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Nasi Padang

“Bih, pesen padang yuk. Catering sucks.”

A new Slack message got my attention rightaway. I glanced at Dara who sat only one feet away. The clock showed 11 AM. Never too early for lunch.

“Boleh. Ajakin yang lain gih. Gue ke Alfamart dulu nemenin orang jajan,” I replied. Aji was standing impatiently next to me. A candidate just rejected his offer and he needed one or two Magnum Almond sticks to calm him down.

A few minutes later, Dara busied herself with the list of orders and took out a pack of Kata Emak board game cards, laid them on the table waiting for a new round.

“Gaes, klean jangan lupa Nasi Kulit Syuhga kemaren ya gaes,” said Bebe turning around her chair, making sure she made eye contact with people who owed her life money. An online bill has been well prepared beforehand.

“Anjir ya ini orang, udah dikasih 30 persen masih minta naik! Gila kali!” Jenny shouted from across the room. She slammed the phone down and let out a long sigh. “Gue gak jadi makan di Om Bagyo ya sis, mesti nego lagi nih. Sial.” Thirza gave out her empathetic look and offered a takeaway. Jenny nodded and continued cursing.

“Guys, ada yang mau Dough Lab gak?” asked Thirza before leaving the desk. She took out a box of heaven from her bag.

“Mauuuk!” said Acit from afar. Thirza spared a huge piece of Flower Child cookie on a plate then added an extra piece. Staying still in her wall-sit pose with laptop on lap, Acit thanked Thirza for existing.

Ami walked into the room with swollen eyes (someone just watched DraKor on the bus a bit too religiously). Her swollen eyes changed as she passed an open laptop with Youtube playlist in sight. Karen noticed the rolling eyes and grinned immensely. She switched back to a working tab and handed Ami’s favourite pen with a wider grin.

Bebe saw me coming back and stopped me halfway.

“Dis, temenin gue ambil ke bawah yuk!” She dragged me out to the lift without waiting for a response. It was a command, not a question.

We chatted about various national issues such as projection bonus amount for this cycle and repetitive catering menus, being ungrateful bitches ourselves. Complaining instead of reasoning.

It took us two seconds to spot our courier in a sea of people. Easy to spot the one who carried the most in amount and the best in smelling. Later on, we felt bad for people who shared the same lift and still had more meetings to attend.

The lift stopped at seventh floor and we hurried out. As we made our way to the front door, everyone had gathered in pengkolan—our mini lounge—and dropped the cards once they saw the colourful plastics we held.

Then we spent a good five minutes plating and trading toppings and chilis. One could (not) have too many. Things were fine until someone noticed what was missing.

“Ihhh kalian pesen padang ya!?” Nada appeared with big question mark on her sad face. All eyes were set on one person.

“Shit. Gue lupa invite ke grup…” Dara’s shocked face and half-shared paru eventually healed Nada’s broken heart. I savoured every bite of my meal and the heartwarming rambling conversations that accompanied, as if it was our last day together.

We all might have felt missing out every now and then, but the truth is, no one was ever intentionally left out. Our relationship was more than colleagues and slightly less than sisters—although we fought exactly like one.

Think of it like Nasi Padang. People say it’s too spicy and full of unhealthy, greasy ingredients. But, once you have a taste, it’d be the best meal you ever had.

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