It’s one of my best friend’s birthday today. She lives in Melbourne and we have not spent birthdays together for a long time, although she did celebrate my birthday when she was in Singapore two years ago.
We met as classmates at RJC. Looking back, we often wonder how we end up being such good friends – two girls from totally different backgrounds. She was from RGS, a quiet girl from a conservative Sri Lankan born family. I was from a Chinese school. Perhaps in a way, it was our common minority demographic group at RJC that had brought us together. She was the only Indian girl in the class of fourteen and I was the only Chinese educated girl, one out of two of seven girls not from RGS.
We bonded easily and became firm friends. I was her confidante and perhaps not such a good influence as I introduced her to the world of Mills and Boons and Historical Romance at seventeen, when her parents would rather she read textbooks. She opened my eyes to the world of another culture which I found fascinating. Having studied in Nanyang for 10 years isolated me from the other ethnic groups.
How different were we? She was a vegetarian, I was (still am) a meat eater. She had expected to be match-make in a marriage while I was lost in my romantic fantasies, awaiting for my Prince Charming to come. She was from a strict family who had to adhere to a curfew even as a working adult while I had the freedom from a single-mother family. She was expected to excel academically as her father was a professor, while I had no such pressure from my family, since I was the first in the family to be admitted to the university.
We are firm friends but a long distance friendship is still difficult to maintain, especially with family and children keeping us busy. Like many of my friends, she is not into social media and the only contact is the odd emails once in a while and an annual meeting when she visits her family here.
Today is her birthday and I could not find a card from Hallmark or other brands that can adequately express my wish for her birthday and decided to pen this poem in my email to her.
Our friendship lasted three decades
We have been the best of mates
As girls in our teens
Now as mothers of teens
Distance apart may test our relationship
I know we dearly cherish our annual meets
On this your special day
I just want to say
I wish you are with me here today
So that we may go out to play
Like how it has once been
When we were girls in our teens
Happy Birthday, My Friend!