My Favourite Things is playing in my head like music from a dainty musical box as I lie awake thinking of home.

And about L leaving us in two weeks time. I might cry.

Strange, isn’t it? Someone I’ve barely known for a month. But I just know our house (with J1, J2, T, D, and myself) is going to be different without L. It is unpleasant and a little frightening to think about.

This morning, Karthik drove L and I to the airport to pick up her husband arriving from Bangladesh. We wrote his name on a piece of cardboard, and she sent me to wait for him with a bunch of flowers (flowers!) while she hid with Karthik in a corner, just for the fun of it. This is a married, mature, and proper 28 year old who just surprises you with the most insane decisions at the most unexpected times (eg: shaving her head bald, in a very conservative culture, mind you!). What a beautifully carefree and adventurous soul who is always up for some spontaneous fun.

Fun like lying in the middle of the road in the freezing cold of 1am just to take a picture when we came back from D’s birthday celebration. Like taking a walk in absolute darkness when Magill suffered a rare blackout.

Two weeks with her husband in Australia and then they’re leaving for good, with L having completed her Masters in International Relations.

I realize how in so many ways this house has started to become a proxy home to me. A comfort, just like timtams dipped in milk.

The nights gathered round the kitchen counter with L inviting everyone to try her food will be sorely missed. Her eggplant. Her spicy meatball dish. Her beef curry. Her tom yam soup. Lots of happy laughter rumbling out from deep down in our guts. L’s generosity and empathy for people, it suddenly occurs to me.

Talk about the kitchen and I think of J1’s balanced diet of burnt peas and fries nearly every other day. His innocent inability to cook. His atrocious choice of English words. His obsession with acne.

The nights camping out in the computer pools, trying to finish readings and assignments. I couldn’t have done it without J1’s company. It is almost exciting, doing work with someone, knowing you’re not alone in working towards a goal. Sitting next to each other, sharing our snacks, an unspoken symbol of moral support.

There was one morning I was awakened by the sound of clanging pots in the kitchen. It was J1 cooking Maggi Mee at 6am after staying up all night in the computer pools. When I stuck my head out of the door, squinting, this is what he said, in a very serious tone: “Maybe you can go do your morning prayers now that you’re awake.”

What a hilariously odd suggestion given I have never told him that I pray. But despite J1’s hilarity, he is one of the most culturally aware and considerate persons I’ve ever met. Maybe his time in Canada and Taiwan helped.

I will miss his loud pattering footsteps, his knocing on L’s door and his low voice calling out L’s name each time he goes in for his frequent academic consultation. Both of them do International Relations.  I know what I’ll miss: L’s helpfulness to so many of her friends, and what a diverse mix of friends she has indeed!

Tonight, as four of us sat around the living room watching Desperate Housewives, I sighed contentedly and leaned on L’s shoulder. It brought a sense of comfort, of home away from home.  

When my readings get too difficult and seem so much to work through intellectually, sometimes you really just want a pat on the head. I’ll miss you for that L. You and the easy way you have with people. You and your spontaneous sharing, so uplifting, so infectious. The unique viewpoints and wealth of experience  you bring from your culture and share with us.

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