Thursday, May 21

Tender Moments

We walked side by side, not saying anything to each other for long minutes. I loved the silence between us; it was comfortable. As comfortable as her fingers intertwined with mine. The silver rings on her thumb and forefinger felt cool on my skin, enhancing her warmth in contrast. I loved how she swayed her arms when walking. Front, back. Front, back. Front, back. My right arm swung along with her left one. There was no awkwardness in the movement, despite the tip of her curly head not quite reaching my nose. All around us, their figures reflected on the polished marble floor of Pavilion, were people milling about with their own shopping trips. Most of them moved at a fast pace, their mannerisms reflecting the pace of Kuala Lumpur. But the two of us were in our own timeline. Our movements were deliberately slow, our arms going front, back, front, back, as our feet moved forward. Despite the surrounding noise, I could almost hear her heartbeat as I felt the pulse on her wrist. My own heart, usually beating fast, must have slowed down to match hers. Not intentionally; she had this effect on me without her realizing it. The music greeted us even before we came across the string quartet playing on a platform in front of Tangs. The tune was light, but the acoustics of the complex amplified the sounds. Without releasing my hand, she turned to face me and lay her free hand on my chest. I stopped walking with my right foot in midair. If her hand on my chest was causing my heart to flutter, the look on her slightly cocked head almost made it burst. "I know this song," she said behind her wide smile. Even with the slightly crooked canines, no one else could compare to that perfect smile. "I know this." "Endless love." She swatted my chest. I barely felt it, but my heart did a stumble. "Ouch." I winced, crinkling my nose for added dramatic effect. "Not fair. I wanted to say it first." Her voice was soft, a feather floating in the wind. I loved the silence between us, but more than that, I loved hearing her voice. "Sorry." From the smile on her face mirroring mine, I could tell she wasn't buying my apology. "Make it up to me." I groaned. My reaction this time was genuine. "'re not gonna make me try on women's hats again, are you?" "Tempting, but no." "Then?" "Dance with me." My jaw must have dropped, because she suddenly burst out laughing. I looked around us. The hallway was almost packed. A small crowd had gathered around the musicians, listening to their rendition of the beautiful song. "Dance? Here? Now?" "Why not? We're not breaking any laws." "Yeah right." "Come on. Dance with me." "You know I can't dance." "I can't dance too but that's not stopping me." Her smile was fading fast. I could see disappointment forming on her face from her furrowing eyebrows. "I mean..." I started, not knowing exactly how to react. "I'm not so sure it's a good idea." She sighed. She didn't pout; this light of my life never pouted, and only rarely allowed her anger or disappointment to surface. "You're right. It's a bad idea." She turned and started walking. I saw her shoulders slumping a fraction. My eyes trailed down to her left hand, which was still holding mine. With a sigh of my own, I jerked my hand back, pulling hers in the process. She turned with a high-pitched yelp. I caught her before she could straighten her legs, and encircled my left forearm around the small of her back. My feet started moving with the beat of the music. I was moving at the same spot, one foot lifting after the other. Before I knew it, she was resting her face on my shoulder, moving in perfect rhythm with me. I didn't have to look at her to feel her smiling. People were looking at us, some even pointing their fingers. Maybe there was approval in some faces. Maybe there was disapproval too. I drowned it all by closing my eyes. In that moment, there was only me, her, and the music. In that moment, our hearts were beating as one.