360 degrees

I keep bumping into students whereever I go these days. Some recognised me and came to say hi, while some clearly were too engrossed in whatever they were doing to notice me.

Yesterday I was at Bugis to meet an ex-student, Winnie, for lunch when I heard someone call my name. It was a tall girl with long copper hair. “You don’t remember me?!” she asked. I looked at her again. She was in mini shorts, a low cut blouse, high heels and she was holding on to a stick of Virginia Slims.

“I’m Jojo from Informatics!” she said. Jojo? The quiet Vietnamese girl in my class? The slim petite girl who wore glasses and no make-up? The sweet, plain girl who was ever attentive in class and delivered good work?

Of course I couldn’t recognise her now. She’s put on a bit of weight, she’s swapped her glasses for dark blue contact lenses, she has long metallic coloured nails, she’s drawn her eyebrows too thin. She was puffing away at a cigarette as her Western boyfriend waited in the corner for us to finish catching up.

“It’s been two years since you left us. We still talk about you though. Almost everyone in the class is still there,” she said in a slight American accent. I noticed she had a piercing above her lip.

As we reminisce old times, I wished she hadn’t called out to me. That way, I would be able to always remember her the way she was.

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