That Lady at the Optical Shop

I went to an optical store at Wangsa Walk last Sunday. While browsing around, a young lady came up to me and asked if she could be of any help. I told her I was interested in one of the glasses in the display. I noticed her accent almost immediately. There was no mistaking that she is from Sabah. A little bit of conversation then ensued.

She told me that she is a student at one of the colleges nearby – and that she is working there as a part-timer because the fund that she got from her scholarship is far from enough. I couldn’t help but noticing her beauty. She really is pretty. And her smile glows. I asked her if she had a boyfriend and she told me she had none.

Right.

“But I’m sure a lot of guys are after you. You are a beautiful lady” I said to her, probably more direct-to-the point than I had intended to. I addressed her as ‘lady’ after she told me that she is 29 years old – a far cry from my initial guess, which was 23.

And I really meant it. She is beautiful. “Especially Malay guys. They can be very romantic around girls at times. They really know how to melt your heart. I mean, just look at their TV drama series” I said to her with a stifled laugh.

“Ahhhh, Malay guys”, she said with her head thrown back. This time she was the one who laughed. “Too romantic it’s actually funny at times” she said. “Especially Kelantanese guys. I realized many of my Kelantanese friends got married to Sabahan girls. You can be one of them”, I told her. And I meant it too.

“No, I’d prefer marrying a Sabahan”, she said and to that I could feel my face blush. “I don’t intend to stay here. I gotta go back to Sabah. And in order to go back to Sabah and stay there, I gotta get married to a fellow Sabahan” she said which made me blush even more.

“Are you sure you are still single?” I asked for a reassurance. “Yes I am. But I actually got engaged when I was 22 years old”.  I tried not to look too surprised. Or happy. Or .. relieved?

“Really? Then what happened?” I asked, this time more curious than ever.

“Oh well, she lied to me. I was engaged to him for six months. Everything seemed so perfect and we were all set for our wedding until … “ she paused, probably trying to keep her composure.

“.. until a woman called and asked if she could see me. I agreed, out of curiosity” she said.

“When we met up, she told me that she was the wife of my fiancé, that they’ve been married for quite a few years but they couldn’t get a child”

“I was so devastated. It really broke my heart” she continued before pausing again.

“They were still married when he was engaged to me. It really hurt me, there’s no doubt about that, but what hurt me most was the fact that his parents were in it too. They probably wanted my (ex) fiancé to have kids too” she said with her eyes now fixed to the floor.

“I called off the wedding almost immediately. I felt so cheated. I didn’t want to be used as a tool for him to get kids”

“I left for KL soon after and applied for a scholarship from here. I just wanted to go away at that time. As fate quite had it, I got a scholarship, first to get a diploma and later a degree. And here I am, a happy student, full of hope and enthusiasm and ready to face the world again” she said with a wide smile on her face. I could easily fall in love with that smile.

Well, needless to say, I bought the glasses. I’m not quite sure whether it was her smile or I really liked those glasses.

“The glasses will be ready in a few days. I suggest you come and collect it on Monday because I’m going back to Sabah on Tuesday. At least you can see me again before I go back” she said flirtatiously – with that bright smile of hers again. “OK, I’ll try” I said, trying to sound and look innocent at the same time.

I actually couldn’t come to that shop on Monday.

Good news is, she did not go back to Sabah for good.

Categories: Lifestyle, Stories of Life | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hulu Langat Trail Run 2016

So I joined a run for the first time this year – a run called Hulu Langat Trail Run. I can’t believe how drastically I had slowed down on running, considering how I ran almost every month back in 2014. I could feel my weight ballooned up ever since Christmas last year and it began to worry me when most of my pants wouldn’t fit me. So it was part of the motivation – apart from the fact that I’m going to climb Mount Kinabalu at the end of this month. Heh.

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The run started off at the IKBN Dusun Tua in Hulu Langat. It was a very modest flag off with the absence of extravagance despite the fact that there were some 3000 people participating in both the 16km and 10k categories. But I liked how it started. Faizal Tahir’s Gemuruh was such a perfect song to spur us on. I had a lil bit of goosebumps because seriously – coming to the starting point means you have already finished half of the race. Finishing or not is another story. I just wished they did the flag off earlier at 7am instead of 7.30am. The wait felt quite too long especially when participants were asked to come as early as 6am.

As usual, it was quite packed in the beginning so it was almost impossible to dash forward faster than I had probably wanted to. An encounter with an uphill run was almost immediate and I had to admire how the participants kept going strong despite the challenges of having to go up against the gravity. IF there was one thing that I’ve learned from all the years of participating in run events, it’d be not to even try to outrun the crowds because quiet more than not we’ll be disappointed. We’ll never win. It’s always good to run within our own pace. We’ll enjoy the run more.

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To tell the truth, it was my only second trail run. My first was the Kemensah Krazy Run last year – and I remember how I hated having to quite up in a long line of people just because some of them were too afraid to run down a slope no matter how tiny it was. And I still hated it when I ran at the Hulu Langat Trail Run. It was such a turn off when we had to slow down – even to a complete halt at times – because it would cool down the engines and it’d take some time to warm them back up again. But then, that is what trail run is about. It requires more patience then it does when you are running on an open road.

The uphill trail almost felt like there was no end to it. But once it went down – it went down almost all the way (and up again a few times but shorter ones). I was quite worried because I didn’t wear a trail run shoes but somehow it did not disappoint me. The sun was glistening through the morning mist and the view from the top of the hill was majestic. I took all the time in the world to enjoy it all.

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We ran across hillside farms and beautiful villages and there was one time when I saw a pack of beautiful cats feeding themselves on a two-tiered tray full of food. They seemed over-fed but they looked so happy and free. I smiled my way on and before I knew I was running across a vegetable farm. The smell of pesticide was quite over-powering and I couldn’t help but being a little bit worried about the kind of food that we put on out tables nowadays. They are full of pesticide.

It felt so good to be running in a countryside and I had to remind myself over and over again that I was on a run and that I had a cut-off time to catch up with and not merely a walk in the park. But still I had to stop several times to take pictures despite the fact that it really slowed me down a lot. LOL.

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There was one time when we were made to go through a tunnel – which was more like a drain actually – and I was so grateful that the water level barely made it to my knees so I made it out with my shirts still intact. But then, just when I thought that was all the wet business that they had to offer to us, I found myself facing down a small creek which we were made to run along and across. It was not really the stream of water that we were concerned about but more of the muddy and slippery trail on the riverbank. I saw how some of the runners were really struggling and some even slipped and stumbled.

Luckily the volunteers were there to lend a hand and they really knew how to make things hilarious out of all the ruckus. A group of fire brigade personnel was also stationed at the river to help runners with crossing the river. They seemed to be having as much fun as we were.

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It was at the muddy river that the soles of my shoes came off – first the left shoe and later the right further down the stream. It really was embarrassing and one of the brigade personnel laughed when he saw me holding the torn off soles in my hand. I guess it was about time that I bought a new pair of shoes – something that I’ve been planning to do for quite a long time but never got around to doing it. The fact is, I’ve been surveying around but I remain indecisive about which brand or model to buy. I guess I’m still traumatized will all the experiences of spending quite a bit of money on shoes only to find out that they don’t fit me well. It can be really disappointing.

I thought it was going to be OK until I found out that I had to run along a graveled road which was full of crushed stones. With my feet not fully protected (had to depend wholly on the flimsy under-feet pads) it was quite a struggle for me and those five last kilometers suddenly felt like a thousand mile. It was like running on needles. Urghhh!

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But then, every good or bad thing will come to an end and before I knew I was crossing the finishing line. Somehow it felt so good to be at the end of a run especially when you haven’t done it for quite so long. It’s been quite a while that I already forgot how it felt so when I finally did it again, it all just returned to me. The self-satisfaction, the victorious feeling, the feeling of accomplishment – they all returned to me and I returned home a happy man. Heh.

Categories: Running | Tags: , | 2 Comments