a piece of butterfish. He laughed gleefully. I know perfectly why he reacted such way. I was being silly. Stabbing your food with chopstick is considered as bad table manner. I may not be Japanese but I observe manners in other customs so much sometimes it seemed too much. He knew of this, hence the laugh.
“But not as lovable as you are,”
My face flushed again. He had this funny look on his face which caused me a serious stretch of discomfort, but less than a minute later a waiter came by and dropped upon us a tray of Inaniwa soba. That funny look disappeared as he stared at his meal. His favourite. I thanked the waiter and he bowed himself away. What impeccable timing! He saved me from this idiot’s funny gaze!
He broke his chopstick, gave me a single gaze. “Purple, eh.”
Back to his curtain topic, I see.
“I think it’s good. A little bit of purple will add a sense of mystic to a space.”
I scratched my chin. Mister, you are plenty mystical already. You don’t need purple to do that for you.
“But really? Curtain?”
“A new rack. Some candles. Oh and a chopping board.”
What? Chopping board? “You don’t cook. Why would you need one? I mean, chopping board? Really?”
“I decided to cook again.”
“Why are you so surprised? Before I joined modelling I used to work as a chef.”
I was baffled. “Not as a ranger?”
He was stumped. “Before I was a ranger. I mean, before that, even. I think 150 years ago.”
Again, I was baffled. Unnatural. “I would be dead in 50 years’ time, let alone 150.”
“That is why I must make full use of whatever time I have left off you.”
“50 years is a lot.”
“I don’t have 50 years left with you, E.”
His words surprised me this time.
“You know my end, do you?”
“I’m a man.”
“Well, isn’t it obvious?” I said, baffled again. And still in baffled state I asked, “And what do you mean you don’t have 50 years?”
“I can’t marry you.”
I flipped. Marry! “Where are you going, mister?” I asked as I gripped tightly my chopsticks. I confess here. I did not like where he was going.
“Listen, E. When you marry, I won’t have the luxury of your company ever so easily. I can’t spirit you away like I used to, can’t see you on a whim. I am a sprite. We can’t marry. I need to respect the fact that you are someone else’s wife one day, and as a man, well wait, male sprite I guess, but still, a man, it is something I must not do…”
Blood rushed to my head. He stated the obvious quite casually, this, I am used to. But the marry part; I mean, I am not that much of an airhead to miss all the signs, all the hints. I merely pretended to, because I am aware of our position. I have realized this long ago, since we were first introduced. It took quite an effort not to fall for him, really. Or have a crush. Look at him. That tousled sandy hair, those emerald green eyes, clear smooth skin, his lean body, his elegant posture…who wouldn’t? Such beautiful creature only found in movies. At the beginning it was hard for me to differentiate my feelings for him, before I realized that it was more of astonishment rather than infatuation. I would like to think I stopped displaying hints of being smitten ages ago. He never stopped, though. I was afraid he would bring this up some day, and that day has apparently come.
“Well, to begin with, I don’t see you as a candidate, my friend. So don’t get yourself up so high.”
“Oh really?” he asked, a smile blossoming on his lips. He picked up a piece of tempura, bit it, dip it, bit it again. I felt like punching him. Really. Or kick? My first gesture to him was a kick; on his sheen, strong enough to give him a bruise. He was taken out from a photo shoot the next day because the bruise was bad enough, no makeup can cover it. From since he had received plenty of such gesture; a kick or a punch, both in comical way or the other. If he went further overboard, he might receive one now.
“I’m full,” I said, pushing away the sashimi plates, one of it barely touched, feeling pity that I did not finish the food, also astonished that my headache has subsidized; still there but no longer throbbing, too mild for me to effectively pretend that the pain was still there. I sighed, made a mental note to be careful with what I wished for.
He glanced at his watch. “Perfect. Eight. We still have 2 more hours.”
Seriously he’s going to continue with his shopping idea? “What if I deliberately choose schemes that will destroy the harmony of your Binjai place?”
“You are my personal architect. I trust you,” he said as he took two hundred-ringgit notes from his wallet and placed it onto the tray brought by the waiter. I was speechless as of then and decided to give up. We walked to Ikea, finding the store nearly empty. I loved the quietness of the showroom, as opposed to the usual crowded spaces. We did not have much time, but shopping with him had always been a breeze. We picked up two shelves, a set of purple curtains, some candles, cooking utensils (he said he needed a new chopping board, but he ended up getting the whole thing!) and several other things. We checked out sharp at 10 p.m., just moments before the store closed. But then, something idiotic happened.
No eight feet shelves could fit into a Sirocco. We rushed to the concourse only to find the delivery service counter already closed. Perhaps sensing the danger of my instable mood, he flipped out his phone and called Jay; to my horror, asking for his help to transport the shelves. We waiting for half hour before the man reared his head riding a Hilux, two helpers with him. When he saw me, he grinned.
“Been a while Ella,” he greeted me first before he turn to this towering sprite, smirked, gestured and said a brief hi.
“Thank you, Jay.”
“You were lucky I was still around checking up the stage,” mused Jay, “Else you would need to either leave that behind or force it into your slim baby,” he added, referring to the blue Sirocco before us. By then he had instructed the two other boys to unload the trolley and into the pickup, in which they dutifully obey.
“The stage isn’t done yet?”
“Almost,” muttered Jay, when his gaze shifted to me. “Will you come, darling Ella?”
“She’s not your darling!” interrupted this idiotic sprite. We ignored him and carried on the conversation. He must have felt crossed, I thought, so I don’t dare look at him.
“A fashion show. Harris’ first for this season,” he explained. I looked at him and he shrugged. “KL Fashion Week.”
Oh. I had always wanted to go to KLFW! In the past, thanks to Jay, I’ve been at Max Azaria, Alexander McQueen’s and several other runways which featured him; this idiotic sprite. It’s funny because I have been to these events but never had the chance to attend local fashion show. Dished with a chance, I readily accepted it.
“Yes,” I said, in which I was countered with a sharp “No!” by Harris.
“Not this time,” he interjected. Jay grinned, and that grin suggested that he knew something that I don’t. I didn’t know what to say so I remained quiet and let the two lads go at each other. “Jay. Please.”
“The princess’ wish is my command,” topped the dandy Jay, causing the idiotic sprite to slap his face in horror. Turning to me, the baby-faced mix-blood manager grinned. “I will email you the ticket later. Do come. You are an indispensable motivation for our little prince,” he added, half mocking, half coaxing. I laughed. Nothing was little about him. This mega 188 cm lad stood a full height over the smaller me, effectively dwarfing plenty of these Asian girls around. Even Jay seemed small standing next to him. I narrowed my eyes at him and found him looking aghast. For the record only Jay can make him look like that. Only Jay.
Our little chat lasted a little more, until Jay’s assistant finished with the loading. Jay mentioned that they will transport the items into his apartment but also insisted that he do the assembling himself. We parted way with this idiotic sprite scuffing at Jay and the manager laughing his way out. The first half an hour of the journey went about in silent. It was uncomfortable, but I have no idea how to I thought it was the traffic jams that sparked that silence, but then he broke the stillness with an apology.
I told him; “It’s fine. At least you paid for the meal.” Magically the still atmosphere vanished, and he laughed.
“I’d believe you anytime if you tell me you’re a fairy,”
“Then I am a fairy,” I said simply. He smiled. From since on he went on talking about few other things, mostly related to his work and I enlightened him about my office adventure. We shared few laughs, but over many other times an awkward silence terrorized us. When
A few more weeks would pass before I saw him again, this time at KLFW. Only then I knew the reason he was hell-bent on stopping me from going; he had to go topless to model the creations, two of them with very low waistline. I was blushing whenever he made and appearance and could not look at him soon afterward. I did not even join the after-party; something that idiotic sprite and Jay always insist I come to and went straight home, directly to bed.
But then again, one may question; why am I describing this in a lengthy manner? It was just a dinner, you say, of course. Only a dinner, but also that was a turning point of our friendship. Our little friendship. It was that milestone, and whenever I looked back, I realized that that one dinner was the start of something bigger, deeper, something I may not explain.
It remained in my memory, vividly, even.
*Sirocco; Volkswagen’s Sirocco
*Binjai; The Binjai, a luxury condominium within the vicinity of KLCC, on Jalan Binjai.
*Senjyu; A Japanese restaurant in the e@Curve, next the McDonalds.
*Inaniwa soba; cha soba served with quail eggs and cold sauce.
Author’s note: Some of you may have read my Strangest Memoir before (2008); and this is an expansion. I have decided to expand this story into a full-fledge memoir-novel which features Ella’s recount from the beginning of her encounter with that idiotic sprite to the end of her memoir (something I hadn’t decided when; though I do have an alternate ending already only that it is too tragic to mention here) but writing the novel will have to wait as I am currently trying to finish a quadrilogy of fantasy-genre story. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy, and pardon errors and the like. You are free to mention it in the comment :).