Amanda was new in town. She was a bit of a loner, she didn't seem to have many friends. She was always on her own, whether she was walking in the park or sitting in a cafe with a book. She was not exceptionally beautiful, though she was quite nice to look at. She had long black hair tumbling past her shoulders, large dark brown eyes and a warm complexion. Although I must say she would be prettier if she smiled more often.
I first saw her sitting by herself at a bus stop. Casually I sat down next to her. She immediately got up and stood a few feet away from me. I fell in love with the way she moved - she was so graceful. I've received a few brush-offs before but hose always came after my pick up line.
"Hello," I said. She turned to face me and looked as though she had seen a ghost. "Are you talking to me?" she stammered.
I laughed a little, "Yes, you. You're new in town, aren't you?" She nodded, although she looked a little confused. "I'm Tom. What's your name?" She looked as though she would run away, which she did but not before whispering "Amanda".
Every time I saw Amanda, I tried to make conversation. She was a tough nut to crack. She would give me strange looks whenever I spoke to her. The only topics she seemed interested in were life, death and literature. After about a week, she opened up to me and we became good friends. She was very shy and didn't speak to others while she was with me. She was almost always at home taking care of her mother. She never took me to meet her mother so I didn't think we were that close yet. I didn't mind, though. I cherished the hours we spent at cafes, the library and her personal favourite, the park. I enjoyed her company.
Her secretive nature and the mystery about her home and family was still too much for me to bear so I followed her home one day, I watched through the window as she greeted an old woman who was sitting in front of the television. The woman ignored her but Amanda kept talking. After a while, the cold-shoulder treatment reduced her to tears and she ran upstairs. I made a mental note never to ask her about it. The old woman saw me through the window and I waved to her, She stared at me like her daughter did when we first met.
After about a month, I realised I was in love with Amanda. I confessed to her, one night in the park. We were looking at the stars, lying on our backs on the cool grass. I remember the frightened look on her face, how she started to cry. I tried to comfort her but she ran away. She avoided me after that. She gave me sad glances now and then, but ignored me when I spoke to her. There were times when I chased he down the streets, shouting her name and ignoring stares from other people. I even left notes for her at her house but I stopped when I caught her mother tearing one up into shreds. She threw the pieces into the trash can.
One day, I saw her at the park. I watched as she slowly approached me. "You'll never stop, will you?" she asked "I just can't stop thinking about you." She reached up and ran her fingers through my hair. I held her for the first time, breathing her scent. She pulled away and took my hand. She led me to a darker part of the park, one that I had never seen before.
Suddenly, everything became clear to me. Why she couldn't love me back. Why her mother ignored her. I sank down to my knees and started to cry. "You should have told me."
"I'm sorry, I didn't know know." she said. I sat there for a while, tracing the letters of her name on the cold stone. When I finally looked up, she was gone.
BY EVANNA RAMLY
The Malaysian Women's Weekly - June 2002