Monday, October 6, 2008

When Love Comes A-Calling ( V )

May 2001

MAY proved a busy month on both professional and personal fronts. Workwise, she hardly had time to breathe. While it was bad enough that her client was very demanding, she also had to contend with additional workload.

She learned from an equally harassed senior colleague that financial institutions had that irksome reputation. More often than not, they were both merciless and disdainful in dealing with agencies that served and serviced them.

While she had the patience of Solomon, there were times when she felt like lashing back, especially when given the third degree by those still wet behind the ears.

These were the lightweights who knew not what they were doing, whose PR knowledge and expertise did not exceed their paper qualifications from some foreign universities.

Frankly, they were no match for practitioners with decades of on-the-ground experience, who knew the local industry like the back of their hands.

What really got to her most times was the fact that they balked at accepting professional advice from the very people they hired to do just that - advise them professionally.

She was so mentally exhausted that sometimes she just didn't feel like getting out of bed at all. Not wanting to go to work and earn one's daily bread was a dangerous state to be in, and she knew it.

Thankfully in Ashburn she found a sympathetic ear. It didn't really matter if he was doing his own bit of PR (who knows?) by gamely commiserating with her, either in the chatroom or over their endless teh tarik sessions. At least, outwardly, he showed that he cared.

The developing friendship naturally did not escape the eagle eyes of their chatroom buddies. There were good-natured ribbings all around whenever the two of them were in the chatroom together.

Whatever her innermost feelings insofar as Ashburn was concerned, her thoughts had yet to breach the normal boundary of relationship.

True, there was a hint of romance in the air, but there it remained - suspended and afloat in space.

Little did she realise this was where Ashburn and herself differed vastly. While she was in no rush to know where they were heading, he proved to be one man in a mighty big hurry.

It was late May and the evening air was cool to the touch when she settled herself comfortably, as always, in front of her desktop next to the open window.

The housework was done, the pile of office work that she brought home was finally taken care of, the cats were fed and the kids were watching TV. All was well with the world - or so she thought.

As usual, the chatroom was jam packed with chatters. It was one of the most popular local chatrooms at that point in time that entry had to be modulated to prevent system breakdown.

At its height, some 250 chatters crowded the room at any one time. One could hardly "hear' oneself, let alone focus one's attention to whatever that was being discussed.

One also needed nimble fingers and the ability to type very fast, or else one would be left far behind in chatdom, for there were multiple topics discussed at the same time, by different clusters.

She was thankful for her years of journalistic training, from the typewriter to the computer, for it had enabled her to pound the keyboards at a pretty decent speed.

Above the din, Ashburn beckoned. Distractedly, she joined in his chat with a few regulars. She had not gotten into her 'chat mode' yet. Usually it would take a few minutes for her to adjust to the surroundings and join the flow.

She did notice, however, that he wasn't quite his usual perky, gregarious self. His tone seemed somewhat subdued.

Suddenly the din and clamour mysteriously ceased. All chat stopped in their track and the room grew unusually quiet. She wondered why... until her eyes latched on Ashburn's last entry:

CAGE, WILL YOU MARRY ME?

Oh, for the love of God! She could feel the flush creeping up her face. All of a sudden, alone in front of a solitary computer, with a few cats for company, she felt exposed and stripped to the bone.

She, GildedCage, a loner in life who preferred feline to human company, who liked nothing better than anonymity and inconspicuousness, had been proposed to in a roomful of faceless entities; some friends and many strangers.

With the room suspended in motion, she felt lost beyond words. Jumbled thoughts raced through her mind: "Is this for real? He can't be serious, can he? What if he is? Hell, what am I to do?"

The words of her mother, uttered hardly a fortnight before, suddenly came flooding back. "Tak percaya tengoklah, jodoh awak dah sampai." Oh, Mak. Oh Mak. Is this it?

She was jolted out of her reverie when Ashburn repeated the question.

Scanning the list of chatters, she spied PalmGrower, a chatroom old timer in his 40s from Batu Pahat and one of their closest chat friends. "Help me out here Palmie, please," she pleaded, not knowing what else to say.

The good-natured Chinese man responded, "Hehehe, Cage. Only you can answer that question and you better think fast. He's waiting and so are we!"

Slowly, feeling both defeated yet exhilarated at the same time, she typed with trembling fingers, spelling out each alphabet as she did: YES ASH, I WILL.


31 comments:

Nor'Aini Mohd Nor said...

Wowww...hot stuff u ve been writing here. I m kinda addicted to ur blogs, been reading up ur archives in between reviewing some reports at the office ( yes, I m back to work today :(). You know, we have other similarities apart from STF. I used to live in Trengganu (though only 6 years), I also went thru the big "D" at the age of 32 with 3 tots in tow, I do read Bill Bryson( all of his wicked books, I do recommend)and Murakami ( so r million others , come to think of it, hehe) BUT, the most interesting similarity is that I also married some hunky mathematician ( like Pak Abu, eh?) I met on the net who is the love of my life 3 yrs ago! Selamat Hari Raya n keep writing lah. :)

Aida said...

Puteri,

I betcha with your response, the whole chatroom community raised their hands in the air with rejoice..... I know I would.

Thank you for sharing your story.... and please continue if there is more.

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

oh goodness me, nor... there must be something abt mathematicians and the chatroom eh? our similarities are unnerving, to say the least. anyway, gld to hv known u albeit thro blogsphere.. who knows, one day we just just meet in the flesh..

aida, actually we had a wedding reception just for chatters some time later..it was FUN all the way!
pstt.. i can't let the cat out of the bag yet..hehehe

Anonymous said...

Alah alah...baru lima chapter dah abis suspen,..sungguh kepanglimaan..nyer si Abang Ash ni.yek..dalam chatroom ngan reramai orang tu dia propose..sungguh berani

ecewah keturunan hulubalang agaknya

kisah saya tragedi gak..dia dah bertunang dan nak kawin..pulak tu dah 7 tahun berpisah..di carik balik den ni ha..sebab hati dia kata..aku ni dah nak kawin..tapi hati kat orang lain..

Keperkasaan Jodoh Allah ..tak tertolak kita yang kerdil..

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

betul tu anon 1.08.. bab bab jodoh ni susah nak cakap. kalau dah ada, datang jugak dia. kalau dah takder, tunggu berzaman pun tetap tak kesampaian.

Elviza said...

O.H! M.Y. G.O.D!

I am gonna die right here from all the suspense and romance!

p/s: they dont make men like Ashburn anymore, they don't: that I am so bloody sure of, Kak. Sunggoh nih.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Hi Puteri
Oh this is such an interesting and delish distraction. It must be an adrenalin pumping experience. I will no longer look at chatroom with a somewhat jaundiced view.
aMiR

Kak Teh said...

puteri, not fair - i went to sleep and you came up with this and 7 commenters before me!
Macam cerita hindustan pulak! wow - i felt the excitement too!!!
btw - you've got mail - pls check

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

Elviza - best kan? if only all men are romantics at heart..

Amir - when I first started chatting, i was cautioned by so many well-meaning people about the perils of chatting with total strangers. i guess there are chatrooms, and there ARE chatrooms. I happened to stumble upon a wonderful one.

Kak Teh - even my kids tergelak2 baca these entries. they didn't know the nitty-gritty of it all. sikit2 tau la. tu belum masuk bab menikah lagi tu..hehehe.. lagi katun. [satlagi i shall check my mail].

Aida said...

Kak Puteri,

U have to tell us about the children's reactions ....

If it was me, I would have had a reception for those special friends too ehehhe esp after being witness to the proposal am sure they'd demand it ehhehehe

That's kismet...

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yang alim.

Saya sangat suka cerita yg berakhir dgn perkahwinan, kata Pak Malim sambil makan penganan. Tidak ada apa yg lebih menggembirakan, kata Pak Malim sambil menggoreng ikan, daripada mendapat cinta yg diredhai, kata Pak Malim yg suka berkelahi.

drbubbles said...

I can only utter this - WAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

(mulut masih ternganga nih!)

Anonymous said...

Cagey, i really looked forward to having a teh tarik session wid u agin soon...need to catch up wid some popek2 thingy...hehehe
Keep ur mills & boons coming yah...


~SnOwY~

Anonymous said...

my oh my...
now i looking forward for two bloggers..satu dah tentu lah kak Kama..

yang kedua nuu..
Pak Malim kucing ray yang alim..

tu pantun ka apa ka..tapi rima nya..berkencana..

Anonymous said...

Dear Cagey,
Matt here! I enjoy ur luv story very much ..... I din hav much luck :( .... after 8 yrs I'm still in the room chattin! We hav a new room now at www.wcn-chat.com .... do drop by once in a while .... it would be great to see you :) .... U will make a great novel writer .... and happy b-day to u! It's October!

Anonymous said...

hari lahir ka...saya berdoa agar dipanjangkan umurmu dimurahkan rezeki diberkati usahamu dunia akhirat

amin..

Pi Bani said...

Mak aihh... nasib baik lalat tak masuk dalam mulut... dok ternganga baca your story ni!

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

pak malim kucin ray yg alim

apa pasai suka berkelahi?
tanya kama sambil tepuk dahi
lebih baik pi goreng ikan
kata kama dengan tergelak sakan
at least kucing ray tak lapar
kata kama terus kena tampar
(adoii!)

Bubbles & Pi - tutup mulut lekaih, nanti masuk lalat..:)

Anon 5.14 - tqtq, come more often, I'll make sure pak malim kucing ray yg alim terus berseloka kat sini..

Anon 8.36 - b'day belum lagi..di hujung october baru sampai waktunya..

Matt! my fellow chatfriend! tq for dropping by. I shall visit the new room soon. is it as good as MBSC?

aida - i am coming to the last instalment of this story. ni tengah dok craft the storyline..:)

Snowy - we shall, soon enough..

MrsNordin said...

Oh wow... what a lovely way to propose! I only hear or see this kind of proposal in the movies, never thought I'd come across someone who had actually been proposed that way in real life!

Your Pak Abu is so romantic. You simply can't say no to such proposal, can you? Nice story & thanks for sharing it!

talqin said...

Ahhhh demam hari raya... teringin juga nak beraya di rumah mertua.. hehe.

Anonymous said...

Ma.. bestnyer baca kisah cinta ma ni.. Masih ada lagi lelaki romentik cam pa abu.. Apsal fie lom jumpa lagi ek? :(

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

talqin - promise semedang tapi tak mai pun.. bila wanna come to my hse?

cik majistret! fie - when u coming to kl? must tell me so ma can take u kraoke with uncle ash and bing..

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

Salams. First time in here and sudah jatuh hati. Ohh...sungguh lah best nyer reading the sequels, could hardly stop!!

This surely beats my dry and dreary proposal writing on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon. More please, more please.

~Kay~

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

kay, thank God my days of writing dry and dreary proposals are long gone. now ni bolehlah merapu tulis benda lain.

tq for visiting..

Ummi365 said...

salam kak kama.. ummi ni meloncat dari pak payne.. tak pernah jumpa kak kama sehingga he put up his blogupdates tu.. aduhai.. romantikanya.. ternganga mulut ummi sekejap.. syahdu sungguh rasanya.. ni tengah dok buat keje kat office dok layan setengah jama "when love comes a-calling" semua episode.. mesti habiskan jugak baca, nanti keje tak leh nak buatkan.hehehe..

oohh keep on writing.. i love your words..

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

w'salam ummi..alaahai..gitulah ceriteranya cinta orang tua..LOL. tq kerana sudi dtg bertandang..

talqin said...

awat tak tau seriyau satu macam bila nak pi jumpa u..

later2 ok..

Anonymous said...

hehehehe....just look at those comments. hahaha sis, look at you...a posse of ardent followers you have there now!



-fidd

Iron Butterfly said...

wow.... excellent stuff, auntie. first time here too.. and amused with ur STF story. I myself quit TKC after 18 days. Ehehehe..

Muslim Filipina in KL said...

Salam Puteri,

Gosh... I feel like being hit by cupid after reading this entry. My heart is beating so fast and I could only imagine how yours was during that proposal. I am truly happy for you.

I am hook to your blog that I keep your page always open in my screen, since the day I stumbled to it.

Keep up the good work. May the almighty Allah bless you and Pak Abu always:-)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

W'salam MFinKL - thank you for the kind words, and for visiting & reading my ramblings..