It was a normal day. Two years ago, I had just started playing a new online game. I was fairly new and stuck close to my best friend. I was nothing special. I wasn’t any good at the game at all. Often, I’d play by myself because I always lost to other people. It wasn’t because I didn’t like losing. I just didn’t like socializing- even online.
I stuck close to my best friend, joined her fam and slowly, got to know more people in the game. I didn’t become a big shot but people knew me. They’d say ‘Hi again.’ or ‘Online so late this time round?’
Then I saw you for the first time.
I was with my neighbour playing a the mode ‘Club’. She liked playing it a lot. I liked the mode ‘Night’ better, but I accompanied her anyway. That was when you came in. So shy, so friendly. We talked to you, teased you. You added my neighbour to your buddy list and left the room. I thought I’d never see you again.
Bumping into each other.
We were in that room watching drama unfold. You were someone’s back up, I was the other’s. You were only level 12 then and had a couple. You complained to me how stupid all this ‘backing up’ business was and all I could say was ‘Oh…kay.’ I guess you got bored because you announced that your couple was looking for you and disappeared. Rather bemused that I’d see you again in such circumstances, I brushed our meeting off as mere coincidence.
Maybe it was fate but I started seeing you everywhere.
Somehow, you and your couple gained popularity fast. My neighbour joined the same fam as you. I saw you playing with her all the time. Shame on me, but there was a time I thought you’d have replaced me as her online buddy. You leveled up too quickly and could even play C6 and 8K. You never talked to me when I was in the room. Only my neighbour. I thought you hated me.
I tried talking to you. My attempts were meek and timid. It never was a real conversation, I’d only whisper you looking for my neighbour. Asking if she was playing with you. That was the only topic I could think of when talking to you or trying to get a response from you. It would always start with a simple ‘Hi.’ first and you would reply with a ‘?’. After a while, it got so routine that you’d simply tell me where she is the moment I said ‘Hi.’. I never felt so irritating in my life.
I started not talking to you again. Thought you saw me as a burden so I didn’t go near you again. I thought that I’d never be able to be your friend. I had no way, no more ideas. So I took a step back.
Finding me again.
I really didn’t know how it happened. Something happened in your fam and suddenly everyone split up. You and your couple decided to make a new one and everyone who was friends with you were inside, including my neighbour. I watched from a far for a while, occasionally dropping by to watch you pros play, all the while talking to my neighbour only.
Then she popped the question. No, she didn’t want to marry me. She wanted me to join her; join you.
Of course I wanted to. Something in you drew me to you, like a moth to a fly. I couldn’t stay away and I didn’t know why. So I agreed immediately. I wasn’t very good at the game then so I failed a few times. But I got in after a few weeks. You don’t really know, but I was so happy that I did then. Everyone was so friendly to me, everyone talked to me. I didn’t feel alone anymore. I was at home alone, but not anymore when I was online.
Joining the group also showed me a whole new side of you. You were talkative and really nice. Too nice sometimes. People often teased you and you’d reply with something that had me laughing behind my screen. Many a times, I’d be laughing so hard my aunt would have to come into the room to make me shut up. But she was smiling as well. She’d never seen me so happy.
A way into your life.
We were friends but our friendship was still on the surface. Shallow. I wished to know you better. Wanted to know about you. Then I found you, alone one day. You were quiet and I instinctively asked what was wrong. At first you said it was nothing, that you were just tired. But I knew it wasn’t so and pressed on. When I found out, I felt really sad for you. I didn’t pity you or anything. I just felt a need to help you out. So I tried to provide solutions, such as what I’d do if I had to go through something like that.
A lot like fate.
The solution I gave you: Picture your perfect girl.
You: What. You mean like someone to make out with?
Me: LOL. No lah. Like someone you’d find really pretty. Nice personality, likes what you like. Kind of person. You know, the kind you know will never exist.
Me: It could be those Brazilian models you know. Really hot stuff.
You: Hahaha okay.
Me: You thought of one already?
Me: Just curious, what does she look like?
You: Why you wanna know?
Me: Oh you know, just curious. Then I can tell you mine and maybe they can be friends. Lololol.
You: She’s got curly black hair. Wears glasses.
Me: O.O o…kay.
Me: Don’t tell me she happens to sing and plays alot of online games.
Me: O.O well that’s freaky.
Me: Cause that’s how I look like.
You: How does yours look like?
Me: Well, he’s tall. Black hair, spiked up. Nice build and really fair. How does your hair look like?
You: Black hair, spiked at the back.
After that, we just couldn’t stop talking to each other. Just so curious about each other.
What food do you like? What do you study? What are you doing now? Have you eaten?
Everything was so innocent. We even made up a payment system on how much we missed each other in a day. One miss was ten cents. We’d go up to dollars in a span of hours. It made me feel important and wanted. And happy.
You found a way into my life as well.
I was a very closed up person too, having just gone through my parent’s divorce. I was cold and my walls were up. My cheerful exterior was just a facade to all that approached. But you saw through that as well.
I don’t know what made me tell you. Probably when we were talking about our families.
I told you it was best not getting close to me. Told you that it was best if you left my walls unscratched and unbroken. That I had the tendency to push a lot of people away and that I had many mood swings.
But you stayed. You told me that you’d hold me closer. That if I gave you a chance and let you in, I’d be happier.
I couldn’t believe you just like that, now can I? So I tried you, time and time again. I lashed out at you. I caps raged at you. Sometimes there was a reason, sometimes there wasn’t. But you stayed by my side, told me everything would be okay.
I tried to lie to myself though, I tested myself as well. I always tried to picture myself without you. What if one day you disappeared? Would I be okay?
The first few times, the answer was yes. Yes, I’d be okay. Life would go back to normal.
But as time went by, I asked myself the same question and the answer scared me. When I removed you from my life, it turned into an empty void. I didn’t know what to do for myself. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I tried to stick close by you. In fear of losing you.
There came a time, where you had problems again. You felt so vulnerable and ask me to never leave you. I didn’t have to think. The answer was yes. I told you that no matter what, I’d never leave you. Because I couldn’t. There was no way I could anymore.
You even knew about my crushes. I liked someone online. It sounds so stupid now, but I liked my couple on AuditionSEA. There, I said it. Though, now that I’ve grown up more, I wouldn’t call it liked or loved. I’d call it infatuation. I don’t know if it was the attention or the status, but talking to him made me happy then too. I never really thought you’d like me then. You had your couple and since you were so close to her, I automatically thought you guys were already together.
Of course I still remember your question.
How could I forget the biggest mistake of my life?
You: Do you really, really like him?
If there was one thing I could undo when I turned back time, it’d be to take that simple one word answer back. Far too many times, I lie in bed and wonder what I should have said.
‘Maybe, I’ve only known him for 2 months.’
‘No lah. Play-play only what!’
‘As a friend? Yeah I guess.’
And maybe, just maybe, we’d be more now.
Maybe, you’d have made a move. Maybe, you’d have dropped more hints.
But as I hoped and prayed that I’d be given a second chance to say, actually, I like you more, I cried and regretted every night.
You were always on MSN. I had ebuddy on my phone. We talked for ages, while I was in Chinese class, where I never absorbed anything. Or in combined humanities, where my teacher’s voice could put me to sleep.
You consoled me when I got my E8 for my first Chinese paper and stayed with me as I studied for the rest of my papers. However, I never knew about you. I never knew about your studies, only that one time where you sent me a picture of the thick pile of books you had to study for one semester.
Strangely, when my exams were over, the first one I celebrated with of with you. You should still remember the caps frenzy you went through. I was so happy that I was finally free of secondary school life. Mostly because I was free of Chinese. But that day, I spend my night talking to you. That night, I slept peacefully.
Just after I took my O levels, I had to undergo my leg surgery.
I was scared.
I was afraid of dying. I was afraid I’d sleep and never wake up again. Turning into nothingness. This fear got worst with my ‘End of the world’ worry. Worry that I’d never be able to do the things I want to do in life anymore. That when I sleep that night, I’d never wake up to a new day again.
But you were there, before I went into the theater. Telling me that, hey, if the world was going to end, Australia would be going first right? Since it was two hours ahead.
Telling me to keep praying and that God would make me feel better.
Telling me jokes to make me stop thinking.
Doing everything you could to make me stop thinking.
And I never see you leave. Every time I woke up, you’d be around to greet me. Tell me good morning, say goodnight. Telling me that you’ll see me once the operation was over.
And not many people know, but when I woke up from anesthesia, the first name I called wasn’t from my family. It was yours.
I still remember it like it was just yesterday. I woke up after being knocked out for six hours. I remember asking the nurse where you were repeatedly and when she said she didn’t know where you were, I honestly thought I was dead and burst out in tears. I couldn’t stop crying. I don’t know how long or how much I cried. But I do know it was the last thing I was doing before I blacked out and woke up, back in my ward.
I had to spend a few days in my ward. I was alone and the beeping kept me awake. My heart rate was slow, so every time the machine thought I was dying, it’d beep till I woke up and my pulse stabilized again. Those times, it was hard to get back to sleep. My back hurt from lying in one position for too long and I couldn’t move as my leg felt as though it weighted a million pounds. Yet you stayed up with me. I remember telling you that it was okay, that you didn’t have to. But you insisted, saying you could do your assignments while I slept.
I don’t know why, but after hearing that, I had the best sleep a legitimately handicapped person could have.
Finding time for each other
Do you still remember? When I tried to accompany you while you were tagging hearts in Audition. I’d try to be there to talk to you. So you wouldn’t be so bored. Because frankly, you’re the only person I know that could sit at the computer doing the same thing, listening to the same song, over and over and not try to suicide.
I was however, very jealous. I don’t know why. I was jealous of your couple. Because she had that status. I felt like I was losing you to her. I didn’t tell you, but I was possessive over you. I didn’t want anyone touching you. You were mine. Sound creepy isn’t it? But it’s okay, I tried my best not to show it. And when I didn’t, I just hurt more. Because you were all the way over there with her. I had lost geographically just like that.
When I went to poly, my timetable was screwed up. Not as screwed up as others, but it was much longer than secondary school. But you still wanted to know what I was up to, just like I did as well. So you came to twitter.
I remember the first time you poked me on twitter. My response was an out loud ‘Oh my God.’ and a grin from ear to ear. After that, our day consisted of tweeting each other. Most of the time it was direct messages but sometimes you would reply to a tweet I retweeted. I was happy we still had time for each other. I felt like I could make something work.
I hate going back to what happened. I was so stupid and I screwed things up so badly. I practically threw everything away.
I had come to a point where I was going tired of waiting. Maybe I just wanted reassurance. Or I was just being too demanding. I had asked again. Trying my luck.
Do you like me? Because I like you, a lot.
Do you remember that time? I was so desperate for you to say those words.
Just tell me. Those three words. Tell me you want me to stay. And I’ll leave him. I swear I will. And I’ll go back to you. I’ll wait as long as you need. Just tell me you want me to stay. Because trust me love, I want to come back. You just have to ask me. Ask me, please.
But you didn’t.
I don’t know why. It just doesn’t add up. I loved you. Didn’t you love me?
But I was so sure.
All the signs were a green light and everything was a go. But you never said those words. And that day, when I grew so tired of everything. When my patience was wearing thin and I was at my wits end, crying through the phone. You ask for three hours, till mid night. To talk to me.
You dedicated songs to me. Showed me photographs you promised you’d show me. I even got a video.
But all so you’d let me go?
I was crying all the way through. I didn’t want to stop talking to you. I couldn’t listen to the songs. It hurt too much to know what you were feeling. It hurt too much to know how much I hurt you. And even though I knew that at that point I didn’t deserve you anymore, I decided to be selfish and ask you to ask me to stay. But you shook your head and I grew desperate.
Then I’ll stay. I don’t care what you say anymore, I’ll stay.
And I did.
But we both knew that nothing was the same anymore.
We pretended we were okay. Pretended that we were back to normal.
But it didn’t work that way anymore.
When I asked you how your day was, you’d just say ‘It was fine.’ or ‘Tiring.’. There were no more virtual hugs and you never called me ‘Love’ anymore. No more sweet names. No more kisses. No more interesting or embarrassing stories to tell me.
I didn’t have anything to tell you either. I didn’t have anyone to talk to physically in school. My days were spent going to lecture, tutorials and then home. I’d love to have told you I ate something weird or that the chocolate in my bag was expired again. But I didn’t. Because I couldn’t eat anything in the first place.
I thought we’d gotten better when you asked me to watch Masterchef with you. I thought it was the start of something new. A new start. But I guess I was wrong. You were just being nice I guess? Trying to cheer me up. I was cheered up. I was happy at least. I was happy you were doing something with me.
I started working during my holidays. I told you about it. Was excited to share because something was finally happening in my life. But that was pretty much the message I got from you.
‘You mean you’re working sales?’
And that was the last I heard from you.
6 months from then
I’m still waiting. Waiting for you to come back. I’ve tried moving on. So many people tell me to. Tell me that I shouldn’t tie myself to someone who could leave me so easily. But I knew that you had a good reason.
I’ve been angry, beyond pissed. I’ve thought of getting back at you. But I could never carry anything out. I didn’t want to. I guess it was all talk. I ended up avoiding so many things. Jubeat, noodles, running man… I couldn’t do those things anymore. I cried nightly, feeling so lonely. Never having anyone to open up to. I realized that no one understood me; not even the people who tried so hard and sincerely to.
I tried meeting people. Tried liking someone else. But I couldn’t bring myself to. My heart just wouldn’t accept anyone else but you. Loving you this few months had been bittersweet. Loving you reminded me that I was still alive, human and sane enough to love another. But at the same time it’s been painful. Valentine’s day, I watched friends squeal over crushes, boyfriends, girlfriends and eye-candies. Friends being confessed to. I was jealous. I was alone. I didn’t really have anyone to wish me. All I could do was dress up nicely to make myself feel a little better. It didn’t last long though, I ended up crying that night too.
I couldn’t help feeling so lonely. Like no one would ever accept me. So broken and shattered little Cherie. No one would accept me. Not in this state. Not when I don’t even know if I’m going to get better.
In that 6 months, I’ve also resorted to doing things you wouldn’t want me doing and it wasn’t cutting. It helped me, just a little bit. For most of my time, I felt next to nothing. Temporarily, I forgot everything. What was happiness? What was excitement, sorrow and frustration? I wasn’t tormented in the day but at night, I lay awake. Thinking. Wondering what I was forgetting. The feeling. Of longing? Longing to feel whole and the ability to sleep peacefully again. Oh how I miss that feeling you gave me every night when we said our goodnights or when I fell asleep waiting for your reply. When I felt safe and warm.
Now I lay awake at night. Till I am exhausted and my mind collapses into sleep. In that time, I do nothing but stare at my ceiling. I turn to my side and look at my wall. Blue. Reminds me of you. I try to think of all the things I did for the day, most of the time I don’t remember. I guess it was because nothing was worth remembering. Most of my time and life was punctuated with you. Whether I was laughing at you or with you. Now I have nothing to laugh at. Nothing to laugh for.
I thought I could get over you. Forget you. If I didn’t think of you. But how could I? When ever little thing reminds me of you? My hobbies… my gaming. Twitter. Coffee. Do you know I do coffee now? And how could I forget you? When the very thought of you at night warms me just enough to slip comfortably into slumber?
I still hug ren plushie. I still kiss him goodnight every night before I sleep. I hug him close and nights when he’s in the wash are painful. I’ve come to this horrible state when I’m not sure what is real and what isn’t anymore. I’m dying to tell you what is happening now. I just want to talk to you. Just talk. I’m so desperate.
I don’t understand why you think you’re a bother. I don’t understand why you think I’m better off without you.
Do I look like I’m better? Do I look like I’m having fun?
Why do you see me in this state and not come and comfort me?
Won’t you please take this chance.
And talk to me again?