I was really down at that time.

Half the night I was crying on my aunt’s shoulder.

The next day I saw this stranger with a toothy smile.

The smile was so familiar.

I thought it reminded me of him.

But actually, no.

It reminded me of simpler times. Of the time when we were students.

Those days when we all used to sit together in the cosy room, watching P Ramlee’s movies.

When we would laugh even before the jokes come.

When we’d dine in Sufi’s on weekends. Walking together in the cold night, on the streets.

Or when we’d walk to UGC to watch a movie. We’d buy some ice cream and nachos with melted cheese and salsa and popcorns, shared in between the nine of us. Then we’d walk back to our place half-hour away.

It reminded me of the time we ran around Europe.

Finding our way to the Blomengraght Hotel in Amsterdam. The cold weather. The attic room and Uno Stacko.

The dog in the train in the Belgian border.

And Paris and Brussels.

Of that December in 2004.

The surprise birthday celebration that my brother and his cheeky friend arranged.

Funny this subconscious mind.

When you thought you were reminded of one thing.

But actually you’re thinking of something else.

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