I’m not young anymore

The year 2016 ended on a really good note, in the sense that I had achieved some milestones I could be proud of, although I did not plan for them. Hah.

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After a month into 2017, I still work on the 17th floor and I still have to juggle my finances to keep being in the black. A new writing gig meanwhile is wrecking havoc with my sleeping schedule. I guess I forgot that I am not a 23-year old cub reporter who could work 12 hours a day and live on coffee to sustain me. Forgetting things is one proof of this process people call aging. Hah.

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Meeting an old friend after being out of touch for a long time is nice. It is also a reminder of our past, which is something we should not dwell on too much. Life happens, we move on. It doesn’t matter if we were the ‘what-if’ or the ‘one who got away’. It only matters if any of us still have unresolved issues, I think.

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I am still undecided whether I should carry on with the Navy assignment or go back to be a ‘normal’ reservist.

Nothing left to break

My second Royal Langkawi International Regatta, this time as a Blue Angel in IRC2. Only four boats in the group, and I felt like we might not have a chance at line honours. However, with the lowest handicap and some decent finishes, we came in second overall. Phoenix, the winning boat, was just too fast for us. Even with an OCS where she had to do a penalty on the start line, she managed to win EVERY. RACE. Simply awesome.

Blue Angel - cruiser yang berangan nak jadi racer

Blue Angel – cruiser yang berangan nak jadi racer

It felt good to be up on stage again, after our Raja Muda adventures last November. Too bad for the Navy/MAF team, URANUS was no competition to the TP52’s, and having a makeshift crew didn’t help things. Stiff competition in the Sports Boat category too, but they managed to sneak in as runner up after Tom & Co. improved their standings in the final few races.

On the social side of the event, I guess I did pretty well, considering how I stuck to my own lot in 2015. This time there was a surprise connection with my JB friends and Eddy made sure we did a few rounds of mingling. Some really old photos resurfaced and there were plenty of stories exchanged over drinks, nasi with gulai and loud music.

Sunset at Bass Harbour

Sunset at Bass Harbour

There were some glorious sunsets too, at the marina and one while visiting Labarque. Patrick opted out from volunteering at the regatta, so he kept Tigger the cat company on the boat while Elizabeth was on the water at Mark A with Che Ajis and Tengku Deen, along with Tom the retired US Navy diver.  Managed to go on board for a short visit and spent a couple of hours with the Labarque people before I headed to the airport on Sunday.

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I left my heart in Langkawi during my first RLIR. I think I got it back. Not entirely healed, but quite at peace with the universe.

Coming through in waves

I never thought of sailing for leisure, it has always been about racing.

Eddy said that yesterday and it occurred to me that I feel the same way. Even the few times I joined the pakciks to bring FORTISSIMO X out, all of us treated it as training, to try out a new equipment or simply to reconnect with the boat and make sure she is race worthy.

The one time I joined a couple of friends on a boat delivery job, it did feel like an assignment, with some elements of adventure and drama attached to it.

However, it would be nice to have a boat to just set out for a few hours to just enjoy the moment. Just like Jamie Cullum‘s song.

Nothing more to give

I was halfway through my walk when it started raining. Mid-spring, the wind was still freezing cold for me, a creature from the Equator. I got back before you did and was all bundled up, drying my hair in front of the tv when you returned.

“Give me that.” A soft shove and I was on the floor, somewhat shocked. But you just went ahead and sat down, the damp towel back on my head with your hands on it.

I don’t remember the last time anyone had dried my hair like you did. Not even my parents. I made a half-hearted attempt to stop you but it felt good to just sit back and enjoy the treatment. Never have I thought of having a guy dry my hair being one of the reasons to keep it long.

“I bet you do this to all the girls who came here.”

“Maybe.”

That’s how we’ve always been, dancing on the edges of emotional entanglement and yet keeping a safe distance. Being in different time zones was another reason I tell myself why it wouldn’t work, despite the attraction and affection I feel for him.

“All done, princess,” his words brought me back to the apartment.

“I’m hungry, what’s for dinner?” was all I could reply without making a fool of myself.

Another evening walk, my last before I leave for home the next day. I kept thinking of the letter I’ve been carrying in my bag the whole time I’ve been here, never having the courage to hand it over to the intended receiver. The pessimist in me believes that I will not have my some kind of wonderful with you. That has always been my ending. Friendzoned is a term I have come to accept when it comes to the guys in my life, no matter how genuine the connection I thought we had.

Despite all my misgivings, I felt that I had to take the risk of losing you entirely. It might have been the Irises I found at the market on the corner near your place. In another country, quite a while back, I got to know the spring flower and came to love it. In Greek mythology, Iris is said to be the goddess of the rainbow, who acted as a messenger of the gods. Yeah, it was probably the flowers that made me do it.

You brought work home, a rare occasion for Mr. Efficient. I didn’t want to interrupt, I finished packing and was staring at the letter for a good while before I made my decision.

“This is for you. I’m going for a walk,” I said quickly before turning to leave. You were much quicker, taking my right wrist as I turned. “Shit.” That was my brain. My heart went on a roller coaster and I just froze.

“Sit with me, please,” the soft request sounded like a booming thunder. Freaking out was an option I didn’t want to choose so I just sat.

You kept my right hand in yours and I focussed on them while you read, a kaleidoscope of my week with you going through my mind. The walks, the conversations, you with a 24-hour bug making me breakfast when I wanted to do it for you and then insisting I keep my appointments while you sleep for the rest of the day. Our flea market Sunday, when the sun was out and the park was beautiful instead of gloomy and grey.

A tug on my right hand but I still couldn’t look up.

“Thank you for this,” those four words and the hint of a smile gave me a bit of courage, although I was still dreading what to come after.

“You are a great friend and I do care for you. But friendship is all I have to give.”

I might have nodded or responded in some other way, I don’t remember. I was suddenly enveloped in a warm hug and I wished I could stay wrapped in that warmth forever. Because I finally understood the meaning of your words.

Good goes the bye

If it was a blind date, it was a very nice one. Haha. The conversation flowed without awkwardness, and there was a level of comfort I normally would not feel when among strangers. It was a little overwhelming, though, the amount of information I needed to process.

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The events unfolded over the weekend had me thinking (more) about mortality, about old age and about being able to leave this world without giving the ones left behind too much trouble. Planning is not something I am very good at but I guess now is a good time to start rather than later.

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This year’s Raja Muda is something to look forward to.