I looked up to see Nuri gazing at the wreath in Simon’s hands intently, like a child watching its mother adding ingredients to a pot. For some reason that irked me, seeing them sitting quietly together, instead of bickering like they always do.
“Elder,” Simon murmured, bending a little branch into a circle. Nuri handed him a pale looking stick which he weaved again into the mass of branches and leaves. “Clove?” he murmured again. “Bloomed or dried?” Nuri looked around.
Simon, for some reason, looked up at me, a slightly annoyed look on his face. “Dried,” he turned back down to his work. Nuri scarcely noticed.
“Do you want tea?” I cleared my throat, grabbing my keys. The atmosphere in the room was heavy with Simon’s magic and I didn’t want to be around anymore.
Nuri perked up. “Got bancang kuih?” her eyes twinkled. “It’s late,” I gruffly replied, bothering to check my watch. Half-past four. With any luck, the truck on Fatty’s Road should still be there, but dinner time was pushing it. Still, I cursed myself at knowing how I’ll speed there as soon as I was out the door.
“I’ll see what I can get,” I sauntered out as nonchalantly as I could. “Don’t bother getting dinner, I’m cooking,” Simon’s irritating sing-song voice rang out behind me. I grunted and stomped on my shoes, closing the door behind me.
I hadn’t made four steps away from the door when it opened behind me. Nuri tapped my shoulder. I spun around to find a herb-y smelling pouch dangling in my face. I coiled away, my face scrunching up. “What’s that?!” I leaned back.
“A protection bag. We’re dealing with a bomoh here, I’m not taking any chances,” she spoke low, glancing at the sunbeams on the floor. Her dark green hair glimmered, hanging loose out of her normal double bun state. It was a little startling to see how tired she looked with her hair down. And how much sadder.
I took the pouch and studied it, the sun making its contents visible. “You’re scared, right?” I leaned against the wall. Nuri chuckled, turning to face the wall, away from the light. “So obvious meh?” she stared at her shadow. Her Malaysian accent only got stronger when she was trying to prove a point.
“Don’t waste your time making protection charms for me lah. Focus on weeding the bugger out,” I glanced down at her, the glare from the sun hurting my eyes.
“I’m not gonna risk anything happening to us, okay? Who knows what voodoo shit that guy’s gonna pull,” she mumbled, her arms crossing around her even tighter. A collective sigh escaped from both of us.
“I’m sorry,” she said suddenly. I couldn’t see her face anymore. A curtain of her green hair hid her from me.
Aw fuck, was she crying?!!
I bit my lip and rubbed my neck as if I were trying to coax out some kind of reaction. Slowly my left hand rose and hovered. Should I touch her? I don’t want to like, frighten her or anything. Just as I my hand collided with her head, she looked up at me.
My palm smacked her right on the forehead. Her dark brown eyes widened, the sun making them glisten like cat eyes. Her mouth pursed, and slowly curved upwards in an awkward laugh. “What la,” she giggled at the awkward terror struck on my face.
My mouth clapped shut and I nudged her head back. “Sorry for what? If anything shit happens to me, it’s because I sendiri kena, okay?” I clipped the pouch onto my keys embarrassed, avoiding looking at her.
“I’ll get you some food, kay,” I practically jumped off the wall and started down the stairs, deathly afraid that if I said anymore I will seriously embarrass the shit out of myself.
“Thank you,” her voice became all high and soft, making my insides twitch and melt. I spun to mount my bike, inevitably looking up at her again.
She stood on the veranda, smiling slightly. Her bare feet curled her toes in habitually and her hands fidgeted with the ends of her waist-long hair.
In a move I would later slap myself repeatedly for, I raised a hand and did a clicking salute at her. She did that single syllable, frowning laugh and shooed me away, turning and going back into the abandoned house quietly.
My bike grumbled to life and I sped away for hotcakes, the image of the sun on her green hair tingling in my mind.
‘Sendiri kena’ – kind of like a slang for I asked for it.
Bancang kuih is a type of folded Penang pancake covered in peanut brittle and is SO DAMN GOOD. Google it :p
Writer’s note: Kinda short this time round. Getting myself into a work schedule is a little unnerving and honestly, I’m a little constantly freaking out :S It’s the time to get serious about A LOT of things and I’m scared shitless at being a full blown adult :p
ALSO, I got a tumblr if u’re into that shizz ❤