Friday, August 26, 2005

Mr. Kudo-san

If memory hasn’t failed me, Ken was a girl killer. He was sweet when he wanted to be, but mischievous by default; he wore the conventional smirk of tomfoolery. His floppy mop of raven hair accentuated the rich olive tone of his skin, a result of his Venezuelan-Japanese parentage. His eyes were small and sleepy-looking, but always alert. The beauty mark strategically dotting his lower right cheek amplified his popularity amongst the female student population. He left in the early years of high school, right before we got a chance to reach the exciting bit of watching boys grow up.

I wasn’t very close to him, but he did leave an impact on me. From time to time I’ve wondered how that dude has been doing.

I reminisce the time when he swung his arm into my back like a baseball bat and yelled “You STUPID!” when I was made the leader and picked the 'wrong' person for our team in dodgeball. I sobbed to the PhysEd teacher afterwards. “Ken, why’d you hit her? No need to be so rough, she’s a girl,” Mr. Leo told him as he rubbed my back which ironically caused it to hurt more.

I reminisce the time when I actually felt like a somebody in school after being told to swim a lap of backstroke with him, one of the fastest swimmers in our class. We shot off doing our strongest backstroke but ended up veering into each other halfway, trying not to laugh as to keep our heads up, our slippery arms and legs thrashing side by side. We reached the end of the pool at the same time. I don’t think he thought much of it, but I sure did.

I reminisce the time when my low self-esteem developed into an anti-boy persona, and I once beat the crap out of him during lunchtime when I saw him causing mock trouble with a girl. He looked stunned, and so did the other boys, as I calmly strolled back to my corner of the room and resumed eating my cold rice and ginger chicken without a look of remorse.

I reminisce the time when I was made to do a short dance to “Summer Lovin’” and wore a garish pink and blue chiffon ensemble from my mom’s 70s wardrobe. The moment I sauntered out for my hand jive, the only person who caught my attention in the audience was Ken... pointing right at me, hand cupped over his mouth in stifled snickering, rolling backwards and slapping his crossed thighs. I couldn’t do anything but roll my eyes and continue my half-hearted lip-syncing.

All that was almost ten years ago. And I need not wonder anymore.

Jessica brought him along to make a surprise visit to Olivia’s birthday party... he had been living in Holland, and was in Kuala Lumpur for a week. A tall, lean frame clothed in rugged street wear, his hair was trimmed neatly into a short crop; his jaw had developed into a strong, bold square. The cheeky glint in his beady brown eyes was replaced with a tranquil gleam. His mannerisms were unhurried and deliberate, his deep voice switching between dense and buoyant, but always chilled.

Ken was a man.

Had he bumped into me on a busy sidewalk, I would have not passed him a second look. The only thing I recognized was the omnipresent freckle.

Then I heard the laugh.

And we talked like the good friends we never before were and I never expected us to be.

It was nice to meet you again, Ken. I’m so immensely sorry for your loss and I don’t know if I’ll be seeing you again anytime soon, but I’m sure Fate will continue to play its dirty jokes on us once in a while.

5 Comments:

Blogger fishtail said...

What a sweet article. Am sure he appreciates it when he reads it.

4:51 PM  
Blogger kepala_angin said...

i like the part where you calmly beat the crap out of him.. aahhh, such sweetness..

10:30 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

fishtail,
thanks for your comments. it's nice to be sentimental once in a while.

kepala angin,
yeah, that was seriously whack... i've since then learned how to express my feminist views in a more civilised manner.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Kudosan said...

I indeed appreciate it, i recon youre a darling davinatje. cheers
Kudosan

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey!

i've been trying to find this Ken for years now! by the way you've described him, i think i may have finally found him! i haven't got his contact details, but did he use to live in Taman Tun (Kiara Park), Kuala Lumpur? If he did, tell him James says Hi. I use to skate with this guy years back when we were still kids. I've got pictures of us when we were kids and I
thought I'd never hear from him again.

jamesyip83@hotmail.com

thanks!
James

8:52 PM  

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