Macam Mana Nak Cari Jodoh di Malaysia?
900k ahli di sana sedang mengunggu anda di Baitul Jannah. Mungkin.. jodoh awak ada sana.
Similar in superficial appearance, quartzes and diamonds display the same breathtaking brilliance once cut. Quartzes are aplenty, but could there be, among the heap of this abundance earth crystals, be a diamond?
‘Hey Jaz…how many times are you gonna surprise me with these crazy news about you? It has been twenty over years. When will you stop tormenting my poor little heart?’
He kept glancing at his watch from time to time. As if the face of his humble time-keeper wasn’t big enough, he will turn to look at the giant watch that was staring down at him from the wall almost ten meters in front of him. Half an hour after he started growing restless, the spoon became his victim, and his feet had started to fidget around. Every once in a while the waitress minding the counter curiously turned to look at him and watch him changing sitting position every so often as if the seat was actually a stove. It wasn’t her business to steal a glance from time to time, but his restlessness was annoyingly distracting, she found herself looking into his direction even when she did not intent to.
And that man, a well-dressed man who wore cufflinks on his sleeves, was too busy waiting to notice the waitress’ curious glances as his eyes were fixed at the main entrance of the café. It was so obvious to every watching naked eye that he was anticipating someone.
Ten minutes passed, and he raised his hand. A waitress hurried to his side and he ordered yet again another round of iced white coffee. Now, how much had he downed the beverage? The waitress at the counter counted down the glasses on his table. There were three. And all of them were deluxe glasses. She wondered what sort of a drinker that man was. He could’ve been a caffeine addict, she thought. And who was he waiting for? He looked anxious, a little excited and somewhat impatient. His eyes secretly emitted such clear longing and missing sparkles, and it somehow lightened up his about-to-age features. The anticipation, the excitement gave him some sort of an attractive aura, like a boy finally meeting his sweetheart. He looked young with that kind of atmosphere around him.
The waitress watched with interest over that good-looking man sitting alone, before him glasses of drinks, when the doorbell rang and disturbed her little world. A lady dressed in black entered the little café, her hair escaping from the attractive sand-colored scarf she wore loosely on her head. She was wearing a pair of humble yet well-matched sunglasses, and her lips slathered with coral lipstick. She smiled with such gladness that will make one feels warm and fuzzy. When she spotted him, she quickly walked toward him with such elegant steps and poised confidence surrounding her. The man smiled, and he rose to his feet as he waited for her to reach the table. And when she did, they smiled to each other and she removed her sunglasses, revealing two very deep eyes the color of the most exquisite black jewel.
“You have too much surprises for me, Jasmine,” greeted the man with a sense of long acquaintanceship. The woman laughed, showing off her visible laugh lines. When her laugh died, calm stillness returned and a smile took over; an adoring gaze followed.
“And you still call me Jasmine, despite my real name,” she noted in return, the smile remaining and the man shrugged casually. “How long has it been…?”
“Forever,” he noted, sharp and short as he invited her to sit down with a small gesture. The woman accepted it, and a waitress hurried to pick up her order. She asked for a simple lemon drink, and he smiled at the waitress saying he will call for her if he’ll need anything. That was when the woman noticed the three glasses sitting in front of him, two of which were empty.
“I am sorry to have made you wait for that long,”
“A celebrity’s schedule isn’t easy to deal with. You have no need to apologize.”
“I am not a celebrity. Don’t say such thing.”
“For winning that award for best newcomer writer? Does that not elevate you into stardom?”
The woman he called Jasmine laughed.
“What else you hadn’t do, Jasmine?” he asked, his eyes now emitting such admiring glimpse. The woman’s laugh died, and she smiled. “Your every color now shines very brilliantly, widely accepted and recognized by the public…”
“I did not do it for the public,” she declared, a smile still remaining on her lips although her eyes had darkened a little, a sign of leaving amusement and the resurfacing of something unspoken and unknown. The man noticed it, for his smiled in half pity and half knowing.
“That makes it seven arenas.”
She still just smiled.
“But you make it to at least earn recognition in all seven.”
She still just smiled at him.
“How long has it been since…?”
“…don’t you think you’re a little bit…too greedy? I mean…architecture, fashion, literature, language, fine-art, photography, and even graphic design? You’ll become a jack of all trade, master of none.”
“Master or not, I enjoy doing those you listed. I’ve proven to you I am perfectly capable in several of the arenas, hadn’t I?”
“But that came as a small scale
measurement of the skill’s worth! It won’t get you anywhere, much else earning
you a worthwhile profit…”
“Oh, so you doubt me now? Can’t you have a little more faith in people around you? Must everything concern money and profit?”
“There you go again, denying reality. You know life now pretty much or less revolves around money and yet you live so high up above ground…”
“My feet are perfectly grounded, Mr. Realist.”
“Unfortunately I couldn’t agree on that.”
“Why are you so hell-bent trying to change me? I told you before; I’ve sworn not to neglect my core path while I pursue the other road of my interest. A vow must never be broken, and I don’t intent to.”
“A human couldn’t possibly take up that much path! No me, not you, not anyone!”
Perhaps that one careless sentence was what brought fourth the utter destruction of our mutuality; our little friendship, which I had spent so many months building. It wasn’t easy. She was an interesting little girl whose colors kept changing every hour, every moment, who gave too little room for others to get close to her and know her, ultimately be a part of her world. Destroying was easier than building it. I learned it the hard way. It seemed my little eagerness, my timid skeptic self, peppered with such illusion of being in the comfort zone, I eventually crossed the limit, and she never let me return. I did not fight either to regain that trust, knowing it was my very fault for initiating it and letting it happen…my one slip of tongue that brought forth the event that I had been trying to avoid. A simple sentence. And it shattered the very precious line that connected us, our mutual yet brittle friendship.
That day we fought. We never spoke to each other much from since, except in dire situations or when it was unavoidable. Even as a friend, I doubted her. I doubted her too much. She has so vast of talents; it was scary to see her hopping from one to the other from time to time, whenever she pleases. Although she seemed to be doing very well in her area of interest, I firmly believe that human can only excel in one field and only one. Due to our heaven and earth contradicting view on life, we separated ways, even though I harbor such deep, real feeling for her. But she seemed so occupied by her interests; I found it so hard to confess to her. In the end we never patched things up, even after we graduated a year after we stopped being each other’s partner in crimes. I went on to do my honest degree, while she joined the work force.
“You were a bit sensitive back then.”
“And you…so bent on changing my view, my attention.”
The man laughed, nervousness and gladness thick in his voice, as his eyes trying so hard to mutilate the sort of feeling he felt in his heart. She looked at him intentionally, eyes gleaming like a pair of the most exquisite black gem ever existed on earth. He looked back at her, into her yes, and he said nothing. His laugh had died and the nervousness of his voice stopped echoing around them. The small smile that had always been there on her lips disappeared, and silence took over. Immediately, the atmosphere felt cold and somewhat dry as the magic of anticipation slowly lost its luster. For sometime, awkwardness took over.
It lasted for a length of time and none of them appeared comfortable with the sort of air surrounding them. He had completely lost his words, none left in his vocabulary, his eyes diverted to somewhere else. When his sight fell on his coffee, he quickly grabbed it and sipped the beverage. For some reason it tasted awfully bitter, despite the fact that it contained a generous amount of latte. She, in the other hand, was far more composed and deeply rooted on the ground, her eyes continuing to devour the man in front of her. A small, almost non-existing mental smile cheered her up, and she sighed.
“Are you happy now? Scoring your dream as an architect?” she chimed suddenly, shocking the man. “I heard you're on your way to join the ranks of Ar.?”
The man bit his lips to her enquiry – brief, direct, and greatly deviated from their original path of conversation. He sighed. “Only the oral test left.”
“I see,” she smiled. “You will pass, I am sure of that.”
“Don’t jinx me, Jasmine. I might not stand a chance at all against the more senior candidates,” he retorted with a little bit of alarm, surprise, and of course, amusement with a tingle bit of gladness in his voice. Laughing nervously, their eyes met again, and he became the one to quickly look away while she held firm her gazes.
“I doubt you’ll fail. You're one of the rising and promising young designers the industry had been talking about, you know. I may not be much of it, but I am still an architect by profession.”
“Of course, but it is truly absurd to say I will absolutely pass. A lot of people had to take two or three times of the test before they would pass.”
“Yet there are always those who passed with only one try.”
“Yes, but still…”
She smiled, and that smile stirred up his every being. A smile denoting how she knew that will eventually come from him - come from his lips, something really…him…the words that spoke very loudly of…him…
“You’ve never changed…”
He sighed, and she sipped her tea, that same smile still on her lips - smile of knowing, of understanding and a little bit on the edge of mocking him.
“Still holding firm to your belief that one should only have a single specialization and how we can never tolerate multiple interests…”
He lowered his face at the mention of that one very deep and real weakness he possessed. She was correct; in every word he could ever imagine about the part how he lacked what one would refer as belief in a human being’s ability to conquer few arenas at once in his lifetime. It was something he couldn’t deny, because it was the very reason that brought forth the event he considered as tragedy nearly 15 years ago.
“Have more faith in people, Harith, and the ability they might possess deep within, their dedication…”
“I’m sorry I said those things fifteen years ago, Jasmine!” he noted very suddenly, shocking the woman, forcing her words to come to an immediate halt. Her eyes grew round, and she, for once, lost her grasp on reality. Her stunned façade spoke of the amount of shock she experienced, and it lasted for sometime, even while there was only silence between them for the following few minutes. “I never meant to underestimate you…”
“No, you didn’t.”
On her lips.
A knowing smile.
And he found it hard for him to deny it anymore.
“And you know how I’ve always felt for you.”
“I love you, Jasmine.”
She still just smiled.
“It is too late now, Harith,” she said, amazingly maintaining her calmness as she sipped her tea. It was warm now, as the heat had all escaped the body, radiated into the surrounding along with time that passes by. Like her feeling. Like her feeling of old. Seeing those contented façade, he found it utterly regretful to know, and to know, to understand, that it was already impossible for things to work out between them two. “Please do not use that phrase for anyone other than your wife.”
He laughed. He felt like an idiot, saying things he had kept for over fifteen years, of whom he once vowed never to admit and to say. For the years back he had tried to deny, forgetting, to extinguish the flame. He failed. When he met Lara, he felt he will soon be able to forget her. But he was wrong…
Saying of all how one will never forget his first love was true, at least, for him.
“If I’ve said it long before…back in old times, how far will things be between us?”
She smiled. Utterly calmly. “I could not tell the future, much else a future that failed to arrive.”
Oh. He thought. She has been waiting, all along…
He laughed again. A pitiful, painful laugh.
“Are you happy with Lara?”
“Lara is a good woman. You should treasure her more now that you’re her husband.”
“Lara is another story. This is between you and me…”
She did not react much to his words but stare at him with rounded eyes, her face somewhat frozen by the second. Silence again terrorized the atmosphere, both of them very much disappearing under the dark and gloomy and unstable realm between of uncertainty. He was too determined, and she was trying to stop the nonsense. She realized that his realization had brought forth such words, a strength he only managed to acquire after fifteen years had passed by.
The strength to stand firm, and ask for everything that was her.
“Stop it, Harith.”
“There’s no denying it!”
“And I thought you love Lara?”
He bit his lips. “She knew all about this, Jaz. If I ever ask, I doubt she will say no.”
It was the very thing she refused to attempt with, yet amazingly he dared ask. Was it that much, his feeling? To even dare ask such a thing…
“A woman’s heart isn’t to be toyed with, Harith.” She said, very calmly and very collected, yet her eyes slowly overshadowed by and amazing opacity of black cloud of distraction and uneasiness. He grunted, he groaned, he sighed, and she turned to look away, away from him. The ripping silence lasted for long, and this time it felt so severe it was hard for both of them to correct the air.
“Things happen for a reason, Harith. I have my own reason,” she muttered softly as she stood up from her sitting, and walked pass him, toward something that certainly had been smiling at her…or someone…
And her smile. That smile. It somehow hurt him so much just looking at her smiling that way, to someone else, and it did not help when he saw that that someone was a man other than him. She took his hand, and kissed the back of his palm, in a manner of mutual closeness. It hurts him even more so when he gazed at her longingly, and lovingly, even more and more so when he knew that person.
“It has indeed been so long, Harith,” muttered the man, calm and collected and in utter serenity, as if every aspect of his life had been fulfilled to the utmost value one could ever think of. His fingers grasped Jas’, and she coiled tightly hers around his, in a show that suggested how much they’ve bonded together. “Ara told me she’ll be seeing you, so I guess this is indeed the perfect occasion.”
The man’s firm, unspoiled and monotonous yet warm voice rendered Harith deeply speechless. His deep, deep eyes were bottomless. For once Harith couldn’t help but feel at lost, for he could not guess, what else truly understand the emotion of the articulately well-dressed. His white shirt was perfectly hot-pressed, while his midnight-black trousers were created such crisp line, enveloping his legs. It was a sign of a person highly professional in his choice of career, someone with delighting personality and pleasing feature. In fact, they weren’t at all stranger. This man, Khalid, may not be as famous as this woman seated opposite to him but among those who were familiar of the local scene of architecture industry, he held a considerable amount of recognition. In other words, he was famous, as an architect whose name might already cross the blue borders of the sea, for all his achievement, his dedication and of course, his skills.
But he wasn’t the sort of man who was after fame, and extreme recognition. For all the years behind, Khalid had remained someone so humble, a low-profiled fellow who prefer a quiet life, in such a way that acquiring every architect’s dream license never really appeared in his 1000 goals and agenda…
“Derek told me he’ll be interviewing you tomorrow. For LAM’s Part III*,” stated Khalid, his eyes that was two medium slit on his face peering over at his fellow friend. Under the artificial lighting of the café, those two very black dots gleamed like a pair of black onyx, emitting such surreal aura, enveloping him with such mysterious atmosphere. Harith couldn’t help but feel so vulnerable in front of him, but for the sake of his manly ego, he persevered and forcefully projected such calm and collected façade, of which in actuality hid a considerable amount of turbulence. The woman of concern did nothing, although she had seen all through Harith’s façade, but keep her eyes fixed on the gestures of her former classmate. “He has great expectation over you, Harith, that I can almost guaranty you passing,” added Khalid, still very calm, still very honest.
“That is absurd, to say I will pass with only one try,” muttered Harith, in his defense to what sounded like mightily surreal praises muttered by his friends. “If there’s anyone that will achieve such amazing feat, it will be you,” added the partially distraught man. His simple statement somehow managed to tickle Khalid to which he reacted with a hearty laugh. Harith was confused at Khalid’s display of emotion, but by receiving such warm respond, he could feel how the tension eased. That was when he pulled the chair next to the woman and sat by her.
“Anyways, that aside…”
Harith waited, sipping his drink with his eyes fixed on the man in front of him, waiting for him to finish his sentence, waiting for him to spill whatever he will be saying. He noticed Jasmine gazing at Khalid, and within her gaze was a thousand feeling. It was such serenade gaze, but Harith felt his heart ache. He kept the tail of his eyes to her, and Khalid noticed this. He smiled, and merely let things be, because he fully understood the going of the events around them. Around them three.
“Harith,” a voice called, and a movement caught his attention. On the table was an envelope. A thousand questions poured into his mind, a thousand speculations. A single nod cast a spell of confidence over Harith that he slowly claim the envelope and perceived it first with his fingers. Firm. Like a piece of card. His eyes scanned for any sign to denote the content of the envelope, but there was none. The pure white envelope, unlike normal envelopes, felt exquisite, rich to the touch. A kind of velvety and firm. A sort of envelope people will…
“Please come to our wedding reception,” was what he heard, and that one phrase struck him like lightning. In split second Harith could really feel how his heart accelerated and his hand starting to tremble. In his dire condition he tried to open the envelope, and do it very quickly. The card hidden inside the pure white envelope was also as bright as the cover, embossed with metallic sapphire ornaments depicting flowers and everything else. He couldn’t very well tell how many times he held his gaze up just to meet with the expecting face of those two sitting before him, back to the card again, and again to them. Their eyes met, and his whole being will tremble.
A wedding reception.
“This coming week,” noted Harith, between surety and confusion. Jasmine wasn’t smiling, and her eyes were fixed on her. Khalid had such forgiving and calm expression on his face, ever so positive, ever so enchanting.
“We’ve been married for almost a year and a half actually,” noted Khalid, as he took Jasmine’s hand and kissed the mount of her fingers. Harith blinked twice at the mention of their status and the card simply slipped from his fingers. At the cue of such, or rather, absurd reaction his face changed. Silence followed and Harith began blaming his subconscious, at the same time fretting his lack of control over the other half of his mind. He turned to look at Jasmine, but she looked away. Khalid, meanwhile, had his small, sharp eyes beamed at him that Harith truly felt like he will definitely burn under such attention…
There was something in Khalid’s eyes that disturbed him a great deal.
“I’m sorry,” Harith apologized as he picked up the card from the table surface and held it firm in his hand. “I’m so sorry.”
“Take care of Lara,” uttered Khalid, his lips void of smile, his eyes shining with that eerie glimpse of genuine significance denoting his standing in the matter he had just mentioned. “A woman’s heart isn’t to be toyed with, Harith.”
“It is too late now. In fact, you are fifteen years late,” added Khalid. Harith found himself burning under the fire of Khalid’s presence. What a person, he thought. With him just being here, he could change the atmosphere according to his emotion, to the concern of his mind and heart. Of course, he had known him quite well, through acquaintanceship on personal level and through words that travels from soul to soul. Khalid has such a presence that was powerful for he radiates such surreal aura of attractiveness. It wasn’t about his looks. It was more of his personality, his very being and self. He could make that lasting impact by just being there, and such was the power of someone with that much charisma. Against him, Harith could only be honest and accept that he was too small to be compared to this man.
“Do not apologize to us. It is Lara that you should seek forgiveness from,” added Khalid, not his lips or even his eyes smiling at him. The atmosphere was heavy around them, and Jasmine somehow chooses not to say a word. This had now become a confrontation between two men, no longer between her and Harith. “Please, Harith. Learn to treasure what you have, for once in your life, and not stray too far away.”
There was no way he’ll be able to look into Khalid’s eyes anymore now. Which man wouldn’t be thrown into a state of rage if another man came and confessed his feelings to his wife? And Khalid! They had known each other from their earlier years as a student. His feeling for Jasmine or, in actually, her name, Ara, wasn’t a secret between them. He had shared with him, his feeling, but he had never thought things will spiral down to this.
“Why didn’t you tell me? That you’ve wedded her?”
That awful knowing smile.
“We did not intent to make it public, not at least until this coming weekend.”
Could it be any more absurd?
A year and a half, wedded in secrecy.
“I requested it,” interrupted Ara. A small smile appeared on her lips and both men turn to look at her. “Our commitments do not allow us such lavish amount of time to officiate our marriage. It was merely between our families…I…”
“Khalid, you bastard…”
A small laugh escaped Khalid’s lips while Ara sat in her seat, stupefied by the sudden turn of event, the reaction she was getting from both of the men.
“Have trust in yourself, Harith.”
“Yes. Learn to treasure those around you, and for once, accept that there are those unpolished gem waiting to be discovered,” muttered Khalid, his voice stern, his intention being that of half warning, half advice. The tail of his eyes was fixed on the woman next to her, whose face projected more that of confusion than dread. “Quartz or diamond, if correctly polished, will radiate the most beautiful of light.”
Ara blushed and diverted her attention somewhere else. There was something Khalid said that tickled her.
“You thought her to be a quartz from the very beginning.”
“When I tell you I have a feeling for her at the beginning of things…”
And Khalid laughed.
“I decided that since you confessed your feeling for her before I could know what to do with that tightness in my chest every time I see her, I should let you sweep her away, be with her, cherish her. But who knows…your ego got in your way and your autocratic nature made you want to change her. You grow weary of your own feeling…”
“When you married Lara, I was shocked.”
“Were you broken hearted, Jasmine?” Harith asked out of nowhere, and that one question truly shocked Ara.
“I’ve let go of the past.”
“Let her go, Harith.”
Harith sighed. A small, amused smile blossomed on his lips as he stared at the metallic-and-white invitation card. There was silence for the longest time, in which Khalid gazed continuously at him, his eyes full of intentions and purpose. Such wise eyes…such wise eyes full of knowledge, patience and a thousand feeling, without it carrying not a single hatred and malice. A small realization escaped its gilded cage of ego, and Harith found himself in the long way of letting go. Under Khalid’s honesty, the cage of ego made of steel melted, and melted, in such peaceful manner that created neither a single hatred nor irritation. In fact, Harith felt at peace…
“Let her go…”
A small smile escaped Harith’s lips, which, as time pass by, grew, and grew, until it formed the most brilliant smile of his entire smile before bursting into a full laugh that echoed well within the restaurants’ walls. Pearls of tears formed at the corner of her eyes, making him look as if he was laughing full of extreme joy, at the same time, crying over something he truly regret. Happiness in his laugh, sadness in his tears. In the end no one knew the real meaning behind that one laugh.
A diamond among the heap of quartzes. Diamonds. Dubbed as world’s strongest mineral. It is not easy to recognize a diamond from a heap of quartzes at a glance of an eye. One need to know, to feel, and to understand the characteristics in order to distinguish earth’s most precious mineral against the backdrop of quartzes. And diamonds. It wasn’t easy to mallet it into any shape, not without special tools, and extreme care…
And to achieve this feat, patience is essential. A great amount of patience, and a dollop of dedication, perseverance, because the reward, in the end, is always exciting…
LAM Part III – Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia’s exam for aspiring architects who wants to join the ranks of Ar., which is somewhat similar to engineer’s Ir. An Ar. can set up his own consultation firm and sign or approve a plan for certain building project.
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1) ah Harith sounded so type A.
i love this piece. i really do
- 15 years ago
2) i love this one too!!! it's a bit too long though. but still very good :)
- 15 years ago
3) @uculer : D: type A? LoL. thank u for liking it :D
@NJay: hehe sorry, i think this is one of the shortest short story i've ever written so...thx for bearing it :D
- 15 years ago