Thursday, September 08, 2011

Frenemies Unite

Shortly after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded high up in the American sky, my mother announced that some days, it’s just not safe to leave your house. She said this while watching the devastation on the evening news and, to this day, we’ve never been quite sure what she was referring to.

Because if it was a reference to the space shuttle, that made absolutely no sense at all. As far as we knew, none of us was on course for a career in aeronautics. I was, at the time, failing spectacularly in maths and physics, while my sister spent her entire primary school years in love with her form teacher, filling out her notebooks with hearts and arrows instead of quadratic equations and chemical valences.

Our little brother was, it turned out, colour blind, ruled out a career dealing with any kind of electronic equipment. As Michelle pointed out, a person who doesn’t realize that lights are flashing red is not someone you want driving a plane.

“Or defusing a bomb,” Jack added sadly as he thought of all the professions he could never have.

I bring all this up because recently, my flatmate Saffy said exactly the same thing my mother did all those years ago.

It was a perfectly calm Saturday morning and Saffy was lazily window-shopping outside Gucci at Paragon. “It’s so depressing,” she said later when she’d calmed down. “I’m so poor that I cheer myself up by looking at expensive clothes that I could never afford and fantasizing about wearing them to parties that I’m never invited to. I should just curl up and die right now.”

Saffy was so engrossed looking through the window at Gucci’s fall/winter collection with a mixture of greed and self-pity that she didn’t notice the person waving at her from across the mall until it was too late to hide or walk away quickly.

Finny Salim is one of those girls that women just love to hate. In a nutshell, she’s tall, thin, rich, smart and pretty. Her father is an Indonesian tycoon who made his fortune in pharmaceuticals and sent his precious daughter to boarding school in England and then got her into an Ivy League school on account of the fact that he donated a whole wing to the library. We first met her at a party at which she introduced herself as Diaphanous Salim.

“Seriously?” Saffy blurted.

“But please, call me Finny!” she said, flashing expensively capped white teeth and looking like a million bucks in her Jil Sander outfit. Saffy hated her on sight while Amanda was torn between coveting Finny’s wardrobe and loyalty to her flat-mate.

For some reason no one could understand, despite Saffy’s best efforts to be cold, unfriendly and aloof, Finny decided to become BFF with her and would invite her to lunches and parties. Firm rejections only had the opposite effect on Ibu Finny, a nickname that Saffy said made Finny sound like a pain relieving tablet.

And that morning outside Gucci, Finny squealed out as she tottered towards Saffy in her Jimmy Choos, “I’m getting married and I want you to be my maid of honour!”

“That’s exactly what she said,” Saffy vented at home. “‘I’m getting married and I want you to be my maid of honour!’ No ‘hello’, no ‘fancy meeting you here, let’s have coffee’! She just sprung it on me! You don’t make that kind of announcement to someone who’s unprepared and poor! It’s just plain rude! She must really hate me!”

No amount of reasoning could persuade her otherwise of Finny’s good intent.

“But you got boyfriend, why you jealous?” Sharyn asked.

“Jealous? I’m not jealous! I’m perfectly happy with the way things are going with Bradley! Shut up, Sharyn!” Saffy snapped.

Sharyn told us, out of Saffy’s earshot, that clearly Saffy was jealous of Finny. “She tall, gorgeous and rich. Wah, I also jealous, I tell you! And now, hor, Finny get married and Blad-ley still don’t ask her. Double stay!”

For days, Saffy vented. “There I was, just minding my own business, window shopping and she pops out of nowhere to tell me she’s getting married!” she told her friend Clare. “I was not prepared! The funny thing is that morning when I got up, I knew I should stay home. Some days, it’s just not safe to leave your house. Because you never know what’s waiting out there to attack you!” she added grimly.

When this comment was reported back to Sharyn, she sighed and shook her head. “Poor Blad-ley. Tonight, sure kena, one.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha update more often! I Want to know what happened after that!!