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The stress from her impending wedding (which will take place on a date with all things “10”) might have got to the ex-sarong kebaya girl. The fact that the paternal parental unit went on a rant – about his choice of the colour of the suit and tie he had to wear during the obligatory wedding dinner – would have added considerably to the stress she experienced. After she walked out from our apartment, an awkward evening ensued.

So there I was, sitting in front of the computer, trying to make sense of it all. The paternal parental unit continued with his rant but I quashed it before he made the maternal parental unit upset. The plans for a dinner of frog legs porridge all but evaporated. I had fried rice – the version with the vegetarian char siew – for my birthday dinner. In another place, at another time, I would be looking into the eyes of the ravishing significant other, mesmerised by the sparkle in her eyes as we dined in the candlelight. Our dinner conversation would revolve the lows (first) and then the highs of how we got together. Even though this wasn’t her big day, I would whip out a piece of folded paper, unfold it carefully and then read the latest crappy prose-cum-poem in celebration of an important milestone of my life. We would talk about our teenaged years and how we grew up listening to soppy Tommy Page songs.

By midnight, the paternal parental unit had retreated to his room, preparing for bed, while the maternal parental unit was watching some B-grade movie on the telly. Somehow I knew this would be another one of those days which would be unforgotten, for the wrong reasons. It paved the way for a weekend of melancholy. And as usual, no angels came to save the day.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the order to get home before eight. The person who gave the order had to sleep by eight on weeknights. Because she initiated an exchange of photos, I had to be home before that time so that I could tear away the visual image of some good-looking Korean-actor-esque male she had in her head of me.

Before all of these took place, she asked questions about how much importance I would place on a partner’s looks. Inevitably, this led to the obligatory discussion about each other’s top five expectations (or wish list) for a partner.

That night, we exchanged our photos. I felt underwhelmed at first but thought this friendship was still worth pursuing.

After the exchange, she asked if we could meet. “Wouldn’t it be good to see each other in person?” she said. I was not all that comfortable with the pace and the initiative she was taking, given the fact that it was merely 10 days ago when we said our first “hellos”. But I played along since this could well be the usual pace.

We walked around Tanjong Pagar. We stumbled upon this Italian restaurant she wanted to visit for the longest time. I watched her as she took photos of our food and posted it on her Facebook page using her iPhone. We tucked in. We talked. We walked to a café nearby and we continued to chat. By then, it appeared to me that I was doing more of the talking than she was. Perhaps, it was the first sign of things to come.

My repeated requests to send her home were turned down. “I would feel awkward,” was the explanation she offered. Then, I asked if she could text me when she got home.

She did. And I replied her, saying I enjoyed the company tonight.

No reply.

By the next week, the pace of the MSN chats slowed and her response was markedly slower. “I was given a big project to work on. Now busy lah,” she said.

When I logged on this morning, I saw her nick again and wondered if there was any chance at all of her still wanting to maintain this… possibly short-lived friendship.

I guess time will tell, but I don’t think I should hold my breath.