There – she waltzes into the lecture hall again, hair limply wet and smelling like shampoo. That smile on her face again. She's always smiling. It reaches the middle of her back now – her hair I mean – slightly wavy, with streaks of dark red. Do you call it auburn? Fair, smiling face. Her name rolls off your tongue – Vynie. Vynie Yong.
And she waltzes in with an enviable image. Perky and sporting. She can look dead tired and appear perky. She can look sporty in a skirt. Maybe I'm reading something into her that isn't there, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And she is beautiful. A thousand words a minute machine gun, I can remember her excitable face as she talks. Animated.
A friend of a friend, I see her in my lecture hall and wonder. Wonder how it would be like if I really got to know her. Would I see her still as this perky, pretty, excitable girl? Or would she be somebody else totally?
And I sit watching. Most days just watching people walk into the halls tired, complaining. Watch angry faces, tired faces, laughing faces. There – that "soft" looking girl. Always in short skirts and spaghetti strap blouses, and what looks suspiciously like make-up. College, girl, not fashion parade, I feel like telling her. Wait – maybe it is her catwalk. She was a prom candidate. A couple strolls in, hands intertwined. Sickly sweet smiles on their faces. Maybe one day I'll be like that too. But I doubt I will. Not that badly anyway. I think.
Sitting and wondering – do people watch me too? Watch my quiet face watching people. Watch my restless eyes wandering the crowd. A face too expressive for my own good, I've often found. Wondering why I prefer watching and imagining, rather than finding out the true person behind my observations. Maybe I'm afraid of what I'll find. Maybe my imaginary friends are dearer to me than real ones. Imaginary friends don't tell you off as often as real ones do. And they don't ignore you either.
Am I too scary a friend? A mask that protects me from getting too close to others – to protect my fragile heart. Afraid of getting close, afraid of getting hurt. But I have good friends. Friends I sometimes don't appreciate enough. My gang. My first gang. Funny I had to wait until college to find such a wonderful bunch of people. And my mind wanders again. Wanders around the gradually filling lecture hall, eyes flitting from person to person.
And I watch her waltz into the hall again, and wonder if she's the same person I imagine her to be.