She has a pair of delicate hands and well-polished fingernails, wore a frameless specs, not-too-fair skin with a touch of healthy sunlight, slim body worth of ballet dancing,(she is a ballet dancer) silky hair down the her shoulder hiding her exquisite ears, and most of all, a well-inherited face. 1 look and you will know she’s from family of wealth; she’s well-equipped of manners and etiquette. She plays piano; he loves piano. Not exactly piano music, as long as the music is classical enough to suit his taste.
He met her in an old school reunion, where classmate who used to be timid little boys and shy quiet girls had absorbed enough food to grow into a bunch of energetic youngsters. He barely recognised her not if she approached him and congrated him of his wise choice of university, and rolling on the conversation by questioning which course he’s taking, what’s his plan in future, how’s the environment, the lifestyle, the interphase of leaping from high school education to higher institution. He provided answers politely, not to intrigue her feelings and humbled of his poor pieces of literature territory, which is comparatively feeble with engineerings and health sciences. He felt the gap is widening, not through measuring the distance between them with a physical ruler obviously, but the majority mindset of the society on the foundation of technical professions proportionally to salary earned. He can’t forsake his current stance and turned into a new leaf, but he had to wear what was tailored to him by the public’s viewpoints and hopefully, waited for some miracle to be granted by God. He never encountered the so-called morphing stage from a clumsy caterpillar to a powdery feathery butterfly, at least, not now.
He had to reminisced their 1st conversation, pixels by pixels, slowly visualise it. He can still remember: blazing afternoon, tapping of basketball 2 class’s away, empty corridor. When wind blows, trees swayed and sent back singing of sparrows, while autumn yellow leaves will flew with the wind as if a fresh rain of gentle snowflakes. Students on duties were sweeping floors and wiping window panes. She wore on her ponytail with black rubberband, arranging her textbooks, holding her lunchbox with a few slices of sandwiches, ready for the recess. He was Form 1 then, armed with courage sourced from curiosity, yes, curiosity, approached her and asked her whether she loves to read fiction or not, and yes, she did loves books, but preferable romance, since TV boxes broadcast influential cartoons of fairytales circled around prince and princess live happily ever after, and oh yes, he read them, he read “Cinderella”, he read “Snow White”, he read Brother Grimm’s, she smiled, she said nice to meet you, he replied me too, and they exchanged pleasant chats whenever them bumped into each other in the school compound, unfortunately he reads Chinese copies and she prefers English, it’s okay as long as they shared the same story, and days flew by, often they were busy in examination preparations, no, they didn’t revise together, since he felt better not to bother her, or never thought of that, so holidays came, they discussed about beautiful places, she went to Japan with her parents during winter, it’s chilly there, she said, but the scenes were serene and no, you won’t feel cold, as if the beauty of landscape had null your feelings, he can’t stop grinning from ears to ears while he was listening to her speech, as if he’s the only listener to have the priority to shared with, he has no jealousy, she drew beautiful posters too, he praised her winter panoramic view with a few snow wolves staring grim in the eyes, that poster was pasted on the notice board in their classroom, and before the last Sports lesson, he saw jequirity peas scattered across the muddy ground besides the football field, he collected them all and washed them, he brought them back to his classroom, he threw at her, pea by pea, she screamed at him, this is the first time he ever received a scream from her, he laughed at her reaction, all he know is his mission was accomplished successfully, but he didn’t realised she kept very single pea that been thrown to her, and hence, the semester ended with laughter and annoyance, they never have the chance to be in the same class again, even they saw each other during break, she’s already granted with perfect badge, wearing a frozen mask to monitor students’ behaviour. They seldom talk, and their friendship withered into strangers.
Flip of story.
He told her the episode of throwing peas. He addressed her in the tale as “N”, N for Norah. She laughed; you still remember all these little memories, and my, Norah is not my name. He smiled; some memories deserve certain spaces in us, so that life tastes sweeter.”N” rings. Don’t you think so? I might as well change my signature to a Curved “N”, she agreed, half amused. She bid farewell, signaled him that she have to entertain another friend of hers.
Not even a chance to ask how’s her life.
Again, they (both of them) never exchange contacts and wore their stranger roles back. He decomposed his interest towards her, mood of a disappointed audience walking out of the cinema. It’s a gradual process, though. Not worthy to file in tons of images of her in his mind. Plenty of beautiful faces ready to be admired, better for him to retreat back to his observation deck. He spent his holidays working as a promoter in a boutique, telemarketer (more like a channel for customers to amplify their anger) of a survey company, a hamper wrapping human machine, and 3 days of CD store keeper. Except for the telemarketer job (that’s interacting with human voices), other working days he always have the opportunity to look at crowds and classify them based on their appearance. Thick-cosmetic, XL size, arrogant, I-have-nicely-bundled-cash-in-my-purse, children with faces of McDonalds and KFCs, we-are-the-sweetest-couple-on-Earth, teenagers holding money of their parents; fun! He finally understands why society is a 3D encyclopaedia of human behaviour, for hands-on is much better than theories derived from bulky books. The fact is: he’s trying to forget who’s she and he succeeded.
Days passed by, and continue to pass on. He learned how to drink beer, dislike the sour bitter aftertaste but somehow hooked to its scent. He hate to paint his face red with strong beers, hate driving after overshot alcohol too. Beer serves him like a candy to a crying child, addicted and yet smoothed his rippling feelings. 2-3 times a week he will drove his motorbike out of the campus to a bar located 20 minutes away, sipping beer glasses by glasses while indulging himself in fragmented conversation and clattering ice of customers. Decent place, no quarreling or drunken fights, weekly basis live band performance, mostly Jazz pieces and 80's Chinese love songs. The bar to him is a place to meditate his thoughts,to unlock his heart and lay out his emotions. Not revealing, more like relaxing. Sometimes he might spotted one or two familiar faces appeared in the bar, but he never took the initiative to approach them and cheer a drink, a hand wave at most. At certain point he almost drunk he can't differentiate who's human and who's not. Limbs rubbing against each other with lushly clothing and colognes monotoned by grainy yellow lights, whim of dark lust lurking beneath those tables, surfaced once in a while in their faces. He followed the singing of live band, clapping depends on the atmosphere. Life seems so...free of responsibility.
Today he sat at the same place (upper right corner of the bar with 2-seaters table), ordered the same jar of Tiger beer, sipping while listening to live version of "Fly Me To The Moon". The singer imitated lazzy style of Diana Krall accompanied by impromptu of her Saxophonist. You can see his legs were tapping with the beats of the song, head swaying like the 1st magnitude of Indian dancing. He almost drank finish his share when someone occupied the seat opposite him.
She asked,"Anyone sitting here?"
"Would you mind if I sit here?"
"Ah..1 glass of Tiger beer here."
(Silence. Sound of fingers druming the table.)
(Sipping beer.Singer reached: "Fill my heart with song And let me sing forever")
"Yes...just to have a quick shot or 2."
"I see. You are(finger pointing backward) from University too?"
(Nod head, drinking.)"Waiter, another glass of Tiger beer please."
“So…why are you here? There’s a bigger bar opposite the street.”
“Atmosphere is good. No quarreling, no after drunk syndrome, singer’s nice.”
“Hmm…yeah, singer’s nice. (Pause) Not because of losing a girl?”
“Err…nope. Just a little habit of mine.”
(Reflection of ice immersed in the glass)Don’t…you feel weird to have a stranger sitting in front of you?”
“Not really. Your hair’s nice. Casual wear suits you well. Overall, you seem to be a pleasant girl.”
“Really? Thanks. What picture comes into your expectation when a stranger approaches you?”
“Hmm…Males tended to put down their guard upon encounter a petite lady.”
“Hahaha..That’s not the case for everyone.”
“So how about you?”
“Not everyone that hostile, either.” He replied.
“What if a stranger lady asked you for a dance?”
“Then it’s different. I might refuse, I might not. It’s alright to dance some simple movements; but those really fast dances, I might step on their feet.”
“I thought you will have this romantic imagination where couples waltzing in the center of the screen, yellow lights shadowing their steps, with Paris music piping at the background?”
“That will only happen in movie la.”
She nodded head with a serious expression; “You learned how to dance before?”
“Just an intensive course on Waltz dancing.”
“That’s awesome! Dancing is an enjoyment, don’t you agree? You can feel your energy bar bursting with pleasure, as vigorous as totally worked out exercise! Muscles in your body are trying their effort to synchronize their positivity towards life, isn’t it great? ” Her eyes sparkled.
“I can see your enthusiasm in dancing. Dancing is a good hobby.”
“I can be a perfect audience but not as a performer on the stage. No, I don’t know how to dance.”
“So what are you studying?”
“Sociology and Anthropology, first year.”
“Wow, sounds great. We are under the same faculty?”
“Yeah. Which mean there’s chance for us to meet each other.”
“Yeah, but…what’s your name?”
“”My name? (giggle) Em…try this…how about M for Mocha?”
“Ya, Mocha. Nice to meet you, Mr Lonely.”
That’s how he met Mocha.