By JULIE YEE
IT was not exactly a date, neither could I say I knew him. He was just one of my sister’s friends and he and his biker friends were going to ride to Seremban, spend a night there, meet up with some friends and then head down to Port Dickson (Negri Sembilan).My sister had asked me to go along to make up the foursome. Of course I had seen him around my neighbourhood with his friends, but we had hardly exchanged any words beyond the occasional nod. How I got paired with him, I can hardly remember.
But there he was outside my humble shack, sitting astride his Vespa and with his jacket on. He was not handsome like Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio, but with his five-foot-eight frame and rugged looks, and tossed hair reaching to his shoulders like Ringo Starr of the Beatles, he did cause my heart to miss a beat.
As I held on to his shoulder and climbed up the bike, I was as nervous as a young girl out on her first date. I can still remember the blushes.
Some incidents about that trip have stayed fresh in my head till today. While the others joked and talked senselessly, he was quiet. Aren’t guys on bikes supposed to be outrageous, bold, brave and wild? I realised he was not, but he just enjoyed hanging out with his friends.
We finished our dinner in Seremban after meeting their friends and were crossing the street. We were just friends, but what made him stand out from the rest was how he held my hand and helped me across the road.The next day as we cruised along the winding trunk road, I sat behind him shivering from head to toe, my stomach making noises. The cold wind was beating against my cheeks and I could hear the whistling of the leaves as we whizzed by. Thoughts of hugging him from behind just to keep warm did cross my mind, but I would have died of embarrassment had I done so. Then I felt him draw my cold hands from behind into his jacket. And he held them there. I had never felt so relieved.
Since then, he has not let me go.
Today, he might have lost his rugged Ringo locks, his youth and his well-built frame, but he is still the same man I met 37 years ago. He still holds my hands when we walk, cross the road, and even in the cinema.He is still the loving, thoughtful man I fell in love with. He has always been the opposite of impatient me, who sometimes loses my temper.For all of him, I am thankful to his late parents for bringing up a fine young man who became my husband. I know he is not one to show his romantic side but come Valentine’s Day, in his quiet manner, he will still take me somewhere to dine and shop, just so he can see me happy.
To the love of my life, K.S. Ong, Happy Valentine’s Day!