The internet warned us about the presence of wild boars in the area, in addition to the monkeys. Avoid them if possible, the site cautioned. The last thing that I wanted was to be involved in a confrontation with boars. My hand reached out for hers.
The sound came not far from the barrier tape, behind some low hanging tree branches. My heart thumped in nervousness as I stared towards the source of the noise, wondering what will pop out. My mind painted a dozen scenarios of unpleasant scenarios, most that involved either running a lot or getting horribly lost.
From the corner of my eye I spotted a shade of red moving amongst the leaves, and instinctively pulled Jenny back. My muscles tensed in anticipation, expecting something to jump straight for us. However, instead of a hungry beast, an old man dressed in a Liverpool jersey emerged from the branches, his greying hair popping out first into the clearing. Both me and Jenny laughed immediately when we saw that, awashed in a sense of relief. The old man gave us a strange stare but said nothing, and continued walking down the path that we had came from.
After the old man left, we walked up to opening where he came out from, and peered through the branches and leaves. There was a small brown dirt path that cut in between the trees, and I guessed that it must lead to an exit. After all someone did emerge from there. We took a quick look at each other, and decided to try our luck follow the dirt path through the undergrowth.
The path was much more different than the one that we have been walking on previously. The vegetation was much denser, and we had to duck several times to avoid the branches from hitting our heads. We even had to climb over a tree trunk once. Jenny remarked that it felt more like an outdoor adventure now than our initial climb up the hill.
After 10 minutes or so, we found ourselves standing before a tarred road, with different people who running on it. A signboard pointed to the direction where we came from, with the words Bukit Timah printed on it. Both of us laughed again, relieved that we were finally back in civilization. I have never been so happy to see a tarred road before in my life .
A quick check on my phone with the map this time put us somewhere much better, as our blue dot was now sitting on top of a road, surrounded by other smaller roads. The area that we were on was called then Dairy Farm, a park nearby the Choa Chu Kang area, a residential estate. Up in the sky, the sun was starting to make its descent. I breathed out a sigh of relief, thankful that we got out in time.
The journey down left my shirt covered in sweat and my throat parched. I took out my empty bottle from my bag, and gave it a pointless shook. “Ah, my water’s finished. Gosh I’m thirsty.” I looked around, hoping to find a vending machine. A pointless effort, I quickly realized, as we were in the middle of a park.
“I know a place!” I heard Jenny suddenly exclaimed, her eyes fixed on my bottle. She had this excited look at her face, with a big smile on it. She turned towards me and grabbed my hand. “I know where we can go for a drink! I used to go there last time!” She pulled me forward, my hand wrapped tightly in hers.
Not having any better suggestion, I followed her willingly. After all, I was happy to oblige as long as it made her happy. The place that we were calling was called the Rail Mall, she said. It was located next to a railway track, and consisted of a collection of different shops which were built decades ago. Some of the shops were converted to hipster cafes, for youngsters to sip coffee and enjoy the scenery around them. The one she was bringing me to was no different.
As we approached at the Dairy Farm entrance, she suddenly stopped. She looked towards her right, then her left, before turning back to me. “We might need your phone though.” She pointed at my pocket, and smiled sheepishly. “I don’t really remember how to get there.”
It took us about another 10 minutes to walk there, along a busy road that seemed so different than the path we just came out from. Vehicles bustled around us, some spraying fumes in our direction. Suddenly getting lost in the forest did not seem like a bad idea.We talked a little more along the way, with Jenny sharing that she enjoyed today’s experience a fair bit, because it was not always that she gets a chance to enjoy the outdoor like this.
“The part where we got lost was pretty exciting too,” she added enthusiastically. “Thanks for asking me out.” Her sentence made my heart jumped a little. I slipped my fingers underneath her hands. Her hands did not pull away. We walked the remainder of the journey with our hands together, without saying a word. Perhaps a thousand thoughts ran through our minds. I could not wait to tell Lucas about this.
P/s: Updates will now be done twice weekly! A chapter on Wednesday and a chapter on Sunday!