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A Surprise



Tall skyscrapers lined the vast expanse of roads in the city. Cars honked incessantly at each other, and the roads were packed like tins of sardines. A young woman crooned melodiously, in a saccharine sweet voice. “She must be a busker,” I thought. It was a busy Wednesday afternoon and I was out on my lunch break. I looked forward to gobbling the scrumptious food at my favourite fast food chain. My mother droned on relentlessly during our phone call, which I held close to my ear. Torrents of her endless complaints rained down on me. I sighed as I listened to my mother’s chiding, chuckling silently at the same time.

A cool blast of air greeted me as I entered the restaurant. A splatter of red and black was splashed on the walls of the place and bright fluorescent lights gave off iridescent hues. The place attracted both adults and children alike. A tantalising smell wafted through the air and drool began pooling at the sides of my mouth. Despite the snaking queues, I proceeded to join the line as the food here was definitely worth the wait.


After I ended my call, I scrolled through my phone, reading a countless stream of messages and social media posts. Sinking into a sea of boredom, I waited for what seemed like an eternity. How long more would it take before I could finally order my food?


I glanced up, trying to push away the annoyance flaring up in me. At least the queue in front of me had shortened considerably. I counted three people in front of me. All of a sudden, a familiar-looking figure grabbed my attention.


Chestnut hair cascaded down her shoulders like a waterfall. She was lanky, as thin as a stick. She stood in a confident stance at the front of the line, leaning forward to order her food. That was when I heard her oddly familiar voice. “Was that … Jenna?” I pondered, losing myself deep in my thoughts.


Jenna and I had been best friends back in Primary School. We had wanted to keep in touch but times were different. She did not have a phone back then and her mother never allowed Jenna to use hers. Sadly we never met again, till today.


I saw her turn around briefly. Tresses framed her heart-shaped face, her oak brown eyes complementing her hair. I knew it had to be her.


I nibbled nervously at my fingernails. Should I approach her? I desperately wanted to greet her but what if she was cold and unreceptive? Negative thoughts and questions reeled in my mind. The voices in my head debated, engaging in a full head-on battle. I was in a dilemma and tension was paramount.


Mustering every single ounce of my courage, I shuffled hastily towards the front of the line. She was now waiting for her food. I pretended to check out the menu. I then proceeded to give her a glimpse of my face, to see if she remembered me.


“A… Alexa!”


I whipped around to face Jenna. Confusion distorted my face at first but it soon turned into an infectious grin, matching the smile plastered on Jenna’s face. How could I ever have doubted her? She was like a ray of sunshine, illuminating people’s lives. She enveloped me in a warm bear hug.


“How’s life! Long time no see…“ I exclaimed, as she chortled heartily.


“Good, how about you?” she inquired.


From there, we chatted together and ate. Time ticked by in a blur, going as quickly as it came. No words could adequately express how much I had missed her and relished her present company.


Later that day, as I lay in bed as the darkness of night involuntarily crept into my room, a specific poem I recalled hearing somewhere nagged at me.


“Fake friends are like leaves, found everywhere. True friends are like diamonds, precious and rare.”


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