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Writings > Short Story > Love

Anna and Lan

Previous short story:
If
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CONFESSIONS OF A CRUSHED CRUSH ENTRY #1

Hi, my name is Anna.  No, I don’t have a sister called Elsa, but I admit I do like Disney’s Frozen, although I hated the costumes little girls wear here and there. But enough about that. This is essentially a love story – my love story. There is a reason it is here, so in case you guys are not interested in another soapy love story, I suggest you stop here and click the next one.

I am a 29 year old consultant; what kind of consultant, I will leave that to your imagination. I work in an office typically 9 to 5, but that is only on my appointment letter. Honestly, the hours stretches far more than that, sometimes in the wee morning. I think you can already guess, but don’t bother trying to get it right, because it is not important. This is supposed to be a love story right? So knowing what I do isn’t that crucial. But my age is.

So…about my age. I am twenty-nine and twenty-nine years of age isn’t young. In local society, I am already a spinster in the making, but honestly, I don’t care. I am too old for romance, too old to be harping or wallowing for a knight in shining armour (or car, or bike, or – whatever). I distracted myself by working my hours off – until a guy came and started hitting me like a truck with malfunctioning brakes. Like, literally, literally hitting me off like a truck. He wasn’t exactly being direct – they are mostly hints, but fat, obvious hints, that after six month of continuous, active hinting he rammed the solid wall surrounding my steely heart good and I was on the verge of falling for him and was about to accept him – until he became confused why he was falling for another girl. It baffled me so much so, but even more amazingly, I actually forgave him – for some reason. I won’t be stating the reason why I forgave him, so use your own imagination if you have to.

But then again, that doesn’t mean that my heart didn’t break, so, needless to say, having experienced my first heart break at the age of 29 wasn’t nice. At first I decided to linger, but it didn’t take too long before I walked out. Took me a good two months to regain my strength and pick up the pieces. I broke our contact and left everything hanging, although he asked for time to understand his own heart (which actually means he didn’t really want to break things off, actually, but I couldn’t stand it). I decided at first that I will need that time to ascertain my own heart as well, but later in the wait instead of just a small distance, gradually, I left. It was unfortunate because he has almost everything I ever specified for me to accept a man as my life partner, but I decided that I have to move on. I have my own life, and I have lived 29 years without him, so I will pull this off. I will recover. Eventually I did, and he became a thing of the past.

Life goes on as usual from there.

                *

                Anna doesn’t usually come home before eight every weekday and sometimes she even slaved on Saturdays, from morning until late afternoon. I was planning on surprising her this Saturday, but it turns out she didn’t even come home the night before, overnighting in the office.

                It started with a message on Facebook. It was Lan; a guy my sister was close to few months ago before something happened and she would pucker her lips every time his name was mentioned. Naturally, seeing her reaction, we eventually stopped mentioning him (because we actually liked the guy – he was a really nice person), although we weren’t exactly sure what happened because she never told us why. It turns out something happened. Lan eventually came clean and told me that they had been going out for some time, keeping things under wraps for so long, away from everyone before something happened. Again, I was left in the dark what is this so-called something, but Lan said it was his fault and it was due to his own weakness that things happened, but he eventually successfully put everything in order again. I was baffled but I didn’t ask, because it wasn’t my place to be snooping around. He asked for mom’s number, which was weird, and eventually it all came to light that he was intending to marry her from the very beginning, despite that something that happened he decided that she was the best thing that had happened to him, which shocked the whole family, except for Anna because she wasn’t told about this by any of us. But he asked for us to keep it away from her until the very day, which we did, but she spoiled it by staying in her office the night before. But it has to go on, because it involves two side’s parents, so we stuck to the plan.

                That day is today.

                I remembered clearly that it was around 3 p.m.. they were talking, getting to know each other. Lan tried to kept cool but I can see that he was actually nervous. So was I, because I really don’t know how Anna would react when she came back to find him here, with his parents, talking to our parents and…you know? Saying the things parents would say to another, when the son decided to marry the daughter of another family?

                And at that 3 p.m., the door swung open and Anna appeared at the doorway, tired and somewhat in disarray, her headscarf somehow lopsided, in her arms her bag and the trusty red sleeping bag she took everywhere and every time with her.

                “We have visitors eh? There are shoe....s…” She said, looked up and found herself facing Lan, who conveniently sat in the sofa by the main doorway. We could see how her face changed colour from pale to white to red, before she stormed out again. Lan’s reaction was to go after her, and I heard him calling for her. Lan returned, panting, and he told us she ran away, sprinted down the road ‘in mad speed’, barefooted, and disappeared at the junction. I was actually quite surprised because Anna is no way a fast runner, but shock must have somehow forced her to make that dash, breaking her record. Nonetheless this was met by a series of laugher by our parents, and we decided to wait for her to come back…

                Only that…she didn’t. Four hours passed, but she didn’t come home, so after Maghrib prayers I called her. She answered, but when I asked where was she, she hesitantly told me; “Setia City Mall,” which baffled me because it is a good 10 kilometer away, and she got there, barefooted, ON FOOT. I told her to come back, but she told me she wouldn’t, until Lan leaves. Needless to say, I lied, gave Lan my car key and sent him off to pick her up, while I sit at home praying, hoping for the best outcome.

*

                “What took you so long?” she asked the moment she jumped into the car. She barely looked at me as she closed the door and I drove off, nervous, but as she strapped her seatbelt, I could hear her breath stopping as she realized that the person driving her brother’s car wasn’t him. She wanted to run again, about to pull the door’s lever, but we were already moving, so she didn’t. She had on her face a horrified face the moment she realized that she was stuck in the car. With me. I saw that she had managed to purchase a pair of flip flops, but she was still in the same disarray situation, except maybe slightly better, compared to when she first came back. At that time, I could feel my own heart beating so fast and so fiercely, it might blow. I wanted to say something to her, but nothing came out. I was completely tongue-tied, and the journey home which took five minutes originally felt extra-long.

                “What are you doing here…?” she asked finally, which stopped my heart completely. I couldn’t look at her directly, but I had to answer that question or she might slip from my fingers again, like she did few months back. This lady I dearly yearn for, this lady I have waited for a very long 30 years – this elusive lady…

                So I gulped my fear and answered, quite honestly; “To seek for your hand, in marriage,” I said simply, gulping my own saliva, feeling my ears flaring. From the corners of my eyes I saw her turning to me, eyes round and in a state of disbelief. She was horrified.

                “….why?!”

                “Because I want to?” I asked back, baffling myself and toasted her. Her face was turning red the same way mine did too. Palm all sweaty and heart all crazy, the only way for me to survive the short drive was to look forward.

                “But that girl…!” she began. I thought, here we go. I have anticipated this question since the first time I decided that it has to be her – this girl. Of course she would ask, because this girl was the reason she drifted away, so naturally, she would want to know about her. She actually felt inferior toward her, but what she didn’t realize was that she was a lot more beautiful than that girl, a lot more talented, ridiculously funny and childish while at the same time wise and mature (which I don’t understand myself how is she so mature yet so childish at the same time, it mystifies me – and probably one of the reason I fell for her too), extremely gifted and is an all-rounder who could do well no matter where she was thrown at.

                “Honestly, nothing happened between us. I wasn’t even falling for her…it was just a simple state of confusion, to be honest. The one I felt strongly for…is you.”

                I was expecting her to cry, but instead, I heard her laugh and that made me turn to her because it confuses me. But she WAS actually crying, although she was also laughing, which made everything even weirder and…ugly-cute. “Have you any idea how cheesy you sounded just now?” she managed to spat, which had me biting my lips. This girl. But that was also the reason I fell for her – the ability to be dead honest even during her most trying time; the ability to see and understand very clearly despite being engulfed in torrents of emotion - her beautiful – clear heart, who sees not one’s façade but straight into one’s heart.

                Including my heart.

                “So what?” I found myself shooting back, face heating up even more. “I am being serious here, okay, so play along. Please don’t laugh.”

                “No thanks, I won’t,” she said, still laughing-crying.

                “Fine. Have it your way. Thing is…I only realized that I have never been in love before. True, I had girlfriends before, but you are the only person that made me feel this way. I tried to let you go, knowing I don’t deserve you…I have no place beside you…after all that I have done to you…but,” I paused, inhaled, and exhaled. Suddenly our surrounding was quiet and I could hear my own breath. “Janji Allah adalah benar, Anna. I don’t see anyone else as my other half. I couldn’t. Dia dah janji, jika memang jodoh, takkan kemana.”

                I paused, feeling my heart beating faster and faster and faster, but my mind was surprisingly clear. I looked at her in her face. She was still crying but she wasn’t sobbing nor laughing anymore. There was a terrified look all over her face. It touched my heart; no, it broke my heart knowing I was the reason she ever had to put on that face now. After what I have done to her, it is only natural she would feel this way.

                “…I tried walking away, but I couldn’t,” I said, very honestly. “No matter how hard I tried,”

“But then, I am not the reason you are alive,” she shot

“You are not the reason I am alive, but you are one of the reason I am sent here,”

                “You are unbelievably cheesy, have you any idea how disgusting you sounded?!” she noted, exasperated, desperately wanting to run away. “What do you mean by jodoh?! Spare me Lan, I don’t want things to happen the second time. I know there are times when pisang berbuah dua kali, tapi tu pisang mutant, so please don’t. I know I am weird, like how mutants are, tapi cukuplah. Being weird doesn’t mean I have the strength…it was very hard for me to get out and about and not think of you tau tak? After I have succeeded, now here you are!”

                “…and you aren’t any less cheesy either,” I snapped back, actually feeling her comment. “It wasn’t easy for me, you know. I waited for you to come for so long but you didn’t come.”

                “…you didn’t try.”

                “Believe me I tried everything I could think of,” I admitted, which had her eyebrow all wrinkly and weird. “But you are either too stubborn or too oblivious. But I think it is both – stubborn and oblivious.”

                “….seriously.”

                “Demi Allah. Degil tak ingat dunia. Blur tak terkata.

                “There were such attempts?”

                “Banyak.

                She laughed, but it sounded like a mocking laugh and it burned my ears. But it wasn’t a mocking laugh, I realized, after I looked at her face, because her eyes were sparkly with surprise, despite the tears still running down her face.

                “I did tell you my ability to read hints and between the line’s like trying to run iPads with Windows 95. I guess you don’t listen. But it’s too late already. It’s dead,” she said, hand on her chest. Her heart, she meant. “You are few months too late,” she said again. It took me few moments to understand this, because although she sounded calm, her face wasn’t showing the same calm her voice had, and even that, the calmness contained within it a silver ring that my instinct quickly told me that she was lying – or she was being oblivious of her own heart.

                So smugly, I told her; “No, it is not. Give me a month, I will make you fall in love with me again,” while deep inside I prayed very hard so the things I said came true. It was a risky bet actually, but I believed in His promise, and He will never break his promise.

                *

                I couldn’t express my happiness when they came back. Lan was leading the way, Anna following suit. Anna doesn’t seem to be happy, and her face was even messier than before that it was embarrassing, but the moment I caught Lan’s eyes, he smiled, gave a very quiet nod, and I could feel my eyes tearing up. Alhamdulillah. I remembered running to the back room, took my takbir and did a sujud syukur. Alhamdulillah, indeed.

                *

                I gave Hakim a good kick in his ankle (the only place I could reach him because he was too tall) for getting into cohort with Lan the moment we got back, but it was a good-natured kick. For the past few months, I was gradually falling out of love for Lan. I thought it was just a simple fling, but when I fell in love with him again for in all but a little over a week, I realized it wasn’t just a fling, and that the feelings I had for him was even deeper than I had originally thought it to be.

                About the other girl…it turns out he wasn’t actually confused over his feelings for her. He was confused over why he was feeling too deeply, so deep that it wasn’t even similar to his previous experiences, and that girl’s presence which sparked controversy…yada yada yada. Enough of her - even mentioning her name made me jealous so we will stop here. 

                As it turns out that this was the first time he fell in love, the same way it was for me. At the end of the day, I realized, we were just two overgrown idiots living in a face-paced, career driven world, with barren hearts, so much so that the moment we found one another, we actually gave one another a jumpstart to each other’s heart, and that new, beating heart caused massive confusion over the two of us. We were unprepared adults. We were too used to loneliness, that once the void’s being filled, the balance tipped and we went ga-ga. But I am just glad everything’s sorted out.

                That night, we are engaged, with me still wearing my overnight cloth with lopsided headscarf, with our engagement photo taken with smartphones by our family. No hantaran, no cake, no makan-makan. Instead we ordered pizzas, and sat by the pond enjoying each other’s company. They told me, congratulation, but I kept telling them, we will only know after a month, but he gallantly and confidently told them thank you and stuff. I was actually quite angry over his unusual confidence.

                But I guess he was right. A month later, I began admitting that I am his fiancée, and that, my friend, is my utterly stupid, but happy-ended love story. It wasn’t by any means glamorous, romantic or unusual – the sole reason why am I telling you my story are because I want you to know that, for once, everyone deserves happiness – if only you let yourself have happiness. Everyone deserves a second chance – because they might have changed for the better. Putus silaturrahim must never happen, because honestly, Islam told us not to do so, which mean it is serious, and lastly, don’t judge a book by the cover – never, because although I didn’t mention earlier on, I actually do not like Lan the first time we were introduced. He appeared smug, and spoke to me with raised chin, which was like, actually, asking for trouble. He seemed nonchalant every time I spoke to him so I guess he actually don’t like me, or was simply looking down on me, or whatever. After two years we met again, and things started unfolding from there, and I learn a lot of things from him, about him, and he turns out to be a gem inside. So never shove a boulder aside, thinking it as worthless. You never know what was inside until you delve and study the subject. You never know you would strike gold. Or Silver. Or maybe even diamond.

                So dear friends, keep your faith up. He is with you. Keep your heart in-sync to Him, and He will be there for you. InsyAllah. 

Previous short story:
If
Next short story:
CONFESSIONS OF A CRUSHED CRUSH ENTRY #1
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Iasa

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