Thursday, November 15
Thursday, November 15 was a date your mother was so looking forward to.
You know why, right?
She has a date with Aunt JC at the ...
(and her voice drops to a low whisper)
Grin. Grin. Grin.
Yeah, we're finally really gonna do it this time, after having talked and talked and talked about it for the last 2 years. You know what they say about all talk and no ... um ... karaoke, right?
It'd make anybody a dull person ...
So anyway, it was a public holiday on Thursday, so really, Mom was as free as a bird.
She was supposed to meet Aunt JC at 12:45 pm at the K place. Aunt JC had made a prior booking for our karaoke session from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Dad was leaving the condo for an appointment and had dropped Mom off at the mall.
The time was about 11:30 am.
Mom spent some time at MPH Bookstore.
Browse browse browse.
Browse browse browse some more.
Before long, she found herself checking the time.
It was a few minutes past 12 pm.
She decided to take a slow walk to the connecting mall. It would probably take 10 to 15 minutes or thereabouts, for her to get to the meeting place.
You must have seen your mother as she made her way to the K place, huh, with a big smile on her face.
If only every day was like that Thursday.
Smile smile smile.
At the connecting mall, she stopped by at another bookstore.
It was still too early to go to the K place.
So anyway, she casually picked up one book after another, glancing at her watch every minute.
How slowly time moves when you're ... (think) not in a hurry.
She received an sms from Aunt JC at 12:28:21 pm, informing that Aunt JC would be late but would arrive at 1 pm +.
Decode : 21 : 4 : 21
That sounds like a 21 from beginning to end.
A deliberate delay?
Oh --- kay.
Oh well, she might as well just go straight to the K place and get the room first, so as not to waste prescious time.
So, off she went to the K place.
At the counter of the K joint, Mom asked if she could go in to the room first. Her friend was late, she explained.
The counter girl replied, if Mom wanted to move the session half an hour earlier, from 1 pm to 5 pm to 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
No No No ... of course not.
She didn't waste her time trying to explain, but merely said, she would wait for her friend at the entrance, which was about 20 steps away.
Strolling over to the entrance, she noticed a seat on either side of the Directory Outlet Board (whatever You call it) in front of her. A patron was sitting on the seat on the right. The one on the left was vacant.
Mom walked over to it, and casually sat down.
The moment she sat herself down, she found herself looking straight into this grafitti that was left on the Directory Board.
Staring at the grafitti, she found herself sitting quite still.
I was here ... 14 - 4 -12 ...
Would You look at the numbers? All her favourite numbers.
Decode : 14 - 4 - 21 (ALL YOU)
Should she be making something out of that? She had a feeling she was meant to see that scrawl because if she were not meant to see that, she would have been sitting on the other side. Yes, yes, the other seat on the right would have been available for her ... if she were not meant to see this scribble. Besides, did she not suspect that Aunt JC's delay was deliberate? Had Aunt JC been on time, she would not have been sitting here at all.
I --- was --- here ... Mom thought slowly, as she stared at the words on the side of the big board.
Think Think Think.
Yes, she has plenty of time on her hands to think.
Sighing, she found herself shaking her head as she spoke silently to her son.
Yes, yes, You were ... You were here ... You still are ... somehow, You still are ...
You know huh, that Mom's gonna be karaoke-ing today.
She can only imagine the expression on your face when she said the K word.
Well, You put Mom to this.
Why, if You were around, she probably would not engage in so much singing.
It was 5 minutes to 1 pm.
Mom stood up and walked over to the counter.
She said to the counter girl, "My friend is late ... I'll go in first."
The girl said okay, scribbled something on a booking - form of some sort, before signalling to one of the boys to lead your mother to the room.
She followed him.
He showed her to the room.
She wrinkled her nose.
"Is this the smoking area?"
The boy said, "Yes ..."
She replied instantly, "Oh, we need a non-smoking room ..."
He said, "No more non-smoking rooms ..."
She insisted on a non-smoking room.
Finally, the boy said, "At 2 pm ... I arrange for you a non-smoking room."
Mom called Aunt JC to ask if Aunt JC was okay if the booking changed to 2 pm (instead of 1 pm).
Aunt JC gave the green light. :D
Okay, good good.
So, Mom left the counter with a friendly reminder, "Don't forget, non-smoking room for us at 2 pm ..."
The counter staffs gave a courteous nod and said okay.
Mom waited at the entrance. Aunt JC arrived a few minutes later.
After all the "Omg, I can't believe we're finally doing this ..." bla bla bla, we went to a cafe for a drink.
We ordered some buns and otak-otak (yes, yes, brain food).
Mom had her usual D44 "iced milk tea less sweet" whilst Aunt JC had a hot cup of lemon tea.
We had a lovely time catching up.
Soon, it was 10 minutes before 2 pm. We made our way back to the K place.
There, we were shown to our room. Number 51.
Mom had to smile. A secret smile.
Decode : 4
You're so gonna be singing with us, aren't You, Daniel?
Mom had brought along a piece of A4 paper.
Aunt JC had laughed when Mom told her that the paper was for us to jot down all the songs that we're gonna sing. :D
"Let's see if we can do 100 songs," Mom said with a laugh, as she drew two lines down the page.
Aunt JC was tickled at the thought. :D
Aunt JC started to fiddle with the square box, before asking Mom, "What song?"
Your mother replied, "MY HEART WILL GO ON ..." :D
We started the Karaoke session with LET IT BE.
Mom jotted down the time that first song started.
It was 2:10 pm
She wanted to know how many songs we would be able to cover by 6 pm.
To cut a long story short, we started to sing, choose songs, and keying the songs in. Each time a song came on, Mom would scribble down the title on her A4 piece of paper.
We stopped for a short break at about 3 pm. The mini buffet had a small selection of tea stuffs and we needed the energy. Hah! :D
So anyway, song after song, we sang.
We had such a wonderful time.
Time just flies when you're having fun.
It was about 5 :30 pm, when Aunt JC said, "We still have about 45 over songs to go ..."
Yeah, we had keyed in way too many songs.
Quite ambitious, don't You think?
Before long, Aunt JC said, "This is the last song ..." when the song appeared on the screen.
W-what? So soon? We're ending already?
Mom picked up her pen, looked at the title, and found herself holding her breath.
That was the last song?
She suddenly noticed that 21 GUNS was song number 51 on her song list.
51? Why, wasn't that our room number?
Did she not decode it earlier as : 4 ?
Only then did she notice (and remembered) the time at the top of the paper.
Honestly, what are the chances of 21 GUNS being the very last song of the day? We couldn't sing another song even if we wanted to, because the K monitor was automatically shut when our time was up. We had just been randomly choosing and keying the songs into the K monitor from the start ...
Let her tell You this, but Mom sang 21 GUNS with full satisfaction.
Especially so when it was the original band who came on the screen. Not some voice over by a fake singer singing against a beach scene. It was GREEN DAY. She checked the time when she came to an end.
It was 6:01 pm.
Wah, so right on time. We were supposed to end at 6 pm.
After our K date, your mother accompanied Aunt JC to buy some this and thats. Our parting words to each other were, "We must do this again ..." Mom met up meet up with Dad, Justine, your 2 aunties and Grandma. We were gonna be having dinner at one of the nice restaurants. Grandma will be flying to Los Angeles on Saturday, and we were all celebrating Justine's birthday in advance.
Aunty C bought an ice-cream cake. We were not allowed to eat the cake in the restaurant. They would charge us RM30 if we did.
That would probably be the first time we brought a cake to a restaurant, and not allowed to have it there.
What la ...
Ah, but on hindsight, there was a reason why.
So anyway, we decided to have the cake at Baskin-Robbins where Aunty C bought it.
Here are Dad, your sister and Mom with the birthday girl.
You wanna hear something really interesting?
Sure You do, right?
Well, at first, Mom was sitting on the other side of the table, where she faced the ice-cream counter.
However, Grandma was like, "Go sit on the other side with Bryan and Justine ... Take a family photo ..."
And that's how she ended up sitting where she did, with her back against the ice-cream counter.
It was only later when we were all ready to go home, when she suddenly realized why she had to be in the seat. Mom happened to look over to her right as a lady who had just entered the ice-cream shop dropped her bag on the seat, before going to the counter to give her orders.
Are You kidding?
That's Gradma in her outfit she bought from Hawaii.
Mom whispered to Dad as she pointed to the bag, "Forever 21 ... Omg ... Can You believe it? We're having Justine's birthday cake ... He definitely wouldn't want to miss it ... What are the chances?"
You certainly made your presence felt the whole day, Daniel ...
Truly, and honestly, Son ... everywhere we are, there You'll be ...
Mom sang that Faith Hill song too, did You hear her?
What an awesome day we had, Daniel ...
Truly, You were definitely with us from beginning to the end of the day.
Thanks for that, Son ...
Keep the zaps coming ... always.
Oh, by the way, when Mom wrote this call on Thursday night, she couldn't help but smile at the Call 421.
She said to Dad, "Wow, would you take a look at this? I'm on Call 421 with Son. The whole day today has been 4 and 21 ... Also, today is the 15th ... and our room number was 51 ... Gosh, Son was definitely with me the whole day today ..." :D