Chapter 15: Bandung soda lychee

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KL Sentral was overflowing with people. I was sandwiched between two tall Indian men when I got out of the lift. My mom and Shira, my youngest cousin should have arrived from Alor Setar. I've told mom to text me once the got off the train.

The center court was filled with people flocking two long rows of stalls - the Malaysia Y.E.S (year end sale) had just started. They were selling all kind of stuff (that most of us didn't really need) at incredibly low prices. Hundreds of people were spoiled with choices at the shoes, shawls and clothes booths while some were killing time at the fast food restaurants.

I craned my neck searching for mom and Shira amongst the hundreds of patrons. There was no SMS from mom yet; I assumed they were not here yet.

"Kak Lysa!" A familiar, chirpy voice was calling me. I turned to the left and saw a 16 year old girl was running towards me. She was holding a cup of sundae on her right hand and a small handbag on her left.

"Wow! You're a big woman now! You have your own handbag, I see..." I lifted her up as we hugged for a few moments. 

Mom was tailing not far behind Shira. I scurried to her to shake her hands and we hugged for a little while. "This place is so big, I thought I was lost," said mom. She looked healthy and glad to see me. 

I took over the luggage trolley from mom and pushed it towards the taxi stand area. As we walked, I explained to her that I was going to check her in at a hotel. She looked taken aback with the change of plan. 

"I thought we are going to your apartment?" Said mom and Shira nodded.

"Yes, I was really looking forward to see your big house, Kak Lysa."

I rested my arms on Shira's shoulder. She was growing up fast. In two years, she would be taller than me. "It's not a big house, Shira. And right now it's just too messy. My housemates had just changed jobs, so there are so many things: boxes, bags, magazines, old newspapers scattered all over the house. I'm just afraid that you won't feel comfortable sleeping among piles of smelly clothes."

I had to made that up. It's not easy to get mom to spend the night in a hotel room. But I don't want to risk having mom, Shira and Dwen in the same room. Mom would definitely freak out or pass out like what happened to me when Dwen first visited. 

"Your friends must be very lazy. Why do they let all their things littering the house?" 

"Mom," I said. "All of them are in a transition now. They had just changed jobs. So, there are many things from their previous jobs that they need to sort out. They are going to donate some of the things soon. So, by next week the house will be clean and tidy again," I explained to her. 

Mom was going to ask more questions but decided against it as our taxi had arrived. Shira was busy throwing questions at me about KL during the taxi ride while mom sat in silence, taking in the city scenery. 

When we arrived at the hotel at Jalan Pudu, mom was making a long face. After I paid the taxi driver, Shira and I carried the bags into the hotel lobby. Mom sat on a red sofa, waiting for me to pay up the deposit. Shira was excited to see the hotel room - a junior suite - which the girl at the reception had told her, offered the best city view. 

"I want to take a lot of pictures," said Shira, showing me her new smart phone. "Then, I'm going to post them all on Facebook so that my friends in Kedah can see. They'll probably be very jealous of me. You know Kak Lysa, many of my friends haven't seen KL. They only saw the KLCC in TV dramas or films. Tomorrow can we go to KLCC and take pictures?" She sounded so happy and eager to explore the city, which reminded me of my younger self, when I first set foot in KL. 

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