The weeks leading up to Pierre's arrival were
nerve-racking. He had been my pen friend for the last three years,
and we were finally going to see each other face to face. The strange thing
about our relationship was that we never exchanged photographs and hence, had no
knowledge of how the other person looked like. Part of the reason was that I did
not want him to know that the descriptions I had written of myself were actually
I reached the KLIA airport bright and early to avoid the
possibility of the plane landing early. This was Pierre's first time in Malaysia
and I did not want to be a bad hostess. But my early arrival at the airport only
added to the anxiety of waiting for him to arrive. All the while, I kept
thinking of how Pierre would react when he finally saw me. My impression of a
Frenchman was one who was suave and dashing
- every schoolgirl's dream of a Prince Charming. His letters were always
charming and humorous, adding to my impression of a gorgeous pen friend.
But how would he view me? I am an average-looking schoolgirl with no
outstanding physical features. I began to perspire under the weight of being
discovered to be a fraud, even though the airport terminal was air-conditioned.
The plane was to arrive in an hour's time, and that left me little time to do
anything to improve my appearance. I started to panic.
Yet, a part of me was excited about finally meeting Pierre. This was due,
in no small part, to his exceptional good looks. Suddenly, I realised that he
could have exaggerated his physical appearance as well. Then, I began to worry
about how he could actually be quite monstrous-looking. How would I be able to
show him off at all the activities that I had arranged for him then? My friends
would laugh at me!
The announcement that Pierre's flight was delayed shifted my thoughts to more
pertinent ones. I wondered at the delay; he
was arriving on a carrier that was normally trustworthy. What could possibly
delay it? I began to entertain thoughts of the plane being in trouble, and soon,
I was frightening myself with thoughts of Pierre's plane crashing as a result of
engine trouble. I tried to stop such unwholesome thoughts, but failed miserably
as my hyperactive imagination took control.
Things got worse in my imagination as the hours dragged on. I could not
understand the delay and the airline counter was not helpful either. They merely
said that the plane was due soon and there was nothing to worry about. I was
reaching the end of my patience with their politeness when it was announced that
the plane had landed. I rushed to the arrival hall and tried to make out which
of them was Pierre once the passengers started streaming out. But it was in
vain. Everyone and no one looked like Pierre to me. It was extremely
frustrating. Suddenly, a hand tapped me on the shoulder and I heard a voice
saying, "You must be Clare. Every bit as lovely as I had imagined."
I turned around to look at Pierre. I grinned as I realised that Mr Prince
Charming had arrived.