Chapter 23 : Pour some sugar on me

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I was both elated and confused when I reached home that night that it took me a few moments to realize that there was someone playing the guitar in my room. Thoughts of visiting Istanbul was occupying my mind when I closed the door and sat on the sofa. At first I thought it was a song playing on my housemates' mp3 player. But after a few seconds I noticed the song's chorus part was repeated more than it was supposed to.

I got up slowly and walked to the kitchen. Nobody's there and we never had any of the mp3 players placed on the table or cabinet. Then I heard a clicking sound and my bedroom door was opened slowly. The sound of the guitar playing Pour Some Sugar On Me was getting louder. I knew it was coming from my room.

"Hello!" I said with trembling fingers. Lily used to own a guitar which was a gift from one of her ex-boyfriends but I knew she never learned to play it.

"Allysa," whispered a distant, male voice. It was Dwen. I stood motionless in the kitchen, unsure of his mood. He was so angry when he last visited. "Come here," he said with a clearer voice.

I entered my bedroom with mixed feelings as I didn't know what I was about to see. My room was exactly how I left it that morning except for Lily's guitar lying on my bed. I didn't know the type or brand but Lily told me it was really expensive.

"Hi Dwen." I smiled at the guitar as I had no idea where he was. "I heard you playing Def Leppard's song just now. You're good." It's the truth. He was so good, I thought the music was coming from an mp3 player.

"You know Allysa," I heard his voice from the far left corner of my room. "After I submitted my college application, I started playing the guitar in front of a relative's restaurant. I heard the other day that it's called busking these days. So, yes, I became a busker for a while. My parents were not too happy with my decision, but since I've agreed to attend college, they somehow didn't say anything about it. I made about 50 ringgit a day. Can you believe it?" He let out a small laugh.

"Hey, that's not bad." I didn't know how much buskers were making, but making 50 ringgit was better than smoking weed and did nothing.

"It was so satisfying. Earning my own money - from my own sweat and tears - and spending it on my parents. I bought my mom a long shawl and my father, a box of cigar. I could still remember seeing the tears welling up in my mom's eyes." Dwen paused, lost in his emotions for a while.

"You're a good child, Dwen. You did good." I was actually lost for words as I still hadn't known what actually happened to him, and how he died. But after getting a few visits from him, I realized that what I had to do was just play along. Furthermore, I needed to ask a lot of things about Nazrul.

"That moment I really felt I've gone from zero to hero, Allysa. That's the only way I could describe it," Dwen said it with a wide smile, I was so sure even though I couldn't see it.

"Even listening to your story make me feel proud, Dwen. Your parents are so lucky."

"Do you think they miss me?" He suddenly asked and I was tongue-tied.

"I'll ask your father if I bumped into him again." I knew I couldn't promise him anything, and it was not like I was going to see Tan Sri Rahman every month or every week.

"And I can't help but wonder if Nazrul ever missed me. Do you know?"

"Er... I don't know. I never asked him about you. Should I?"

"Nah! Better not. It will only turn things sour between you two," his voice changed into a tone I've heard before. Regret? I really wanted to know what took place years ago, before he died.

"Tell me what can I do so that he will start talking about you?" I asked but Dwen didn't answer.

He sighed and a few seconds later I saw my blue pen and a piece of A4 paper were moving on the study desk. He was going to scribble something. I could see he was making a long list, and as I approached the table I realized it was a list of songs, probably popular in the late 90s or early 2000.

"Go find these songs. You should start listening to them. The new songs are full of crap," he said rather angrily. "And who are Pitbull and Nicki Minaj? I couldn't understand anything they're saying."

I blurted a loud laugh and had to cover my mouth to control it. "Sorry. I love their songs but never really bothered to check the lyrics," I admitted guiltily.

"I'm going to play something beautiful. Your boyfriend, Nazrul taught me this song," he said before playing A Man Who Sold The World by Nirvana. I only learned the title later after frantically Googling for it. A few seconds before the song ended, I thought I heard him sniffed, followed by a soft cry. Then the room was in total silence - just like every time Dwen left.

I stared at the song list he made. The songs looked good for my new playlist, although I've never heard about half of them.

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