Monday, June 30, 2008

"Geed outa our way , Chopdick!", yelled Chopper to the little rat of a boy who was always lurking behind the two girls , especially when they are preparing for a fireworks nite fiasco. Fai Chee, or Chopsticks as he is known to his pals, had a major crush on Kopi Susu. He was fascinated by her big hazel eyes, and sun-burnished skin. But most of all, he was just fascinated by how she dared to be different.
Just last week, a costume jewellery peddler had patronised the town's TianTianFatt (Prosper Everyday) coffeeshop. Over coffee, she boasted of her skills at piercing flesh to two aunties from the local apothecary. Lulu, as it happens, was very fortunate to be there buying CharKoayTeow for mum. She could not help eavesdropping on the ladies' chatter. She introduced herself to Miss Annie from Kuala Lumpur, and without hesitation, fished out the magazine cut-out from her wallet. It was a picture of Cindy Lauper with nose studs. She begged Miss Annie to create the same look for her. "Girly, I think your mother may not approve. But ... maybe I can make something for you that is less conspicous, ya". With that, she dragged Lulu to the back corner of the shop by the sink.
"Get me some Guiness Stout, quickly", she hissed to the scrawny 10-year old boy beside the Chee Cheong Fun stall. Who, happened to be, Chopsticks. As he plonked the bottle of beer on the table, Miss Annie had already laid out her shiny pierce-gun, plus fancy gold and silver studs. Chopsticks could not help but cringe a little at the sight of that instrument of torture. He stole a glance at Lulu, who sat, beaming , not an ounce of fear on her face. Miss Annie proceeded to mark Lulu's right ear. One blue dot at the base of her lobe. And another dot just above it. . and another.. and a final one. He witnessed the first piercing. Not a whimper from Lulu, maybe a slight jolt. Then, the second.
"Two hot Cham for table 4!". Chopsticks was glad to move away from the "torture chamber" to serve table 4. In less time than it takes to make the cham, Lulu was waving goodbye to him, with an extra glint in her eye, and, despite her shoulder-length unkempt hair, he could see the four new shiny star-shaped studs on her right ear. He fell in love with her from that day onwards.
He knew Chopper and Lulu were close friends, he just did not know how close. He was quite happy to be in their shadows and to soak in Lulu's occasional glance or smile. One time, at recess, he was staring at the two girls eating noodles, with a silly grin on his face. In two strides, Chopper had walked right in front of him and delivered a punch into his groin. "Watch it, Stalker!" Chopper warned him.
That did not dampen his resolve at all. October that same year, he was 13 to Lulu's 15. He decided to confess his love to her. "Aww, you are such a sweet boy.. but..I am in love with someone else".
He was devastated. Of course he was no nitwit - it had to be Chopper.
In December, after the finals , SRP exams, he was not surprised to hear that the girls had decided to quit school and move to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur.

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