I recently met up with a few friends which included an old friend who just came back to Malaysia to visit his relatives and friends. Old here of course do not denote the age but rather, the friendship we shared when I first went over to Australia to study. Unlike me, he has been there since his early teens.
While we spoke of our current welfare, we also spoke about things of the past. One of which of course, was about this girl I had a crush for slightly over 2 years. This girl of course is now a woman and we have lost contact ever since we graduated from the same university. Unlike me, she never did return to this country or at least not that I know of. He then told me about his recent encounter with her on the street and about the lunch they had. He briefly told me about her fling with a guy and later she left for London, for work I presume and two years later, returned to Australia. That is where he met her, on the streets of Sydney. She apparently told him about her desire to be an archeologist, which was shocking considering it probably took her close to 10 years to decide on this drastic change?
She has changed quite a fair bit, no longer the person I thought I knew yet somehow, something distinct about her makes it quite understandable. They joked about how she was my fling, which is not quite true considering I did confess but was rejected and I was quite devastated by that.
Anyway, memories about her started to flood back and I decided to type down these memories before it fades further.
I remember where we first met under a tree (now gone to make way for road widening works) as I was waiting for a bus. She looked lost and asked if this is the place to wait for a bus as you know, the Government don't exactly invest much in building a bus stop.
I told her yes and that is how it all started. Our conversation as we waited for the bus, boarded the bus when it arrived and of course, as I stepped down and waved goodbye. Before I knew it, I gotten quite smitten with her.
Though our conversation was not very long, yet I feel her yearning to be free (which I would learn later that she felt tired of responsibilities imposed on her as an eldest child in her family and expectations imposed on her) and that she has a very strong mind of her own. Unlike her, I have strong disdain from the unpredictable. I have very low adventure spirit and given a choice, my only exploration would be purely on foot so one might imagine the distance I would achieve from my house to wherever.
But being smitten by her, this unknown feeling of curiosity began to develop in me. I wish to know her more, yet I am quite shy (a really big prune which only began to be shed of late) as I rather speak to a wall, a tree or some cat meowing at me than with another fellow human being for fear of the unknown. It is weird, come to think of it, as the earliest memories of fear of a fellow human being began way back to the first day I picked up the phone receiver and I am supposed to spun the dial to call my friend. It is quite weird how our brain somehow throws things up just to embarass us at times.
So anyway, during that rather short conversation I had with this girl I was kind of devastated to know she will not be taking the same bus which journeys through the same route which intertwines both our homes. Apparently she is taking a chartered bus home.
So what is a guy in love to do? I actually have to summon courage to speak to that bus driver so that I can engage his service to pick me up and drop me to the nearest possible route home. Again, this is a desire to know that girl more, to just see her and speak to her. Alas, by the time I got into the bus, she has stopped boarding the bus, which I only found out later, she has managed to hitch a ride with her class mates to go home. It this something fate is telling me?
In addition, everyday, I ate the same food (porridge and 2 pieces of nuggets) at the same spot, in the same cafeteria, hoping to see her for just one day, perhaps to see her smile and if in luck, to speak to her. Looking back, it is quite silly of me as I realised I once saw her there, had a passing and casual "hi and how are you?" and before I knew it, the cafeteria lady already knew what I would want when I went to their store. I only stopped after a few months since it is quite a pointless affair right?
But you know what is the strangest thing? In that 1 year I am in that college, I don't think I have spoken to her more than 10 times and each time, not more than 1/2 an hour.
Later, when we completed our pre-university course, I ran into her and was curious to know which university she would be enrolling herself. I asked because I am hoping to go to the same one as she is. My results by the way, weren't bad, but it wasn't the best either but it qualifies me to wherever she is choosing. But at all times, it was only twinning programme for me as that is the most my parents can afford.
So anyway, luck would have it (sometimes one must engineer this sort of things and indirect promotion helps to when you mention cost and the fact that it is a very good university) she enrolled in the same course as me. Again, despite the same enrolment, we hardly spoke until I was about to leave for Australia.
I know then I have to share my feelings with her as otherwise, who is to know what will happen? I plucked the courage (again!) to learn to drive (yes, I love walking so much my dad scolded me for not being a man enough to learn to drive at 17. I only started driving two years later.) because how is one going to pick anyone to anywhere romantic for dinner?
I am so glad I passed the driving exam at one go and then, I asked her out for a dinner in TGIF and I went round shopping for a gift. I think I saw it on a catalogue and I mail ordered it. It was a glass clock and why a glass clock? Well, because clock signify time and given all the time in the world and the fact we have limited time of course, I would want her to have mine for the rest of our days.
Alas, it didn't work out as I only found out via e-mail when I am in Australia. I was devastated for this rejection is something I can't accept (though the silly me should have been all prepared since it is unrequitted love coming from 1 side but having invested close to 2 years before I summon the guts to share my feelings for her...) I tried calling her but instead, I end up bugging her instead. My e-mails, which was begging her of sort to accept me, was an act of desperation which just turned her off further. Yet, I can still recall her final remarks which pierced me quite deeply where she told me to stop walking in the "prism of crystals". Ah... the very glass clock which signify much now come a full circle aye?
Save to say, because of this, an incident occured (which I would share in another entry in future) and right after that, I got to know this old friend in person and grew closer to him as a friend and person I can talk to as I underwent depression during those long and cold months.
After a year or so later, she came to Australia to study her final year. By then, there is a pent up hatred for her (which is not her fault) and yet I wish to remain at distance for her, for the humiliation I felt (which is also not her fault) makes it daunting for me to even see her or remain within 3 metre radius from her. When we met on the street, it will just be a quick hi, a desire to just flee and think of the happy memories of other things or if possible, just turn round and walk away. I could not summon my coldest act and that is to walk past her and pretend she is not even there as I look straight at her direction of her ears, given the pretense I see you but I actually don't.
Anyway, once I stop looking at her from a mad unrequitted lover's eyes, I realised much about her that makes me wonder why I fell for her in the first place. I realised she is not only strong willed, she is quite set in her mind that she is right unless you opt to scream your reasons at her and ended up agreeing to disagree (this I found out from a team assignment which she volunteered to join up with my friends and I). But anyway, for me at that time, I learnt that we should just complete that darn thing and get on with our lives.
The last memorable encounter I had with her was in a train in Sydney in the final days to the end of the millenium. She probably wondered why I avoided/ignored her even during this trip (which she self-invites herself as far as I recall it) and we had a long discussion which involved much arguments and screaming (thank God there is no one else in that coach we are in except some of my friends). I think she really wanted to know what is bugging me despite my persistance in avoiding giving her such satisfaction. But what was the conclusion from that? I can't even recall. Thinking back, have I been too harsh and selfish? Perhaps...
If I have a chance to see her now, how will I react? Though this old friend of mine offered her phone number to me, I declined. In my mind, I only wanted to wish her success in her life but I don't want to be part of that. Afterall, what is the value of my time to her?