Hey Buddy! It’s your birthday today. Here’s wishing you a wonderful day, and know that you’re constantly in my thoughts.
This year marks the 20th year we have known each other. 2 decades! More than half our lives can you believe that?
I may not remember the first day we met very clearly now, but I remember the emotions clearly, like it was only yesterday. It was the first day of school, a new chapter in our educational journey. We sat next to each other waiting for the usual orientation stuff they did on every first day of school.
I was terribly nervous, wanting so much to introduce myself to you, to make my first friend in this foreign school. I was alone; none of my classmates enrolled in this school with me. The silence between us became awkward, with us just sitting there. My heart was pounding really fast, as I rehearsed my opening line over and over in my mind. How should I say it? Would you think I’m a snob by now? Would you be a snob yourself? How now, the silence and fidgeting are killing me!
Then, you broke the silence by turning towards me and introducing yourself. Oh, what a relief!! Silently, I thanked you a million times for taking the initiative, so that my heart could finally calm itself.
I pretty much forgot about how the rest of the day went. But I knew for the next 4 years, we always sat next to each other in class. We quickly became best friends, and honestly, you are the best gal friend one could ever get. You have such a big, generous heart. And I’m so glad you chose me as your best friend too. We share so much in common; same birth month, horoscope sign, zodiac sign (then, we know better now), personalities, beliefs…
Before I knew you, I have never read a Chinese novel, only English books. You brought me into the world of Qiong Yaos, and You Jins, and I have you to thank for developing a love of the Chinese subject. Remember we were one of the best students in Chinese class? The skits we did in order to earn points in the second year? The Chinese teachers’ pets, because we were one of the few truly interested in the subject?
You became a Prefect, one of the few I had respect for, and listened to. I was so proud to have you as a best friend!
The crushes we had on the boys in school, and the hours spent talking about them in school and over the telephone were one of my greatest enjoyments. I remember you were the loyal one; having only 1 or 2 crushes in the 4 years. I, on the other hand, had more crushes. But being the shy, reserved girls we were, we never made our feelings known.
I still remember your quirky gesture of rubbing your nose really hard. I used to be afraid your nose will fall off one day! You still do that now, by the way.
The silly makeup and poses we did in preparation for the graduating photo books. I still shudder to think of the effort put in, and in the end, I looked like a baboon’s behind. You still looked decent. We still couldn’t be bothered to put on makeup till now, huh?
The celebrities we idolised! The sparkly cards we collected! The songs we loved. We shared so much of each others’ ups and downs then.
After 4 years, we went to separate schools. The physical separation really did separate us. We went on with our lives, making new friends. Then we got into relationships, went to different universities.
Remember how we managed to get together to revise for Uni exams at your school for a year or so? Those were really great times I treasured.
Then we drifted apart even more, much more than I wished for, looking back now. And I allowed it to happen, because I couldn’t maintain friendships very well.
Now, you’re away in a different country for 5 years already, raising a big family. And we haven’t met properly for 2,3 years? I miss you so much, Cheryl!
I’m sorry for the times I couldn’t be by your side when you needed friends, and forgeting your birthdays sometimes. But please know that in my limited capacity to keep friends, you will forever remain my dearest, dearest friend. One who is constantly in my mind and heart.
Happy Birthday Nu Ren! May all your wishes come true!
The one and only trip we made together in 2000 or 2001. Hong Kong.