By Ting Chee Kheong (International Speech Contest 2002)
He was vivacious! He was going to New York! And he was going there with the girl of his dream! He knew, though, that it would be difficult for anything to blossom between him and her. For she had already rejected him three times before.
He was determined. This trip would be the journey of a lifetime. Over the past few months, he had secretly made a scrap-book, a sort of diary that recorded every outing they had together. It contained ticket buds, receipts, his thoughts about her, and most importantly, a photograph that he had taken of her some time back without her knowledge. He remembered how he had bought an origami book, learnt to make 5 different animals, and wrote down 5 lines each of the reasons that he had taken a liking of her, and gave the origami as a birthday present to her. He was determined to give the girl another surprise at the end of the trip, and he took out a pen and wrote.
“I knew we can only be friends and how you would like to treat me: friends. However, I just couldn’t contain my feelings. I felt so much alive ever since I realized I fell in love with you. I found time to exercise, to enrich myself and even for spiritual growth, all because I want to show you I can live life, and so can you. By giving you this scrap-book, I admit, I do hope that it can change your mind. But even if it don’t, I just want this to be a memory of how much you have brought into my life!”
And so they went to New York, she without suspecting a thing. On the third day, he discovered that the girl had just found another boyfriend. He was devastated, and he took out the scrap book, and gave it to her.
“Why? Why must you spoil my trip? We came here together with the understanding that we are only friends, and what do you want from me now? You said you can accept that I can reject you and you can still treat me as a friend. Know what? I can’t! You are selfish, you only think of how you feel! I wanted to enjoy my trip and now you spoil it all. You never spare a thought for me and you dare say you love me!”
It was a double blow. If without the support of his friends, he would have gone home straight. However, they were scheduled to go home only a week later! He picked himself up, and went on with the journey.
He always thought that the companion was more important than the journey itself. Yes, there were fond memories of simply watching her getting in and out of different outfits while she shopped, and how they took walks & joy-rides together.
But he discovered that the journey was just as enriching, after he took his mind off her and concentrated on the journey. He sat down at the Summer Theater at Central Park listening to the music, and found himself swimming harmoniously with the flow of the music. He stood in front of the medieval church and found himself immersed in a serene pool of peace. He scaled the World Trade Centre and saw the city skyline, which he never knew then, that 3 months later the place will become history.
Sitting on a log lying on the beach, with the scorching campfire behind and the sky littered with blinking stars and a crescent moon, he held her in his arms and she rested her head on his shoulders.
“Maybe I am a romantic freak! I always thought that everlasting love must be etched into the heart, and that the most memorable love will start with heart-wrenching twists.”
“Dear, I know. You must be thinking of your trip again. I am glad that you were honest and frank with me. But that was over. Now, you have me.”
“Oh yes! I am glad that the experience taught me to live life, but she was only the catalyst and I did it for myself. I am even more glad that it is over, for if not I wouldn’t have found you. Words cannot describe what we are feeling now… I feel both out of this world and yet I am not alone. I won’t know what lies ahead, but I do know that I am the luckiest person on earth right at this moment. For I wouldn’t have found another one who loves me for who I am and one whom I can unconditionally give my heart to. My dear, all that I can do is to summarize all my feelings to these simple words: I love you!”
The journey never ends.
Sometimes you will stop to take a rest. Sometimes you will move on a different route. Sometimes you will journey alone, or with a companion.
But the journey will never end.