"Zhi Hao, let's go and buy something for Syahirah," Wei Zhi asked me. He was
thrilled to have received a birthday invitation from her. Everyone knows how
rich and snobbish Syahirah was. She had a
personal driver who brought her to school in a posh car.
On close checking, we
found that only two other boys, Karan and Adi, had received similar invitations
to her classy home in Century Heights. Then, we were presented with a problem:
What were we going to give to the birthday girl? We decided, after some
discussion, to make a trip to 1 Utama Shopping Centre to make our purchases.
Karan and Adi had never visited the place and were thrilled to bits by the
numerous shops selling the latest in sports fashion and gear. However, I
directed them to our objective and after some window-shopping, we made our
choices. Karan wanted to buy her a mammoth
puzzle, Adi a Barbie doll, Wei Zhi an Umbro jacket and as for me, I would
present her with a crystal figure of a swan. It was then that the group showed
signs of division.
Wei Zhi started teasing Karan, "Why would a girl want a jigsaw puzzle?" The
sensitive Karan then answered angrily, "Same to you, no brains." Why would a
rich girl like her don such a cheap sports jacket?" I tried to get them to make
peace with each other but by then, they turned mild Adi. "Use your head, Adi,"
they chortled, "do you think she would want a Barbie doll... it's so childish."
Our group carried on bickering over what to buy outside a restaurant. Seeing
the curious stares of a few passers-by, I urged my friends to settle their
differences along the corridor outside. After some discussion, they decided to
pool their resources to buy an expensive present for her. But what present were
we to give her? A few minutes of pondering led my three friends to turn and look
at me. "Let's go with Zhi Hao's suggestion. We'll get the swan. It's classy and
not too expensive. "
At once, we headed to Uncle All' s crystal shop. However, as we gazed at the
figure behind the shop window, we noticed the price tag. It was too expensive as
it bore the figure RM628 which was way above our budget even if we had pooled
our resources together. It was then that they became unreasonable to me.
They blamed me unfairly for choosing the swan. I spluttered out in hurt that
I had made an honest mistake. I had not seen the last figure "8" and had thought
the price was RM62.
By this time, we had spent a considerable amount of time in the centre
looking out for suitable gifts. Then, to my horror, Karan and Wei Zhi proposed
that we draw lots to see who the unlucky one was who would bear the full cost of
the gift. They stared down at humble Adi, who meekly accepted the decision. I
was the only dissenting voice. Very
unwillingly, I watched them prepare the lots. I drew my lot and as luck would
have it, I was the sacrificial lamb to bear the cost. However, in my heart, I
decided there and then to have none of their nonsense and fled the scene.
That was the end of our unsuccessful shopping trip. I learned that the boys
felt shameful about the whole incident after that and departed from the place
too, without buying anything. They apologized to me the next day. We attended
Masitah's party. What they gave her individually, I did not know. All I know is
that the unsuccessful shopping trip left a sour feeling in my mind for months.