Time flies by when you’re having fun, they say. They might just be right. It’s been six months since Damia and I officially (sort of) went steady. Six lovely, joy filled months. I, myself, couldn’t believe it. Perhaps a year ago I wouldn’t even dream of having a relationship. But now I do, and I’ve never looked back ever since.
Yet if time flies by, I’ve also discovered that it can dilate and slow down… well, at least, I feel that way sometimes when I’m with her. To make you understand, sometimes, quite often, actually, I feel that whenever I’m with Damia, time seems to stretch.
When I’m with her, it’s like the whole world fades into nothingless, and becomes a watercolor painting of featureless shapes. Things seem to happen in slow motion, and the only things that matter are her voice, her eyes, the touch of her hands.
Sometimes it feels like I’m in hypnosis. Not that I mind. Not one bit.
In the past six months, I’ve had several changes happen to me. Other than the very fact that I’m steadily seeing someone and I feel in love (geez, what a fucked up word that was a year ago), my lifestyle has adapted somewhat. I no longer check out girls… well, not like last time anyway. I do not deny (and neither can any of you ‘guys’ out there) that a pretty girl is a pretty girl is a pretty girl, and men everywhere, myself included, are almost always inclined to look.
But no more do I imagine any pretty girl as inherently fuckable; I don’t imagine about taking off their multi colored bras anymore, or fondling different sized breasts from different girls or yanking off panties with my teeth. Well, most times, anyway. Not like before, at least. And I do not deny that I have had, and still have, sexual desires or fantasies involving my girlfriend. Come on, no men doesn’t have these thoughts. It’s just whether you act on it or not.
I’ve decided to take the huge and significant step, for me, to not indulge in what the (impressive) member between my legs seems to want. That was, for me, an achievement worthy of celebration. I didn’t of course.
I do not deny, too, though, that I do wonder about what lies beneath the clothes Damia puts on. Sometimes my imagination gets too far, admittedly, and I get that familiar stiffening and warm sensation in my loins… but thinking of her that way always, always, makes me feel guilty (that’s another first) and… dirty, so I stop before I get ahead of myself. This new, relatively celibate, life was difficult to adjust to at first. Yes, there were times, especially at the beginning of our relationship, when I had the urge to pull a ‘Dhani’ on Damia and get her to fuck me but thankfully that hasn’t happened. I had compensated with some personal happy time, but even that became a bit gross.
That is to say, I haven’t fucked or even wanked for the past few months. A record.
Isn’t it weird that love does that to you? I mean, what is sexual attraction if not an innate desire to mate, to fuck, to ‘make love’ to the object of your affections? So I thought, a few months ago. Now, I guess, Damia has made me realize that there is more to relationships, and love, than just The Monster With Two Backs.
I frowned, remembering that months ago I had bought that, intending to give it to Damia, then thought I shouldn’t and stashed it inside my wardrobe (along with some other unused apparel and accessories; I saw two old watches, a Tissot and a Tag Heuer, some wallets, scarves and four pair of shoes that I had thought to sell off but forgot) and promptly sort of forgot about it.
I opened the box and was glad to see the contents were unsullied and untouched by dust. The cluth purse, the one Damia had adored and gotten misty eyed over, was still there. It was still beautiful, resplendent in its mustard yellow leather and shining clasp.
I carressed the soft leather and smiled. Had this been a foreshadowing of what was to come back then? I didn’t know, and now I didn’t care. Because it didn’t matter anymore, didn’t it? Damia was mine now.
I brought the box back into my room and wiped the dust off it. I rummaged in my office and found some chiffon cloth, some excess from a table liner I had bought some months ago. The chiffon was maroon and I wrapped the box (with the purse inside) with it and tied a neat ribbon using silver twine.
I suppose now was a good time to finally present the gift to Damia. I bet she would love it.
“With Nissa?” Damia said, rhetorically. She had actually met Nissa a few months back, over dinner, too, and they had gotten along fine. Nissa was particularly adoring of her, and showered her with affection that time. Damia had told me she liked Nissa when I sent her home that night, and I received a text from Nissa saying ‘KEEP HER’ at about the same time too. So that was okay. Even better, the twins, Yasmine and Jasmine, adored ‘Aunty Damia’ and Damia adored them back.
“What’s the occasion?” She asked.
“Nothing; just dinner. Can you?” I said.
“Sure, of course. It means I get to meet those babies again! I love your nieces!”
“I noticed. Eheh. But on one condition, though,” I said, in a slightly ominous manner.
“Condition? There are conditions now?” Damia asked, smiling and took a sip of tea. Her grey eyes swirled and sparkled over the rim of the porcelain cup.
“Yes, conditions,” I said, and ate a macaron. Bourbon vanilla with kaya, one of my favorites. Though Nathalie’s, over in Dutamas, still held top spot in my favorite macarons list.
“Okay, name it, Sayang.”
I leaned forward on our table and cupped my chin in my hands. “You have to wear that yellow blouse. And the yellow shoes.”
She raised her eyebrows. “That’s it? Why?”
“No reason,” I shrugged. “I love seeing you in it.”
Damia squinted her eyes and crinkled her nose. “Are you going to tell me what color pants or skirt or tudung to wear too?”
“No,” I laughed. “Just make sure your blouse and shoes match.”
“You’re weird,” Damia said.
When I picked her up to go Nissa’s, she was wearing that yellow blouse, with the billowy sleeves. It was slightly see through, so I noticed she wore a sleeveless white top on the inside, that covered the rest of her body. Damia paired the blouse with a dark blue, pleated long skirt, a matching wide black belt and her pair of yellow, shiny PVC heels. Her hijab, done in that Hana Tajima style she seemed so fond of, was also dark navy blue. She accesorized with a long, mock black-pearl necklace, a small black canvas handbag, and a cute pink flower brooch pinned her hijab. Damia had put on minimal make up, opting for a nude look, with the exception of black eyeliner and mascara that made her eyes stand out.
She looked, to my eyes, gorgeous.
Dinner was great. Nissa had asked her what was her favorite food the last they met, and she had said it was Gulai Lemak Daging Salai, and so Nissa had prepared just that. Damia looked ecstatic but also embarassed.
“You didn’t have to, Kak Nissa,” Damia said when my sister had brought the dish to the dining table.
Nissa waved her hand dismissively. “It’s not always. Besides, you’re special,” she said, and looked at me and Damia meaningfully.
“Aunty Damia Aunty Damia do you want to bring us go jalan-jalan to the zoo or we can go shopping look at toys and books and dresses so we can play princesses and fairies and..” went the twins, seemingly telepathically connected. They had taken so well to Damia. Almost as if… it was meant to be? Heh.
“Haish, don’t bother Aunty Damia, eat first,” Nissa hushed them. Damia laughed and said if they were good girls, she’d bring them jalan-jalan, if it was okay with Nissa. This made the twins go “pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseMommypleaseplease” so much that Nissa just said “OK! OK!” and we had laughed.
The dinner was lovely and conversation was good, even with the little girls talking about fairies and ponies and dolls. I was really, inconceivably glad that Nissa and Damia had hit if off. I knew Nissa very very well, and she is quite protective of me. So for them to get along was a huge plus in all our favors.
How amazing is Damia?
After dinner we had tea and coffee and played with Yasmine and Jasmine until they fell asleep. Damia helped me carry the girls to their bed, and they woke up briefly and insisted that Damia sing them a song and kiss them goodnight. Nissa was so touched to see this she teared up a bit, though she hid it from Damia. Damia, herself, was more than happy to oblige my nieces. Then we talked a bit more, before I finally asked to excuse ourselves as it was getting late and I had to send Damia home. The ladies hugged and told each other they would hang out, even if I wasn’t there. Crap. But good crap.
I drove her home, my left hand in her right. She looked out the window and I could see her through her reflection that she was smiling.
“Damia,” I said.
“Hm?” she turned to me, still smiling.
“Are you happy with me?” I asked.
“Yes, Dhani. I am. Are you?”
I kissed her hand. “Yes.”
About forty minutes later we arrived in front of her house. It was dark. I parked the car and let it idle.
“They’ve gone to sleep I guess,” Damia remarked, referring to her family. She looked at me again. “Thank you, Sayang, for a lovely night. I like Nisa sangat-sangat. And I love the twins! I really want to bring them jalan-jalan one day, can we?”
“Of course. You’re paying,” I teased. She pinched me gently. Then she frowned.
“I still don’t get why you insisted I wear yellow, though. I felt like I was overdressed,” she said.
“You weren’t. You look amazing. And I wanted to see if your dress would match this,” I said and reached backwards, grabbing the wrapped box I had neatly hidden behind my seat. I handed it to her, and she cocked her head to the side.
“Sayang, what is this?” She seemed to genuinely not know.
“Unwrap it,” I coaxed. “I think, or rather hope, that you’re going to love it.”
She untied the ribbon and then gently unravelled the chiffon cloth off the box. When she saw the box-lid, her brows furrowed, and when she made out the letters in the dim light, her lips saying the brand voicelessly, I saw her eyes open wide and jaw drop.
She looked at me, disbelieving. “No. Sayang, no.”
“Yes,” I said.
“This is a joke, right? Inside is a spider or a card or a USB thumb-drive or something right? Tell me!”
“Damia, just open the box,” I said, gently.
She lifted the lid off the box with, I noticed, fingers that trembled slightly. Then she unfolded the layer of protective lining to reveal the mustard yellow clutch purse inside. She squealed and brought her hands to her mouth.
“Sayang, no,” she said, looking at me with tears welling up in her eyes.
“Damia, baby, yes,” I said. I was feeling very good, so good. This was the first sincere, genuine gift I’ve given to a girl in years.
“Dhani, no, I couldn’t possibly,” Damia said, shaking her head. “You have to take it back.”
“I can’t. Or I don’t want to. I bought this… eight months ago? When you had first seen it.”
“Dhani, no. Oh my God.”
“Take it out, Damia.”
“But why? And eight months ago… we weren’t even dating back then? How could you have…”
Then I put a finger to her lips. “Because I think maybe even back then, I sort of knew I would fall in love with you.”
She held my hand in hers, and said, “But this is too much, I KNOW how much it must have costs you.”
I shook my head. “I don’t care. It’s worth it. You’re worth it.”
She wiped a single tear that had made it’s way onto her cheek. She gingerly took out the purse from the box, her eyes wide with admiration. It struck me then that this was probably her first time ever holding a haute couture item. She was a regular girl, after all; a beautiful one, but your girl next door. She didn’t wear designer clothing, or lived in a fancy condominum. She lived here, in Setiawangsa, in a simple but comfortable linkhouse with her family. But that didn’t stop her becoming special and beautiful in all ways; mind, body and heart. I felt humbled and slightly ashamed of my own life.
“Dhani, it’s beautiful. Thank you, thank you so much,” she threw her arms around me and embraced me fiercely. I wrapped an arm around her slim waist.
“You like it,” I asked. I felt her nod. “I love it, Sayang,” she said.
I was acutely aware of her breasts pressing against chest. I rubbed the side of her waist. That familiar hardening was making its way back to my loins. Her perfume; not the one she had put on, but her natural, sweet musk, was intoxicating. I inhaled deeply in the crook of her neck. Then I pulled her away from her embrace. She looked at me with a puzzled light in her eyes.
I put my lips on hers; they were tender and warm, tasting like spiced honey. I kissed her, but she was still, unsure how to react. Her heartbeat, though, was telling a different truth from her still lips. For a moment, as if in a trance, we were locked in that kiss. Then my hand slid from her waist to her breast, and that broke it.
Quickly, but not harshly, she pushed me away. She adjusted her hijab, and straightened the creases in her skirt. I looked away, suddenly feeling incredibly embarrassed, and ashamed, and furious with myself. A very awkward silence encapsulated us.
“I have to go… it’s getting late,” Damia said, finally. She didn’t look at me. I nodded. I wanted to apologize, but the words didn’t come out. She gathered her handbag and opened the car door.
But wait she forgot her gift! I called out to her.
Damia came back, then she quietly wrapped the purse back in its box and chiffon cloth. “I don’t think I should take it.”
“Damia? No, it’s a gift,” I said. “Please, for me?”
She considered it. I knew she wanted it. But something made her feel that this was wrong, I think.
“Baby, please? Ikhlas,” I said, pleading. Finally, after a few minutes thoughts, she relented and accepted it from my hands again. She smiled at me, blew me a kiss and went inside her house.
I drove home feeling angry, and feeling like I screwed all this up. I reached home and slammed the door and felt like pulling my hair out. I wanted to call her but felt too fucking ashamed of myself. So I waited at the balcony with phone in hand.
An hour passed before my phone rang. It was her. But when I answered, she didn’t say anything.
I sighed. “Sayang, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I got carried away.”
A long silence. Then her voice came. “Dhani, I love you.”
“I love you too, Damia.”
“But I don’t want… I mean, I don’t want what just happened.”
“I know, I understand. I’m sorry.”
“And I hate myself for thinking this because I trust you and I really do love you, but for that one moment when that happened, I thought you were buying your way into my panties,” she said.
That was blunt. She continued, “That’s why, for that one moment, I felt like I didn’t want the purse. Even thought I really wanted it.”
“Sayang, I,” I stammered, trying to find the right words. “Damia, I’m.. I’m sorry.” That was all I could say and I felt lame and stupid.
“I forgive you. But please, Dhani. Don’t do that. Not ever,” Damia said. I said yes to her.
“Dhani,” she said, “I don’t know your past… dating history, or who you went out with before. I don’t know if you think that sort of thing was okay. And I do not deny that your kiss felt wonderful. But I don’t think it’s okay. I mean, I make mistakes, and in no way am I saying that I’m more righteous or anything, but I do know when to draw the line, Dhani. I do hope you understand. I love you, Dhani, I really do.”
“I love you too and I promise it won’t happen again, Damia. I promise.”
“I trust you. And please, I plead, don’t fail that trust, Sayang? Please?”
“Okay. Okay. Thank you, Dhani,” she said. “Let’s forget about it, it’s done. Okay?”
“I really do love the gift, Sayang,” she said, her tone softening. “I could never be able to afford you a gift like that.”
I managed to smile, feeling a bit relieved. “It’s okay. You don’t have to. I have your love. It is worth more than anything Paris or Milan, or the world, can offer.”
She laughed a little. “Thank you again, Sayang. I feel tired.”
“Let’s get rest,” I said.
“I love you with all my heart, Dhani Ibrahim, and I want nothing to ruin it. Goodnight, my love. Sweet dreams.”