Sunday afternoon I had coffee with ST, when her mother called and asked to meet her at a shopping centre nearby.
ST asked me to accompany her for a few minutes. I thought nothing of pretending to be her boyfriend for a while so her parents can think that yes sheâ€™s not loafing around taking drugs. I was introduced to her mother and her aunts and one of her aunts kept looking at me for the longest time.
That aunt asks me whether I am Hainanese and whether I live in Leedon Park. I say yes, how you know? She asks if I know a LJW. I say yes, sheâ€™s my ex from 15 years ago or so. ST’s jaw drops with a clang. LJW is her cousin. That aunt of ST is also LJW’s aunt and she remembers me very well.
Apparently, I have met ST before in that previous life. In that life, I was a scrawny teenager who had a relationship with her cousin that was both tumultuous and hilarious. In that life, ST was a bratty 8 year old girl who ran riot around her grandparentsâ€™ house which I stayed over at on occasion.
I have not seen LJW since we broke up and I swore never to contact her again. Looks like another grand plan got thwarted, and the ghosts of Christmases past have been haunting me all this while. I should have known. Anyway, that aunt said to me, â€œIf you think Jee Wei was bad, this one is worseâ€, to which I said, â€œDonâ€™t worry, I know, and Iâ€™m not dating her anywayâ€, to which she said, â€œDonâ€™t worry, I donâ€™t interfere with her affairsâ€.
That few minutes turned out to be an hour plus, as that aunt started telling all and sundry about how I was like when I was 18 and 19; about how LJW used to torture me; about how she had to drive me home because I stayed too late; about how I snuck over and stayed over thinking she didnâ€™t know, but she did and kept our secret; about how I used to paint t-shirts and how one of those t-shirts she saved and gave one of her grand-nephews to wear last year; about how I unceremoniously ended the relationship when I found out LJW was seeing someone else.
All this while, ST was picking up her jaw from the floor and trying to see if the Cartier watch was nice enough to buy.
All this while, Iâ€™m thinking, if this was some elaborate and diabolical plan to tell me this relationship was one meant for the ages, it certainly was elaborate and diabolical.
My head is still spinning.