It was the mid-eighties. We were in Maritime Academy Malaysia or ALAM as it is popularly known. A training school for merchant seafarers. We were back in the Academy pursuing a certificate of competency after completing the prerequisite 2 years sea time as cadets on board merchant ships.
Jay came ashore with a broken heart, his fiancee returned his engagement ring whilst he was on board. Fay was a close friend to both Jay and his ex-fiancee. She came with consolation and offer of support in his time of grieve. One thing led to another and they became closer than friends. They were so in love that everything else fade into the background. As his roommate and a rather close friend, I was offered an intimate look at Jay as he floated on the wings of love. While others chided him, I just stood by and observed. Well, sometimes I joined in the fun too.
Jay was so in love that he sometimes does things that will seem stupid to me or I suppose any other normal person at the time. He willingly cycles to Masjid Tanah, a town about 10km away, at night, on an old borrowed bicycle just to make a phone call to his sweetheart. Why does he do that ? Because there is this one particular phone in Masjid Tanah where you put in 10 cents and can talk forever. We were poor you see, surviving on a RM120 JPA allowance, so all the cents counts. One night, after one of these lengthy calls, he came back, rummaged through his stack of letters and photos and start ripping it up while at the same time crying and banging his head on the wall. Knowing him, I just left him to it as I know that at the most he will bleed and that he will do no further damage than that. The next morning, at dawn actually, full of regrets at what he has done, I saw him struggling to paste the photos back together. It was both a tragic yet funny moment. And I asked him...
Apparently, last night Fay gave him the ultimate let down for any lover in the world - she just wants to be friends. What else can I say except just try to offer some supporting words. Such is a lovers tiff because, lo and behold, that very same day later in the evening he was beaming like the sun. Apparently, Fay had agreed to get back together. Hallelujah.
To cut the story short, they subsequently got married. During this time, Jay was so in love that he became afraid of her, even receiving a call will change his mood. I just love those moments especially if we were in the car and I spoke loudly of going to a club or other while he was on the phone with Fay. His face turns white, and I am not exaggerating. He bears with my antics because I am one of those that he turned to for financial assistance. We were sailors you see, once landed on leave, no more pay is coming in. Therein lies another observation, Jay will never talk, I mean really talk to Fay. To Fay, Jay is always well and money is never a problem when it is actually quite the opposite. Another sad fact is that after so many years of union they were yet to be blessed with a child.
After a long ten year wait, they finally got a child. It was also during this time that the marriage starts crumbling. Perhaps after letting himself endure the predicament that he created, Jay began looking elsewhere for comfort. Since he did not get through his foreign going certificate, he went the local trade route where he became acquainted with the Dangdut scene. Clubs based on the erotic thumping sounds of Indonesian music and girls with gyrating hips. So taken in was he that he ended up marrying one of the bar girls. Fay did not take it lightly, she went into a fit so far as to slash her wrist and hands when the issue was confronted with Jay. The break up was not pretty. It was also by this time that I no longer remain in their close circle.
It was sad seeing what began as such a bond built on love succumb to the human mistakes of not being able to talk and say what they truly mean. All on the pretext of protecting the other from the bad or sad situation that existed as the background. It was more so when the break up happens after a lengthy wait for a child. Poor child, she existed into this world only to be the victim of circumstances.
I think, no, hope that they have moved on from this episode and leads better lives. I learned to speak and listen and I hope they do too.