[Editor’s Note : Every week we will be publishing one chapter from Ansh Das’s book, The Memory Of A Face. Needless to say, we are super excited! Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14 & Chapter 15]
He picked up the phone and dialed the Dragonair hotline. After negotiating a few keys, he managed to speak to a customer services officer who informed him that all flights for that day had been rescheduled and that they were sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Diano wondered what he should do. Although the airlines had apologized for the problem, which they had not created, it wasn’t going to cover the hotel charges. Should he extend his stay by one more day?
He dialed Andy’s number. The phone kept ringing until it got disconnected. There was no answer. He redialed. After ten rings, Andy picked up.
“Hi. This is Diano. How are you?”
“Hi! I’m bad. Just like the weather. Are you checking out now?”
“Don’t know. The weather has worsened and the airline has rescheduled the flight to tomorrow morning. I’m not sure whether I should extend the stay at the hotel or what.”
“I see. Will your company cover the expenses?”
“I think so but I’m not sure. Maybe I should just call my boss first.”
“Okay, let me know.”
Diano hung up and dialed his boss in Hong Kong. His boss sounded concerned and told him that the company would cover the cost. He advised Diano to keep checking with the airline and stay indoors.
Next, Diano called the hotel reception and asked them to extend his stay by one more day. Then he dialed Andy again.
“Hi. It’s me again. I’ve extended my stay at the hotel by one more day.”
“Great! So what’s your plan for today?”
“Don’t know. I just woke up. Do you want to meet up today?” Diano asked.
“Yes, I do.” Andy paused for a moment. “There’s a complication.”
“Complication? Why? I mean, what?”
“I don’t know how to say this. I’m in an awkward situation right now. My landlord and I share his apartment. He’s been asking me to move out for some time. He wants to rent it out to one of his friends.”
“He asked me to move out today!”
“What?! In this weather?! Chi Sin!”
“Sorry, I don’t want to drag you into this.”
“I’m okay lah. But he’s crazy to ask you to move out in this weather. Where are you gonna move to? Have you found a place yet?”
“Yes. Sort of.”
“Well, I have checked a few places out already. And there’s this place that I think I can probably move into. Maybe I should call the other tenant to fix details now. The place is rented by that guy. He is looking for a flatmate to share the rent.”
“I see. So you haven’t spoken to the landlord yet?”
“Not yet. I don’t think I need to. I mean, if it’s already rented out, the other tenant should’ve taken care of everything. I just need to move in, stay there and pay my share of the rent to him.”
“But the tenancy agreement must be in his name. Are you sure about him? Is he a nice guy and won’t throw you out? Do you have a backup plan?” Diano asked.
“He seemed like a nice guy. I’ve met him only once, when I went to see the place last week. I don’t have any backup plan and given this ultimatum I don’t have a choice, do I?”
“Jeez. This is too rushed.”
“I know. I just want to make sure this landlord will return my deposit in full and not play any tricks. I haven’t even started packing yet. I had no idea he’d ask me to move out today.”
“Yeah. Get your deposit back before you move out. How much stuff do you need to pack? Can you manage moving on your own? I don’t mind helping you out since I’ve nothing to do anyway.” Diano offered.
“Thanks. But, really, I mustn’t trouble you like this. I don’t want to spoil your day.” Andy said.
“It’s okay lah. I’m good at packing stuff…and most importantly, we can spend more time together. I don’t mind at all.”
“Thank you. You’re a nice guy,” said Andy. “Let me finalize the details first. I’ll SMS you the address and you can take a cab here. I think you’ll get lost if you take the Metro. So, see you in a bit.”
“Sure.” Diano hung up.
He called room service and ordered brunch. The meal arrived soon and disappeared into his hungry stomach twice as fast.
Andy SMS’ed him the address. He had finalized all details at both places already. He wanted Diano to arrive around 3 p.m. to help with the packing.
At around 2.15 p.m., Diano stepped out of the hotel. The rain was coming down hard. It took him some time to flag down a cab. The cabbie drove over and Diano jumped in without getting very wet.
Diano read out the address and sat back. The cab moved slowly due to the low visibility. The wipers had no effect on the heavy rain. The moisture inside the cab condensed on the windscreen and the window panes. The driver had one hand on the wheel while he wiped the windscreen with a rag with the other.
Diano thought about the situation Andy was in. The landlord was pure evil.