There’s a seven-seat counter in the restaurant Ippudo.
Seven seats allow for a variety of permutations:
- Seven lonely hearts,
- A family of four engaged in Cold Wars / their phones, PLUS three friends ready to Instagram the shit out of their Akamaru noodles…
- In my case last Sunday, three couples and the loner – me.
Technically, I wouldn’t have been alone. Alan said he’d be by my virtual side, Whatsapping along the way. Unfortunately, it was also technology that let us down, since the messaging app’s servers konked out for the entire duration of my meal.
And so I sat sandwiched between two couples. I was the first person at the counter, BTW, so I don’t know why they couldn’t have just put me all the way to either side. These days I feel that the whole of society is conspiring against me, forcing me to endure gag-inducing PDAs I see everywhere. I suppose this is payback time for all my JC classmates who had to put up with Alan’s and my canoodling in LT5.
Anyway. The counter at Ippudo has been designed for the loner. There’s sufficient space all around you, so you don’t catch too much of the man on the right rubbing his hand up and down his girlfriend’s thigh in your peripheral vision. The ramen chefs are also decent eyecandy on a boyfriendless night.
Nevertheless, by my 10th spoonful, there was a hunger that all the broth in the world could not fill. It was the hunger of companionship!
In essence, this entire noodly post boils down to one thing: long-distance sucks.
It wasn’t so bad at first, what with the excitement and confusion that comes with a new job. Now there’s slightly less excitement but still a whole lot of confusion. Add mounting anxiety (productivity! stop fucking up! etc) to the mix, and Alan’s absence is catching up with me in the worst way. (Which is kinda an unromantic way to look at love – as a utilitarian sadness-remover or happiness-filler, but that’s me la okay.)
This indescribable feeling, this Missing, gets amplified throughout the week. I make a mental note to check out street art along Victoria Street, only to remember that the most hilarious model in the world is 9,000 miles away. I eat fried chicken on a binge day and remember to mummify the oil-drenched poultry with kitchen towels, cos that’s what we would be doing together if we were here, and I kinda lose my appetite. (Not for long though, or people would have stopped asking me: “Have you put on weight?” which I think is a stupid — NOT TO MENTION RUDE — question because if you think I have put on weight, clearly I have. Like, what are you asking for? Empirical data? An affirmative confirmation to your subjective guess? Me to confirm that you have eyes and a lack of tact? WHAT??)
Back on topic.
Everything becomes a countdown. But the days pass by too slowly for me. While some friends keep an app on their phone counting down the number of days left till the end of their bond, I kept one for the days left till I’d be reunited in Alan in South Africa.
Both countdowns are depressing – time seems to crawl when you want something badly. But what made me finally put an end to this distressing exercise is this: when the countdown to the day I finally see Alan in the flesh ticks down to zero… then the countdown to the day that we will be apart will start. And only then will time fly by.
There’s a few silver linings to this gnawing emptiness though.
- Time to concentrate on work — no real hurry to finish work in order to paktor (okay in hindsight, this doesn’t really sound like a perk to me hahaha. Also this means that I need to get more friends.)
- More alone time — allows me to rediscover myself and all that other New Agey shit
- I will never complain about queues again
And why not? Because while sitting alone gets you on the fast track to Ippudo (no need to wait, just get ushered straight to the counter), nothing beats lining up for food with the person who understands you most in the world, knowing that at the end of this indeterminable wait, there will always be a steaming bowl of noodles + the quiet comfort that he loves you. #gag #gaowei #wtfrachelyou’regross
It’s 52 days till South Africa. And about a year and a half to the next time I head down to Ippudo, cos I sure as heck am not going to sit at the counter next time.