Singapore
I am a writer trying to build a readership from scratch. The pathetic stats number never seem to rise. Read my works and you'll agree that my writings are just plain junk or simply an art of a decidedly Bohemian attitude.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Can never get rid of that bit of materialism in us

I guess we can never get rid of that bit of materialism in us. We are all in that need of attention and envy. After all, flaunting our riches not only boosts our ego but also spur us to work harder and are actually mini milestones for us to reach our goals in life.

I hadn't spent anything on myself for the longest time, the last time I bought something for myself (simply to use or to put on) was a $60 useless and ugly costume necklace and a cheap $20 online dress for my boss's wedding. Seeing that I got news of my health on that day itself, I have decided not to wear that necklace (or maybe even that dress) anymore because I think that dress and neclace are bad luck. 

Moreover, the dress and the horrible necklace were bought for a reason, and if it weren't for my boss's wedding, I wouldn't have spent money on those anyway.

And so I decided that I really something to make me feel happy- I needed a super nice laptop bag for my Mac especially when I am officially back to doing sales outdoors and meeting clients, a pretty laptop bag would not only boost my confidence, it would also help to close deals easier. After all, you wouldn't buy something from a sales person who carries a cheap bag right? You would buy it from a someone who wears tons of branded goods because she earns alot and shows how good a sales person she is by looking at the things she wears. Right?

And not only that, I also dug out a fraction of my savings to finally get myself a new handbag. I am so in love with it, I finally got a bag of the colour and the brand that I like.

While retail therapy works wonders, it doesn't mean just spending money, but spending money wisely and that means to boost your ego, help you in your sales and most importantly, make you feel it's ok to be materialistic because you deserve it.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Learn, unlearn and then relearn (Part 4)

I apologise for the shit load of ambiguous posts for the past few weeks. I guess no matter how I try to translate the patterns in my mind into words and yet not hurt those who know me to the best of my abilities, my posts still seem like some kind of monologue or a soliloquy of a stream of consciousnesses.

I would like to blame my somewhat frequent uncontrollable bust of emotions (most often, anger) on the operation that I had few weeks ago. My mind would be like a wild horse that my body is trying to calm and pacify, galloping and jumping about crazily, unable to stop.

And perhaps although I was way better than when I was when I was due to go under the knife, I was more conscious and alert at everything around me. I started to notice the blooming flowers in the trees despite the scorching heat in Singapore. I read with more interest, what my friends tweet and retweet and then I start to empathise with them.

L is a mutual friend introduced by Jo who seemed to me always very cheerful and happy. She always post pictures of the what her gf buys for her (her little collection of Ironman figurines) and also screenshots of her conversation with her Dad that were not only adorable and funny, they were very heart-warming too.

And then there is E who was also introduced by Jo who only tweets about how mean her Dad is to her. Couple of times, she scolded him and voiced out her discontent on how he bugs her and stops her from going out.

I usually read these tweets and thought of nothing, until few days ago, I saw L tweeted a wish that the tumour in her Mom is malignant.

I might not know her well enough to be her friend, but I must say that my heart went out to her. What came to my mind was those pictures of the cute little poodle that her Dad just bought to add to the family, the CNY family portrait of her beautiful family, that crazy photos of her and her little sister when they were out for family dinners; I would definitely feel so sorry if one of her family member would to be called to with the Lord and I am sure, would leave those who would see these beautiful family pictures heave a sigh.

And how come a somewhat broken and upset family like E's has no problems at all (or so I know so far, and not that I am cursing her family) but a happy family like L's would have to suffer so.

I might not be a very magnanimous person nor am I the most kind-hearted person in this world but I always try to spare a thought for other people and be as considerate as I can. I could have been selfish once in awhile and ask for more but I am always grateful and I don't forget those who have done me good and were there for me. Mother Theresa said 'do good anyway, because at the end of the day, it's between us and God;' it was never between us and them anyway. And so I always do good and when a screwed up foreign co-worker in my office yelled her lungs out at me unreasonably, I thought that maybe I could have been this way to her or to other colleagues unknowingly too and so I forgave her and not bear any grudges towards her.

Today, my Grandma told a teary-eyed me to be magnanimous towards my family too when I told her the grievances that I have suffered; she said that if I should be, good fortune will come to me because the heavens can see and that made me cry harder. Have I not been magnanimous enough? Why must I bear the bane of supporting the family just because people asked me to be considerate towards the others who were supposed to co-support it with me? I could be the heartless one who could just walked away like they did and left the burden to... well... no one else, and let the family crumble and fall apart.

So I, whom I myself know that burden or not, would never ever walk away from the poor, the hurt, the old and desperate much less my family, am being told to be gracious, thoughtful and considerate to those whom I have been gracious, thoughtful and considerate to? It's akin to seeing someone drop a wallet and you are kind enough to pick it up and return it, only to have that person call you a thief.

I could just cry and laugh at the same time.

What I was taught when I was young, that doing good would bring more good to you is bullocks because these days, I have unlearned that notion and learned that no matter what good you do, there will always be these mean people out there doing harm to you and calling you thief. The same goes for my job, my relationship and my family.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Learn, unlearn and then relearn (Part 3)

I took couple of days to finish Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary and it got me absolutely captivated for that couple of days. It wasn't so much it's structure (easy-to-read diary format) but how the protagonist was so much like... me. Fielding commented that she was "really, really surprised at all the women who wrote in saying they identified with Bridget because a lot of her thoughts are very paranoid," and that got me thinking- am I paranoid?

"Bridget, like a lot of women, is besieged by notions of how she should be. She thinks she should be thin. She thinks she should be very feminist. She thinks she should be very independent. She should be very fit. She should be able to cook. She should be free, and yet have a marvellous husband, and two children, and maybe also be a Buddhist. And she's struggling with all these images of perfection and just kind of paralysed between them all, and there's this huge gap between what she really feels and what she's really like, and what she ought to be thinking."

Do we all submerge ourselves like Bridget does on these sort of disparity between reality and imagination? How often do we bluff ourselves into thinking it will all soon be okay when reality shows otherwise? And when do we yell 'cut' from all these on-screen falsities and determine when the plot should go real?

Argh. 

Learn, Vic!

I am all over this again; except when in Bridget Jones's Diary, she finally has a happy ending when all about her fell apart and the damsel in distress is ultimately rescued by the namesake Darcy as like Pride and Prejudice. So hey, don't we all want that fairytale in our lives once in awhile?

When she needed that intellectual boost, her bf goes to fondle her breasts like sex is the only thing that bonds him to her. How baseless and low this guy is! I felt like she knows Daniel and her are not meant to be in the first place and his sexual advances that irks her are hauntingly the same as what I was experiencing before. Unlike Bridget however, I voiced out my discontent and sure, the guy apologises but he also told me that if he doesn't find me attractive or he doesn't love me in that sexual way as well, then he wouldn't feel that way towards me. And so it shook me, that I do not want to end up married and old and my man doesn't want to bed me anymore and turns to find another maid outside. 

And then I unlearned that shit and thought if that day does come then let it, cause I am not letting myself be a sacrificial lamb to some male chauvinist that demands sex every few days. Hence, I relearn everything there is to a sexual relationship and morph it into a mutual gain not only for him but for me as well. I no longer want to make love, I just wanted that big O so I can look radiant and rosy the next day. One character of a Hong Kong drama said it is a kind of charger when your battery is low. 

Unlike Bridget however, I am very much comfortable in my own skin. I don't care if I look too thin because I just didn't want to be fat. These few days of running sales outdoors have rendered me looking rather tanned but I am perfectly okay with it as long as I don't look like I am burnt. I might have small boobs but I have brains to make up for it (so said the saying that bimbos don't think). 

Having said that, the question I have been asking myself for the past year would be why hang my happiness from that one particular man that does nothing but disappoints you over and over again? So what happened to me being comfortable in my own skin? He told me that he speaks only of my good to other people and how he only praises me and compliments me was evidence of his devotion and affection. However what good is that affection when in times of necessity he fails to perform what he has preached and promised? What happened to my confidence huh?

You get caught up in a spiral cone just like what Jude said to Bridget. You go through the same problem over and over again but on the contrary, it doesn't appear weaker as when you first encounter it, it becomes like an irritating recurring zit. You see, all I did was to point out the things that he needed to do to make sure our relationship goes well because we are not having a normal relationship like everyone else. But all he ever does is procrastinate and wait for thy kingdom to come. So while I urge him on, he says I am giving him pressure. So you swallow whatever you wanted to say again and again in case he would burst with a headache with all that 'pressure' and then you think, wherever did I pick this guy up from?

I call this the spiral effect. 

Now would you want a relationship like that? Until your mum had to step into the picture while you consider talking to his baby sister about it too? 'Geez,' I hear you say and I can only grudgingly agree. 

Just when do my brains and wits come into the picture and rescue me from distress or does that have to be done by a man instead?

Argh. 

When would you ever learn, Vic?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Learn, unlearn and then relearn (Part 2)

I try not to write melancholic articles for fear that they stick to me like flies to raw meat; on the other hand, I am also afraid to write about good things that happened to me just in case I jinx them and they no longer happen to me anymore.

And that's usually the case, you know? Like when I was in Primary 5 and my form teacher was a useless male teacher who does nothing but play games with us during class could not teach a thing and so for the first time in my life then, I got faced with the reality that I really sucked at Math. So before and after every Math test, I would raise my hands in prayer and asked for a good score, only to find out the next day that I scored a 2 out of 50 or a 24 out of 100.

And up till when I grew up and met this guy who made me realise that I am a giving person after all and he was the first partner (if he ever was one) to tell me I have a good heart and I make a wonderful girlfriend, but yet I was always the one crying and lamenting my fate.

And so I taught myself the Law of Attraction and everything there is to it. I read about the importance of being positive, the Law of Substitution, gratitude and appreciation, seeing the good side of a coin etc, I used meditation to numb myself for that few minutes, I read about different religions to help me find my footing in life, yet every single day, I woke up a zombie. It was I who chose this game and thought it was real. It was I who thought I can but turned out to have myself battered and bruised. It was I and the choices I have made and not fate that brought me to where I was. And in order to make myself feel that slight better, I'd told myself that it was my karma.

I was talking to a very good friend of mine who just had her 4th child. I was all envious until she told me how her life is really like behind her closed door. She now sleeps alone with number 3 and husband sleeps with number 2. They hardly talk when he returns from work and although weekends are for family outings, they are merely playing it out - like doing it for the sake of it.

A very kind and close friend of mine told me that I write beautiful stories but I have failed to write my life in a beautiful way. Her words struck me badly and for the first time in years after I have met Justin, I realised that perhaps I was a victim of my own choice. No amount of attractions to the good can bring me away from where I am unless I pluck myself out of this predicament and lift myself up. But still, I stubbornly stood by this guy for a painful 12 months before I could purge this poison out of my body.

Hence it brings me back to the question of just when is enough, enough?

Is my current relationship that flawless and that I was merely thinking of the negative that made me this upset? Or is he the wrong one for me right at the beginning? Should I hang on because nothing is perfect and I should learn to ride with the tide? Or would the Law of Substitution kick in and leave me with someone better, someone who truly matches me in every way and loves me whole-heartedly?

Because when I think about and write about the good in my life, something bad and dramatic has to happen right after that and in my own words, 'jinxed it', leaving me hurt and upset. But in this way, am I still a victim of my own choice? Like when the dramatic incident that took place couple of weeks ago that left me so miserable... did I attract it to me unknowingly and blamed the result on someone else, or did I pick the wrong guy to fall in love with and that these are signs that I should have left to write a more beautiful story of my life?

I have always prized myself as someone confidant and I always preach that nothing else matters in this world but your own happiness. I guess somehow, somewhere, I have lost that ability to apply that onto myself and have unlearned what I was taught was the most important part of being alive.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Learn, unlearn and then relearn (Part 1)

I guess life is a never-ending cycle of learning, unlearning and relearning, all of which never fail to amaze you. I used to read William's Blake's Songs of Innocence with a very direct and absolute mindset that life is merely the difference between adult and childhood.

Oh how wrong I was. That was totally not what Blake was trying to say.

The last 2 weeks have been more than a roller-coaster ride for me, it was a whirlwind, sweeping everything off my path and dumping me right in the middle of life-no-where. Whatever I had thought about certainty, responsibility and maturity were all lifted up and tossed about like dust in a typhoon. I would have taught that one must always make the best decision in life and stick to it, be a responsible person in whatever you do and always spare a thought for others and I have always prized myself as someone like that.

Oh how wrong I was. That was totally not what I have thought I was.

Because you see, I have failed to apply the saying, 'easier said than done' to myself. And Andy was right, no matter how much I listened to other people and heeded their advice, I am very stubborn and believed only in my own abilities and point-of-views. Not until it has happened to me, did I realise that I would have done what everyone would do during my emotional and unstable state and blame everyone but myself and expect everyone to follow my orders because I am the victim.

I know and I believe the key to happiness lies within yourself but then again how the hell do you force yourself to be happy when let's say, your dog died or when your nanny breathed her last and went to heaven? Or how about when the guy you picked just stabbed your heart with a knife with his words and the reality of you ever trusting him and having him broken the trust wrapped itself around your heart like a freezing hand, making it cold, so very cold.

Hence, the broken me, during these past 2 miserable weeks stopped for once and looked at everyone around me.

I just attended my boss's wedding and his bride is someone he just knew for 3 months, so all throughout the wedding, the video went on and on about how true love isn't about knowing someone for years, it's that someone you single out from a street of strangers. My colleagues were gossiping why the hell would you want to even announce to the entire world that you hardly know your bride then make a desperate effort to mask that embarrassment by making a stupid video on true love can be found in 3 months? And when I asked my colleagues if they would marry my boss knowing what kind of a boss he is, all of us voiced in unison a no!

During the height of my misery, I had to play host to my VP and his wife from the States for a couple of days since he came all the way down to Singapore to attend my boss's wedding. Once, while driving his wife back to the hotel, I asked how did she and my VP met, she giggled like a little girl and happily relate the entire story to me all of which during the entire conversation, my VP was all quiet like a grumpy boy who just had his embarrassed past dished out like dessert in front of everyone. I smiled throughout the entire story of their falling-in-love and brushed off my VP's black face because of his age. But when I dropped his wife off at the hotel and was making a turn to bring my VP back to my office, I was appalled that he told me, "Just between you and me, Vic. If given a choice, everything would not be the way it is right now." I looked at him with a half-fucked face trying to make my facial muscle ask him if it was sick joke but he just shrugged his shoulders and looked away.

Did I also mention I had a car accident few days ago? The driver who is clearly a man in his mid-twenties reversed his car without even as much as looking through his rear-view mirror. I thought I was being kind to not report this accident to Vicom and asked him kindly to refer me to his mechanic to repair my car so we can spare time in verifying the quotes and all but his pussy of a tortoise was too chicken to speak to me and asked his elder sister and even his father to come and talk to me and his sister even had the cheek to shun all responsibilities of her pussy brother. When we exchanged numbers and he finally found his balls somehow whatsapped me his mechanic's number I saw his profile picture was a loving pose of him and his girlfriend. No prizes for guessing what I was thinking then- yes that I pity his girlfriend for having a pussy as a boyfriend. Would she, if she was present during the accident dump him for being such a loser? I know I would have vomited in disgust and walked away without even turning back.

And it was these two real life marriages and car accident that made me look further into all the marriages among my family and my friends- most of which ended in divorce and or are either not talking to each other. Did they know that it was already a mistake the moment they say "I do" and stubbornly went on with it to prove to the whole world that everything can be solved and resolved, and that nothing is impossible?

I recalled watching an episode of Looney Tunes where Pepe Le Pew said, love is when everyone without it, wants to seek it and then runs away from it when they have it... or was it marriage he was referring to?

So I told Andy that I would never allow myself to be like that. I would not want to one day be the one saying "If given a choice, everything would not be the way it is right now." just because I stubbornly wanted my way if not for the dramatic lesson that happened to be 2 weeks ago.

Yes, it was a painful lesson not because I had to go under the knife but because the guy whom I am constantly having 2nd thoughts about just proved to me that I was right about him all the time - and it utterly broke my heart.

But like all procrastinating brides having cold feet at the alter, they grit their teeth and hung on, just like my VP. And who knows, maybe my boss's bride would have thought the same too, except she masked it all with her smile in all the pictures. Therefore, are we all not silly... no, dumb victims of our own predicaments? When are we able to know that the decisions we made are absolute and are not wrong? And when do we know when enough is enough and when letting go is the right thing to do? Are we already victims the moment we hung on?

All those that I have learned in life before these 2 weeks about being strong, absolute in your choice and not regretting it, I have to unlearn and relearn. Just that now, unlike the other times when I was younger, I am just not quite ready to be learned anymore.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

You're mine Chapter 10

The following post possesses mature content. Reader discretion is advised.

Chapter 10

Simon drops Annabel off at the mall. She isn’t sure if she should invite him but the moment she steps out of his car, she offers and Simon gladly accepts. Sophie has her eye brows raised to the height of hairline when she sees the both of them walk into the mall but she keeps her mouth shut and leaves the story-telling to Simon as she marches away from the duo.


It is another six weeks to Christmas but already the shops in the mall are playing all types of Christmas songs. Annabel hears a familiar ‘I’ll Have a Blue Christmas” playing loudly from the speakers from the CD shop. Smiling to herself, Annabel looks around the store to find out where the Christmas CDs are placed.


Her heart skips a beat when she sees a seemingly familiar figure standing at the Christmas corner where Christmas CDs of all sorts of artistes are placed. The man wearing jeans and a sweater is studying the list of songs on the back a CD. There is no mistaking the disheveled dark hair that makes that man so endearing and attractive at the same time.


Michael.


She stands there staring at the object of her what? Desire? Can she be desiring this man when he was so harsh at her this morning? But her heart draws him to her like a magnet; she wants to go to him and speak to him. She turns to see if Simon and Sophie have noticed Michael; they are both looking through the back of a CD. Slowly, Annabel rests her eyes on him again and as if in cue, Michael looks up and sees her. She tries to display a strong look but she knows that he can tell how hurt she was at his tone previously. Did he turn up here just to apologise and make it up to her?


Suddenly, she notices a pounding headache building up at the side of her temple. Then the ache shifts to her heart, turning its every pump into a tight squeeze with pain. Almost immediately, Simon has his arms around her as Sophie clings on to her arm as though she is about to faint. Allowing her friends to lead her away from the pounding music and disturbing presence of Michael, Annabel tears her gaze from him and walks out of the shop.


She asks Simon to drop her at her apartment and politely turns down their offer of having a drink at Big Ben’s or even coffee in her place. “I’m really tired, guys.” Annabel says with a weak smile.


Afraid that it may be another wave of heart pain for her best friend, Sophie gives her best friend and hugs and wishes her good night, but not before having Annabel promise her to call if she needs someone.


Annabel switches the TV on just to have some sound in her quiet apartment, the silence about her seems to be deafening her as she tries to find something to do. Looking at pile of clothes from yesterday, she loads the washing machine with some of her clothes that can be machine-washed and dumps another load into the dryer. Keeping her hands beside doesn’t seem to help because those chores aren’t able to keep her mind off the man she saw at the mall today.


Yielding to her heart’s desire, she stands up and grabs her handbag. Hailing a cab at the street, she finds herself telling the driver where she absolutely has no intention to go. It is like her body is now run by her heart and she is surrenders her will to it.


The cab stops right outside Michael’s office building. She walks in and waves at the security guard who recognizes her as one of Michael’s women, undoubtedly. He lets her in as Annabel finds her body obeying before her mind catches up and objects.


She has no idea what she will see, only realizes how much she needs to see him, just a glimpse will do, will be enough to quench her thirst of him. But no matter how much she needs him, seeing him with another woman with her legs opened to him is not within her calculated risk.


Annabel is paralyzed. The only operating organ that has driven her to leave her apartment, into the cab and up the lift into his office, is now stalled and frozen with cold.


A solitary table light is left switched on his desk but everything else is on the floor, papers, pens and the phone to make way for a woman bending forward on top with her head turned to face the glass panel, her face twists with agony and pleasure at the same time. Her skirt is lifted up to her waist exposing her naked thighs; one of Michael’s hands was buried under her body but the knitting of his fingers shows him fondling one of her breasts roughly. Right behind her, Michael has one hand on her hips and is banging up against her with such animosity and cruelty as though he hates her and needs to appease his anger. His lips are pursed into a thin line while from time to time, he opens his mouth to say something to her but what he says are being drowned in the woman’s rhythmic screams which are evidence of the pain she is experiencing between her legs but she does not turn to stop what Michael is doing to her, instead, she grabs hold of the side of the desk and takes in every thrust from Michael. She is taking in his entire wrath in this one sexual punishment.


Unable to endure another minute of this hideous sight, Annabel turns and leaves.  

She has no idea how she gets home but as she steps into her apartment that evening, Annabel feels tired at the string of events today. Her body has gone through a series of different feelings that she has never felt before. Maybe the heart when the heart is sick, the body gets sick too because she can feel a fever rising. She clenches her heart and takes a few deep breaths, willing her mind to rest, blocking off running all the events of the day. The ringing of her iPhone brought her back to reality. She sees Michael’s name flashing on the screen, throws it on the sofa and flops to her bed, the cancerous tumour of emotions finally raptures.


Annabel contemplates taking another day off when the sun shines through her curtains, giving her room some light. She stretches her arms out and twists her body about like a cat woken up from a long nap. Blinking about her, her thoughts brings her back to the ache at in her heart. The dull pain is only proof that she is unable to play second or third fiddle to so many of Michael’s women despite a huge massive wall of immense love that follows which hurts her so, tries to stop her from leaving Michael.


To love someone is not necessarily equal to possessing him and of course you do not make demands on someone you love, so is this love that Annabel has for Michael? She flips over to her side and looks stares at her ceiling, tears flow from her eyes and she cries- long depressing sobs until her heart squeezes itself so hard, her shoulders hunches forward and the suppressed wail escapes from her throat. Her eyes close and shut tightly, but there is no stopping of the tears. She throws herself forward some more as though the pain, this excruciating, stabbing pain in her heart is so physically hurting and Annabel reaches out to crutch at it, trying to desperately to ease the pain. But the pain escalates, bringing with it, fierce reality and images of that has come to past and what would never happen. Her body shakes slightly and her wails gave in to heart-wrenching whimpering. She can’t stop. The sniveling makes her vaguely aware of her throat getting sore and her lungs finally allow themselves to take in a breath. But after a wave of fresh air filling up her lungs, the whimpering and weeping continue harder and louder. Oh God, this torturous, burning pain in her heart! The fires are consuming her, lapping at her senses, tearing her from limp to limp as she tries to grab hold of the last bit of sensibility. What is happening to me? She thinks, what am I doing to myself? And her mind answers her with the image of Michael.


As though at that moment, her body takes the cue from her mind to surrender to exhaustion, her arms give way and she lays her head down on the bed. The crying stops but she don’t know why the tears continue flowing. She is too tired to wipe them from her cheeks. Looking up at her ceiling again, while the streaks of tears wet her ears and she finally wills her hands to run themselves violently across her face, as though they are angry at her tears for making her face and ears wet and sticky. Then slowly, Annabel reaches out to her left chest, feeling the dull ache, pricking and picking from the insides and falls asleep again. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

You're mine Chapter 9

The following post possesses mature content. Reader discretion is advised.

Chapter 9

Annabel decides to go with a black turtle neck which hugs her perfectly-shaped breasts and almost flat tummy, from the back, the soft woollen material covers her back which arches inwards and accentuates her butt and hips. Pulling out a pair of sleek brown pants, Annabel puts it on, pulling it up her alluringly slender legs. She takes a step back from the mirror looking at herself and decides to go with her waist-length wavy hair let loose- she wants to go with a casual and comfortable look feeling light-hearted after spending a relaxing night with Sophie.

Both girls have decided to take another day off from work to go for some shopping. Retail therapy, according to Sophie, cures all kinds of pain.

A car swirls dangerously into her lane. It takes Annabel more than a second to react. The brake is applied too late and her Mini Cooper crashes into the Mercedes in front.

Annabel’s body is lunged forward then back. Fumbling with her seat belt, Annabel climbs out of the car to inspect the damage of the car bonnet. There is a slight den at the bonnet and she sees that the bumper has slipped from its original place, the right side dangling dangerously. Annabel gives out a moan and immediately feels a wave of distress swarm over her.

The driver of the Mercedes, an old man of about sixty comes out and begins to apologises. He writes down his number on the back of a receipt and squeezes it into Annabel’s hand. Annabel looks up at the old man’s face, his expression remorseful and conscience-stricken. She clenches her fingers around the paper and instinctively, her mind flashes Michael’s face.

The old man is still chanting his apologies as Annabel walks back to her car and reaches for her handbag to dig out her mobile phone and scrolls for Michael’s number.

She isn’t hurt though her neck aches a little. Managing a glance to the old man who is speaking into his mobile phone, Annabel deduces that he is fine too.

“Hi,”

“Mike. I just met with an accident.” Annabel croaks.

“What? Are you hurt?”  

“I’m am not hurt. The other driver-” Annabel turns her head to look at the old man and sees him putting his mobile phone into his pocket. His hand reaches up to massage his forehead as he shakes his head. “He is okay.”

“Good. Now go take some pictures. I’ll call Leslie. And don’t forget to take down the other driver’s particulars.” Annabel’s voice hardens into a business-like tone and hangs up the phone on her.

What? So that’s it? You don’t even care that I am shaken and still crying? Thinks Annabel miserably.

Annabel takes a deep breath, sniffs at the air and stabs into her iPhone to the camera function. She hasn’t noticed a figure just few steps in front of her. She tilts her head up and finds herself looking into Simon’s eyes.

“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” asks Simon, his eyes soft and full of concern.

Annabel nods mutely.
“Come, let me.” says Simon and he gently takes her iPhone from her still shaking hands, their fingers touching, leaving the same tingling feeling she had felt earlier today.

In a daze, Annabel’s eyes follow Simon as he snaps pictures of both cars from different angles and even takes a picture of the road sign and the junction. He then speaks to the old man and when both of them turn their heads toward her, Simon nods and walks over back to her. Annabel can’t help but felt her heart calm and it wasn’t much due to Simon’s help, but the confidence he emits from his handsome face.

“Mr Jose says he has given you his number and on that piece of paper in your hand. Is that one it?” asks Simon. He reaches out to Annabel’s right hand, which still clenching the paper. Annabel looks down weakly at her hand, allowing him to slowly pry open her fingers to fish out the piece of paper from her. The paper is now crumpled and wet with her perspiration. Simon peels open the piece of water to read the handwriting written on the paper. With her iPhone, he dials the number written there. Hearing Mr Jose’s phone rings, he nods his approval and hangs up.  

After another few words exchanged, Mr Jose and Simon shake hands. Simon reappears beside Annabel. “Do you have a garage you can call? I can call the one I always go to and have your car towed. They will have an assessment of your car and will send the bill to Mr Jose, I mean the driver of the Mercedes.”

“No, I mean yes. I called a friend and he said he will have one of his guys come down to pick up my car.”

Simon nods. Then without warning, he swings his arm around her shoulders and gives her a tight squeeze then releases her. “You alright?”  

“Yes.” Annabel replies looking down at the ground as her thoughts brought her back to Michael’s hashed tone moments ago.

“You look pretty shaken up. Come.” Still having his arms around her shoulders, Simon leads her to a black Subaru parked just some distance from the accident scene with his hazard lights blinking. Simon opens the front door and pushes her in gently. Annabel finds herself relaxing for the first time when she hears the rough yet soothing voice of Nickelback filling up the car. She smiles a little at listening to one of Simon's favourite singer. She looks up to expect Simon climbing into the driver’s seat beside her but he walks back to her car. To her amazement, Simon climbs instead into her car and drove it to the side of the road. She turns her head further back to find a long row of cars behind the Mini Cooper slowing down, trying to steer into the other lane.

Simon and Mr Jose manoeuvre their cars in front of Simon’s Subaru and exchanged some more words. Mr Jose look towards Annabel, in a painful expression, he does a couple of salutes as he lowers his head to indicate how sorry he is. Seeing at such a sorry sight, Annabel flashes a tiny smile at him and shakes her head a little.

After another good fifteen minutes or so, Leslie appeared in a tow truck. Annabel hops out of Simon’s car and waves at him. Leslie seems a little lost at first to see Simon beside her car. He frowns a little but heaves a small relief when he sees Annabel approaching him from behind.

Annabel quickly dismisses Leslie’s puzzlement at Annabel being with another man. She doubts he will say anything to Michael anyway but even if he does, there is nothing much to explain. She bets he would have helped many of Michael’s women after all.

 “You’ll need a ride.” says Simon matter-of-factly, when Annabel finds them standing in the middle of the street.

“Erm. Yes.” says Annabel suddenly aware of herself and the situation she is. She’ll need to get to Sophie right away.”

“Where’re you heading to?” asks Simon as he walks back to his Subaru indicating that Annabel should follow.

“I’m meeting Sophie at the mall.” exclaims Annabel as she pictures her best friend waiting at the mall. “I’ve got to call her.”