Life & Times - Chapter 1
It was a hot, red afternoon. Form 6 class 6A1 were having their Biology lesson. Bunsen burners and wire gauze scattered across each and every table like a post-war situation. Eddie were busy experimenting the heat of the fire with a bug which he caught under his chair. Speaking of Eddie Tan, the mischievous, smart student of Form 6A1, he was the legend of the whole school. He's the headline of every morning's school assembly. For what, you may ask? For the pack of Marlboro 20's in his pencil case, for the underwear stuck in the girl's lavatory, and for the carvings "Eddie was here" on the principal's office door.
And this is just a hint for mayhem to come.
Today might as well be his last disaster he will ever cause in this school.
"Ah, shit." Eddie whispered as blood started dripping down from his nose. Before Chandran, one of his classmates, started reaching for the tissues from one of the female student's hand, Eddie fainted.
The teacher called for the ambulance.
The female students started screaming.
The male students started shaking Eddie's body.
The paramedics started taking him out from the school into the ambulance, escorted by 5 of Eddie's best buddies who just won't see him die like that.
Chandran, Lily, Hafis, Johny and Priscilla were the five that willingly followed the paramedics; hoping that they could assist even by passing a box of tissue or handing over a scalpel.
Eddie was diagnosed with the final stage of brain tumor. After the surgeon's pint of sweat were spilled, the operation room were opened. Five of Eddie's best buddies were the first to receive the news.
It was a failed operation.
Emotions spread across the room, cries were heard. It's one of the times where funeral must be held.
After the funeral, families and friends left the chapel. But five people stayed.
And this is where the story begins.
It was an awkward silence in the chapel before Chandran broke it.
"Don't you think... Eddie had been receiving bad reviews throughout his life? I mean, from the assembly itself, we have been listening to lots of bad things he had done." Chandran said, sniffing between words.
"He's mischievious in a good sense. I gotta admit, it's kinda thrilling when we see him pulling some pranks on the discipline teacher." Priscilla added, half giggling.
"Hehe. Let me start the story of Eddie Tan's life story. The Life and Times of Eddie Tan." Chandran said.
As far as I remember, it was during Form 5 when I first enrolled in this school. It's a hard life when I first set foot in the class, with Eddie in it.
I was ordered to sit next to him.
When I sat down and put my bag and books aside, Eddie started the conversation, looking very polite.
"Hey there, newbie. It's not going to be easy for the first few months in this school. By the way, I'm Eddie."
I just smiled and he even had the time to slap my ears before laughing hysterically.
Worst things happen later.
During recess, I was pinned to the wall by the big guys from Form 5 E. I was timid then and now, so I figured it would be best if I would just hand over RM 5 for them to buy some desserts in the canteen.
In class, I would sometimes kiss the duster thrown by Eddie while waiting for the teacher to come into the classrom to save my life.
This goes on for weeks, after losing my lunchboxes, Bahasa Malaysia textbooks, and the water bottle I've been using since kindergarten. All thanks to Eddie.
Not to mention the same big guys who keeps on pummeling me for the RM 5.
But everyone had limits in their patience. And I took it out on Eddie.
"Hey Chandran. I bet I could pull your underwear from your trousers to the same level as your head." Eddie said during the morning class.
He started grabbing my underwear from my back.
I turned around and pushed him so hard that he actually slammed his back on the buletin board of the class.
"I'm a human too! You people only knew how to take advantage on timid people! I am so sick of this!" I shouted, everyone in the class were looking at us.
Eddie's face turned red, I perceived him to be embarrassed for being pushed that hard in front of the whole class.
The next two hours of classes went on smoothly, without any disturbance from Eddie. He was silent the whole time, almost burying his face with his textbook.
It was kind of awkward too, sitting next to him without him slapping my ears.
Recess came. And it's one of the moments I don't want to spend in this school.
I took a stroll in the park to avoid the big bullies from robbing me. The park was empty, who would want to spend their time walking in the park at lunchtime, after all?
Trouble had a way of finding me. It was the bullies again. They grabbed me by the shirts and waited for me to fork out another RM 5.
We were interrupted by a voice. I was relieved because it may be the discipline teachers, or at least the school prefects.
I was wrong.
It was Eddie, undoing the bullies' grip on my shirt.
"Damn. If only I knew they were this big." Eddie bellowed, and pulled me to his side.
"Are you looking for trouble, dull face?" One of the big bullies grunted.
"No, I'm not looking for trouble. I'm here to tell my friend that the principal wants him in the office now." Eddie said, nervous.
"Fine. Give us RM 5 and you go free." The big bullies smelled lies.
Before doing anything, Eddie whispered to me, "don't worry, I'll stand up for you."
And he slapped one the bullies on the back of his head. Which I think is the dumbest thing to do.
They whaled on us before I could even make a move. And there goes 5 minutes of our recess being beaten up by a group of bullies.
Eddie and I were sitting on a bench in the park. I spit out a fraction of my tooth before I start talking.
"Hmph, so much for standing up for me."
"Hey, cut me some slack, will ya? It's sometimes the feeling of having someone to stand up for you that is the sweetest."
Eddie smoked his Marlboro Lights through his bleeding mouth.
I looked at him and laughed.
That's how friendship was made.