CHAPTER 60: PROLOGUE
All the terrible things (for me, at least) are finally behind us. Our lives has become peaceful...at least for a couple of days. Those couple of days have been utterly wonderful and simply calming. You know how the sky is crystal clear right before a storm? And then said storm catches you complete off guard? It was exactly like that. We were unaware of the calm before the storm. No, it was worse than a storm.
It was Hurricane Finals
Well, I was fucked. Seriously, just shoot me (because Ma and Pa will kill me anyway when my grades are out). Y____Y How did I know my fate already? I knew because I slept all day every day. I played my PSP when the teachers were giving lectures. I played DotA when I got home. I copied Keng's homework in the morning. So what exactly was I supposed to use during my exams when my brain was completely void of any educational knowledge? Once I got a chance to figure all out this out, I decided to pack my bag so I can sleepover at Dr. Whaen's house in order to...play more Dota with Ohm. No, wait! I mean, in order to study! (Ah, I let it slip.) At any rate, there was no way Ohm and I would be able to learn anything on our own. In the end, we called Keng, Palm, Pong and Rodkeng (who still had some brain cells left in his head), to come over for tutor sessions. But when Dong, Ken and Em found out, they asked if they could come to get some scraps...I meant some knowledge too. (I didn't mean to use that word, I'm serious...maybe.)
And thus, the national level tutor session began! (Okay, take it down a notch.) I laid down on my belly while I took notes about the important parts. I read those back aloud at the same time to the guys. It got confusing off and on. Not even off and on, actually. Everything was confusing from the start, to be honest. These invited tutors were the worst. There was no cohesion to the way they review things whatsoever. Seriously, were you actually in the same class?! All they did was go into these long arguments on electric potential tension, electrochemical cells and electrical circuits or some shit. Will I ever understand these damn concepts?! Let's just study something else! We decided to put away out Physics book (because no one can agree on who's right and wrong) and switch to Biology instead. But...it made no difference. Keng and Palm insisted on having another face off like before. When Keng said something, Palm interrupted him. When Palm pointed something out, Keng interjected with something else. The ones that paid the price were the listeners. We were pretty much confused and dumbfounded by the whole thing. All we could do was let those two have it out while we watched helplessly. But then, my cell phone rang and I saw a name I was too familiar with on the screen.
Phun Phumipat! Final answer!
It couldn't be helped, he was calling right when we were in trouble so this was on him, hahaha. Phun was smart, as expected of someone who was in the gifted class. Sure, he often ran around doing silly things with me but I think he probably paid attention during his classes since his scores were always high and I was secretly jealous of that. At any rate, Phun was calling to borrow my Nirvana's first album. He knew that I owned one. (It was a rarity, lemme tell you. But he was still in the mood to listen to music when it was this close to our finals? How chill was he?) The problem, though, was that I wasn't not at home. But more importantly, a little quid pro quo must be involved. Heh heh heh.
Thus, the intensive tutor sessions by poor Phun Phumipat began. It was unfortunate that he had us as his students. No, seriously. It was really pitiful. I was stressed out for him, especially when Ohm asked about Euler. He wanted to know who that guy was and where he lived so that he could go smack Euler's father in the head...for coming up with that graph theory. (He's kinda dead, you bastard!) I couldn't believe Ohm came up with that. Well, smack them for me too because I also hate them. -_-
In the end, Phun ended up spending 3 nights and 2 days at Dr. Whaen's house (like it was a camping trip). We all felt like such burdens but Phun kept saying that it was all good and that this was a way for him to review things for himself too anyway. Since I was normally a considerate person, I asked him to just tutor us in Physics after we finish up with Math. (Ha...)
And of course, after such extensive tutor sessions...
...I was still completely clueless during my exams. -_-"...
Ugh! What did these teachers want from me?! Damn it. I mean, Phun did give the questions that would've been on the tests and I recognized them. It was just...I wasn't entirely focused when he was tutoring us. The air conditioner at Dr. Whaen's house was so nice and cool, what was I supposed to do? Not to mention how Auntie Pen (she's the maid there) spoiled us with soda, snacks, fruits and all kinds of yummy things. Let's just say that 60% of my concentration was on the can of Prinkles, 20% on rice skin dumplings, 10% on glasses of Coke and the last 10% was on the textbooks, hahaha. I wonder if I'll end up eating a big fat hard boiled egg when my grades are out. -_-
At any rate, that was all in the past now and there was nothing I could do about it (seriously? T____T) because our summer vacation finally arrived. =D Right at the start of our vacation, we decided to go to the beach! Ohm, Keng, Rodkeng, Pong, Em, Dong, Palm and I went to Ko Chang for 4 days and 3 nights. We came back really tanned. (Especially Ohm, he was the darkest among us.) Something really spooky happened too, but I won't tell you guys. (It's a secret.) Although, this summer vacation wasn't all fun and games...due to our school forcing all high school students to take summer classes from March to April. Wah. T___T They're too cruel.
Still, there's that Pharma-Camp which will cheer us up a little, hehehe. I hope there'd be cute girls there as eye candies just as Ohm spoke of.
The Pharmaceutical major students had asked us to show up ungodly early in the morning. And I really mean early. They wanted us to show up at the Bangkok Railway Station at 7 in the morning. Ugh. I thought I was going to lose it. It's summer vacation, so 7 in the morning is when I go to sleep. -_- Luckily, Phun knew better and called me even before the roosters were up. Otherwise, certain someone would've missed that train for sure. Certain someone may have been a little too excited to play with his new Wii that he stayed up until 4 am...so forget actually waking up when he was supposed to on his own. I think back to myself while I clumsily exit my cab since I was pretty much nodding off and on the entire ride. (Plus, the traffic was awful.)
I stumble my way to the entrance where Phun said we'd meet up. The handsome jerk is standing there with a huge grin on his face. I guess he's cheering me on and hope that I'd get to where he is in one piece. Honestly, it feels like I'm walking around with my eyes closed right now. -_-
"Stayed up late, didn't ya? See? I told you to sleep early."
"I didn't stay up late, I just...slept late." Shit, I'm not wrong though, am I? Why'd you smack me in the head?! I rub the spot where I was hit, feeling slightly irritated but also dizzy (because I'm not fully awake yet). Meanwhile, Phun drags me by the arm and we head inside the train station.
Just as we're about to walk through the entrance, Ohm blocks us. There's a panic expression on his face.
"Yo, Phun!" And he didn't even say hi to me! He's calling Phun's name instead?! I'm waking up now.
"What's up?" I don't know if I'm imagining this but even though Phun sounds perfectly polite, there's a slight instigation tone to his voice.
I stare at the two with my eyes blinking rapidly. Finally, Ohm shows his teeth at the student council secretary whom he owes so much to (you know, the finals thing.)
"You! Didn't you say we'd be going to the Pharma-Camp?! So what the hell is this?!"
"What's happening?" It's my turn to ask a question, I can't help butting in. Aren't we going to the Pharma-Camp?
Ohm shoots me an annoyed look before he replies. "It's an afforestation camping trip! Phun! Explain!" Now Ohm is grabbing Phun by his shirt.
The student council secretary chuckles to himself before he gives his answer. "And which faculty is running this camp, Ohm?"
"So was I wrong to tell you that it's a Pharma-Camp? They're running the camp, but I never specifically said that the camp is for those that wanna study pharmaceuticals." Wow. You bastard! You tricked us! Ohm and I both hang our mouths open. It feels as though our dreams have been crushed. No girls would want to hike around and plant trees! This sucks!
Ohm and I have the exact same expression—that we want to go home right now—but Phun refuses to let that happen as he pushes both of us inside.
"Ah, come on. Just go. It'll be fun. Why do you wanna go to a real Pharma-Camp anyway? It's not like you're interested in that, right? An afforestation camp is way better, we'll actually get to do something useful." It's so nice of you to speak for us like this. Ohm and I frown at Phun's overly confidence that things will be great. I guess it couldn't be helped since we're already here. I'll get you back for this later!
In the end, here we are. I give the female seniors, who are waiting to welcome us, an embarrassed smile. There's a banner with 'Afforestation Camp by Faculty of Paramedical from xxx University' written on it. Damn you, Phun, damn you. How could you trick me like this?!
But it seems Ohm is no longer disappointed by this outcome. He's sending sweet smiles to a pretty senior who's checking us in.
"What are your names?"
"It's Ohm, what about yours?" Watch it!
The pretty senior smiles widely. (and if I may, I'm in a dream-like state along with Om too. She's so cute! Does Phun have something stuck in his throat or something? He keeps clearing his throat.) Then, she answers his question in the most pleasant tone. "I meant...the name you used to register. What was it? That way I can find the correct name tag for you." Fail! Ohm just got owned. Ahahaha! I burst out laughing in glee as he stomps on my foot in a swift. Ouch! That hurts, you fuck!
Eventually, we weasel our way into learning her name. (Her name is p'Liew. Her name is beautiful and so is she. Ohm and I nearly broke our ribs elbowing each other.) Finally, we finish signing in and receive our name tags. That's when we learn that...
All three tags are in different colors?
What the heck?
Ohm, Phun and I look at one another in bewilderment. My name tag says 'Noh' in red. Phun's is in bright yellow. But the best one has to be Ohm's as his is pretty in pink. Ahahahaha!
But before Ohm can make a huge fuss over this, a group of co-ed seniors jump in front of us at lightning speed. Ah! You startled me! I hang my mouth open as I watch those college students proceed to sing at the top of their lungs as though they've forgotten that it's...7 in the morning right now!
Do you guys usually get up this early to sing and dance?!
Ohm, Phun and I can't seem to stop blinking as the welcoming committee forms a circle around us. They're singing and dancing like crazy. (Are you all possessed...?) How do you expect innocent kids like us to react...other than standing still and be completely mute while allowing them to go nuts as they please? (Just let us go when you're done, please. Y____Y)
Apparently I was sorely mistaken about standing still and simply watching them. After the loud singing and dancing, a woman from the group shoves a microphone at Phun's face and sings out a question ever so loudly.
"What's your name? What's your nameeeee?" There's a name tag hanging around his neck though? -_-" I start cackling up at the sight of Phun flinching as if he's seeing a ghost. He's even sweating bullets and it's only 7 in the morning. This is hilarious! It's really funny watching beads of sweat being formed on Phun's forehead. How lucky am I to get a chance to witness Phun Phumipat, the guy who can do it all, being put on the spot like this? Hahaha. "Uh...my name is Phun."
What is with the scream?! We wince a bit before they continue with the song. "Your name is Phun! Your name is Phun! You must dance like this! You must dance like this! You must dance like this!" What is that dance?! Ahahahaha! I lose it when I see a male senior jump out and start to move his hip to the right then smacking it twice. Hahahahaha. Phun looks scared but he's too afraid to go against them. (Right now, a ton of seniors are around us, you'd think we're being beat up if you don't look close enough.) In the end, this capable Phun Phumipat shyly swings his hip to the right and hits his butt twice like in that "Shape Ba" music video by Apaporn. Ahahahahha, I wish I had been recording this!
And of course, it is Ohm's turn now. I'm laughing even harder when he's being told to drag his limbs and walk around the station like a zombie. Think of the innocent bystanders! A grandmother nearby flinches so hard when Ohm walks up to her. Ahahaha! That's just too much!
Even though I'm laughing, it doesn't mean I'm off the hook. After laughing my ass off at these guys, this madness is coming my way. Y____Y
"What's your name? What's your nameeeee?" There she goes. What do I do now?
"N...Noh." More screams. -_-" So you scream for everyone, is that it? (Did you swallow a whistle by accident earlier this morning?) All I can do is give them an embarrassed smile while bracing myself for whatever ridiculous things they'll tell me to do. "Your name is Noh! Your name is Noh! You must dance like this! You must dance like this! You must dance like this!" What the heck is that?! I hang my mouth open as the senior from before (who came up with the absurd moves for Phun and Ohm earlier) wants me to mimic his moves where he...sticks his hand under his armpit then sniffs it. I'm about to go insane here. I didn't even put on deodorant this morning and my armpits are like the amazon jungle. He can't be serious!
I look at them with my pleading eyes, thinking that they might be lenient on me. But nope. Everyone is still hitting those drums and shaking those tambourines to get me to do it. Wah, wah, wah. This is too cruel. Fine, I'll do it! Ugh! Gross! This is so nasty, why does it smell so bad?!
After everybody gets a chance to say hello (in the the most brutal ways Y___Y), we're left alone by ourselves as a new group of campers arrived. Look at that! Way to abandon me! Where do I go and wait now?
"Phun! Noh! Ohm! Over here!" Ah, so that's where the rest of my friends are. I turn to wave at Pong, Joke and Nant who probably got here earlier than we did but kept quiet because they wanted to watch what we had to go through. You're saving those moments to make fun of us later, aren't you?!
"What the hell were you doing sniffing your pits at 7 in the morning? That was so nasty, I thought I was gonna barf." Fucker, I knew it! Don't rub it in! I point my finger at young master Pong as a warning. Joke is laughing heartily in the background.
"Pong, what you had to do wasn't that much better than what Noh had to do though. You had to grab your crotch and danced around the station like Micheal Jackson after all. Haha." Ahahahaha! For real?! Good thing I got here later than him, I wouldn't want that image to haunt me at night.
I get up close and laugh at his face (I don't even know if I brushed my teeth well enough) before Ohm reaches over and caresses Pong's big butt. The owner of said butt jumps in a panic. "What the fuck, Ohm?!"
"I just wanted to know how well you can move your hips. Ahahahaha."
"Fuck you, I ain't nong Mick! Asshole! Go put your damn bags over there. They said everyone can help carry them onto the train before it depart." Hahaha, serves you right. I'm laughing but I'm forgetting the fact that Ohm doesn't really care what people think anyway. He shrugs before he throws his backpack into the same pile as young master Pong's rolling luggage. (Jeez, Pong, We're going out of town, not out of the country. This is kind of excessive and scary.)
"Oh, yeah! How come almost all of our name tags are in different colors?! Only Nant and yours are the same color." Despite being happy with red and not getting Ohm's pretty in pink, I'm still curious. I grab my red name tag and place it next to Pong's and Nant's which are purple. This is rather puzzling.
"Oh, this thing?" Joke begins his explanation. "They said it's like how we divide into teams of different colors for Sports Day. So when we play games, work or doing other recreational activities, we're actually competing against each other. I guess they're doing this because they noticed that we're all from the same school so they split us up. Only Nant and Pong share the same color. But we're still waiting for the rest of the guys from our school to show up. Not everyone is here yet." Oh, yeah. My friends aren't even here yet.
"Oh, right! What about Dong and Palm?! That bastard Palm is running late again, isn't he?" I quickly turn to ask Pong once I realize this. However, it was a total waste of breath considering how someone like Palm doesn't show up to class unless the gates are already closing. It's like he has this need of being forced to climb over the fence to get inside the school instead of just walking through the gate like normal people. I can't help but wonder if he isn't sick and tired of doing a 4 x 100 meter sprint from the harbor every day?
Pong takes this opportunity to rag on his friend. "Yeah. Palm told me he woke up late. He's on his way. Dong isn't coming though, he said that he's busy with something but I don't know what." Eh? I see. It's a little disappointing since I was looking forward to going on this trip with a ton of friends. Ohm's laughter interrupts my thoughts. "He's probably afraid that they won't let him smoke, haha." Damn, way to talk shit about him. He quit a while ago! I turn to smack Ohm once for running his mouth off. Then, I remember that Film is supposed to be here too.
"Oh, what about Film? How come he isn't here yet? Did he call you?" It seems the one with the answers this time is Ohm. He's nodding his head.
"Yeah, he did. He can't go either because Art is sick. He has to go to that thank you party with that head committee auntie. Ahahaha, serves him right!" Hahaha! I agree! Serves him right! But this means there's even less people from our school now though.
I let out a sigh. I'm bummed. As I look around the crowded train station filled with campers waiting for the train, I notice that there are a lot more girls here than I originally thought. When we learned that this is actually an afforestation camp, our dream of going on a camping trip with cute girls went away in the blink of an eye. But now that I take a look, half the group are actually girls. I guess this is why Ohm is in a better mood now. He has since stopped nagging at Phun like how he was earlier.
The guys from Phun's class and my class chat and joke around with one another. Joke brought his guitar but left his tuner at home so he asks me to help out since I'm the president of the music club (what does that have to do with this?). However, it's been a long while since I've done this myself (and I don't have a tuner with me either), so I am a bit stumped. I keep making it sound weird to the point where Ohm smacks my head and tunes it instead. He accuses me of ruining the music club's good name too. Well, I normally use a tuner! You bastard! (Anyway, how come Ohm is so good at this? Curse him and his perfect pitch ears. I can't deny that he's really talented.) In the end, I become the ugly stepchild that no one wants because I'm useless to them. All I can do is watch as Ohm tunes the 6 strings on that guitar with hands on my hip.
As I find something else to look at, my eyes spot a big group of girls. (They're mouth-watering cute, it's insane.) They're all light-skinned and pretty. The thing is though, they look awfully familiar. I begin to wonder if they're from the convent near my school.
And slowly, I get my answers. I'm sure I recognize one of the girls there. She's sitting near where the luggage are and it seems she's not actively chatting with anybody. The girl turns and our eyes meet. She smiles at me.
That's the girl from the convent's music club, isn't she? I'm trying really hard to recall her name but I can't and it's starting to piss me off. What's her name again? It's on the tip of my tongue. Beed? Need? Something like that? Ugh, I can't remember! But it definitely is the same girl.
Despite not being able to remember her name, I'm still polite enough to give her a nod and smile back. Then, my eyes spot another familiar light-skinned girl. And this girl is a lot more familiar to me than that girl whose name I can't remember. She's laughing with her group of friends.
I could never forget her cheerful expression and bright laughter.
"So you finally saw her. You're even more blind than I first thought." Ohm says. This must mean he has seen her a while ago. What about Phun?
I glance at Phun, there's a hint of alarm in my eyes. As usual, he has nothing but smiles for me. He raises one of his brows as though he wants to let me know that I shouldn't worry.
So, I'm the last person to find out...
I let out a long sigh because I don't know what else to do. "Should I...just go home?"
"What the fuck for? Do you hate her or something?"
I know Ohm doesn't actually think that I do. "No...but you know why. I just don't want to make things awkward for her..."
"She already saw you when you walked in. If she thought it'd be awkward then she would've dragged her suitcase home by now, you dumbass." You could've said that nicely, you asshole. I give Ohm a stare as he continues to work on the guitar. He seems not very bothered by this. I let out an even longer sigh.
"Just act normal. You don't want Phun to worry again, do you?" He's right. I glance at Phun who is chatting with Joke and Nant not too far from us. Still, he turns to give me a smile occasionally. I know well enough that there's some uncertainty hidden behind those smiley eyes. Phun has been blaming himself for what happened between Yuri and me this entire time. I, on the other hand, would never place the blame on anyone else.
You lose 7 seconds of your life every time you sigh, I wonder how much time I have left. Sigh. (Again.) But it seems this camp refuses to let me die that quickly even though I've sighed for what seems to be the hundredth time so far as everyone in the entire station bursts into screams and shrieks.
Ohm (who's still tuning the guitar) and I flinch and turn to see what's happening. Biological and non-biological female seniors are squealing as if they found a new favorite toy. What the heck? I think to myself as I get on my tippy toes to see who or what is in the middle of that crowd.
And he's wearing a red name tag just like mine?