Sometimes, when my mind unknowing dwell into my past relationships, I don’t bothers much if I do not have answer for those –what, where & why– things happened between my exes and I. And even if I do have the answer, I know that nothing I do will change anything.
But when it comes to Yun, those questions affect me.
It puzzles me. Because, to start with, Yun was never my girlfriend. And these thoughts also comes with an indescribable pain, of knowing that my questions will never be answered.
Here’s our story…
I don’t know since when, or by who, that started some of us calling Yun by this nickname, Peh Beh (白马 in Hokkien, it means White Horse). Her skin tone was ivory, which explained the white. And no, she did not have a long face. No part of her looked like or can be associated with a horse. So I don’t know how the horse came about.
In fact, of the thirty-five girls in my class, I would rate Yun as the prettiest of them all.
Yun was slim, has straight waist-length hair, a pair of big beautiful eyes and sharp facial features.
I learnt that she disliked the nickname in an uneventful way.
One particular day in our classroom, I was casually saying, “Eh. Peh Beh, can you…”
“Don’t you call me Peh Beh again ok! I hate this nickname! And I have a name! You understand!” She yelled, tears came rolling down her cheeks at the same time.
I believe I was not the only one who was shocked by Yun’s sudden outburst, because Yun was a soft-spoken girl. Whoever in our class at that moment just turned to look at Yun, dumbfound.
Since then, if I had to speak with her, I would address her by her actual name.
Not too long after the incident, –like a couple of weeks– Yun asked me to sit beside her, and share her desk.
“Huh? No lah. The square desk too small for two of us.” I declined.
Yun stared straight into my eyes and made an “Uh?!”. Which sounded to me like a, “Don’t make me ask you the second time!”
“Ok, ok. I shift over now.” I immediately complied.
I noticed her eyes softened the moment I shifted my chair to her desk. She gave me a smiled and started reading her textbook. No conversation. Just us, seated side by side. Felt kind of sweet, now as I think back of that moment.
Seating beside Yun became an almost daily routine until that particular day I shared my thoughts with her.
“Yun, there’s something I, er, want to tell you.” I said.
“Huh?” Yun responded with a soft tone.
“You know? I, er, started er, courting Rosa.” I stammered.
Yun did not say a word.
“So, I was thinking…it would not be so nice if I am seen always sitting here. Hope you understand what I mean.” I said.
“Um. Understand.” Yun said.
“So, I shift back to my desk ok?” I said.
Yun nodded without taking her eyes off the book that she was reading.
Fast forward to a year later.
Then, we had progressed to Secondary 4.
Out of the blue, Yun came to me, “Follow me.”
“Huh? Follow? Where to?” I asked.
“Just follow, please.” Yun said.
We climbed the stairs to the fourth level of the school. There was a big area outside the Teachers’ Office. Wooden tables and benches were neatly set on that area.
Yun sat down on one of the brown benches and beckoned me to sit beside her.
“Er, why ask me here ah? You got something to tell me?” I queried.
Yun lowered her head and started tearing.
“What happened?! Why are you crying?!” I panicked.
Yun shook her head and continued weeping silently.
“Tell me, did someone bully you?”
Yun shook her head again.
“Then what?! Tell me what happened.” I pressed.
Yun continued crying.
Seeing the impossibility to get anything out from her in that state, I changed to supportive mode, “Ok, cry out whatever is bothering you. I’ll be right here, beside you.”
After what felt like ten minutes, Yun dried her tears.
“I’m alright now.” She said in her usual soft tone.
“Good. So tell me what actually happened.” I asked.
“It’s ok. Nothing.” Yun said. “Let’s go back to our classroom.” Yun stood up and started walking.
I followed behind. Clueless on what made her cry.
4 Jul 2016
It was about twenty-six years later when I heard about Yun again.
I was taking an afternoon nap when my mobile rang.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Bro, our Yun is gone.” Jason said.
“Huh? What you mean? Who’s gone?” I asked in my half awake tone.
“Yun. She passed on. Cancer.” Jason said.
Though jolted awake, my mind was blank from the shock.
“Yun passed on few days ago. Her elder sister informed few of us only today, after her cremation.” Jason explained.
I was still speechless.
“I just call to let you know.” Jason concluded.
“Ok.” Was all that I could manage.
“Ok bro. We chat again.” Jason said before hanging up.
Questions that I had whenever I thought about Yun:
– Why did she ask me to seat beside her?
– Why, of all people, did she ask me to follow her to the fourth floor?
– Was I the reason she cried?
I can have my guesses. But like I mentioned in the beginning of this writing, I had not been able to establish anything, and I know I never will.
Thinking of you again.
– VV Cold