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THE003 Her

“Do you trust me?” he asked.

“Yes!” I replied immediately and automatically closed my eyes. I knew what was coming.

He put his hands on my shoulders and I felt him lean closer to me. He kissed me, the same way he did three years ago, and I melted into him, the same way I did three years ago. It was the same kiss that marked the start of our beautiful relationship.

We were in the same course in school, but different classes. I recognized him by face, but we never had a chance to interact. It was the occasional glance here and there, but I never really did think much of him, until I met him during our internship together.

We made small talk at first, but then over the course of our internship, I noticed that he’d often get jobs that two people could work on together. Well, one person could do it, but two people worked faster together. And for some reason, we always ended up as partners, either by him asking me, or by our boss assigning the task to us both. The first few times, I didn’t think much of it because I thought it was because we were in close proximity to each other, so it was easy to just ask me for help. But over the nights of shared dinners and comfortable conversations, I realized that there was something more than work to our relationship.

I guess it should have been more obvious to me. He’d ask me to have dinner together with him nearly every weeknight before we went home. The first dinner was a little awkward at first, but we discovered that we had a lot in common to talk about. We liked the same music, books and movies. We’d argue about stuff like if Edgar Allan Poe was better than Stephen King, or if Alien was better than Predator.

Yeah, I’m a fan of the horror and thriller genres and it turned out he was too, which was a nice surprise. I like surprises.

We became very close as a result of all this bonding time and I grew very comfortable around him. I felt I could be my adventurous self. He was very sweet and such a gentleman too. Not only did he tolerate my impulses, he walked me home every night, even though he stayed much further away.

I don’t know exactly when I realized I had fallen for him. I guess it was a slow, gradual and inevitable thing that just happened. I mean, how could I not?

He was quite reserved, very much the opposite of my fiery attitude. Most of the time, he’d just let me have my fun, but once in a while I managed to coax him to do something crazy with me, like get him to eat spicy food. The one moment that stood out for me was the Chilli Chocolate incident.

See, I love spicy food, and when we happened to stumble across chilli in chocolate, I just had to taste it. Naturally, he wanted nothing to do with it, stating that was was almost blasphemy to chocolate. I locked eye contact with him and asked him, “Do you trust me?”

We’d been through this same routine several times. I would ask him to taste it, then pretend to get mad, insult him, and then finally guilt trip him. The trust thing gets him every time.

He took a bite. I watched as his face changed from oh-god-why-am-I-doing-this to hey-this-ain’t-that-bad. I took a bite myself, and discovered it was only mildly spicy. I’d had a theory that since the chilli was in milk chocolate, the milk would counter the capsaicin in the chilli, the chemical which causes spiciness.

On the last week of our internship together, he turned my own line against me. We were walking down the river, happily licking our ice creams to cool our tongues after the spicy chicken wing dinner we had. I was just about to finish when he suddenly stopped and turned to me. I stopped as well.

“Close your eyes,” he said.

“Why?” I asked suspiciously.

“Do you trust me?” he asked.

“Yes, of course,” I replied, finishing off my ice cream and closing my eyes.

I felt a weight on each shoulder – his hands – and sensed him leaning in. His lips met mine, and I started a little in surprise, but managed to keep my eyes closed. I recovered quickly and wrapped my arms around him, pulling him closer as I kissed him back passionately.

Like I said before, I like surprises, and I especially loved this one.


THE003 Him

“Do you trust me?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied without hesitation. She smiled and closed her eyes.

We were celebrating our third anniversary together. Our third year since we officially became a couple, which was about a month after we met.

I met her when I was doing an internship as part of my study module. We were both attached to the same department along with several other interns, helping out mostly with data entry and small errands. Basically not much more than coffee boys and girls. She and I only met and talked to each other during that internship. I mean, she was in the same course as I, but from a different class. I knew her face, but we never had an opportunity to mingle before.

Over the course of the internship, she and I became quite close. I’d always ask her out to have dinner together. Nobody else seemed to ask her out and she never asked anyone either, so it was always just the two of us.

Not that I minded. I’d tell my colleagues I’d be having dinner with a friend and they’d leave me alone.

We had dinner together almost every weekday night. I discovered she loved spicy food, even and especially the ones that would make her start sniffing tearing up. Her cheeks would also turn a pretty shade of red, which was kind of adorable. Each meal I ask her why she tortures herself so and she always replied that it wasn’t torturous. I personally hate spicy food like chilli, curry and peppers. I mean, I can eat it if I’m forced to, but I’d always pick something else.

I remember there was one night we had Japanese food and she’d ordered curry rice. This was our third week of our internship together and we had grown quite close. She was playfully doing her best to make me taste Japanese curry and I was quite adamant in refusing. She called me weak and unadventurous and I still wasn’t having any of it.

Then she looked into my eyes and asked me, “Do you trust me?”

“Yes…” I answered hesitantly.

“Then take a bit of curry. It’s not spicy at all!”

“No!” I exclaimed.

She pouted. “You don’t trust me,” she said.

“…Alright, alright fine,” I gave in reluctantly.

She beamed and instructed me to close my eyes and open my mouth. I did so and she slipped a spoonful of Japanese curry into my mouth. I was pleasantly surprised; it actually wasn’t very spicy. Quite delicious, in fact. Of course, I didn’t love all spicy food immediately after that, but that one incident made me realize how much I did trust her.

On our last week of our internship together, I took her out to a fancy restaurant for dinner, as a sort of celebration for completing our internship and, as a result, finishing our final module for graduation. We ordered spicy chicken wings and she made me eat them too. We were both in tears by the end of it, but on a high, laughing and joking and just generally being silly. We went for ice cream afterwards to cool our tongues and took a walk beside the river to enjoy the cool night air.

We shared a comfortable silence as we ate our ice cream and strolled along, taking in the sights of the night activities. I realized that after this week, if I didn’t do something, I probably wouldn’t see her again. I finished the last bit of my ice-cream, stopped and turned to her. She stopped too. I looked into her eyes and I said, “Close your eyes.”

“Why?” she asked curiously, tilting her head cutely.

“Do you trust me?” I asked.

“Yes, of course,” she replied with a smile and finished off her ice cream too.

“Then close your eyes,” I told her and she did so. I took a breath and mentally psyched myself up for what I was about to do.

I put my hands on her shoulders, leaned in and kissed her lips. She twitched in surprise, but didn’t open her eyes. I closed my eyes as well as she kissed me back and I felt her wrap her arms around me.

That was our first kiss and the day we officially became a couple. Since then we’ve shared many kisses and I’m sure we’ll enjoy many more together.


THE002 Her

I stare at the buzzing phone in my hand. Caller ID says it’s him. I don’t know why I still kept his number. I don’t know why I still kept his picture, which is flashing on my screen. He’s smiling and his eyes twinkle up at me, as if knowing with such complete confidence that I’ll pick up. So many emotions stir up within me. Emotions about him I’ve suppressed since we last met in person, where he rejected me outright.

He’s still calling. Why is he calling me? Why is he calling now? It’s been almost two years since we last met.

I flash back to when we first met. He was my classmate’s best friend and we’d met at this computer workshop thing. I can’t even remember what it was about, because I was kind of dazzled by his smile. When my classmate introduced us, he gave me this big confident grin as we shook hands. I controlled myself and remembered my manners, thank goodness. He added me as a friend on Facebook after the workshop.

The first time we talked online was over a shared interest in a musician: Lindsey Stirling. Oh I absolutely adore her! She can dance and play the violin at the same time and I love the music videos she makes when she mixes classical and dubstep together.

Anyway, he had shared one of Lindsey Stirling’s videos and tagged our mutual friend. I commented on it and we had a good time defending Lindsey from our mutual friend, who didn’t really like her. Since then we’ve bonded over every single music video that Lindsey Stirling released.

One day he told me about this introduction class to Latin dance and asked if I would go with him. I was thrilled, he had asked me out! I moved my schedule around so that I could go with him and replied that yes, I’d be willing to go. It seemed like he, too, was interested in me, because shortly after that, he asked me out to breakfast before our first Latin dance class together. We chatted for a while on Facebook and boy was he hilarious. There just seemed to be no end to his jokes and puns and quick quips.

When we met for breakfast, I found that he was really chatty. I mean, he had the gift of the gab! He did talk rather fast, but I put that down to nerves. Heck, I was so nervous too; I was barely able to say anything. It was a good thing he could talk a lot. I enjoyed his funny stories and anecdotes very much, and I did notice his effort to encourage me to talk. I appreciated that, but all I wanted was just to listen to him speak.

A couple of days later, he asked me out again. He’d somehow found out that the club I belonged to had organized a Halloween event and asked if I was going. I replied that I wanted to go, but no one I asked was interested. Actually, I hadn’t asked anyone at all, but it’s still technically not a lie. I just hoped he’d ask me to go with him and sure enough, he did. I was so happy and I even bought our tickets for us and treated him to dinner. We spent about three hours together at the event then hung out for a while after that. I had turned up late and made him wait half an hour for me because I was running around doing errands, so I’d insisted on buying him dinner.

Then one day after one of our Latin dance classes, he totally dropped me. We were walking a little behind our group, heading to dinner. There was this small road we had to cross and he just stepped off without seeing the oncoming taxi. Okay it was close enough that we would have to run if we wanted to cross before it, but far enough for me to reach out, grab his hand and pull him back. For those few seconds, it was blissful. He held my hand loosely in his, and then the worst thing happened.

He threw my hand away.

Okay fine I’m exaggerating a little. He just let go of me, he didn’t throw my hand away, but it sure felt like it. I was so hurt as I watched him step off the road after the taxi had passed and I meekly followed behind.

I thought he liked me. He asked me out three times and still he hadn’t confessed, so I thought I’d nudge him a long a little. The taxi gave me the perfect excuse to hold his hand, but that seriously backfired. After our last Latin dance class, he never asked me out again. We still talked a bit on Facebook, but I also noticed he stopped sharing Lindsey Stirling videos with me.

I was hurt, then angry. I felt strung along, like a naive little girl. How could he have treated me like that? I loved his confidence, which showed especially in his eyes and smile. It was hard and I felt like I didn’t deserve to be angry at him because he hadn’t actually confessed to me and dumped me. It was like losing something that wasn’t even mine to begin with. But, eventually, I managed to move on. I suppressed all my feelings for him, because I’m tough like that.

I’m not a foolish girl anymore.

But as I stare at the buzzing phone in my hand, he smiles at me with that soft confidence I once loved.

Oh, darn it.



THE002 Him

It’s been a couple of years since we last met in person and I’ve learnt a lot more about love and relationships; what I like and what I dislike. I had a crush on her before, but I never did anything much about because I wasn’t as confident then as I am now.

So I’m staring at my phone, her number on my screen and I’m just one tap away from calling her. I need to know. I need to know what we could have been then, and could we be anything now? I think back to the first time I met her.

We met during a computer class though our mutual friend (my best friend and her classmate). I thought she was cute and a typical girl-next-door type. She was very polite, not cold or stuck up, and I got the “good girl” vibe off her. The three of us chatted for a bit and she and I ended up befriending each other on Facebook.

Most of our interaction was online from there. The first real connection we had was over shared interest in YouTuber Lindsey Stirling. Lindsey is a dancing violinist and creates original songs by blending classical music with dubstep. I had shared one of Lindsey’s videos and my best friend didn’t see what the big deal was. Then she came to my defense, or rather, Lindsey’s defense. The both of us bonded over Lindsey’s music videos as we gushed about how awesome she was. Since then, every time a new Lindsey music video came out, I’d share it with her, or she with me, whoever found it earlier.

The first time I actually made a move was to ask her to a short intro to Latin dance course. Bottom line is, she accepted and we went as partners. We had even colour-coordinated our outfits for each lesson. While we chatted about it online, I was my comfortable witty self and she said I was a funny guy.

A funny guy! I love to make people laugh and being a funny person has always been what I’ve striven to achieve. No one had ever told me I was funny before. Sure, they laugh at my jokes, but no one has ever said I was funny. Now THAT was the trigger. My self-confidence skyrocketed and I asked her out to breakfast a day before our first dance lesson.

She agreed, but it wasn’t exactly a date because I had put it as a “get to know you better since we’re gonna be dance partners for a while” thing. If I could reach back in time and slap myself I would do so right now. This might not have been a date, but it was the closest I’ve ever gotten to one, so naturally I was nervous. Still, it wasn’t a complete disaster. We ended up chatting for almost two hours. There were some awkward pauses here and there, but I had prepared a list of topics to talk about and ask about her, so I managed to keep the ball rolling. I think that was a bright idea on my part; my mind just kept blanking out whenever I looked at her.

Sometime later, I found a school Halloween event that her club had organized. I asked if she was going and she said that she wanted to go but nobody else was interested. Immediately I asked her if she wanted to go with me and she said yes. We didn’t dress up as anything for the Halloween event, but I still remember what she wore: a cute little pink dress that was adorable and yet somehow elegant on her.

In all the time I’ve known her, there is one thing I’ve always regretted doing and it’s the reason why I’m holding the phone in my hand, my finger hovering over the call button.

See, there was this one time after dance class when we went to have dinner with the other dancers. She and I lagged behind the group a bit to talk. I was so engrossed with talking to her that I didn’t check the small road we were about to cross. There was a taxi coming which I hadn’t noticed and I stepped off the pavement. She grabbed my hand and pulled me back immediately.

I know what you’re thinking; it’s a classic scene from a Korean romance drama or something. I seriously did not make this up. It wasn’t even a close shave. But it happened and it wasn’t even the thing I regretted.

After the taxi passed, she didn’t let go of my hand.


As soon as I did, I realized my mistake. She didn’t even make a move to pull her hand out of mine. It’s not that I didn’t want to hold her hand; of course I did! And it’s not like we haven’t held hands in dance class before. I just felt so… shocked. I had no idea how to react, so instinctively I pulled away. I have lost count of how many times I’ve beat myself up over this. It’s the worst oh-gawd-why moment I’ve ever had. And I was too much of a coward to do anything about it afterwards. To this day I still remember that her hand was small and soft and her palms were a little leathery, the mark of someone who’s worked hard with her hands.

Just one mistake which I failed to recover from and it’s haunted me ever since. And with all that I know now, I have to find out if we could have been something.

The phone is ringing in my ear.


THE001 – Her

I was leaning against the railing, the wind messing up my hair as I waited for him. I had my book in my hand, but I wasn’t really reading it. I was thinking back to how we had gotten this far together.

I think it was fate that brought us together, even though I don’t believe in it. Everything happens for a reason and there’s a scientific explanation for everything. But it was purely by chance we were pushed together as lab partners for biology class.

Oh, biology. I love this subject. It’s so easy, so natural, it makes so much sense. It’s what makes the world turn and, quite literally, life goes on.

But him. My goodness, he was a flop. With no understanding, no finesse, he always found a way to mess up even the simplest of experiments. For our team project, I wanted to do a mini documentary on the life cycle and regenerative properties of salamanders, complete with diagrams and dissections. I wondered how we were even going to start, how I was going to even explain my idea to this buffoon. I even briefly considered doing a simple butterfly preservation display.

But I’m nothing if not determined. Biology class itself was boring because our teacher was a 70-year-old lady who barely knew the textbook. Urgh. I resolved not to let him pull down my grade and spent most of my time tutoring him and explaining to him what he did wrong and how everything works.

Yes, even the part on human reproduction. He was really awkward then, while I ruthlessly and unabashedly explained the nuances of each area. It was kinda cute, the way he squirmed.

In a way, it was nice to be teaching him. I’m quite independent; I had to be. My mum died when I was seven years old, to breast cancer. That was when I decided to be a biologist and find a cure for cancer. My dad had to work almost every day. We weren’t exactly poor, but we weren’t rich either. I spent most of my time reading everything related to biology, although I did have a soft spot for sci-fi and adventure novels.

We ended up spending a lot of time together after school, to work on our project. Sometimes we just sat together doing our homework, other times we worked on other projects together. I didn’t have any close friends, not since primary school; they had all headed off to different schools or migrated overseas. But somehow he and I got very close. We were study buddies.

I still can’t understand how that happened. I mean, he was one of the most popular guys in school. He was on the student council and always organizing some school activity or other. Perhaps that was why he was so bad at biology. He seemed to know everyone in school and they all seemed to know him as well. During the school holidays, he didn’t stop organizing events. I went for every single one because my schedule was pretty open anyway.

One day he organized a class outing to the Science Center. That was one of my favourite places and I always loved to see the new exhibits. I was in my element and I guess he must have noticed, because after that day, we hung out a lot more often at the Science Center.

I glanced at my watch and wondered where he was. He’d told me to be here so we could have a small celebration for finishing our exams. Beside the watch was the friendship bracelet he made for me for my birthday a while back. It was a really sweet gesture and he even made a DNA theme using four different coloured strings.

I was so thrilled and touched. I hadn’t had a birthday celebration in years that wasn’t just Daddy and I, let alone a present. I don’t advertise my birthday or organize my own parties. It just doesn’t seem practical. Besides, all the people I had wanted to invite were overseas or busy. I’d rather just read in peace and quiet.

As I admired his handiwork, I felt a stirring in my chest. I’ve had that feeling for a while now, ever since we actually did complete and submit the salamander project for that year. He wasn’t exactly helpful, but really enthusiastic. We’d both gotten an A for that. For the project, not his enthusiasm, I mean.

I was aware of what I felt about him. Very aware. Which girl in their right mind wouldn’t be attracted to him? Popular, a natural leader, passionate in what he does, charming and not at all lacking in the looks department. Apart from biology, he was passing every subject, which, I’ll admit, was pretty amazing seeing how active he was in other activities.

The corners of my mouth lifted a little as his face appeared in my mind and as I looked up, I saw his face for real as he walked towards me, which made my smile grow wider. My heart sped up a little and my stomach did a flip. Impulsively, I shut my book and leaned forward to hug him. I closed my eyes as I congratulated him on completing his exams and was acutely aware of how his body fit against mine so naturally. And oh wow did he smell good; a fresh, mildly woody smell that reminded me of new books when I just bought them from a bookstore. We were hugging a little too long, so I pulled away, slightly embarrassed but also noting that he hadn’t said anything. He just held me there. Perhaps he was enjoying it as much as I was.

We walked to the Helix Bridge. It’s called the Helix Bridge because the whole bridge is shaped in a double helix structure and has pairs of lights either side of the bridge, completing the whole DNA theme. The bridge was crowded with people, so he suggested that we hold hands to keep together. Of course, I was more than happy to oblige and he took my hand in his.

He tugged me across the bridge. Not in jerky movements, just slow and gentle, constantly keeping me close to him while he cut a path through the throng of people. I was able to relax my mind and enjoy his strong hand around mine, guiding and protecting me at the same time. The slowness enhanced the dreamlike sensation I felt and I willed the crowd to push us closer together.

As we reached the other side of the bridge, he turned to me and smiled. I watched as he swallowed, obviously intending to say something, but deciding not to. I felt his hand fall away from mine and I didn’t like that one bit. Nope, I know what I want and I’m getting it. I caught his hand again and this time entwined my fingers around his, so that it would be harder for him to let go.

I think he was just as surprised as I was at my bold move. But I couldn’t back out now, even if I wanted to. So instead I decided to see where this road would lead me. I’d shown him my hand, so to speak, so I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.

I pulled him towards the railing and we put our elbows on it, waiting for the light show to start. I linked my arm though his and settled my head on his shoulder, just enjoying the night air, the river, the light show and his presence.

Ever since then, our bond has grown as strong as the ones that join DNA together.


THE001 – Him

I saw her leaning against the railing, the wind tossing her hair back as she waited for me with her ever present book in hand. I didn’t want to keep her waiting any longer, so I sped up as a silly grin formed on my face.

As I shortened the distance between us, I thought about how close we had grown over the years. There wasn’t much I couldn’t tell her or talk to her about and vice versa. She was and still is my best friend.

She was wearing a pretty blue dress and the DNA friendship band I made for her on her birthday three years ago. She loved biology and was pretty much a nerd about it. We were in the same class and she had breezed through everything, easily scoring top marks in every biology exam. The subject just came naturally to her and it used to annoy me a lot. I was constantly in the bottom half of the class until she decided to tutor me herself.

We were lab partners and I kept messing up the experiments and dissections. She always came to my rescue and fixed as much as she could, chastising me and showing me the right way to do it. I think she saw teaching me as a challenge where the actual subject of biology was not.

She was really bossy but she was my angel. Without her tutelage, I wouldn’t have ascended to the top quarter of our class and I probably would have flunked my finals that year.

I guess that would have been my own fault. I was swamped with other school activities like organizing camps and community service events. I was doing alright in my other subjects, but I just didn’t have the aptitude for biology until she came along.

Because of all the activities I was involved in, I knew almost everyone in my school, at least by face, but I didn’t have a lot of close friends. In fact, I think it was just her. Apart from all the school activities, I didn’t really spend time with anyone except her. Even before I met her, I spent most of my time at home studying, which was how I had gotten by with my fully packed schedule. Once she decided to take me under her wing, we studied together.

We did hang out occasionally during our holidays. One of our favourite places was the Science Center, for obvious reasons. In school, she mostly kept to herself, her nose almost always buried in a storybook. The Science Center was the only place I’ve seen her so carefree and bubbly. Her face would always light up as she animatedly gushed about new exhibits.

I loved it when she did that. I loved the way her eyes brightened with wonder, then with understanding as she watched each exhibit and read the corresponding write ups.

During our school holidays, whenever I wasn’t helping to conduct holiday camps, I’d organize short day outings for our classmates, like cycling and swimming events.

She’d never missed a single outing.

Today was the end of our final exams. In a few months’ time, I’ll be enlisting into the army. We had decided to have a little celebration, just the two of us, and this was where I asked her to meet me.

The closer I got to her, the faster my heart beat. After all the time I spent with her, I know the effects adrenaline pumping through my veins by heart; faster heartbeat, pupils dilated, increased breathing, senses heightened, sensitivity to pain lowered. I mentally checked them off as I noted how I felt.

As I reached out to her to say hi, she sensed my presence and looked up, a big grin forming on her face. Closing her book, she pulled me into a quick embrace that sent jolts of electricity racing throughout my body. I noticed her cheeks took on a pretty pink tinge as she pulled back to keep her book and we set off.

I led her to the bridge. They call it the Helix Bridge because there’s a twisted double helix structure along the length of the bridge. Keeping in theme, there are pairs of lights at fixed intervals on the floor on both sides of the bridge. Each pair of lights has one of two combinations of colours, representing the four amino acid pairs that make up DNA.

I thought it would be pretty apt to walk her across this bridge before I confessed my love for her.

As we approached the bridge, we saw that it was packed with people. In order not to get separated, I suggested that we hold hands and she agreed. I wiped my palms, which were wet with nervous sweat, on my pants as much as I could, then reached out to her and she slipped her hand into mine. The moment we touched, I felt the same jolt of electricity shoot through my arm, although now it was just a pleasant tingle of elation. With our hands clasped together, we turned and headed into the crowd.

As I pulled her along, carving a route through the crowd for her to follow, I was extremely aware of the weight of her hand in mine. It felt so perfect, so right, and I couldn’t help a silly, triumphant grin form on my face.

I was partially thankful for the density of the crowd; it allowed me to go really slow and prolong this wonderful moment as long as possible. I moved with a dreamlike sensation, capturing as much detail as I could and committing everything to memory.

I wanted to be able to relive this moment again and again.

All too soon, we reached the end of the bridge. I turned back to smile at her and reluctantly loosened my grip on her hand. This was my chance. I had to say something now, to tell her exactly how she made me feel, the joy that rushes through me every time we meet.

As I glanced at her, my mind went blank, I froze and the moment passed. I couldn’t say anything. The words just stuck in my throat, so instead I turned away, dropping her hand.

And then the most wonderful thing happened: her hand found mine and she intertwined her fingers around mine.

I looked back at her in surprise and saw a shy smile on her face. She nodded slightly, as if acknowledging the words I had failed to say. She knew that words didn’t come to me as easily as they came to her.

I let her pull me to the railing on the bank of the river where the light show was about to begin. When it did, she linked her arm around mine, rested her head on my shoulder and we both watched the show in total, comfortable silence.