I had awoken to the loud noise of the alarm. It screeched even louder as I let it be for I was extremely tired. I took the alarm clock and threw it to the wall. Shattered pieces dropped to the floor. Damn. I woke up dead I thought. Dropped down to my natural being and went into the bathroom. Looking at the mirror half alive it took some big splashes of water to at least be aware of my surroundings. Dripping wet from the splashes I took out the essentials from the medicine cabinet in front of me.
It took awhile to finish up as most of the time drops of water splashed on the floor instead of anywhere near me. I searched for the ironed shirt I was to wear today. All white with my name on it. It would be the start of another semi-tiring day. I shook my head as I just realized today it was a tie compulsory day. Damn. I have never liked ties. Ever since I could remember it was some kind of choking equipment for me. Choking the life out of you as the day passes. By the end of it, you'd feel like those horror movie endings where the villain dies, and you, of course, the villain.
I was a villain in the making I always thought to myself. Trying to find that perfect timing to start my killing spree. I never would have thought that it would be this early in life. I stood silent at the dining table drinking my morning coffee. As if somehow this drink will give me the energy I need to do what needs to be done. Little was to be done today. Had my mini sandwich before finally calling my friend to pick me up. As usual he's 15 minutes late.
It's embedded in all of us here to be late especially among my gender. It will take a little while to be a accustomed to it but in the end everybody's 15 minute late for everything. So the car arrived and my friend, Mark, invited me into the car while his brother who was driving us stayed silent. Maybe he hadn't had that morning coffee to start his day. Off we went. It wasn't far but since we were that lazy we took the car. Mark and I were quite close since we grew up in the same neighbourhood together our whole lives. As friends were, the first few years we wouldn't have talked much but later progressively we gelled well enough to be called best friends.
Both Mark and I arrived on the school grounds mili seconds before the first bell. Of course we couldn't have cared less.
We were in front of our classes standing silently mentally preparing for the day ahead. As with any other day it felt like it was going to be one of those long days at the office grinding out every parcel of our body just to get on with the day.
So on we went infiltrating the knowledge put forth until it came for a rest, recess if you will. We sat at the exact spot everyday for the last two years during recess. On this day we talked about running off. By the time the talk ended we had our bags in our hands. There were three of us contemplating the plan. Mark, Daisy and me.
Sounds like more Dukes of Hazards than your daily trio but lived by. I knew Daisy not that long ago. Well I knew her but I didn't know her knew her until we were in the same class. Forced friends at first but we had so many things in common it was hard to ignore that we would later become best friends. We could talk for hours about everything and anything, and also not talk at all for hours just sitting and laying around. The stark difference between me and her was that she had the brains. While we did the same amount of laying around, we didn't share the same grades which kinda bug me but it passes.
The three of us had one foot out the gate while everyone else had been busy eating. Instead of using the route of trees, mud and the occasional lizards that most of the "troublemaker" gangs used, we went through the side gate. This was linked to a temple that was usually silent during school hours. Our theory of silence was spot on as there was more dust than homosapiens. So off we went headed towards my house, since my parents were at their offices and my siblings at school. We sat around in the house playing games and basically do what every teenager would do when skipping class, naps.
It was almost the end of the school day so I took the car keys to my beaten up old '78 Datsun that everybody seemed to not care about. I called her "Kiyoshi" which meant bright and shinning in the Japanese language. The irony. Starting the car had a precise maneuver in it, kicking the side of it before turning the keys. So off we went, as the car backfired a couple of times before eventually running smoothly. Stopped by Mark's and Daisy's house for them to also change their clothes. Like any other day in a beat up car with friends, we knew nothing of our destination. It has always been that way. "Livening the trip they say". So onwards to the highway.
Endless tar ahead. I've dabbled at the idea of actually going somewhere on the highway but have never even thought of the actual possibility especially with Kiyoshi. We couldn't go that fast as to comply with the current mechanical state of Kiyoshi but it never really mattered. With the windows rolled down and the stereo producing tunes of an era gone by it was to most dull, but that was us. It wasn't a long journey through the highway though since we couldn't afford to go that far, so we ended going out on the 2nd exit.
It led to a winding pathway with trees left and right for comfort. There were people selling fruits and other types of food along the way. Kiyoshi didn't have the best of antenna's so we opted to bring our own cd's to bring on the "trip". Stashed cd's on the floor of the car decorated the interior. The breeze that day softly brushes our skin. The sun shining bright but clouds shaded us enough from the hot atmosphere. Going only 50-60 kilometers an hour along this winding road. So there we were two guys, one girl, and one car with no particular place to go.
Our conversations inside the car became the focal point of the trip. Topics verifying with each passing times. At first we would talk about school. About the strains of being a teenager or what your parent would say "young adult" to make you feel mature (it doesn't by the way). This was our rebellious years. Sticking it to the man, or in our actual case sticking it to the principal whom have been rumored to wanted to retire ever since we got into the school. Our school topic became boring very easily since we just skipped school to go out wandering around.
Music instantly took over as our main topic of conversation. Mark lit his cigarette as all the windows were now opened. Except for one at the back, ever since me and mark "accidentally" shot the side door with firecrackers one night. Daisy started by saying, "who is your guilty pleasures to listen to". Me and Mark looked at each other looking all macho. It looked as if Mark was going to say "we're men, we don't have guilty pleasures. We only have pleasures." Or so I thought. He had one long puff and then he muttered out "Jessica Simpson." Me and daisy were dehydrated from laughing after that. Then Daisy said to me "don't just laugh".
I knew where this was heading, so I whispered "Kavana". "What?" said Mark. "Kavana. Okay. Happy?" I replied. Mark then said "at least mine was of the female form." "Kavana? Didn't he have like one hit album? You're into a one hit wonder?" Daisy added. "Yeah so. Moving on." I replied hastily. "Okay mine is Bob Dylan." said Daisy. Both me and Mark sounded out "What?!"."He's no guilty pleasure, he's a fucking legend for god sake" I added. "So what?" Daisy replied. Then all of us sat silently for awhile probably all thinking of one thing, Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall".
This "trip" was not something new as we have all gone through skipping school and going out before but somehow this redefined and amplified our teenage years. It was basically coming to an end. Our mischievous and weirdly awkward pranks on others have now become the thing of the past. It was a transition that none of us ever thought possible.
Mark had always been one of those cool guy in our school. The early rebel. The guy that could do anything at school whether good or bad and would still make it look cool. He wasn't this way early on when I met him though. He would get made to buy stuff for the older kids on our playground where most of our adolescent life was spent.
Then one day he had an epiphany of some sort when we were watching 'Rebel without a cause' starring James Dean. He was hooked. He started little by little as at first he copied James Dean's look and eventually progressing as the years gone by. It did hurt him a little as he sometimes hung out with what your parents would define as the bad kids but he knew his boundaries.
He was my co-driver in all forms. Most of the kids at school never knew why someone like him would hang out with someone as primitive as I was but none of us mind, as would the rest, eventually. Plus he knew Kiyoshi well so he was obvious choice for a co-driver.
The first time I saw Daisy was in freshman year of high school. She was in my class and all I could think of was how beautiful she was. Her eyes twinkled with the sight of sunshine coming through, not in that storm x-men kind of way but beautiful. She was one of the most beautiful and popular kid at school. Outgoing and warm hearted she was even clever. She easily became my first crush.
We then knew each other personally during the senior year of high school and later on became best friends. She was always supportive of the two of us even if Mark and I didn't have the slightest of chances. That was how she was I guess. Her smile would take all the bad in this world away for one brief moment.
We were in this "trip" together. The whole nine yards, every inch of the way. Two guys, one girl, with no particular place to go.
The breeze of fresh air surrounded the interior of the car. Nature's air condition they say. Wallflower's 'Heroes' was playing from one of many cd compilations we did. We weren't the kind of kids blessed with wealthy families that could easily go to the music stores and buy cds. Plus we would make our own "perfect" albums albeit without the licensing.
My stomach began to grumble. So we stopped at a nearby hawker stall. It was those van turn stall type of things where they sell rojak, cendols and other side hawker foods. As we were slurping away at our cendol pulut, an old man walked to our table. It was a little van so there was little amount of tables that were set up.
This man walking with a cane brought along one of his grandchild for company. There were there to get their usual cendol to take back home. He began to make small conversations asking us where we were from and all that. He then reminisced about the good ol' days.
"This plot of land used to be a forest you know" he said. "There used to be a river flowing right where that drainage used to be" he added. "We used to go out hunting on the weekends. Now it's all developments. Buildings and houses rising everywhere. I just hope my grandchildren do not live in a world where they forget their roots, their origins" he said as he patted the head of his grandchild. All of us just nodded in agreement.
When his order arrived he took it in one of his hand and the other on his cane. His grandchild helped him up. Hold him tightly as they were going to cross the street. He looked at us and said "I guess this is goodbye then. Hope to see you guys again". We only smiled back as to say goodbye.
We looked at each other as if one of us were about to say something but there was silence as the breeze took the words out of our mouths.
As we finished our scrumptious dessert we headed back on the road. Destination, home. Mark took to the wheels this time around. It was the freeway, the wind brushing ever so gently calling for us to go home. Mark drove slowly just to piss off the cars coming behind us. We would laugh whenever they overtook us and honking at our car while making that pissed off look. The night was coming. The sun slowly came down as the sun rays dimmed softly behind all the fluffy clouds.
The three of us, silence in our thoughts. The sound of the stereo surrounded the mood. Each and everyone of us thinking of what's to come. We were the kind of people that lived each day as it passed but that day, that particular day we stood in front of our futures searching for the answers to all of our burning questions. What will become of us in a couple of years time. Will we flourish in our desires or succumb to the public greed?
Daisy once said that we were the total opposite of creative and that we shouldn't go into the arts. We were more the commentators of art from afar but somehow that what made us click. Our love for the arts as outsiders. We weren't going to pick up an instrument or a brush any time soon but we were content. For that brief moment we felt like art. We were somehow important. Breaking out of our shells and into the world. For once, we were, us.
The world somehow knew what the state our minds were in so before we became muted by too much pondering around, the stereo softly produced few sounds of bass and drums that would later become Jimmy Eat World's 'The World You Love'. Without hesitation or any awkward winks, the three of us simultaneously sang the song word by word. It was less than stellar showing of melodic harmonies but that was the nature of the song. Then came our favourite part of the song and we took the volume to another notch higher.
"I fall asleep with my friends around me,
The only place I know I feel safe;
I'm gonna call this home.
The open road is still miles away.
Ain't nothing serious,
We still have our fun.
Oh we had it once.
But windows open and close,
That's just how it goes."
We saw the sun sets in the mist. We were home. We sent Mark first. Then I took Daisy back to her home. We had little chats on the way back. It wasn't a long journey as we all lived close by to one another. When we arrived and she got out of the car I breathed deeply at what I was about to do later. I followed her and asked to talk in front of her house. Her mom was already pissed off that we went out on a school day so she didn't mind the screaming in the background because she came back late. I never regretted saying it to her. Especially her. I told her I was falling for her. We both stood there silence looking at each other. She knew. I knew. We both knew.
I got into my car and drove back for my interrogations.