The gentle breeze rouses the trees to sing a homely whistle, sending dancing leaves fluttering like confetti downwards to where both of them are sitting.
He takes a big gulp of his ice lemon tea, hoping it can untangle the knot in his throat.
“You never thought you would see me again, do you?” there are tears in her eyes. Those same black watery pearls he first fell in love with, and never thought will set sight on again.
He shakes his head.
The waterfront is deserted; they are the sole occupants of the riverside drinking hole. Her eyes shift momentarily to gaze at the serene gush of the water a few steps from their table, before focusing on him again.
“Do you remember the first time you saw me?”
He nods his head.
“Tell me about it.”
The wind shudders to a silent halt. A pair of magpies retracts their wings gracefully and settles on a tree branch right above them. A stray dog wonders near and lies down at the foot of the adjacent table. They are all waiting for his story.
If the lecturer didn’t call her out that day, he would never have noticed her. Seen yes, but not noticed. This is despite the fact that it was the eighth semester that they are studying together in the same course.
She didn’t blush, no, or bowed her head low, the way usually students do when being caught red-handed chatting in class and put up on a flagpole to dry. She just gave the lecturer an incredulous look, her dew-glazed eyes tinged with underlying hues of hurt, as if saying “Who? Me? You must have picked the wrong person…”
Two hundred pairs of eyes were now trained on the girl. The lecture hall was now a deadly silence, the lion now circling and eying his prey. The students were waiting for right time to cringe, waiting for the lion to unleash his roaring wrath on that unfortunate girl. But throughout an entire minute, she didn’t finch a single bit, maintaining the same facial expression as if her face was a painted canvas.
He found himself subconsciously sketching the side profile of the girl on the margins of his notes. Black silk hair like undulating waves cascading down from the top of her head before resting on both sides of her shoulders. Wide forehead, button nose, thick lips on an apple shaped face. Definitely won’t win a beauty contest if he is the judge.
But he was compelled to believe her, even though he was equally convinced that the lecture picked the right culprit. Perhaps it was her small diminutive frame or the frilly princess looking dress she was wearing. She exuded an aura of innocence, an air of vulnerability that automatically makes a guy desire to protect her. And girls to loathe her, he suspected.
“Just don’t let it happen again,” the bespectacled giant of a lecturer softened his stance. Usually, the same misdemeanor warrants an immediate expulsion from that class.
Like his lecturer, he had low tolerance for people impeding his quest for total concentration in lectures. He was slightly annoyed by the concession, for there existed a cruel part of him who loved seeing fellow students trudging down the alley of shame, receiving just desserts for their inconsiderate behavior. Besides, it will be a good chance to scrutinize her.
“An interesting character” he annotated next to her sketch. He tore it out before transferring the piece of paper into his green file.