Growing up, I was taught to always be the best that i can be. That I must be better than everybody else. As I grew older, my ego grew with me too.
I was born 9yrs after my sister. I was raised by my maternal grandpops in a tiny 1room flat with several aunts and uncles in my early years. I received no lack of affection and attention. Everyone fussed over babyme. Naturally, I became the leader over the pack of my younger cousins who were born in quick succession over the 80s. I was always told to look after them. I planned games. I took charge over everything whenever we gathered. Ive always been playing the eldest sister role.
And then I went to school. Everything was ok until I reached p5. Suddenly, everybody had bestfriends. Or close friends. I had a small group of friends because we were neighbours who often played together. But the term bestfriends was still foreign to me. Ive gotten so used to being in charge over my cousins that it was difficult for me to comprehend what bestfriends do or how they treat each other. A classmate found it weird that when I wrote in their ‘autograph book’ (if u were in pr sch in the early 90s) my bestfriends were Allah swt and Nabi Muhammad saw. Coz really, those were what i was taught. I was even warned not to write ‘nonsense’ like that in their book.
So although I was really close to a particular group of friends, the friendship ended as we went to different secondary schools. In sec sch, I was close to 2 other girls. We did everything together. Till sec 4. When a boy asked me to be his gf. Which I agreed because at that time, everybody had a ‘steady’ and if you hadnt, ure pretty much a loser. Being overweight and all, I was so ready to jump at any chance not to look like a loser. (Gawd… my priorities…)
But that BGR thing lasted 2 weeks because 1. I was soooo uncomfortable at it all. 2. The boy was shorter than me. Lol! The best part? He went steady with one of the 2 girls I had been close with. Out of ego, I distanced myself from both of them and took solace with a classmate. Who happened to be my former pri sch classmate too.
After O levels, that classmate (KT) and I grew close very quickly. And labelled ourselves bestfriends forever. We found part time jobs in Takashimaya together and rocked Orchard rd during our off days. And after getting our results, we both applied to enter pre-uni. While waiting for posting results, we spent a lot of time together. Sometimes at my home. Sometimes at her new place. Her dad had a study room converted into a mini lounge, with soundproofing and all. And we spent countless hours in there watching movies, singing karaoke and gawd knows what! And we were ecstatic to know we were going to the same pre-uni together! We swore it was fate and that we’d be bestfriends forever.
We were posted to different classes in the Arts stream. She took Geography while I took History. I made a lot of friends quickly over the next few months. I was actively socialising and somehow we drifted apart. Perhaps I hadnt cared enough for her. I dont know. Our classrooms were just next door to each other. Yet we werent speaking. We werent even acknowledging each other’s presence. How did we do it in our tiny Toh Tuck campus? Beh.
Anyway, after sufferring my first heartbreak (by a boy not from.school) and finding out how lonesome I can be without a galpal to cry to, I picked up smoking as a form of solace. Really. No joke. So one fine day after school (we were 18 then. Legal aldy hor) I snuck at the back of bt batok mrt stn to have 1 stick before heading home. And who did I find sitting 1 corner puffing away? Yep. KT.
I was quite taken aback at first because I didnt know she’d picked up smoking too. I cannot remember what happened or who initiated what. But after taking another long drag from our cigs, we went home together and our friendship picked up again like it never missed a beat.
Days in pre-uni flew by. By our third year, we were 19 and found everything outside school exciting. The pocketmoney from my parents (non-working mom & recently retrenched dad) werent enough for a growing young adult like me. So when KT’s cousin mentioned a part-time opening in Chomel as stock takers, we jumped at the opportunity. Eventually, we were promoted to sales assts after the stock taking and continued to work part time for the company eventho we had our A levels to sit for.
Ard this time, KT had been very interested in the underground music scene, especially local ska/punk bands. We had reconnected with a ex-sec schmate, MJ who had similar tastes in music. They frequent local gigs at Youth Park and some CCs which I usually tagged along because, hey, im the bestfriend right? I was mixing ard and getting to know skinheads, punkrockers, talented musicians etc. But it wasnt really a scene for me. Im too mainstream. Minah Melayu dengar lagu pat Ria mainstream. So, very slowly, cracks began appearing in our formidable bestfriendship.
Somehow, I ended up dating a guy from a hardcore band. And altho its not my kinda music and not my kinda guy, I was suddenly minah-not-interested-in-underground-music to matmetal punyer girl. Again. Its not that I love him or like him or what. Its really because 1. Theres a guy who likes fat me. 2. He has a band (2 I think) so Take That, KT and MJ. You see. My ego is soooo big. With my bestfriends also wanna compete. Haiz….
I started spending more time with Mat Metal and his friends, finding little time for KT & MJ. (Did you know that my husb was Mat Metal’s good friend and vocalist of his band? LOL) Anyway, I dont know how i did it. But the year 2000 was spent sleeping in class, working evenings and meeting with Mat Metal and friends or with KT and MJ on free days. When neither of them is free to meet me, I am with a neighbour, AL.
As the A levels approached, KT and I will meetup to study at random quiet void decks. From afternoon till night. Sometimes, MJ will join us. Sometimes AL will join us. Sometimes both. Then studying will be impossible. hehe.
After the exams, Mat Metal and I broke up. So in order not to bump into him, I declined to tag along MJ and KT to any gigs. I spent more time with AL. But we all meet up sometimes.
I really felt that KT and I were drifting further & further apart. She’d be snappy to be. And I would ignore her calls or smses. Its true. Twos a company. Three is a crowd. Eversince MJ ‘joined’ us, I felt the need to prove to KT that I am a worthier friend and in that process, I unknowingly hurt others. Or was it because I need to prove to KT that even without her I can be better? Haiya. We were young and stupid.
The last thing I knew, we didnt even collect our A level results together. She had gone to take hers with MJ and 2 guy friends I had introduced them to. KT found a job at a bank which we both applied and got but I left soon after because I was offered a job as a reservations agent at Westin. I began seeing a boy who had a pretty face but of no substance, really. Again, I agreed on a relationship because he had a pretty face. Thats. All.
Till here, my memories fail me. I only remembered getting KT fired from her job. Which left her seething mad and angy sms exchanges between MJ and me. And ugly confrontations with AL and finally in 2001, my friendship with all 3 girls ended. On a bitter note. We became strangers.
Life went on for all of us. We all took different paths. I dont know about them, but I still though about them.Now and then. Especially KT. Because we were especially close.
10 years later. A good decade later. AL added me in FB. We exchanged msgs. And all is forgiven and forgotten. Shes married to her longtime sweetheart and has 2 beautiful children.
The next year, MJ added me in FB. Same thing. She has recently moved into Punggol and we’ve met up a few times. She too has gotten married and has 2 really cute babies.
Eversince I put on the hijab, I have been meaning to contact KT. To seek forgiveness. I saw her on FB thru AL and MJ. And many times I tried to but I cant. Regardless of what happened in the past, I need to do this so that my own heart will find peace.
I dont know what made me find the courage to. But I finally did recently. After more than 13yrs. I finally managed to contact KT, thru FB.
She replied a rather long post. She has forgotten whatever I did to her then. But she could not find it in her heart to forgive me. When my dad passed away, she was told of it by AL. But she was too bitter to send condolences eventho she had felt sad for me. That was over 7yrs since.
But my msg to her recently, after over 13years, had somehow soften her heart. And shes forgiven me. We’ve forgiven each other. And now, theres no more enmity between us. She is also married and is blessed to have a beautiful baby girl.
It feels so good to bury this hatchet. Though I dont hope for our friendship to be the way it used to be then, it is more than enough for me knowing that KT has finally forgiven me.
Before I leave this world, there are others whom I’d like very much to make amends with. Because of the way I am before. My ego. My mouth. My attitude.
And having had to do it first with those 3 girls has made me more confident to do so with a few others ive hurt in the past.
2 more soon in upcoming posts. And if ive ever got a chance to seek forgiveness with the others, I will insya allah share it here too.