Chapter 0:

Chapter 1 - Paradise lost

A boring life at school, or maybe....

USA, I love everything about it, from hot girls to friends to even.... Bullies. Haaa... what a paradise. On Valentine's Day, you get gifts, “hey Alex, happy Valentine's Day! ”!" And the coolest part is no uniforms, and even I could speak English! It seems as if these days are going to last forever. But I realised something, when Mom called me "it's time to return home to Malaysia…..”

“NO!!!! I don’t want to go back!!” Mom drag me back to our little house and packed our stuff in a box. Aunt Deb told me “you want to stay with me?” Ah.. Aunt Deb please carry me to paradise. Mom pull me back “you are the eldest, and how about your younger sister and brother ?” I began to think and said to mom “maybe they could stay with me?” Mom knock my head and lectured me “what about welfare do you think you handle it?” I could not…

“Don’t be selfish, you will stay with me” Aunt Deb console me “when you a bit older, you could visit here again okay?” I just nod with disappointment. Mom ask me to inform the teachers that I could leave this school at the end of summer. I meet my friends, they were sad to see me “come on Alex! Don’t leave us! We are great team like the Power Rangers!!” We began to pose the Power Ranger pose where everyone look at us weird. Matt said to me that someone else is going to miss me. Natalie ugh..

I met Natalie, she wear a dazzling Victorian dress with excitement and it was down to the drain or so to speak. “WHA!! Why!! Are you leaving me? What about our summer party?” Natalie is beautiful for a 14 year old. Her French curl and brunette hair with her big eyes would make me melt in joy. “I know…but….do you think….I could disobey my mother?” Natalie pull my ears “that is not nice talking to Aunt Mas like that, she is your mother for god sake!!” Natalie began to shed her tears. She is forcing herself to agree with my mom. “Then..I want to visit your house then” My heart began to flutter “yeah…I am happy!!” I hold her arm and she hug me and kiss my cheeks. Ah…I began to melt again.

I meet my teachers and principal about my departure “Well then Alex, all the best in Malaysia don’t forget you education…I am sure we will meet again…” Then I meet the bullies and I beat them “I have been patient Hiew!! Making sure I m a good boy well then good luck in finding a new boy to bully” He is tall and also had followers which I was beaten again. Ouch… my cheeks…

Natalie waited for me “always like this…why don’t you just said to them?” “I hated them, an Asian thinking like they own the place….” Natalie and me walk together for the last time. She wore a classics 80’s girls with jeans and boots. Her lips were red, and her eyelashes like flashes to my eyes. Ah.. I going to miss this…

Natalie said that she wanted to visit the park that we always hang around. We sat at the swings and sat there. “You know, you are the only one that understand me, could handle my way and I remember when in French class, you tried to pick a fight with me” she giggle. Ah please don’t that is embarrassing, I don’t want to remember that. Why do I pick a fight with her? But I m going to miss her a lot. Natalie pull her Polaroid camera and took a selfie of us together. “Here take it, so you don’t forget about me” she shoot again “now we have two” she suddenly kiss me and said “promise me, to not forget me okay..?” Her lips touch my lips. My heartbeat is on turbo mode, is this love or lust. My god please don’t tore me apart from her.

Natalie and me walk together until we reach my home. Mom throw a farewell party and Matt was there “happy couples!!” Matt tease us and Natalie shouted at them “you damn bastard!!” She chase Matt with a broom stick, “yikes, the pink ranger is angry, run for your lives!!” I tried to stop them with Natalie knock me with a broom stick.

Mom said to the apartment community “well this is the last week we will be here, hope this day we will meet again, to the batch 1995” everyone cheers with drinks all round. My friends and I play dodgeball together while Natalie is talking to Mom. I wonder what is she talking about. I meet her “hey Natalie what are you talking about?” Natalie said to me “its a secret…” Mom looking at me and pull me “I will whip him to a gentleman don’t worry about it Natalie” Huh?! What happen? Who is this ? Moms eyes were shining. I’m now confuse, Matt, Travis, Davis, Cole, and Xavier meet mom as well. “Alex you had good friends but sometimes in life we must part ways” Mom tried to cheer me up but I hated to leave this place, it is already my home “I don’t want to go back home, its painful with dad…” Mom said to me “well….” Mom hug me and said “don’t forget Hana and Sam is look up for a big brother, who is going to protect them when mom went to work?” I felt burden but is my responsibility as well.

In the party, I saw Natalie playing with my brother and sister, I could see in their eyes they like her. I was hoping that this goes on forever. In the night, after Magreb prayers. Natalie stayed in our place, she wanted to stay for the night. After mom, called her parents allowed her to stay the night. In this tiny house, Natalie is helping mom packing our stuff. “Nat, anything for drinks?” Nat wanted coke and mom said to us “coke is not healthy, let me make some ‘Teh Tarik’” mom make the best ‘teh tarik’

Nat big sister visit us including her parents was there as well. “Well there is still few days before you going back, how about dinner with us at home” mom hesitate

“I would not want to trouble you all for this”

“Nah, since Alex is Nat’s close friend, you know her she always the stand among others but Alex is always with her”

“Dad…” Natalie is embarrassed

“It will be short, make it tomorrow night okay?” Natalie’s Mom offered

“Very well, okay…” Mom finally agreed “YES!!” Air punch from me.

“Then, tomorrow it is, Nat don’t forget they are all muslim, better prepare..” Natalie smile and nod. I could not said anything now. “Phylis did you bring my clothes?” Phylis is her big sister and she hand her a clothing including a school bags plus something inside. Natalie is surprised and said to her whispering. I wonder what is going on? They leave at night, waving goodbye “Nat, you better not doing anything to trouble Madam Mas” Natalie blushed and shouted “just go back will ya!!”

“Nice to have family like they quite open, even us foreigners…”

“There is nothing between us, we human beings also…”

Natalie is half-native American, and French, she could understand about me. Her dad is an anthropologist and her mom is a Professor at the university that help Mom. She had a fair share of discrimination and racism as well. Me and Natalie went outside at the playground nearby, we sat there at the swing.

“Time move slowly here…but days moving closer…”

I could not said anything because it painful for me to said to her. “Don’t forget about me, alright?”

Natalie kiss me our lips lock together and hand together. After we have done packing, we set our beds in the living room with my brother and sister. I could not sleep watching her, though I do see mom and aunt Deb was talking behind. I listen to their conversation, Mom is a Lun Bawang, an ethnic from Malaysia in the island of Borneo. I could understand what mom is trying to say with Aunt Deb.

“Alex hated his dad you know, after what he did to you. He just punch Man, which Man beaten him down” - Aunt Deb

“I know but…he is my husband….and I could not leave Alex here, with Sam and Hana is still young” - Mom

“I sure hope, you know what are you doing, because with Alex is a hot tempered boy ever since you know what I am talking about..” - Aunt Deb

“I sure hope so…” - Mom

I look at Natalie and she said slowly “just be with them okay…” I know that she is trying to console me but my hatred towards my dad is something that could not be contain. Ah.. she is still beautiful in her sleep. I still remember her lips touch my lips, she is pure and delicate even though she is also a hot tempered like me. I could not sleep through the night watching her sleeping.

I heard Mom and Aunt Deb still packing, which I heard them having another conversation.

“Look sis, if Man still hurts you. I worried that Alex will make a drastic action…” - Aunt Deb

“Insyallah, May Allah protect them” - Mom

I could not sleep, while watching my brother and sister here including the one that I love. Ugh just close your eyes already Alex. Slowly I fall asleep.

I woke up in the morning, I heard Natalie was talking to Mom, and making breakfast.

“Nat better get ready to school, I will sent you all to school.” - Mom

“No worries Aunt Mas, me and Alex is walking to school today” - Natalie

I woke up and change my clothes to prepare to school. It was early the sun is still touching the ground. Natalie beautiful as ever, What the hell am I thinking? I need to say something to her. Come on Alex, open your mouth!

Natalie suddenly getting closer to me, “What are you thinking?” “Uh..nothing…” Natalie then ask me about the incident that I had with my dad.

“You know….I know what you did is right, because you want to protect them. That’s the reason I like you for that, its terrible what have happen but maybe there is reason for it, I am not sure how people in your country does.”

“Its because dad is jealous when Mom had a meeting with her classmate and they begun to discuss about subject, Dad becomes irritate and warn mom about it” Natalie look at the sky and said to herself “if that happen to me, what would you do…?” What!? But I begin to think for myself maybe there is a reason for all of this. But still Dad hurting Mom is what I could not accepted.

“Dad has a second wife at home, when Mom heard this, she cried during the night, I always wondered why does adult love making things complicated”

Natalie understand the culture of my country from her dad. “Dad told me about this, polygamy is a common thing in Asia but so does happen here, with mistress and sorts. Ugh is annoying!”

Natalie stomp her foot on the ground showing her frustration. We slowly reach the school where it is still early, It is cold like 9 degrees Celsius. Natalie shivers as well and holding my hand.

“Your hand is warm” her hand was cold as ice. Once reach at the entrance it was still early, we head directly to class for self study. Natalie went to her own classroom, I reach there no one was there. I took a seat and Ms Aaron arrived.

“Hey Alex, I’m sad to see you go but I sure hope you will do wonders back in Malaysia”

“Yes Ms. Aaron, I wish that I would stay longer…”

Mr Donyai my math teacher was there as well, I m from the bilingual class which I’m still not able to adapt myself in the normal class. Their English is tough but I enjoy it.

Here comes the big bullies, Hiew looking at me and called me “hey little asian!” I just keep myself quiet, when he suddenly kick me in front of the teachers. Ms. Aaron shouted at him

“Hiew, is that how you act here, do you know what will happen if you showing violence in this school?” Hiew did not care and someone at the door. He suddenly slaps him, he speaks in Vietnamese and he is actually his elder brother.

“Sorry for my stupid brother, he is an idiot…” - Hiew's big brother 

After that Hiew ran off, I felt slightly bad about this and said to his brother “I sorry for this, I shouldn’t be that rough as well”

“You know him…” - Hiew's Big Brother

When in class, there was a commotion outside the class. Where Hiew and his gang fought against a group of black American student. It went out of control, it was Damien, he was piss because Hiew actually bullied his brother, Serve him right.

During Lunch time, I went straight to Matt and ask him what have happen.

“You better back home, because that idiot just provoke Damien you know right is with the 102 Gang” I know that gang because I was once part of it, that will be in the later story. Natalie join with me and she look worried.

“Did that idiot bullied you again?!” She is piss but her eyes began to tear wondering what have happen. “That idiot is now a target of Damien’s gang, they going to kill him” In my heart, I know its not right which I took my courage to meet Damien, because it's been a while i haven't met Damien. I kept from Natalie and Matt from this, I meet him at the side which there is group of outsiders that I know.

“What’s up homie” - Alex

“What’s up brother” - Damien

“Do you that kid? Hiew right I know his dad own a shop here” - Damien

“Wait up, I know he is a jerk but It’s over the top, homie” - Alex

“Yeah, I wonder if this piece went through that fools body” Damien showed his gun to me which I tried to console him.

“Yeah, I m piss at him also, not just anyone almost everyone doesn’t like him” - Alex

“Yeah Homie! that fucker doesn’t know a thing a two about this place” - Damien

“I heard going back to Malaysia?” - Damien

“Yeah, but seeing this make me even shaken up” - Alex

“Don’t be be wuss, I really piss-off with that asshole” - Damien

“There gotta be some other way…” Alex

“Don’t be brotha, everything is going to be just fine” - Damien

“I know what are you thinking brotha” - Alex

I was part of the 102 gang until Natalie ask me to quit, but Damien is my close friend. I am not letting him jeopardise his future for some asshole of a jerk. I hold his shoulder, and give him an idea.

Hiew was in his class still a jerk as always thinking he is the king of this school. It was Natalie approach him. Damien is also surprised to see this.

“Yo nigga, ain’t that your babe?” - Damien

What the hell is Natalie doing? 

I heard Natalie talking to Hiew 

“You know he is going back?” - Natalie

Hiew stand up and said to her

“Hey don’t be a bitch, I’m doing what I like, since you don’t have your knight in armor.. how about you with me?” 

I’m shaken in anger, wanted to beat this jerk. Damien is also scared of me.

“Nigga, cool bro…” - Damien

“Pak!!!!” a slap from Natalie

Hiew went down to the floor, Damien and me was shocked. “Fuck!! Nigga that your babe homie” - Damien

“Don’t be Asshole!! Even though you always pick on Alex, he never tried to fight back!!” - Natalie

Hiew instantly stand up and open a knife on his bag. My body went automatic, I knew this is going to happen. Adrenaline rush in my body and punch the asshole where he flew off few feet off the ground. The knife stuck at my arm, I hurts like hell right at my arm. Natalie begin to panic,

“Alex!! My god!! Your arm!?” The teacher brought me to the infirmary and the principal Ms White wanted answer. Dammit, why it has to be like this?

“Alex, may I know what have happen?” I explain everything about Hiew’s behaviour which his brother meet me. He kneel to me and beg me “please forgive my idiot brother!!” The principal called the police. Darn, now the cops huh this make my day. Hiew was nowhere to be found. Natalie waited outside the principal’s room.

The police interrogate and said to me “you know, you have ball pulling stunts like that but it still wrong doing that kid” I could not look at the police because I was a former gang member. It took hours after what have happen. They manage to get Hiew and he is scared. The police ask the principal to transfer the student. Ms White said to the police “yeah he will, I will not hesitate this stupid action of my own student, he is not Davidson material… and Alex I’m proud you stand up to this bully but you could get yourself killed…” I wanted Ms White not to tell my Mom about this. Ms White knew my family incident before including my involvement with gangs. 

“I know what happen to your mom, this also one of it…” she called Natalie in

“It not nice, hitting a boy like that Natalie” Natalie explain because she is upset with Hiew bullying me. It was a long discussion again and Ms White order us to back home early. The police man sent me back home.

“Alex just between you and me, you’re the man but I quiet sad though your going back to Malaysia” - Mr Jackson (The policeman)


“Cole told me all about it, this bullying but it seems out of control” - Mr Jackson

“What happen to Hiew?”

“He and his gang will be transferred to a school nearby his parents including his friends which is they stayed in community together but that school is something…” I wondered what school it is and I ask him

“Mr Jackson, which school?” 

“Robson school one of the worst, his dad never wanted him to be there” I feel bad for him, even though he is a jerk but he is also had future for him but not like this. I arrive near home, where I going to figure out how to answer to Mom, she is going to be piss at me. Which is yep, it does

“Alex!! What happen here!?” - Mom

“I tripped in school I got it by a metal in the school ground while playing football with friends” Mom look at me and accepted my excuses. Whew…she believe me.

Natalie called me

Ring, ring!!

“Alex your back home safely?” Ah her own voice healed me

“Yeah I'm safe and sound”

“I heard Hiew and his gang were transferred immediately after the commotions this morning" - Natalie

With my busted right arm, luckily that the nurse stitches for me, that will leave a scar. Days had passed until the last day of week before the semester ended. I got a high score in my class subject, I am proud of it. Thanks to Natalie and Mom constant nagging. I heard the news that Hiew was reportedly killed in a gang fight in Robson school along with his gang member. I prayed its not Damien. Damien is outside calling me.

“Yo Homie!!” 

“Whats up Nigga!” High five with gang sign

“I heard the news…did you do it?”

“No bro, I’ve got no time for that I’m busy with dad workshop” Damien finally quit the gang and he disband it. I feel relieved that Damien was out of gang life. 5 people were killed in the gun fight, including his elder brother. The fight got out of control, this thing happen in this country. Racism and gangsterism, it was all over news.

“I kinda feel bad for the asshole, just that he never listen” - Damien

“Yeah, me too”

“Last week you in the state huh…” - Damien


“I hope one day we meet again…” - Damien


“So I’m going to MIT, learning mechanical” - Damien

“Homie!! The nerd!!”

Damien knock my head and lock me my head

“Asshole!! You nigga?” - Damien

“I don’t know, I wasn’t sure yet what I want to be?” 

“Hey, you know if it wasn’t for you, I could be in the streets” - Damien

“Proud of you homie” I started to cry,

“you..know…I’m…gonna miss ya” - Damien

“Yeah I know…” we both hug because he likes a brother to me.

Mom saw me and said “hey I make ‘teh tarik’ want some Damien?”

“Hi Ms Mas, i would dig it!! Your drinks is off the charts!!” - Damien

“Yep, that is what I’m proud of”

We sat together, talking nonsense and suddenly he said to me.

“Hey, I plan on staying in DC after this” - Damien

“Capital city, boy sure you are change…” 

“I want to be part of something…so that Mom and dad will be proud. You better be homie!” - Damien

“Not sure yet….I’m still in dreamland”

“Grow up will ya homie” - Damien

I look up in the skies, I wanted to travel the world visit places, seeking adventure not staying in one place. But I am not sure if I return to Malaysia will I ever achieved that dream. I answered to Damien.

“Maybe going place homie…like the world”

“Cool homie, traveling huh? With Nat?” - Damien

“Nah, not just that I just got inspired by Mr Hawk, he always talks about culture and even he knew my culture”

“Nat’s dad huh, yep he is famous like UN famous” - Damien

“Yeah…I sure do…my dad wanted me to become engineer but I hate science it just something that I’m not interest with…but he always ranting about making money with that field”

“I heard your dad is with the government of Malaysia” - Damien

“Yeah, small time…”

“But.. sometimes homie, you gotta do what gotta do..go with the flow homie” - Damien

“Yeah nigga…” we both hug and making gang sign, Damien’s dad was waiting for him

“Hey Alex, thanks, say hi to your Mom” I waved them goodbye, Mom sold her car to Damien’s dad and split the share with Aunt Deb. I climb at the roof of the house looking at the skies, stars and plane passes-by. I stared to think that this is all but a dream. Natalie called me from below, with her sister in a car. I hang around at the playground while her sister meet my Mom.

Natalie wear her typical Britannia style clothing, with her short skirts with thigh socks and Oxford shoes. She look soo cute, like a doll. Natalie wasn’t like this before I know that because I hated her but I was drawn to her to be stand out like that like wanted to be heard. Her outrageous style is something a talk in school. She look at me

“Alex will you text me like email?” - Natalie

Natalie write on my cast arm her email address “" and I write on her arm my address “"

“Don’t lose it okay?” She also give me an envelope I wondered what is inside and she pull me out and said to me.

“Don’t open you idiot, wait until you alone…okay” - Natalie

“I don’t want you wank while looking at someone else…” - Natalie

now my mind started to get perverted and naughty, my face turn red and she knew it, she also blushed. Shit, is that I think it is? No, no, no owh no please the devil in me is provoking me. Maybe she just write a letter to me, yeah like that.

“I just hope you…never mind…” - Natalie

Huh, now what? What the hell? She pulled my arm and said to me “let do this…” haah my mind turn blank, if that is what I think it is? Holy shit, this is it…the holy grail… damn it.

She pulled me to an empty house in the apartment where no one lived as its the community room. It was quiet, Alex just turn 15 is going to have sex with her. No please don’t lose control yourself Alex. It was dark, she become seductive and French-kiss me. That was my first time and my virginity were taken together with Natalie. We made our first bonding together, we both saw each other naked at the end. While embrace me, She said to me

“Now I set my mark on you babe….” - Natalie

I could not said anything because she is the girl of my dream, she is smart, out of the box, crazy, clingy, never bored, and a best friend but now this dream is about to end. Natalie and Phylis went back, I saw her cried. I tried to pinch myself if this is a dream.

The next morning, Mom woke us up to get ready to leave the house. The neighbours wave us goodbye. In the Airport, my friends were all waiting for me at the departure.

“Bye bro!! Don’t forget about us!!” I cried with them and never saw Natalie

“Alright everyone, smile!!” As I was about to enter the departure hall someone hug me, it’s Natalie saw was crying and said “don’t you forget me okay” she suddenly kiss me and Aunt Deb took the picture and smile. Mom however said to them “now, now kids you still young…” Natalie hug Mom and said to her

“thanks Aunt Mas for letting be Alex friend” - Natalie

Mom cried as well

“Thanks Nat for being Alex real friend” - Mom

I took the plane and look at the window where all my friends were waving goodbye to me. Natalie smile and shouted something I tried to lip sync and it said “I LOVE YOU ALEX!!” She wave goodbye. I cried really hard that time. Mom console me

“Sometimes in life, parting is one of it…” - Mom

I look at the mirror the land was getting smaller, I started to sing the national anthem “the star spangle banner”

I close my eyes, where it took us 3 days from USA to Malaysia, where hometown in Kota Kinabalu is. Dad was waiting for us, I arrived at home, it was dusty. I help mom clean the house. Dad tell me that he was going to sent me to an elite school in Kota Kinabalu. Mom showed my my room and I set my room. I suddenly something drop it was Natalie’s letters. I open it and another envelope with a smell of lavender perfume in it.

I read it

Dear Alex,

It's been 5 years we been together, ever since middle school and high school. I know that someday this dream will come to an end. I cherish this moment together with you, I never regret liking you. You have been a pain in the ass sometimes but that is you, and you never stop to amaze me. Call me crazy but I had a blast together with you. No one understands me but you manage to stick with me. I know you will face a different things and you will also going to have new friends and girlfriend and I allowed it for you. I don’t want you to be in pain just to held back. I hope one day we will meet again, and I will never stop at making you amaze with me. I’m going to be best that at what I’m going to become and when we will meet again, and I know what you will head over heels to me again.

I know that you loved to travel and I hope somewhere in the world we will meet again and properly you will propose to me okay

P/s - hope you like this gift to you



P/s again that’s my sister idea okay don’t get any ideas

I open the envelope, my nose begin to bleed. She wore a sexy bikini dress and posing like the girls from Baywatch. Ooo Nat…..shit! Why I have to leave…..NO!!!!! Mom entered my room and ask me

“A day and you lose your screws…”

I look down in disappointment. But looking forward to the future. I sure hope this new school of mine but maybe not….damn it.