“Georg, let’s go. We are going to our new terrace. No more buts!”
“Dad, aren’t you gonna miss here, our flat, our neighborhood that we’ve stayed for near 20 years…”
Living in Singapore for near 25 years, my love for the windy void deck under my flat has never changed a single bit. As a place that consisted many’s memories of various events, it is definitely a place that have many stories to tell and gossip about. A place of love and part, happiness and sadness… Now, I am going to leave this place I love the most.
Such big housing, but only my dad and I… Too lonely, too quiet, too eerie for me. Despite having a bike for transport, I did not like it here.
“Beep!!”, my phone’s message tone rang…
“Call me when you reach your new house, tell me how was it. Wilber.”
I called: “Wilber, I don’t like it here. I still preferred staying in that four room flat so I can meet Bryan, you and others at our common coffee shop.”
“But you can still find us isn’t it Georg? Look, girl, since your dad had not sell the flat, it is still legally your dad’s and yours… you can always come back as often as you want.”
“But, all of the stuff that were in the flat were either thrown or moved here Wil. I can’t move as and when I wanted to, furthermore, there were people that are showing interest of the flat that consist the memories of my family as a whole…”
“Georg, maybe your dad wanted you to move on you see. It has been months that you are depressed due to your mother’s death. My dear girl, please be positive!”
“Hopefully, let me finish unpacking alright, call you later.”
Maybe Wilber is right. Six months after Mum’s death, I haven’t really talked or went down to the deck for a walk, instead I had become a workaholic. Since dad were saying to move to a terrace before mum was sick years back, it might be also a change in life…
Since our new place had few floors, dad had reserved the last 2 floors for me as a place of my own. I even did my own flooring for rooms and it took me few months to build up the common area others then the dressing and bedroom. Entertained, but wasn’t satisfying.
“We missed you girl! How was the place?”
“I don’t know Bryan. But will be inviting the gang over to take a look.”
“Still didn’t like the place huh, Georg?” asked Wilber.
I shook my head and had a big sigh. Back in the neighborhood that I was so used to, I sincerely missed here.
“Remember all of us used to plays soccer at the void deck round the corner, behind the back of this block. I just walk passed the place, it have not changed a bit.”
“Georg, we remembered. By the way, Sharifah’s wedding invitation, hope to see you too.”
Good Lord, ex-classmate of ours is having wedding under my block, a time I can re-connect with my ex-neighbors, miss them so much. Immediately my face lit up.
But months gone by, the workaholic me got over, missed gatherings and even the wedding invitation… The depressed me got more depressed and I got lost in my own world. I lost touch with the world outside, reasons after reasons not to go for any events or gathering any friends offered me to join.
“Georg, your friends called… They are worried, so am I.”
“I am fine, dad. I’m just busy.”
“My dear girl, this aren’t you, I knew that things don’t go your way, but can you please don’t do this to yourself and get a healthier life.”
Deep down, what is healthy to me again? The mad kid that runs down the street? The coffee talk every Saturday night that has endless laughter? I don’t know anymore. Lost, in my own world, I crumpled in the office…
“My dear girl”, I heard my mother’s voice, “why are you doing this to yourself my only daughter. Please, I want you to be healthy back. Can you promise me that?”
Before I could answer anything, I woke up in the intensive care. Surprised, dad told me what happened while waiting for the doctors and nurses to come to check me out. According to dad, I was lying here for near 2 months due to malnourishment and at one point, I was almost pronounced dead.
“Dad, I saw mum before I woke up. Am I in a terrible position before I was placed here and made myself in this terrible shape? How bad am I?” I asked after the check.
Dad nodded and told me everything since the start of mum’s death, the house moving, how my friends trying to contact me etc. In fact those friends are pretty much in good support to my dad while I am here, motionless. It sort of makes me regret thru this whole lump of events that he told me about. Guilty and frustrated, I cried and was so sorry to my poor dad that putted this much stress on his shoulders and I was just so selfish to only cared about only my own feelings after the loss.
After much discussion, my dad and I decide to move back to our old neighborhood. Since our old flat has been sold out, we hunts for a new house together and was slowly settling in despite dad do not have the intentions to sell the bungalow as he says it might be for future assets. I quits my job and started a blog that posts my short stories on it and I did not expected it to be a hit. And something I never expected, that the gang is still there in the same coffee place waiting for my return.
“Sharifah, belated wedding gift. Sorry for not going, and sorry guys, for making you guys worried. I am truly blessed to be back to the neighborhood with such great friends”, I said, in a mild yet happy tone.
Wilber, immediately screamed thru the table: “Yeah famous novelist, we did not expect that you to come back after you disappeared for eight long months and got famous! The one and only time this will be happening alright! Include our coffee talks in your stories too next time!”
We all giggled and I promised. The familiar voices makes me so warm. All this talks about life between us feels like things never happened. Bit by bit, time after time, it felt that things are falling in the correct place. The familiar void deck is a good place for therapy after all. It finally felt that I am truly me again.
After some time where everything settled down and I was lost for writing about how fascinating how my love over this whole void deck of mine, I got a message from Bryan asking me to go down to the place we had first met in the neighborhood. Curious, and knowingly that it was my time to be in creativity, I denied despite that I am in the bottleneck in writing out anything.
“You should go, Georg. It might helps you in your idea.”
It caught me by surprise.
“Dad, you should know I’m trying to…”
“Just go”, he said.
Down to the place, I am pretty much surprised of how Bryan dressed up and it makes me blushed so hard as I never seen him in this way and I wasn’t really dressed up. Looking at what he holds in his hands, I thought that he is going to ask some relationship advice from me. I tapped him on his shoulders and he turns to me shyly.
“So, you are here… Erm, this flowers are for you. I know you liked lavender very much.”
“Thank you. So, er, so, is there anything else? Or I will be going…” I stammered.
“Georg wait”, his face turns as red as a tomato, “I know you have been single all this time and I have been crushing you since we have met ten years back, it really took me lots of courage today to meet you up…”
Anxiously I waited…
“Can you be my girlfriend?”
I am stunned, very stunned indeed. I never knew the Mr. flirt in our gang is having a crush on me for such long time. He explained he was trying to make me jealous but it doesn’t moved me. While I think back, it was really him whom stayed by my side most of the time no matter what problems I had met thru the years… I accepted to be his girl.
Things fast forward to a year later, Wilber is getting his new flat soon after marriage, Sharifah is pregnant and the due date is coming soon, the gang is one by one getting married and the gang is getting larger and larger. Dad wise, he has been active in the local community center as he has retired. My dear dad is also often in volunteering in helping the elderly and heard that he also had a date too. As for me, I am still writing short stories about my favorite void deck and stories about my relationship with Bryan.
Mum, if you are watching us in heaven, thank you for making me falls in love with all this, thank you…