The first year I moved to Hong Kong was also the first time I fell sick in infatuation for someone. It was the worst feeling, mostly because she was a friend’s girlfriend, and it was all very hopeless, although I think that was probably part of the attraction.
Kim (not her real name) and my friend Tina (also not her real name, you kidding me?) were in town to visit Kim’s relatives. Tina stayed for only a few days before jetting off to Taiwan to see her own relatives, leaving me and Kim behind.
Kim had gone to primary school in Hong Kong before moving to Canada, and she’d stayed in touch with a few friends, one of whom we ended up spending a lot of time with, a woebegone comma of a person called Jamie.
Jamie had been disowned by her family for coming out as a lesbian when she was sixteen. She ended up dropping out of secondary school to follow the school delinquent, whom I shall refer to as “Bad Boy” because that was his nickname. Jamie hadn’t exactly been part of Bad Boy’s gang of friends, but Bad Boy protected her from bullies and let her hang out with them. Jamie clearly worshipped him. Whenever he showed up, she would jump up to light his cigarette and fetch drinks and call him “Dai lo” or “Big Brother.”
Bad Boy left school to join one of the triad societies, and Jamie loyally joined as well, except chicks couldn’t join so she was relegated to a kind of errand boy status, like many of the other triad rejects, who mostly seemed to be butch lesbians like her. Jamie and the other errand boys followed people like Bad Boy, who were at the bottom of the triad ladder, hoping that once these dudes started climbing up, they’d be able to come along.
I don’t know if things have changed now, but back then, in the early 2000s, triad juniors like Bad Boy were responsible for doing the shit work that no one else wanted to do. They sold pirated VCDs, delivered goods, acted as backup, the usual stuff. This kept them busy but also broke, so they usually dated several chicks at the same time and got those chicks to support them.
The errand boys like Jamie were responsible for hanging out with these girlfriends to prevent them from getting bored and jealous (they all knew about each other) and causing dramatics or running off with another dude. I guess it made sense: the errand boys were tough and reliable like dudes, but they wouldn’t sex up the girls (presumably).
Anyway, Jamie was assigned to one of Bad Boy’s richer girlfriends, this chick Tiffany. As soon as I saw her, I knew that this chick was going to get someone murdered one day.
Tiffany’s parents were upper middle class rich; not billionaire tycoon rich, but rich enough that they bought her a flat in a very expensive building in Causeway Bay after she tried to kill her mother. Kim, Jamie, and I were hanging out in said flat one evening smoking weed and cigarettes and drinking cheap vodka, and Tiffany told us that her mom had refused to let her see Bad Boy, so Tiffany waited until her mother was walking outside of their building and dropped a microwave out of a window at her. It’s a pretty inefficient way of killing someone but I guess the medium was the message.
Tiffany was going to some kind of post-secondary school, but I had no idea what it was and whether she even showed up. Whenever Kim and I were tired of wandering around the city but didn’t want to stop hanging out with each other, Kim would call Jamie, and we’d head over to Tiffany’s to smoke weed, drink, and watch VCDs (as you can imagine, Tiffany had a lot of them).
But despite all the times we hung out with Tiffany, I only ever saw her, Jamie, and Bad Boy together at the same time once. Kim and I were sitting outside 7-11, drinking this terrible King George vodka and smoking and waiting for Jamie to get drinks, and Tiffany and Bad Boy walked by. Jamie immediately came out to greet them, and I recognized the look on her face.
“You love her,” I said, when Tiffany and Bad Boy had gone.
Jamie nodded miserably.
“Does Bad Boy know?” Kim asked.
“Yes, but he’s so cool, he doesn’t mind. He’s my brother, he knows I won’t do anything to betray him.”
I felt really sorry for Jamie when I heard that.
One night close to Kim’s departure date, probably at around eleven, we showed up to see Tiffany and Jamie arguing. Or rather, Tiffany was screaming at Jamie, who was timidly pleading with her, and then Tiffany busted out of the flat with Jamie following her. I could hear her shouting as they went down in the elevator.
Kim and I just stayed at the flat, doing as we always did and pretending that we were just friends hanging out and drugging up together. A few hours later, Jamie and Tiffany came back. I had never seen anyone shake like Jamie before, and it was more frightening than the sight of Tiffany’s head covered in bandages. Jamie’s eyes were huge and there was blood all over her white shirt. There was even more blood on Tiffany, but she looked just like she usually did otherwise.
“I’m going to make French toast,” she said and went to the kitchen.
We were too petrified to answer. Jamie sat down next to us and puffed on a joint before telling us what had happened. Bad Boy had been spending a lot of time with his newest girlfriend and brushing Tiffany off whenever she wanted to see him. So Tiffany had done her research and found out that the new girlfriend was hanging out at some bar in Mong Kok that night. She decided to go confront the girl, which Jamie obviously said was a bad idea. That was about the time that Kim and I showed up, and Tiffany had decided to go to the bar whether Jamie or Bad Boy liked it or not.
The new girlfriend really was there and Tiffany started on her, and they ended up fighting. Before Jamie could stop her, Tiffany tried to key the new girlfriend’s face, but the chick smashed a bottle on a table and cut Tiffany’s head open. But it didn’t matter; Tiffany kept lunging at the new girlfriend until she got dragged off by a bunch of people and she and Jamie were thrown out of the bar. Jamie dragged her to the emergency room where she got stitches done.
The whole time Jamie was telling us this story, Tiffany made French toast with her Hello Kitty sandwich press/grill that I coveted. When she was done, we sat around in front of the TV with MTV on, smoking more weed and eating the Hello Kitty French toast (they were pretty good!) and drinking wine. At one point, Tiffany and Jamie changed clothes and Tiffany casually said, “The worst part was that we couldn’t get a taxi because of all the blood so we had to take a minibus to the hospital.”
Kim and I staggered home at dawn, and a few days later, she returned home. I never saw Jamie, Tiffany, or Bad Boy ever again.
In the Venn diagram of crazy and dangerous, beautiful girls who don’t care about fucking up their looks occupy the entire intersection. It’s hard to feel sorry for them because A) crazy and B) dangerous, but there was something about Tiffany that I recognized, a loneliness and an anger that needed to be fed. Once in a while, I wonder if she’s still wearing those scars on her face.