I lost someone whom I hold close to my heart to even now, my best friend, Imai. We met one another 14 years ago, in our kindergarten school.
It was the first day of school in my whole life. Naturally, I cried and refused to let go of my mother. The kindergarten teacher was trying to persuade me to go into the classroom along with other children, but I saw her as a stranger trying to separate my mother and I. Then, Imai walked towards me, clutching a picture book and he said, " Come with me! I'll show you my favourite book. You're the only one I will share it with." He used his right hand to wipe my tears.
We went to the same primary school and was put into the same class. In my whole primary school life, Imai acted as my big brother, always reminding me what I was supposed to do as I am a very forgetful person. He was nagging me to do my homework and revise, protecting me from school bullies and keeping me company for the whole day. My mother often told him to take good care of me. He was someone very dear to me. Everyday after school, we would quickly sneak off to a canal nearby and sit on a wooden plank which was placed across the waters. It was a place where we played. enjoyed the scenery, and talked.
Both of us soon reached Primary 6, took PSLE and received our posting results. We made the same six secondary school choices, but was disappointingly posted into different schools. We went back to the canal after getting the results. Sitting on the plank, we sighed simultaneously, then laughed.
"Don't worry, this will not be the last day sitting here together. We shall meet everyday after school, okay?" Imai smiled and patted my shoulder.
Two years later in Secondary 2, we still meet almost everyday at the canal. On this fateful day, it was raining heavily and I wanted to meet Imai at a different venue as the canal would be dangerous.
"Never mind, wait for me at home. I have to go to the canal. I want to search for the bracelet which you dropped there yesterday. It means a lot to us, doesn't it? I must find it before the rain washes it into the canal. I'll go over to your place after I found it," Imai assured me through the public telephone. I could imagine his smiling yet determined expression.
On the way home, the rain still has not receded. I was getting more and more worried as my watch ticked away. He still has not reach me on my handphone. Unable to bear it any longer, I alighted at the next stop and quickly made my way to the canal anxiously.
"Imai, let's go! The bracelet can't be found in this storm! Stop searching, we can get another of the same design tomorrow!" I was in a fluster, shouting at him so he could hear me above the noise of the rushing waters. I urged him, and tried to pull him towards the bus stop.
"Wait! I see something glittering there! Must be it!" Imai said excitedly and walked briskly towards the plank while I followed cautiously behind. Suddenly, he slipped and was hanging with his hands flailing, furiously trying to get hold of something to support himself. It was the greatest shock in my life, and a scene I will never forget, as long as I live. While trying to pull him up, memories of the times we had for nine years flashed through my mind. Images of Imai clutching his favourite picture book and wiping my tears, Imai fending off bullies for me, Imai nagging at me to revise for exams, Imai offering me cookies which he baked in his first Home Economics culinary lesson, Imai crying because of his poor results, Imai cheering me up when my grandfather passed away, Imai feeding me that horribly-tasting medicine...
I was crying badly without realising. The rain was too strong, our hands were too slippery from the water and blood from our cuts by the sharp ends of the plank. Our hands slipped. He fell into the waters and was swept away by the current in seconds. Just mere seconds for him to disappear totally, not just from my sight, but from my life. My mind went blank, and I remained squating, stunned. Imai is gone. After denial, it was anger. Why couldn't I persuade Imai not to go to the canal? Why wasn't I strong enough to pull him up?
I went to the bus stop and approached a stranger, crying so badly that my knees buckled.
Five years later, in the third year of tertiary education now, I am still living with that 'gap'.
Five years since you left me. i am so thankful that I have memories and items which reminds me of you. I have not forgotten you. I will never forget you.
*Just an essay for school HAHA*