Fifi walked down the stretch of benches which felt like a mile long. She’s in Indonesia, not really sure how long a mile was but it felt forever. Her hands she held out to greet the “seniors”, some of which greeted her with a warm welcome, most lukewarm, and there were a couple who shook her hand with obvious dismay in their eyes.
She didn’t want to think about it. Before she got there she heard many tales about vicious seniors spitting venom to cripple you but let you live enough to tell the tale. It was Scouts Day – everyone dressed in brown and she made it a point to dress in white. Why would she want to dress like everyone else? Fifi scanned the row of males to look for any comforting familiar faces. Males were always nicer to her than females were, and she had become acquainted with four of them months before her arrival.
A seated tall, smart-looking stranger caught her eye as hers caught his. He gave her a broad pleasant smile and she sat at the only empty seat in front of him. She heard him nudge the man next to her and then she knew, he was under this witch’s spell.
It was not even two hours of her being in that compound when messages were being sent to her by that guy, through the little ladies, saying “Hi”. Fifi ignored them all. Why messages? If you want to say hi, come to me yourself. She waited.
And eventually forgot about him.
Three days later he appeared again. Asking her if she wanted a drink. Yes, she said. Accepting his drink, she wondered if it had been spiced with some funny substance. She shook her head and reminded herself that she was the witch, not him. They talked as he introduced himself and told her about what he did there.
The dim light bulb in her buzzed and lit up something in her. Was it the drink he offered? Maybe.
A counselor? You help students? That’s so cool!
She had to excuse herself back to her hut to bubble up her cauldron. Bye, they said.
He did not loom in her sight, neither did his shadows in a form of some distant memory. It was the weekend, and again she had forgotten about him. She didn’t even remember his name. Monday came and he was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps it was those compound that reminded her of him, as she walked around keeping her eyes open for him.
She didn’t take much effort. There he was, holding a stack of papers, looking busy, trying to give them out to the ladies sitting on the sofa. Ah, he’s been busy.
“Hey there,” she said hey first, duh, “I’ve been looking for you.”
“For me?” he looked at her, flushed and wide-eyed.
“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about your work. But I see you’re busy. Carry on.”
She walked away.
“Wait!” he exclaimed, chasing after her, leaving his stack of papers behind as if the ladies disappeared. As if they suddenly don’t matter anymore.
“Would you, would you want to go out with me?”
“Kota Tua. My car.”
“Kota Tua? I’ve never…wait it’s not very nice to leave the ladies there like that!”
“No, it’s okay.”
“I’ve never been to Kota Tua actually, so yes I’d love to.”
He asked for her number in which he promptly sent her a WhatsApp message. Oh no, she groaned. One a compliment, two a catharsis, three a cry for help: selfies. His profile picture was a selfie. She refrained thoughts about the kind of person he could be. Not a narcissist. Not a narcissist. Not a narcissist. Just a picture. Just a picture. Just a picture.
Something told her to be wary of people who turned off their blue-tick feature too. Bruushhh it off! Don’t be so judgemental!
They bumped into each other again later, and again he asked her out. Maybe he forgot he had already asked her the first time and she had already said yes, but she did not mention the principles of herself, in which I will do it for her:
PRINCIPLES OF FIFI
Before you want to design a plane, you’ll need to understand the principles of aerodynamics. To create a cool modern spinning top, you’ll need to understand the principles of gravity and whatnots. If you want to successfully attract Fifi, you’ll need to understand the Principles of Fifi:
- She does not go out with guys alone.
- She does not talk to guys on the phone unless it’s for work.
- She does not sit well with compliments or discussion about her face.
- She does not eat streetside food due to stomach-bacterial weakness.
- She absolutely loves museums of all sorts.
“Okay, we can go out, but I’ll ask my sister along. I don’t go out with guys alone.”
He nodded, understanding the Principle of Fifi.
The next Friday came and still, there was no news about anything.
“Ask him out, but not too direct. Just tell him where you’re going,” her advisor told her.
She did. No reply. Saturday came, he responded only at night.
“Sorry I was busy today.”
“That’s okay. I’m going to the park tomorrow. Join us if you want to.”
“Okay. I’ll let you know letter.”
As it irked her how he did not know how to spell “later”, she let it go, still waiting for that one invitation to Kota Tua.
Monday came again. They bumped into each other as she walked on the way to the hut to teach little witches spells on their tongues. By then she did not want to have anything to do with him anymore. Couldn’t you have just responded to my text IF YOU COULD NOT COME, she wanted to scream at him.
“Hey there!” he said, as if he hadn’t made her wait for a text response the whole weekend. As if she didn’t ask him out to be blatantly ignored like that.
“You been busy to not reply to my text message?”
“Yeah, my mom.. is not feeling well.”
He invited her to have breakfast. Reason for no replies valid. Um, okay! she said, handed him her bag of heavy cauldron and wands and frog legs and bottles of blue dye.
“I don’t want to carry this. It’s too heavy.”
They talked and it was the exact conversation she wanted to have about the world and how they could make the world a better place. Except that he rested his chin in his palms, elbows on his thighs and stared deeply into her eyes.
“Don’t look at me like that!”
“I’m just appreciating you.”
Um, okay. His device rang and he had to go. He offered to carry her bag of witch’s essentials for her again which she declined. The little witches and future wizards were flooding the ground. She did not want there to be any rumours about him and her.
He asked for a picture of them together which she obliged. Many have asked for a picture together with Fifi, especially after she wrote a manual on How To Be A Witch. She saw it harmless and powerless.
Except that she was wrong about it.
He never asked her out. She understood that as a man who worked with the mind of others with his own clinical practice after hours, he was busy. She took the initiative to ask him out instead, standing by her beliefs, “I can do it myself.”
And he never replied to any of her invitations. “I can do it myself” brought her to the places on her own. Kota Tua, however, was reserved for him.
One day, not taking any more of these ignorances, she brought it up. He’s busy, but is he THAT busy?
“I asked you if you were married the other day. That was the wrong question. The correct question is: do you have a girlfriend?”
“Well, my friends told me that if a guy doesn’t reply to a girl’s messages, it’s a high chance he has a girlfriend.”
“I think there’s a misunderstanding.”
“I want to know why YOU don’t reply to my messages.”
“It’s a principle of the self.”
“What’s the principle of the self? Help me understand!”
She decided she could go to this Kota Tua herself. To Kota Tua, she went. But she could not leave this “Principle of the Self” mystery alone. She could just lock him in a vault and throw the key into the sea, but not until she gets to the bottom of this. What the heck is the Principle of the Self, she asked him in person where they bumped into each other again. He told her he would text message her what he meant.
“There’s a saying about how women are made of a man’s ribcage.”
“And your point is? Try to bend us and you’ll break us, so it’s best to just leave us be?”
A few days later they met in her little witch’s hut.
“I have something to give out to the students,” he said.
Okay, she said, hiding the fact she wanted to hammer him, as she observed him give out sealed envelopes to her little witches and future wizards. Oh dear, she noted: all men her age were developing dad bodies. Sad revelation, indeed.
“So what are you doing this evening?” Fifi asked when he was done giving out those fake parchment papers.
You’ve probably watched soap operas where two adults try to solve their issues in classrooms and you’d wonder why the heck couldn’t they just wait to be in the teacher’s lounge or something. That’s exactly what happened to Fifi. When she doesn’t comprehend something she wants to find answers. And wherever it was, she must find it. These conversations were mutterings in low voices.
“I’m not feeling too well, I think I’m going to get a massage.”
“You know, when I ask you that, it means you should ask me out.”
“ASK ME OUT.”
“Oh, I get what you mean,” he smiled slyly.
What the heck.
“Out, out of my classroom,” she said, escorting him to the door. “You know, I went to Kota Tua myself.”
He looked surprised. “But why?”
“Because I can, that’s why.”
“Why did you go on your own?”
“Because of guys like you, that’s why.”
“But someone told me you wouldn’t like places like that, that you only liked malls.”
Me? Malls? Over museums???????????????
“And you believed the person?”
“Well, not a hundred percent, but it made sense. You should’ve asked me, now I regret it.”
“You should’ve asked me.”
“Truth was I was actually canggung. Shy. To ask you out.”
“I know. That’s why I asked you out.”
“Phone. Your phone. Out. Now.”
He handed her his phone. Fifi showed him the ignored text messages as proof.
“I guess I wasn’t peka. Aware.”
“Out of my classroom. Bye.”
“Don’t say bye, say see you again!”
“No, I’m saying bye. Bye.”
On her broomstick she flew home. He still had not text messaged her at all, and she’s not waiting for him anymore. What’s curious however is that a rumour about them being together is in the air, and people are believing him more than they believed her, as he revived his year-old dead Instagram account with THAT picture of them together. He’s even started telling people to expect their wedding invitation.
SO THIS IS MY STORY.
Please don’t believe the rumours. I’m not a shy person who would hide things. So no, I’m not hiding any of my relationships.
I’d rather go to places on my own, thank you very much. I was only interested to talk to him because I am also taking a course in Psychology, but I decided to let myself be a little bit vulnerable. I mean, I guess I also toyed with the thought that he could be “The One”. In order for someone to be “The One” you’d have to give him chances, correct? He used them all up. Thanks for showing me you’re not!
And here is my picture in a museum in Kota Tua 🙂 Kota Tua was great, I regret not visiting all the museums there, but I know someday I will.
Still comfortable with the idea of Forever Alone.