The aperture greeted me with her serene demeanor, unexpected, unprecedented, she was right in front of my eyes. I was dumbfounded for a second, did not know how to react, I greeted to her, and to them. We were the judges for the Chinese Singing competition that was held in my previous school.

She was not here for the prelims, she was here instead, the second round, to be a judge. I did not expect that to happen, I did not iron my clothes in the morning, I was tattered and messed up. Awkwardly, I paced myself to have a seat among the judges group- Sav, Sha, Kin, and her, Lerr.

My heart was palpitating, I could not think straight, I pinched myself at my thigh, this is real. After half a year, I finally got to meet her, to immerse in her presence. I did not know how to talk, literally, I was too anxious, She is as beautiful as ever, my palms were sweaty, Her eyes are gorgeous without her specs, butterflies fluttering in my stomach, she is thinner compared to the last time we met, my train of thoughts were haphazard, she still have the dark caramel skin and she is beautiful, the textbook feelings when meeting some one whom you love hit me hard.

We are not together, there are too many reasons, the prime is me, but not to mention any bad thoughts in the presence of her, because I promised myself to turn over a new leaf and think more positively. I pushed away all of those past memories, relishing the time that I had with her at this very moment.

I heard that she was having a great time learning Korean language, and they chatted most of the time. She asked about them, but not me, normal. This is how one-sided this situation is, a partisan love, a clap with one palm; I love her, but she avoids it as if it was infectious in a horrendous way.

I attempted to break a conversation with her but they escorted us to our respective posts, me, Lerr, Sav, in a class, Kin, and Sha in another. The people are very well-planned. They put us in the same class, my heart leaped with joy. I entered the class with her as the vanguard with me being the last, trailing from behind.

Seeing some familiar faces, shaking some hands from my friends there, walking to the judges’ seat, “Yang, you have the middle seat.” Sav offered me.

“Thank you.” my grin was brighter than the sun. My heart was grateful, I uttered a silent praise to the Lord. The competition started abruptly, leaving no time for us to talk. I skimmed the crowd, as well as her posture. My job here was to jot down the fate of the contestants, we were given the carte blanche to deem anyone worthy or not to proceed to the finals.

I zeroed in my professional listening skills into full fledged, the start of the competition, the singers were less captivating. Taking a peek into Lerr’s score sheet, she shrugged away in a child-like manner, squeaking a ‘don’t peek’ gesture in the middle, as I had vaguely remember, but she rekindled the flame in me, that is why I love her. I told her about the scoring system that she needed to give points to each contestants individually. She smiled meekly, her usual joyful, innocent smile, which could dazzle me in a heartbeat, and prompted me to pay attention to the competition.

The giving score part was dreadful, I had to listen to most of them that had the normal singing pattern, and gave marks, difficult. Only one group stood out among the other people, Jay and Obama, Aston as the guitarist. They had a spectacular performance, everything that a jaw-dropping performance was there, thumbs up for them, I applauded for them as loud as possible.

After everything had ended, we had to give comments for their performance. She dominated the commentary part. I gave a general one, then she gave the individual comments with me and Sav. Lerr way of speaking had not changed, the tinge of joyfulness in her voice, had not lost its spark.

We sauntered out of the class after handing in the score sheets to the organiser. She called her father, Sav had to leave, we bade goodbye. Her talk with her father was short. “So… How’s learning Korean?” I asked, a crack to the stillness between us.

“It’s fun.” curt, aphoristic, her voice was pulled back by some mysterious force, resulted, conjured by my past actions.

“You are leaving for Korea?”

“Yes.” this is awkward. I should stop. She was completely reluctant to talk to me, she was avoiding me, until this very moment. I was torn apart, at the same time, witnessing a blessing in disguise. Jay broke some conversation with her to assist me from me awkwardness. The other two came out.

Joe appeared out of nowhere, and asked us to visit the brand new choir room. We walked into the refurbished choir room, reminiscing the good old times that we had here, a throwback, she cited, I could imagine myself playing the piano, and she was conducting, not a single thread of relationship was messed up in the entanglement of reality, where everything was still untouched.

I joined their conversation with short ‘ums’ and small nods because I did not know what to react or to bring up. She did not even turn to me and faced me until this time, she did not even ask about a single thing regarding about me, the partisan love, strong, unbroken.

Joe and me went to the toilet first, parting away from Sha and Lerr. “So unexpected.” I told Joe, he slapped me on the back, and we chattered our way from the toilet to meet Pn. Liow, it was my suggestion. She was as exuberant as ever, had a short conversation with her, and we decided to go to take the car.

As we approached the gate, I saw Lerr and Sha walking out, Joe shouted to them to ask them whether they had met Pn. Liow or not, they did not want to do so, they wanted to go home, because their parents were outside.

Lerr turned her back, waving a goodbye to me, the best that she could give, I waved into her back, when I knew I need to be better than myself because she deserves someone better than me, and I am going to be the someone better than me. Her back walking in her usual elegant, confident stride, her pony-tail swaying from the right to the left pinned by a golden butterfly stringed clip. This could be the last chance I could hear her voice, and feel her presence.

I was left with a mixed feeling, my innards were messed up, my heart was intertwined in a screwed up pattern. I was happy, overjoyed, stunned. Nothing could express the feelings in my heart, it was inexplicable.

Dear Lerr,

If you are reading this, which you probably won’t, haha but I hope you do, after I had met you after all these months, I felt somewhat relief, overjoyed, and filled with hope once more, the new found hope in me. I know you are going to Korea, maybe it is going to be a one-way ticket, and you might find your oppa there. I stand no chance against those Koreans, I have to empower myself even more, it is all because of you. 

Thank you for making the unexpected surprise for me, that really made my day, or even replenished my dying soul. This is some sort of reminder of that I had made with myself in my previous letters to you, three years, now it is more than one sixth done, time is not on my side, and I have to become someone better than me. 

The worst thing I felt is the feeling of avoidance, you just needed to let your heartbeat distort, and you simply disconnected from me, pulling of the plug deliberately. Time will mend broken trusts, slow and dreadful process. However, your smile is as beautiful as ever, it is simply a blessing to see your smile for the very last time, because I do not know when is the next time I could see your smile, your dark caramel skin, your demeanor, you.

With hope,
Yang.

P.S. JULY 2017
A wonderful day,
A blessing in surprise,
A hope de novo,
Meeting her.


For the previous ones…
Tangled Skein
Hope. Joy..
A Letter to Her

Tailor

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