[Disclaimer: Sandra has a blog hop for writers’ workshop that I am participating in (http://sandrasfiberworks.blogspot.com/2012/05/having-taught-fiction-writing-for-years.html) and the following is the first fiction that I have ever written in my life. If, for any reason, the characters/settings/… are similar to the any fiction out there, it is definitely pure coincidence. So, sit back and enjoy!]
It was in the winter, as I recall vividly.—A winter that I will never forget in my life...
Racing like a mad person between one store to another, I finally arrived at the supermarket to gather ingredients for the Christmas dinner that I was preparing. As I ran through my seemingly never-ending grocery list, I felt my mind drift off to settle on one person, one person that I had recently met at a gathering of friends. A tall, dark-haired boy of around 18, whose tousled black hair fell across his eyes and dark-rimmed rectangular glasses perched on his ears. He had a pale complexion and dark brown eyes that simply did it for me. We, he and I, had been chatting and talking about the last term in school. The boy was just plain downright funny. I'm not sure how to explain it. He was just... nerdy.
As I found myself smiling fondly at the memory and walking, about to pass through an aisle, I spotted a shadow flashing beside me, edging closer from the aisle I was about to enter. An irresistible surge of curiosity flashed through me and I found myself glancing up. As I brought my head up, my eyes met with the owner of the shadow's and for a moment that seemed to take place in years and at the same time merely seconds, we managed to lock our gazes.
It was the boy I had only just met.
He gasped in surprise and opened his mouth, but no words would come out. I was as shocked, but managed to cough out a few words, “What a small world.” I attempted a smile, but failed terribly. Silence. For a couple thundering heartbeats, we simply stood staring at each other, petrified, unable to move. My legs simply refused to budge, as if they were made of stone. But then, I forced my wobbly legs to move and walked away stiffly, still conscious of his intense gaze trained on me. I halted in my tracks to look at my list of items to buy. As I scanned the piece of paper, I saw him looking at me with those surprised black eyes. Still. Uncomfortable, I shifted my feet and brought my list up to my face so that I could no longer see him. I pretended that I had not noticed anything. I simply had no idea what to do…
That meeting, that sudden meeting, was lodged in my heart, stuck in my mind, and yet I didn’t know how to make off that information. Strangest thing, it actually gave me an eerie feeling. Yes. I was paralyzed.
A few days went by and again, I came by to the same grocery store to buy ingredients for the New Year Eve feast I was cooking up. I zipped through the store again like a madman, but this time, I was actually worried that I might meet the boy in the store again. Once, I spotted a boy with tousled black hair and black jeans, and I stiffened. But then he had turned around, and it wasn't him. In an odd way, I felt both disappointed and relieved as I lined up to pay for the stuff that I had bought. I had not wanted to bump into the boy again, but strangely... at that moment, I had almost wanted it to be him. I shook my head to clear it. It had been pure coincidence and nothing more. As I left the store, I reiterated the words to myself, "Nothing more."
Time went by as I started to leave behind the strange meeting in the grocery store. The break had ended and I went back to school. That semester, I was taking a physics class. I was chatting with a friend of mine about how my holidays had went, when a boy came up to me and said, “Hi!”
And it had to be him.
I didn’t know what to say when he told me, “I saw you everywhere. I saw you again on New Year Eve at the same grocery store, you know.”
I gulped, “Really?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t call to you because you seemed to be in hurry.”
I was speechless, tongue-tied… I thought to myself. What does this mean? Why do I keep on meeting this guy? I didn't even know him, much less want to be his friend. In fact, I did my best in evading him. Smiling as if he had not one care in the world, he sat down next to me. But I didn't remember inviting him...
As though fate were playing a joke with me, every corner I turned, I would see the dark-haired boy around. Just as I passed by a group of college students, who were joking and laughing happily, I heard someone call my name. Turning, I saw him there, asking me a question about a fruit, called pomelo. My heart skipped a beat, while I thought to myself, not again. I entertained the conversation and remembered thinking to myself that I should really be leaving.
My sixth sense was telling me that I should stay away from this boy and I was not sure why. Just as much as I wanted to stay away, I just couldn't seem to. The next day, I walked by the school’s corridor and rounded the corner, I saw a boy, the boy, come in from opposite direction. When he finally noticed me, he stopped dead and stared, oblivious to the milling crowd around us. For that moment, we were the only two people in the world. The seconds slowed into the minutes as we stood there, frozen and speechless. None of us took another step; it was as if our shoes were glued to the floor. His eyes locked again with mine, dark brown and black, and for several moments, I couldn’t breathe. I stood there, my backpack slung across my shoulders, until he broke the silence.
“I am going there,” he gestured and pointed to one way.
And I replied, motioning to the opposite way, “Well, I'm going that way.”
Much later, I was on my way to school as I was driving in a freeway … and all of the sudden there was a car next to me and as I looked to that direction. And you couldn't guess who was driving! I saw that tall boy again! I turned away immediately, shock sweeping through me, and I started to find myself wondering if I was being cursed … what on earth was happening to me! Why was he appearing on every corner that I turned? Was something about to happen to me?
As I walked back to my class, he greeted me and said, “You can run but you can’t hide from me …” And then he smiled so sweetly that I wanted to smack him. But I didn't, as my teacher was glaring right at me...
That was how we met. Strangely, despite my intuition, we became close friends. Every time we talked, we seemed to engage in a deep conversation. We would chat, hopping from one subject to another, and still find ourselves enjoying each other's company. Sometimes, when evenings struck and I had to walk to my car, he would accompany me all the way, just so I wouldn't be lonely. We would joke and I often found myself laughing so hard that my belly hurt. We grew closer and closer by the day until we were inseparable. I would be in the library studying, and he would be in the lab, typing away at some essay. We were never far apart from one another. And one day, I realized that my heart was slowly leaving me behind …
But my happiness wouldn't last.
The door bell rang and I looked up from Pride and Prejudice, a book I had only just begun reading a few days before. I loved reading and would devour any book I could get my hands on even the textbooks that seemed to bore everyone. I put the book down, marking the page I had left off with a silver bookmark he had given me, and rose to my feet. Quickly, I made my way to the stairway and raced down, two steps at a time. Brushing down the golden color dress I had changed into, I took a deep breath. It was the first time he had asked me out. Would he think I look funny? What if I mess up? A million thoughts raced through my mind. I took in another shaky breath and reprimanded myself. I've seen him a billion times and it's just the same as in school. Besides, I don't want to keep him waiting. Breathing in deeply one final time, I reached for the handle and opened the door.
He was waiting for me outside, wearing a crisp yellow that was tucked in and black khakis. His jet black hair had been neatly combed, unlike on normal circumstances, and he was staring the other way, his eyes misty and expression melancholy. Hmm... I had wondered. Why does he look so sad? It's our first time out. He seemed to not have noticed me.
Clearing my throat, I said, "Hello?"
He jerked his head around, surprised, and his dark brown eyes widened even more when he spotted me.
He raised his eyebrows quickly then stared at me for a moment.
I blushed uncontrollably, glancing down at my shoes
An awkward stretch of silence ensued.
I bit my lip. Were we going to stand out in the cold for the whole night? I broke the silence, "Um... do you want to go now? If we're late, we might not get seats."
"Oh, uh... yeah." He reached for my hands. I wished that he hadn't.
Swallowing nervously, I walked to the car with him, conscious of his hands clasped over mine. He opened the door for me and I climbed in, settling in the comfortable seat. A moment later, he followed me in, sitting beside me at the steering wheel.
"So where do you want to go?" he asked me.
"Uh... I dunno. Anything's fine with me, I guess." I managed to respond.
"How about the restaurant at a golf course? I heard it's pretty good." he suggested, glancing at me.
Since I couldn't think of anywhere else, I nodded, "Sure."
In the restaurant, we managed to get a table by the window and on the second floor, overlooking the golf course. A waitress handed us two menus and I ordered salmon and a bowl of clam chowder soup. She nodded and scribbled it down with a cheap-looking pen and pad.
"How about you, sir?" she asked him.
"I would like the same, except make it with salad as an appetizer." he set down the menu and handed it to the waitress.
"Okay. Your meal will be here shortly." With that, the waitress walked away, hurrying toward the kitchen.
The dark-haired boy murmured something incoherent, and I queried, "What?"
He looked up from his lap, "What? Oh, nothing." He twiddled with his fingers and gave a nervous smile.
I decided to ignore it. "Well, why did you ask me out?" I was determined to make something out of tonight.
"I-uh... just wanted to hang out." was the reply.
"Oh, okay." I ran my hand through my hair, "Is there something you want to say?"
He looked as if he had been hit on the head. And, in a way, I suppose he had been. "Um... no. Well, not really. I- Uh... yeah. No."
I narrowed my eyes. He definitely was acting weirdly tonight, but I decided to pass it over. I had been really nervous earlier, too. Perhaps it was just that it was our first night out.
"How was the physics quiz?" I wanted to make a conversation.
"Twenty-two out of twenty-two. How about you?"
I grimaced, "Bad."
"It's all right." he replied, "I do badly sometimes too."
I smiled, "Thanks."
"The food sure is taking a long time to come." he changed the subject.
"Not really. I think it should be here soon." I twisted around to look at the kitchen. Just as I said that, our waitress appeared, holding a tray of food. "See?"
She walked by and put the platters of salmons, salad and a bowl of clam chowder soup down on the table.
"Are you two boyfriend and girlfriend?" she questioned.
"No." we both said in unison.
"Just friends?" the nice lady put down the cups of water.
"Yeah. Just friends." I burned with embarrassment, echoing the waitress's words.
"I see." She smiled, but I could see that she didn't believe it. "Well, enjoy your meals!"
When I glanced up, he was as red as a tomato. I laughed.
"You look like-" I began.
"Yeah," he interrupted, "I know."
"The stars are beautiful tonight." I dragged my gaze from his to the night sky, where millions of stars shone on above.
"Yeah, they are." he paused for a moment. "Just like you." The moment he said it, he turned bright red as a cherry again.
I flushed, too, concentrating on spooning the soup to my mouth instead. We finished eating quickly, since none of us spoke, and called over the waitress for the bill. Once we had paid, he took my hand once more and pulled me to my feet.
"Let's walk around." he proposed.
"Sure." I agreed. A starlit walk in the city would be nice.
We walked out of the restaurant and to the park. The trees danced in slow motion, the swaying branches throwing long shadows on the path. It had begun to snow, the tiny flakes falling to the ground and settling on the green grass. The cool wind seemed to blow through my thin dress and he took his jacket off and draped it over my shoulders.
"Won't you be cold?" I asked, concerned.
"I'll be fine." he replied, "Thanks though."
I smiled to myself as we walked together. Happiness flooded through me, and I was content with simply strolling down the path with him beside me. I wished that tonight would never end.
He whispered my name, then added, "Do you want to sit?" He gestured to a bench underneath a pine tree.
"Okay." I sat down beside him, pulling his jacket around me. I was still cold, shivering in the cold night air.
"Still cold?" he pulled me closer until I was lying on his shoulder, curled up beside him.Snuggling in closer, I followed his gaze, to see two stars side by side, seeming to become one. It shone brighter than the rest, a miniature sun in the night sky. It drowned out even the moon as the whole world seemed to grow brighter. Its incandescent glow bathed the trees around us in white light, tinging everything silver. The two stars together as one. Together as one... He suddenly spun me around in his arms until I was facing him, and I felt the world freeze around us. Now, there was only us. Him and I. Everything else didn't matter. We were sheltered in our own world. It was just us.
I stared into his eyes, drowning in the dark brown depths. Seas of never-ending love. And I felt a whole new future unfold, filled with wonderful possibilities. Our future. Wrapping my arms around him, I leaned closer.
He murmured my name softly.
"There's something I need to tell you." He met my eyes.
"Yeah? What is it?" I smiled. Nothing could go wrong. Absolutely nothing at all.
He still hesitated.
"Well, go on."
I had a pretty good feeling of what he was going to say, but nothing could ever prepare me for him to murmur, "I'm leaving."
I jerked back instantly. "What?!"
"I'm moving." he repeated miserably. "My father found a better job and-and-"
"But you can't!" I shouted. I felt the whole night break apart. What had been happiness a moment earlier turned into sadness and anger. I felt all the hopes and dreams shatter. Forever. "You can't!"
"I'm really sorry, but I've tried. I've done everything to persuade my parents to not move, but they won't listen!" he protested.
"Then do something else!" I pleaded. "Please. For me."
"I can't. We're moving tomorrow. That's why I asked you to come here with me. It's the last day I'll see you." his voice was barely a whisper. He reached out and brushed a stray strand of brown hair from my face, but I pulled away.
"No." I shook my head. "No. Please." Tears began to stream down my face, and I began to sob. Drops of salty water dripped down my chin and fell to the dirt path, creating dots of dark brown in the soil.
He attempted to soothe me and hugged me, kissing me on my forehead. But it wasn't enough. I'd never see him again. Ever.
And that was the last day I saw him.
I found myself walking alone and no matter how hard I was looking, I couldn't even find his shadow. I was not sure where to look for him. All that left was nothing but a bitter-sweet memory. Every time when I was driving down the same freeway, my mind would drift away remembering every moment that we had spent together. How silly he was, how he would walk behind me silently and managed to made me jump, how he would peeked through the window to look for me. How he would share his lunch with me. How he would attentively listen to whatever I said. How he would give me all the attention. And without realizing, I let out a big sigh and said, "Are we fated to meet again?"
Five years later...
Sighing yet again, I walked out the door, wearing a white shirt and coat, and went in my car. Sticking the keys in, I started it and drove away, passing the usual stores and shops lining the street. I drove around the corner and stopped, pulling the car over and parking. I ducking out of the car and looked up at the restaurant above me. It hadn't changed a bit. How about his feelings for me? I wondered. I shook my head. He had probably moved on already, gotten over me and found someone else. Why can't I? I told myself for the umpteenth time.
But I still wanted to see the restaurant again. It had been exactly five years since I have went there. I just couldn't bear to see the exact table we had been sitting in and the food we had ordered and the window we had looked through, much less remember everything. That night. I couldn't seem to get over it. Over him.
Walking inside, I asked for a table upstairs, by a window. A cheerful young woman brought me to the second story and motioned to a table. But it wasn't the same table. Thanking her anyway, I glanced across the restaurant wistfully, thinking of all our times together. My eyes lingered on the very table we had eaten on. It looked exactly the same as before, except for the fact that the chair I had once sat in had a new stain. I could almost imagine him there now, smiling back at me, telling one of his jokes. His dark brown eyes twinkling... His hand holding mine... His smile unwavering...
Footsteps sounded behind me. The waitress was back, I thought. Well, I'd better be going. I stood up and turned around, ready to leave,-
-and gasped. Right in front of me was a tall dark-haired man around my age, his dark brown eyes flashing and black hair falling over his eyes. "Is the seat taken?" he motioned to the chair opposite of mine.
[co-authored with my girl, http://everywordisonestepcloser.blogspot.com)
Until next stop,
Journey of Life
[co-authored with my girl, http://everywordisonestepcloser.blogspot.com)
Until next stop,
Journey of Life