Our affinity spanned between 1987 to 1994, in three short durations. And this is our story…
I was on my way walking back home when the boys who stayed around the neighborhood waved me over to them. The eldest — who also happened to be the leader of the group — Boho, wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pointed towards the direction of the playground.
“See that girl over there?” He asked.
Turning towards where his finger pointed, I saw her. She was standing with her arms crossed and facing a group of small children playing.
“Few of us here are interested in her. Any idea how can we start?” Boho asked
The rest nodded their heads with their eyes fixed on me, waiting for my response.
“Just go talk to her.” I said.
“How?” Some of them asked.
“Use your mouth of course.” I said, smiling.
“I think that stray cat over there can give us a better answer.” One of them said.
“Ask the right question and I’ll give the right answer.” I said, maintaining my coy smile. I was in a playful mood that evening.
“Let me take a closer look at her.” I said.
I moved towards the playground and halted my steps when I deemed close enough to observe, and acted as though the kids’ laughter caught my attention. She was slim. I estimated her height at about 1.7m tall. She gave me the impression of a runway model.
Hmm…pretty. And I found myself took an interest in her too.
When I joined back to the group, Boho asked, “Our taste not bad right?”
“How many of you here are actually interested in her?” I asked.
Other than Boho, I counted five others.
“So many of you going after one girl? Will your friendship be affected?” I started.
“We are all gentlemen. We won’t fight because of a girl.” Boho said.
Everybody nodded in agreement.
“Can I also give a try?” I asked.
“Of course you can.” Boho answered.
Great! My mind said. I got the insurance I needed.
For the next few evenings that followed, I would make an effort to fake evening strolls. And every time, I would see the boys gathered at the void deck near to the playground, chatting among themselves. They would occasionally turn their heads to steal quick peeks at her. I could see their urge to make the approach, but I guessed the fear factors in their heads had stronger effects to self-dissuade.
Once, I witnessed one of them who mustered up his courage to make the approach. The rest of the group cheered him on. But barely took ten steps and he made a sudden 180º turn back to the group. They all let out a burst of laughter. The scene was so comical that even I couldn’t control myself from laughing.
My game plan…to made it a point to take a pause near the playground where she could see me. At the same time forced my gaze only on the kids playing in the playground. I didn’t know it then, but the act was to condition her mind to get accustomed to my — lone — presence and disassociate myself from the group. Patiently paving the way for an easier approach when the time comes.
I knew my opportunity came when I noticed the boys not at the void deck that evening. I too could not escape the fear of being laughed at in the event of a failed attempt. And I was also not willing to let known to others my course of actions, especially the employment of my secret weapon. I dashed home and offered to bring Tris my younger sister, to the playground. No seven years old would pass the chance for time at the playground.
At the playground, I encouraged Tris to make friends with the kids there, which she did.
I told myself to hold off looking at her directly for at least the first ten minutes or so. That should diminish any suspicions that she might or might not have, that could potentially expose my interest in her. Better to err on the safe side. I thought.
I observed her with the corner of my eye, waiting to catch her turn her head into my direction. It didn’t take long before it happened. I turned to face her but her eyes disengaged almost immediately.
I waited again. Telling myself to allow her to peek at me a few more time before I turn my head.
It didn’t take her long to look towards where I was standing. I observed the duration for her successive peeks lengthened. I took it as a subtle interest from her part. I decided to act upon her next peek.
Steady, steady, now! I turned my head.
Our eyes met. I smiled and she responded in kind.
My turn now. Almost immediately, I turned my gaze from her to look at Tris. Ok, keep your cool. Wait…
I waited a few minutes before taking a few steps to close our distant and was secretly glad that she stayed put.
“Are they your siblings?” I asked, shifting my sight towards the kids at the playground.
She was about to answer but paused when we heard the group of boys’ loud cheers, which sounded like “Woo!!!” and “Steady lah!!!”. I was a little bit taken aback and my mind was like, Where the hell did they teleport from?
Ok, no time to wonder. Now, concentrate on what you set out to do. My mind reminded.
I maintained my sight on her. My gaze telling her that I was awaiting her reply.
“Two of them are my younger sisters. The other three are my cousins.” She answered.
“You all just shifted into this neighborhood? I’ve never seen you before.” I continued.
“No. We are staying at our relatives’ place.” She shifted her gaze towards the block where the guys were gathered.
“I see. How long will you be staying here?” I asked.
“We’ll be shifting back before school holiday end.” She answered.
That would be four weeks, I must up my pace.
I introduced myself and she told me her name was Cynthia. She was fourteen. And so was I.
We continued our chat for subsequent few evenings while the group of boys watched on. As we got more familiar, Cynthia disclosed more about herself. She was the eldest in the family, with a younger brother and two younger sisters. Her parents were divorced. She had to take on a mother’s role for her siblings while her father worked hard to provide for them.
Cynthia must have trusted me a lot to disclose about her family background. At that time, Asians were still quite conservative. Family matters like divorce, was not a topic they would share with others openly.
My initial aim to win her over for boasting rights was somewhat destroyed. In replacement was sympathy. I wanted to be her boyfriend. I believed that, with that status, I could at least do something for her, although I had not idea how.
“Shall we go steady?” I asked.
Though my abruptness caught her by surprise, but I believed she sensed my sincerity, she nodded shyly. I was elated.
For the days that followed, I observed envious looks from the boys when they saw Cynthia and I at the playground, with our fingers interlocked. Judging from the looks on the boys’ eyes, I knew I became their idol. But I was also on constant self-reminder to remain humble because I could sensed jealously among few of them, which came in the form of occasional sarcasms.
One evening, my gyro was momentarily toppled when Cynthia’s cousins informed me that Cynthia’s father had decided to fetch them back earlier than schedule. Cynthia’s house was not installed with a phone line and her cousins were too young to be able to tell me where she lived.
Two weeks. Our first episode ended almost as abruptly as it started.
Chapter 2: 1992
After seeing Bernis, my then-girlfriend, boarded the bus back to where she stayed, I walked to another bus stop to wait for the bus bounded for my place.
I felt someone tapped my shoulder from behind. I turned to see a familiar face.
“Hey.” She said with a smile.
“Oh, hi!” I responded calmly, but in truth, my mind was frantically searching for an association with that beautiful face.
I knew that I knew her. Just that I could not remember exactly who she was.
“Remember me?” She asked.
“Were we in the same primary or secondary school before?” I asked, trying to buy time for my weak mental search engine.
“No…I’m Cynthia, your…um…ex.” She sounded slightly exasperated.
Her words hit me like a giant mallet. I literally gave myself a loud facepalm.
“Sorry, sorry, I was in the middle of my thoughts.” I said. *Excuses excuses, lame excuses.
Cynthia smiled and shook her head.
We warmed up to each other quickly. Cynthia updated me briefly about her life for the five years since we last met. After me, she was attached once. I felt a pinch when Cynthia shared that her ex-boyfriend had forced himself on her. She left him after what he did.
I felt sorry for Cynthia. Emotions welled up within me.
Looking Cynthia in her eyes, I asked if she wanted to continue from where we left off. She smiled and nodded her head. I pulled her close to me and we hugged. Memories flashed back in my mind. The love I had for her, the sense of happiness when I was with her, the pain for not having a proper farewell and most of all, the regret for not daring to ask her adult relatives for her address. It was a bittersweet feeling. Engrossed, I melted in her arms.
Memories of Rosa suddenly surfaced and I was jolted back to my illogical logic.
Stop! Love hurts. Don’t repeat the same mistake. I reminded myself.
Cynthia and I made a date to meet up that weekend.
While walking hand-in-hand with Cynthia in Marina Square, I felt a hard tap on my back. Bernis turned to walk away after making sure I knew it was her who tapped me. Cynthia didn’t even realized that it happened.
That same night, at my place. Bernis did not bring up the incident, and I was happy to let it pass.
Another incident happened about two weeks later. I asked Cynthia to my place shortly after Bernis brought Tris out for shopping in town. I had just finished stripping Cynthia naked when they returned unexpectedly. The knocks on my room door told me Bernis already knew I had company. I was sure it was the extra pair of shoes at the doorway.
I calmly asked Cynthia to take her time to dress up. In fact, I was buying time to come up with a solution.
Don’t be stupid, there is not good reason for such scenario. Just open the door and face it. I reasoned with myself.
Bernis did not seem surprised to see Cynthia.
Before anyone could say anything, Cynthia walked to the door and left quietly. I caught a glimpse of sadness and disappointment in her eyes. I believed she realized that she was the unknowing extra.
“Ok, settled. She left.” I told Bernis.
I thought it was the end for Cynthia & I, but wait, there was more…
Fast forward another three years to 1995. Alone on my hunt at one of Europa’s disco joint in East Coast Park. I was dancing to the rhythm of the music when someone hugged me from behind. It was one of Cynthia’s younger sisters, Zhen. The other sibling, Xiang, was standing behind Zhen. Both of them seems excited and happy to see me. I had not seen them since 1987, and they had grown up to be pretty young ladies. I remembered they used to bear-hug my thighs to stop me from going back home then, because my departure would mark the end of their playtime at the playground.
“Hey!” I exclaimed.
“All grown up ya? Now big enough to disco.” I tapped Zhen’s head.
The introduced their boyfriends to me.
“Dajie (Eldest sister) is here too.” Zhen said.
“Wow, that’s rare. Didn’t know she was the party type.” I commented.
“Dajie had been feeling moody lately. We brought her here in the hope to cheer her up somehow.” Zhen said.
“Had to drag her out you know?” Xiang added.
“What happened?” I asked.
“We’re also not sure. Dajie don’t usually tell us about her problems.” Zhen said.
“Where is she now? Let me see if I can be of help.” I said.
“She is sitting somewhere near that corner.” Xiang pointed.
As it was a week night, the patronage was quite sparse. I spotted Cynthia straight away. She was sitting alone by herself seemingly deep in thoughts. I observed her for a brief moment, not for anything, but just to prove my theory that most guys would not approach a pretty girl, even when she was alone. Likely due to the perception that a girl with a certain level of beauty must already be attached.
On purpose, I approached Cynthia from her back.
“Thinking about me?” I teased.
Cynthia looked momentarily blank. Almost immediately, I witnessed her face brightened up into a broad smile. It was like watching a flower blooming slow-motion. A beautiful sight to behold.
“Hey.” Cynthia said, pleasantly surprised.
“The girls told me that your mood was sucky recently. Menopause?” I joked.
Cynthia let out a hearty laugh.
“You, always talking nonsense.” She said, simultaneously gave a light slap on my chest.
I caught hold of her hand and looked her in the eyes.
“Seriously, what is bothering you. You know I care about you.” I said, looking concerned.
“My boyfriend. He disappeared.” She said.
“Disappeared? As in?”
“He would disappear for no reason and appear as and when he likes. Not the first time.” She said.
“Wow, let me know when he next appears, I would like to sign up for his Ninja-Do class.” I joked.
Cynthia laughed. She attempted to slap my chest, only to realize that her hand was still held in mine.
“Life is short, be happy. Lead your life laughing, like what you just did.”
I could see from her dilated pupils that her mind was processing my words.
“Shall we dance?” I offered.
I gently pulled her along before she could answer. That was the first dance we had with each other.
The next few hours were spent in laughter. Both Xiang and Zhen’s boyfriends seemed impressed by my ability to come up with jokes on almost anything.
Near the end of the night, Cynthia and I had our first slow dance, which happened to be, also our final.
As we prepared ourselves to leave, Zhen and Xiang asked if I could send Cynthia back. I read their subtle message.
I looked at Cynthia for consent, which she nodded.
“Sure. You girls enjoyyy yourselves. Remember to stay safe.” I gave them a cheeky wink.
The sisters and their partners parted ways with us.
“Take a stroll with me along the beach?” I asked.
East Coast Park was quiet on week nights. I felt my heart lightened as the gusts of cold wind blew upon us. I wrapped my arm over Cynthia when I noticed her lips quivered.
When we reached a place where I deemed us sufficiently covered in darkness, I halted our pace.
“Let me give you some warmth.” I hugged her and she leaned her head on my shoulder.
Our lips locked and we engaged in french kiss. From the hug, I shifted my hands to the sides of her slim body, massaging each of my thumb onto her small breasts which led to what sounded to me like a satisfied moan.
My right hand went under her clothes, moved the left bra cup aside and reached for her nipple. Her body moved slightly.
“Your hand is cold.” She commented.
My left hand moved down towards her back to squeeze lightly on her right butt cheek.
“Let’s go to a more comfortable place. Somewhere warmer.” I said.
We checked into Amber Hotel, the nearest short-time motel I could think of.
Her naked body was as slim as what I last seen. I especially liked her near-flat chests and small pink nipples.
“When was your last menses?”
“It’s alright. I have IUD (Intrauterine Device).” She assured.
Why does she have IUD? Nevermind, I’ll ask her later.
There was a sense of satisfaction the moment I inserted into her small vagina. Maybe because it took seven years to finally happen.
Flat-chests was a new sexual experience for me. I took the thrusts slow for that session because I wanted to make it last as long as I could. Somehow, I had a strong feeling that our affair would only be a one off.
When I was on the verge of ejaculation. I raised her legs up and released my load deep inside her.
I must confess that shoot inside was a good experience to have. Especially so when pregnancy was a non-concern.
We dated once more a week after, for a movie. After that night, she stopped picking up my call.
I presumed her boyfriend had reappeared.
By then, I had already accepted incommunicado as one of the ways to signify closure for a relationship.
Well, I can only move on.
Wish you well, Cynthia. – VV Cold