My Respects to David Candler

David Candler, the mere utter of the name would crackle my skin with annoyance, a rich, spoiled, obnoxious and pampered boy – to mainly polite, my rival. His birthday party fell neatly on the Moon Cake Festival, and also on a Sunday. I was not invited, but not exactly gate-crashing either. He, too, had showed up on my last New Year Party. I, a boy of thirteen, would definitely have had better things to do than show up at his birthday party. I did not want to spoil the fun for the birthday boy’s party, but I could not help being a thorn in his foot. So I found myself walking towards a house, a bungalow, to be exact.

It was a lavish party, I admit. Fluorescent balloons had lined up with ribbons, banners, confetti and all sorts of decorations adorned the expensive furniture. Many classmates were invited, if not the whole class. I saw David in a corner with his girlfriend. David was, in my eyes, a hypocrite. As usual, he was trying to impress her. When I approached them, David was giving her a bracelet. I chose the exact moment to butt in “Why, David,” I had said in mock surprise. “I really do believe there is a gentleman behind those pimples!” He turned a deep shade of pink, and muttered furiously, then stalked off.

The party had started. Rock music was being played, and I saw many of my classmates helping themselves to the food. Fruit punch, soft drinks, juice, hot marshmallows, chocolate éclairs and other food which I had no names for laid on the table. However, it was the cake that dominated the spread. It was a Black Forest cake, only piled with three times the cream, fudge and cocoa powder. It was also three times the size, and naturally, three times the flavor. I opened a can of Root Beer and had a good chat with my buddies.

Then came a buzzing sound. We all look up and saw the lights flickering. Theer was a scarlet glow and a blackout claimed the scene. In the midst of confusion and panic, I felt about the walls and took refuge in a corner. Several people groped in their bags. They produced a lantern, which they had intended to use for the Festival.

Slowly, one by one, the multi-colored lanterns were lit in the room. It was a beautiful sight, just like fairy lights dancing in a deathly silent night. The lantern swayed in the room, and I could see much clearer now. I shot David a grin, who did not return it. Two girls started chatting, and soon, the whole living room was filled with dancing and laughter. I, rather enjoying the party myself, got up and elbowed David. We were rivals, yes, but clearly not mortal enemies, though sometimes we really despised each other.

After what seemed an eternity, the lights finally flicked back on. About time, I had thought to myself. Many helped themselves to the last of the feast, left their birthday presents in a heap and went off. I, too, got up and walked towards the door. I took a parcel from my pocket and handed it to David, who opened it immediately. “That is a very fanciful dress”, I had said to David’s mother, my voice dripping with honeyed flattery. When she had seen my present, which was an old, breaking mirror, she said uncertainly “that’s a very…thoughtful gift.”

“Could have been more thoughtful,” David sulked. My eyes glinted and my taut smile stretched perhaps a centimeter.

“Of course,” I had said, every syllable mocking him, whether he knew it or not. “Thinking is my responsibility, for I am the one who is giving the present, not yours”

With that, I walked off outside, waving at him while facing him backwards. Whether he had figured out if I had insulted him or not, I never found out.