Chapter 24: You give love a bad name

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As advised by Zureen, I took a half-day off on the next Monday to go to Immigration office to renew my passport. It's been ages since I last traveled. One of my teachers once told me to travel while you're still young. You might not have a lot of money, but travelling is the only thing we pay for and then get richer.

It took me more than two hours queueing at the immigration office and once it was done, the officer at the counter told me to come and collect it myself in the afternoon. I rang Zureen to inform her that I had to take the whole day off in order to collect the passport. Otherwise, I didn't know when I was going to have the time to go to Putrajaya again.

"You don't have to, Allysa. Since you the laptop with you, you can always go online from Putrajaya after lunch. Make sure to log on to the office messenger. We might be having a video conference today but it's not confirmed yet," Zureen's voice was chirpy as usual. She must have lived a stress-free life. No matter how much she had on her plate, she never complained. Her fresh look and bright eyes were clear indications that she enjoyed whatever she was doing.

"Ok. After lunch I'll find the nearest café to get wifi." I glanced at the big clock near the immigration office entrance. It was already 11.30a.m. Early lunch would be a wise choice, or else I'd have to beat the afternoon crowd at the canteen.

"There's a wifi modem in the laptop bag. You just plug it to the laptop to get internet."

I have a very thoughtful boss. Although advanced technology had began to rob some of my private time, I was still feeling blissful to be working with this company. They were good at getting people to do extra work in a very subtle manner. I should learn that too once I become one of the project leaders or managers.

"Don't be too ambitious, Allysa," a voice whispered in my head and it sounded like Dwen.

"Shut up Dwen," I said it out loud and a few people who were walking along the corridor turned to look at me. I pretended nothing happened.

"There's a small café nearby. You can have a good meal and work there peacefully," it was Dwen again. He's in my head, telling me what to do.

"Ok, show me," I whispered with my head down as I pushed the lift button.

Dwen then told me to go to the lobby, get out of the building and cross the main road. After walking for about 10 minutes, I found a small café with really comforting music playing at the ground floor of another office complex. I was not sure which ministry it belonged to, but all the women were wearing either baju kurung, baju kebaya or long skirt with blouses. So, I assumed it was another government office building.

I ordered hot coffee and bihun Singapore before setting up the office laptop at a table for two.  Technically there were two of us, Dwen and me. I was hoping he would get out of my head and sit on the chair in front of me. But once I boot up the laptop, I didn't hear his voice again. So, it was just me, the laptop and the satan called internet.

After 15 minutes logging on to the office messenger and finishing up my bihun Singapore, Zureen was still offline and there was no news on the video conference. I began browsing a few news portal and when I got tired of reading the same old politics news and entertainment gossips, I plugged in my earphone and launched my playlist saved in YouTube page.

It was the playlist I created based on the song list given by Dwen. I was glad I managed to find all of them on YouTube, though some of the video clips made me giggle and cringe. Mid and late 90s fashion, what do you expect?

"Hey! What are you doing here?" A familiar voice made me stop giggling while watching a Guns N Roses music video. I looked up to see Nazrul in his navy blue business suit carrying a laptop and a few files.

"I renewed my passport and now working remotely while waiting to collect it." I signaled him to sit down.

"All this things is a curse, right?" He pointed at the laptop and the wifi modem connected to it. "Now we have to do work outside the office," he said with a grunt. I nodded in agreement.

"You want anything? I want to order another plate of bihun and coffee. I'm still hungry."

Nazrul took out his laptop and set it up next to the one I was using. "No," he said. "I just had lunch with a customer at their office upstairs. They served nasi beriyani kambing today."

"Oh! It must be good," I said enviously. He had many outside meetings and the customers loved paying for his meals.

"Not good for my diet." He pointed to his love handle that showed when he sat down.

I pulled out my earphones, grabbed my purse and headed towards the counter to place another order. After paying, I could feel that my bladder was about to burst, so I just signaled to Nazrul that I had to go to the ladies.

No woman can just spend 2 minutes in the toilet. It's our chance to check on our make-up, hair, buttons and fix whatever that didn't seem in place. After almost 7 minutes, I headed back towards my table where I could see a new plate of bihun Singapore and iced coffee were already served. And Nazrul was still there, my earphones plugged into his ears. As I approached him, he looked up and I saw tears in his eyes.

"Hey, what's wrong?" I whispered. He shook his head, took out the earphone and gathered his things.

"I have another meeting in Cyberjaya. See you at the office tomorrow, ok?" He avoided looking at me. I was too stunned to say anything.

I waved at him as he walked out of the café. He didn't look back.

Once he was out of sight, I sat down and unlocked my laptop screen. That was when I realized that Nazrul was listening to the songs on my playlist. The songs that Dwen listed for me. They made Nazrul cry and I couldn't help but wonder why.

When I had my earphones plugged, Bon Jovi's You Give Love A Bad Name was almost ending. Then I heard a soft voice singing in my head:

"Shot through the heart,

and you're to blame,

you give love a bad name.

I play my part and you play your game,

you give love a bad name."

"Just shut up, Dwen," I said as I sipped my iced coffee.

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