Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Finding comfort in strangers

Arriving at Swensen’s after finishing work at 9.30pm, I found the whole block of shoplots dark. There had been a blackout since noon.

The staff was hanging out on the walkway in front of the shop and in one of my fits of craziness, I swung my bike into park in front of the shop and joined them.

I greeted them like old buddies when in fact we were strangers to each other but being a regular there made it less awkward and also the fact that I loved this particular group made it especially easy for me.

This group is mostly Kelantanese, students from a nearby private college doing part-time job to earn some cash. All were 19 years of age and studying the same course. They were due to finish in a month’s time so I might not be seeing them anymore after that.

At times I experienced twinges of envy at their easy camaraderie but it was to be expected since these kids have been buddies since high school and they’re also renting the same house.

I don’t know why but watching them interact fulfilled some sort of need in me. So it was that I spent the rest of the night there with them, part of the group but still apart and enjoying every moment of it. Heck, I even got to share some ice cream cones with them because they didn’t want it all to melt and go to waste!

I stayed with them until they closed and shook hands with almost everyone when it was time to go. I wonder if they’ll even remember me later on but I will miss them when they’re gone.

It is most likely that they’ll never even get a chance to read this blog, but I’d like to extend my appreciation to all the staff at Swensen’s especially Adli, Fatah, Aliff, Izzat and Syawal. Also my thanks to the managers, Ady and May, for making it such an enjoyable night.

The smell of mango ice cream will fix this moment in my mind, forever …

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