"So," I tell her, "I think today I made my boyfriend wear girl shoes!"
When I'm with her, I always begin my sentences with "So", as if I'm picking up right where we left off a minute ago. But in actual fact each time I talk to her, it seems as though I'm talking to someone I haven't met in years. So I try excruciatingly hard to pretend to be casual and friendly. I act like a kid with gum in her mouth, who can't speak well, who can't string a grammatically accurate sentence together. My actions are large and my eyes widen.
“You mean like high heels?” she laughs.
“No. Like… Sandals or slippers or something.”
I see that I have her full attention, and I start my little tale, eager to entertain her, “We were at Geylang Serai. We went there ‘cause he-”
“-wanted to visit prostitutes?”
I glare at her in jest, “Yah, we both wanted to visit prostitutes... ... Then we went to this malay parsa malam, which is sooo different from the chinese parsa malam!”
“-Because they're halal?”
“Because they sell motorbikes! And cars!”
“Wow okay,” she said.
“And they were selling a lot of shoes, with like thick wedges at the end of the shoe, and they were all cut in a very girly style, even the pattern was like brown curly wirly flowers and stuff like that. Then I kept passing him shoe after shoe, first size 40, then 44, then 48, then after a while I was thinking, wait, this looks like a girl shoe. Am I making him wear a size 48 girl shoe???”
She breaks into ripples of laughter, “Oh no! Did he ever find out?”
“No I don’t think so! I just told him, maybe that’s what people wear for Hari Raya. Men and women.”
“Oh my goodness. That sounds so racist!”
I slap her arm lightly, “Noooooo!”
I let her put blue and black eye shadows on my eyelids, let her try out her whole bunch of cosmetics on my face while I pretend to complain about how incredibly ugly she is making me look and she laughs in agreement and tells me, “Wah lao you shut up lar” and continues to pile more makeup on my face. I laugh too and feel really happy in that moment.
Sometimes I'm so desperate to recreate our childhood moments, when we were still the best of friends. It was us against the whole wide world. No sex, no boys, no ambition, competition or comparison. Just two little girls, mirror-images of each other, who loved to play with arched monkey bars and swings made from tyres in playgrounds, who climbed trees and had picnics in the HDB void deck with everyone watching while we held our umbrellas with poise and daintily poured ourselves imaginary cups of teas, who dug holes into the brown soil, deep into the ground, and asked our mother for spare change (preferably those shiny pretty golden one dollar coins), and promised each other that in ten years time, we would come back and get them. Like a treasure hunt. But sily us, we forgot to draw a map. We never did find our way back.