I was feeling vulnerable, cold and pathetic as I stood at the bus-stop, heading home from tuition in Tampines.
Hugging my bare arms and balancing the warming the fats with the full-length umbrella, I walked to the end of the bus-stop where the main crowd of public-transport-dependants huddled, hoping that the few bodies there could raise the surrounding area’s temperature even by the slightest centigrade.
It was to no avail. Those bodies were as cold as mine.
I spied the warm-looking lit Coke vending machine and hugged it. Anything that runs on electricity (and more so produces light) must produce heat, I reasoned.
That disappointing vending machine offered me no hint of warmth.
I was hoping some chivalrous young lad would offer me his coat (well, it’s still Singapore, so forget the coat idea. Next!), or arm of warmth.
A golden-haired bespectacled (fashion oxymoron – golden hair doesn’t quite go with glasses) Ah Beng stood near me. I caught his eye apparently in my pathetic/feeling-pathetic state.
I was so desperate for warmth, I was even fantasising Golden Boy coming to my rescue, “Eh Xiao Jie, yao borrow wo de shou ma?”
The frightfulness of whether I would say “yes” or reject him politely didn’t occur to me at that point, so I continued drifting in my little fantasy.
Well, Golden Boy went up the same bus I did, got off the same stop I did, and walked the same way I did all the way to the security post of Aquarius, where I live. In our own respective space under our huge umbrellas, Golden Boy approached me with a wide grin, “Excuse me, are you a teacher?”
Imagine my surprise. I guess I’ve slowly evolved into the teacher mould.
Anyway, Golden Boy did his little chat thing, asked for my number, which I, in a too polite fashion, declined to give. His smile and confidence level was unaffected. Instead, he offered his name. It was this calm demeanour that left a good parting impression of him on me. I returned his offer. Anyway, I probably won’t be bumping into Edwin again, to Ly’s great relief I’m sure.