Loneliness and a Chinese meal

It was lunchtime, and after a day of errands, I was famished. I stopped by what seemed to be a cheap, Chinese food shop, and decided that my pocket needed to take a break from the usual meals I had. The shop was half-filled with working adults and high school kids who had just started lunch, so it looked like a safe, clean environment.

So I sat there, 10 minutes later, and just as I was about to fork into my mouth a huge chunk of roasted chicken and rice, I noticed her.

She sat there, looking down and twiddling her fingers. There wasn’t anything impressive about her – she looked absolutely plain, had a twig-like figure and round-framed glasses hiding beneath the limp fringe on her face. But there was this sense of… loneliness, that seemed to ebb out of her.

And as I watched, she looked up and gave this almost lopsided, yet delightful smile, that seemed to brighten up the plain face for a bit. I glanced at the door – three girls, probably the same age, had come in. They were probably classmates, I thought, and she had been waiting for them. I began to relax a bit, and chided myself for having an overactive imagination. The chicken needed more attention than some random teenager, after all.

But Plain Jane held my curiousity still. So I watched as the three girls, dressed in probably the school’s prefect uniforms, swish by her without so much as a wave or a smile. (They seemed almost like characters out of a teen movie – there was a plump, snotty looking girl, there was the pretty girl, and there was the almost pretty girl who seemed to think she was pretty. And man, did they look bitchy.)

Her hand froze in midair, then slowly came back down to the table. The smile slowly slunked away off her face, and the dull, sad look came back on. She went back to her finger twiddling, and I felt, for a moment, the same pang of loneliness she was feeling.

The girls sat down at a table just behind her.

Her food came, and she picked up the chopsticks and began to eat. There’s nothing more miserable than eating by yourself, I thought, when your schoolmates sit behind you and ignore you.

It’s different than when you sit alone, working on something and catching up on a meal, by choice.

What made this girl different from the others? Was it the fact that she didn’t fit in their clique? Was it because she wasn’t as pretty, as snotty, or as confident as the others? Why the segregation? The thoughts running through my mind seemed to speak out against the unfairness, just as I noticed more schoolgirls walk into the shop.

One of them waved at Plain Jane and walked to the Snotty table to plunk herself down on one of the chairs.

Another girl, stopped by Plain Jane’s table. My ears perked up as I tried to eavesdrop on the conversation. Not a very nice thing to do, but my curiousity needed to be satisfied. The chicken and manners could wait.

Nice Girl smiled at Plain Jane. “…. eating with anyone else? Why don’t you join us at our table?”

I could see an apprehensive, guarded look cross Plain Jane’s face, before she snuck a glance at the Snotty Table. Looking across at the empty seat opposite her, then at her bowl of Chinese noodles, then to Nice Girl’s friendly smile, she nodded.

And the Snotty Trio weren’t too happy at this. But it seemed that Nice Girl, dressed in a senior’s uniform, called the shots this time. They would have their revenge at Plain Jane one day, but today, they had to curb their tongue.

Plain Jane sat next to Pretty Snob. The trio continued their conversation with the rest of the table as a few more girls joined in. But they were very, very careful, to avoid looking at Plain Jane.

As the minutes passed, Plain Jane hadn’t uttered a word. She soon finished her noodles, and sat there for a bit.

Plump Snob looked at her once, rolled her eyes, and continued talking to Nice Girl.

Plain Jane was crestfallen. I could tell. I could feel it. She reached into her bag, counted a few notes, and stood up to pay for her meal.

“Going off so soon?” Pretty Snob asked in a sickly sweet voice. Plain Jane nodded.

Plump Snob was swallowing a snicker as she added in an equally-saccharine-sweet voice,” Do join us again, it was sooo much fun having you join us!”

Plain Jane left. But I could see the pain in her face; the sadness, the loneliness, and the hurt, as she hugged her books to her chest and slowly walked out.

My chicken didn’t taste so nice anymore at that point.

—————————————————————————————-

In actual fact, the entire story above was true. I did ad-lib a few parts of the dialogue, because I didn’t understand Chinese, which was the language these girls were speaking in.

But the actions, the facial expressions, the girls; from Plain Jane to the Snotty Trio and my roasted chicken did exist.

I’d welcome any comments or criticism (healthy please) about this story… thanks ever so much.

My Aunt

Here’s a picture of my aunt (Dad’s sister). I think she symbolizes loneliness to me, being shunned by her own kids and grand-kids in her own house – she lives with my cousins – and losing my Dad years ago (rest in peace Dad). I visit her sometimes, but being in a different state, it gets hard. In this picture, she’s laughing because I tried to take a candid photo of her and half-succeeded.

J.C.’s Resolutions for the New Year

Caught this interesting bit on WordPress about tagging our new year’s resolutions for two-double-oh-seven, and thought it might be fun to come up with my own resolutions.

Now, I haven’t made any resolutions for New Years since I was 17, but what the heck, here goes :

Read more books : I feel that I don’t read enough, and although I have my own little library of fantasy and fiction stories, I don’t seem to have enough ‘serious’ books in my parlour.

Write more stories : Exactly why I created this blog. I know I’m not the best writer in the world, and pale in comparison to the great legends out there. But they say practice makes perfect, and hopefully there are people out there willing to advise me and sort of provide healthy criticism. After all, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.  (or something along those lines.)

Quit smoking : I think I’ve quit about 7 times in my life, only to pick it up again due to some asinine reason. This year may be lucky number 8!

Thank people more: I feel I don’t say ‘thank you’ enough to people around me. If we all did this more often, the world would have less angry people. But then again, pigs might fly too.

Learn a new skill : Gardening? I seem drawn to my rather barren garden. The last few attempts at growing flowers from seeds in those packets you can pick up for a buck at the local store seems to go nowhere. Maybe I’ll grow some vegetables instead.

Join a selfless society : One of those societies that help people, orphans, animals, etc. Something selfless for once, and not one of those greedy corporations that disguise themselves as societies and one day you find out that the money you helped raise for tsunami victims actually didn’t go to them.

Learn CSS : To do something nice to this blog of mine.

Sigh. Very drab resolutions, I know. In retrospect, the Chinese have their New Year on the 18th of February this year, and the Thais & Sikhs have theirs on the 13th of April. Maybe we’ll have another round of new year resolutions then.

Half Cloudy, with a glint of the sun peeking through. Is this how 2007 will be like?

Pure – Part 1

“Do you have it?”

“I do.”

“Is it …. pure?”

“Last I check.”

“Good.”

There was a soft splash as the waves gently caressed the rocks. The sky was bright, almost too bright, it seemed, and the sun flooded the cove with its warm light. The air was calm, with hardly a breeze, yet a strand of hair managed to flap itself into my eye. I winced, and adjusted my hat.

Bright-green eyes stared back at me. A hand, glistening in the sun, stretched out to me, awaiting the purity which I held.

I hesistated.

“Why do you fear me?”

I kept silent, and looked down at my sandal-clad feet. Covered with grains of sand, yet, somehow a sparkle or two escaped and caught my eye, reflecting the minerals which had been lying beneath the sea for thousands of years, only to be reduced to a sandy mixture and washed ashore.

“I seek only to receive that which belongs to me.” Calm, soothing whispers echoed in my head.

I sighed, and finally opened my hand.

“Ahhh….. thank you.”

The hand reached out and picked up the stone from my palm. The sunlight was caught in its many facets, and an array of sea colours reflected back onto its owner, in a dazzling display of emerald and blue. It was hard to imagine that such a beautiful thing could harbour such evil things.

Keerne looked up at me and smiled, his grey eyes lightening up. “Where did you find it?”

“A child picked it up near the pier,” I explained. “I don’t think anyone else has touched it.”

“But you touched it.” The eyes narrowed and seemed to darken.

Silently, I removed the glove I had been wearing. “I was aware of the consequences and took a little precaution.”

The eyes lighted up again. The whispers echoed once more.

“Not many humans would have done so.”

I shrugged. “We have always been rash,” I mused. “I owe my cautiousness to your humble servant.”

Keerne’s eyes perked up at this. “You are speaking to Her?”

Nodding, I stuffed the glove into my bag, and then waded deeper into the cove. I found a flat rock and climbed up onto it. Sitting there, with my legs dangling over the edge into the cove, I watched Keerne.

With a wink and a flick of his tail, he leap over the rock, and dove into the waters.

I knew he would return once he visited his Mother, perhaps bringing with him a few more gifts from the sea herself. Gifts, he said, which would give me a glimpse of the ethereal beauty that lay hidden from the human eye.

Yet I could not be a part of that beauty. Denied by my blasted! human blood and shunned by my own kin in the waters; I could only watch as the land creatures accepted me as one of their own. Their own, yes, like my human mother. Yet father, who had loved her more than the sea itself, never dared to visit land anymore, not since her death. He could only see me occasionally, when the sky was darkened and the storms threatened others from coming to the beach; that was when he visited me.

When he visited his half-breed changeling love child.

I began to wish Keerne would hurry back.

Starting Scribbles

This blog is dedicated to my fiction stories (and perhaps not-so-fictional!), musings on daily adventures and perhaps a hint of an occasional prose.

I hope to be able to post up something new every few days, if not, every week.


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