Today is MrNordin's birthday. I wouldn't write how old he is, but he was born in 1962. Go figure!
He's in JB right now, attending some lawyers' meeting. I wished him last night, before I went to sleep. Since he'll only be back tonight, I guess there's not much party planning to do. The kids have gotten his present ready. I haven't. The girls are cooking dinner for the father while I'm at work. This year malas betul nak celebrate.
Every year, May would be the month that I always look forward to. This is the month when we celebrate our anniversary, his birthday and Nizzar's birthday. This year marked our 7th year anniversary ~ 3rd May 2001 was the day when he first came into my life, the day I received that first e-mail from him.
I still remember the first time I met him. This was, I think several days before his birthday in 2001. I decided to meet him to overcome any suspicions I had before proceeding with the friendship. You know, I didn’t want the same story to repeat, like what happened earlier.
We decided to meet at California Pizza, KLCC for lunch. He wanted to go somewhere fancy but I figured, better not because if the date was a disaster, tak de lah terkilan sangat, kan? My friend Gina, wanted to tag along to view for herself who this MrNordin was. She was already there when I arrived, waiting anxiously infront of the restaurant, pretending as if she didn't know me (in case MrNordin terperasan I brought along a chaperon).
I asked her sheepishly , “Dah datang ke?" She said, "I don't know. But I saw one guy wearing this orange-coloured shirt lingering around here just now, and I thought it could be him". Orange-colored shirt? Oh my!!! Tak apa, Gina could be mistaken, I thought. I maintained my cool and sat on a bench infront of the reception area, waiting. Gina was still standing outside the restaurant, looking out for MrNordin.
A few minutes later, I saw one big guy coming up the escalator and walking towards the restaurant. He looked fierce, nothing like how I imagined MrNordin would be. Throughout our midnight conversations, I always imagined MrNordin as a sweet and funny guy, not fierce. So when I saw this guy, I frantically prayed, “Oh God... please don't let this be him!!" I cringed as he walked closer to the restaurant. But to my surprise, he didn’t come in but instead stopped by to chat with Gina outside the restaurant. “Eh, apasal pulak ni?” I thought. “Do they know each other?” They continued talking and he did not enter the restaurant. Takkan Gina dah potong jalan, kut? (It turned out, they knew each other)
Tengah2 I fikir yang bukan2 macam tu, suddenly I saw another man coming up the escalator. This one was wearing a brown shirt, medium-built, "almost" botak and looked kinda nervous. I guessed that could be MrNordin, but I pretended as if I didn’t see him (jual mahal konon…). As he approached the restaurant, I tunduk je buat sibuk2 check handphone. I dah nervous dah masa tu! He stood infront of me, and as I looked up, our eyes met.
“Are you Nordin?", I asked.
He said, “Yes. Are you Yati?"
... And those were our first words.
("Are you Nordin"... what a cliche. It should have been "Hi" or "Hello, is it me you're looking for?" Baru best, kan?)
Anyway, we went inside the restaurant and chose a table beside a window. By this time, I had totally forgotten about Gina. My first impression: he looked old for his age. He was 38 at that time (I was 32). Maybe he had gone through a lot, with the wife passing and all. So, the lines showed on his face.
We ordered food, and talked. Man... he could really talk! He was doing most of the talking. I nak celah sikit, dia akan potong. Tak boleh nak interrupt langsung! I can’t remember what we talked about, but mostly about his work, I think, and family (not about his late wife). By the time coffee arrived, it was past 2pm. Hari hujan renyai-renyai pulak kat luar. Memanglah malas betul nak balik office!
While we were talking, suddenly I saw one of my office mates coming into the restaurant. “Eh, strange..” I thought. “What is she doing here?” I tak beritau MrNordin masa tu. The restaurant was almost empty and I didn't think she was there to have lunch. Pizza? For someone who ate rice most of the time, she was definitely out of place. I tengok makcik ni, melenggang lenggok masuk dalam restaurant tu, and terus came to our table. Apa hal pulak si Shema ni? Dengan selambanya, dia berkata, "Aku saja je jalan2 kat sini, tengok engkau ada kat dalam... bla.. bla.. bla..."
Rupa-rupanya, she was spying on me! En Nordin dah tersipu-sipu! And she was not the only one. Later I found out, that the rest of my office mates were also there at KLCC, trying to spot me and MrNordin! Some were hovering on the 4th floor, some on the 3rd floor.... looking for us! I didn't tell them where I was meeting him, so they got curious and came over to look for us. They wanted to see how MrNordin looked like! Can you believe it? So, when I got back to the office after lunch, I asked them, "How?" "OKAY!!!", they said. Hee.. hee…approved lah tu!!!
I noticed three things about him at that first meeting: 1) he's funny and shy at the same time, 2) he's got a very nice smile, and 3) Mat "branded" (his wallet is LV, ok?). We left the place with a promise to keep in touch. I was so hoping that he wouldn't find me too offensive that he would stop communicating with me, but to my surprise, when I reached the office je, I got a call from him thanking me for the wonderful company over lunch. Phew!
A week after that was his birthday (14 May). So, I asked him out, konon nak belanja lah for his birthday (saja je alasan nak jumpa!). On a friend's recommendation, I chose this Greek restaurant behind KL Plaza, Moussandra. As usual, I arrived first and waited for him at the bar. He was late because at home, his mother was making a big fuss about him going out as that was the first time he went out at night after his wife's passing. But he came anyway, and when I saw him walking into the restaurant, I somehow felt delighted. He was wearing this short-sleeved blue shirt and looked dashing (to my eyes lah…). “Sorry, I’m late”, he said.
That night, I discovered that this guy was actually quite suave. I've never eaten in a Greek restaurant before that, but I presumed he had because he just knew what to order. And he's quite neat, too. The way he sprinkled salt onto his palm first before sprinkling it on his food was quite fascinating to watch. I just loved watching that ritual and I thought it was so cool!
So we talked and talked (he was doing most of the talking, again) and he had the courtesy to tell me, "Usually kan, I'm very quiet tau. Tapi dengan you, entah lah, I can go on and on..." Hee.. hee.. I was very flattered! Sembang punya sembang, gelak punya gelak, tak sedar restoran dah nak tutup. The staff was busy pulling down the shutters and closing up, and when I looked at the watch, it was almost 12 m.n. Dengan perasaan berat hati, we took our leave tho' in my heart, I wish the night would still go on.
As we were standing infront of the main door, he suddenly turned to me and asked, "Are you in a hurry to go home?" Eh, dia pun tak nak balik jugak? "No.... why?" "Would you like to go for a walk with me?" he asked.
I was so thrilled!!! No one had ever asked me to go for a walk like that. Rasa nak melompat-lompat kat situ jugak! But I acted cool... sebab tak nak lah appear too eager pulak, kan? "Ok lah, jom." I said.
So we walked around Lot 10 area, passed JWMarriott, Star Hill, that back alley behind KL Plaza, sambil bercerita pasal entah apa2. Cerita pasal durian lah, kucing lah, mee hailam kat Tg. Malim lah... Dua kali lah tawaf Lot 10 tu sampai berpeluh2 our friend! Hee.. hee...
Last-last, kena balik jugak. We said our goodbyes, and as I was driving home, I couldn't help smiling thinking of the dinner and this man, whom I've grown to become quite fond of over the past two weeks. "I like him…", I told myself quietly.
(Just now, I texted him, "What do you what for your birthday?" His answer, "Want to be home with you and family." ) That's my husband, you guys!