He's her seasonal listening ear, her occassional supper friend, and she's perfectly happy with the arrangement. She likes it that way; that she doesn't need to see him on regular basis, that both of them know they will be there for each other whenever any needs arise, that there is never any pressure in their friendship.

That night they were out on their usual spontaneous feast because he was craving stingray fish and char kwetiau. He brought along another friend she doesn't particularly like. His friend was snobbish, how he could be friends with him remains a mystery to her.

They talked normally in the car, but when they were walking to the eating place he was suddenly beside her, his arms reaching for her shoulder. Spontaneously she drifted away, not because she was upset, but more so appalled of the sudden gesture. It was her fight-or-flee reaction. His expression didn't change, so she tried to ignore it.

After the food came, they started eating. He ordered her favorite food, although he himself didn't like it. She's frustrated because she would end up eating the whole thing alone. Well, at least now his friend could be useful in a way.

But then he carefully took the fish for her, opened the cockles from the shells and dipped them in sauce before laying them down on her plate. She stared in disbelief, what has gotten into him? Why was he being so nice and....manly? She simply has never seen him in that light before.

It's like his friend's presence changed something, although she had no idea what, or why.

Suddenly once again, she wanted to just flee. She wanted to scold him for being so uncharacteristically him, she wanted to wipe his friend's teasing-look off his face. But more than anything, at that precise moment, she wanted her normal friend back.