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Thursday, 12 October 2017

IMAGINED LIVES 1: Complicated, Yet Typical Friendship

Two minutes before our major exam was over, a smattering of applause sounded from the neighbouring class- our clock might have been slow. When it was our turn, everyone got up from the chairs much louder than the previous days. I tried to ignore everything around me, all the commotion and excitement that I disliked. Laihea was already waiting outside the classroom for me, smiling, the friend that preferred not to listen to my problems but was still a sweet buddy. I clapped my hands on her shoulders and cheered a bit. I didn't want to seem like a grumpy grouch when everyone was supposed to be celebrating, and we had said we would go down to the canteen and buy our favourite food, like having a small party. Now that I managed to complete my essay in time, with much effort, I looked around me and realised that other than having finished my exam, nothing else has changed. There will be career talks and preparations for the year ahead, there will be game booths which I hate, and most of all, Yusa and Pruyith still aren't my best friends. I have no idea why having finished my exam makes it feel so much more real. It's as if I 've passed another test, like crossing into another dimension, and I take a look around and realise that everything still remains the same.

I look at Laihea now and feel guilt filling my heart. Although she isn't really willing to listen to my problems, she is still a sweet, happy friend. And with little friends, I could not be choosy. But my heart is still lingering near Yusa and Pruyith, and I keep taking my eyes off Laihea and giving Yus and Proy the attention they perhaps don't deserve. We are sitting in line in the hall now, and it's Yus, Proy, then me. Yusa seems so excited that exams are ended, she's having so much fun with Proy, and three other friends. I keep crying, I keep using my poor drenched handkerchief. It hurts so badly. Yus lies on Proy's shoulders, she keeps putting her arm around Proy, laughing, they look so happy. I am filled with unhappiness- although I have just finished my exams, although I am going to collect a giveaway box I won recently from the post office after school, but the guilt of ignoring Laihea, and the sadness of not being able to have fun with them engulfs me completely. I am so confused, why aren't I a better friend, why do I never get to taste a proper friendship like they do. I know they stopped being friends with me after knowing I could not take their craziness, perhaps they did not hate me, they just did that out of respect. But I knew they didn't like me very much either. I hate myself, because I am scared of craziness and dislike it, but when I see my friends being crazy with each other (laughing and having lots of fun), I ache very badly inside, and I start wishing I could be crazy with them. I have no idea at all, I have no idea at all, I am so clueless. 

I keep crying, I can't stop crying. I don't know if Laihea has noticed, she's sitting right behind me.

I keep playing tentatively with Proy's hair, diverting my eyes when she turns behind to check what it is. Her hair is so soft and smooth, I feel like burying my face into it, like we're best friends. But we're not.

I look at Yusa in front of her. Her eyes always sparkle when she's happy. Unfortunately, I can't tell her that. As a total stranger to her now, unlike what we'd once been, I'd sound like a stalker freak.

Yesterday, I kept my eyes locked so hard on both of them sitting at the canteen table, until I tripped and fell down at the end of the stairs leading down to the school canteen and nearly sprained my ankle. The boy behind me looked a bit taken aback, but I didn't have time to care about that. All I had in my mind was the shocking realization that poured into me, that I was so absorbed into looking at them that I could trip and fall on these steps that were so awfully broad.

Our counselling teacher drones on about the all the games she's scheduling for us since we're done with our exams. I am hating her voice more and more. I feel sorry for her, because I don't actually hate her, I just hate what she's talking about now. I hate games. And games would be more fun if you had friends. And I didn't have lots of friends like they do. I mean, correction. I don't want lots of friends. I just want at least one, or two.

Correction, again- I want Yusa and Pruyith. I want them to be my best friends. I want to play the useless games with them. I know if I found better friends, it would've been easier to let go of them. But I haven't. So I want them and only them. I don't care how selfish I sound. Or maybe I do, but I'm just too tired.

I glance guiltily at Laihea again. She smiles. She doesn't see anything strange with me. 

Copyright Rachel Tan, 13 Oct 2017.