Life & Times - Chapter 4
Chapter 4 - Lily's Case
The whole Form 1 class was silent, with only the teacher's voice heard. Eddie was among the students. He wasn't that mischievous during the first few months of entering that school. He respects his own philosophy; no newbie ever creates havoc in school.
He wasn't that smart either. He couldn't even solve fractions equation that time. Every Wednesday 9 am, he would cross his fingers under the table hoping the teacher would not ask him to solve any equations. But he can't be lucky every week, can he?
The teacher pointed at him one day. He stood in front of the chalkboard, staring at the white carvings of '18/9 X 21/7'. He stood there forever, hoping that the recess bell would ring. But the recess bell would never save a student's life.
From the back, a girl stood up. She walked in front of the class and gently took the piece of chalk from Eddie's hand.
She scribbled the number, '6'.
"Seems like someone here saved your life." The female teacher said, mocking Eddie's intelligence with her eyes.
Eddie walked to his seat, looking down. Before reaching for his chair, the girl looked at him.
"It's okay. If you have problems with mathematics, you can ask me. I'll see if I can help."
"Thank you. I'm Eddie, by the way."
"You can call me Lily."
From that moment, Eddie knew that, the girl who saved his life is his beginning and the end.
*End of Flashback*
"Hey Lily, how about a date with me?" Eddie said, catching up on me during recess. I wasn't so fond at him. Ever since he got into fights during Form 2. I never will develop any likings for a delinquent, especially Eddie, the school's most wanted.
"No." I gave him a simple answer, and walked away.
Eddie Tan were the most determined person I had ever come across, though. Despite my countless of rejections, he always find his way back to me. Being too hopeful can be his downfall.
To begin with, it was during Form 5 when I was walking home from my additional SPM classes. Usually, my parents will take me home, but not today.
I took the wrong route home.
I walked through an alley infested with wild dogs. The dogs were red-eyed; somehow I thought they had rabies. All of them surrounded me. I heard the news about a little schoolgirl being mauled by wild dogs while walking home from school. This coincidence is just sickening.
I screamed for help, before the dogs came rushing towards me, growling and barking.
I closed my eyes.
But they weren't mauling at me.
They were mauling Eddie.
The dogs were scratching and biting Eddie like how dogs chew their bone. Eddie was kicking and punching aimlessly at the dogs.
"What the hell are you waiting for? Run!" He shouted, followed up by a scream of pain when one the dogs chewed on his right arm.
I didn't know how to react. A boy that I kept rejecting for the past 5 years were taking a maul of his lifetime in my place. Running doesn't even cross my mind at the moment; all I need to do is getting Eddie out of this place too. I threw everything I found at the dogs, hoping they would stop. Tears were already dangling from my eyes, not because of fear. But because of what Eddie did for me.
It was finally over; I knew the things that I throw at them didn't scare them away. Somehow, I think the dogs were already full.
"Are you okay?" I walked towards Eddie and pulled him up.
"That was a good question, Lily." Eddie said, smiling. His face was full of bite marks, his right arm were drooling with blood. Never before I had seen so much blood.
I called for the hospital, and Eddie was hospitalized for a week.
The doctor told me that it wasn't a serious trouble. Eddie just needed a few shots of injection to eliminate possible sources of rabies.
The day after that, I went to his ward and found him folding paperbirds.
"Hey, I figured the food here would taste terrible, so I brought you some food from my house." I said, putting the lunchbox on the desk next to Eddie's bed.
"Wow. Did you cook it yourself? How romantic was that?" Eddie said, trying to tease me.
"Yes I did, and I was just returning the favour. Don't expect anything else."
Eddie put the paper bird he had just finished folding on my palm.
"Do you know what a paperbird means? Some people fold this and gave it to their sick family member to let them know that they will always be there to support them." Eddie said, as he reached for another coloured paper. "Too bad I have to fold this myself."
"Where are your family members?"
"Outstation. Both of them were on a business trip." Eddie said, with a disappointed look on his face.
"Don't worry, Chandran and Johnny will come to visit you tomorrow. I will bring Priscilla the next time I come." I said, trying to console him.
"I guess that's what friends are for, right? Thank you." Eddie said.
The next day, Chandran and Johnny came. I was there too. Eddie told me how much he hated the hospital food, and begged me to cook for him. I figured I will be there for him for one whole week.
"Eddie, you always had a way of injuring yourself, don't you?" Chandran said, as Johnny laughed.
"Hey, buddy. If you were going to talk bad about me, it's better for you not to come." Eddie said jokingly, trying to wrestle with Chandran from his bed.
"SPM is around the corner. It would be best if you do your revision in the hospital." Johnny reminded Eddie, and he took out some notebooks for Eddie to read.
"Ah, Johnny. Where would I be without you?" Eddie said as he put away the books onto his desk.
Eddie looked at me.
"Lily, do you remember the Mathematics class we had during Form 1?" He asked.
"Where you can't even answer a simple fraction problem?"
"And I remember you said that you're going to help me out whenever I need help in Mathematics."
I thought about it for a while, and I decided to become his Mathematics tutor.
They say one can only be good friends with another through a quarrel. Eventually, Eddie and I had found synchrony despite the two different worlds we lived in.
To skip ahead the week spent in Hell, Eddie finally got out from the hospital. A lot had changed since Eddie's admittance to the hospital. The delinquent became a good boy. Two opposite ends of relationship merged into one. And Eddie finally mastered his Mathematics.
The day he walked out from the hospital, I was beside him. The four others of Eddie's best friends couldn't find time to escort him. I suspect they were planning something for me and Eddie.
"How about lunch together?" Eddie asked. I knew it.
"You set this up, didn't you?" I said, bursting Eddie's bubbles.
"Ah. Come on. All I wanted was just to have lunch with you. Nothing more." Eddie replied.
We were sitting in a fast food restaurant. Eddie fiddled with the bandage on his arm, blood were visible on the bandages.
"Hey, stop playing with that. It'll get worse." I pulled Eddie's fingers away from his bandage.
"You can be a good wife, you know that?" Eddie said jokingly, slurping on his soft drinks.
Surprisingly, I found myself blushing to Eddie's remarks.
Eddie's right. All he ever wanted is just to have lunch with me. Both of us ate in silence. It's not considered a date.
After we had our lunch, I called the cab to take him home. When we arrived at the playground near Eddie's house, Eddie requested the driver to stop the car. He pulled me out gently to join him. I followed him to his favourite porcelain duck, as he jumped on it.
"Stay with me here for a while, okay?" Eddie said, swinging on the porcelain duck.
"Okay." I looked around. "Johnny said that this is your favourite spot."
"Yes, it is. Whenever I'm happy or sad, I'll spend my time here."
"I don't know, I'm just kind of attracted to this playground - and this porcelain duck."
I was sitting on the swing. We were enjoying the silence in that playground together. I can tell something is in Eddie's mind in that moment. I just couldn't tell what it is.
"Lily, I'm sorry if I had annoyed you for the last 5 years." Eddie said without even looking at me.
"It's okay. I don't think much about that, just so you know."
"Good to hear that from you. I have decided not to annoy you anymore. From this moment, we are purely friends."
The moment was stopped.
My heart was broken.
Eddie had finally made me fell in love with him, but he had given up.
The final ring of the bell echoed in the whole school. SPM was finally over. Every student in that examination hall cheered as they submitted their final papers.
Chandran, Johnny and Priscilla walked together towards the door, having a discussion about their holiday plans.
"Wait a minute, where is Eddie?" Priscilla asked.
Chandran looked at Priscilla.
Eddie sprinted past them, through the entrance of the examination hall, knocking a few students and teachers in his way. He took a leap from the first floor balcony and landed on the bush at the ground floor.
"Hahahahaha!!" Eddie laughed as he sprinted towards the school entrance, limping. Mr Shanmugam was on Eddie's back, swinging the cane with his right arm.
Lily looked at the school entrance and said, "That leap would be a legend for many generations to come in this school."
She looked behind her and held the hands of Dylan, the school prefect.
"How about lunch together?"
*End of Flashback*
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