Steph's Friend

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Far From You

I was sitting on one of the seats in the Viewing Gallery in Changi Airport reading my book. Then suddenly someone tapped my back...

???: Fancy meeting you here.

Huh? Who was it? I turned around and saw her! Oh my...

???: So what are you doing here?
Me: Well, I should be asking you that.
???: Well, you'll be leaving Singapore soon...and so...
Me: Uh huh...
???: I thought maybe I should come after all.
Me: But yesterday you said you were busy right?
???: I changed my mind *smile*
Me: Oh okay...so what do you want to do now since you are here?
???: Well, I should be asking you that.
Me: I guess I'll just look around since it's been a long time since I last set foot here.
???: Well, I'll just follow then.

She stood up from her seat, sat beside me and read a book that she brought along.

I didn't expect to meet En at Changi Airport. I was at the Viewing Gallery (the place where you see planes take off) when she called out to me. You see, the day before she asked me whether I had any plans today and I told her I would be going to the airport to look around. When I told her that, she said that she couldn't follow even though she wanted to as she had some previous appointment. Well, I guess things change and now she's here.

Me: By the way, what appointment was it that you had?
En: Haha...busybody...

Darn...she just called me a busybody. What a word to describe me.

Me: Er...I...it's okay if you don't want to say though.
En: Haha...you look cute.

I was a busybody one moment and now I am cute. I guess the rate of change of definition (d(definition)/dt) changes very fast.

En: It's not really an appointment...it's like...how do you say...personal time. Yeah...personal time to do something.
Me: Personal time?
En: Yeah...I had to do something last night and I managed to finish it and so here I am. If I couldn't then I won't be here.
Me: What was it that you need to do?
En: You really want to know?

Hm...En is getting good at making people curious.

Me: Let's see...no.
En: Aww...that's not fun.
Me: Well, that look on your face kinda gave it away. It seems to say "I am not answering anything".
En: Smart...as always.
Me: I think "always" is a bit of an overstatement.
En: Haha...anyway, have you eaten?
Me: Not really. If you want to eat we can go over Ya Kun and have a bite.
En: Okay...the food is nice and the price is reasonable too.
Me: By reasonable you mean it's cheap right?
En: Hey...things are expensive nowadays. So it's good to save if you can.
Me: Haha...okay...you are right.

And so I packed my stuff and carried my bag. En placed her book back into her bag and stood up. We both walked towards Ya Kun.

En: How long will you be gone?
Me: I thought you know the answer already?
En: I just wished that it won't be so long.
Me: Well it's 2 months.
En: Yeah...that's like soo long.
Me: Well, if you want you can email me. MSN may be a problem as my night time is your day time and vice versa.
En: Yeah...I guess that's one way. Oh yeah...do be careful there. I heard that it can be dangerous.
Me: Oh wait! I detected something!
En: What?
Me: I sensed...I sensed...someone showing concern...is it true?
En: Why you...

Then I ran away from her side lest any physical blow should land on me. She chased me and we attracted quite a bit of attraction. Who says NTU undergrads are all study and no play?

Me: Okay...okay...it's just that I am bad at such mushy things.
En: No...I really mean it.

Then I looked at her...those eyes, yes they do speak of concern. It's touching. I know she's worried but what can I do?

Me: Relax...I am not the first to go there. There are others who went there and came back home safely.
En: Yeah...I guess I am just a bit too...
Me: There! That's Mr Ya Kun waiting for us.

I know it's rude to cut her in the middle of her speech but somehow that worried face has to stop being so...worried. It will only add pimples and wrinkles to the face.

We ordered our meal and sat down.

Me: What time do you need to be back?
En: I guess before 9.00pm would be fine.
Me: Okay...anyway I will be leaving for home at about 4pm.

Our meal arrived and we tucked in.

En: By the way, do you remember the keychain I gave you?

Wow...that was like so long ago...I guess girls do remember the small things they do.

Me: Yeah...what about it?
En: Well, it attracted a lot of attention in your blog right?
Me: Haha...well that story was read by some of my friends...what about it?
En: Nah...that key chain resulted in a story which I like a lot...it's a nice read.
Me: Is it because you are the main character? *grin*
En: Yes...but more importantly...it's...aiya...it's nice lah.
Me: Haha...thanks.

After eating, we talked as we walked around the airport. I had actually brought a book that I wanted to read but since En made the effort to come here, it would not be nice if I ignored her and read my book. I guess she just wanted to spend some time before I go. Haiz...that sad face is really getting into me.

Me: Oh yeah, I wanted to ask you one thing.
En: What?
Me: Why aren't you wearing your specs?
En: Haha...it took you awhile to notice it.

Actually I noticed it at the start but because I have nothing to say that's why I used this as a conversation-starter.

Me: Erm...yeah.
En: I told you before didn't I?

Then En stopped walking and looked at me.

En: It's only for you...that's why.

Oh man...such mushy-ness in public! My feet melted like KFC's Cheesy BBQ Meltz...

En: You said that I looked nice without my specs and I remembered it. *smile*
Me: En, I think my legs are melting.
En: Haha...you are so funny.
Me: Well, it's only for you...that's why...

Whoa...her face turned red. This is bad. There's a guy who has trouble standing properly with a girl who's face is red. Doesn't look nice in public.

En turned away and continued walking. I smiled and walked towards her.

Me: But seriously, why don't you wear contacts in school?
En: Well, I go to school to study...so I wear my specs in school.
Me: Oh I see...
En: Specs...study...whereas contacts...
Me: Yes...contacts why?
En: Is when...I am with...someone. So it's different.
Me: Someone? Who?

Sometimes it's interesting to act blur and see what happens.

En: Yeah...someone whom I...

Okay better stop lest my legs melt any further.

Me: By the way, does your mum know that you are here with me?
En: Why would you want to know?
Me: Your mum would be worried if her daughter is out with some guy.
En: Haha...don't worry. I told her and she's fine with it because she met you already.
Me: Oh yeah...that phone conversation the other time sure was weird.
En: I guess my mum trusts you that's why she's ok when I said I was going to meet you.
Me: It's an honor to be trusted by someone don't you think?
En: Yeah...

We saw some chairs and decided to take a rest from the walking. En sat first and I sat beside her. We talked for awhile. While talking you can see that she's happy and sad. Happy as I was there (or at least that's what I think) and yet sad as I was leaving.

After talking for sometime, it was time to leave so we walked towards the MRT station.

En: Er...when you are there, do keep your eyes on the books okay?
Me: Er...why?
En: Well...you know how the girls there are different.
Me: Haha...don't worry...you know that I am a boring person who doesn't joke much to new people.
En: Well...just in case.
Me: Haha...okay...okay...

Then she smiled. That's nice. It's nice when she smiles every now and then. We were approaching the MRT station when En stopped.

En: Wait...I have something for you. I can't give it to you in the MRT.

Oh what's this? En has something for me. And it cannot be given in the MRT...interesting. Could it be a repeat of what happened the first time she gave me a present? She opened her bag and took out a small box.

Me: Oh...what's this?
En: It's a gift...for you.

Aw...that's very sweet of her.

En: Remember my personal time that I told you about? Well I had to prepare this last night before meeting you. I was afraid that I won't be able to finish it that's why I burnt the midnight oil to prepare this.
Me: ...
En: I know you'll be away for a long time and so I prepared this for you. Keep your eyes to your books and this...
Me: ...thanks.

I took the gift from her hands.

En: ...
Me: Er...are you waiting for me to open it in front of you?
En: Yes..
Me: Are you sure it's okay?
En: I...I guess that's okay.

Hm...she seemed hesitant. There must be something inside. I went on and slowly peeld out the scotch tape. The wrapping paper was light pink with those "Forever Frinds" bears on it. The wrapping paper was opened. I looked at En...she held her right elbow with her left hand and bit her lip. Hm...something interesting must be inside. I thought of asking whether it was a bomb like the other time...but I guess I shouldn't be too mean.

En: Promise that you won't laugh.

Inside the wrapping paper was a white box. I reached out to open it.

En: Wait...let's go over there.

En pointed to a small and quiet spot. I guess she wanted a quiet place for this special moment, far from the crowds. We walked over to the spot and sat on the cold marble floor. Then I went on to open the box. En looked on earnestly.

En: Wait...er...I don't think I can do this...
Me: Huh? Do what?
En: Never mind...I am going to the toilet for awhile. While I am there you can open the box.
Me: Huh? I am confused.

With that, En ran to the washroom. Hm...should I open the box? What should I do? After thinking for awhile, I decided that I should...

A few minutes later, En came out. I saw her walking towards me and I stood up from the seat I was sitting on.

En: So have you opened the box?
Me: Well...no.
En: *shocked* ...oh no...
Me: Well I thought that since you prepared so hard and wanted me to open this box in front of you, I thought that I should wait for you and...
En: But...but...
Me: Why? What's wrong.
En: Erm...okay...but please don't laugh.

I smiled at her trying to assure her that I won't laugh. She returned the smile. I opened the box and inside was a small frame. The frame contained a letter. It was a handwritten letter on some art paper with the same "Forever Friends" bear pictures. The letter says:

"I know you'll be away but..."

I stopped reading for awhile and looked at En. She sat in front of me with her face red.

En: What...

I continued reading the letter...

"do remember my face."

I stopped and looked at the author of this beautiful letter. She turned her face away.

"I'll remember yours so do remember mine. I don't know if I am strong enough to be in front of you when you read this or make up some excuse and leave, but this is what I want to say..."

I looked at her again...this time her face was even redder.

"I'll miss you while you're away."

Aw...that totally touched me. I closed the box and looked at the one who wrote it.

En: Well...
Me: Like I said...I won't laugh.
En: Thanks...I hope you like it.

What's there not to like? The frame is nice, the paper is nice, the handwriting is neat, even the paper is scented!

Me: That's nice...thanks.
En: I'll...I'll...miss you.
Me: Yeah...I'll...

Then at that point of time the PA system sounded off...

PA: Could Mr Stacey Brown come over to the information counter to collect his lost baggage. Oops...I mean Ms Stacey Brown.
(Name has been changed to protect the person)

I looked at En. She looked at me. And we both smiled and laughed. I guess she knew what I wanted to say...

En: You can put that in your room over there.
Me: Yeah.
En: The train's here.
Me: Okay...

We stood up and made our way to the train. We tapped our EZ-Link cards and walked into the train and sat on the seats.

Me: By the way...I have something to tell you.
En: What is it?
Me: You look beautiful today.
En: ... *smile*

And the train left Changi...

After a few stations, En asked me a question.

En: Hey...I have a question for you.
Me: Yeah?
En: Why do you think I am beautiful?

Wah...I didn't know such questions exists! It's a question I have not seen in any exam papers before. Even the ten-year series didn't prepare me for this. What should I say?

Me: Er...what a difficult question.

She smiled. She's learning to be like me already...acting blur...wanting to know the obvious.

Me: Well...because it's obvious that you look nice.

She placed her fingers on her chin...as if deep in thought. Did I say the wrong thing? Should I say that it's because her genetic makeup caused her to look this way? Nah...too geeky.

En: Then what's the difference when I wear my specs in school and now?

Wah...a "Compare and Contrast" question. Reminded me of my social studies paper during secondary school.

Me: Wah...since when did you learn to ask these type of questions?
En: Haha...since I met you.

Diao! Better think of an answer.

Me: Well you see, it's because you chose to show how you look now, the one without specs, only when I am around. So in a sense, you reserved that particular look of yours only for me. Because of that...

Shucks...stuck...say what?

En: Uh huh...

Me: Because of that...I feel that you trust me enough to show me a side of you that you don't usually show to others. Like I said before...it's an honour to be trusted by someone, especially if that someone is you.

She smiled sheepishly.

En: Aww...

I guess I answered correctly.

It's my turn to ping-pong the question back to her as I am interested to see how she would answer this question.

Me: How would you answer that question if you were in my shoes?
En: Erm...
Me: Yeah...
En: I would tell the truth like what you did.

Short and sweet answer and yet sufficient.

When the train reached around Dover, I was thinking whether I should send her back home. She stays in Boon Lay while I stay in Jurong. So I decided to ask her whether I should send her back home.

No lah...such questions how can ask her one? I decided to accompany her.

The train passed by Jurong MRT Station.

En: Eh? I thought you stay in Jurong?
Me: Yeah...but you don't.
En: Huh? What do you mean?

Diao! She didn't get it...is she acting? Then she smiled. Smart girl...now know how to act already. Must be learn from me one.

En: Thanks.
Me: No worries...although I will be leaving soon...so...

Aiya...I said the wrong thing...after saying that somehow she became sad. You see, sometimes getting an A+ in Speech need not translate into an A+ in real-life.

The station reached Boon Lay.

Me: Why not we go Jurong Point and eat?
En: Well, I am fine with where you want to eat so you decide.
Me: Okay...how about Kopitiam?
En: Okay.

So we made our way to Jurong Point Kopitiam. As usual, the Kopitiam is crowded as always.

Me: Why don't we dabao and eat somewhere else?
En: Okay.

So we dabao-ed (the past tense of dabao) our food and discussed where we should eat.

En: Why don't we eat under my HDB flat? I can bring drinks for us from my house. So we can save on the drinks.
Me: Okay...

We walked to her flat and ate. It was night time and while eating we talked for awhile. Talked about when the results are coming out, how next semester will be like, whether we will be joining any CCAs, why the moon is white, what it's like to be overseas...etc.

However, I noticed one thing. As we ate, En smiled less and less. Hm...

Me: I've finished my food.
En: Same here. Wait here while I go and take some packet drinks from my house.

I didn't want to appear cheapskate (like why a guy can't even buy drinks for two people) but she was the one who suggested it. So I agreed.

Me: Okay...I will be here.

Then she grabbed her bag and went up to her house.

Now that's strange. If she's coming back, why would she take her bag? Unless...nah...that's not possible...I am thinking too far.

I waited for quite awhile and still no sign of En...hm...something's amiss.

After waiting for around 30 minutes, I decided to knock on her door. I walked towards the lift and pressed the "Up" button. There's obviously no "Down" button since I am already on the first floor. The lift arrived and the doors opened.

Lo and behold...I saw...En's mother.

En's mum: Sorry to keep you waiting.
Me: Huh? What happened?
En's mum: Well, En does not want to see you leave...so she asked me to pass to you this packet drink.
Me: Ah...

So that's what it's all about. No wonder she took her bag. She must have planned for this while we were eating. No wonder she smiled less and less as we finished our food.

I took the packet drink from En's mum.

Me: Thanks auntie.
En's mum: You are welcome. By the way...enjoy your trip.
Me: Thanks.

With that En's mum went back to the lift while I walked away. As I walked away from the lift and looked into the moon, I thought of the the conversations between us from Changi all the way to now. The start was happy but somehow it ended in a sad tone where En did not even say bye. Sad.

Then suddenly without warning, a cat jumped out of the bushes in front of me. Wah...that was worse than a horror film. Then I heard someone say:

???: Don't worry...

Who could it be? It couldn't be her...could it?

I turned around and saw an uncle who was cleaning the premises.

Uncle: That's Ah Meow...he likes to jump in the bushes one, don't worry no need to be scared.
(Original was Chinese but I translated it to English.)

Wah...first a cat and now a scary looking uncle.

Then someone hugged me from behind. I recognized that smell.

En: It's going to be a long time huh...two months?

At that point of time...somehow...somehow...time stood still. Physics says that time, the fourth dimension, cannot be stopped. However, at that moment, it was proven to be wrong.

Me: ...

En started to sob.

En: I guess you have to go huh?
Me: ...

That would be the hardest question in the whole day.

En: Well...I hope you enjoy yourself.
Me: You're crying.
En: ...
Me: It's okay...it's two months only...not 2 years.
En: But still...

I don't know what else to say.

Me: It's okay...I still have around two more weeks here in Singapore before I leave.
En: Yeah...that's true...I guess I shouldn't be so sad after all.
Uncle: Wah...nice show to watch...who are you? His younger sister is it?
(Again, he spoke in Chinese but I translated it into English)

That uncle sure know how to ruin a nice situation.

She stopped hugging me and I turned around.

Me: Well...thanks for coming down. It's nice to see you again.
En: Take care yeah? And remember my face...
Me: Haha...

En smiled as she wiped the tears away from her eyes.

Me: You didn't wear your specs huh?
En: Like I said...it's for you.

She's a nice person and I should be nice to her.

I held her shoulders and waved goodbye. She smiled and waved back. Then I walked towards the bus stop.

Then suddenly I remembered something. I turned back. She was still standing there...at the same spot as if she knew I would turn back. I walked towards her.

En: Why? Is anything wrong?
Me: I have something to tell you.
En: Oh...what is it?

I walked towards her. When we are close, I looked at her and said...

Me: Keep your eyes to your books to while I am away yeah?

She smiled. That's good...it means that she agreed. This time she gave a pat on my shoulders.

En: I thought you'll never say that.
Me: Haha...I just said it.

And so, I went to the bus interchange and went back home.

(Note: This is a story. It's not 100% true. Most of the parts are made up through imagination. One reason why I don't use generic characters (e.g. John and Jane) in the story is that it feels detached. However, writing from the first-person, allows more emotions and feelings to be conveyed...or at least that's what I think.)

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