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The weather was crazy. Just this morning, it was raining, thundering down the heartlands. It woke me up at an unearthly hour, rain pouring down like nobody’s business. This continued for hours, with me covering my ears with my pillows and hiding under the blanket to keep myself warm. It seldom rained like that in Singapore. Maybe only during the last months of the year, but the rainy season had changed in the last year. November and December were unusually hot, without a slight hint of rain. This year, it was wet and even more surprising was the floods that plagued Orchard Road. It was a funny sight to see people wadding through waist height waters in front of the Liat Towers, and those unlucky waiters and waitresses of Starbucks and Wendy’s trying to sweep out the flood waters.
But now? It was all sunny. The weather was going to make me sick all over again. It was a bad year for me. Earlier this year, I was down with dengue fever. It turned out that my eighty-year-old neighbor had been constructing an indoor jungle! The health inspectors found seventy potted plants in her living room alone. I wondered if she ever had the space to walk. The only problem was she forgot to change the water in the dishes and well… You know the story. It was a miracle she was all well and healthy while her neighbors down the corridors were all admitted to the hospital for high fevers and back pains. In June, I was down with stomach flu. It was the worst case my family doctor had ever seen. I was in bed two whole weeks, not being able to eat anything without throwing up, not even glucose water. I was a hopeless case. I threw up my medicine and all I could do was to sleep. I was so afraid of my bed when I recovered, I decided to sleep on the couch for another week. Then, I was down with food poisoning. That did not last long though, just about a week. I went on a vacation with a couple of friends in Malaysia and we simply enjoyed eating at the stalls by the roadsides. I guess that did not agree with my traumatized stomach from the stomach flu.
Nevertheless, after those health disasters which were detrimental to my happiness index for the year, my tummy felt loads better. It was like how the air clears right after a huge storm. And in my honest opinion, the weather could do a bit more practicing with leaving the air cleared after storms in the morning. Leave some clouds to shield the sun! It wouldn’t kill to have a breezy, cloudy day after a storm. No one would complain!
So here I am, sitting at the bus stop after school. The perspiration was making my makeup run. And I was supposed to meet my boyfriend after that! Just my luck! The back of my newly bought dress was sticking to my back too. How unglamorous! Only guys sweat like that! I could not wait to get on the air conditioned bus to cool down. Speaking of which, I was already running late, waited for the bus for fifteen minutes, and not even a toy bus was rolling down the road to pick us up. What a day!
These are the woes of an NTU student. We study in a far, isolated corner of the already-very-small island. Sometimes, we get thunderstorms in the area, but when the bus turns out of the school, it is bright and sunny outside, and vice versa. This is how isolated we were from the rest of the world. It is isolated enough for us to call it Pulau NTU, which means an island itself. Not only that! During peak hours, it is utterly impossible to board the bus because people at the earlier stops in the school just fill them up (I happen to study at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and our bus stop is located as the second last stop in the school before the bus turns out to the main roads)! Darn those Science students. Couldn’t they have driven to school? I always thought Science students are more techno-savvy and are good with cars and come from rich families who buys them computers to pull apart and put together every day.
“BUS!” someone called out desperately.
FINALLY! I whipped out the all-mighty EZ-Link card and tapped it on the machine, delightedly climbing up to the second level of the double-decker bus. I chose a window seat and plopped down, relieved from the sweltering heat.
“Excuse me, do you mind me sitting here?”
Who on earth asks that question on a public bus? I could easily say no, but as a turned, a girl with a cherubic face and a perfect set of white teeth looked right into my eyes. She was so innocent that I was afraid she could cry when I said no. There, that was a contrast. Mean girl, me. Sweet girl-next-door, her. I gave a curt nod as she sat down and thanked me.
It was her tone that caught my attention.
I knew her. She did not know that I knew her though. How did I know her then? Easy. Facebook connects us with the rest of the world. But she was not some Youtube sensation or a famous blogger whom I found anywhere online and decided to stalk her on Facebook. She was my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. Why was I interested in her?
Because I knew that my boyfriend could not get over her.
I was her shell. A different one. Many times, I listened as my boyfriend talked about her. Her innocent face, her sweet voice, her mesmerizing smile… While we were together, yes. What a bastard. I have absolutely no idea why I stayed with him even though I knew I was being used for a long-term rebound relationship. I started stalking her on Facebook, from her older photographs till now. They had broken up three years ago, and yet, he had never gotten over her. Never.
When I first looked up her name on Facebook, I saw this pretty girl with huge eyes and really cute dimples. I thought she was the perfect girl for my boyfriend. A picture speaks a thousand words. She was a dancer, a ballerina. Her favorite performance was a dance recital at the Esplanade. Her favorite color was pink, and her favorite headband was a pink one with white polka dots. She did not like to smile with her mouth open at first. I always thought it was because she liked to show off her chubby cheeks, which made her look cute. Then, about three months ago, she smiled, showing off a perfect set of gleaming white teeth. It was through the comments that I realized that she had braces on the past few years. It was amazing how some people could look so good both smiling with teeth and smiling without? I think I look ugly with both. She had a slender figure, taller while I was short and flabby. But looking at her now, I finally knew why he was always trying to get me to slim down.
She was much, much prettier in person. Kinder too. Maybe through the photographs, you could say she was pretending to be cuter than she was, but there was an adorable, innocent vibe about her. If some guy was to pick on her, I would gladly swing my fist at him for making her cry (because I was so expecting her to). There were just some girls whom I wanted to make friends with them just because I think they needed someone to add courage to their physical appearance and she belonged to that category.
But I did not want to. A huge part of me loathed her. I hated her for making my boyfriend fall in love with her so deeply that he could never get over her, no matter how hard I tried. I hated her for her looks and how my boyfriend wanted me to mirror her. I hated everything from her eyes to her slim body to the ends of her long, silky hair. I hated how she could make me stalk her on Facebook just so I could be like her to make my boyfriend love me more. I hated how she could make me feel envious of her because she had the love of my boyfriend for three years and not knowing it. It made me wonder how many hearts had she broken and why had she broken them. It made me think how many of her ex-boyfriends still loved her now, because how could anyone forget that angelic face and sweet demeanor? Her Facebook never showed any photographs of her and her boyfriends.
Suddenly, while looking at her at the corner of my eyes, I felt like crying. I was fighting a losing battle. I could never be like her. I was so different from her! She was so gentle and sweet, while I was so rough and sometimes foul-mouthed. She had a killer figure that I could never achieve. I hated myself for being so ugly in comparison to her. I was so desperate to look like her just so he could love me back that I wished I was a spirit and I could take over her and reciprocate his love, just to see him happy. I was so desperate that just thinking about it, my heart raced and my eyes stung with tears…
“Are you ok?” she asked suddenly.
“You look sad.”
That was frank, I thought. I blinked my tears away as I looked into her eyes. She had pretty brown eyes.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” I asked suddenly, wishing her answer was yes.
“No, why do you ask that?”
“I… I was just wondering… If you ever had the feeling of being treated like a substitute for someone your boy loves, like a shell but nothing more…”
“No. But I’m sure your boyfriend loves you, don’t worry.”
Which girl on earth would actually comfort her stalker? Of course, she did not know I had been stalking her for about a year, ever since my boyfriend and I got together. I merely gave her a weak smile as I turned to face the window. When the bus turned into the interchange, she went down with me. I could see my boyfriend waiting for me, leaning against a railing and looking as charming as ever. He was supposed to be the prince and she the princess. I tore my eyes away from him as I tapped my card to get off the bus.
“I hope you are feeling better,” she said kindly. I nodded and she smiled and waved goodbye. I walked sadly towards my boyfriend.
“You’re late,” he snapped the moment he saw me. But his gaze shifted to the girl who had just turned to leave. That oh-so-familiar back of hers.
The look in his eyes was never the one he had given me before. He was in love, but sad. Just like I am.
“Go after her,” I said. I could feel my voice break as I talked, but my heart broke even further when I saw the look of longing in his eyes. “She’s still single.”
“What? What about you?” he asked, still staring.
“Me too,” I replied, walking away as tears rolled down my cheeks.
We never saw each other since.
Facebook Stalker © 2010 by Auby. All rights reserved.