Random Fandom: Tatta Hitotsu no Koi
Orenji! Orenji! Burning Bright
by Ender’s Girl
And there it was, wedged between the fake Gucci watches and the stuffed toys of indeterminate morpho-anatomy, in a nondescript little stall smack in the middle of the Petaling Street night market in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown district. A round rubbery ball with goofy latex eyes and a crudely drawn mouth smiled knowingly at me through its numerous springy hairlike projections that tickled my palm when I pulled the thing off its hook. It felt just as I thought it would: soft and squishy, but with a smaller solid sphere inside it that rattled… invitingly. I had to test it out. So I gave the bauble a hard little shake — and it promptly flickered to life, coruscating in its gummy shell like a mini strobe light. 15 seconds. I counted.
And the best thing about this little gewgaw? It was ORANGE. I SO knew we were meant for each other.
So Meteor Garden fans had their Meteor necklace and Winter Sonata ajummas fans had their Polaris pendant, and now I have my little Orenji. The funny thing is that I found it in the last place I ever expected to, and at a time when J-dramas were the farthest thing from my mind. (I was there on holiday with my siblings.) But whether by a stroke of serendipity or divine intervention, there I was — in the noisy, congested flea market, and there it was — in its dusty nook beside the beaming shopkeeper, who knew from the look on my face that a sale was in the bag. I didn’t even bother haggling as I handed over the moolah (although I know I should have at least tried, heh).
It’s funny how a gaudy little toy setting you back by a few ringgit can still make you feel like a million… yen. Suddenly my vision swam with images of me racing over to the Petronas Towers that very evening to wave Orenji from the Skybridge, hoping that somewhere, somehow, a skinny boatyard mechanic in a well-worn denim jacket (streaked with engine oil!) would take notice and shine his battered yellow flashlight back at me, his other hand plunged deep into his jean pocket. *squeees* But if there indeed was such a person, could I really leave everything behind — my home, my family, my career — to embark on a new life with him? My mind was racing as fast as my heart. Could I go live aboard his dinky little boat, and cook him — oh I dunno, congee with dried fish flakes (or whatever the hell they eat over there) for breakfast every morning? Could I ditch the modern comforts of my old life and enter his world of scrap metal and acetylene torches — without ever looking back? Could I really, could I?
Suddenly the future didn’t seem… as… bright and twinkly as before, lol. My harebrained Petronas Skybridge Scheme dissipated in the muggy, pungent air of the market as I quickly realized that the Hiroto I so loved, the hard-working, honorable young man who dared to dream even if he died trying, the 20-year-old who went back to the stall and fished out Orenji just for me while fireworks exploded in the background… um, okay, maybe not for ME technically… uh… now I’m getting all confused, lulz… anyway, THAT Hiroto, existed nowhere else but in my mind. (And in the minds of all those who ever watched and adored the drama Tatta Hitotsu no Koi.) Reality sucks, long live romantic pipe dreams. Hahaha. But perhaps, our collective fanmagination IS indeed the best place for Hiroto to dwell, ne? That way he’ll always be twenty and pure and wonderfully alive.
My brother and sister were already a few stalls down, checking out the World Cup jerseys on display and oblivious to my brief apoplectic attack, the invisible seismic tremors rocking my fangirly little world. Then time unfroze and the market came alive again, bombarding me with all the sounds, smells and colors of Chinatown. I stuffed Orenji deep into my trusty old Phoenix Suns backpack (yes, also color orange, lol) and hurried after my siblings. Finding my own Hiroto could wait. For now, the city beckoned, and there was much exploring to do.
A week has passed and I’m back home with Orenji right beside me, given pride of place on the shelf above my desk. I still give it a rough, affectionate shake from time to time, watching it glow the way Nao’s own Orenji did after Hiroto won it back for her at the town festival. I look at my orange rubber blob, and it stares at me with those unfocused latex eyes. It won’t stop smiling, and I grin right back at it. Hiroto or no Hiroto, life is still pretty good, I reckon.
Photo credits: photo of Hiroto & Nao from nicokun.wordpress.com; THnK wallie by crimsonspell @ LiveJournal; all shots of my Orenji were taken by my sister