It was almost a decade ago when I first met you, and we greeted each other with a smile on the day I moved in.
We started introducing ourselves to each other, among the other housemates; there were just so many of us! I felt a little nervous, as I was the newcomer and everyone had already known each other in the house but it was unnecessary for I was made to feel welcomed immediately as part of the big family living under one roof.
Fortunately, it was indeed a huge roof where we had big rooms and space around the semi-detached house, where we took turns in taking care of the place and pooled the funds for the house maintenance.
We barely saw each other on weekdays; with some rushing for classes, and some of us, for work. I left the house early, and I was touched by the concern shown by everyone who advised me to be extra careful.
It started with smiles, hi's and bye's then to small talks in the hall and kitchen, then to full banter where we would all burst into laughter or fits of giggles, just the way girls behave when they hang out together. It was just so easy, and I felt blessed that we proved those old sayings that large groups of ladies are always headed for trouble; arguments, cat fights and jealousy. There was none in the place I stayed, as everyone was just so friendly and genuine to each other.
I remembered you offering to walk me to my car every morning though my car was parked in the porch and you would watch me get into the car and drive away, helping me to lock the gate behind me. Then when you shared the wonderful news of your posting to a school where you could finally live your dream as a teacher, we talked for hours and laughed about the silly things we did in our lives.
It was then that we bonded, and most of the housemates were out and some went back to their hometowns. Then there were those times when everyone was around and we would chat in front of the television; though I could not remember what we talked about, it all, and always end up in laughter.
You were always the motherly or sisterly figure in the house; or at least that's what you appeared to me. You were the chaperon of us all, always showing your concern and taking care of us in all the little ways.
For instance, getting up early and going to the market, then filling the kitchen and entire house with delights from your hometown. I remembered the Laksa, and then you said that you accidentally cooked dessert and handed each and every one a bowl, and there are still leftovers.
Unintentional? I never really did think so, but we enjoyed hearing your stories and the tastes of your home.
I know how it feels to be away from home for so long; barely getting to go back to the arms of mummy and daddy and the comforts of home, whom you must have dearly missed.
You barely showed us you are homesick, but I know, for you have once told me, and that it is painful sometimes. Yes, I know...nothing beats family, even with all of us around you.
You are always with that smile; and somehow there is always a twinkle in your eye that I see which lights up your face and the hearts of those who see you.
You are never without positive words, and you carried that energy and motivational spirit with you as you embarked on your passion for education; joining that noble and respectable profession of teaching.
I never had a doubt that you would make a great teacher, for I could just see it in your eyes, and felt it as I got to know you better. You were a gift to your students, and though I did not manage to continue the journey with you then, or to hear about your stories after I moved out, I just know.
Yes, when I moved out, it was a tearful decision and I missed all of you dearly. You had no idea how you girls made me felt when all of you threw me that farewell party and treated me to a nice dinner at the bistro cafe nearby and then we talked and laughed just like old times.
It was a heartfelt gesture which may appeared like norm for you girls, but it left a deep and lasting impression in my mind and heart as I went on with my life.
We all parted ways; keeping in touch through the beauty of technology - phone and social network such as Facebook. It was a great way to back in touch and it is amazing how time flew past us and those days in the big house seemed like so far away, yet the memories were still fresh.
Life is like that; we always meet people along our journey of life and there may be those who were unpleasant and also those who were just so awesome that they deserve a world record, but take pride in the fact that it was by the work of fate that we were all brought together.
Our paths cross when we least expect it, and then lifelong friendships and bonds were formed.
We may have offend some along the way, or even make a few enemies too, but think of it again, even the enemies were the ones where we were supposed to meet in our journey so that we will learn from our mistakes or to be reminded of the world out there.
We may cry when some friendships/relationships end; because some just were never meant to be, or each of us just have our own individual paths to pursue and that certain things hold more importance to different people. We may not lose our friends, we are all just busy with our own lives or driven away by the other priorities in life.
We must not cry because things are no longer the same, or that they have ended.
Smile because it at least happened to us, and that we crossed path with these people whom God sent to us for some reason; which we may not realize at that particular point of time.
Everything happens for a reason, and though we may not comprehend it immediately, take it slowly and cherish each moment.
There is never a time when things would always go our way, and we can never expect to be loved by everyone. We love and we hate, but at least, we can feel our emotions for one another and have our heartstrings tugged in different directions and at different points in our life.
You have crossed my path at some point in my life, and you have left deep imprints in my heart which you may not even have realized, and there you will always be.
Though they are not always on the surface or top of the mind, it did not mean that I have lost them or taken no heed of them. They were just shadowed by the other things in my life that were all going on at the same time.
You were not less important either, for I have reserved a space for you because I know you will always understand.
The devastating news of your departure from this world yesterday did much more than just shock me early in the morning. I had to get the confirmation, I had to make sure that this is true.
I cannot comprehend it; it did not sound like it was real...and deep down inside, even with a sinking feeling as I read through the messages on your wall, I still prayed that it was some sort of sick joke which I could be angry with later on.
It has been years since we talked though we were on each other's network, but I remembered us sending a smile to each other once in a while, just like old times.
We were all reconnecting again, having found some of the old housemates whom we have lost for a while.
I stopped when I saw a photo of you lying so sick in bed, and I realized that this is no longer a sick joke. My eyes suddenly felt misty, and I could not stop the drops of tears from falling.
I do not like to cry; I do not cry in front of people and I am always able to hold the tears from falling but when big drops of tears rolled down my cheeks this morning, I could not hold them anymore.
This is not happening, how could this be?
You were so young and so bright, but I know you will not want to see any of us feel sad.
I know this is God's will, and you're in a better place now.
You were a strong person, and I know you definitely put up a strong fight but God loved you too much because you were so good that He wanted you and ended your suffering.
Messages from your students on your wall showed that you have indeed lived your passion, as I have always believed you will.
You were a great teacher and person and I am sure you know that you will be deeply missed by everyone you have taught or crossed path with in your life.
To a wonderful person like you, I am glad we crossed paths and I pray that you will now rest in peace.
You will always, always, always be in loving memory...may your soul rest for eternity, my dearest ex-housemate/friend Wen Shuang~