Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Encounter

A gentle breeze swept through the college, bringing a split-second sense of peacefulness to the bustling students hurrying about the campus.
“Maia!” A twig crunched behind the elder girl and she turned, the sunlight reflecting momentarily upon her face, creating an unusual radiance that harmonized with her outfit.
“Maia,” I repeated, struggling to keep the books in my arm from sliding onto the floor as I stared into the veil of trees, trying to make out the figure of my classmate. “Wait up.” My body shook as I stifled a sneeze.
“Are you all right, Michelle?” The girl next to me asked, a concerned frown playing across her pretty face. “You’ve been sneezing all morning."
“I’m fine, Tai Yun” I reassured my friend as we walked up to Maia. “It’s merely a touch of the flu.”
Maia, as we discovered, was deep in conversation with a lecture-mate (as I found out later) of ours. A lecture-mate I’d never noticed right up till that moment.

“Hi,” he waved casually at me and my companion as we approached, smiling. I just stood there and stared. Those ever-slithering books of mine as well as my compulsion to sneeze were forgotten the instant I set eyes upon this particular lecture-mate I didn’t even realise existed. His bashful smile could best be summed up in one word – captivating.

I stood there and gaped for a long time, vaguely aware that he was saying something to me, although my brain refused to register human speech of any sort at that precise moment.

Forget the fact I had long since harboured a secret shyness of strangers. Forget the fact I had difficulties looking acquaintances I’ve been seeing for five whole months in the eye. This guy was amazing, outstanding, The Unbelievable Exception.

“Well…bye,” He muttered after a while as he reluctantly backed away, obviously unwilling to end the conversation. “See you all around, yeah.”

“Yeah.” I parroted dumbly. “Yeah.”

The instant he was out of earshot, I turned to my classmates with huge eyes as I gestured wildly, searching for the appropriate vocabulary required for a situation as such.

“That guy…who is he?” I finally managed to produce a question in a barely audible awed whisper.

“Why, our lecture-mate, of course,” Tai Yun replied.

What? I’ve never seen him before!”

“He’s from the scholarship class,” Maia added.

“Wow. I mean, wow. Did you…did you see…his smile? Wow. It was amazing,” I muttered, mostly to myself.

My friends were starting to give me the weird eyeball and I didn’t blame them.

“Did you…did you guys see his teeth?”

“What about his teeth?” The dark-haired maiden next to me asked as she stooped down to pick up one of my invariably sliding books that had evidently found a new resting place on the floor.

“His teeth. They were perfectly straight. And I mean straight! Goodness gracious, I’ve never seen anyone with teeth as straight as such. It was as if they were set using a ruler or something.”

“Gee, a lot of people have straight teeth too,” Maia volunteered.

“That’s not it. His teeth were so straight, they didn’t seem real,” I explained. My companions didn’t get the point. How could they, when they were concentrating on the conversation and I was feasting my eyes on one of the most eerily perfect sets of teeth I’d ever seen?

Eerily perfect was right. The unnaturalness of the teeth made one feel as if one were in a horror novel where the teeth would eventually turned out to be some sort of weird phantom. It was something right down Stephen King’s lane – indeed, I recall having read a story by King entitled “Chattery Teeth” a couple of years ago.

As I headed in the direction of the lecture halls with my associates, a shiver ran down my spine and I sneezed. Then again, it could just have been my bout of constantly recurring flu, returning to haunt me.

Hah, tricked you all, didn’t I? Sorry, there isn’t a romantic conclusion to the day. ;)

But I’m actually serious. This human has the most unnatural, eerily perfect set of teeth I’ve ever set my eyes upon. He scares me. O_o

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