Love Letters: A Story by Laura Lam

“Have you found any love letters in your locker? Are there any boys staring at you in class?”

Mother kept asking me questions like that since last Tuesday, when a Mr. Chan had phoned me at 11:30p.m while I was out with Father.

Having studied in a Girls’ school for so many years – from kindergarten through to Form Seven, I could count the number of boys I knew using the fingers on one hand. Even after I entered a university, two hands were enough for the count, and I had never received a phone-call from a boy before. Mother said that a boy who phones you after 11:00 p.m. must be infatuated with you. Of course I wanted to know who he was, but to make a good guess was not easy because I have never known the boys well enough to know their last names. So, who was that Mr. Chan?

Since then, every day I came to school, I looked into the eyes of every male who I came across to see if there was a sign of love. I opened my locker twice a day to check if there was a love letter inside. But to my disappointment, nothing unusual happened.

Yes, I was expecting something ‘unusual’. Last week when our secondary classmates were having a gathering at a Chinese restaurant, everyone brought along their other halves – their boyfriends, except me. I remembered my best fiend, Jane, had once told me she would never have a boyfriend when studying in a university and then get married immediately after graduating. We two had promised each other that we wouldn’t drift with the current as we are going to be extraordinary persons…But now, how extraordinary she was—in the arms of her boyfriend; while I was using my two hands, grabbing the only arm I could get – the chicken wing.

It was on Monday this week, a day I would never forget, that I met my O’camp group leader, John. I was having lunch alone.

“Hey, what happened to you, looking so pale?” said John.

“A cold.” As I was putting the chicken leg into my mouth, I sneezed. A pack of Tempo was then put in front of me.

“By the way, I phoned you last week but you were not at home. I just wanted to invite you to join the service on Saturday.”

Oh, he was that Chan! It might be ridiculous but, with the Tempo he gave to me, my cold was cured immediately.

The next day when I came to school, I met him. And the day after, I met him twice. Within four days, we met for six times on campus. Was that a kind of coincidence or … Though every time we only had the time to say “Hi”, I couldn’t help but think of that Hi-C advertisement – “Like sunshine, you light up my life…”

And on Thursday, I received an e-mail from Chan. I finally learned his given names – Chi-heung was displayed on the screen. In Chinese, it means ambitious, I supposed.

“Are you free tomorrow? I’d like to invite you to join my birthday party (ha, just kidding). How about going to see a movie in the non-print section of the library at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow? Reply today.”

It would be my first date! I was so eager to go, but being a girl I should be more restrained, as mother always said. So I hid my happiness and just replied, “See you at 2:30p.m. tomorrow, at the non-print section.” After school that day, I saw him again and I gave him a special smile.

I couldn’t sleep well that night. All the time I rehearsed the scene of the next day in my mind. I ironed the only dress I had, which was bought for the graduation party when I was in Form Five. I stole some cosmetics from Mom too, though I didn’t use them because I couldn’t figure out which things were for what purposes.

On Friday, at exactly 2:30p.m., I reached the non-print section. He had not come yet and while I was waiting, I counted my heartbeats, as my heart was thumping so loud that even those standing next to me could hear it.

“Hey, Laura, you are so early.”

Was that my Chi-heung? No, it was a she, Judy, my classmate. She continued, “So, let’s see the movie together.”

Of course I won’t let her spoil my first date.

“Sorry Judy, but I am expecting someone.”

“But you have promised me in the mail.”

“You mean e-mail?”

“Of course. What else would it be—blackmail? Yesterday you gave a reply saying…”

“Excuse me, what’s your name?” my face began to turn pale and my cold seemed to be back again.

“I’m Judy Chan, Chi-heung!”

~by Laura Lam (Hong Kong)

Return to Passions: Poems and Stories about Love and Heartbreak by Young Asian Writers

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