Some times ago when i was offered a job by the Public Service Department to serve the federal goverment, I was stationed in Johore Bahru and mind you, my take-home pay was "keciput" (little). With that keciput amount of money I managed to make my ends meet besides spending it lavishly.
At the end of every month most goverment servants queued at the Central Bank of Malaysia located at Jalan Bukit Timbalan to cash their monthly pay cheques. There was no ATM machine at that time. Most of the ladies of that bank wore batik uniform that turned them into chrisma.
The security officers were wearing Malaysian national dress, the baju Melayu complete with songkok. Most of them were handsome with well-built postures, smartly groomed and identically looked as hulubalangs (the warriors).
During those days by scooping 30 cents from my pants I could have a piece of roti canai and a hot cup of tea. Those roti canai were twice the size than what we get today.
The soscial life at that time was so different. We could easily see girls in their mini skirts and many ladies were smokers. We seldom found Muslim females with hijab. All types of acohols were served in public places and cinemas became the favourite social engagement centers.
As I was a single male at that time, I did not cook so I ate out. During the day I chosed the ordinary eating places even at stalls to have my meals. Unlike lunch, for dinner i usually looked for the fine restaurants that had in-house bands (to relax and to have hands-on social experience) while enjoying the food.
Many wondered why i liked to dine alone. Once i heard a couple sitting next to my table said, "Why does he have no one with him to share the moment."
I seemed not to feel comfortable after hearing it but it was not wrong to be alone and I told myself, "If I am worried about what others think about me being alone, there is no reason to put myself through it. No one will foot my bill either I am eating alone or with a company. Who cares."
As a single man, dinning out alone was not odd at all, at least I had the freedom of ordering anything I wanted. Some of my friends were not into certain food and others were too critical.
It was always convenient to drive alone straight to the place from home as waiting for a company was a time-wasted moment, sometimes.
Sitting alone in a fine restaurant seemed wonderful. The food tasted testier and I valued the time spent alone. Of course It didn't mean I should stop hanging out with friends. I did but on certain occasions.
I kept going to the fine restaurant and it was great. From the waiter and waitress I was able to know about table mannerism. It was worth learning as well as be their friend. Whenever I had my dates I usually picked any table for two at the place without confirming my reservation.
I remember the day when I was late for dinner at that restaurant. As I pushed the main door open most heads turned at me because the dining hour was over but the waitress still guided me to a table and that was the only table left for the evening.
"Sir, our main kitchen is already closed," said the waiter. "Would you like to try our hot coffee for the evening." I nodded.
The scent of the coffee drifted in a gentle movement in the air of the dining hall and its smell made me felt at home. It was the first time the aroma of the blended coffee widened my nosetrill. I remembered my grandma who used to pound dry-fried coffee beans into powder for our morning drinks.
After an hour drinking and enjoying the in-house band performming I noticed there were only about 40 patrons left in the hall including two pretty young ladies slowly sipping their coffee. They didn't pretend to hide looking at me.
"I jokingly said, "The one holding the paper cup will be mine."
"Sir," the waitress came to me and whispered. "The girls across the room would like to know if you would like to move to their table."
Was I provoked? "No. Please thank them," I told the waitress politely.
I loved the coffee and i ordered for an extra cup. I liked it so much. It was black. I could not describe how tasteful it was. It lingered on my tongue.
A coffee lover usually would only take either robusta or arabica (sometimes mix) whatever brands they are as long as the beans were blended to perfection.
I looked at the girls and then I took out my note pad and wrote, "I love the coffee and if you love it too spare me a date. We will share a mug here." I asked a waiter to give it to them and I jokingly said, "The one holding a paper cup will be mine."
Upon receiving my note from the waiter both girls stared at me. Our eyes locked and I flashed a smile with a nod. We exchanged smiles but nither of them made any attempt to come to my table. They were too sweet but I did not have a gut to approach them. I tried to find a way to get in touch with them but could not find any. I knew I had to get to her to say hello to start our conversation but my gut was still missing.
Before I left the place, I asked for the receipt and wrote a note on it; "I thank you for making me smilling. It was my memorable moment and will remember it in my life." I asked the waiter to give it to the two beauties when their turn to ask for the bill.
As I moved out to the parking bay i stole a look at them. They were never even tried to bother me leaving.
What i remember most is their smiles that hit the centre of my soul and surprisingly after two years of courting one of them became my spouse.
(This site is ours and the stories belong to us. Everyone has a story to tell and in sharing we find healing. I expect this story will give hope a chance to grow in your heart. Your stories and wisdom are as meaningful as mind.)
I believe many like this Bangladeshi song.
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Penulis tidak bertanggong-jawab terhadap komen yang menyalahi undang-undang, menyentuh sentimen agama dan kaum serta sensitiviti pertubuhan atau individu.