Saturday, July 26, 2008

There was once this girl called Tyler...

Tyler was kinda short. Intelligence wasn't number one on her list but she could pass. She has a lot of friends, Theresa the witty one, Isabella the clueless, Christie the caring, Yvonne the princess, just to name a few. However she normally kept her thoughts to herself. Tyler isn't exactly what you could call rational, because bursts of anger is her forte and impulsiveness is her way.

Tyler took pride in her running. She wasn't "fast" but she did her training and she liked the way she could beat boys whose heads were too big to fit onto their bodies. There was to be one day, where this major running event would be held. She wasn't particularly excited or nervous, just anticipating. She told herself that she was going to take the same title as last year, second in level, because the fastest runner, Priscilla, was simply too fast and Tyler accepted that.

That day, she met up with her CCA team and they launched into this massive conversation about getting into top 15 together. Priscilla was being as passive as usual. Yvonne was complaining about her jittery tummy while Casie and Snow were raving on about getting a single-digit position and a top 15 position. The train was crowded and morning daze hung like thick fog but to Tyler, the excitement was already starting on that train ride.

It was a dreary wait but finally the girls could run. Her CCA friends had all turned into a jittery mush of nerves and Tyler couldn't find her clique - consisting of Theresa, Isabella and Christie of course. When the horn blasted, Jassica, her pacing partner, found her way to Tyler's side. So the entire ordeal began again, just like last year, except this time, there was something a little odd.

It killed her. The aching in her legs, the gasps she had to make in order to regulate the oxygen in her body - it was all beginning to eat away at her muscles and mind. Jassica was slowing down but Tyler couldn't afford to lose this. Priscilla was long gone, but when a friend at a checkpoint yelled to them, "YOU'RE IN THE THIRD AND FOURTH POSITIONS!" she knew she had one more competitor to hunt and tear down. As she ran faster, her mind was beginning to go white but her body was racing, and it was pounding with a certain kind of rage. Why was she so slow?

She lost count of the number of steps she had taken and she lost her pacing partner. That girl who was in her second position was somewhere ahead and she had to get there before that girl got to the finishing line. Finally, pass the bushes, she saw a bobbing head. As Tyler's competitor took each thunderous step, her black tresses swished in the most menacing manner. But what the heck, what was she doing in front of Tyler anyway? She was supposed to be behind, way behind her and perhaps even behind Jassica, because Tyler was the second fastest runner, not this girl who was not fond of buttoning her second button. On a regular school day, Tyler thought this girl a friend, as the new girl who came from some other country and was such a rare and exotic person. But right now, her exotic-ness didn't come through to Tyler: she had to be ahead of this girl, she had to, because there are many things that she has to prove, not only to her friends but mostly to herself. Her heart pounded painfully and she glared fixated at the head of her competitor. This was ridiculous, she was still behind!

She forced her legs to move, she forced her eyes on the spot way ahead of this new girl. She forced herself to pass that girl and when she did, she finally saw Jassica's form from the corner of her eye. But this was strange, since when did Jassica have earphones? With a sickened breath, she realized she had way more competitors than the Exotic One. The one with the earphones was steadily surpassing her, and though she desperately clinged onto it, she could feel the initial morale draining away. It was like a plug was pulled along with Lauren, the number five of last year, as she overtook Tyler. And that rage was back again. That rage that filled her fingertips and turned her toes numb. Why the hell are these people gaining up on her? She certainly was running faster than in her trail, why was still still being overtaken? From her right, the new girl dashed pass and she felt a sickened lurch in her stomach. Anger, it was anger boiling now. Not to these girls who were stealing away her second position from under her nose, but to herself for being the idiot that she was. She tried to breathe but the more she tried the more distracted she got.

In barely a minute, Kathleen was on her heels and the urge to scream was never that strong. Kathleen was from the school running team but she hadn't beaten Tyler before. So Tyler grit her teeth and force herself to run blindly yet again. But the biggest stab of all, was when Christie ran past her. Christie was the one who looked anorexic, the one whom she spilled secrets to, whom had been her best friend since the third day of secondary school. All she wanted to do was topple over and cry. Cry and wail and perhaps swear a little, because there was a painful ache in her heart and she knew herself lousy. While she did manage to overtake Kathleen for the final time, Lauren was long out of sight and Christie's next target had already moved on to the new girl.

Tyler wondered how Yvonne, Casie and Snow were doing. She wondered where Jassica disappeared to.

At the white bridge, Tyler saw an ex-CCA senior. He recognised her and ran with her up the painful bridge screaming taunting things like "LET'S SEE WHO'S THE FASTER ONE!" and "HURRY UP, I THOUGHT YOU COULD DO BETTER!" Tyler had never spoken to him before, and as he pushed her down the bridge, towards the the finishing mark, she made a mental note to thank him after that.

There was a lot of screaming and a lot of cheering as she dashed blindly. Was this crowd really encouraging her? How did so many people know her name anyway? She couldn't see, she really couldn't see. There was something eating away at her, something terribly painful. As she made it over the pathetic line drawn with chalk, all her expectations dribbled down her face in rivers.

She was such an idiot.

There were about three males (the girls were mostly still running) crowded around her, screaming comforting words in a not-so comforting way. She could feel the build up of tears again, and she choked as she rummaged through her bag, looking for her towel. Pathetic, pathetic, idiotic, stupid, annoying, pathetic, weak, slow, dumb, pathetic... Five was such an ugly, ugly number. She sat and sobbed and when she removed her towel, Theresa was hugging her, crying into her shoulder as well. Tyler wondered why she was crying, because Theresa mostly never cries. She was strong like that.

"Because- you- you're so... sad, and I- " her speech was slurred with sobs and pretty soon, she she gave up and buried her face into the sleeve of Tyler's sweat-soaked shirt again. Tyler felt bad, she had made a friend cry. You're such an idiot... Her stomach ached with longing and her eyes grew heavy. Crying felt so wonderful, so relieving... That is, until Yvonne hurried over. Yvonne was the epitome of elegance, but that day, she fell in front of Tyler, and cried with her too, because she knew Tyler wouldn't be able to digest the fact that she has gotten fifth place. Yvonne cried and cried and the scene was a mess of tears. Priscilla came next. Bless her almost equally short self, that she had managed to retain first position. Tyler smiled but the racketing sobs around her reminded her of her situation. Her failure.

Christie's pink Adidas shoes flashed into view. There was something about them that she immensely disliked. Something she hated with a passion. Hatred tickled her tear glands, and pretty soon she was reduced to a sobbing heap all over again. She hated them. She hated them.

For the next five minutes, someone horribly terrible at comforting tried to comfort her in a terribly horrible way by pulling away her towel. But she stopped crying anyway, so it worked.

Tyler's CCA mates were by the stone fence. She gathered herself and hurried over. Casie and Jassica, and when they turned, Tyler could plainly see both their red eyes. Casie had gotten 12th, and Jassica had lost to Kathleen, so that would make her 7th. Yvonne, who had gotten the last position for Top 15, had come over too, and they all crumbled in a heap and sniffed quietly. People came to look but avoided them ultimately. Then Snow came into view.

"I'm s-so sor-sorry g-guys. I- I didn't get into..."

Yvonne bawled, "Stop crying, stop crying, stop crying!!" Her tears were running fresh down her cheeks again and the pretty soon all the Sec 3 Table Tennis girls were crying again. But Tyler was crying differently this time. It wasn't about the failure anymore. It was something between the five of them. Something very beautiful, something that made her want to cry simply because it was so beautiful.


Peishan finally came over, and stood silent while we laughed at each other's reddened face.

"Omg," I whispered quietly. "All the Sec 3s are here." Jacquelyn offered me a smile and Cinyi let out a choked laugh. Admittedly, I have not seen Charis cry before but that day, she was. It was like she was crying for me. Cindy was still sobbing, but I have never felt prouder of her about her 16th place. So the Table Tennis girls were alright again, and the Table Tennis girls were happy again. Vanessa the clueless came to me, and gave me a big hug.

"SEE! This is all your fault! I'm crying because of you, you know! So you mustn't cry! Do you know how many people will cry because of you? Don't cry okay, Cheryl? Don't cry!"

I told her I wasn't already and she hit me on the shoulder.

Cross country this year was special. I didn't get the second place I wanted to get (by the way, congratulations Lynnie!! I know you worked very hard for it!!^^) but I certainly got bonds with all my friends that are now stronger than ever, because we all felt for each other, cried with each other and comforted each other. Except that evil Peishan la, dunno where she went. ROAR.

By the way, that new girl is called Emilyn (I'm sorry, I really don't know how her name is spelt!) and she came over to me after the whole thing. She reached out her hand and said, "I'm sorry!"

Surprisingly, I took her hand and I said, "There's no such thing as 'SORRY!' in a competition. It's either you WIN or you LOSE. It's either 'Great Job!' or 'You Did Well, But You Can Do Better!', okay? So don't say sorry, it's not right."

Immediately after which, she gripped my hand harder and said "I'm so sorry!!!"

So yeah. After one day of reflection: no grudges and no regrets.
I love all my friends, and I'm glad they love me too :)
There's still a next year, my last year, so, 2ND PLACE I'M STILL COMING FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Watch out world!!

I wonder who's who. ;)

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