I love this song by Sister Hazel. I think it describes so perfectly how I feel about my relationship with J and it makes me catch my breath every time. I wrote this at 3am, after a night out with friends and still buzzed on the warmth and laughter of friendship and coffee. J and I stayed up so far past our bed time talking and I wanted to write it all down. Of our mini surprise Valentine’s date this weekend, of how his eyes looked like in the light of intimacy and laughter. But mostly, because I never want to take this for granted.
It’s a lazy Sunday, the kind where it’s 3pm and you’re still in your pajamas and you’re not quite sure how that happened. It is usually our family fun day. Church with everyone then a stupid delicious banana leaf lunch before J heads to check on our stores while I pick up groceries. Sometimes we meet for a little cup of coffee in between, it’s J’s current happy. My former only-tea-drinking husband now can’t pass up on a flat white…sometimes he even sneaks me out to feed his addiction! 🙂
At night, I usually make some version of J’s comfort food (pasta, pizza, steaks, roasts, etc) for Sunday dinner. Or we go on a pasar malam date to tapau his satay and my sup ayam and we come home to share our deliciousness.
But it’s an off day. We are such party animals, one night and we’re so tired and off-schedule and don’t quite know what to do with ourselves.
We woke up at noon, had leftovers (Mom’s oxtail stew!) for lunch, took a dip in the pool then snuggled up for another nap! 😛
At around 5, I tease him and ask, “What are we doing today my old man? Pasar malam? Village grocer? Be completely unproductive and make ramen?” and he smiles so big and says, “Surprise! I’m taking you out!”
I have a soft spot for buffets and he’s made reservations for a yummy dinner in a hotel downtown.
He lets me excitedly play dress up for almost an hour, patiently reading his business articles as I pull out different combinations.
I ask for his opinion at each stop, but he tells me he likes them all. He always tells me he likes them all as we play argue that he is really no help.
And when I paint my face on, I giggle and say, “Honest opinion, do I look like someone punched me in the face?“. I’ve tried this whole rockstar rimming and smudging my lids black that Kawon seems to pull off effortlessly but this seems a little suspect. He just smiles back and says, “You look beautiful, honey.”
I have two big zits trying to take residence on my right cheek, and if they’re big enough, they always get named. Fancy names because it makes me feel better and I have a warped sense of humor.
I tell him, “Holy shit J! Check out Juan Carlos!“…I draw a blank on naming the other one…Juan Carlos’ twin deserves a special name.
J laughs and tells me his name is Pepe! Except he draws out the syllables and says PEEHHHHPAAYYYYYYYY!
Even with my two big zits that signal a major PMS hold-me-and-throw-chocolate-from-a-safe-distance meltdown is coming soon, he accepts my flaws and makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
He doesn’t even bat an eye when I use his shaving cream to shave my legs in the sink. :p
And when I’ve finally decided on dress #5 as THE outfit, he waits another couple of minutes as I now figure out which accessories go best.
Yet he still doesn’t complain or get angry or frustrated. Instead, he just amusingly keeps track of this ritual and when I’m close to bringing it home, he starts getting ready. In fifteen minutes, he’s so very handsome and good-to-go.
He smiles and sees if I’ve noticed he’s even styled his hair up like a Japanese pop star. It’s a little inside joke between us, because Yoshi will spend lots of time styling each strand when J sometimes goes for a hair cut with me and he calls it his “Asian hair”. I laugh when I do, this man is so damn adorable.
He’s got me hook, line, and sinker, yet he still tries for me. Sometimes, I think the best part of our marriage is that we still pursue each other.
He drives us to the hotel, he has an impeccable sense of direction and he tirelessly takes care of me that way. I hate driving, and I’m not afraid to admit that I absolutely suck at it and my parallel parking is questionable.
He tells me “Don’t get carsick honey” as I Facebook and Instagram and keep my head down while he navigates traffic and red lights.
I stop to take a picture of him. I have a million pictures of him, some of him sleeping when his 6’4″ frame is lying across our bed sideways or when his feet stick out at the bottom and it makes me laugh.
Some of him driving or us running errands just because.
Some of him being silly when he waves to me from the inside window like a madman just to say hi because he is a dork.
He hates having his picture taken but he indulges me in my crazy. I always tell him I need tangible mementos. For when I’m old and forgetful and the stories have all blurred together.
I take pictures and write stories because I want to remember it all.
When we reach the hotel, we are early as always, and he takes me to the fancy grocery store downstairs to ooh and ahh. It makes no sense but grocery stores are an adventure to me and I love that he carves out time just to fuel my happy.
For our proposal, he scheduled and took me to an art and crafts store before dinner to just look around. It is how I knew, even though I was sure before, that this was the man I wanted to marry.
I’m wearing heels tonight, sparkly gold teeter-totters and I hate heels but I wanted to look pretty for him…I didn’t think my Fitflops would make the cut. 😛
I ask if the blisters are worth it and he makes fun of our heights by saying, “You didn’t have to because I can’t look that far down!” 😛
We have a quirky sense of humor, I speak Joe and he speaks Racheal.
Many days, it shocks me how well he knows my soul. He’s a little ninja that one.
When 7:30 rolls around, we go to the restaurant and they seat us in a cozy little corner. My eyes grow so big as I take in all the different foods on the counters. I am like a kid in a candy store I am so excited that I don’t know where to start. He smiles back at me with that big big smile I love and takes my hand to go explore. He is so proud of himself because from the look on my face, he knows he’s hit a homerun with his restaurant choice.
But more than anything else, it’s a 90% Asian spread which is how I know how much my husband loves me. He loves Indian, and he enjoys Asian, but given an option, he would have picked steak or gwai loh food for a fancy night out. It is “special” food for him just like this is to me, and because he eats Asian close to seven days a week, I appreciate his sacrifice on our night out.
Even as I spread a thick layer of butter on my naan because buttaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! he still doesn’t judge. I try desperately to explain the amazing power of French butter on freshly made naan but he just laughs at me and says “I believe you honey“. But then I tell him, “Yes, but how is your head not exploding from this awesomeness?!”
There are three main sections in this pretty but maze-like restaurant and I can only find the Malay and Indian entrees. It’s Chinese New Year..there is no way they are not serving Chinese! I am sure of this. I googled that shit on the way here. 😛
We are kind of wallflower-like depending on the situation, and we kind of like to hide in the background.
I bat my eyelashes and -lah him into being my bad guy, I say “You ask-lah, please…I shy leh!“.
So this is love when he breaks the fourth wall to ask our where the rest of the buffet area is at the risk of sounding a little silly and the waiter graciously not only laughs with us but also proceeds to take J there.
When J gets back, this time his eyes are like saucers and he tells me I’m going to shit myself. There’s a whole other huge area on the side with another open kitchen that’s just dedicated to Chinese food! There are double-boiled soups, and roast meats, and mains but more importantly, there is a Yee Sang bar!!
I look forward to Yee Sang all year (they only serve it during CNY) and the only thing better than Yee Sang is a Yee Sang bar WITH a buffet. I am strange mix of eating almost everything and enjoying a large variety but I also am silly about weird foods I just really don’t care for like beans or nuts or types of chicken.
A buffet means I get a smorgasbord of a little bit of everything happiness and I get to pick what I want in massive quantities or not at all. And all my food doesn’t have to touch!! 😛 Stupid things like this really makes my heart happy.
The kind waiter puts together a little plate for us to toss and it is so perfect. And as we pull our chopsticks so high and giggle over our terrible terrible Chinese, we share our hopes for the coming year and dream big dreams.
We talk about our travel plans, our life plans, our work plans, our everything plans for 2014 the rest of our dinner and I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life except to know that I would go to the ends of the earth with this boy.
This boy, that casually slips in during dinner that he’s trying to make it work so he can take me “home” to Springfield over the summer between our work trips.
So I can hug my best friend. So I can dance in the aisles of Target and TJ Maxx with her and laugh as we wonder just how many boxes we will ship back to Malaysia this time.
So I can see Papa. So I can see all our favorite littles that are getting so so very big so fast. So I can get my tank refueled and my heart so explodingly happy and I want to cry I am so excited.
It’s just a possibility he warns, not wanting to get my hopes up, but just the possibility for me is big. It’s big because he thought of me and kept his promise to my sappy sensitive homesick heart.
There is a twinkle in his eye when he goes with me to get desserts. He’s an ice cream boy but I’m an Ais Kacang girl and he’s opted to make and share one with me. He even picks only jello to fill our bowl because he knows how I love my “boring” shaved ice. I giggle as I pour another scoop of sweet palm sugar syrup and coconut milk while he just shakes his head and laughs.
And as we share our little bowl of happiness, he tells me, “You’re so crazy sometimes but I love you“.
At the end of our dinner three hours later he whispers “Happy Valentines Day sweetheart“. It’s a week early but I told him that this year I get to be in charge with some surprises stored up for him, but yet he’s managed to sneak one in.
Our bellies and hearts are so very full as we pay our bill and he leaves our waiter a big tip just because. I raise my eyes in amusement because he always makes fun of my bleeding heart. My argument as he worries I will get hurt picking up the wrong people, or get taken advantage of because I’m a complete sucker, is that it’s just so fun to see their eyes light up when they least expect it.
The look on our waiter’s face makes us smile and I know J gets the fun and heart exploding happy of this. I smile because I know I’ve learned this lesson from him so so many times over.
On the way back to the ‘burbs, he takes the long route home past the pretty towers all lit up. It is the same towers I brought him to come see his first visit out, when I hoped and prayed he would want to stay.
It is the same towers we have specially gone to see whenever we are in the city at night because it so damn pretty. But mostly, these are towers in a place we have come to call home that reminds me of a boy that moved a hundred gazillion miles with me to dream big dreams.
He pulls down our sunroof for a better view. And as we’re waiting at the stoplight, I sneak in one last picture to keep this moment safe in the so special and so loved dusty corners of our adventures.
Of the boy God saved for me when I least expected it, and of a man whose love makes me feel ten feet tall.
“There is something comforting about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing.”
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