'Can we have McD for dinner? Err, drive-thru? My mom suruh balik sebelum pukul 9.30pm.' Ainie grinned guiltily.
'Ok. Tak kisah la. I pun ada meeting pukul 10.30 mlm ni kat Mutiara.' Me.
'Kenapa you bawak payung?' Chairman.
'Sebab hujan?' I offered an explanation.
'Kat atas tu?' Chairman dengan sinisnya.
'A'ah, hujan dalam flight tadi. Everybody had to hold umbrella thruout (the flight).' Me dengan selamba smash dia balik. With all the kids crying and making gut-wrenching noises throughout the flight, I was prepared for full combat with Chairman. Ainie gelak.
'Besok korang keja tak?' Ainie. Something fishy about this fish...
'Keja. Naper?' Me.
'Besok kiteorang cuti. Hahaha! Long live Sultan Johor!' Ainie got her pleasure.
'Tak kisah la. Last Hari Wilayah I pulak cuti, u guys keja kan?' Smash dier balik.

Sampai Mutiara dan check in ke bilik. Dropped all my bags and let myself fall backward into the huge bed. Blissful. Nak mandi dulu ke, atau lepas meeting? Lepas meeting la, boleh soak up in hot water lepas tu. Happily watched Kevin Hill show, about a lawyer whose cousin died and left a baby girl in his care.

10.30pm. I made my way wearily to the Board room. When I entered, faces turned to me. Ah, the silent observer is here. I never talked during meetings unless I had to point out something. Thus the Silent Observer. Meeting started at 10.45pm and ended 11.45pm. Penat giler kan? Pegi reception counter to book taxi tomorrow and then went back to my room.

Mutiara JB tak se 'fabulous' macam Mutiara KL. In KL, there's a sliding wooden-paned window by the bath tub so I can watch tv while soaking up in the luxuriously warm water. The room is more luxurious, complete with jacuzzi. And the pillows were as soft as feather. Still, this is considered comfortable too and I should be thankful to be given the opportunity to de-stress in hot water-filled tub.

Lepas solat, aku buat notes sekejap, prepared tomorrow's outfit, and then snuggled myself under the comforter in front of the tv. I watched a Mexican drama and continued watching tv until 2am. Then feeling like I need to force myself to rest, I switched off the tv, set the alarm, and switched off the main light.

I lifted my hand and spread my fingers, studying them intently. I like now. The now after I had unknotted tensed muscle in the bathtub. The now when my mind was empty of complicated issues and focusing on simple pleasure. The now under this warm comforter, feet snuggly curled and wrapped in stockings. Dim golden lights from the lightings in the hall making my surroundings look like I'm trapped in time-capsule with this relaxed feeling, safe from the future and the past. The now when I am a nobody's girlfriend, sibling, daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, friend, enemy, subordinate, but myself and my own soul and my own heart. I like this moment. I've retreated into the deepest place in my heart where there are nobody else inside but me. My solitude, my fortress, my sanctuary.

With that I fell into a deep sleep, finally succumbing to dreamless slumber.

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