The First

Dear Keppel-tourist,

I saw it coming, long before it finally came full circle. It’s like waiting for the tide to crash, and instead of ducking, I wanted to embrace it as much as I could because I was a simple girl, eager to get the first sip of her wine. That’s a metaphore, by the way.

The day started like any other day. The sky wasn’t much bluer than usual, the wind wasn’t blowing for too strong, the air was crisp, and everybody else was pacing on normal speed, oblivious to the change that would soon happened to us. No lives were affected but ours, and we were pretty damn happy nonetheless. The minutes leading to this, no stars would allign up differently, and the world would remain unfaltering. Funny how hugely unconnected people’s lives are.

I was young, way too young, mentally naive and physically awkward. People say the most important time on a girl’s life is the wedding day, but what happens to those moments in between?

It wasn’t perfect and I could picture a zillion other scenarios in which it could have been perfect, yet it was priceless in its own way, despite its countless flaws. Just like you. I was mellow and foolishly melancholic, thinking that I was lucky beyond belief, and that any girls in my class would have died to exchange place with me, just at that moment.

And it happened exactly as I had imagined, and so in a way, it was perfect. The thought of it now is probably rather sickening but I struggled to find words to describe it any other way.

The sight of you was familiar and comforting. The way you focused your eyes on the road ahead and gripped the steering wheel with so much concentration. I couldn’t help having the urge to brush your cheek. Or just mutter something silly to make you laugh.

You held my hand so I wouldn’t get lost in the midst of the crowd and you didn’t know, but my heart jumped. I felt inadequate then, this tininess and cluelessness against the strong and independent. I tried to appear older, like I knew more than I did, like I have been to places I haven’t been, but you took one look and understood. I was emotionally buoyant, like I was in such a daze. You looked…light, happy.

It’s probably nothing now, and the object of my then-affection has taken a different direction but the memory would remain unchanged. Introducing the prospect of something new? Teaching me to be less selfish? Making me think for two? I don’t know if I can make it that dramatic.

You remind me how I was before. How trusting and emotionally innocent.

Do you know that?

But how much has exactly changed? After years of practising what you have started, I don’t think I’ve gotten any better. Mentally, fortunately or not, I’m still naive. It should take more than what he did to change that. And in a way, I’m proud of it. In retrospect, I think we turned out pretty good.

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