I am still in shock.
I was napping late evening yesterday when Ning called me to tell me that Yanie had passed away. My stomach turned and I felt my fingertips grow cold.
I've always had trouble grasping the concept of death. When I was little and one of my beloved cats died, I would go into a daze for a weeks. For hours I could not stop thinking about how the cat was frolicking about and now, he would never do that again. Never mew, never come running when I scraped his food dish, never climb on the curtains, never creep into my bed. Head dead, feet dead, tail dead. I could not, for the life of me, fathom how the life had left each cell in his little body, leaving behind an empty and hollow shell. That scared me immensely.
Yanie and I were housemates for two and a half years. I always called her "suri rumah" because she enjoyed staying at home, cooking her own meals and cleaning. One of the things I envied about her was her flawless eyesight. If 20/20 is perfect, then hers was 21/20. She could read signboards that even I, with the aid of glasses/contacts, could not! That was funny because she read in the dark and watched TV at a very close range all the time.
She was also one of the sweetest people you could ever hope to meet. She was always eager to help. She was steady and dependable. She was the one I ran to to help zip up skirts and dresses, tie ribbons, pick out clips from a head of hair hardened by hairspray. She loved my gold belt and somehow everything I had screamed out for her pink glittery bangle. We sought out each others' outfit approval and helped each other memorize lyrics for a show.
I remember the night before I shot the Caramu MV. My entire body ached, my feet had blisters and three of my toenails were broken and bleeding. I had never been more tired. Upon getting home, I only managed to shower before I fell asleep. When I arrived at the set with insufficient packing, Yanie had to take a cab all the way from Bangsar to Glenmarie in the wee hours of the morning to bring the remainder of my outfits.
Yes she was sweet. That is probably the first impression she gives people. She was approachable and friendly, and she laughed and joked so much that there was a tendency for people to think she was fluff-brained and childlike. Perhaps that was what she wanted people to believe.
But a child she wasn't. Even as I was two weeks older, often she would be the one equipped with the answers and experience. She never read manuals. I remember the time we bought a washing machine. She knew exactly which end of the hose went where. Then she would examine the little pictures on the dials to figure out the functions. She set up the microwave oven, shoe rack and gas stove. I guess it all came from being an eldest child. It meant a need and urgency to learn things, and learn things fast. It taught her a fierce independence.
Unfortunately, it was also this independence that prevented her from seeking help from others unless absolutely necessary. I felt angry for a while for being left in the dark until the moment of her passing. But then I remembered how she never shared her personal problems with anyone. If she was sick, she would take a cab and see a doctor herself. So when I was informed that she had been suffering for 4 months without anyone's knowledge, I thought to myself, "How typical of Yanie..."
I apologize to all the people whose calls I had not picked up yesterday. But I had lost someone I love as a sister and was in no shape to "dish out details". I went into the longest daze of my life.
I remember how she cooked nasi tomyam for my sister Marie when she stayed over.
I remember the Barbie Doll she gave me for my 22nd birthday.
I remember how she watched Akademi Fantasia every week.
I remember that orange lipgloss that she loved to mix with her lipstick to create that perfect natural shade.
I remember the "Shoes Shoes Shoes" shoebox where she kept her accessories and CD cases containing her favourite music.
I remember the fragrance she used for her wardrobe, it came from a soapbar-like thing with a hook.
I remember the papaya soap she was so fond of, she swore by it, telling me it was better than Nivea at whitening armpits...lol.
I remember how she loved lining her eyes thick, otherwise they would look tiny she would say. And the peachy Bodyshop blusher that practically got scraped out of its pot because she loved it so much.
I remember how the bowling ball I had bought eventually became hers because she had gotten so good at the sport.
I remember how she would try to be tactful about adding salt to my cooking :)
I remember the smell of that egg and cheese mixture that she loved to microwave and how it stuck to my clothes in the morning.
I remember how she had a better sense of direction than anyone I knew.
Yes, I went into a very very long daze...until my husband started singing "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie.
I love you and will always miss you, Yanie.