Sunday, July 24, 2011

The wilting waltz - Part 2

* Read Part 1 here

Su Chen was never one to cry.

Even in her younger days, where other children would bawl their lungs out if they had their toys taken away from them or if they were denied from savouring a favourite tasty treat, she would just stare blankly back at the adults that tended to her. It was as if nothing would faze her.

In fact, her face rarely betrayed her emotion. Most times, it carried a cool, calm look which cleverly masked the turmoil of feelings that she wrestled with beneath the surface.

If anyone were to have asked her why this was, she would have blamed her parents for it.

She learned very early in her life that wearing her heart on her sleeve would not be acceptable to her parents. Especially if the emotions concerned were of the negative sort. Crying or throwing a tantrum when her parents denied her a request would only land her in worser punishment.

So she wisened up and devised other ways to get what she wanted. One of her main tactics was to feign indifference, regardless of what she really felt.

Subsequent trials for this new tactic yielded great results. It worked not only with her parents, but practically anyone and everyone she met.

The best friend who later turned out to be her worst enemy.

The teacher who punished her for a crime she did not commit.

The boy whom she loved more than anything in the world but who left for greater pursuits, inadvertently excluding her - or so it seemed at the time.

The mystery of her real emotions have never ceased to baffle the other people in her life, often driving those that sought to make her suffer experience a different sort of torture of their own.

So she decided since way back then to keep this modus operandi.

But there was one person from whom she could not hide neither her thoughts or feelings.

Tien Keat was in reality eight years older than Su Chen. Those eight years made for two very different personalities, even though they were siblings.

While Tien Keat was an indefatigable benevolent optimist who revelled in every enchantment and adventure that this life had to offer him, Su Chen was cautious, suspicious of everything and for the most part a recluse who believed that life would so much sweeter if everyone would leave everybody else alone.

It seemed somewhat impossible that the two of them could even be blood related since their personalities are worlds apart. Su Chen once pondered the possibilty that she may have been an adopted child.

But then there were certain undeniable similarities.

Their wavy hair. The greyish glint in their eye colour that would only be visible up close. The way they walked. Shrugged. Laughed. Argued.

They were each other's best friend in a family of absent parents. And for Su Chen, that's all she needed really needed to stay happy.