I'm feeling sad and blue
You went away,
Now my life is just a rainy day and I love you so,
How much you'll never know
You've gone away and left me lonely.
- Sukiyaki by 4PM
I loved sukiyaki. It was such an uncomplicated dish yet so nutritious. Plus, it makes me full too. But I couldn't find it everywhere in the country. No place was selling it in Seremban; and I only knew a place where I tasted my first sukiyaki: Teppanyaki, Mid Valley Megamall.
It has been years ago when I first tasted what I called "sup sayur Jepun". The bowl was huge! I could still remember eating that alone for the first time. My stomach was full and it looked exactly like a sukiyaki bowl. It was not an ordinary sup sayur. The sukiyaki consisted of chicken (when naturally it was supposed to be beef), fish fillet, tofu, green cabbage, jelly noodle and an egg with a delicious runny yolk. It was superb; especially after a tired day of studying. Eat that simmering broth without rice and I could suddenly remember the 4Ps the lecturer asked me to memorize for marketing test (do they have 4Ps or 5Ps these days?)
Well, student years have passed several years ago. 2011 would be my sixth year of working and I was eating it alone. Eh, wasn't this the dish that I would only eat alone? Yes, this was the only dish that I won't share it with anyone; regardless my brothers of close friends. I remember eating this when I was too stressed up about something or when I decided to have sometime just for myself and think about something. Or when I was too tired of the crowd.
It seemed to me that being in Teppanyaki that day was a bit like being in a sanctuary. Things were peaceful and nice, the smell of teppanyaki was all over the place. Fried garlic was the loveliest smell of the day and the clicking sound of teppanyaki utensils was like the music to my ears. Indeed, that was the day when I decided just to be by myself. I got some serious thinking to do.
So, I was expecting a teppanyaki to cool me down, made me more objective and provided me the spirit that I needed via the nutrition that I was digesting. Alas, the sukiyaki was a bit frustrating that day; it no longer bore cube tofu as they sliced it thinly nowadays; only a prawn was there in the bowl instead of two; with less chicken and no fish fillet. The only ingredient which was put in a better quantity was the jelly noodle. I could taste a budget cut down on my tongue but hey, why should I be complaining when the price was not changing a bit?
"Sayang!" my ears captured the male tone in front of me. He was on the phone.
I looked at his impressive Tag Heuer and neatly pressed Polo shirt. He smelled like a soap. He was fair and prestigious; any lady who looked at him would definitely thought of looking at him twice. His eyes were deep under a classy glasses, his nose was sharp and his lips were perfectly molded. He was...an image of Seth Tan but not similar to Aaron Aziz. You got what I mean?
But then, he was too fair for my taste. His ears were red and he looked as sour as yesterday's rotten curry.
He was angry.
"Yelah...I know. But tak boleh ke you datang sekejap je, sayang? I dah ada dekat sini. Tinggal ambik order je," his voice sounded like a plea.
Then he kept quiet. I pretended as if I was not looking at him at all. Well, don't let the guy knew that I was watching him across the teppanyaki table. I munched the mushroom softly. And slowly.
"Tapi...tapi...ni kan favourite you! I dah duduk sini dah. Nak tanyalah you nak makan apa. I tunggu sini ye..." he said softly.
Obviously, the girl or the boy on the other line was saying something that he hated. He looked like the prawn in my sukiyaki. As I poked the yolk in my bowl, I heard a sharp intake of breath across the table.
He looked devastated. But he looked up and caught me watching him.
Lantak...Lan Botak...Lu makan taik katak!
I was so scared if he thought that I was evesdropping him. I was not! I was just...just....just...
...being busy body.
And that was because he was quite loud!
But...but...I was not supposed to look at him. Huhhh..where was my cabbage???
I bent my head low when I heard...
"I knew you were too busy, sayang. But think about us. Kita dah lama tak keluar makan. You asyik kerja aje. I tell you what. There is a girl here eating all alone. Takde pulak boyfriend dia nak temankan dia makan sukiyaki macam I teman you. Don't you feel lucky, sayang?"
Cesss...was he talking about me?! Hey mister, I might look like a loner but I chose to be one tau!
"Kerjalah sayang...biarlah I makan sorang kat sini...nak buat macam mana girlfriend I asyik busy..."
Then I heard a very quiet...
"I love you too..."
He smiled sadly at his phone. Then he looked up at me, smiled and shrugged.
I just shrugged back. Where's my tofu?