“Ziak-ziakziak, ziakziakziakziak, ziakziak…”
“Ji-ji-ji-ji ji-ji ji-ji-ji…” “Ngahk~ ngahk~”
Waking to the frightened squeaks of birds, she opens her eyes to the vague pale shades on the ceiling.
It is a minute to seven. With the flocks’ tight chatters, one can go back to sleep no more.
Get up and open the curtain. The sky is veiled by grey and haze. Having lived in the same house for over a decade, I have never heard such nervous twitterings from over the park, just across the road. There must be something.
The mobile’s gone out of battery. It happens when the notifications keep pushing in and spark out all energy. As she plugs the phone and revives it to live, she gets to know why.
It has been such a night. A long dark night.
I got to know Ralph twenty years ago when I was a secondary school boy. It was a faintingly sunny first day of school. I was looking around, with the sun’s aftershade still in my eye, wondering what all these kids around were thinking and what is to happen in the new environment. Soon I lost in a long gaze at a pencil whirling on the fingers of one of my classmates, missing my primary school friends whom I used to dance with. A slip of the hand, the pencil fell and rolled to the door. Just as I was waken from my daydream, a tall gentleman appeared, picked up the pencil, came in front of the class and greeted us with his strong tenor voice, “Good morning, class!”
Each of the sounds solemn, steady and confident. The gentleman kept a straight face, with his moustache well-groomed, clothing ironed to allow only the slightest trace of wrinkle. An authoritative father figure came to my mind. But as he returned the pencil to my classmate and started introducing himself, he transited into a lively tone, I eased my neck and take a breath of relief. After all these years, he turned out to be the most humorous teacher in my life, and a closest friend of mine. He had always helped troubled students like me, troubled as he once was. Now it is time for me to do something for him, if only I knew earlier. Hope it is not too late.