Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pet Sister

While browsing internet recently, I saw someone who resembles a friend of mine from the boarding school. Initially, I wasn’t sure but after careful observation, it was definitely her. (Note: Photo enclosed is just an illustration)

I remember her lips and her smile very well. She’s a year younger and I knew her when she was in Form 4. Her name is similar to mine but people called her Ira. Her sweet and innocent look attracts the guys in the school. I befriended her as I don't want any guys to take advantage of her innocence. Furthermore, she was assigned under my care in Girl Guides and that makes her my responsibility.

After a few bonding sessions, she wanted me to be her Pet Sister as she felt being close to a senior would discourage unwanted visits from the guys. Even if she didn’t mention anything about it, I would still offer her to be mine. We normally spend an hour hanging around the school in the evenings before the prep session at night. That went on for only a few months until a hysteria incident in 1989. We were confined to the hostel room and no one was allowed to go back home, except those badly affected by hysteria.

That night was kind of windy with a slight drizzle and occasionally accompanied by thunder. Everyone was afraid to leave their room. All I could think at that moment was her. She’s so fragile and always needed comfort. I tried to make an escape to her room but was caught by the warden and told to return immediately. I could only imagine how terrified she would be at that moment. Just when I almost reached my room, there was a continuous scream. I could hardly tell where it came from. Out of curiosity, everyone rushed outside. Moments later, someone came to me and said it was Ira. I rushed to her room instantly and helped others to calm her down. She kept on screaming uncontrollably. I got kicked on the stomach when I tried to hold her down. For someone small, even 5 people aren't enough to hold her. Although I felt the pain, I still held her tightly until we reached her house which is about half an hour drive. The moment we entered her room upstairs, there was a sudden blackout. The weird thing is that the blackout was only in her room. The rest of the house was still bright. After about 10 seconds, the light came back and she stopped screaming. She instantly looked calmed that moment. No one knows what happened during that 10 seconds blackout period and it was the spookiest night in my life!

She was a different person when she came back to the hostel two weeks later. She avoided talking to people, including her close friends. Even after a month, I still can’t get close to her. I decided to let her be herself and give her more time to recover. Only after a few months, she was able to respond. We had brief chat occasionally and that was it. I don’t want to go beyond that as she might push me away for the second time. I may have failed to be her Pet Sister but I managed to foster a similar relationship. I gave her a silver custom-made pendant with the name “NazSha” before I left school. It signifies our special bond … something we had that she might recall someday. Unfortunately, she never did. What changed her after the hysteria remains a mystery until today.

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