People I Met: Rie

I'm not sure where to put this segment actually. If it belongs more to "Muse", "To All the Girls", "People I Met", or should I even cover this at all.

But figuring that this may all be a "part" of me digging deeper into myself, particularly my past in this one, this may belong into one whole collective together. This was part of my growing up, my coming of age.
*


I was a kid back then, I was just a high school kid. You know the age we had crushes, infatuations, playful lovers that goes nowhere. The list goes on, and I may have a lot to unearth if I go down there.

I didn't know the difference between a "crush" and an "adoration". The difference between that of romantic elements. That was where I met this particular character that possibly played a role in my character development arc.

This is going to be one hell of a story so...
(Goddamit it is really long even when I'm trying to cut out)

***

Let's just call her Rie.
I didn't know what Cosplay is back then, being an Anime fan who loves the whole Japanese Anime/Manga Culture, I was always awed by the who Universe created by these amazing artists. I love the story, the whole cringe of it, the (powerful) abilities. My favorite manga is going to be Eye Shield 21 right off the bat.

Then there's Bleach. You know how kids like to play pretend when they are young? So my 2 boys from my class decided that we shall "play-pretend" characters from Bleach. "Ronnie so from today on you'll be Aizen", my friend told me one day in school just before morning assembly. Trust me I had no idea who or what's that, and the only thing I know is that he's a character from Bleach. It was the early times of Bleach, possibly at that current point, Ichigo just went to Soul Society. I kinda like this whole play pretend thing because it has gotten our whole class closer. The whole lot of us in our "own characters", living out high school life, having out, running around during recess, sitting together while slinging the bags of ice milo while we walked with gusto across the corridors, chilling at stairways and carparks, staring at the skies thinking of excuses to tell our teachers for not doing last week's homework. It is that kind of life huh? I may also not be ashamed of throwing wet tissue up the ceiling and laughing with my boys. (Ok I actually am when I'm writing this, I'm so sorry.

***

I got into cosplay vaguely after realizing there are people actually... COSPLAYING and IT IS A THING! Like dressing up as characters they relate to, physically or emotionally. And that's when I stumbled across the legendary SGCafe Forum, the one that Local Otakus raves about back in the day. I saw a group who's doing Bleach, and I just blatantly decides to just jump into this whole thing, and trust me until today I still didn't know what gave me the balls to. I added everyone that I can find, exchanged contacts, digits, names and so forth.

Then I met Rie.
She's supposed to be my "vice-captain", and there you got it. We started adding each other on MSN, starting talking on this whole thing. She looked cute like seriously she does. From her really small avatar and her MSN display picture. Back then 16kb of data could just almost tells us everything we have to know about a person. We texted for abit and I thought she's a nice and funny person, we texted every now, and then, back then there isn't like a group WhatsApp or anything for the whole group so communication is not exactly convenient for groups. But I spoke with Rie the most, out of everyone. Possibly because she's my "vice-captain", also because she might be easy to talk to, and I'm that sort of introvert who would find his comfort zone and just stay there. Rie became my social comfort zone among the group.

The whole lot of us (cosplay group) have our first meet up, if I remembered correctly it's a Hal's place (a very nice girl who's part of the group). I was cramped with 20 over strangers in a room where we sat in circles introducing ourselves. Little did I know this would be our last time hanging out at Hal's place, and I wish I was more extroverted back then. I could never forget the window by the corner and the shelves which are filled with comic books by Clementi. Then I saw Rie; well it is not like any rom-com or did the time stop. I was too awkward to even look at her in the eye thinking that she might have read my mind. I was hella' awkward, I swear. It felt like those Chinese New Year gatherings where the chatter would be akin to a wet market on a Sunday morning. I nodded and smiled awkwardly (again), I may have also passed her a bread because she hasn't eaten lunch(thank god no one is giving me shit for that, else I'll explode from awkwardness). I stepped out of the circle and sat on the empty space that they move aside for me. I crossed my legs and hugged them so as to make more space for everyone else, I was also too awkward to touch anyone.

I didn't exactly, "adore" her until I know her. The talking didn't exactly become a habit, nor is there any tinge of romance or flirtations. We just kinda "hang out" virtually a lot, from DoTA matches to just anime talks. She's more than what she seems, she's soft-spoken but she has alot of thoughts. We asked each other a load of questions, and back then I guess I didn't know what I like, or love, or if there's anything I'd got a passion for. She might have unknowingly gotten me to watch Ouran High, which almost made me doubt my sexuality (or not). Yaoi was actually pretty adorable, that's what I thought. And Sakura Kiss is forever embedded in my heart because the whole thing is just adorable af; I cannot :3. *embedded it because damn cute.

(omgplswatchouranhaicositsdamnniceplsplsplsomgbbqsauce)
^dk why people kept using bbq, though I didn't use it AT ALL but I still texted like a retard back then, such cringe. But I learned to try new things, and I was thankful for that. Not gonna lie, still love Ouran High.

She's the perfect person. Not that I idealized her to be, but she is. She plays the piano (checked), she's kind (checked), she's goofy (checked), she plays games (checked), she is SMART (checked). I may have to question my gauge of her intellect because back then I was so close to quitting school. (no offence if you ever see this). Honestly, she is pretty kind as well, or at least, asking me to study up. She encourages me to study a lot (even though she isn't obligated to). She made me want to be better.

We texted and we even met up on afew occasion before the group meeting. (I mean like, we would wait on each other and go together) And I thought it's really nice like it felt less awkward to join the group like that. It was until later that the group thought we were a thing when I was hanging out with afew of the boys somewhere. All the teasing made me alittle bit more confused, and awkward. She seemed like the perfect and nice person, and it felt like I was taking advantage of her. The bizarre pang of guilt hit me, but also, hearing the boys talking about her appearance made me felt alittle weird. Part of me wanted to say that she's not just about that appearance, I wondered if listing out her personality would mean anything. Yet part of me thought this belonged to me and I don't know if I should share it. It was a strange feeling, but then again I was just a kid figuring myself out in life.

One day she sent me some of her singing and her piano covers, which I listened to. I love the rawness of the works, the whole "amateurish" take on music. There is another story about while I love the whole indie scene, that would be from the ICQ guy that I met back while I'm 13. I think I felt I am special when I'm listening to something that nobody listens to? She may also introduce "Broken Wings", to me, which I was quite addicted to at that point of time (I am a very broken person so...).

Or am I a creep? (cues my favourite song from Radiohead).
But I was utterly impressed. Like this brought her on the next level of the pedestal. Back then there isn't youtube and covers weren't a thing. But that was pretty something. I felt honoured and the songs felt really precious and private, somewhat.
(If you ever read this, I'm really glad and thankful for this)

O Levels came.
The test that we're all living the 16 years of our lives for. Back then it was more important to have MSN plus, have our status showing subtle love messages instead of telling it to the one we love. It was important to flash the hex code for the color of our ID to be intuned with the mood, style, personality with a whole load of things that we would fit in the text box when it should just be our name. Couples would flex their matching team tags, with cute pet names that you can never finish in a single breath. That was also when the MSN nicks last longer than most relationships. The ever-changing status message may have resulted in the birth of Twitter. But I studied like mad.

I aced it.
My exams, just when my teachers were watching me fail, I aced it. Other than slightly disappointing my geography teacher due to my weak social studies, I manage to cram 2 A2s for my math and science. I may have romanticized my composition and got out of English with a B4. I manage to enter Ngee Ann Poly (the Poly that Rie's going to. She's in early childhood and I thought it was funny and adorable). I think alittle during this point, we had drifted apart. I didn't try really getting back in touch, and I figured poly life might have been really different (since she's a year older). I thought I might be too uncool at this point anyway (says the guy with 0 self-esteem)

Poly came.
This was the time that we're alittle older, and we think we are the coolest kid in the block (except me). We dyed our hair, skipped class to bet S League (this is exactly what we did), took out smoking only to find out that it may be the fix to depression, smoked more because it didn't, and listening to songs feeling that we're 80 years old inside and nobody understands us.

I saw her only once despite us saying that we should hang out back when we're in touch. But I guess time kills everything, right? She smiled and waved and me and I waved back as she walked towards me and through to the back. We barely spoke if I remembered correctly. I was with my boys, so all of us turned out head when she walked past us. (I am not a tikopeh my windows 98 brain is trying to process everything. Can't same the same for my boys).
"Woah, who's that!", one of my boys said nudging me. "Intro leh", another one elbowed my sides causing me to squirm and smile. I manage to look cool while smiling and said "just a friend", trotting down the sunset while looking goodaf as the guy who knows the cool kid (or chio bu (hokkien for pretty girl). It was a funny moment that I'd never forget.) Pardon the bizarre ego boost, but seeing her then, I didn't even felt to reach out, it was just a hi and that's it. I didn't saw her again.

Throughout this time, I had the whole "being depressed" period. This was the time when I spiraled and confronted several monsters in me that would chase me before I sleep. Mental health wasn't that huge of a thing back then, nor do we have a lot of information readily available. During this time, 2 of my friends actually tried going after Rie. It was a piece of weird news to hear actually, that someone is going after her. It's like I "got caught up", with her without even meeting her.
(I figured it's just weird feelings when a friend turned into strangers?) Part of me wondered if things are different if we are still friends, or are we just supposed to rubbed shoulders only for that momentary spark which would only light up a part of our life, but not the whole of it.

Then, I saw her again.
It was a stroke of luck, or rather my stupidity of booking a different lesson slot got me dragging my feet early to school, cussing at my fate. We bumped into each other just as I was about to leave the class. She looked different since we are much older now. I didn't dare to talk much to her as I felt myself retracting back to that awkward kid who didn't fit. I had my hand at the back of my head while darting my eyes across the corridor. I figured I felt alittle anxious as we exchange words. It was small talks, tons of small talks that lasted way lesser than Bohemian Rhapsody. And that, was the last of us, as I saw her turned at the end of our conversation. She walked away and I'm still trying to grasp if I would see her again. I looked down at my phone before my thoughts start getting complex. I think I might catch her again, or maybe not, and I didn't think that this would be the last of everything. I never think about it, and I guess, until now, when I come across her photo again. Memories flooded my head when I was trying to recount the story with my friend, and I figured I should at least write about it.

It got way longer than I expected.
But is she my Margo? Nope.
But she used to be one of those heroines that I thought who'd look cool.
I couldn't differentiate if back then it was a crush or it was an adoration, but thinking back it was very much an adoration (okay, I THINK I am quite sure AHAHA). She was probably my coolest friend back then, who is good at just almost everything.
Perhaps back then I felt that she's more of a person than me, having led a more fulfilling life.
Perhaps it is her that shaped how I define coolness and nerd. And perhaps it is her that made me eventually improving myself and thus loving to read and write like now.
Whatever it is, she was an essential character in my development arc and I'm thankful for her.
I'm not sure if I'll ever show her this, because I might likely run away out of sheer embarrassment after.
But... I'm thankful for you, so thank you for all the great times and virtual shenanigans (:

*runs away in embarrassment*


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