Back in Primary 3, Ben was looked up as our 'Big Brother' whom you could count on when you needed his help. If you needed to borrow 50 sens for lunch money, he'd give it to you without any hesitation. In fact, sometimes he'd give you RM1 and tell you that you needn't pay him back.
To the girls, Ben was also our protector. Should any boy pick on us and refused to stop after we tell them so, we'd just tell Ben about it and he'll tell the boy off. Ah, it was nice to be protected.
We fancied ourselves as a 'gang' only in class, just because we thought we were cool. (I think) The gang consisted of Liz, Marsha, Lat and I for the girls, and Cyrus, Kok Wah, Jason, John and Ben for the boys. (Correct me if I'm wrong, because my memory fails me right this moment.)
Ben was also one of the fastest runners in our class and one of the most popular games we used to play in school was Police and Thieves or more popularly known as 'Catch'. The girls would be the police and catch as many thieves (the boys) as possible. Come Primary 4 and 5, boys from other classes would join us in our games.
The girls sucked as thieves, to be honest. We would rather stay at 'home', which is usually huge tree somewhere, than run around being caught.
What made Ben popular was probably his ever so carefree atitude, as if he had no care in the world. I'm sure he had his worries, but he hid them well. He was tall lanky, and when he smiled, his eyes crinkled up at the corners. I don't know why I remember this (weird, I know) but yeah, that's the way he laughed or smiled.
If I had to make a comparison right now of how he was then, he'd be 20% like Sam of Glee, with the square jaw and sort of pouty lips.
Yeah, that was a random thought. =P
If I couldn't take his teasing any longer, I would punch his arm until it was blue black but somehow he never got angry at me. If it was another guy, that guy would either hit me right back or screamed at me.
Hmm yeah. I played rough with Ben.
In Primary 5, I remember the so-called gang being hauled up to the Headmaster's room for something. Extended recess because we wanted to fight with someone, perhaps? I'm not too sure.
But when all of us were in the room (Jason and I were the class monitor) being reprimanded for that something, our heads hung low and filled with remorse. We apologised and said we wouldn't do it again and was sent back to class.
Instead of returning straight to class, some of us hung around outside the corridor, discussing how remorseful we felt. How were we to forgive ourselves?
At this point, some joker decided then and there that we HAD to go to church right now. Right that instant. Since God forgives everyone, we should pray for forgiveness too!
The church is right beside our school so it was easy for us to walk over and sought the Pastor's urgent help immediately. Pray for us and with us right NOW, we probably pleaded, so that we'll feel better. We'd be better people!
I don't think it help us that much because by the time we returned to school, our teacher was appalled and even more furious than ever. We weren't punished or anything, but I swear someone must have told her that we went to church to pray so please have mercy on us silly kids!
Some time ago, Cyrus told me that during Ben's 11th (or 10th?) birthday party, I danced with his youngest brother, Marcus. That's pretty random, I know, but I had to dig deep into the recesses of my mind to find a fragment of this memory.
Lat told us last year or so that back then, Ben had a crush on her because he gave her a little present. I don't recall this at all, bugger. Perhaps it happened without me knowing.
Liz said he liked Transformers and both of them would sing the theme song together. I definitely didn't know this at all.
I wouldn't have guessed that Ben had been in KL for the past few years if I hadn't read about him in the news the other day.
Rest in peace, Ben.
You were a great friend.