Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Strangers: Angela

The following are fictional writing and any resemblance to actual events are purely coincidental:

It was supposed to be just another day at work; long and uneventful, but safe. Who would have known that my boss was such a jerk? I had to leave. He had no right to come on to me like that. He came into my office, with a promise of a long awaited promotion. But he also brought in his 'moves,' hinting that I will never get out of my position if I do not sleep with him. I thought I had to, but the more I dwelled on it, the more disgusted I was of myself for even thinking of it. I was fortunate that the strong smell of his cigarette stench emanating from his mouth when he tried to kiss me brought me back to my sense.

I managed to hold on to my tears all the way to my car. There, I let it all out. I sat in there, for almost 2 hours, hating myself for letting such a thing happen. I am pretty sure that I just just lost my job, a job that I kept through the recent bad economic times even though a lot of my ex-colleagues had to be laid off. I was proud of my job, I loved my job. I could not help but thinking the reason why I managed to stay while so many others had to go, was that that creep wanted me in bed with him. I cringed even thinking of his stupid face.

I wanted to drive. I wanted to drive on and on and on forever. I did not want to go back home to face my family after what just happened. So I drove.

Until I ran out of petrol 10 minutes later. I parked my car by the roadside, with the fuel indicator glowing bright. I realised I parked right in front of an MRT station.

I wiped my tears and tried to look my best, bought the most expensive fare and boarded the train. It was crowded as usual. I was forced to stand but all I wanted to do was to curl up and cry.

All men are evil, I started thinking. Men are evil because they crave power. Power over others, power of wealth, power of position. My boss was an ass. My 'boyfriend' is a self-absorbed narcissist. My dad pushed us to do way beyond what we could. I hate men, I don't need them. Sometimes I just want to live as a spinster with my 7 cats and 3 dogs.

I managed a smile as the person standing in front of me was wearing a t-shirt with a cartoon cat and a dog being best buds.

"So you CAN smile," the man with the shirt suddenly spoke.

"Excuse me?" I was stunned.

"You've been crying. But I'm glad there's still something that is cheering you up." He smiled and looked away as if nothing happened.

I wiped my eyes again. I guess they must have been red or swollen or something. And probably now my cheeks are probably red. This day was not meant to happen. If only I didn't stay back longer than I should. If only I would have said 'no' straight up. If only...

"You should smile more. You look prettier if you do."

"Excuse me?" I stared into his eyes, trying to decipher what he was trying to do.

"I am not sure what happened, but he's not worth crying and being angry over. Everything happens for a reason. This could be the start of something."

"I don't think you understand my situation at all." But in actual fact, he nailed the gist of what happend to me. Was it written all over my face?

"I am sure I don't. I'm just voicing my opinion. I'll stop now. I'm getting off soon anyway." He smiled again. And with that, he alighted and was gone.

That was 2 years ago. I have since started my own business with a few friends. Life has been good. I know I was not that all nice to him, but the guy in the cat and dog shirt really helped me that night. I dwelled on it, pondered at what he told me, finally concluding that he was right. That night, I made a change in my life.

How often nowadays, do you see a stranger on the train and actually cheer you up? Or even just casual talk for that matter. Everyone is so engrossed in their daily lives and ignoring everything else that is going on around them. Most of the people I see on the train all have that look, that they have only one track mind, to get from A to B. I guess that is how I used to be as well.

I do wonder, if I could ever meet with that guy ever again. I would love to thank him for what he said to me that day.

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