I scrolled through Talia's updates - it was out of muted curiosity. How was she doing, I wondered and so here I was. There was nothing interesting, nothing changed, nothing new. So I let the screen fade to black and I walked out of my car and onto the road. There was an appointment I was meant to keep but the details were lost to me. The path to the house was quiet and dusk had finally set itself into the tree-sheltered neighborhood.
I knocked on the yellow-aged wooden door and it was opened by the last person I expected to be there - Allan. A glint of former dislike flashed through his eyes but he said nothing and asked me to come in. I obliged unwillingly, avoiding making any more than necessary contact. It's been more than a year since the fight and though I've gone past it - the dislike lingered with the betrayal that preceded it. "What am I doing here?".
No one answered. I didn't bother for a reconciliation. I expected nothing less.
I looked around the setting and imagine a future (as I always did): Conspiracies. Shrouding of corruption. I was the target, I was the rebel. Friends advised against my sentiments that I made loud, though they under the shadow of fear - acted loyalty in pretense. In their own safety. But what has safety ever meant to me in the face of what is the truth. I was being followed wherever I went. This wasn't a safe future - not for me.
I opened my eyes. Well, yes. That'll come when it does. I shook it off.
I walked out of the entrance and into the hallway. Everyone was busy preparing for prayers; Allan walking into the bathroom to take his ablutions whilst Rodger was standing ahead to lead the prayers, Adrian was sitting down in reflective. I felt annoyance rising within my chest. Why on Earth was I here? This wasn't the company I wanted to be in right now. It wasn't awkward but it certainly wasn't anywhere comfortable either. And I wanted no part of this.
"What, sorry?" I asked.
No one took heed of my inquiry but continued muttering "teh tarik" like it was a joke. It felt like mockery to my ears though I knew nothing of what it meant to them. I decided that I had enough of this and as I closed the door behind me I heared: "Why do you always pray as you please in the house of others?". The door locked shut.
I walked towards my car uphill and unknowingly, a car crept up behind me. I glanced towards the driver's seat and saw Talia. Well, isn't this a surprise. I felt annoyance but also curiosity striking me. I walked on. "Come on it.". I had no idea why but I obliged. I opened the passenger door and stride in - it felt like familiarity. I vowed myself against getting used to this.
In that long hour drive, we talked. It wasn't a conversation I would particularly remember well to this day but it was civil. At one point though, she admitted to joining a karaoke contest. "It was a teh tarik karaoke competition and I though why not?". I kept quiet at the realization what they guys were muttering and mocking me of earlier. She felt embarrassed with her joining but it was what she needed to keep herself busy from falling into familiarity.
"You're keeping up well," she smiled as she looked to me earnestly. I nodded. Perhaps true, yes. I had been keeping up well. I had been keeping myself busy - Focused on my goals, my career, my life and (almost as an afterthought reflex) Heidi. The conversation, this car drive - it was stale. I needed out. I politely thanked her and that it was nice to have been able to catch up but I needed to go. She scrutinized me but knew what I meant subtly. She shrugged then dropped me off at a random street.
I looked around and her car drove away in a loud hum. It reminded me strongly of J.K.Rowling's envisioning of Daigon Alley. I peered into one shop past its faded windows and saw a teapot set that I knew Heidi would immediately fall in love with. I smiled - at least in my heart, I knew where it lay. For the longest time, I knew exactly what I wanted.