jubilee project picture perfect

Tuesday’s Tale: Picture Perfect

I cried.

Life is full of surprises and adventures, but sometimes it’s the seemingly ordinary moments that make life special. Picture Perfect is a tribute to those little moments and a reminder to cherish each and every day. We produced this short film in support of Leukemia awareness…

- Jubilee Project

Guessing by the guy’s body language and the storyline, I have known from the first minute of watching that the girl’s died. Ever since I realised that, I cried for the next six minutes while the guy is reminiscing their perfect moments, because I know she’s gone.

Beautiful story, beautiful cinematography, and beautiful lesson. I’ll always be a fan of Jubilee Project.

old-couple

Saturday’s Story: Oh, how I loved her

written by Hanoch McCarty, Ed. D., published on Chicken Soup for the Soul

The clergyman was finishing the graveside service. Suddenly, the 78-year-old man whose wife of 50 years had just died began screaming in a thick accent, “Oh, oh, oh, how I loved her!”

His mournful wail interrupted the dignified quiet of the ceremony. The other family and friends standing around the grave looked shocked and embarrassed. His grown children, blushing, tried to shush their father.

“It’s okay, Dad; we understand, Shush.”

The old man stared fixedly at the casket lowering slowly into the grave. The clergyman went on. Finishing, he invited the family to shovel some dirt onto the coffin as a mark of the finality of death. Each, in turn, did so with the exception of the old man.

“Oh, how I loved her!” he moaned loudly. His daughter and two sons again tried to restrain him, but he continued, “I loved her!”

Now, as the rest of those gathered around began leaving the grave, the old man stubbornly resisted. He stayed, staring into the grave. The clergyman approached. “I know how you must feel, but it’s time to leave. We all must leave and go on with life.”

“Oh, how I loved her!” the old man moaned, miserably.

“You don’t understand,” he said to the clergyman, “I almost told her once.”

rebound relationship

Rebound: Only this isn’t basketball, it’s relationships

Published on Meld Magazine last week!

IT’S funny  just how heartless we can be when our hearts are broken. Marcella Purnama reflects on the pain of being a rebound and feeling like a distraction until someone better comes along.

The only thing sadder than being the “other” person in a relationship, is being someone’s rebound. And no – I’m not talking about basketball.

My first experience with being a rebound was in the short period between a farewell party for a friend leaving for Bali (a trip I didn’t end up going on for various reasons, but that’s a different story) and my end-of-school prom night.

The man in question had been my best friend since junior high – right up until he got together with this girl in senior high. Our friendship had crumbled.

But when he broke up with his girlfriend and prom night drew closer, we found ourselves reconciling at the goodbye party.

To my utter disbelief, he then left me a bouquet of roses, complete with a love poem, in front of my house on prom night shortly after – gifts I didn’t discover until the next morning.

While I didn’t really expect the roses or the poems, I knew something was up. I’d heard way too many stories of boys acting strangely after a breakup to take this as just a sweet gesture.

A few days later, he left on his end-of-school trip, leaving me alone with my confusion.

But it didn’t take long for the gossip mill and the miracle of technology to bring me the news: he’d gotten back together with his girlfriend.

Just in case you were wondering, and if you have been following my relationship columns, this is the guy in “My friend, you have been dumped“.

Suffice to say I was shocked. Never before had a guy acted amorously towards me, only to get back with another girl. But as far as first rebound experiences go, I’d say I got off easy. I mean I didn’t even become emotionally attached to him or anything.

But it was crazy to see what a guy can do during his relationship “mourning period”. And I did learn an important lesson from the whole thing  - if any of your friends of the opposite sex have just experienced a breakup, never, ever, and I mean, never, try to get close to them, even if it’s just out of genuine sympathy to cheer them up. Let their mates of the same sex do that.

Now if I had only taken my own advice…

My second rebound experience was completely different story. To say the least, it was a bit dramatic. Here’s the fairy tale version:

Once upon a time, there lived the gorgeous, stunning and feminine Princess B. Many handsome, young princes had approached her for her hand, but in the end, it was Prince A from a faraway land that got the honour of being her partner.

After being together for quite some time, Prince A knew in his heart that he wanted to be with her forever. One day, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes.

But not long after that, Princess B started to have second thoughts. She decided to flee from the impending nuptials. Feeling betrayed, Prince A jumped off the cliff into depression. With Princess B nowhere in sight, his friend, Commoner M, tried to heroically save him from the pit of gloom.

Suddenly, Prince A became unusually nice, giving Commoner M signals that he was interested. She picked up on these signals but while she was interested in Prince A, fate had a mind of her own. Commoner M chose not to show Prince A how she felt. Instead she disappeared and let the two royal highnesses got back together again – as she knew they would – but it hurt like hell to do it.

Well, I don’t even know what to say about that. Don’t play with fire or it will burn you, maybe?

I guess I should have learnt my lesson the first time around. Being someone else’s rebound can be really painful. You feel used and unwanted, like you’re just there to distract the person until someone better comes along.

But if I ended this article by just bemoaning the terrible experiences I’ve had being a rebound, I’d be a hypocrite.

I’ve been on the other side before.

I remember making someone my own rebound. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.

I was in junior high at that time and in puppy love with a senior. After a short courting period, he gradually made his exit. Someone else tried to court me shortly after, while I was still in my mourning period.

Guess what happened next?

But… my record of being someone’s rebound and making someone my rebound is still two to one – so I guess I’m forgiven, right?

Well, maybe not.

It’s crazy, really crazy, what we can do when we’re broken-hearted. But it’s even crazier for me to think that I can try to cheer my friends up who’ve been through the same ordeal, or try to distinguish between love and loneliness, when I’ve been guilty of being on the other side.

Have you ever been someone’s rebound? Have you ever made someone yours? Share your experiences with us below.

friendship_love

What do Adam descendants think about Platonic relationship?

This is a guest post by a friend of mine of the opposite sex, Eddie Mnt. After reading my article on Do you believe in platonic relationship?, Eddie decided to share his perspective on the matter. Check it out, it’s a beautiful read (and totally worth the time).

Platonic relationships: The concept or idea that a male and a female can maintain a deep and meaningful relationship that is not consumed by intimacy or romance.

Many of us would like to think such a relationship exists. Many of us would like to think that we can be completely open to the opposite sex and not worry about them wanting to become more than what they have.

But in reality, there is usually one side of the party who wishes to become more than friends, somewhere down the road of the relationship. This cannot be helped, as men and women were created to be naturally attracted to each other, it is in our human nature.

It is very naive to believe from the start that a male and a female can go into a platonic friendship and maintain such a relationship on the same level. Both males and females are created to act and think differently, and hence miscommunication through these actions can send different signals to both parties.

Men in general are very proud and like to provide, so a simple coffee shout may be misinterpreted by a lady friend: “He keeps paying for everything, does he like me?” Ladies by nature give off a friendly aurora, being cheerful and bright in their expression, on which can easily give the wrong signs to a male friend: “She keeps smiling my way, does she like me”

These unintentional mixed signals from either party may lead the other into thinking their friend ‘has feelings’ for them. One feeling leads to another and for most people, this platonic relationship either goes one of two ways: becoming partners or becoming strangers.

From my observation, I do not see many of people in a platonic relationship of this kind. People are either in groups of all females, all males, a well balanced mix, or coupled. It is a relationship that is uncommon and rarely produced, hence the reason why many people are skeptical if such a relationship truly exists.

On saying this, anything is possible. Or to be more correct, anything is probable.

I am a believer in platonic relationship and from my experience and observation, they existence dependent on what both the male and female want and value (which I’ll cover in three points below).

1. True Initial Intent: A platonic relationship with a pure intent beginning 

The reason why I am a believer in such a relationship is because most of my closest friends are female. It’s not that I do not have male friends, I do. With my male friends (in general), we hang out, chill, play games, watch movies and just relax. Rarely do we ever go into deep and meaning conversations, or if we do, our train of thought travels the same logical wavelength, confirming what I know (again in general).

With my female friends, whenever I open up, I get a different perception on the situation at hand, and I find it easier to openly talk to my female friends. Hence in my life I tend to hang out with more female friends in comparison to male friends.

This leads to my friends and family teasing me on having too many girl friends, which is humorous. Every time I go out to see a musical, a show, a movie, shop or to hang out, I would get one person asking, ‘Whose Eddie going out with?’, while another would answer, ‘I don’t know, one of his many girlfriends’. One of my friends that they would always tease me about was my best friend.

I met my best friend at my current work when I was 17, in a food court selling Chinese food. I don’t know how, but we hit it off straight away. Could be the fact that I made fun of her name, and she made fun of me. Work was always enjoyable where we talk about absolutely everything, from school, sports, TV, family and so forth.

I remember one time she pointed to a guy in the food court and told me she once had a crush on him. Recently, he told her that she was ‘HOT’. I laughed and walked away (note, that my best friend is drop dead beautiful). About an hour later when we were moving the food onto new trays, my best friend said to me ‘I’m Hot’.

Knowing exactly what she meant, I pick up a bundle of used trays, gave her a stare and walk right into the kitchen to wash the trays. A minute later she run into the kitchen and said, “No, I didn’t mean I’m ‘HOT’ hot. I mean I’m hot from changing trays”. I nodded my head and replied sarcastically, “Sure”. It was never work when she was around.

My best friend and I melded so well, everyone would ask, “Why don’t you ask her out?” Funny thing is, (and I can’t tell her) it never crossed my mind. I was completely content with our friendship – it was a marvelous thing.

I would call and bother her when I had nothing better to do. She would listen and tell me she was sick. I’d be over the next day with a get well card while accidentally meeting her dad (who scared the crap out of me). She would call me later telling me what her dad had to say, and we would both laugh at it. But from what I could recall, there was never a moment where we wanted more.

It could also be due to the fact when I was 17, I was chasing down my own Korean love story, giving roses to girls at highpoint, following a dream of regret leading me to an all girls school, whilst at school she was getting a lot of attention from many of the guys I knew who thought my best friend was, in their words, HOT.

When my best friend was asked by another guy to go out at the end of year 12, a lot of my friends and family questioned me, “Why didn’t you ask her out first?” and said “Eddie, you lost your chance”. I would laugh at them, because deep down I was happy that my best friend found someone she could always count on.The only down side was that I couldn’t always bother her as much as I use to.

A lot of the times I would call, ask what she was doing and say she’d answer she was on the phone with her boyfriend. I would laugh, tell her to tell him I love him and would talk to her another time. One time I called in between one of their call sessions and she answered the call with a “Hey Babe”, I replied in confusion “HEY BABE?”. She laughed her head off and hung up on me. I was on the floor laughing knowing that “Hey Babe” wasn’t for me.

But although things did change a little, as they do when friends find a partner, my best friend always did make time to listen to my crazy stories. And on the rare occasion she needed someone to talk to about her relationship, I’d always pick the call and talk, talk, talk to keep her mind off the matter. And frequently I would steal her boyfriend and take him out to see a movie or pizza and she would complain to her girlfriends that I took him on a date.

Without being too naive, what made our platonic friendship work from the very beginning is that we got to know each other so well, and we valued who each other were. She knew if I got her a rose from Valentine’s Day, it was out my friendship, or I was feeling rich that day. I knew if she got me a toy lightsaber, it because she felt bad about forgetting my birthday for the 1st time ever (plus, I was having a semi mid life crisis).

From the beginning, we both knew our gifts, laughs, calls, smiles, talks were all pure at heart with no misconception. Our relationship started with the pure intent of creating a platonic relationship. As we grew, so did our values in each other, what we both meant to one another.

It is a relationship that is one of a kind, a relationship that is one I will cherish forever.

2. Force of situation: A platonic relationship built from unforeseen circumstances

Of course you get your skeptics. Times where I tell people how my relationship with my best friend came to be, I get the odd one or two individuals who do not believe that my platonic relationship was founded from the beginning, but was produced due to the fact that she became someone else girlfriend before she could became mine.

Because of this result, these individuals insist that if she was never taken I would have asked her out, due to human nature of attraction or yearning to be or have more. But due to the situation at hand, the only outcome between my best friend and I was a relationship of the platonic nature. Which I agree is a valued point and very logical.

These individuals, though skeptics, do believe in platonic relationship. They believe it can only be developed in two different ways: a couple who have dated, broken up and have remained close friends or, as mentioned above, one of the pairs are taken and the couple can only resort in a platonic relationship.

Again it comes back to what these individuals value and what they want from such a relationship.

I would personally say a platonic relationship occurring after two people have dated, is just as rare as two people becoming platonic from the very beginning. Not saying it doesn’t happen, it is just I haven’t seen anyone I know maintain a friendship with someone they have dated with, mainly because it is HARD to start over.

The idea is that both men and women are attracted to each other, human nature. Only once you have past that attraction, through become a couple, the two of you can create a platonic relationship. It is because the two have reached that level of attraction and decide to lay it to rest, which allows the two to enter a platonic relationship with no worries of any other feelings arising.

Even with these skeptic individuals that question my relationship, I question them whether they still stay in contact with their past partners. Of course to win, they argument they say they do, but from what I see, the most contact they have with their past partner is having them as a contact on their phone.

Like any relationship, it ends due to people changing, not valuing the relationship they have or two people growing out of the relationship (that goes to for platonic as well). Once a relationship has ended, it is HARD to restart it (hard, not impossible).

The only couple I can think of who have maintained a platonic relationship after their romantic one ended is Ted and Robin from the TV show ‘How I Met Your Mother’. Even then, Ted still held deep feelings after they broke up in season two all the way up to the end so season eight, where Ted realized it better to have Robin as a friend than not have her in his life at all (which comes back to what he values).

It is a nice idea that two people can be so close after being so intermittent. I hope one day that, if this situation comes my way, I can maintain a relationship like theirs.

Although the skeptics could not win me over on the concept of a platonic relationship after dating (in reality), I will say it is a stronger argument, compared to the concept of entering a platonic relationship only due to one of the pair being in a romantic relationship.

Using my relationship with my best friend, I can tickle the thought that if she never was asked out, I may have asked her out. She is funny, quirky, and beautiful with a wonderful heart. But due to the fact I was to slow to pop the question, she became romantically involved with another. This either leaves me in one of two possible positions to choose to be in. I could stay and be a part of her life as a friend or leave and not have her in my life unless she was my partner.

The question here is, “What do I do?” Do I become distance and pull back from our friendship because I can’t stand the thought of her with someone else? Or should I remain friends and just continue to hide my feelings?

I have seen many males (or females) end their friendship with their female (or male) friend, for they find it too hard to stay friend when they do harbour feeling for them. Or they cannot stand not being the one who is not the partner. Which is perfectly fine, for it is hard to be around someone you care about and not have the same feelings returned.

I have seen others who stick around as a friend. Announcing that they are ‘only’ friends, to hide their feelings, hoping that one day that the friend they have harboured feelings for will eventually feel the same. Personally I think this is an unhealthy way of living and is not the same as a platonic relationship, and begs the question why be in any relationship if you both don’t value each other the same?

Again this concept can work dependent on what each individual values. If you either decide to end the relationship or hide in it within, I would ask, how much did you actually like this individual? I would assume very little from the result.

I admire people who go in and fight for what they want, even if they outcome is not favourable their way. Even then, if the outcome does not go your way, I would ask, how much do you like this individual? What is their value or importance to you?

A platonic relationship can be created here, it all depends on the individuals answer on ‘what do I do?’ Most people would end it, hide from it. Some people would fight for it. But rarely, people would ask themselves, “Do I stay as a friend with her (or him), because she (or he) matters to me?”

It comes down to: “Do I value this person enough, to keep them around, to stay in their life, because what we have matters, because they are important?” It is a simple question of do you want this person in your life, regardless of relationship status, for this is the major building block for not only platonic or romantic, but any relationship.

3. Growth from fall: A platonic relationship

During my university life, I was lucky enough to study for one semester in South Korea. It was fantastic experience, one I will never forget. I went to many places, ate so many different types of food, experience a wonderful culture and meet some unforgettable people, one in particular person whom I will always cherish and who taught me the value of an individual and our relationship.

This friend I met in Korea amazed me from the first moment we exchanged smiles to whenever we hung out eating or studying. In a short time frame before I knew it, we became really close friend talking about life at home, work studies, Korean stars, food, movies, everything.

And not long after that, I started to really crush on her. She was fun, entertaining, smart, cute and had a fantastic energy. Why wouldn’t anyone crush on her?

My crush got so bad I couldn’t think straight and would wake up in the middle of the night to run it off. I got to the point where I had to make the decision, to contain my feelings or let her know.

Knowing that telling her how I felt would end our fantastic friendship, I was caught in a major dilemma. It was a gamble of, do I want to sacrifice our friendship for a slim chance we might become more?

Ninety-nine per cent of me knew the odds were not in my favour and that it was better I hold my feelings back. But that one per cent of me had to take a chance, to get the feeling off my chest. My thoughts at this point were regardless of the come out, becoming a couple or ending our friendship, I want her to know that I care and where I stand, which I was content with.

So when I got finally got the chance to be with her only after mid terms, I gave her a gift she had been wanting and a note telling her I liked her and then disappeared (I needed to catch a train). About a week after, when we had time to again to ourselves away from our group of friends, she thanked me for the gift, but told me she felt bad, because I got her something so wonderful, and yet she had nothing to give back (sweetest rejection I have ever gotten). I smiled and told her, it was not about getting something in return, but about letting her know. She smiled and said thank you.

From that day on, I chose to keep my distance from her to give her space, or myself space. It was unintentional, but I pushed her ever so slowly away for I couldn’t see us being friends. Not that I didn’t want us to, I did, it was I just didn’t know how and I didn’t know if her still wanted to be. I took a gamble and I lost, but I was content and at peace.

But out of sheer randomness, for our group Secret Santa, out of all the people to have gotten me, she did. I was hoping she wouldn’t, but she did. And the gift that she got me was one of the best I had ever received. It was a photo collage of all our friends and outings in Korea and a short passage from her saying thank you for everything.

But what touched me the most was her card, it had a photo of her and I on the cover and inside a message, in short it read ‘I’m sorry if I hurt you, but I still want you as my friend’. Right after reading her card, I went up to her hugged her and I could feel her tears roll down her cheeks onto my shoulders.

From that moment, I realized that there was a third outcome. We didn’t enter a romantic relationship, we didn’t end our friendship, we built on it can created a better and stronger one. This happen because, even though she didn’t feel the same way about me, she still wanted me in her life.

And although she didn’t become my partner, I still wanted her in my life. It’s because for both of us, no matter the relationship, we wanted each other in our lives.

There is a part of me that values her so much and I am very grateful that the relationship between her and I has bloomed into a beyond fantastic friendship. Six months after that, I met her in New York city and we had an AWESOME two weeks hang out as great friends.

Do you believe in platonic relationship?

And that is what lies at the core of a true platonic relationship. The ability to value someone for who they are and the desire to maintain them in your life.

If both male and female can see why they value each other and want each other in their lives, regardless of post-dating, dating, confession or after break up, if both people mean enough to each other, they will find a way to make a true platonic friendship work.

Just like Ted Mosby and Robin, although they dated, broke up and Ted confess his feelings for Robin again and she turned him down, he realized it is better to have her in his life than without. Ted realized the importance and value of Robin in his world.

With my best friend, I know how important she is to me and I am grateful for how our relationship has fallen into place.

But in hind sight, if I look back on what could have been, I can see myself asking her out in high school and seeing us going down the aisle. I can see us going out, not working out and still remaining close friends. Because whatever the scenario, I know how important she is to me and I know I would do all I can to keep her in my life until.

With both of my best friend and my friend I met in Korea, I can picture a future with them, because they have qualities I look for in a partner, because at the end of it, your partner that you end up with, will be your best friend. And even thought they will never be my partner, they are both important to me and I value what they bring into my life.

My Mother and I

A world without mothers

Published on OZIP (Indonesian magazine based in Melbourne) on May 2012, issue 32 edition.

During this time of the year, we are always reminded to appreciate and honour our mothers, to buy some flowers on the way home, or to give her some chocolates.

On this day, we might have some family gathering, or call our mothers from overseas, thanking her for what she has done and telling her that we love her.

Yet it’s done as if we fail to appreciate her for the other 364 days of the year.

Mother, the woman who has given birth to us, may be our closest person, or she may be the most distant. She may be protective and strict, or she may be lenient and submissive to her children’s demands. Yet she is a mother.

But what is a mother?

JK Rowling believes that a mother’s love can make her child cheats death. Abraham Lincoln believes that great men are born from great mothers. Barney Stinson realises that a hell of a mother can even fill the gap of not having a father. Forrest Gump knows that he succeeds because of her mother’s teaching.

So let’s consider another question. What would it be like, a world without mothers?

Here’s our day-trip towards another world, a world where no mothers exist.

When we go out to have our breakfast, the café would be packed with women in their 30s and 40s, but oddly, there are no prams to be found. They are just women who give birth to their children yet do not tend to their children’s needs, dropping their toddlers on a child care and having fun with their girlfriends.

After we are finished with our morning coffee, we walk to the city and have some sightseeing at the skyscrapers, only to realise that there are so many professional looking women entering each of the buildings. They all are pursuing their dream jobs and there’s no way that they are willing to give up all that to become a full-time stay-at-home Mom.

We then take a stroll along the park. Again, we see no prams around, and children were having soccer competition with no one’s watching them. No one is cheering when the children score a goal. It is just an oddly quiet day, with the sound of the coach’s whistle piercing our ears.

After lunch, we visit a local school nearby, and we see aggressiveness, violence, and troubles among the kids. No one has ever known what it feels to be cared and to be loved, and no one has a secured attachment with their mothers. The teachers are seen on the edge of giving up.

Looking at the time, we decide to give a visit to the hospital, a place that is always full of patients, but oddly no visitors. The neonatal clinic is full of babies who are struggling to breathe, born prematurely or with a defect. But there are no mothers who try to cuddle their newborn babies, or give that radiant smile when she heard the child’s first cry.

After a while, we make our way to the psychology clinic. Most teenagers there are anorexic, depressed, and having suicidal problems.

Just before it gets dark, we head home wondering, because we always thought that a world without mothers means there’s no one to nag you to go to bed when it’s past midnight. No one is there to tell you what to do, when to do it, and how to actually properly do the stuff.

No one is screaming to wake you up in the morning, or frantically trying to tell you to wash your face before going to bed. No one will tell you to practice your piano lessons. No one is there to treat you like a 10-year-old when you’re 25 just because in her eyes, you will be forever young.

But then, we remember looking at those motherless children’s hollow eyes, and we realise that with all those freedom, it also means there’s no breakfast in bed when you’re sick. There will be no hug after getting bullied in school during the second grade. We will hear no bedtime stories, and we will find no cooked dishes and cleaned apartment after trying hard to survive our first year in uni. We realise that there will be no one to turn to when all else fails. And we would know no love.

So what would it be, a world without mothers?

Certainly, Harry Potter would not even be alive. Abraham Lincoln would never become president, let alone a president who ended slavery. And Barney Stinson? He may be a more legen-wait for it-dary character than he already is, which may actually be a negative thing. Ted Mosby wouldn’t be telling his children on how he met their mother, and Tom Hanks would never win Oscar for being Forrest Gump.

And we just simply would not exist.

Happy Mother’s Day.

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”
Abraham Lincoln

My Mother and I

lovers_at_love_tree-normal

Do you believe in platonic relationships?

Published on Meld Magazine, Friday, 20 April 2012.

WHEN it comes to the opposite sex, how many times have you heard friends chime, “Oh, we’re just friends”. Marcella Purnama explores the topic of platonic relationships and explains why she is a skeptic.

Photo: Andrejs Pidjass

Platonic relationships form when boy meets girl and they become best friends. While some believe it can happen, others are a bit skeptical about their existence… including me.

For girls, the norm is to have another girl as your best friend. For boys, it’s pretty much the same, which makes life difficult for girls (like me) who have boys (like them) as best friends.

I’ve always liked to be friends with boys. Why? Gosh, their lives are so simple! No gossip, no celebrities, no fashion. It’s more about sports, fun and games.

When I hang out with the boys, I don’t need to pretend to look excited at their new notebook and say things like, “Aww, that’s so cute.” I don’t even need to think about not hurting their feelings. If I don’t like it, I’ll just say it, and somehow, guys can handle that kind of honesty better than girls.

I can challenge them to a game of Mario Kart, talk about superhero movies and argue over the latest match between Federer and Nadal without even trying to remember who the hell Kim Kardashian is.

You can be as frank as you want and they won’t backstab you because boys usually don’t want to talk about private stuff. There’s no messaging, no chatting on a day-to-day basis with other boys, unlike girls, so the secrets you share are safe(r) with them.

Boys use logic, so when I am clouded by my emotional blues of sadness, their words strike me like lightning.

And for a girl (like me) who doesn’t want to know about the latest trend in fashion, be in touch with America’s Next Top Model or gossip about the dress Jessica Alba wore to the Academy Awards, boys are just plain easier to get along with.

I love playing badminton, but sadly none of the girls in my friendship circle play, so I end up playing with the boys. I love playing table tennis, but it’s hard to find girls who will agree to doing anything other than grabbing a cup of coffee or window shopping, so I end up playing with the boys.

I love doing outdoor activities, but not many girls do. So when the choice is between going to the shops and going to Seaworld, the shops will always win for girls… every single time. So I end up going to Seaworld, theme parks and the zoo with the boys (again).

In a sense, boys are easier to talk to and easier to handle (boyfriends are different stories, but don’t get me started). They won’t comment on your weird sense of fashion (at least not out loud), your branded or unbranded bags or how much weight you’ve gained during the weekend.

But is there such a thing as a platonic relationship?

In my humblest opinion, when you befriend the opposite sex, it’s either because you’re just “sometimes-friends” who occasionally go out in groups and chat about random topics or you’re lovers. You can’t really be best friends with the opposite sex. On what do I base this belief? Personal experiences, mainly, but the opinions of my guy friends too.

When boy meets girl and they spend too much time together talking about private matters, sharing too many laughs and exchanging too many smiles, one or the other will end up having amorous feelings and the friendship will crumble. And then you can’t go back to being friends once more.

Looking back, every single one of the male friends I considered to be my best friend eventually did something to destroy that platonic relationship. One gave me a flower on Valentine’s Day. One gave me a love poem, twice. Another asked me out on a dinner date. The other gave me a bouquet of roses after prom night.

As yet, up until this time last year, I was still a believer in the platonic relationship. Then I had dinner with some skeptical guys who were convinced friendships between boys and girls do not exist. I began to question my belief as well. When they asked me, “Do you have a good male friend who has never fallen for you before? Or vice versa?” I couldn’t say yes.

And so today, my relationships with the opposite sex can never cross that level into becoming good friends. It’s either being just friends or being more than friends. It’s harsh, but it’s completely and utterly true.

Do you believe in platonic relationships? Share your views in the comments box below!

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Tomorrow

This is a day from the past, on which bittersweet memories have been forged and tried to be forgotten. But that day, she learned something else – she let go.

She had been laying awake for hours.

It was not her fault; she just couldn’t make herself to fall asleep. Too many thoughts came to her mind – unwanted thoughts.

She curled under her yellow polka dot blanket, and started to count to 100. It didn’t help.

The day would soon become tomorrow, and tomorrow would soon become another day. But not today. She thought, not today.

She glanced at the ceiling, but to no avail. It was pitch black there, what was the use of opening your eyes?

Groaning, she reached out for her cellphone on the bedside table.

It was 12 minutes to tomorrow.

She kicked her blanket, got up to her feet, turned on the lights, and started to search for something in her closet. Behind the pajamas and the colourful stack of clothes, she took out a small rectangular black box. She smiled sadly.

With the box in her hand, she began to walk back towards the bed. This is going to be a long night, she thought. She sat down, put the box on her lap, slowly removed the lid, and straightaway found two smiling faces staring back at her. A girl, who used to be her, and another boy, who used to be hers.

He was handsome, young, and athletic, or so she thought, and he was putting his left hand on her shoulder. They were standing in front of a decorated Christmas hut in a shopping mall, taken about four months before.

The girl studied the faces for a while, run her fingers on his face, bit her lips, and set the photo aside. She saw a letter that she received a year earlier, exactly on her 16th birthday. It was just another ordinary birthday card, but for her, it was enough. Her vision was blurred by then, and she couldn’t read what the words were.

She put the card back into the envelope, and set it aside.

Then she saw it – a stainless steel ring that used to stay on her right index finger no matter what, engraved with her name, the name of the boy in the picture, and a heart shape.

Now, she was struggling to breathe.

Six months ago, the boy and the girl went to a Disney on Ice show, together with their friends. They laughed, took pictures, sat next to each other, and had a good time. After dinner, he suddenly took her hand and slipped the ring into her finger.

She was surprised and happy, and so was he.

Suddenly, the sound of her cell phone caught her off-guard. A phone call from her best friend at exactly 12am. She was officially 17.

After trying to hide her betrayed voice, saying thank you, and pretending to call it a night, she put her phone on silent mode. Tossing the phone aside, she returned her gaze back to the box.

More photos.

One was taken when they were in the car, on their way home from a badminton practice. Both were in the school’s team, although at first she won against him, in time he showed his strength and he won against her. They loved badminton, watched tennis, and adored Federer. She liked vanilla ice-cream, he liked green-tea. And both loved Chinese songs.

The first time he met her, she was playing the piano for the school’s chapel. He looked at her, and thought, that must be a lonely, quiet girl. They met a couple of days later at a Badminton practice, and he fell for her.

Two years later, he got the girl.

After six months, she had fallen for him, hard, and he was suddenly gone.

She glanced at another picture of him, which was her favourite – him in a long-sleeved white shirt with vertical thin black stripes. He smiled tenderly, and now she remembered his love letters, his funny jokes, and his driving skills. Boy, he could drive, and he was a good one too. She remembered wearing his jacket, and how he liked the sight of it. She smiled, but it quickly disappeared as she was tossed back to the reality.

He was gone.

She closed her eyes, letting a tear fell down. She began to remember the fighting, the hard times reasoning with him, and his broken pride. His pride. She couldn’t do anything. She excelled in her studies, but he was just an average. She continued to say that it didn’t matter, for everyone had their own talents to be pursued for. But he never listened. He always thought of her as a shadow, chaining him wherever he went to, for people compared them, or so he thought.

She remembered his cold eyes when they met at school, and his short, unraveled chats. She remembered him wanting a break, followed by a demand for freedom, or so he said. Nothing happened, just lost feelings, he told her.

And he admitted that he had never been happier.

She let another tear fell. There was not a single statement of apology, not a single hint of cherishing their moments. Why do you chase me for two years, if you are going to run away?

She reached for her phone and looked at the clock, it was 12.24 am. Some birthday messages from her friends, but not him. Some missed calls from her closest friends, but not him. Now, she was angry.

Angry for broken promises, for letting herself opening her heart, for him going away. She could feel that sword called pride piercing through her heart, and she cursed it, hard.

After another silent treatment from the smiling faces that did nothing but stare back, she started blaming herself.

Was it my fault? Did I do something wrong? Have I loved him wrongly? And the questions went on. She began to replay every single memory – the hours they spent talking on the phone, the mornings when they did wake-up calls, the mini dates at the canteen after school, and her slipping notes in his wallet.

Feeling betrayed, she took his picture and started to hold it with her trembling fingers. She hesitated, for she just didn’t have the heart to rip it. At least, those memories were real.

The girl cried some more, and after looking at her cell phone blankly for what seemed like forever, waiting for a sign, the girl knew what she should have done months ago. She opened his messages, re-read the proofs of affections one more time, and with shaking hands she hit the button delete. Delete. Delete.

And as she wept silently, she prayed that she could delete the memories, delete the past, and delete the love.

But she couldn’t.

She used to say to him that he could be anything he wanted, if he just believed in himself.

But she knew she had to let him go, for he needed someone who would boost his pride, instead of wrecking it. And she needed someone who wanted to lay down his pride for her, instead of defending it.

She took one last long look at their picture, smiled, cried some more, and put it back into the box. She then made her way to her closet, turned off the lights, and went to bed.

As she curled under her yellow polka dot blanket, she prayed to God that she would fall asleep soon, knowing that at last, she had the courage to do the right thing.

And tomorrow, tomorrow, she’d walk with her head held high.

Postscript

There is a happier ending towards this story. Well, if you can consider three years later an ending, then yes, it should be one. The girl reconciled with her heart, and moved on, opening heart once more. She met that someone special two years later, and throughout the process she smiled because that night did happen – she would become a different person without it. The boy did seek for an apology some years after, and although they have went on separate ways, she wished him happiness.