Before I went to bed last night I was thinking about resentment. The thing about me, whether it's good or bad or neither is that I never forget when somebody does something good to help me when I'm in need but on the flip side I also never forget when somebody does something bad to harm or betray me.
I started thinking about the oldest feeling of resentment I still feel today and I thought of Derrick (not his real name of course). I was 16 years old when I met Derrick. We were seated next to each other in class back to school and we really got along.. He grew to be very much like a best friend to me. Someone you can laugh with and someone you can be serious with.
That year to celebrate my 16th Birthday I arranged a hotel stay with a few of my friends, in total there were just 5 of us. We booked two connecting rooms in Berjaya Hotel in 1-Stop to spend the night there playing cards, games (back then we didn't do any drinking yet) and talking about girls (yes.. hormones were already raging).
The fun night flew by quickly and before we knew it the sun had come up in the horizon. We all went to get a bit of sleep and I woke up around 9.00AM to start packing and getting ready to checkout. After packing my stuff I went to take a shower. The rest were all talking in the other room and Derrick who stayed with me in my room had just gotten up to pack his stuff.
I hopped out of the shower 5 minutes later, got dressed and headed to the nightstand where I had put my wallet. I opened it up and was met with a rude shock. The RM200 I had before I had got into the shower was gone. I panicked and turned to Derrick to ask "Hey have you seen RM200 lying around somewhere?"
Derrick let a moment pass to refresh his memory then he said
"No... but hey just now a housekeeping guy just came in to the room to do some stuff. I don't know what but he left just a few minutes later before you came out of the shower."
I picked up the phone and called the hotel operator and reported the case to the security manager. He came up to the room and asked us some questions first of all to see if all of us kids were lying about the money I guess. He asked me what denomination the RM200 was, where I had put it last and how did the Housekeeping guy look.
Derrick digged into his memory and described the guy as well as he could which turned out to be not very much of a helpful description. I mean sometimes you see someone but it doesn't strike you that you should remember how this guy looks. The security manager also questioned my 3 other friends in the next room but none of them had seen anything. They were all too busy talking to themselves.
We all left the hotel that day, with me being RM200 poorer but nevertheless happy anyway, I was 16 years old!
A few days later the security manager called Derrick, my mum and I back to the hotel. He said he had solved the case. We all were ushered into the backrooms of the hotel to a small but nice office the security manager had for himself. The three of us sat down and anxiously asked him if he had the RM200 and if he had caught the thief.
The security manager took a breath, leaned back on his chair and said
"I don't have your RM200 yet but I know where it is now and I know who took it.".
He then started asking us more questions about the day. First to me then to Derrick. The questions started simple but they began to get a bit more aggressive on Derrick. He was asked what he was doing in that 5 minutes I was in the shower, what the housekeeping guy looked like, what time did he enter the room and etc etc.
After a while Derrick got a bit agitated by it and he snapped back at the security manager
"Why are you talking to me like that? You're making me feel as if you think I'm the one who took the money."
He went on
"I didn't take the money! It was just RM200 why would I take that money! You know how you're making me look to my best friend and his mum here? You're putting our friendship at stake."
I too was a little annoyed by the security manager's tone.
I said "Yeah what are you getting at?"
The security managed looked at me and told me to be patient. Then he looked at Derrick and asked him the RM200 dollar question (don't mind my pun).
"Did you take the RM200? If you did I am giving you one last chance to own up or I am going to call the cops and hand this matter over to them."
It was a final threat.
Derrick was very offended. He said
"I ALREADY TOLD YOU THAT I DID NOT TAKE THE MONEY! CALL THE COPS IF YOU WANT! Call them! Show them whatever proof you have when you know there is no proof because I DIDN'T DO IT! And here you are making allegations that are costing my friendship with Timothy."
The security manager nodded to himself then sat up on his chair and gave out an "Okay". He then picked up the remote control on his table and turned on the monitor right next to table. The monitor lit up with footage of the corridor outside our room, you know like this kind of corridor.
He turned to Derrick and explained away
"This is a recording of the camera right outside your room. You said the housekeeper entered your room between 9.00AM-9.30AM. I am going to forward the entire recording now and you will see that between that time NOBODY went IN or OUT of your room. In fact I also took the time from 8AM until you checked out at 11AM. NOBODY HAD ENTERED OR LEFT YOUR ROOM until then. So where is the money Derrick?"
I had never seen a person's face shatter before. I don't even know how to describe it in words but I know that I had seen that for the first time when I looked at Derrick's face that very minute. He was defeated. He had been caught lying and it wasn't only in front of my own mother that made it look bad but also the very fact that he had tried to make himself look innocent by throwing the stakes of our friendship in.
Derrick looked at me with the saddest face he could pull and said
"I'm so sorry Tim. I needed the money, I'll give it back to you... I will".
The security manager turned to my mum and asked her what she wanted to do, whether he should call the cops or not. My mum said no and that she thinks we've all learned a lesson here today. We thanked the security manager for his time and left but not without him saying one last thing to Derrick.
"Derrick... if you EVER accuse ANY of my colleagues of anything like that again, I will really make sure you end up in prison the next time."
Derrick by then had tears in his eyes and was crying. He whimpered and left with us.
Right outside the hotel Derrick pulled me aside to talk to me in private. He said he was really sorry and that he would really pay me back that RM200.
I said that it was okay. If he really needed that money then fine but he insisted that he pay me back. Perhaps he had learned his lesson and was now wanting to be genuine about it so I said okay just give it back to me in school.
It has been 9 years since the incident and I had lost all contact with Derrick. He never paid me back.
Until today I still hold this grudge. He is a guy that I don't keep in contact with and I have no interest to. How can you still want to be friends with someone who does something like that to you?
Then again, it's been 9 years, perhaps if it's not time to forget it is certainly time to forgive. But how do you forgive someone who doesn't even really feel sorry for that he did. I mean in spite of his apologies, if he really was sorry he would've returned the money without me even having to ask right?
And that's just the story with Derrick.
I had other close friends of mine betray me growing up. One friend that I grew up with from childhood ended up stealing one of my girlfriends. Another close friend of mine went straight to try to get another ex-girlfriend of mine to sleep with him 2 weeks right after I had broken up with her and was still heartbroken.
Somehow with friends, I am lucky and I am unlucky. I'm unlucky that I had been betrayed over and over again by many friends that I thought were close to me and I guess maybe that's why I developed that long holding resentment in my heart. That once you do something to harm me I will remember it forever.
I'm lucky though in the sense that after all the betrayal and hurt I had gone through when it came to friends, I have found a few that are the best friends anyone could ever ask for.
The good thing about these experiences is that they somehow made me appreciate the good people around me a lot more. For all the people who have helped me considerably without expecting anything in return from my student days all the way up till today in business, I always remember them. And I will always feel that no matter what I do to repay them, it will never be enough.