Scratching Post, Weekender, 26th September 2009
In school, I was known as the goody-two-shoes. The geek. The (cringe) teacher's pet.
Little did everybody know, I longed to be anything BUT. I harboured a burning desire to be the coolest girl in school, a girl like Sharmila.
Some (misguided) teachers might have labelled her naughty, but to me, she was a heroine. A tad rebellious. Witty as hell. But always brave. All the qualities I aspired to.
Obviously I couldn't be her. So what was the next best thing?
To be with her, of course. Form 2 and 3, the two years I spent a lot of time with her and the ZOPFAN gang (you know who you are) were two of my happiest.
Judging from the responses I received, this story struck quite a few chords, though the only person's response that I was worried about was the story's heroine - Sharmila.
I've written about heaps of people in the past. The difference is, they knew of my intentions. I usually forewarned them at least a day before the article was due to come out.
In Sharmila's case, I wanted to surprise her. Consider it a revenge for calling me "Dangerous."
"She's going to freak out," my ex-colleague Poh See hooted with laughter.
I send Sharmila an sms first thing in the morning. No reply. At 8-ish am, an hour I deem suitably decent, I call her. "Have you read?"
"Dei," she growls in a sleep-slurred voice. "I got your earlier sms already. I am not so fast wei. I just got up lah. You think I'm superhero ah dei."
10am. 11am. 12 noon. Already, five readers have written to me. Not a word from her.
I text Chang. "Could she be angry? So long also no response one."
"She is probably busy at her husband's clinic. Remember, teacher by day, clerk by night, and sexy wife at midnight."
"Cannot be. Today is Saturday and a holiday. "
"Holiday means data entry girl the whole day. What I see is only praises. She might be crying her heart now, touched by your magic words." (I have always maintained that I'm not smart or witty in the least; I am merely fortunate to have smart and witty friends, who have a propensity for poking gentle fun at me)
I am not convinced, so I sms Sharmila again. "Are you angry?" I ask timidly.
"No. How can I be angry at a bunny?"
Her cryptic reply plants the first seeds of suspicion. Maybe ... she... hadn't... read it?
At noon-ish, she texts me. "My husband read already. I just got the paper. Will read after lunch. Reaction at 1400 hour.
What kind of a human being can be so cool and clinical while her friend is practically apoplectic with anxiety???
At five minutes past five, my phone lights up.
"Now my husband thinks I put frogs in people's pockets..." she says before dissolving into laughter.
"Didn't you? Hmmm. Maybe old already, foggy memory."
We speak for a while before putting down the phone. A text comes in. "Thanks mate. I hope others read and make a difference."
So do I, Sharmila, so do I.