- by Abigail Shannon Chua
Wesley Methodist School Melaka

I walked into the shopping centre, cool air greeting me. My mother grabbed my arm and started to haul me to the nearest store. I was going to college in a fortnight and my mother thought that I should at least get some decent college clothes. She pulled jeans and shirts off the racks and tossed them to me.

"Mum, I'm happy with my current attire. Thank you very much," I hissed as she looked at some floral dresses.

"Dear, you're going to go to college. You need to dress up like a college student, not like this," she commented, pointing at my exercise shorts, T-shirt and jogging shoes. She pushed me into the dressing room and tossed in the clothes after me.

I groaned out loud as I tried on the clothes. It was kind of her to buy me new clothes but this was absurd. When I wore the clothes, I looked like I was dressed for a job interview. When I twirled around in my new outfits, my mother would give me the thumbs up and shove me inside to try more clothes on. After what seemed like hours, we finally left the store with a few bags of clothes in my hands. I puffed and panted as I hurried after my mother, who had gone up the escalators and was heading for the nearest shoe shop. I felt like I had been dragged into a modeling studio as I gazed upon rows of dainty girlie shoes which were so not my type. I prefer sneakers, sport shoes and slippers. My mother made me sit and try on many pairs of shoes. Finally, I settled for the simplest shoes I could find - a pair that I could at least run in. Luckily, my mother seemed satisfied with my choices and she paid the bill.

After visiting various shops, we went home and I went into my room and started to pack my luggage for college. The room was littered with books and clothes that my mother had prevented me from taking to college. Just then, there was a knock on the door and my mother came in.

"Do you mind?" she asked as she sat on the bed. I shook my head and continued to pack. "Samantha, you're 18 years old," she said as I packed. I sulked and flopped onto the bed.

"It's not like I'm going to kick the bucket. I can still come home and visit you guys," I said as I started to read a book.

"The clothes are my gifts to you. Besides, you needed new clothes since a long time ago and this was the perfect time to buy you some," she said and hugged me tight. "I love you so much, my baby Sammy," she sobbed and I hugged her back. "I love you too, Mum," I whispered, tears streaming down my face.

The following week, we were in the car on the way to college. We parked at the car park and I carried my luggage, sporting my new clothes. All around me, students were milling about, chatting and dressed like me. For the first time, I actually felt comfortable.

"You look fantastic, Samantha!" my friend Charice squealed as she ran to greet me and my mother. "See you in a few weeks," my mother called after me as I walked into the college, starting a new chapter in my life.