Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The New Girl, Chapter 21

I'm having to step out of my comfort zone, with dilemma-inducing job offers and all. It's scary. Seriously.

May couldn't keep her eyes off the taxi meter. Already it was heading dangerously close to the limit of ten ringgit she had safely tucked in her pocket.
"So are you a teacher, or a parent?" The taxi driver hollered like a typical uneducated Chinaman.
"Parent." If only he would shut up already.
"How old is your child?"
"Sixteen." she blurted out before pretending to sleep. Good, at least she could ponder over more worrying things in peace now.

"Ten ringgit and forty sen please, madam,"
May grinned sheepishly and slapped the sole red note onto his outstretched palm. "Sorry, that's all I've got."
With a not-too-pleased look the driver made do and sped off, leaving a lost-looking middle-aged lady standing before the entrance of St. Francesca's Girls' School. It was still as intimidating as the first day she had laid eyes on it, but there was good reason for it this time around.
And where would she find Jean? For May, it was quite a no-brainer - there didn't seem to be any place else she could hide in that no one else had bothered looking but the secret garden.

Climbing over a five-foot tall wired fence when you were a forty-year old with rubbery legs was in no way easy. May pushed and panted - once, twice, thrice - finally succeeding on the fourth try. She laid back flat on the grass, rather alarmed at the toll age took on the human body.
It was still beautiful as ever inside, but May was too flustered to spare a passing glance to the blooming flowers and all that came with them.
"Jean!" she cried out. "Jean! I know you're here somewhere! Come on out!"
The singing of the birds hushed slightly, as though they wanted her to be heard.
"Jean! Jean! Where are you?"
Now the birds were totally silent. An uneasy gust toyed with May's hair.

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