‘Her over-the-top kindness and her loud voice suddenly made all my self-pity disappear, but it only made the embarrassment hotter.’
BEST FRIENDS are supposed to be wonderful, but sometimes, they can drive you up the wall. Kennice is just like that. She has been my best friend for two years now, since Primary Five. We have been in the same class, first in 5 Loyalty 1, and now 6 Resilience 1—those are the fancy names for our classes.
She sits in the second row from the right, third desk from the front, and I sit to her left, right across the aisle. It’s a blessing to have your best friend so close. We didn’t plan for this to happen, we ended up seated side by side on account of our height. She’s 1.45m tall, I’m 1.43m. She wears a ponytail, so do I. She’s a loudmouth, so am I, though not as loud as her. She’s the giggly type, I’m the same, except I’m gigglier.
That’s how we became friends. One day, she came up to me and said, “Hey, I like the way you laugh.” I was thrilled because my mother is not particularly fond of my laughter. I immediately warmed up to Kennice, such a nice name!
The only trouble with this girl is she’s not very discreet. She would, for instance, let loose a secret the moment she hears one. One time, I whispered to her that I really wanted to slap Corrine’s face, and as soon as the words left my lips, Kennice shouted out, almost in glee, “Oh my goodness! Xin Yu can’t stand Corrine!”
The whole world heard her, including poor Corrine, who was within earshot. And the worst part of it all is that this silly girl usually has no idea how hurtful she is. Even though in this instance, she may have caught her own stupid indiscretion, she only made it worse by proclaiming, “Oh, no, no, it’s just a dare, I didn’t mean it!” So much for pretending to sound random.
Discretion may not be her strong suit, but she’s got a big heart.
Once, I slipped down the stairs in school and felt my bum bumping down three, four steps before I hit the ground floor. The pain in the bottom wasn’t killing me so much as the hot flush of embarrassment. Some school mates snickered, others just walked right past. Only Kennice came rushing to my rescue.
“Oh, Xin Yu!” she cried. “Are you OK?”
She pulled me up, and surveyed my face, then my arm, and gave a quick inspection of my bottom. I looked fine, but she seemed to wonder if I had suffered some internal bleeding: “You sure we don’t have to go to the general office?” Her over-the-top kindness and her loud voice suddenly made all my self-pity disappear, but it only made the embarrassment hotter.
But that’s just Kennice. Her readiness to please is so hyper, it smothers you to bits. And nowhere did I feel more smothered than when we were eating chocolate-chip cookies our classmate Lindsay had brought to school one day.
“Mmm, this is so good!” I said.
“Yes, it is,” she agreed. “But I can make it even better.”
And it’s true she could. It was everything I could have wished for in a cookie, much the same way that Kennice is everything I could have wished for in a friend.
Chia Xin Yu, Primary Six
For more essays by Xin Yu, visit Xin Yu Writes.
This essay was written in response to the theme, “Best Friends” and a picture of two girls whispering to each other
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