After a stream of hearty shots from my Nikon has appeared on Facebook, I could say with evidence that the trip was a great one. Everything I suppose goes excellent according to plan if we even have one. Nonetheless, the idea was magical even if it was only a mere three days of photography and romantic adventure in the historic town not very far away from home.
It started off with a piece of rich apricot cheese cake I made for him on our meeting in the bustling, impromptu bus terminal at Bukit Jalil. I remember how you dive your fork hastily to savour every last bit of that dessert right after you left your boring breakfast.
“You know, I place a lot of demands when it comes to food.”
“And, I rarely finish them.”
Simple yet decently dressed, carrying a beaded sack and a loaded LOMO, it’s unmistakably him. My dear Mr. Fd. Almost exactly the way I remembered him since we talked in that lounge over the beautiful sunset.
Suddenly, the choking haze between us since you received the tragic news and my cruel rejection seems like a long past.
We are ready to go.
Highlights of the trip includes I-can’t-count and that is because of the every little things I see, hear, smell and loved so dear. All made possible only with you. I have no idea why, but some things in life do not deserve an explanation. Doesn’t it?
I know you’ve over expected on the chicken rice I’ve brought you to, but the chendol your friend introduced was divine. It was your amiable and facilitative character led us getting close to strangers like the family who sells chendol which I know I will not begin conversations with.
Spacious art galleries, museums and ruins sites are perfect education examples. We both learned a great deal in such places, and I found a moment of solace in antiqued churches. I remember Saint Francis Xavier. It was so pretty with the stained glass and lights.
Malacca is far from quaint. The town is so catered for tourists, even antiqued shops seems so fresh with its new bright paint. When night falls, Jonkers street turns itself into a dazzling light show when paddlers display their items, bars with their patrons and sounds and people mingle around shops across the streets. Light and sound polluted the street with palette of colours.
Eleven is alleged a gay bar by Fd’s friend. So to say, we found out to be quite the contrary. A well mix of gender and so unfortunate we were in the time for world cup 2010. Eyes were glued to the LCD hanging on the wall.
Rhythmic pop was banging and a perspiring bottle of iced Carlsberg was in my hand. A bucket all mine. I was only to one, listening to your story in Japan. Apparently, you flew there for your friend’s funeral, and it seems like you’ve entered another stage of consciousness after that because you’re such a different person now compared to just a few weeks ago in the conference.
You said you realised a lot of things there.
Had your first gay sexual encounter.
Minor details exposed.
You said he tasted like iced lemon tea.
You like the experience.
You realised you have zero sexual interest in me.
*yes I realised that there are only 3 gay men around the entire premise.*
I was obviously disappointed with the environment. I can’t sustain a decent conversation with all that noise and cheers. Holding two bottles of yet-to-be-opened beer, we walk uphill toward the ruins of St. Paul’s church.
My third bottle, we were sitting on top of the hill, on the entrance of the church overlooking the Malaccan glittering cityscape.
“Strange. White birds doesn’t fly at night”
“Don’t like it. Strange things happen when you’re around, Andrew.”
As the lights settle into an amber, I realised I was looking into the night clouds, lying my back on your chest. For a moment, I felt the familiar awkward. Another moment, I felt the hearty warmth I’ve always wanted to experience.
“Let’s go inside the church!”
* * *
It was a quiet night. St. Pauls have not another human figure besides ours as we stood on the nave of the ruins. We can register the path we are about to walk, and on our sides are ancient slabs of engravings for the deceased. They are our witnesses tonight.
“Hold my hand, Savoir”
We walked slowly, towards the altar.
*The bell in the clock tower at Stadhuys rung*
We walked out from the church through the chambers, still holding hands. Newlywed.
* * *
After myriads of Malaccan kaleidoscopic scenes, we found ourselves a nibble of time sitting on the riverbank, staring at the bastion’s bricks on the other side. There was no sun; it wasn’t raining either, our vision blurred only by the intensity of materials and emotions carried by us, given to us in less than fifty hours.
“So Savoir, what is our situation now?”
“I don’t know this time, Mr. Fd. I really don’t know.”
Hours later, I was on my way home. I reached my bag for the little black book, flipping through the pages that I kept.
A neatly folded packet dropped out from among the pages. A key, antique, slipped out from that paper pocket.
* * *
I was bedazzled by the varieties of items on display in the beautifully restored Baba house. It is a private museum, well kept a street across Jonkers. The tour guide was computationally professional, seems almost programmed telling us stories and explaining each intricate artefact on display.
There was a shelf of locks and keys neatly arranged, encased in glass.
“Fd, do you know when a person turns 21, the adult will send a golden key as a gift. Sort of like a rite-of-passage into adulthood?”