Happy Valentine's Day!
The cool ocean breeze ruffled his hair, stirring the broken strings of the guitar beside him. It was during these times that all the memories come rushing back. Those times when he was just a simple nobody who happened to have famous parents and she was his best friend in a strange country. Music made them meet, and music bound them together. Ironically, it was also music that tore them apart.
One song. Two guitars. Two voices, seamlessly melding with each other to form a melody beautiful beyond words. Once again, he was lost in that ocean, that simple voice echoing inside his head. Above the noise of the crashing waves in his mind, her voice still remains... ringing and poignant, just like he remembered. And yet, it was also clear that the only thing he has left is that song and the tears running down his face... and the broken strings of his guitar.
He rested his chin in his arms, contemplating the confusing pieces of wood before him. He didn't know what went into his head and he suddenly wanted to solve a puzzle, but at his current state he'll welcome any form of distraction. As he sorted through the different pieces, his mind strayed once again to that incident. Once again, he succeeded in making a complete fool of himself. He called her out alone with the intent of confessing, but once again all he did was stumble and stammer. As he connected each piece of the puzzle to its respective partner, something inside him clicked. As the puzzle he is working slowly fell into place, his heart is reinforcing his courage. It was scary, yes, but he needs to stop being half-hearted about his true emotions. She deserves that much from him.
He smiled in triumph, the completed puzzle standing proudly before him. Each piece was in its place. Upon its completion came the realization that he was exactly like the puzzle: that each piece of his personality was important in completing himself, and even with one piece missing he will never be who he is. It may be hard solving his life's puzzles at first, but there must be mistakes to realize the correct answer. Love was certainly enough to keep on trying, right?
What was he watching? He didn't even know anymore. He has been staring at the TV set for a full hour completely unaware of his surroundings, much more what he was watching. A particular scene was stuck on replay inside his head, making him shake his head in embarrassment. Trying to divert the stream of his thoughts, he tried to focus his attention on the television. A drama was showing. Great.
The flashbacks started as he was transported back to their school rooftop. He was called out by a girl. And this was not just any girl; it was his childhood friend. The person he has liked long before he even knew how to talk. She confessed. And he ran away. It was like a badly written sitcom, with the society's common roles hilariously reversed, except it wasn't funny. He had dreamed of this moment ever since he admitted to himself that he liked her. But when it happened, he was insane enough to turn his back and go away without giving her a proper reply, like the coward that he is. Frustrated, he stood up to turn off the TV, but not before hearing one line from one of the actors.
"Sometimes you may lose what's important, but after this, you can walk on holding a feeling that can't be taken away..."
He stared at the TV set, his hand accidentally turning it off. He stared at his reflection and suddenly smacked his forehead with his left hand. Running away was an option that should have never crossed his mind. Walking on was a far cry from walking away, and if he doesn't speak up, he can lose something important. With a smile, he looked at his reflection in the screen once again and made up his mind, something that nobody could do for him except himself.
Sometimes, watching TV wasn't bad after all.
004. Sand Castles
Carefree laughter rang in the sand dunes of the quaint little beach as he joyfully ran around, savoring every moment of his stolen vacation and little-abused freedom. He looked around at the place where his childhood memories were formed; a lot has changed since he last set foot in this beach. This place was never the same; it changes every time he goes there. Strangely, it looked exactly the way it looked when he left. The sun was out, the sky had that peculiar gray color, and the ocean waves was conducting its own orchestra once again, various little sounds blending with each other and making that soothing sound, music to his ears that always reminded him that he was home. Opening his arms to welcome the fresh ocean breeze, he closed his eyes and felt it whistling past his face.
A group of surfers passed by two children building sand castles as he was running around, catching his attention. He stopped and watched the two children playing, the particular scene stirring something inside him. That last day... they were also building sand castles at that time... she was laughing so hard because he couldn't make his castles stand, while hers had a moat and everything. He was crying in frustration, but she wiped his tears away. Together, they built the most beautiful sand castle together.
It was their first and last sand castle. Duty calls, and he had no choice but to respond. It wasn't like he wanted to leave; he just didn't have that option. He had a job to do, and he knew that. They separated with tears in their eyes and a promise on their lips.
And they're going to meet again.
He suddenly stopped and lied down on the sand. Never mind scruffing up the clothes he was wearing. He propped his head on his elbow and looked up at the sky. Although it was still dominantly grey, the sun had come out and was showing some of its rays.
It never looked this beautiful.
Strange. It was very cold that morning, despite it being in the middle of summer. Shivering, he got dressed and padded out of his room, looking out of the window to survey the quiet early morning scenery outside. The temperature was abnormally low, his breath actually fogging up the window in the cold. He tentatively laid his hand against the glass, testing if it would leave a mark. As his skin came in contact with it, something like electricity flowed up his arm. He stared in shock at his hand as a burst of adrenaline ran through his body, together with the torrent of memories that suddenly assailed him. Two small children banned from going out into the snowstorm. A fogged-up mirror. Their crazy imaginations. Imaginary friends. Wonderfully made-up stories. Happy endings and the two of them just having the time of their lives. Him and his best friend
He stopped, his index finger still pressed to the window. He was doing it again. He has to understand already. Things were way different from when they were kids. They have their own jobs to do, their own names and reputations to take care of. They were friends, yes, but they have to accept the fact that they have their own lives to attend to. If he couldn't do it like the old days, then the only option he has was to quietly support him from behind. Who says their friendship had to suffer because of their schedule? They were more than that. Certainly more than that.
His hand began moving on its own, drawing random pictures. They had this belief that anything you wanted to say to anyone can be written on glass in a cold day, and your feelings would surely reach that person through their dreams. Weird, yes, but it was their little secret.
Two children, hand in hand. Their special secret, encased in that piece of glass in that special moment.
I miss you...
His cellphone vibrated. It was a message. From his best friend. A warm smile lit his face as he began typing up his reply.
Maybe this mirror message thing really works.
His face was pressed into the sofa cushions, trying to catch his breath. He has been running around in circles since this morning doing multiple things at once, and saying that he was tired was an understatement. After a week of constant torture and continuously smiling for cameras and interviews, it almost seemed like a miracle that he was given a long weekend, a little reward for his hard work. Glad as he was that he could finally rest his tired limbs, it still felt like he was missing something...
He suddenly sat up and looked at his surroundings, feeling a little disoriented for some reason. He was on his own, his housemates kindly leaving him alone to help him get his rest. He slowly blinked his eyes as he swiveled his head from left to right, looking a little lost. Something was not right. Something was definitely amiss. And then it hit him. It was not something... it was someone.
That someone was his constant companion. His childhood friend. Best friend, in fact. They have endured countless occasions between them: fights, making up, promises and dreams. When they were little they had all the time in the world, with only school and dance practice to worry about. His schedule had slowly swallowed him up, creating a fine invisible line between what was once inseparable. He missed that warm entity that envelopes his body with the feeling of safety and security. He misses the feeling of sleeping without worrying if what he's experiencing is a dream or sweet plain reality. He misses the feeling of waking up and being delighted to find out that it was real after all.
He misses his best friend. As simple as that.
He laid his cheek on the sofa armrest, staring blankly out into oblivion. The cold metal of his star necklace touched his skin, reminding him of its presence. He smiled and felt its form, as strong and true as the person who gave it to him. A bit confused by the representation, he was reluctant at first to accept the gift, but his best friend insisted and even put in on for him. He hasn't taken it off since then.
"You'll always be my lucky star!"
That statement rings true for the both of them.
The clock was ticking, outlining for him every second that he had to wait. He narrowed his eyes and tried to stare the clock down, willing it to move faster. And yet the timepiece defied him, minding its own business and going along with its menial lifelong task. If it wasn't for the fact that it wasn't a living being, he would have thought that it was annoying him on purpose. He fiddled with the rings on his fingers, and his eyes strayed back to the clock. Who could blame him? He could barely contain his excitement; it took almost all of his patience to just sit here and wait quietly.
He was going to see her again. She's coming back today.
The pain he went through was beyond words. He nearly went crazy, rarely spoke to anyone and worried his friends to no end. It's not like she left without a word. She properly told him. He was the first to know, actually. And every day leading to her departure, it made it harder for him to let her go. Five years was a big deal. Of course it scared him that she's going to leave. But she had to do it, and he knew that he was fighting a losing battle by pleading her to stay. She needs this, and he would be a total schmuck if he started acting selfish right now. It was her dream that he would be stopping, and it was her life that he was restraining. So he put on his strong face and finally nodded yes. It was for her own benefit, so he would do his best to support her decision.
He was going to see her again. She's coming back today.
His hands brushed the scarf that was hanging around his neck, making him stop his fidgeting for a moment. She gave this to him right before she left. He was sending her off in the airport when she suddenly turned around and hugged him. Something warm encircled his neck. Her arms, her scent, her scarf, her entire being. Everything that he loved, he was holding in his arms in that moment of hello and goodbye. Though it was a poor substitute of the person that he loved, the scarf was a safeguard, an assurance. It was to prove that what he had was not a dream. It was to prove that he has someone to warm up his cold lonely nights. It was to prove that it was not the end. It was to prove that she'll come back.
He was going to see her again. She's coming back today.
It was windy and not too hot, a perfect day for exploring. He wandered out of his house, taking a well-deserved break from studying. Stretching his arms, he felt the cool wind sweep through his hair . Going outside to take a walk after being cooped inside his study room for a long time was a good idea. He watched the little kids playing inside their own little world, a little smile playing on his lips. Children often come here during the summer to take advantage of a free playground. Adults don't often come to this particular beach, so they were pretty much free to do anything they want.
He sat down on the sand and looked around him, pulling up one leg to his chest and placing his arm on his knee. The group of children nearest him were playing with kites, each trying to make his kite fly the highest... and then he remembered. Her smile as she tugged on the kite string. Her frustration when the wind wasn't strong enough to fly their kites. Her excitement when their kites soared high and when they come down, their wishes taken by the wind.
He wished on kites. She started this little practice. He'd write his wish on a little piece of paper and loosely tied it to his kite. If his kite comes down without the paper, that means his wish was taken by the wind spirits and someday it'll come true. Of course, the scholar in him scoffed on the practice, but the romantic in him stubbornly kept to the idea. If people can dream on stars and wish on shooting stars, why can't he keep on believing?
She loved the blue sky. She said it was her sweet escape: that every worry would go away once she looks up and sees its gentle beauty. She made him love the sky as well, not realizing that he was falling in love with her too.
He smiled and approached an old man selling kites by the beach. Taking out a piece of paper and a pen from his jeans pocket (a habit he adopted from his classmates), he quickly wrote out the dearest wish of his heart. Careless of the fact that he looked strange flying a kite next to all those children, he stood his ground and watched that little diamond shape take flight. He watched it for a few minutes before finally pulling it down. Even this high up, he could still spy that little slip being carried away... carried away by the wind spirits... possibly to her.
"I want to see you again..."
He sat by the doorstep, the sound of the rain haunting him in his sleep... Remembering those words... she said she thinks that she needs space. Time to decide where she wants to be. Every time when it rains, he gets a little lonely. He begins to miss her touch, he starts to reminisce what they shared. As if rain isn't sad enough, now every time it rains... he gets lonely... he feels alone...
She had a smile like summertime and hair like a gentle breeze.... A sudden change in the weather, and now she's no longer with him...
She wanted space, he gave the universe.
She wanted time, he gave eternity.
He looked outside the window and watched the rain fall. The tears of the sky reminded him of the hurt and pain, of all the things that he had to give up, and it all amounted to nothing.... Nothing...
He grasped his head in his hands as silent tears poured down his face, the sky outside reflecting the emotions inside his heart. He said he would wait, and he would do so... even from beyond something that was incomprehensible for him...
He would wait.
White. The symbol for peace, calmness and serenity. And yet even if he was surrounded by the color, he was feeling everything but serene. She was sitting right in front of him, and it was all he could do to act normally. Asking his advice about a song she was writing, she visited him without any idea of the inner conflict he was experiencing. Every little thing she does gives him an emotional roller coaster ride through a new wave of feelings that he had never experienced before. It's in her eyes, her smile, the way she gathers her hair into a messy little bun so it wouldn't get in her way... just everything about her just pulls him towards her. He's fallen for her, and hard... there's just one little problem.
She was his friend's little sister.
His friend treated him like he was the older brother that he never had. They were very close, and he loves the little brat like a real sibling would. Now, he doesn't know what to choose: to risk his relationship with her brother, or just be brave and confess. As she sat there poring out her heart to the melody, the lyrics, the song, he just stared at the vision in front of him. He was afraid to blink, to even close his eyes, for he was scared that she will disappear. And yet, there she was. No vision, just sweet reality. No angel, yet something completely better.
She turned to him with a smile of victory in her face and a piece of paper in her hands. Smiling in return, he checked her work. The song was fresh, beautiful, honest, real... just like her... And then he felt himself being pulled towards the piano. With pleading eyes she asked him to sing so she could judge it for herself, and he all too happily complied. As his voice spoke out her feelings, he felt his heart beginning to grow lighter by the moment. He was like this song, in a way... wanting to tell but can't, wanting to show but could not.
She stopped playing and he stopped singing. They met each other's gaze, one word in their minds...