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Monday, September 18, 2006
Man Of Mystery
I am quite sure that this problem of mine is not that uncommon. As a matter of fact, I am quite certain that many of us face this question and therein, all the potential problems that it ensues.

When you break up with your partner, do you keep in contact or not?

Being the adult that we all try to be, I guess the answer is we do try our best to remain civil and cordial towards our boyfriends and girlfriends, even when they have become exes. This is especially true in cases where the break up was mutual. Or in my case, the break ups were due to external factors such as distance and personality change.

I am a romantic at heart. You begin to realise that it sucks growing up because you become aware of the fact that romance and reality often clash louder than cymbals in an orchestra. I fell in love with a boy who was a year older than me when I was 16. I met him in our local church one fine Sunday and we became friends. Although we never spoke of our love for each other, it was nonetheless always there. It was strange, when you really think about it. How can you love someone when you never said you love him? How can you long for someone when you never told her that you cared?

When you are 16 and in love, nothing on earth matters. Then everything was beautiful and every emotion was heightened. We were separated the following year when he was away to study in Bangor, Wales. I remember so clearly of nights when he telephoned me from London and all I could hear was the Tube trains chugging underground.

We only spoke of our love for each other after his graduation. Naturally there were many nights spent talking and letting each other know what we have kept secret for years. Those were very special moments for both of us as we explored each other’s personalities. Strangely caught between carnal needs and a close tie to the church, we often found ourselves so drawn to each other and yet guilty for wanting to taste each other's tongues.

My parents always knew of his existence. They were however unimpressed by his credibilities. What did I tell you about growing old? You just grow weary of people and so that was what they did. My mother, for one, found the fact that he was a Kadazan and originated from a village in Sabah rather difficult to accept. She was also not impressed by the fact that he was a fresh graduate with no experience nor money.

“Just look at yourself. Will you be able to stay in the village with him? Farm and rear five chickens?” she told me whenever the topic of HighSchoolSweetheart cropped up.

You see, in my family we have a cousin who married a Kadazan. She stays in the village with her husband, who is an engineer. They have farmlands where the chickens and ducks roamed. She plants paddy during the day and does housework in the evenings. Knowing how much I enjoy dressing up, dining out and clubbing, My mother felt that I would never survive a slow paced village lifestyle.

My relationship problem with HighSchoolSweetheart was resolved when he eventually left me to be with his sister. He returned to KL after he helped his sister adjust to motherhood, found a job and sought to rekindle our relationship. By then, it was too late. There were many other suitors and Alan had been my rock for a few months prior to HighSchoolSweetheart’s arrival back in my life. That is the strange thing about him and I – I always knew he would be around and close to me, even when we were apart.

From the moment I laid my eyes on him, my instinct told me that we would be together. It was such strong feelings that I felt that even if fate tore us apart, we would be together in the end because that was our destiny.

There are just some things that time cannot heal. For example, a lover’s bruised ego. I think deep down in his heart, he has always been angered by my parents’ rejection. And perhaps to a certain extend, he was also frustrated by the way I carried on with my life, travelling and having a good time with my friends and my string of boyfriends as the years rolled by. It was as if I did not stop to ponder about what we were supposed to be – a pair of doves sitting on a tree.

I felt lost when he told me that he wished to return to Sabah a month ago. Perhaps this time it was I who took him for granted; that as easily as he was always there for me, he was also easily gone and inaccessible. I was actually quite worried when I came to realise that perhaps I have lost him forever and this time around even Destiny could not help me.

I received crazy text messages from an unknown person over the past week in Bath and York. I was quite worried and shared this worry with Nic, who offered to call the person to ask who he was. Clearly it was a man because he called himself “a man of mystery”. I am not too fond of men of mysteries because they often signalled some crazy stalker just pop out of the mental hospital. So I chose the best mode of response towards such text messages. I did not respond. Either that, or I would threaten to contact the police because such text messages made me feel very vulnerable and unsafe.

This man of mystery then texted me some private details about myself (my date of birth, favourite clothes, food, books etc). This is not happening in London, I thought to myself. I used to receive pervert text messages and sick calls every now and then in Malaysia but it has never happened in London. One of my worst nightmares was releasing itself in London and it sent chills down my spine.

“You still trying to guess who I am? What lah you!” said one of the messages while I was in the York Minster.

I knew it was therefore a Malaysian, not some prankster from the UK. I kept silent still.

“Come on. Why u so sombong? (trans: snobbish)” read the next.

It was then I realised who it was. There was only one person who could rilled me up like that.

“HighSchoolSweetheart, I am going to bloody kill you when I meet you. You know how I hate when men play the “guess who?” game.”

I could almost hear him laugh all the way from Milan. Yes, using my ultra tracing skills, I tracked the phone number to a mobile in Milan but I did not know who the owner was. And there, amongst the stained glass and probably under a statue Mother Mary and Jesus, I realised it was HighSchoolSweetheart with his trademark sweet torments. Just ways to agitate, confuse and frustrate me because according to him, “you look so cute when you are angry,”.

He was job hunted and sent to work in Milan for the next two years, on an extremely good salary taxfree. Think of it as the ability to purchase a low cost house every month type of salary. I had an inkling of this happening when he told me that he wanted to move back to Sabah. How did I know? I felt fishy when HighSchoolSweetheart began questioning me how much Alex earned and how much money did he save each month.

It had a vibe that said: You know what? I could have provided more for you if you were with me, instead of Alex. What can he offer you, I can offer more…

Dear Otto’s mum,

Hello again, Mrs. Nude. I am sure you would remember me because I was your daughter’s first love. You used to look down on me, saying that I could not afford to keep your daughter. I am pleased to inform you that I am now a somebody.

It has been three weeks since I arrived in Milan for work. My feet are lined with fashionable leather Italian loafers and on Sundays I find myself walking along Milano streets, stopping only for a shot of hot espresso. I just bought myself a new watch, which compliments the colour of my new apartment that looks across the prettiest skylines.

Sometimes when I sit under the shade of an umbrella, I think to myself how life would have been different if you did not say the things you said. Would your daughter continue to love me? Would she be sitting here with me? Would I have worked hard to prove to everyone around me that I am worth something? That my colour and my ethnic were never hindrances to me?

I had nothing when I first met you but now I have found myself. I wish I could look you straight in the eye and tell you, "Yes aunty, I could have taken good care of your daughter. I would have loved her with all my heart and I would have bled for her. What I lacked in material possessions ten years ago, I made up with good intentions and heart's desires. And now I have found the materials but I have lost your daughter."

Life is a cruel teacher and sometimes it teaches us in the most unassuming ways. Thank you for your lesson and maybe one day, we will all find a path to salvation; that I would find my peace, that your daughter would find hers and you, yours.

Until then, I shall sit here under an umbrella sipping on espresso and you will remain in your tiny home with the fenced up garden. How time has changed.

Your daughter’s first love

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i realized you write ALOT about highschoolsweetheart...
ppl say first love is the hardest to forget...i guess somehow its true..
I too find myself thinking about the "highschoolsweetheart"in my life and cant help but wonder how is he now....

4:00 pm  

:) You can never let that first one that you gave your heart too. I'm still with my first love and I dont know how I'm going to start talking to him again once and if we ever do break up. Love what you wrote, darl. =)

7:49 pm  

This post made me ponder quite a bit although I am no where near that stage in life yet.

5:40 am  

wow....i'm speechless..

7:25 am  

The first is always the hardest isn't it? I think of mine occasionally, and how things would've been so different, and how I would be in Paris living the life of a siu lai lai.

But things always happen for a reason, and with that, I take comfort that he has touched my life for a reason, and the time had come for me to let him go to allow other people to touch my life.

After staying friends for two years after the breakup,we had mutually decided not to contact each other...its just too hard to get on with life.

But sometimes, I still stalk his webpages:)

9:22 am  

have you printed that out and show your ma?

4:25 am  

hmm yeah.. what u wrote in the post got me thinking.
I don't know whether to talk to my first love again.
She's avoiding me now. Maybe it's because I said I still have feelings for her.
It's kinda hard right now, because we study at the same place. and I'm forced to see her everyday!
Haha. Life can be so cruel sometimes.

10:24 am  

I write about people who are in contact with me. Seeing that I am here in London, I am not in contact with AB or else I would be writing about him like mad!!!

Maybe it's all in the mind... and I have made everything beautiful in mine.

Oh you make me sound so old =)

My father read this post and he said it was disturbing.

I think in the long run, we shouldn't be in too much contact with our exes. It isn't healthy for our current relationships as the exes are drawn back into the picture and sometimes in not so nice ways.

Don't have to show me ma. She knows about this and I guess, she is eating her words now....... maybe she'll want to marry HighSchoolSweetheart, if not for the fact that he is a little too young for her *winks*

Oh I emphatise with you... it must be difficult to go to concentrate on your studies when you have to smile and pretend everything's normal when it simply isn't.

11:48 am  

I always enjoy reading about your highschoolsweetheart. he's like the most interesting character in your life (to me only larr i guess :P).

remember when i say "such loneliness" after one of your post? i still feel that way.... well...i've got some small stories of my own, maybe will email you when i have time... :)

great post by the way. I enjoy this one a lot. :)

5:14 pm  

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