The central heating gave a gurgling sound, waking up Snowbell who’s curled up in a ball on the sofa. She stretched and yawned and went back to sleep. Gizmo, like the queen she is, is sprawled on the carpet, enjoying the rare quiet and peace at home. I hope this won’t be a repeat of the great chill of 2000, when the central heating just gave up on us. It was to cost us £2000 to get a new one installed or else we’d freeze to death over the long cold weekend. The very thought of parting with that much money, in times of this credit crunch, gives me the shivers.
Twenty-nine years ago, at about this time, things like central heating and the plummeting temperature (and the value of the pound) were the least worrying things preying on my mind. There were more urgent matters; the passport needed to be done, the no pay leave application had to be processed, the goodbyes, and mak and kak had to be persuaded that no big buffaloes had to be slaughtered on account of our marriage. And oh, we had to do the necessary like getting engaged. Thank God, air tickets and accommodations were all arranged by the office. We just needed to get married and pack our bags.
It was just as well that both of us had just received our bonus from the company and off we went to the jewellers to pick a small yet beautiful solitaire that is to stay on my finger to this day. I will always remember the day I walked into the office with that ring on my finger. I kept looking at it when the phone rang. “Hello, tunang,” said a familiar voice at the other end of the line. My heart missed a beat and I looked out of my cubicle and saw my tunang, and suddenly felt all shy and embarrassed.
It must be the cold getting to my head and the empty house, filled with cats, lazy cats sleeping on the sofa, in front of the heater – everywhere. But memories of that brief period of being someone’s tunang before being upgraded to being a wife, just filled me with such a warm feeling that I too feel like curling up into a ball and go to sleep with dreams that will perhaps take me to those giddy days of courtship 29 years ago.
Other cold servings and other related side dishes:
Mee soup and Bollywood fantasy on a cold winter's day
Zai and Sri Mersing on a cold winter's night