It was one of those supposedly quick dinners that ended up as a night-long conversation over nothing in particular.
I feel like a Ramly burger, he said suddenly. The clock ticked 3. Well, at 3am only Ramly burgers could hit the spot.
I pointed to the direction of the 7-11, a block away. A single light bulb illuminated the stall right across the street, like the halo of an angel. We got up from our 24-hr mamak restaurant and made the walk.
Sometimes I wonder about the way you live your life, he mused while we stood there watching grease spat and hiss over slabs of meat patties. The burger guy hummed an Indonesian song while our meal was grilling, oblivious to the brevity of the split-second silence that permeated the entire universe at that very moment.
A little smile threatened to form at the corner of my mouth but I had a feeling he would be insulted if he knew I thought that his opinion was amusing. Finding amusement in the most appropriate moments happens to be my specialty. Instead, I told the burger guy to put extra mayonnaise on my burger.
You’re not going to respond to that, are you?
Nope, I said, and bit into my burger. Chewing prevented you from talking. Whoever said you should not talk when your mouth is full knew what he was talking about.
He shook his head and laughed. Every time, he said under his breath. I heard it but I pretended that I didn’t.
The burger was good, as does every other thing that they say is unhealthy for you. We polished off our pre-dawn snack with two cans of ice-cold Coca Cola. Did you know that 7-11 will not open its doors after midnite? You have to rattle the door and shout your order. They would open in by an inch, pass you what you want and you slip the money into their trembling, sweaty palms like it is some sort of a shady deal.
I walked him to his car. Did I tell you that the burger stall was just outside the gates of my apartment?
Take care, he said. I see some gray hairs so you better slow down. And we will have that conversation some day no matter how many times you evade.
He slammed his car door shut and sped off before I could reply. At the turn of the corner, he wound down his window and waved. My turn to shake my head and laugh.
So another dawn passed.