All grown up.
It’s not everyday that you meet someone whose birthday falls on the same day as yours, but I had a classmate from poly, N, who could have been lying in the crib next to me in the hospital on the day we were born. Our worlds couldn’t be further apart.
Where she was demure, I was forthcoming. Where she was mild-tempered, I was full of witty comebacks. Where she was friendly, I was choosy. In other words, I was the one everyone was interested to know but didn’t dare to approach, and she was the one everyone would love to know and did.
For years, I adopted her as my ultimate adversary. Everything she did got on my nerves, but I had no reason to hate her as she didn’t exactly do anything wrong. Somehow, towards the second year in poly, she became part of my clique of friends. Of course the comparison started, more of a friendly joke than anything else, but only I knew how hurt I was that people were more appreciative of her sweetness than of my personality. I wasn’t antisocial; my character simply took awhile to get used to, and I don’t like wasting time on frivolities.
Over the years after our graduation from poly, I lessened my childish thinking and stopped pitting myself against her. I was envious of her looks and how people flocked to her, but as I slowly found myself, I do not think I’m any less of a good friend. We meet up often nowadays for dinner and we always have fun complaining about our jobs and reminiscing about our past. Today, over dinner with friends, she suddenly had an outburst as she was telling us about a new colleague of hers. We reeled in shock at the bitchy comment she made and were speechless for a few seconds. Then, S, who has always told me how he admired the way I could disguise a scathing remark and turn it into a seemingly innocent comment, looked at me and said, “Well! She’s finally displaying some qualities of yours. And about time too!”
Later on, we were gossiping about another ex-classmate, and both N and her good friend A, complained about how this classmate loved ordering them around. I commented on how I don’t remember having that classmate treat me like that, and S patted my back and said, “Seriously? I don’t think she would have dared.” After that, on the way home, A suddenly said to me, “I think S is right. It’s about time N and I stood up for ourselves.”
I was a little touched. I took that as a compliment.