snippets of a crazy BTB from the last 1-3 weeks

welcome to inside of my head. i hope you won’t be afraid!

I.

i thought to myself, i’ve not felt happy in a while. then i paused and realised that it’s not true. and that instead of mulling, i have so many things to be grateful for, like you know, for still being alive. so i pulled out the old Yaasiin book that i discovered earlier that day while cleaning out my brother’s room, and read it after prayers. i recognised the scripture to be in handwritten calligraphy… so beautiful. the top of some of the pages had been eaten up though, after years of neglect 😦 

II.

as i descended down the common staircase, i made a hopeful prayer to bump into the bangla who cleans our block. i heard the sounds of someone emptying dustbins, so I walked over to my lift lobby to check. there he was. i handed him a rubi plastic bag, curated for someone like him. inside there was my old crumpler bag — looking worn, but no doubt still in decent and more importantly, waterproof condition — two picnic mats, a good quality but heavy poncho i bought in Bali when i was caught in the rain, and two unworn tshirts that i had gotten for free. later on in the bus, i felt stressed thinking about how dumpster-esque my brother’s room was going to look when my room makeover is complete. meh.

III.

i felt a rush of hot anger build inside me. i don’t know why exactly — probably a mix of the baju kurung debacle and the fact that i’m beginning to detest the sheer amount of things in my parents’ house. i decided to take matters into my own hands. i marched into my brother’s room, and cleared the corner where my mum wanted my bookshelf to be. then i went back into my room, dragged the bookshelf onto this old and slippery carpet, and dragged both shelf and carpet into my brother’s room. in other words, i single-handedly moved a medium-sized bookshelf from one room to the other — something i thought i might need NG’s help with. i dusted my hands in satisfaction. also, i love the now-empty corner in my room. to be able to see the wall was so calming… i had no idea what i’ve been missing out on all this while.

IV.

work ended at 3pm today. if i weren’t a bride to be on a mission, i think i would have followed my colleagues to pay the last respects to the late mr lee kuan yew at parliament house. unfortch, from this week onwards, i’ve got so many things to worry about and I have to prioritise my time. though i admit i could waste less time reading forums, FB, and IG. hehe. 

V.

“don’t control your voice. let it go,” she advised. “you jangan takut. on that day, you jangan pandang orang. you tengok bawah je,” so in the privacy of her house, i found the courage to exercise my lungs a little. i had been reunited with my previous ngaji uztazah, after some 12 years. unbeknownst to me, my mum had requested her to teach me how to read Ad-Dhuha sambil berlagu (with song). it was my first time trying to read the Quran this way and ma shaa Allah, i left her house feeling like my half-successful attempts to sing the surah and to copy her tune and lenggok had somehow healed me.

VI.

the last time i wrote a hate note, i took out my notebook, grabbed a marker, and scribbled furiously inside. a la regina george in the movie mean girls. “how dare you…” i wrote, many times over, spelling out the little incidents that had incurred my wrath. then i tore out the pages (thanks for the perforated edges, moleskine!), tore up the pages, and threw them away. the last time i wrote a hate note… was yesterday.

VII.

i woke up feeling somewhat peaceful, at ease, but also a little sad. life goes on even as i harbour resentment in my heart and make empty promises to myself e.g. “i will never ask him for help AGAIN!” i attribute the peace to the surah Yaasiin i had read last night before sleeping. ma shaa Allah. somehow He let it manifest into ketenangan in my heart overnight. back to my shallow worldly affairs, i think bitterly about how sometimes the only person who can fix you is the one who broke you in the first place. 

VIII.

i hesitated. then i heard a voice in my head repeat the line from Wear Your Sunscreen: do one thing that scares you every day. nervous, i dialed the number of the first of my five profs. first one, no answer. second one, an answer. crap! i had to say something! i think he had some trouble recalling me but anyways it turned out that he won’t be in town during my wedding. next two numbers, no answer. i was beginning to doubt myself, thinking “maybe they don’t want to hear from me.” the last number, a response so quick i took a double take. he remembered me immediately. yay! with his thick Aussie accent, he sounded really thrilled and touched. when the call was over, i breathed out loudly, feeling both nervous and relief. do one thing that scares you every day. i did it!

IX.

traffic jam. a difficult conversation. the realisation that okay, i’m going to need to be a better person, a better partner. so, what now? a tender moment. apologies. giving credit where it’s due. all is well, all is well again. alhamdulilah. the wedding goes on. (ha ha) what a preview of marriage. sometimes i can’t tell whether it’s purely bisikan Syaitan trying to sew discord between us, or just the way relationships work: two different views of the world, trying to co-exist with each other.

X.

one day i was trawling the internetz, and i came across a lady’s note about the time she quarrelled with her husband during wedding planning. she had told him that even if they’re getting divorced the day after, the wedding would go on. because “the train has already left the station” i.e. the cards sent out, the vendors booked and paid for. i love it! it embodies a crazy BTB in the final stage of planning pretty perfectly. the fights, the dramatic and unnecessary escalations to “do we still get married??”, the investments, and most of all, the need to keep up with appearances. and also the truth that it’s too late to change the major vendors. come hell or high water, i’m stuck with them, and they had better make it work… *insert horror music*

XI.

i’ve not passed you your invite, i told her. she took the envelope from me, and opened it. it wasn’t an invite — it was a custom illustration of her and her fiancé. an engagement gift, i said. but i think we both knew that more than that, it was a peace offering for the silly fight i had started some weeks back. i’m just glad things are okay again :’) 

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