Showing posts with label My Story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Story. Show all posts

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BEAUTIFUL STORY


A very poor man lived with his wife.

One day, his wife, who had very long hair asked him to buy her a comb for her hair to grow well and to be well-groomed.

The man felt very sorry and said no. He explained that he did not even have enough money to fix the strap of his watch he had just broken.

She did not insist on her request.

The man went to work and passed by a watch shop, sold his damaged watch at a low price and went to buy a comb for his wife.

He came home in the evening with the comb in his hand ready to give to his wife.

He was surprised when he saw his wife with a very short hair cut.

She had sold her hair and was holding a new watch band.

Tears flowed simultaneously from their eyes, not for the futility of their actions, but for the reciprocity of their love.

MORAL: To love is nothing, to be loved is something but to love and to be loved by the one you love,that is EVERYTHING. Never take love for granted.

#I LOVE U MY HUBBY, ALWAYS LOVING YOU..THANKS FOR ALL THOSE THING THAT YOU DO JUST FOR ME#

Monday, May 5, 2014

TIPS URUS STRESS DENGAN SUPER GEMBIRA

-kita ada 1 anak, belajar dengan ibu yang ada 2 anak
-kita ada 2 anak belajar dengan ibu yang ada 4 anak
-kita ada 3 anak belajar dengan ibu yang ada 6 anak

kita selalu poyo, sibuk, tak ada masa, tak ada itu dan ini, kita sentiasa berada di tahap itu sahaja keraa kira sangat rajin memberi alasan

jadi, berhenti alasan dan kita hijrah ke arah perubahan yang lebih baik setiap hari, poyo maksalamah bagi motibasi pada kaktemah

#ayat di atas adalah status orang kat facebook dan Hana SETUJU 100%

AKAN TETAPI...

Orang zaman sekarang ada yang xleh terima, bermacam-macam dorang bagi alasan, ada yang cakap, "anak kita tak sama dengan anak orang, anak kita aktif sangat, susah nak control, susah nak makan", susah nak tu tu tu tu,...ni ni ni ni...bla bla bla bla....xdengar cakap...bla bla bla...erghhh...feeling annoyed..haha. Betul ke tidak?? saya bercakap berdasarkan pengalaman je, kalau silap harap maaf la yer. So, kita ni nak menjadi lebih baik, harus belajar dari orang yang lebih baik. Itu saje, nasihat orang kena dengar. PEACE!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

~ Lunch Hour ~

*chAks* heyyA..;p

hee Baca laa. Siut je.

Lelaki

1. Waktu lunch, jalan ke tempat makan
2. Sampai kedai makan, masuk
3. Ambik Pinggan
4. Letak nasi
5. Letak Lauk
6. Ke kaunter, Bayar nasi dan Air Sekali
7. Makan
8. Habis
9. Balik Opis or
10. G surau

Perempuan

1. Waktu lunch, jalan ke kedai makan
2. Perhatikan orang waktu jalan
3. Sempat mengumpat dulu
4. Sambil jalan betulkan tudung, tgk baju sendiri, tgk kaki
5. Tengok baju orang lain, especially yang cantik dr baju sendiri.
6. Sampai kedai makan, jenguk-jenguk dulu
7. Ramai orang,cari kedai lain.
8. Jalan lagi
9. Dah puas ati..masuk..
10. Survey lauk dulu 2, 3 minit.
11. Carik2 pinggan, ambik pinggan
12. Belek-belek pinggan, bersih ke?? tak bersih?..eeeeiiii. .
13. Dah puas ati, ambik nasi
14. Ambik nasi ceduk sikit-sikit
15. Tak sah kalau tak ceduk 2/3 kali
16. Buang balik nasi.banyak. .
17. Tak puas ati, banyak lagi..buang lagi..(tinggal sejemput)
18. Godek2 sikit nasi dalam pinggan 2minit
19. Carik lauk. Survey dulu keliling meja. Tenguk sana, tenguk sini
20. Jengok dlm bekas lauk, ambik kuah sikit
21. Jengok bekas lauk lain, ceduk kuah sikit lagi
22. Jengok lagi? sambil tu tengok2 orang, jeling-jeling
23. Ambil lauk
24. Pusing lagi
25. Carik sayur pulak!
26. Ambik sayur selepas survey dan keliling 2 minit
27. Ke kaunter bayaran
28. Tgk2 nasi dlm pinggan
29. Berbisik ngan kawan alamak byk la aku ambik
30. Sampai depan kaunter, berapa?
31. Bukak dompet..belek2 celah kad2 bank, celah kad2 nama, celah gambar2..
32. Keluarkan duit
33. Buat isyarat mata ngan member (sbb nasi mahal)
34. Tutup dompet. Ambik nasi
35. Tinjau-tinjau tempat duduk.
36. Jumpa tempat duduk..alamak kotorlah!!!
37. Cari tempat duduk lain
38. Jumpa. Duduk..
39. Alamak. Air tak order lagi
40. Tinjau2, carik org order air..sambil tangan betulkan tudung
41. Order air
42. Bangun
43. Ambik sudu
44. Duduk
45. Bangun
46. Ambik Tisu
47. Duduk
48. Air sampai
49. Belek dompet (Step tadi)
50. Bayar
51. Tutup
52. Minum air
53. Start makan
54. Tengok-tengok orang sambil makan
55. Makan separuh..kenyang
56. Sebab dah minum air
57. Letak sudu, letak garpu
58. Pinggan tolak tepi
59. Borak2 kater makanan tak sedap
60. Ngumpat2..tg korang
61. Pukul 2, naik opis..
62. Ambik beg makeup, g surau!!!!!

Hak3. So, adakah perempuan memang kompleks atau list ni yang saja ditokok tambah?

~ Sebab-Sebab Penjara Pudu Ditutup ~

Berlaku di Penjara Pudu Kuala Lumpur, di suatu ketika dulu. Hanya boleh disebarkan pada orang2 tertentu sahaja... 

Sebelum Penjara Pudu ditutup dulu, pernah diceritakan bahawa terdapat satu bilik dipanggil "Bilik Terakhir". Dibilik inilah seringnya berlaku kejadian pelik sejak Penjara Pudu ditutup. Dinamakan "BILIK TERAKHIR " adalah kerana dulu ia merupakan bilik kediaman terakhir bagi si pesalah jenayah berat sebelum menjalani hukuman gantung sampai mati pada keesokan harinya dibilik gantung. 

Di BILIK TERAKHIR inilah pesalah dikatakan akan meratap, menangis, menjerit, bercakap seorang diri dan berbagai lagi perlakuan kerana menyesali kesalahan mereka yang lalu. Mereka menjadi begitu kerana dikatakan tidak kuat semangat menghadapi maut keesokan harinya yang telah diketahui mereka. 

Menurut kata warden-warden yang masih ada di Penjara Pudu sewaktu proses pengosongan Penjara Pudu dijalankan, mereka sering terdengar suara-suara sayu meminta tolong, suara orang menangis dan bermacam-macam lagi dari Bilik Terakhir tesebut. Tak kurang juga ada diantara warden yang terlihat seekor kambing hitam sering masuk menembusi pintu bilik itu tanpa dibuka dan kemudian tidak pula kelihatan kambing keluar semula. 

Ramai bomoh dan pawang yang dipanggil bagi memulihkan bilik tersebut mengatakan bahawa suara-suara yang sering kedengaran diwaktu malam dari Bilik Terakhir itu adalah akibat roh-roh pesalah yang mati ditali gantung tersebut tidak tenteram kerana mati mereka ditali gantung. 

Nak dijadikan cerita, pada suatu malam Jumaat ketika hujan renyai-renyai seorang warden telah ditugaskan mengawal kawasan yang berhampiran dengan "Bilik Terakhir" itu. Ketika sedang berkawal kira-kira lebih kurang pukul 01:00 pagi beliau terdengar seperti tapak kaki sedang berlari-lari berhampiran bilik tersebut. 
Ia cuba beranikan diri untuk untuk melihat apakah bendanya itu.Sedang ia mengamat-amati maka terlihatlah dalam kesamaran seekor kambing hitam sedang menuju kearah Bilik Terakhir itu lalu lesap begitu saja. Ia berasa harian bagaimana seekor kambing boleh ada dikawasan itu?. Oleh kerana ingin tahu ia beranikan juga diri menghampiri Bilik Terakhir itu. 

Alangkah terperanjatnya mendapati pintu bilik itu telah bertukar menjadi pintu gua. Mulalah ia berasa gementar, seram serta menggigil ketakutan namun diberanikan juga diri memasuki pintu gua yang samar-samar itu sambil meninjau-ninjau didalamnya jika terlihat akan kambing tadi. Apabila apabila sampai je kedalam gua tersebut alangkah terperanjatnya ia bila didapati banyak harta karun dalamnya. Ia cuba mengambil harta itu tetapi tiba-tiba hilang dari pandangan lalu menjelmalah satu lembaga yang mengerikan seraya berkata, 

"Heyyyyyy manusiaaa. Jangan awak sentuh harta itu. Hartaaaa itu bukan kauuu yang punyaaaa " " Ahmaaaaaad Albab yang punyaaaaaa " Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha " Yaaaaaaa, Ahmaaaaadd Albab yang  punyaaaaaa ... " 

udah tuuuuuuuuu........ piiieeee buat keja...................... Tahniah kerana minat membaca. 

p/s:-kita pun terkena...so apa salahnya foward kat org lain lak kan ....hahahaha

~ Cermin ~

Ini kisah tahun 60an dulu pasal sepasang suami dan isteri orang asli yang tinggal di dalam hutan. Rumah dorang ni dibina di atas pokok... 2 tingkat lagi tu. Si suami kerjanya mencari makanan di hutan, sama ada dengan pergi berburu ataupun memetik buah-buah hutan. Si isteri pula tinggal mengemas dirumah.

Suatu hari, Si suami pergi mencari makanan dihutan. Sedang mencari-cari. . tiba-tiba dia terjumpa cermin. Dia pon membawa balik cermin tu dan disimpankan cermin tersebut di tingkat atas rumahnya tanpa pengetahuan isterinya. Setiap hari sebelum pergi keluar mencari makanan, dia akan masuk ke bilik dan melihat cerminnya. Sehinggalah satu hari, si isteri naik pelik melihat telatah suaminya tu..

Maka disiasatlah bilik yang selalu dimasuki oleh suaminya.. bimbang-bimbang kalau suaminya menyimpan perempuan lain di bilik tersebut tanpa pengetahuannya. Dan punyalah terkejut beruk.. dia masuk je bilik tu.. di ternampak cermin suaminya. Oleh kerana si isteri ni taktau cermin tu apa..so, dia ingat orang dalam cermin tu memang perempuan simpanan suaminya.

Apa lagi.. habis berlari dan meraung menangisla dia cari mak nya..

Lepas berjumpa dengan maknya.. mak dia cakap nak lihat sendiri perempuan yang kononnya disembunyikan oleh suaminya tu...Lalu maknya pon masuk ke bilik tersebut. Kemudian keluar dari bilik tersebut sambil ketawa terbahak-bahak.

Isteri: Apsal mak ketawa?.. Mak: Apa teruk benor selera suami ko tu.. kalau ye pon nak kawin lain.. carik la perempuan yang elok sikit...Ini tak.. aku tengok perempuan kat bilik tu.. dah la tua.. hodoh pulak tu.

~ Love Story ~

CHAPTER 9

Sometimes, I thought, strange things happen.

For the past few years, after my mum’s demise, I had not celebrated my birthday. I would spend the day day-dreaming or watching television. Landy does know when my birthday is, but strangely, she never once made an effort to celebrate it with me.

However, this year, it was special. I had gone to school as usual; absorbed in the lecturer’s droning voice and immersed in the countless tutorials. When school ended, Jacky came forward. He was half smiling and not looking into my eyes. This was the first time I saw embarrassment in his expression.

“Hi, Joanna, well …” he zipped opened his bag and took out a wrapped box. It was rather small and the wrapping was done exquisitely. A red ribbon was tied on top. “Happy Birthday.” he said, and with two hands, passed me the box.

I took a step back, inspected the box and then eyed him. A long period of silence went by. Jacky’s head was still hanging low. After a few seconds, he bit his teeth and whispered, “Take it, quick! I’m going to pee if you don’t take it!”

Finally, I took the present. “Thanks.” I said. It was very light and the box was hard. It had to be plastic.

“I’ve got to go.” he said and went off, leaving me alone with the box. “I’m not embarrassed! I’m really not embarrassed! I just need to pee! Just, just wear it everyday!” he yelled, as he was far away from me.

I went home and with Landy, we opened the present. It was a branded watch. From then on, I wore the watch almost every time I went out. It had become part of my life.

That silly guy. What’s there to be embarrassed about? 

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Jacky accompanied me when I went for my next appointment with Dr. Ong.

“How was the therapy with Mr. Kam?” Dr. Ong asked.

“I cursed him.”

Dr. Ong did not seem worried. He wrote something on his file. “Good for you. Okay, I remember you once said you’ve got a best friend called Landy, who is immune to your curse?”

I nodded.

“Can you get her to meet me next time?”

“I don’t think there’s a need-”

“Doctor’s order. It will help, a lot. Alright?”

Reluctantly, I nodded. When I told Jacky about it, he said he was eager about meeting Landy, as well. And I felt something. Like a little anger directed at Landy.

Was that feeling … jealousy? 

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When more strange things happened, I knew somehow or other that my life had changed.

On one of those days, I woke up very early in the morning. Having nothing to do, I took out almost every scrap of food in the refrigerator. Then, I took wholemeal bread and began to make a sandwich with all the trimmings.

I completed my ten-centimetre-high sandwich after fifteen minutes and packed it into a plastic bag. At lunch break that day, after Jacky and I had finished our meals, I passed him the sandwich.

“You made it?”

I nodded, not looking at him. But, I was curious to see what his expression was, so I stole a quick look at him, and my eyes never left his then.

His eyes were red. He was munching on the sandwich as if it was some expensive food from a classy restaurant. He then folded the plastic bag into a nice shape and kept looking at me. 

“Is it nice?” I asked.

“Too nice.” he said, and suddenly I could hear his breathing. He was blinking a lot faster, as if to combat any tears. “Too nice.” 

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

“You made a sandwich for him? But, you’re such a lousy cook! I mean, two months ago, you tried cooking instant noodles with egg and you didn’t even bother to crack open the egg. Wait a moment.” Landy said, leaning forward to me. I could not tell whether she was serious or not. “Did you actually use bread to make the sandwich? Or did you use sand, instead?”

I pushed her away and I laughed. It felt so good to laugh. “Bread. And yeah, by the way, Dr. Ong wants to see you.”

“Me?” Landy crossed and uncrossed her legs a few times. “Why me?”

“I don’t know. You’re my best friend. My only friend. Maybe that’s why.”

“Can I … not go?”

“Come on, go. You’ll be able to see Jacky.”

“Arh. Jacky here, Jacky there.” Landy said, stuffing her mouth with a few Mentos sweets. “Alright then, I’ll go for you. Tell me, is that … Dr. Ong handsome? Is he married?”

“He’s single and available. He has a body of steel and a nuclear-powered mind. But, be careful: He’s spent his campus life learning how to read people’s minds. You won’t wanna play with his heart.”

“I love challenges.” 

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I was having my breakfast that day in school with Jacky beside me when my phone rang. Glancing around to make sure no lecturers were around, I took out my phone. It was an unknown number.

It was a nurse from Child’s Guidance Clinic. After confirming my identity, she said, “You’ve got an appointment with Mr. Kam this afternoon, right?”

“Yes.” I said, and looked at Jacky. He had stopped chewing and was darting his eyes at me. Mr. Kam was the therapist I had cursed not too long ago.

“Mr. Kam is on long term M.C. He’ll be back next month. I’ve checked with Dr. Ong, your doctor. He said he’d get another therapist for you. You have an appointment with Dr. Ong tomorrow, right? He’ll brief you on that.”

I nodded at the phone. I had been expecting this. Jacky’s mouth was wide open, trying to read something from my expression. I must be frowning.

“And yes, Dr. Ong reminded you to bring your friends along.”

“Friends?” I asked. I thought it was just Landy?

“Yes, that’ll be … Miss Landy and Mr. Jacky.”

Oh. Jacky is just a friend.

“I will. Will do. Thanks.”

After I had told Jacky everything, he shrugged and then smiled. “Dr. Kam must have a very high fever.”

“He broke his arm.”

“The nurse said that?”

“No, I didn’t ask-”

“Then, let’s just presume he had a very, very high fever, alright?” Jacky agrued. “Please, Joanna. Mr. Kam had a very high fever. Come on, repeat after me. Mr. Kam had a very high-”

“-fever.” I said, feeling like a primary school child.

“No, you must read after me. Mr. Kam had a very high fever. Come on.”

“Mr. Kam had a very high fever.” I said. Then, I realized something.

When I was with Jacky, I felt like a child in a nursery. And he, he was not the teacher, nor the fellow children. He was the big brother who always stood outside the window, smiling, encouraging and giving me tips. And, throughout the whole day, I would be staring at the window, wondering when I would be able to be with him again.

Oh shit. What am I thinking?

~ Love Story ~

CHAPTER 8

I inspected the waiting area. The lighting was bright. There were many sofas along with some tables, all neatly placed, and a few stacks of magazines were resting on the tables. I stole a quick look at them. Most of them were parenting magazines.

Jacky came forward with two cups of plain water. A few parents were with their young children (most of them below five years old). “It’s so empty here.” I whispered, taking a sip of the water. If I had spoken freely, my voice would have carried throughout the entire waiting area.

“No worries.” Jacky patted my shoulder. The nurses at the counter were chatting with each other. A few doctors in their white coats walked in and out of their rooms, holding folders in their hand. I wondered which one of them I would be allocated to. The nurse had said “Dr. Ong”. 

“Joanna Fung?” I glanced up. Out of nowhere, a tall young man was standing in front of me. He was wearing his doctor’s coat and looked like a decent chap, with his thick glasses and neat hairstyle. I stood up instantly and offered my hand for a handshake. “Come with me, will you?” he smiled. I turned and looked at Jacky. He was winking at me, and then relaxed on the sofa.

I was led into Room 15, with the tag “Dr. Ong Kim Leng” on the door. The room had a sofa, a table strewn with toys, a big whiteboard and a desk with a computer. Dr. Ong sat on a chair and motioned for me to sit down. I looked around and realized that I should sit on the sofa. Never before had I sat on a sofa when I went to see a doctor.

“Alright, Joanna, seventeen years old. Junior College student. National Junior College. Not bad.” He rolled his chair in front of me and pulled out a file with a pen. “Now, it’s only you and me. Just you, Joanna Fung, and me, Dr. Ong.”

I nodded.

“So, whatever we say here, no one else is going to know. Alright? So we have a pact.”

I nodded again, this time nervous.

“I just want to let you know that coming here is the right choice. You know something is wrong, and you’re admitting it. Finally.”

I did not wish to nod, but still, I did. He was very naggy.

“Alright then, let’s not waste each other’s time. So, come on, tell me what’s bothering you.”

Finally, I got to talk. I told him everything that I had told Jacky about: The “curse”. Dr. Ong was amazingly attentive: he kept on listening and, while listening, he would write something on the file. Sometimes, he would draw something and asked me irrelevant questions.

“Tell me frankly, do you have a boyfriend?”

“No.”

“Are you happy when chatting with your best friend, Landy?”

“Yes.”

“How do you feel if I tell you that you’re a very creative thinker?”

“I don’t know.”

Finally, after an hour of confessing my problems to him, he closed his file. “Do you have any questions for me?” he asked me. I shook my head. “Alright then. What you’re suffering from is a mental illness called ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’, or OCD for short.”

I shrugged. I had never heard of this before.

“Before I go on to tell you what OCD is, I’ll give you a simple example. Have you seen people in the coffee shop washing their hands almost every few minutes, rubbing their hands with soap till they tear their skin?”

I nodded. I had known someone like that in my secondary school days. She just kept on going to the toilet to wash her hands. I always thought that she was just paying more attention to hygiene than us.

“You see, they’re also suffering from OCD. They feel that their hands are always dirty, so they have the urge to wash them again and again. They’re obsessed with the thought of dirty hands. And they wash their hands to make them feel better. That’s their compulsion.”

“And?”

“You’re also suffering from OCD. Your case is a bit different. You’re obsessed with the thought that you’re ‘cursed’; hence, you have the compulsion of not talking to others. It will make you feel better.”

Crap, I thought.

“In mental terms, we’re in a cycle of thought, behaviour and feeling. You have the thought of fear when talking to others, fearing that you might curse them. So, your behaviour will be to avoid talking to them.”
I toyed with my fingers. I was not paying attention. He stood up and began to draw the cycle for me to see.

“So, we can’t change your thoughts. And, your feelings, your fears, are created by your thoughts. So, we can only help to change your behaviour. Through a change in your behaviour, your thoughts and feelings will change, as well. We’ll go through a therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy to change your behaviour. In other words, to be happy, you have to change the world or change your thinking. We’re here to change your thinking.”

“Okay, so, when can we start?”

Dr. Ong stared at me, his eyes and mouth wide open. I must have been the first patient to accept his diagnosis and treatment so straightforwardly.

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Obsession Disordering Of … computing.” I explained to Jacky. “Eh, wait. OCD. Obsession Computer Disordering? I forgot the name of it. The short form is OCD.”

“Sounds like the Police Force in Robocop, OCP. And what is it all about?”

“I am obsessed with the ‘curse’. And I’m controlled by it. So, they’re trying to change my thinking-eh, no. Not thinking. They’re trying to change my behaviour. So that my thinking will change. And my feelings will change.”

“The Thought-Feeling-Behaviour cycle. I’ve heard of it before.”

“Whatever.” I blurted. “And I’m supposed to meet this Mr. Kam later on. He’ll do a therapy on me. Change my behavior. Change my thoughts. Change my feelings.”

I was prescribed with medications that cost me well over ten bucks. It was “Fluoxetine”, some sort of SSRI (as mentioned by Dr Ong), or simply, an anti-depressant. 

We waited for another half an hour before Mr. Kam came forward to meet me. He was in his forties, with a lean build. We greeted each other and he led me to another room, leaving Jacky alone again.

This time, the room was smaller. There were two small chairs, a small table and a desk. The walls were lined with drawings by children less than ten years old. I sat on one of the chairs. “I’ve read your file. I know everything about your condition, but I would like to hear the whole story again, from yourself.”

And once again, I revealed my ‘curse’. Miraculously, I had now told three people about my ‘curse’ within two weeks.

“Alright. OCD.” Mr. Kam did not seem to be as friendly as Dr. Ong. “This therapy involves doing something that is against your will. You think you can curse someone. So, come on. Curse me.”

I was taken aback. He was insane. He must be. I had never expected that the fourth person I had confided my secret to would ask me to curse him.

“Go on, curse me.”

“I really have the curse” I said. “Don’t play these games.”

He pointed at his forehead. “It’s all in the mind, Joanna. Your thoughts. Your thoughts are telling you it’s wrong. But, I want to prove your mind wrong, instead. Curse me. When your behaviour changes, so do your thoughts and, eventually, your feelings. And then, you’ll be cured. Come on.”

I was thinking of Jacky. I wondered how he would react. This Mr. Kam was asking for trouble. He looked harmless though.

“No.” I said.

“Do you want to be cured?”

“I’m not sick. I’m cursed.”

“Trust me. Just this once. Just say that sentence. Prove me wrong.”

“I don’t want to ruin you!”

“You won’t. Curse me leniently then. We’ll do it slowly.”

“No, please …”

“Oh, come on! Don’t make me bribe you with candies.”

“Please don’t force me …”

“Come on!”

“Stop it …”

“Curse me!”

I could no longer take it. I stared at him, thought for a while then said softly, “You’ll break your arm within this week.”

Mr. Kam smiled. He must be sick in the mind. He was the sick one, not me. That sicko! Trouble seeker. “Good, Joanna. How are you feeling now?”

I kept quiet for a while. “Regretful. I just want to say sorry in advance to you. I hope you’ve bought insurance.”

“Don’t worry, I’m insured. From a scale of one to hundred, one being least depressed, hundred being most depressed, how depressed are you feeling now?”

“Hundred.” I said. He showed me a piece of paper with a table drawn on it and wrote something.
We chatted about irrelevant things for the next ten minutes. He told me about the various kinds of obsessions people had, like the fear of using a fork and the fear of crossing the road. I was kind of amused, yet, at the same time amazed by these real-life stories. After fifteen minutes, he asked me how depressed I was again. I said hundred once more. An hour later, he asked again and I said hundred. Mr. Kam did not look pleased.

He got me another date to come back for the next therapy session. “I believe by then your depression level won’t be hundred.”

“Maybe more.” I said and went out to meet Jacky.

When I told him what I had done, he just smiled. He did not believe in my curse, as well. I would show him. I would show them just how powerful my curse is.

Gosh, can’t they understand me?

~ Love Story ~

CHAPTER 7

Of course he could not fall in love with me. I had this curse that could harm him. This was all for his own good. But, why did he still do all these things when he did not like me? I wondered if he did that to every girl he knew. Then, tell them that he did not like them. He must be that sort of person. A bastard who likes to see girls cry in front of him.

I hated him to the core.

I went home with my eyes still red. Landy was in, reading a magazine. When she saw me, she frowned, knowing something had happened. I told her everything within fifteen minutes.

“He sucks.” she commented, sharing my exasperation. “He just sucks. Painfully sucks.” I nodded, agreeing with her every word. “But he’s just so … nice, isn’t he? So romantic … so … nice.”

“Idiot. I hate him. I hate him!”

“You love him, Joanna. It’s the other way round.”

Her sentence sent me into a whirlpool of thought. I cried so hard when he said he could not fall in love with me. Was it because of the fact that I liked him? I had not cried that much since my mother’s death.
My handphone beeped. There was an incoming message. Landy passed me the phone and said, “It has to be Jacky.”

I opened the message and truly, it was him.

I’m sorrie if I say anything wrong… u will still come for the appointment, won’t u?

I read the message aloud to Landy. She beamed and exclaimed, “Say yes!”

I did not heed her advice. I typed a No and replied to him. “No, I’m not keen anymore.” I told Landy. “I don’t wanna go out with an idiot.”

“You’re going for the appointment, not going out with Jacky, my gosh!”

I was still trying to control my tears. I should not cry in front of my best friend. I had always been the strong independent girl. I would not cry for a guy again!

A new message came in.

Let me fetch you on that day, okie?

I replied a No again. I had enough of this guy. Trying to help me? Or, maybe, he was just doing all this so that he could skip school! That bastard!

“Come on, relax and let’s talk this out. It’s very obvious, Joanna, that you’ve fallen in love with Jacky. Why not just admit that, and we’ll have an easier time to decide on whether to go or not?” Landy was saying. But, I was not paying attention. I was looking at my phone, wondering if Jacky would reply or not.

Slowly, I digested Landy’s words. It was really clear. It was just too clear. Maybe, I just dared not say it out. Finally, after fifteen minutes of battle with my tears, I lost. A drop rolled out. I wiped it off instantly. Landy, somehow, had seen it.

“Cry it out, Joanna. Cry it out.”

A new message.

Only you can help yourself. come on, reply a yes…

I replied a No.

“I know you’re going for the therapy because of him.”

“I’m not!” I retorted.

“Then …” Landy whispered so soft that I had to read from her lips. “Why are you not going anymore, after he said all that?” And she made sense.

A new message came in. Vent your thoughts to others please… it’s the only way out. I replied a No again and looked at Landy. I was lost for words. She had hit my vital point. Jacky then replied, Ease your illusions! let me help…

I shrugged. I did not know what to tell Landy, and I did not reply to Jacky. I was caught at a crossroad, not knowing where to go. Landy was quiet, eyeing me, as if waiting for me to say something.

You’ve gotta go for it!

Only you… yourself can help yourself…

Understanding yourself is most important…

I looked at the messages. He had sent me three messages in a short span of five minutes. Landy was frowning, obviously curious about the messages that Jacky had sent me.

I crossed my legs, then my arms. Then, I threw my handphone onto the sofa and closed my eyes. My mind had dealt with too many emotional battles within a day: I guessed it needed a long rest.

                                                           ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Avoiding Jacky was one of the toughest things to do at school.

He was everywhere. I tried not looking at him, but realized I couldn’t. I wanted to see his expression: Was he feeling angry, guilty or happy? Or, maybe, he was just indifferent?

In fact, there was no change. His trademark smile still lingered on his face. He still greeted every lecturer as if they were his best pals. He even tried to joke with me, but I did not laugh and he did not continue the conversation.

Finally, lunch break came and this was the most awkward moment for me, as we always had our lunch side by side. I bought my own food and sat alone, wondering if he would still join me. Instead one of my classmates sat beside me and I glared at her. She stared at me, then at the seat, and finally walked off.

Jacky was at the drinks stall. Would he buy me my drink? I scanned my food, trying to stop myself from looking at him. Then, a familiar deep voice hailed me. “Here’s your drink. Diet Coke with salt.”

I looked up. There he was, Jacky Wu, sitting beside me. I just stared at him, dumbfounded, startled but not surprised. He smiled, and then ate his food. I did the same thing. A few awkward minutes passed.

“I’ll pick you up next Tuesday morning. I’ve applied for an official break from the school.”

“Okay.”

Okay? What was I thinking? Landy, help me. Landy, I’m mad. Landy …

“Good. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the morning sun from an angle other than from the school on a weekday. I’m so excited.”

I nodded. I must be crazy. I felt so much like flipping the table over and giving him a tight slap on his face. Yet, I just sat there, agreeing and nodding to everything he said. My body was not listening to my mind. I must be mad. I must be.

“Great.” he said. “You received my messages yesterday?”

I nodded again. I must have forgotten how to speak English.

“All of them? There’s a hidden message. Can you decode it?”

I shrugged. What was he saying?

“Have you deleted the messages?”

I nodded. If I said otherwise, he might get the idea that I had stored every message that he sent me.

“Oh, okay.” he said, and then continued with his food. “Read some of Dan Brown’s books. The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point and Angels & Demons. Most importantly, read Digital Fortress. It’s a novel about breaking codes.” He smiled, and then suddenly laughed out loud for no reason. “However, reading them won’t help you solve the code.”

Was that a joke? If so, it was just so not funny.

                                                           ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Hidden message?” Landy was saying, looking at the messages. “Has he read too many ‘The Da Vinci Code’”?

“Beats me.” I had written down all the messages on a piece of paper. They all sounded so normal. “Maybe, he’s just trying to be funny. He’s always funny. But, his jokes are not funny.”

“Yeah, maybe that’s why you like him.”

I ignored her comments and stared at all the messages again.

I’m sorrie if I say anything wrong… u will still come for the appointment, won’t u? Let me fetch you on that day, okie? Only you can help yourself. come on, reply a yes…Vent your thoughts to others please… it’s the only way out. Ease your illusions! let me help…You’ve gotta go for it! Only you… yourself can help yourself… Understanding yourself is most important

Hidden message? Crap. But still, I spent an hour reading and re-reading the messages. It did not make the slightest sense. If he had wanted to start a conversation, he should have thought of a better idea than saying there was a hidden message in his SMSes. So clich├ęd.

~ Love Story ~

CHAPTER 6

I was unable to sleep that night. At first, I thought that maybe I was too physically exhausted and my mind was unable to drift into sleep mode. So, I began to count sheep, drank warm milk and studied my Economics text. It was futile. After playing a loud slow song that woke my grandmother up, I decided not to sleep. After all, I had to wake up early the next day for school.

It was, by then, four in the morning. Several windows outside my apartment were lightening up, getting ready for the day. I looked at my handphone to check for new messages. There weren’t any. I frowned and sent “Good night, good morning, Mr. Wu” as a SMS to Jacky and went to bath. 

Why the heck had I done that? For fun? No; in my dictionary, the word ‘fun’ had ceased to exist. 

I spent the next two hours surfing the Internet, checking my handphone, watching television, checking my handphone again, playing games and checking my handphone once more. At last, at six, I received a message. It was from Jacky. 

Morning, Joanna! I m so happy. This is the 1st time u msg me. Thx! 

I deleted the message and, then, spent the next ten minutes trying to restore deleted messages. There was no such function. Silly me.

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jacky was “acting” normal to me in school.

It was like yesterday’s conversation had never occurred. He put on his trademark smile to class as usual and joked his time off. When lunch break came, he bought me my drink and I could avoid the strangeness no longer. I asked, “Why are you acting so strangely today?” 

“Strangely?” he said. “I’m not! I’m not even acting.” 

“You are.” I retorted, wondering if I had just accidentally “cursed” him. After a considerable thought, I figured I had not, so I continued, “You used to be so …” I stopped. It was not him. It was me. 

I had suddenly wanted him to pay more attention to me. To talk to me more. To joke with me more. He was just being himself today. What was wrong with me? 

“I’m sorry.” I said, as I looked at my plate of rice, ashamed to face him. “So, when is the… appointment?” 

“I’m calling them later.” 

“You’ll … come with me, correct? As you promised?” 

Although I was not looking at him, I knew he must have been showing me that toothy grin again. “I promise. I’ll come with you for every session. Every single session. Every …” 

“Good. Good.” I said. “Damn good.”

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Hey, Joanna.”

I woke up from my doze. The lecturer’s droning voice was amplified to the entire hall. I took a few seconds to register my situation and looked up. It was Michael, one of my classmates who wrote the script for the play. He was sitting in front of me, his head turned. Jacky was snoring beside me, his cheek kissing the table. 

“Hey, Joanna.” he repeated, as if I was still napping. “You there?” 

I nodded as an answer to his question. 

“Are you okay?” he whispered. 

I nodded again. “Why?” 

“Well, it’s because …” 

Jacky sprang up from his sleep and grabbed Michael in the neck, standing up. “Don’t harm her!” he shouted. 

His voice attracted the attention of the entire hall. All the students turned to look at him. The lecturer stopped talking and stared at Jacky with his eyes wide open, obviously surprised at Jacky’s commotion. All I did was to look Jacky in the eyes. Michael did not struggle. He was staring at Jacky, still stunned by his onslaught. 

A few seconds dragged on. Jacky let go and sat down while Michael scratched his head. They did not exchange a single word. A few whispers from the students killed the silence. 

“As you all can see, the point when demand is …” strangely, the lecturer continued the lecture as if nothing had happened. 

“Hey, Mike.” Jacky whispered. Michael wheeled and faced Jacky. He did not seem afraid. “I’m sorry. I had a silly dream. You know, Mr. Tan’s voice can turn a sweet dream into a nightmare.” 

“I know. I understand. That’s why I dare not sleep when Mr. Tan is lecturing. By the way, what dream did you just have? Who’s the ‘her’?” Michael asked. 

“Yeah, who’s the ‘her’?” I asked, as well. Must be out of curiosity. 

“I … forgot. You know, you always forget your dreams.” 

Michael laughed. “Yeah. Anyway, Joanna, I was about to ask you … are you okay?” 

“What’s wrong?” Jacky and I replied together. 

“Well, it’s just that … you’ve smiled five times today. And, I’ve seen you smile less than ten times despite knowing you for more than six months. It’s a bit … unusual?” 

“Well, Michael …” Jacky licked his lips in delight. “She’s going to smile more in the future. I promise you that.” 

And, all of a sudden, I smiled.

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“It’s called the Child’s Guidance Clinic, commonly known as CGC. It provides neuroscience treatment, psychological and psychiatric services to people aged eighteen and below. It’s under the Institute Of Mental Health. The price is cheaper as the Government will subsidise a large portion of the cost. I’ve booked an appointment for you.”

Jacky passed me a sheet of paper. There was a map, a date and a time. “The Clinic is in Singapore General Hospital. Pretty close to our school, so we’ll have no problem getting there after school. And this …” he passed me another sheet of paper. It was an official appointment letter issued by the Clinic. “We’ll need that to enter the Clinic.” 

“Isn’t that place meant to be for children?” 

“No, that’s the misconception that most people have. The CGC also accepts teenage patients, as long as you have the will to be cured. The age requirement is eighteen and below. And you qualify. Okay?” 

I read the official appointment letter. The first appointment was for a Tuesday morning on which we had school. 

“No worries about that. I’ve applied for an official leave from the school.” 

“Official leave?” 

“Well, on that day, we both will turn ill. And we’ll ‘buy’ MCs from doctors. Isn’t that official enough?” 

I laughed. 

“And when the doctor asks you to choose the next appointment date, give him a date where you and I can go together without skipping school. Okay?” 

I nodded. 

“Great.” As he was able to leave, I stopped him. “Huh?” 

“Look, Jacky …” my eyes met his and I whispered, “Thank you. For everything.” 

“My gosh, you’re close to tears.” He took a step closer to me and tapped my head. “Come on, it’s nothing much, okay? Cool it.” 

“I …” 

“Hey, Joanna.” he turned serious. “You must understand, I’m doing this because I wanna help you, okay? I want you to believe in yourself and others. Just that. We cannot be a couple. You cannot be my girlfriend. I have my reasons. So, don’t you ever fall in love with me, okay?” 

Fuck. Damn. Ass. Bastard. Idiot. Silly, damn, fucking bastard ass idiot! 

“I’ll never fall in love with you!” I yelled back at the top of my voice. “I’ll never love you! And you!” I pointed at him in the chest, and then punched him in the chest repeatedly. “Don’t you fall in love with me! Don’t you turn back and tell me ‘I love you!’! You hear me, Jacky Wu Zhong Xian? You hear me?! Me, Joanna Fung Wai Gwan, will never, ever fall in love with Jacky Wu Zhong Xian!” 

“Cool down-” he whispered. 

“And you, Jacky Wu Zhong Xian, you’d better don’t fall in love with me, ‘coz I’ll never love you!” I gave him a final punch before I stepped back. My heart was beating a lot faster and my body was jerking up and down uncontrollably. “You cannot be my boyfriend! I have my reasons! Okay! Don’t fall in love with me!” 

I turned and ran off. A few tears fell. And while I ran, I tore up the two pieces of paper that Jacky had passed to me.

~ Love Story ~

CHAPTER 5

There was a long period of silence. I wiped my tears off, but they kept on coming. Jacky stroked me gently on my back, as if it would help to stop my sobbing. In that moment, I really wished I would wake up in the comfort of my bed and realize that everything had just been a dream.

I guessed I had regretted telling Jacky everything. No one knew about all this except Landy. I had tried so hard to bury my past, but Jacky’s persistence had caused me to dig it out. I pushed Jacky off, knowing I could not lay my head on his shoulder forever. To my surprise, he was wearing a smile, not at all surprised by my story.

“And you believe you caused the death of your mother? Because of the ‘curse’ that you have?” he said.
I nodded.

“Silly, Joanna. There’s a word known as ‘coincidence’. It just happened to be a coincidence.”

This time round, I shook my head. “A few days after my mother’s death, I had a quarrel with one of my friends. In the midst of the quarrel, I …” I paused again. It was hard to dig out a past that had been buried away for so long. “I said, ‘You’re so stubborn, your boyfriend is gonna leave you soon!’ And, a few days later, her boyfriend broke up with her.”

“Well, two coincidences.”

“I once scolded a taxi driver for speeding. I said he would soon get into an accident if he continued to speed. He ignored my warnings and the next day, the newspaper reported that a taxi had smashed into a tree. Luckily, the taxi driver suffered no serious injury. I’ve always hoped they were just coincidences, Jacky. It’s not. It’s a curse. I’m cursed. Every bad thing I say will come true.”

“That’s the reason why you’re so quiet? So … introverted?”

I nodded. “More or less. Trust me, they’re not coincidences. There’re more examples of my curse. I dare not talk, for fear that I may ‘accidentally’ curse others. It’s not my fault.”

Jacky bit his lip. A few seconds later, he mouthed, “I remembered you once said you’ve got friends outside JC. Is it true?”

“Just one friend. Name’s Landy. Strangely …” I stopped, wondering if I should tell Jacky about Landy, or not. I thought, since I had already told him so much; why not tell him about Landy, as well? “She isn’t affected by my curses. I had accidentally cursed her a few times, but she seems to be immuned to them. Nothing happened to her after my curses. Hence, she has always been my best friend.”

I told him more about Landy, on how we first met and how she visited me frequently just for a chat. “My grandmother will open the door for her when I’m not in. However, my grandmother always forgets she does that. She has poor memory and poor eyesight.”

“Landy must have been a good friend to come by for a chat.”

“Yeah.” I said, a bit annoyed by that pointless remark.

“So, she knew about your ‘curse’, as well? And encouraged you to avoid talking to others?”

“That’s right.” I replied. “She had seen how people suffered under my curse. That’s the reason why she prefers me to keep quiet.”

“Okay …” Jacky muttered then closed his eyes, obviously trying to think of something to say.

I stared at his closed eyes. Why had I told him so much? Maybe, it was to tell him the reason why I did not like the idea of the free-style play. Maybe, it was also to tell him that my quietness was not my fault. Maybe, to let him paint a better image of me in his mind.

“Remember your promise just now?” he suddenly said, interrupting my thoughts.

“Yeah.”

“Okay, believe in me now. Say this after me, ‘I don’t have a curse.’”

“But I-”

“Remember your promise!” he exclaimed, cutting my sentence. “Now, repeat after me … ‘I don’t have a curse’.”

I guessed I just had to play along to humour him. “I don’t have a curse. Silly.”

“No! Just say ‘I don’t have a curse’. No ‘silly’ behind. Come on, try again.”

I shrugged. Was he childish or was I too matured? “I don’t have a curse.”

“Good. Now say, ‘I am just having a minor mental illness that can be cured after seeing a psychiatrist’.”

“No!” this time, I yelled. “No, I, you … you-” I stopped myself at that very moment. I was going to say “you idiot”, but that would equal to cursing him. I just glared at him, wanting so much to scold him. “I’m not sick.” I sneered.

“Believe in me. Remember your promise? Believe in me! Say after me!”

“I’m not sick.”

“Believe in me. Believe me! You’ll not fail if you believe!”

“I’m not sick. I’m cursed.”

“Believe me!”

Once again, I fell into silence. Knowing that I would not win this argument, I said, “I don’t have a curse. I am just having a minor mental illness that can be cured after seeing a psychiatrist.”

Jacky nodded. “Good. I’ll call the shrink tomorrow, and we’ll book an appointment, okay? I’ll accompany you to the shrink.”

“What?!” I yelled instantly. “No way!”

“Look, Joanna, there’re still five more minutes to the hour. You should still believe me, alright? You need a doctor.”

“No, I don’t!”

“Then, prove it to me! If the doctor can’t cure you, then I’ll give up!”

I had never seen a shrink before. In my impression, a shrink looks like the beautiful Kelly Chen, the actress who acted as one in the movie “Infernal Affairs”. She would just listen and the patient will do the talking. The patient will feel better after taking some medication and he or she will be cured. Silly, isn’t it? How can anyone’s accumulated mental illness get better after saying everything and popping a few pills? I could not believe Jacky had just suggested I do that.

“No.” I said.

“I’ll go with you. Every appointment. Please.”

He would go with me? I pondered on that. For the longest period of time, I had always been alone. Now, this silly weirdo had just proposed to accompany me for those silly appointments. I frowned, lowering my eyebrows to a V shape. Was he trying to break my routine?

“Are you trying to break my routine? Change my life?” I said my thoughts aloud.

“Yes. I wanna break your routine. I wanna change your life.”

This was getting sillier. I had been lonely for more than three years. What could he possibly do? I guessed the best he could do was to mess up my life. Like recommending me to see a shrink. Silly, silly Jacky. Really silly. Asking me to believe in him, to believe that he would be able to change my life …
“… for the better.” he added suddenly.

For the better? I stared up at the stars. Maybe, I was trying to avoid him. But, all of a sudden, I said, “When is the first appointment?”

It was my heart speaking.

He told me he had to check everything first. Upon our agreement, we climbed down the playground and made our way to the bus-stop. After waiting for a few minutes, we realized that it was close to one in the morning.

“Sorry, I don’t have enough cash with me.” he said.

“Me, too.” 

His face brightened up. “Then I’ll walk you home, and I’ll walk home after that!”

I wanted so much to smile. To laugh at his silly antics. However, I just nodded. We were at West Coast and my house is at Jurong Extension. It would take more than an hour’s walk.

We started the long walk talking about many things. This was the first time I had spoken so much to another person other than Landy since my parents’ deaths. Jacky said that he was the only child in his family. His father died of cancer when he was just seven; hence, he had a very close relationship with his mother.

He said he learnt a lot of things when his father was dying. He told me how precious life could be, and said that we all came into this world for a purpose. “Happiness and sadness are not caused by your surroundings. They’re caused by your thinking.” he verbalised. 

When I asked him about his plans for the future, he gave me an answer that really surprised me. “My plans for the future? Make you smile. Do something meaningful.”

We reached my house about an hour later. He was totally exhausted. Beads of sweat blanketed his forehead, but he was still smiling despite the weariness. “I’ll call you.” he said. “I’ll call you and tell you when we’ll meet up for the appointment. I’ll … see you around, eh?”

“Yeah.” I said. I realized he still had a long way to go from my house to his house at Bukit Batok. “You want me to get some cash for you to take a cab?” 

I had expected him to say yes. He was massaging his neck and looked as if he wanted to vomit. However, he maintained his pride and muttered, “No, I’ll walk home. It’s good exercise.”

“Well, good for you. See you.”

After he left, I took a bath. Landy was in my room, sleeping soundly on my bed. After my bath, the doorbell rang. It was two in the morning. Who could it be? I looked through the hole in the door. It was Jacky.

“Hey …” he said, resting his back on the wall. His face was pale white, as if he had just seen a ghost. His lips seemed to be wet and he smelled of puke. “Can you lend me twenty bucks? I’ll return it to you tomorrow.”

I passed him the money. “Return me something else. Not the twenty bucks. Something else that is worth twenty bucks.” What was I saying? Sometimes, I felt that I said stupid things to him.

“Okay.” he saluted me and said, “I’ll return you something else. Something that twenty bucks can’t buy.”

With that, he ambled off. I stared at the last of his shadow before I closed my door, and I did something I had never expected myself to do.

I smiled to myself.

~ Love Story ~

CHAPTER 4

The taxi ride to West Coast Park took me fifteen minutes. By then, night had fallen and I had already stopped shedding tears. There were not many people around. Landy came an hour later and we climbed up the tall pyramid-shaped playground, lying on the ropes.

“You really want to tell him everything, don’t you?” Landy said. “Coz you feel like you’ve got a … bond with him.”

“He’ll get killed by me.” I whispered. “I don’t want danger to befall him.”

“But you really want to tell him about your problems. You really wanna tell him about your curse. I support you.”

“I don’t know.”

“Okay, why not we play a game? If he’s here within fifteen minutes, you’ll tell him about your problems, okay? If not, we’ll sleep here for the night. Are you game for it?”

I looked up at the starless night. He would not be able to find me, I thought. “Deal.”

“Well then, I’m going down.” Landy reached down, grabbed the rope below and slowly made her way down.

“Huh?”

“Look down, my friend.” By then, Landy had reached the ground. She waved at me and I understood what she meant at the moment I looked down. Jacky, still in his uniform, walked past her. When he saw me, he smiled broadly and climbed up the ropes, flaunting his lean biceps. Within a few seconds, he was sitting beside me.

“How did you know I was here?” I said. “Landy called you?”

“Who’s Landy?” Jacky shrugged and shook his head.

“The girl who just walked past you.”

“Did anyone walk past me just now?” he furrowed his brows. “I didn’t notice. I just saw you.”

“Then, how did you know I’d be here?”

“I installed a tracer on your handphone. You know, like those tracers that secret agents use? I bought it on the black market. Cost me a bomb.”

I bit my lip and ignored his pointless remark.

“Joanna, can I tell you something?”

I nodded, stunned at his seriousness. He never usually bothers to request permission when he asked questions. What he had just said freaked me out. My eyes were fixed to the ground, my hand toying with the ropes that supported our weight.

“I know it’s one of the hardest things to do in the world … I know it’s like asking you to stuff your fist into your mouth or it’s like asking you to eat caterpillars, but …” he paused. I shivered. Gosh, he looked really serious when he was not smiling. “Will you … will you, believe me?”

“Believe you?” I twisted my head, almost relieved. “What do you mean?” I was not expecting him to say something so simple. 

“Lend me an hour of your time. In this hour, I really hope you can believe in everything I say. Will you?”
I clenched my hand into a fist, thinking hard. I then recalled the deal I had with Landy. “Okay, I believe. Now, what do you want to say?”

“Tell me about your problems. Joanna, you’ll not fail if you keep trying.”

“No! No one can help-”

“Joanna!” And he did it: He held my hand and cried, “Believe me!”

I shook my head a few times, trying hard to believe him. I will not fail if I keep trying? I had always been trying … but I always failed. I’d given up hope on everything, choosing instead to live in my own world.
A minute passed silently. I gazed fixedly at the starless sky. Time seemed to be crawling by callously. I grabbed a rope, preparing to leap down when Landy’s words came to mind again. With that thought, I looked up at Jacky. His eyes darted towards mine. It was then that I realized he was still holding on to my left hand.

“Believe me.” he repeated, as he released my hand. I felt a surge of loss. “What is the reason that causes you to be so reserved? How did your parents … pass away?”

Tears started to well up in my eyes. I wanted so much to lay my head on his shoulder, but I feared he might feel uncomfortable. I shook my head a few times to hold back my tears. It was not an easy task. “I killed them.”

“Tell me more. Let me help.”

“You can’t help!” I yelled, my voice echoing in the quiet night.

“Believe in me!”

“You wouldn’t-”

“You have to be-”

“It’s too complica-”

“Believe me!”

“No one can help-”

“I can help you. I really can. Let me help, please. Believe in me.”

Somehow, my heart melted and I gave in. 

“I was born into a perfect family. I had a father who drove a taxi and a mother who cooked for others.” I started, not daring to face him.

“That’s very good. Go on.”

“We lived simply, yet happily. My dad worked seven days a week. Every night, I would wait for my father to buy supper for us. The three of us would eat while watching television. That late night meal was the only time for us to be together. I would tell them about the new bully at school. They would teach me how to fight back.”

“You’ve got good parents.” Jacky cut in, obviously just to prove that he was still listening.

“Life was perfect. Just so perfect. Until one day … one day…” Whenever the memories flowed back, I would choke on my tears. Jacky patted me on my back, encouraging me to keep my composure. I knew if I was to tell him about myself, I would have to overcome those memories. “One day … that day …” I took a long, deep breath. “It all happened.”

“The day started like any other day. My father ate his breakfast in a rush and then went to work. As usual, I yelled ‘Drive carefully, Dad’ to him before he stepped out of the house. I was in school, listening to the teacher telling us everything about how apples drop to the ground when I saw my mother outside the classroom.

“I remembered that day, we were supposed to have a spelling test yet I had forgotten to bring the exercise book. I thought my mother was just there to pass me my book. Little did I expect it to be something more than just a book.

“She grabbed my hand and we left the school. No words were exchanged. We went into a taxi, and when she cried, I sensed something was wrong. Then, she hugged me, and I knew it was bad news.”
I paused. I needed a break from the bad memories flooding back. Jacky flashed his trademark smile and patted my shoulder. We stayed that way for a few more minutes.

“My father had died in a car accident. In his desperate attempt to fetch a passenger, he neglected his own safety. A lorry crashed into his taxi. He died instantly. I was only twelve then. I cried everyday, waiting for my supper to come. But every night, only memories of my Dad came back. I could no longer tell him about the new bully that came to my school.

“My mother, strangely, indirectly blamed me for his death. She claimed that had I not told my father to drive carefully, he might not have died. It made no sense at all. With my father’s death, my mother quitted her job and turned into a drunkard. She would return every night stinking of alcohol. I had no idea where she got the money.

“I was totally depressed with my broken family. I met a group of friends, when I was in Secondary One, at a stairway. They introduced to me ways to relax: smoking, drinking. I was lured in by the luxury of not having to care. I smoked my days away.”

“I cannot imagine you were once a smoker.” Jacky said.

“I was. Home was just a place for me to seek quarrels. I tried my best to stay away from my house. My mother would always call me names like ‘jinx’ or ‘bitch’, even in her sober state. Finally, one day, I had enough. I put all my clothes into a bag and shouted to her, ‘I hope you’ll die in a car accident, just like daddy. And I hope you’ll get crushed by a big lorry!’ After that, I stayed in my friend’s house for two days.

“And, two days later …” I was shuddering now, my tears rolling out like there was no tomorrow. I tried to brush them away, but they kept coming. I felt like jumping down to the ground now, ending the ordeal once and for all. Jacky’s hand was still clutching mine. Without warning, he embraced me, his body warming me up. He was shuddering along with me. I dropped my head onto his shoulder and whispered, “Two days later, my mother was crushed by a big lorry. She died on the spot.”

~ Love Story ~

CHAPTER 3

I first met Landy in a “magical” way.

My father died when I was twelve. My mum blamed me for his death. Since then, I learnt about life the bad way: I hung out with a group of hooligans, who smoked at stairways and got their pocket money from stealing. I always felt a great sense of satisfaction whenever we successfully shoplifted a few items.

One fateful day, we plotted to steal shoes again. Stealing shoes had always been a routine for us. Our targets were usually World of Sports, Royal Sporting House or Bata. Our plan had never failed before, until that day.

Three of us entered Royal Sporting House, wearing stern expressions. We pretended to browse around the clothes section, then, as we progressed to the shoes section, we showed signs of excitement by saying “This is nice!” or “I wonder if they’ve got size six for this pair or not?”

A sales assistant marched towards us. He looked young, and we believed he was only a temp there. We smiled, knowing a temp was an easier target. “What size are you looking for, Madam?”

I always felt proud to be called “Madam” at the age of thirteen. My friend, Maggie, replied indifferently, “Do you have size six for this?” she showed the sales assistant a particular design. It costed a hundred bucks.

The sales assistant politely told us to wait and went off. Within the same minute, he came back with a pair. Maggie tried it on and it fitted her perfectly. However, she frowned and then looked up to the sales assistant with a seductive smile. “This feels too small. Do you have, like, size six and a quarter?”

We all howled in laughter. The sales assistant looked amused. He put on his smile and said, “How about size seven?”

“Will do!” Maggie chirped. “You go look for size seven. If there isn’t any I’ll take this one.” she began to trace the design of the shoe with her finger. The sales assistant hinted at her to take the shoe off, but Maggie was totally immersed in appreciating the beauty of the shoe. Finally, the sales assistant gave up and went off in search for size seven.

In one smooth motion, I took out a Royal Sporting House plastic bag from my bag. Maggie took off the shoe and threw it into the box. We glanced around the busy shop. When we confirmed it was safe, we placed the shoebox into the plastic bag and I strolled out of the shop, feeling victorious.

No one came forward to stop me. The alarm did not ring. After all, how could anyone steal a pair of shoes? They were all supposed to be stacked neatly in the storeroom. When I was out of the shop, I pictured Maggie and the sales assistant quarrelling, in my mind. Maggie would not lose; after all, customers are always right. I could only pity the poor sales assistant, who must be wondering if he did place the size six shoes back in the storeroom. He might even consider quitting his job.

While I was lost in my thoughts, someone tapped my shoulder. A pretty girl with shiny long hair smiled at me and said, “Put that pair of shoes down. They’re coming to get you.”

I studied her. She looked a little older than me and had the kind of features that any teenager would envy. Her eyes were as round as her eyeballs and the dimples on her cheeks were deeply curved to perfection. “What the fuck are you talking about?” I demanded.

“Trust me. That sales assistant is the supervisor, not a temp. He has met all sorts of people. He’s coming for you. Drop it, or you’ll regret it forever!”

I stared at her. She seemed to know everything. After an internal debate, I decided to trust her and threw the shoes into a rubbish bin. A few minutes later, to my surprise, the sales assistant, together with two security officers, came up and apprehended me. When they found nothing on me, they gave up and I let out a long sigh of relief. It was my closest encounter with a criminal record.

After that dreadful incident, the girl showed up at my house. I had no idea how she obtained my address. We chatted a little. I later knew her to be Landy. As time went by, we became good friends. She was older than me by four years and was working full-time as a clerk. My mum died when I was fourteen and I cut off links with all my friends, save Landy.

Somehow or other, Landy stayed with me through thick and thin. Knowing that I disliked going out, she came to my house to chat with me instead. If there was only one blessing in my life, it was definitely having a friend like Landy.

                                                            ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was so ironically hilarious when we realized our play lasted only five minutes if we suffered no NG. Our play was supposed to be “ten to fifteen” minutes long.

“Look, I think we’ll have to rewrite the script.” our so-called director, Delvin, suggested. He was one of our classmates with the most outstanding leadership qualities. “I’m open to all ideas.”

We ransacked our minds and a few ideas were proposed, but none of them seemed to work. Amid the mood of depression which had descended over the room, Jacky stood up and told us, “Trust Joanna and me. We’ll be able to prolong it with our acting. Won’t we, Joanna?”

I sank deeper into my chair and pondered. What did he mean by that? He was smiling at me again. I felt my hair standing up. What was he thinking now? I grit my teeth, hoping that he would not suggest some outrageous proposal that would embarrass both of us.

“It’ll be a lot more realistic if we act out the play without directly following the script. For example, if the audience laughs, we’ll extend the humorous scene. If the audience is crying, we’ll extend the sad scene. Of course, that would mean we’d have to add our own lines to the play. You understand?”

After some brainstorming, they all agreed to that idea. I wanted so much to debate, to confess my disagreement, but upon seeing their exhausted faces, I consented. After we were dismissed, we all headed in different directions except Jacky and I. We stayed together as I wanted to confront him about the idea.

“Why propose that stupid idea?” I probed.

“For fun, Joanna! For fun! And for authenticity! Don’t you think the whole play will look a lot more realistic if we don’t follow a script? I mean-”

“You won’t understand! I need to follow a script! I can’t … I can’t talk well. I … I’m afraid I will say the wrong thing and …” I choked on my words and halted.

“Tell me what’s stopping you from opening your heart, Joanna. Please.”

I was shaking softly. His warm hands embraced my shoulders and he lowered his voice. “Please tell me more about yourself. Why you’re keeping everything to yourself? Why you’re living in your own world? Please.”

“Get away!” I pushed him off, my face burning red. After I had taken a few steps back, my cell phone rang. It was Landy. I rejected the call and turned back at Jacky. “You won’t be able to help me! No one can! No one!”

“Let me help you, please! Believe me! You won’t fail if you keep trying!”

“No! You can’t, you’ll never! I’m going to withdraw from that fucking play, and you and your fucking good friends can be Juliet!”

“Joanna-”

“I killed my father, my mother and many other people! I’m a fucking murderer, a fucking killer, a fucking sinner!”

I turned and dashed out of the hall. The moment I was outside the school, I raised my hand and a taxi stopped. I let out a soft moan of despair before I swung open the door and went off in search of respite.