Part One was released on the 18th of November.
CONTINUE WITH PART TWO.
I’m not fond of crying but that was the only way I could sleep. I put my pillows on my wet face and try to hold everything together. I think about my father, my mother and my brothers. They’re so far away and I am so alone. I wish they’re here. I wish someone would help me. Una flicked her tongue for the second time. Zati grunted. Laila switched to her other side, facing a Form Three bed and pretended she didn’t notice my quilt quivering.
My dormmates haven’t spoken to me in 2 weeks.
I would be thankful if they gradually ignored me but all these actions were sudden moves. Their faces contorted horribly when they’re seen with me. An unspoken agreement was signed and apparently I was the troll, the monster they were trying to avoid. Their eyes would study me from afar and everyone scrambled to different places. No nasi lemak on Friday morning. No waking up at 5.30. I just ceased to exist. My trembling voice seemed unable to perform in a way that a voice should. Like a foreign language, I am put in a separate schedule and regarded as useless. I beg them to listen to my explanation but all efforts were wasted. That very night, I saw Una wiped her hand on her face towel when I returned her Pride and Prejudice.
That simple gesture broke me.
A punch in the face would be preferable. I can take punches. I have 3 brothers. Falling from a flight of stairs with a broken ankle won’t deter me from fighting back but that silly wipe made me spend half an hour in the shower just so I can really cry. No pretensions, no hiding, just cry like a baby. My eyes were considerably swollen right after but I felt a bit better. The rest of the dorm felt compelled to join my ex-best friends, like it’s the most natural thing to do. Just like any other girls’ school, the news spread like wildfire. Then of course my classmates joined in the fun and then one morning I noticed that no one wants to stand next to me in a perfectly good queue. I feel like some slimy, loathsome, repugnant little thing that no one with their sane mind would ever touch with a long pole.
I’m worse than a leech and that hurt me more than I could ever imagine.
The view overlooking the hockey field was shielded by a line of old trees. I didn’t know for sure what kind. Just by looking at them, you can tell they’re very old. Probably more than hundreds of years. There’s something very striking in the way that the bark contorted and bent fighting the monsoon wind. It’s the kind of beauty and grace achieved after braving great storms and foul weather. I sat on an empty bench overlooking a small cliff protruding with roots. Like an octopus’ tentacles, the roots slither everywhere. There was no fighting this tree. Some parts of the bench’s platform were broken as the long roots search for food. The trunk was enormous and the canopy protects you from the heaviest of rain. The dry, curly vines swirled around the trunk and dozens of them sway on their way to the ground, dancing like a Hula girl. The wind blew such a cold breeze that my spine shivers. November winds are designed to make you feel like this. The green field stretches until they reach a line of thick brick wall. It ran along most of the school’s perimeter. Although menacingly studded with all sort of barb wires and coils, looks can be very deceiving. I find it easy to climb the hurdle especially when I have a hankering for mi rebus Wak Kamis. I was accepted into the hockey team but was voted out in less than 2 months. The coach was against it but the discipline teacher’s vote overruled the rest. The straight, white borders marking the length of the field were recently maintained and I can see the whitish goal post nearby. A group of girls were practicing their shots (they suck) and a little black puppy was sniffing a mountain of dirt nearby. They seemed to take no notice of the pup.
I was lost in a whirl of thoughts. Sunday is not fun because tomorrow’s Monday. I will need to brace myself and pretend that everything is totally fine, that it was not awkward at all having no lab partner or P.E partners, that it was okay to see people frown when they are able to see you coming towards them and from behind, you can heard them laughing and calling you names.
My nickname is now Bee-Ann. Short for lesbian.
The rustle of the fallen leaves brought me back to reality. The puppy approached me slowly, his muzzle wet with mud. He looks friendly. No growling or teeth baring. No signs of rabies, thank God. I should guess that he’s hungry but I have no knowledge of raising puppies. We don’t even have cats. I figure dogs eat meat. They didn’t seem the type that would consume tofu. My lunch pack was chicken curry, fried tofu and some rice that I took from the dining hall. I couldn’t bare eating alone while listening to harsh whispers and sarcasm. My blood boils at their giggles. I am almost certain that all everyone did was talk about me. How I was tortured in the middle of the night in my own dormitory. How a dozen seniors push me and prodded me. How badly they want me to confess. How they told me that I should apologize to Raffles. Just thinking about that contributed to a big lump in my throat. The red plastic chair felt as if it was made from molten lava. I couldn’t finish my rice even after bringing it outside and enjoying the best view. My tongue is numb with fire. My stomach is full of worries. My appetite was lost somewhere in between.
The plastic container is slick with the oil residue from the gravy. Inside I left a huge piece of chicken breast, the part I least like on a chicken. It was smothered in more red gravy. The puppy’s tongue probably won’t stand it so I did what mothers do. I sucked the spicy part and I threw it to him, hoping that he would like it.
His beady amber eyes looked at me straight in the eyes and licked it once.
And then, without any doubt whatsoever he gobbled the whole piece.
“I guess we’re friends now,” I told him. He howled in reply, not unlike a tiny wolf.
That was my first interaction with another being after months of isolation. My heart somehow felt relieved. I’m not completely alone. There seemed to be a huge yellow balloon in my ribcage, expanding like crazy to the point that I couldn’t breathe. My face is a grimace for trying to smile again. He accepted me! A dog accepted me! I am not that bad after all. We’re the rejects, the broken, the unwanted of society. We just want to belong to somebody. That moment I swear that I will never make anyone feel the same way that I do. No one should ever feel this sad and this happy when they finally got themselves someone to call a friend.
END OF PART TWO.
Part Three will be published on the 22nd of November. Thank you.