Life and love have one thing in common. They’re both unfair.
A somewhat heart wrenching story about puppy love, best enjoyed with an emo soundtrack.
1st March 2000
A sixteen year old James looked at his ‘O’ level result slip on the dining table while his mother continued nagging in the background. He is trying to zone out but he can’t. His mother’s voice filled his head, mostly with the negative comments she is giving.
One would be easily mistaken that James did badly for his ‘O’ level but that is far from the case. He did rather well considering he came from the last express class in a neighbourhood secondary school known for all the wrong reasons.
Mary : Please la James, you just got lucky. You think everyday Sunday ah ? It just so happen your entire cohort did badly, if not, given your standard, I doubt you can get this kind of results.
James fiddled with the pen in his hand, his eyes looking at the four As and three Bs on his result slip.
Mary : Maybe all the smart ones in the country did badly, you never get an ‘A’ before in your life, suddenly you get four, I suspect they gave you the wrong result slip…
James took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, trying to control his temper. He wouldn’t be having this conversation with his mother if he agreed to go to a polytechnic like he planned all along.
That was the path his parents thought he would take too.
Finish secondary school, go to a polytechnic, learn a skill and get a job. End of story.
He is never the studious type, coming from a family of blue collar workers, his parents expected James to follow in their path. University was never in their consideration.
Not when their 16 year old is smoking illegally, hanging out in arcades with the wrong crowd and could rattle off gang cheers if he wanted to.
James : I want to go to a junior college.
Mary : What for ? Don’t be silly. Look at you, you think you can pass ? You think you can get ‘A’ level ? Please la, you are lucky enough to get your ‘O’…
James : What kind of parent are you!
James shouted, finally snapping at his mother.
Mary : What did you say ?
James : Every parent expects their child to do well, to excel, to strive for something more, you happen to be the exact opposite !
James mother slammed the basket of vegetables she is washing on the basin and turned around to face her only child.
Mary : Don’t make me say it James, don’t make me say what this is really about!
James : What are you talking about !
Mary : You want to go to a Junior college because Quincy is going there!
James : I…
James wanted to rebuke his mother but he can’t. He can’t because she is speaking the truth.
Mary : Are you stupid! You are gaming your entire future for a girl!
James : I love her!
Mary : You are fucking sixteen, what do you know about love!
James : Much more than you ever will!
Mary : Yah! You know it all at 16!, you know how to smoke, how to fight, how to play all the video games at the arcade!
James : I’m trying to quit!
Mary : Then you should have picked up smoking in the first place!
James father stepped into the house in the middle of their shouting match and pulled both of them apart.
Howard : Enough…both of you…
Turning to James, Howard told James that he’s not cut out for books.
Howard : James, be honest with yourself, you have never once enjoyed studying, the academic path is not for you…
James : but look at this…look at this!
James pointed to his result.
James : I proved it didn’t I, I proved that if I wanted to, I can!
Howard pulled James into the living room and sat him down on the sofa.
Howard : James… I know you like Quincy…and you tried very hard to do this for her…but trust me, as you guys grow up, you meet new circle of friends, your perspective in life change… people change…
James : I don’t want to listen to this…
Howard : Quincy and you belong in two different world…do you get where I am coming from ?
James : I don’t , and I don’t care…
Howard : Then I’ll get straight to the point. You are not going to a Junior college, you are going to a polytechnic… This is final…
James : This is not fair!
Howard : Life is not fair James, the earlier you learn that, the better it is for you…
James picked up his phone and wallet before storming out of the house. He made his way to the bus stop and hopped onto the bus to Quincy’s house. He called her when he’s a stop away from her block.
James : Hey…
Quincy : How is it ? What did your parents say ?
James : I’m almost at your place…
Quincy : I’ll come down…
James reached out for Quincy the moment they met and the young couple shared a long embrace by the lift. The expression on James’ face told Quincy what she wanted to ask.
His parents refused to let James go to the same school as Quincy, that meant they will be separate barely a year after getting together.
Quincy : James…
James : No..don’t say it. Don’t say anything…
The couple remained locked in their sweet embrace for a full minute. Passing neighbours, curious stares from other kids did not bother them at all.
James is just contented with holding Quincy in his arms. He has been through so much just to get together with Quincy, yet now just because of a choice of school, they need to part ways.
James went through a through transformation after getting to know Quincy. From the class skipping troublemaker, he started getting serious about his studies a month into secondary four.
He did it for Quincy, he did it just to proof to everyone that he is good enough for her. No one believed that hopeless delinquent in the last class will even get together with Quincy, not even the teachers. Several of them came and asked James to leave Quincy alone so he doesn’t affect her grades.
Unlike James who came from the last express class, Quincy came from the first. Her result slips has always been filled with As and the occasional Bs. Her ‘O’ level cert is a royal flush of As.
Not only is Quincy good with her studies, she is also blessed with a pretty face and sweet demeanor.
James first talked to Quincy when he was serving his after-school detention while Quincy is there to help out the teachers distribute worksheets to the delinquents.
He was prepared to return the worksheet untouched to the teacher but Quincy will not have it.
Since the teacher in charge has stepped out, he put Quincy in charge, and she took it upon herself to make James finish the worksheets.
1st Feburary 1999
Quincy : No! you must do it..
James : You crazy ah…I’m not doing it.
Quincy : You must!
James : You can’t make me…
Quincy : Yes I can.
Quincy reached for James chest and pinched his nipple through his shirt with two buttons undone.
James : Ouchhhhhh! Aghhhhh! You crazy bitch!
Reflex determined that James would have to protect himself and he twisted Quincy’s wrist off his body and pushed her back.
Quincy lost her footing, tripped over the leg of a chair and landed on the floor. The commotion drew the attention of everyone in the detention room.
Quincy started crying and by then, all eyes were on James. James the bully that picked on a girl. The usual gang of fellow delinquents he hang out with started commenting on his actions.
Bob : KNN James, buay swee leh ( That’s not right ) Picking on a girl…
David : Yah bro, you don’t strike me like the kind that will beat a girl man…
James : No…i…it’s not…!
Quincy started sobbing and the fingers began to point at James.
James : It..it’s not what you think…she..she..
Quincy got up and walked briskly out of the classroom.
Bob : Eh, you don’t fix this, you don’t call yourself a man ah!
David : Ya boy, KNN, don’t throw Pai kia ( gangster wannabe ) face ok.
James : Fuck you all la…
James walked out of the detention class and ran after Quincy. Nothing has ever fazed James before in school, not when he needed to go up against a few others bigger and older than him. He has been caned publicly and in class countless times, he took it all in stride.
He could not believe that a crying girl manage to get his panties in a knot.
James : Quincy…Quincy!
He caught up to her, expecting her to be sobbing and upset. However, she wheeled around with a cheeky smile on her face.
James : What the fuck…
Quincy : I know what makes you tick James…you don’t want to look bad in front of your friends… you better finish that worksheet…
Quincy said with a spunky attitude that surprised James.
James : You!
He felt upset initially that he was fooled by her but looking at her big round eyes, her alluring smile, James found himself smiling as well. This girl is crazy.
Quincy : haha…I’m going to tell the whole school you bullied me…and let’s see that reputation of yours go down the drain…
James : NO! wait..
Quincy folded her arms, giving James a haughty look that told him he has lost in that round of face off.
Quincy : so…you going to do it or not ?
James : Fine…not because I’m afraid of you tarnishing my reputation.
Quincy : Then why ?
Quincy asked with a raised eyebrow.
James : because I think I like you.
Quincy broke out laughing, replying James without missing an heartbeat.
Quincy : Well I don’t.
She turned around without hesitation and started walking away, leaving James with a view of her back where her white blouse and skirt looked nothing like the regular school uniform he has been seeing for the past few years.
James : I’ll make you…
James said with a smile