I stared at the fragile confounded contraption, playing with its flimsy cover and its too-tiny buttons.
Call. Don't call.
But I don't know how to sms.
I dialled the number, my fingers fumbling over the buttons. "Hey," I said. "This is Brendon. Your ex-neighbour."
A feminine voice replied. "HiŠer."
It felt ridiculous trying to find words to sustain an intelligent conversation.
"How are you?" she said, taking the initiative. I felt relieved.
"Oh, I came back from Berkeley. I'm a senior in PEIS. You?"
"JC1. In Hwa Chong. Humanz."
"The one with the balconies," I said.
"Yeah, Lit, Econs, Maths and History Paper 5 and 7," Minyun said almost mechanically. "And Lit S."
"I was from RJ a long time ago. I'm doing Econ now. It's part of my major," I replied.
"I'm thinking of studying IR in Stanford," she said.
I immediately shuddered. Three years attending the Big Game on Cal's blue and gold side had conditioned a natural aversion to the mention of Stanford University.
"That's what I'm doing in Cal. I think Cal's still better. Stanford students are really boring and we have Berkeley," I said.
"But Stanford's one of the top universities in the US, Berkeley's a public university and it's only at the 20th position," she replied matter-of-factly.
I decided to change the topic. "So do you still skateboard?"
"No, I haven't touched the skateboard since I wasŠtwelve, I think," she said. "I don't really have much time for anything else these days." She chuckled. "Kind of sad really, just essays and more essays. The first three months were the best though." Her voice became wistful.
JC days. I couldn't remember them anymore. Lost innocence.
From this reflective vantage point, would I have changed anything about them, I wondered.
There was no point thinking about it.
We switched to talking on the telephone, since the bills were much cheaper. She seemed so innocent, so young and so energized by her possibilities that I was immediately charmed on the telephone. Listening to her chat about her playwriting attempts, her intelligent accomplished classmates and her elaborate plan of becoming a foreign affairs diplomat, I said little. I was too enthralled in the resolute vision of her future. I liked her so much that I decided to meet her for a movie where I can finally purchase movie tickets at the amazing price of five Singaporean dollars.