I was reading The Straits Times this evening when I noticed a photo of a man and his family. They looked familiar to me. So I read the article. Then and there I learnt that they were my former neighbour.
How could I forget that young family especially that small boy who suddenly appeared outside our metal gate and was pointing at my Christmas tree with all the Christmas lights twinkling? He was so amazed of the twinkling and changing lights that it took time for his young parents to convinced him to continue walking two doors more to enter their own flat. And so it became his routine. He’ll make a stop on our gate to view for a short while our Christmas lights and at the same time, answer softly some of our baby questions. It also became our routine to put on the Christmas lights before six o’clock as Shawn would be stopping by.
I was then gladly surprised months after, when Shawn appeared again in my former centre. I was so happy to see him, what more with him being under my class.
But after a few months or before the year ended, Shawn’s Mum informed us that they would be shifting house to Yuo Chu Kang. It was a sad announcement as all of us teachers adored him very much.
I asked Shawn what he wants as a present before he leaves. He answered; “Barney” at once. Unfortunately, I was not able to buy him one. From time to time, I feel that “guilty” feeling whenever I think of him. For it was a promise to a child and was not fulfilled. “Don’t ever break a promise” is one of my mottos. But look at what I did to a child.
Now, I see Shawn again, though only in the newspaper photo. He looks so happy with his family. He may or may not remember my promise. I am not bothered now. For I am sure that he’ll understand. Why so? He has a sweet Mummy. He has a prominent father who is now a Parliamentary Secretary. He has good parents who are good persons who never ever questioned us; “you are not local right?”