Passing Clouds

#01 Rosa

The relationship that shaped the rest. My first love…or so I thought. This is our story…

1988, Secondary 3

What caught my interest on Rosa was her ear-studs. Three piercings on each ear. She disclosed that there were actually had four piercings on her left ear.

Sidetrack…at that time, I could sense that another classmate, Yun was into me. As I already started my courtship with Rosa, I thought it would be fair to make it clear to Yun lest she fell further. Yun indicated that she understood. Or so I thought. (Read up on Yun here)

Back to Rosa. The way she tied her hair seemed unique to me. It looked like a pleat but I was sure it was not. According to her, the style was called Scorpion. I learned from her how to tie scorpion, with the fantasy that I would sit behind her and pleat her hair for ever after.

Our courtship was rather simple. Rosa caught information from her clique that I was interested in her. They would also share niceties about me and encourage her to give it a try. I would work on her clique to include me in their weekend outings. Rosa and me chatted over the phone almost everyday. We would do school projects together and I would take bus rides with her to Bedok bus interchange after school, despite the fact that my home was a short walking distant from school. Guess that was what puppy love was for me…just wanting to spend more time in each others’ company and to do something nice for the girl who I loved.

There was this particular Friday. Rosa was going for a swim with her clique after school. As usual, I would accompany her to take the feeder bus to the bus interchange. I was supposed to go home after that but I did not. I stayed at the same spot to wait for her. I wasn’t 100% sure if she would bypass the place where I stood waiting, but I took the chance. Fortunately, she did. I can still feel the elation and excitement as I was writing this, of the moment I caught sight of Rosa walking with her clique towards where I was waiting. As they got nearer, I made a right hand wave to get Rosa’s attention. Even from a distant, I could see all their eyes widen when they saw me standing there.

Why are you still here?” Rosa asked, looking rather surprised.

Waiting for you.” I answered.

Why?” Rosa, looking more surprised.

I forgot something.” I said.

Huh?” Rosa.

I forgot to say goodbye to you earlier.” I said.

There was an instant mixed of “Woo!” and “Ahhh!” from her clique. The sudden sound they made got my attention and I could see the envy in their expressions.

Rosa was speechless for a moment before she could talk again. Her eyes welled up.

You mean you had been waiting here for the past three hours?” Rosa asked.

Yes. And how about walking me to the public toilet? High tide.” I said sheepishly.

Upon hearing my words, her clique broke into a burst of laughter, but Rosa almost cried.

Her clique moved on as Rosa and I made our way to the toilet and thereafter I walked with her to the bus stop where she boarded the bus back home. We remembered to bid each other farewell.


Feeling confident, I broached the proposal for her to be my stead (which means to go into a steady relationship). She nodded.

Going steady allowed me the license to hold her hand. Sometimes, I would put my arm on her shoulders or around her waist. That gave me a sense of satisfaction to be able to hold someone.

In this relationship, I got to live some of my happy moments. One I remembered was our plan for sun-tan at the beach. I shared with her my idea of cutting out some words or picture from a cardboard, a customized stencil. We would put the stencil on each others’ back during sun-tan. The tan will stay on our body for awhile, like a temporary tattoo. We were both excited about it.

We were also into couples’ attire. We liked to dress identical during our dates. It feels funny to me thinking about it now, but back then, it was the trend.

We gave each other love gifts. I got for her a cross pendant and, she gave me a pendant with a chinese character (Ox), the chinese zodiac of the year that we were born.

I learned to appreciate songs that she liked. For every song album that she liked, I would get the same. I would listen to the songs every night till I fall asleep. In fact, I was able to sing all the songs in Johnny Hates Jazz’s ‘Turn Back The Clock’ and Stella Chang’s ‘I’m still young’ albums.


Our next milestone happened while we were together in a bus. I remembered telling her that I loved her and offered my first kiss to her. As we readied ourselves, she gave me a peck on my lips. I lost my first kiss…in a blink of the eyes…under the gazes of the standing commuters. Nobody clapped though.

Following our kissing experience that day, we explored french kiss and loving acts like feeding me water from her mouth, stunts that we learn from western movies. The nice feelings and the sense of – or rather, false sense of – adulthood, was pleasantly intoxicating.

We would escalate our actions once the novelty of the previous started to wear out. We would find the tallest block in a housing estate, go into the lift and press the button for the top floor. The short transit allowed us kiss madly while I slipped my hand into her school uniform to fondle her breast. We will take the same lift down and repeat the same actions over and over till our lips and tongues got tired.

My first experience on heavy petting happened in a 13-storey block situated directly beside a mosque. and the block was only sparsely populated. I remembered feeling shock when I first touched her wet vagina. From what I learned from the magazines, a girl would get wet when they got excited. Just didn’t expect that it felt soapy.

Our sneaky petting sessions, while exciting did have its cons. We had to stop what we were doing and act normal whenever we heard footsteps from residents walking up/down the stairways. Rosa offered to take our actions to her place as both her parents were working. Sometimes, her father would go back home for a short afternoon nap before heading out to again to work till evening. To avoid potential awkward situations, we developed visual messaging using color codes. She would hang clothes at her balcony. Red means don’t come up yet ; Black means clear. Sometimes, she would hang up her bras, just for laughs. This became our weekly routine.


Rosa’s parents got to learn about our relationship and invited me over for dinner. In 1988, I would consider her family open-minded to accept the fact that their 15 years old daughter has a boyfriend.

I guessed Rosa confidence for this relationship must had been boosted by her family’s acceptance. Once, in the heat of our petting session, she offered me her virginity.

Then, I took our virginity seriously. I wanted it to be a gift for each other when we got married…a special milestone that we could remember for the rest of our lives. Unplanned pregnancy was also part of my considerations. I could not imagine both of us being parents at age 16.

Let’s wait till we get married.” I told her.

She nodded. I could see the mixture of disappointment and gladness in her. My! Was I so proud of myself.

Noble as the idea was, but this decision later became the very thing that caused me misery and regrets. That pain stuck with me for more than a decade.


Since that day after Rosa offered her virginity, my confidence in the relationship peaked. I became complacent and started to take her for granted.

End 1988. We had finished our year-end exams and moving into a one and half month school holidays. Rosa shared her plan to work part-time job in that duration. My inner insecurity objected. Our conversation escalated from persuasion into a heated argument. We hung up the phone on each other several times in the process. I called her a couple of days later after I had cooled down, but she had refused to speak with me anymore.


I spent my school holidays in agony. I thought of her everyday, I lost sleep, I could not eat, I picked up smoking, I was losing my mind. There was this indescribable pain within me. And I stupidly went for tattoo, in the hope that the physical pain could help shift away part of my heartache. I had her name tattooed onto my body. Never was I more wrong. The tattoo became a constant reminder of her. Things were made worse when I learned from Rosa’s clique that she had a new boyfriend.

Without having a proper closure from Rosa, I considered us still in a relationship. Upon learning that she was attached with another guy, I considered her unfaithful. I felt angry and humiliated. I regretted tattooing her name on my body. I hated myself for loving her so much.

I should have just fucked her then! I reproached myself.

I started to hate everything. My life took a down-spiral.

The hatred in me reached a point that I thought I was better off dead. Lucky for me, that suicidal thought was quickly replaced by a resolution.

Why not considered yourself already dead? Go do whatever you want to do. Fuck care about any other thing. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

I was Reborn…




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