Wednesday, August 21, 2013


She quickly halted her steps when she heard the thud, thud of footsteps right behind her. She was scared, scared to look back and scared to ignore the footsteps altogether. She clutched her handbag close to her chest in attempt to hide her beating heart. She was afraid she would die out of sheer fright.

She finally took a deep breath and dared to look behind. She turned around swiftly but there was nothing there. She exhaled a sigh. Of relief? Or suspense? She finally told herself to calm down before she fainted from being a nervous wreck.

She continued to walk. Her RM25 stiletto bought at Kedai Hari-Hari protested under her will to sprint to the KTM station. She got a job right after graduating. She had to dumb down her resume to get that job although she graduated the top of her class for Arts. Her desire to open up her own gallery was mudded by the fact that she could only survive on Maggie Cup and tap water to be a struggling artist.

She finally reached the station after much struggling with her shoes. Her calves were on fire from constant badgering to move her feet faster to get away from the uncertainty lurking in the dark. Once she was enveloped by the bright lights of the KTM station, she felt slightly safe although her heart was still beating furiously.

As she waited for her train to come, she smiled at the counter lady who looked like Jabba The Hut in a cage. The Jabba, or the lady kept a tight puckered face instead of returning the smile. Urbanites, smiles are indeed very precious commodity in this concrete jungle where only one things make people talk, money. Other things do not matter.

She sat down on one of the dilapidated seats there. Suddenly, she felt something furry bristled against her foot. She was about to shriek when she noticed a kitten, its white fur had turned gray from dirt and lack of care. She shooed the kitty away, thinking that she had to get a grip on herself before she lost her mind and made a fool out of herself.

The train screeched and finally stopped in front of her. Again, she was cautious of her surrounding when she entered the train, surveying other passengers on the train. There was an elderly lady with her plastic bags, a homeless man (or he dressed like he’s homeless or maybe that’s the ‘in’ thing nowadays) and a dirty-looking kid, probably 8 or 9 years old, a girl who looked like she should have been 10 to 20 pounds heavier. And then there was her. A petite, docile looking lady, wearing her uniform – a three piece suit bearing the jewellery shop logo stitched onto her coat. The pantyhose she was wearing did nothing to conceal her shivering body as the night was extra cold and even in the commuter, the temperature dropped a couple of degrees.

Once again, she held her handbag close to her chest in order to calm her nerves. She was thinking of her nice and cosy bed. She was also thinking of a bath since she felt like a lollipop being left under the sun. All sticky and uncomfortable. And at the same time, she was thinking of her boyfriend and her hands lingered with his while they were watching a movie last weekend at their favourite supermarket cum dating headquarters where couples, young pubescent couples, all the way to wrinkly and matured couples, took their time to spare to meet each other at the designated supermarket.

She brushed aside indecent thoughts of her and her boyfriend as she began to feel her cheeks turning red. The automated voice in the train announced that her stop was coming. She stood up, trying to balance herself and looked around once again. The lady had dozed off. The homeless (or not) man too. While the kid was looking knowingly out of the window. When she try to stable herself in the front of the entrance, she looked again at the kid and the kid gave an eerie smile for despite her dishevelled condition, her teeth was perfectly maintained like the ones in a toothbrush of toothpaste commercial, or she religiously went to a dentist to get a white, pearly and dazzling smile like that. Even though she was a friendly person (she had to be because of her work, customers are less likely to buy jewellery if the salesperson was a snob), she didn’t feel compelled to return the smile. She just stared at the kid and gripped her handbag even tighter, willing the door to the train to pop open. When it did, she quickly willed her feet to move out of the train. When it closed again, she bravely but timidly looked inside the train to find the girl again.

To her horror, there was nobody in the train.

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