Did you say it?
I vaguely remember the very first time I talked to her. It was JC orientation and I didn't know what I was in for. It's the first day of school and I didn't know ANYONE. I felt lost and afraid; yet I couldn't show it. Who couldn't handle first day of school at 18 right? I wasn't a kid. (Well, tbh, I was more nervous for university and I don't think I'll ever get over big changes)
Anyw, we were all thrown together as a class and had to attend orientation together. I didn't know anyone so I had to keep smiling to hide RBF. That has been proven to give horrible first impressions.
We sat beside each other in the hall. She in her pinafore and me in my GMSS uniform. I guess we befriended each other because we were both alone. She hated orientation as much as I did. We both agreed to be 'on our periods' if any strenuous activities get thrown our way.
We were so similar; yet we couldn't be more different. We love the English language. GP became one of our favourite class and noticing the lecturer's noteworthy amount of heels in her collection became our past time.
Our RBFs got us into more shit than necessary. But nothing bothered us much. Not even mean gossips and other bitches. She had her permanent stash of mentoes (always original) and then it became Cadbury chocolate for awhile. I had antacids in case we had gastric 😂 Aside for about 2 subjects, we were inseparable for all our lectures. I know what she want for breaks and I know because it's exactly what I always get too. Haha The aunty behind the milkshake stall know us pretty damn well. Oreo milkshake. Always. I don't drink Oreo milkshakes anymore.
JC nearly pushed me over the edge. She stood by me, pushed me and encouraged me. With handwritten notes and talks, I pushed on and on. I wouldn't have been able to do it without her. Idk why we stopped talking. No. Thats a lie. I know exactly why we stopped talking. Both of us were too stubborn to back down at the same time. I hated that period. I lost the one friend I knew I could count on, but I was so unbelievably stubborn.
Everyday I told myself to call her and talk. To text her and talk. To write her a letter and talk. I never did it. I never knew where to start.
Looking back, 'sorry' would be a good place to begin.
The first day of A'level exams was when I told myself to go up and wish her luck. Not like she needed it. It was GP. One of her best subject. But I didn't see her anywhere. I couldn't find her anywhere. I started panicking. I had to know. Her boyfriend was being vague and no one would tell me anything. I needed to wish her luck. I needed to.
It was about a few minutes before entering the hall. He finally relented. Her boyfriend. We were friends for as long as they were together.
'She's not taking the exam. She is in the hospital.'
Cancer isn't the word you expect from someone who is 18. It just isn't. It happens to other people. Not people you know. But it did. It happened. It happened to her.
I sat thru all my exams in a blur. I don't rmbr what questions came out, or what answers I penned down.
You would think I had more senses. I didn't. I felt numb and lost. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't there for her. After the exams, I turned away. I got scared. I cut myself off and decided that if she doesn't want me to know, she doesn't want me visiting her. How mad was I? Where did I develop that logic from?
Life became chaotic in uni. I would occasionally ask old friends about her and get updates that way. I cared but I didn't know how to. So that was how I thought I should care.
I couldn't help but miss her all the time. The person who studied with me from 7am to 11pm, who ate fish noodles with me, who drank bubble tea with me, who ran the track with me, who laughed and cried with me. She was always at the back of my mind.
Everything came flooding back one day. It was out of the blue but I finally felt ready. I felt ready to face her. I was clearing my schedule and preparing a visit to the hospital that next day.
I didn't get to the hospital. I got a call instead.
I remembered who called and what he said. It was a mutual friend. I remember every single detail of that phone call till this date; including what I was wearing. I was at home, in my living room. I had to sit down on my couch after hearing it but I just don't think I comprehended it.
I didn't cry when I heard the news. I didn't cry when I called the-husband/then-boyfriend. I didn't cry when I informed my parents. I don't think I fully understood the phone call at that point of time.
I don't recall how but I got the location of the funeral. That day, I attended lectures as per normal. Except I was all dressed in black. The black affected my entire day, which was odd cause I wear black regularly. I guess wearing it for a purpose changes perspective.
Everything seemed to be on auto-pilot that day. I don't recall much. I took the train to her mrt stop and I had this knot in my gut. Didn't seem that long ago that I alighted at the same stop to meet her at her place.
Some of us met at the control station to make our way together. We exchanged small talks and polite smiles. Everything was awkward. Maybe everyone was just awkward around me. What do u say to the ex-good friend? Idk. Idk what I would have said either.
I don't remember walking there, the during or the after. I only remember collapsing before I could climb the last step of the stairs to the pavilion. If I see your picture, the coffin, your mother...it would be real. I didn't want it to be real.
That's when it hit me. That's when it hit me I'll never be able to talk to her again. I'll never be able to laugh or fight with her.
I never got to say goodbye.
That's when I started crying for the first time since I heard the news.
I hated myself for causing a scene. I hated myself for not being as strong as I thought I was. I hated myself for being too late. I couldn't even remember our last conversation. I didn't deserve to be there. I was a horrible friend.
I always thought she'd be one of my bridesmaid. I always thought we would have time to make up. I always thought we would be friends till old.
It's been close to, what? 7 years? I stopped counting.
Did you say it?
Did you tell your loved ones you love them? Do it. Tell them.