Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Friend Made (Part 1)

“Hai, penat nampak?” Daniel lifted his head from his palms and looked towards where the voice was coming from. It was the burger maker. Daniel broke into a smile while rubbing his right eye. He wanted to say something but nothing came out. “Dah lewat dah kot ni noh?”

“Ha, bleh tahan la gak.” Daniel responsed out of necessity, but also because he wanted to. The guy didn’t seem all that bad. He was just being friendly, as people do. He had black, wavy hair. It wasn’t too long, but just long enough to know that he wasn’t in school anymore. He wasn’t all that tall either, enhancing his harmless demeanor. He seemed to like smiling a lot, but not in a creepy way. It was .. amiable. Yes, that’s the word Dan was looking for.

“Dok dekat-dekat sini ka?” asked the burger maker while flipping a patty.

“Ha, saya dok kat flat kat belakang tu. Apartmen Saujana.” Daniel pointed in the apartment building’s general direction. It was beyond the flat area that the burger place was in. He just stopped at the first beside-the-road burger joint he chanced upon, since the usual spot was closed for some reason. Daniel had to take his motorcycle there because he didn’t feel like walking around aimlessly for stalls selling burgers.

“Oh, dekat ajalah. Dok belajaq ka kerja dah?” the burger maker was now spraying on some black liquid onto the patties. Looked cool, the way he was doing it, so nonchalantly. He had been working the grill for a while, Daniel could tell.

“Dah kerja dah. Cikgu, kat SK Saujana Indah. Kat belakang masjid tu. Sebelah Sekolah Menengah Saujana Indah.” Daniel regurgitated the more-elaborate-than-required response yet again to answer the anticipated question of which school exactly.

“Oh, ha, taw. Cikgu ka? Baru lagi? Nampak macam muda ja untuk cikgu?” The burger maker’s question didn’t sound intruding. He still came off as amiable.

“Hehe, ha, baru dalam empat bulan. Habeh belajaq tu tequih jadi cikgu ah.” Daniel was starting to admire this guy for some reason. Maybe it was the way he was carrying the conversation. He seemed genuinely interested. Like this wasn’t just small talk. Or maybe it was because he was doing what Daniel could never seem to figure out how to do: being friendly. 

“Oh. Belajaq kat mana dulu?” The burger maker continued the conversation effortlessly while tending to the buns on the grill with as much effort.

“Belajaq dekat sini ja. Maktab perguruan kat atas pulau, sebelah Recsam. Belakang Tesco. Habeh tahun lepaih, paihtu masuk kerja April.” Daniel was getting more comfortable.

“Oh, okayla tu.” The burger maker said while widening his smile to reveal a neat set of teeth. Then her turned away from Daniel for a while to pack the burger that he had prepared all this while. “Nah, burger daging special, siap.”

“Eh, saya order burger daging biasa ja?” Daniel muttered in his confusion. He had only brought down three ringgit, just enough for a standard beside-the-road plain beef burger.

“Takpa, hang bayaq harga daging biasa ja cukup lah.” The burger maker said while handing the finished burger over to Daniel.

“Eh, betoi ka ni bang?” Daniel started feeling guilty, like somehow he exploited the nice guy into giving him a discount.

“La, betoi la, dua ringgit lapan ja, cukup.” The burger maker smiled while still holding out the burger.

“Haih, okaylah bang.” Daniel had learned to accept nice gestures. Afterall, he didn’t like it when people won’t accept his good deeds or acts of charity, so it was only fair that he accepted. “Terima kasih.” Daniel said with a smile while simultaneously taking the burger and handing over the three ringgit he had in his pocket.

“Takpa aih.” The burger maker handed Daniel his 20 cents in change. “Mai lagi noh?” He seemed earnest in his invitation.

“Ha, alright. Thanks sekali lagi!” Daniel turned one last time before getting on his bike and starting it.

“Jumpak lagi geng!” The burger maker said with a wave of the hand and that sincere-looking smile.

Daniel smiled back. Not many people have called him “geng” throughout his lifetime. As a matter of fact, that might have been the very first time. Daniel rode back to his apartment with a smile on his face, being fairly confident that he’ll be going to that burger joint again the next night.

1 comment:

takky said...

nice story....
hope can continue it in future....
btw, it's 100% true story or 50-50???
just curies...