"There are nine million bicycles in Beijing
That's a fact,
It's a thing we can't deny
Like the fact that I will love you till I die."Nine Million Bicycles (2005) by Katie Melua
It's a day for sappy blues.
I got off on the right side of bed this morning and caught a McD's breakfast about 30 seconds to eleven. I had an Egg McMuffin in lieu of my usual Sausage McMuffin (with Egg™!) because I found out a couple of weeks ago that they have started including a slice of chicken roll in their Egg McMuffins, and I have been dying to try it since.
It certainly was as good as it sounds. The chicken roll complements the egg really well, just so long as you don't dwell too long on the fact that you're eating both the mother and its young at the same time. Oh, and they are also giving out free strawberry-flavoured Chipsmore cookie bars with every McValue meal! I had to ask for mine though, but I got it. Are the McD staff hoarding the cookie bars for themselves?! We might never know the answer to that.
Later in MPH, I found a copy of The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Messrs Oscar Wilde (my absolute favourite homosexual Victorian author!) in a cheap RM 8.50 Penguin Popular Classics format. I did not bring that poor ickle book home, though. It's the tail end of the month, see, and the end o' month blackhole have taken up residence in my wallet once again. But no matter, I shall be back for it. Maybe.
I discovered a book clearance sale over at Thai Kuang next - everything and anything that has a cover at RM 9.90! This time, I've also resisted buying any books. It wasn't hard, really, since they mostly carry cheesy romance novels, conspiracy theory hackworks and self-help manuals. I did, however, nearly checked out with a Complete Idiot's Guide to Being the Groom (I thought that it'd make a good gift for any of my guy friends, for when they are getting hitched) and a beautiful telephone directory-sized hardcover Holy Bible, because mine is falling apart from all the heavy-duty use I've subjected it to, and also because an ant colony have taken up residence in the Gospel of Mark (did they use caramel to glue the pages together or what?), but my willpower carried the day.
And speaking of Bibles, I found this Christian bookstore in Pahlawan Megamall today. I went in and scoffed at everything. Good times.
Green Day's new album, 21st Century Breakdown, blared from my headphones as I shuffled in and out of shops through the mall. I like having them on - the headphones, I mean - when I hit the mall on Sundays. They discourage people like sales assistants and roadshow promoters from approaching me. On the off-chance they don't get the hint, I can simply pretend not to notice and ignore the hell out of them. It's fun. Never mind that they've already made eye-contact. I can't see you 'cos I got these headphones on, tra la la la...
Then, I visited the Merdeka Memorial on Fort Road, which is right outside one of the mall's back entrances. Don't ask me why I did it. I just felt like it. And I picked the Merdeka Memorial because it's the only museum in the area which doesn't charge its visitors for entry.
I don't believe I'm saying this but I had a great time there. It's one of those rare times in which I feel fired up with national pride and shit. I also learnt that the white guy in the funny hat who represented the Queen for our 1st Independence Day ceremony was the Duke of Gloucester, and that our constitution states that being a Malay and being a Muslim are mutually exclusive. Who would have thunk?
Soon, I was back in the mall because the air-conditioning in the memorial wasn't working too well. I wanted to read in Starbucks but considering the recession - and my wallet - I decided manfully against it, even if I could probably mooch a discount from my old schoolmate's dad who's like the manager of all the Starbucks in Malacca. I'm just not that cheap (and also, he wasn't there at the time). So, I found myself a spot beside the fountain right outside the café, set my MP3 player on shuffle and whipped out a book from my satchel which Phoebe lent me before she went back to India. It was Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and like all of his books, it's snail-paced, pretentious and rambling. His narrator protagonists are always self-inserts, and he'll spend half the pages of every novel introducing a bunch of horny female characters and describing their quirky backstories and physical attributes in great, perverse detail. And the protagonist will sleep with all of them. The end.
That's Admiral Zheng He there in the bas-relief. He's probably the manliest eunuch in the history of mankind.
Okay, his books are definitely more than that but I'm too lazy to write about them now. They are, however, excellent to read on days like today. By a fountain full of large, bright coloured kois. In a patch of sun that just warm enough for the cold of a mall's interior, filtered through a domed skylight. There are few days in my life in which I feel unequivocally happy and contented, but today is one of them. The thought hit me like a sudden kiss from a girl I've never met before. I realised that the moment I noticed that I liked each and every song my MP3 player played today. Every track sounded upbeat and sunny, even the sad emo ones.
Years from now, I want to look back to today and remember how warm and happy I felt by the fountain with a book on my lap. It's just another Sunday, I know, but it's one of those rare days which you would treasure for no greater significance than your belief that its what life has in store for you for the remainder of your ever after.
Sure, there's going to be a lot of days when it's dim or dark, but imagine - imagine your life as a hallway. You only need a bright, sunny day here and there to light up the entire stretch. I'm betting that that's how I'll see it when I'm at the end, staring back into all that I've left behind. Alright, I'm not betting. I'm really just hoping.
Corny, yes, but fortunately, it's a day for that too :)
Happy, happy, happy,
k0k s3n w4i