Chapter 21: Overnight oat

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That morning I woke up to a loud music coming from the living area. As I peaked through my door, I saw my housemates dancing to one of their favourite Zumba DVD. They haven't done that for a while. I guess now they're back on a strict diet and trying to shake some fat off.

I dragged my half asleep legs and plonked myself on the sofa, watching them shaking their butts, shimmying happily and doing some moves that looked like mutated salsa.

"Come join us!" One of them shouted, I just lifted my right hand. No thank you. I was just there for the entertainment.

After about 25 minutes of dancing they stopped the DVD and did some stretching on their own.

"I'm hungry. Let's have breakfast," says Marina. Drops of sweat were dripping off her newly highlighted brown hair.

Lily sprang up and ran to the kitchen to take out a few small jars of something that I didn't recognize. "Hey girls, let's try this today. I made this for us. Found the recipe on Facebook. My friends told me they're delicious." She brought the jars to the living area and put them carefully on our small coffee table.

"What's this?" Marina took one of he mini jars and tried to shake it. Lily stopped her.

"They're not fruit juice, stupid. You don't shake them. Here, take this spoon and scoop it into your mouth," said Lily.

"This thing looks funny, are you sure it's edible?" Marina held the mini jar high above her head, displaying it to all of us.

"It's overnight oat. I made them yesterday. There are oat, nuts, dried fruits, milk and yoghurt in there. So, you take this spoon, mix them well and then you eat," again, Lily tried to make us all try it.

"Oh! Must be delicious." I picked up a spoon, opened the lid of one of the mini jars and started eating.

 "Hmmmm... yumm. This is a lot more delicious than roti canai banjir." I exaggerated by licking the spoon and the top of the mini jar. Marina was making a disgusted face.

"Why do you have to leave it overnight?" Marina asked Lily.

"For a better taste," Lily answered before popping a jar of overnight oat for herself. "And for a better, healthier life," she added.

"Yeah! Agreed!" Nora, who had been silence all the while stretched her hands to get a jar for her. "So that, when any of us are hungry we can just open the fridge and have a healthy snack. And not picking up the phone to order fried chicken," said Nora as she winked at me. Then she leaned forward and whispered, "I saw the chicken bones in the garbage bin, Allysa."

I suddenly felt guilty and stopped eating the oat.

"Hey, if you are really hungry you can always have two or three jars of this. They're really low in calorie," Lily tried to cheer me up. "I made 20 jars last night," she announced. Everyone else turned to look at her.

"Thank you, Lily. You're such a darling," said Marina who still looked flushed from her exercise. "See, Allysa. You don't have to punish your body by eating non-healthy food. We have options now."

"I really appreciate it," I said, feeling a bit weird. They have never been this nice for as long as I could remember. What had changed? Was there anything that I was not aware of?

"Hey Allysa, we heard that you're dating," said Nora after finishing her oat. "When are you going to tell us? Are you trying to hide him from your housemates?" She squinted her eyes at me accusingly.

"Naah... I've got nothing to hide. It's just that he needs some time." I didn't know what to tell my housemates and I had no idea how they got to know about Nazrul.

"You mean he's a shy person?" Asked Lily who was taking off her sweat shirt, leaving only her pink sports bra that was drenched in sweat.

"No, the relationship is... Well, frankly speaking I don't think it's going anywhere. I don't see our future together." There, I've said it. They must understand that I had no intention to pursue the relationship to the next level. And I suddenly realized that I had to do something today to start the 'break-off' process.

"Oh, sometimes you have that feeling at the early stage of a relationship. They're just doubts. You had no idea how you're going to work things together," said Nora, who was sometimes a very good listener, but this was the first time I was getting relationship advices from her.

"Hmmm... what do they call this? The adjustment phase, is it?" I asked and all of them shrugged.

Lily got up, picked up all our empty jars and said, "call it what you wanna call it. But relationships are not always flowers and candy."

"Yup. They are usually sugar, spices and some bitter gourd. But they gave meaning to life, " the deep words came from Nora, who was surprisingly  looking very wise today.

I sat in silence for a while. Thinking how to start telling my mom that Nazrul and I were going our separate ways. Yes. Nora's wise words failed to convince me. Not even one tiny bit.



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