My first friend

*Before you read: One thing that I want to add to this year's resolutions is to write more, hopefully as much as I used to, when I was a freshfaced, enthusiatic, hopeful, budding writer. This post is the first of my writing works, watch this space for more!

“My life was sweet simple and gay
it seemed it’ll always stay this way.
But no I grew up day by day
And now I recall those childhood days.”Me, aged 5, around the same time I met my first friend.

When I was five, I met my first friend. Of course, I had Cookies (my dog), Bubbies (dad’s dog) and Fifi (family dog) but they were different. Susan was human. My parents told me her name was adapted from her Chinese name Soo San. She had long straight hair.

I met her at Macdonalds’, the one near my home in Bukit Timah, where we had our breakfast. Our parents were bringing us on a trip to Malaysia, a place called Desaru. My mom got me a hotcakes happy meal and she, a big breakfast.

“I’m six years old,” she said. “You?”
“Five” was my answer.
“Your name?” she asked.
“Michelle,” I said.
“I’m Susan.”
I wanted to tell her I knew but kept quiet instead.

Suddenly her dad noticed us talking and said merrily, “Glad to know you girls are getting along well.”

All the adults nodded their heads in approval. I just smiled.


Have you ever been to Desaru? It’s a small town in Malaysia, near the coast. The water was clear and I swear I could feel fishes gliding past my ankles, soft and slippery. It sent a thrill down my spine and I ventured out the sea a little more.

Standing there in the cool waters, I tried to sing a little song. I hummed my dad’s favourite “Careless Whispers”, then gave up and switched to “Tell Laura I Love Her”.

It was an easy tune to remember, maybe because it left a deep impression on me. From the time I understood the lyrics, I felt a great despair that heroic love could actually end up a tragedy.

I felt mellow. I imagined myself as Laura, waiting for her hero at the beach. I was getting to the part where someone (presumably Laura’s friend) came running to tell me my boyfriend was dead. I looked up, straight into the eyes of the invisible “friend”. I stared, anxious for the news of my lover.

That’s when I heard her voice.

“What are you doing?”
It was Susan.

“Nothing. Just playing in the water,” I said.
“Is it cold?” she asked, but stepped in anyway.
I stood there, looking at her for a moment then did the first thing that came to my mind: I splashed around.

Have you ever tried to make friends? If you have, you’ll notice that when two strangers come together, all they need is some common source of fun and they’ll feel immediately closer.

Susan splashed back at me and I retaliated. This went on until we were both wet and giggling with glee. This was the first time both of us laughed together.


Do you remember your first friend?