I am typing this while listening to Breathe – by Lee HI.
Arin was in his early 20s. I was in my late teens.
We met in Hospital Putrajaya. I was a patient. Warded for 11 days. Treated for (the final diagnosis) Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and Arin was the guy who served my meals in the ward. There was no PPK at the time. The servers were those from the private companies providing the food.
It was a brief friendship in the most unlikeliest place. Arin was at that time – A Coincidence. He just happened to be there (as the person who served us meals in the wards). Our conversations were also short as he did most of the talking. I listened more.
He would pass me extra sachets of milo for my supper later at night . Or swing by to visit me in the wards after he finished his work. For a while. He would ask me what I was reading. My dad brings me my novels to keep me occupied in the wards. Arin would narrate to me his day. He was always in awe when he knew I wanted to study medicine. He said he was not smart enough. Our world was different. I was what he called, privileged. His, was a world of grit and hard-er work. I wish to tell him that even those who are privileged has their own challenges and expectations to live up to. But I didn’t. It was not what he would like to hear.
I allowed him to be proud of his hard, honest work. I let him talk about his might and glory. He should feel listened and appreciated. To me, he earned it. Especially when he has so much responsibilities to shoulder at that age.
He smelled of tobacco, biasalah.. youngsters. He rides a simple motorbike. He does not have any girlfriend (he made that point quite clear, wait, was he hitting on me?). He was ‘Along’ at home for he is the eldest and he stays with his mom and younger siblings. He never mentioned his father, perhaps he was not in the picture. I did not ask. As a stranger, I thought I should not pry too much.
It was a good time while it lasts. He gave me that letter on the day I was discharged.We exchanged phone numbers but my study commitments made it impossible to keep up with the friendship. Furthermore, we have different aspirations and goals. Later on, I did not feel like I want to listen and bottle up my thoughts regarding his ideas anymore. I had an opinion but to voice it out might not be the best thing. So I distanced myself and like a withering flower, the friendship too begin to falter. Hence the end of my chapter of Arin.