Mark Jester Cuyno
‘‘Do all girls are late?'' I asked myself, cross-legged sitting at the bench. The morning is still fresh, so does I. Better keep wearing my best smile, I thought. Luckily, the weather forecaster got it wrong again. I have kept an eye on her from evening news days to prime time nights. I swear if the recession got in her way, I will ask her to marry me. Yeah right! Here I go again with my eighteen year old hormone. Although my money waster classmates baptized me as nerd, I still have my humor, but just a little different from usual. I love eating nerds, the candy sold at malls; and prefer buying iced coffees alone. Who needs a company? It will just ruin the calmness of my own world. I am boring person, yes. But it doesn't matter as long as I know who I am. My classmates: they are the vulture of society, waiting for prey to drowse over the spell of death. But their difference is their food is still alive after killing; physically alive, emotionally dead. Like one time, Sarah, the transferee, has happened to be one of their meals. They are attacking through gossips, lies, and gossips. And if you are listed in their menu, you are most likely to wake up losing your dignity. The word spread that Sarah had an abortion, and that was the reason why she have to transfer in our school. Now, the poor girl is an empty shell with culture shocked taped on it. Good thing I have Jellaine in my life. She is the only one, strong enough, who can rip the vulture’s beaks off. Because of her frankness, they did not treat her as a typical Jane. ''Mess up with everyone, but not with her'', I grinned.
She is my front line defense against the world, as well as, my best friend. Well, she happened to offer a hand for me; to take a look outside my own world and to live in reality. Jel is something, and she is one and a half hour late. I guess she didn't take me seriously when I texted her that we will have a date tomorrow; that is today. I wonder what she will look like. In usual days, she is a T-shirt gal. Loose T-shirt with sleeves clipped into her bra’s strap, rugged jeans wrapped around, and striped Chuck Taylor. She always walks with shoulders up, swaying hands. I don't know if this is just her mask to look tough or just the way she is. Either way, it will not give me refund from wasting my precious time, with my Iphone, inside this mall.
Seeking on random directions, a lady caught my eyes. She is looking at me; dressed in white like a 6 year old girl excited for church. First, I glanced over my shoulder as if wishing that someone has to be standing at my back. But all I got is a mouthful of costumers enjoying their purchase yet in a series of steps away from me.
‘’Oh, wait. Will my guilt be killing me if I talk to this girl? She is diminishing our distance in every step. But no! I have to stay faithful to my Jel.’’, I stopped my mental chatter box when ‘’Hi’’, she said. ‘’Sorry Best’’, I continue in silence, ‘’But this girl is my weakness; feminine, simple but elegant, relax, and so cute’’.
‘’So best, shall we go?’’, she asked. ‘’Wait what? Jel? Is that… you?’’ She smiled back, grabbing my hand, taking my cellphone, and sitting beside me.
‘’Yeah’’, she answered. Now I am in a state of shock. Will this be the last day of humanoids in this borrowed animal kingdom? No, maybe there are cameras hiding somewhere, and waiting to catch me off guard. I have seen this on T.V. but does this girl belong to any of them? Although she claimed to be my best friend, I doubt it.
‘’Come on, wake up’’ she yelled at me, punching hard my upper arms. Jel always uses that like an emergency button every time I am being anxious, being crazy, and being inside my own world. But I am mentally well; I just daydream a lot.
‘’Ouch’’, I logged in. ‘’Hey it hurts! Can you blame from acting like this? Last week you were arguing with our teacher because he graded you F for our fashion week. You even held the scissors high, grabbed your supposedly outfit on the other hand, and split it into two.’’ Without a word she tossed up her finger, pointing at the library just above us. I don’t even know if she is listening to complains I emphasized; but what I know is, we are taking an escalator up. After awhile, we are now sitting at this leathered couch. Best leaned her head towards my shoulder. Her book is the compilation of poems of Emily Dickenson; mine is from W.E.B. Griffin. Suddenly she takes my right wrist, moves forward, wraps it around her hips, and gives an ample weight as she rested in my body. Abruptly, a chill on my spine rushed from my back up to my neck. My chatterbox is flooding, ‘’Jellaine don’t do this! Jellaine stop! Jellaine I might love you… d-dee…, deeper…’’
After forgetting the page number, the thread of flow, this place, and my name; I firmly hug her, bringing my hand closer. She fixed her position in response. My left hand is obviously shaking so I put down the book on my lap and flex up my leg. My cellphone rings unethically, drowning the attention of quiet worms, but my best is giggling. I flip it open. First, 11:35 a.m. earns my concern; second, I go to my inbox and clicked open a message from her. ‘’What are you up to, you little sweet heroine devouring my warmth?’’, I smiled. But my lips stretch wider when I saw 4 words.
‘’I love you best ‘’, she said.
‘’Oh shoot’’, I panic. ‘’Get the camera man! Please, they have to be here somewhere.
Ok check, check, check… Oh no! This is not a dream.’’
‘’Best?’’, she looks at me. Her eyes are like mirror, it reflects no one else but me. Slowly, she keeps decreasing the distance between her lips and my ears. I am stunned because her hair is brushing through my face. In this moment, I know I am still in love.
‘’I am hungry’’, Jel whispered. And then back, Hello world I’m back.
Time flew so fast that it has been 3 hours since we sat here. Honestly, this is my first time not to enjoy a book, but this is my first time to think that my own world joined force with reality.
Letting our feet to go nowhere, we scan for a good restaurant. I will probably be the one in charge for the bill like in usual days at school. She would come to me, calling my name like a military chant, pulling me over my work no matter how busy I was, and thinking if her favorite apple pie was there. Well it has to be there or we, especially me, will suffer. One pleasant day in my normal high school life, Jellaine had craved for apple pie. But it happened to be out of stock because of some reason. And my favorite part was; she went all the way from canteen to the principal’s office. She has scolded the principal for not being able to provide the most important food, her food: apple pie. Our principal, without further conversation, wrote apple pie for Jellaine Stevenson in his To-do list. He nodded as if my best friend was her forty year old auntie, getting ready to whip him.
We stopped at a Japanese restaurant. Of course Jel makes the first choice. But this time her mood has gone wild again; in a good way. I just let her order, carry our tray, and follow her to our table. Rice, Shrimp tempura, Sushi, and Wasabe are her choices.
‘’I have a bad feeling about this’’, I said, glancing at her like a guilty sinner.
‘’Yey! Let’s eat. What do you want tempura or sushi? Hey sushi is yours; tempura is mine. And we’ll share this big cola. Isn’t that sweet?’’, she smiled.
Why do you even bother to ask if you’ll be the one to choose? But my thoughts don’t matter. All I want is to still hallucinate in my world. She takes my iphone from my pocket, untangled the earphones, put the right on me; left on her, and presses the play. Its volume is minimized, and she let it play for awhile. When she turns it up,
‘’ Tonight will be the night that I will fall for you over again,
Don’t make me change my mind
Or I won’t live to see another day I swear it’s true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find, your impossible to find.’’ Then it fades, giving us few moments of silence.
‘’Is this a movie?’’ I start chatting to my self. ‘’but the song is right; in a right time and right place. I have gone through a long way trying to teach my heart not to love her; a long way that is an excruciation to my passion. My only talent I could excel at; more like an installed program in a package deal laptop. This program belongs to my system and now I have to delete it. It is impossible, I know. Because sometimes just loving her is not enough, not an answer to a feel in the blanks question that every student kept gambling for. Sometimes when you think you have given your best, you would wake up realizing it was just not good enough. No further details but just not enough. In fact, the hardest fight is not in your enemy, but with yourself. You’re most likely to stay up late at night, insisting for your wounded hopes, but giving up because you had enough.’’ I wish I did not entertain the voices inside my head because, for a single moment, all the pains flashed back. All buried daggers that got stuck in my core seem to hurt again. It gives the same pain when I told her ‘’I love you’’.
And she answered back, ‘’I love you best’’.
A sensation much harder than before hit my upper arm. ‘’Wake up!’’, Jel said. When my eyes wink from idle, I see the worried look on my best friend's face, as if I am close to be eaten by the vultures. ‘’Say ahhh’’ she added, holding my jaw like a baby. She is offering rice and shrimp tempura on her spoon while bringing it carefully to my mouth. It is sweet, yes; but is exactly the opposite of marbled wasabe hidden underneath the layer of rice. My mouth flares up and almost empties the cola. She bursts out laughing, and her laugh makes me laugh as well. It occurred to me like belly-tickler from prep school bond. And my own world welcomes a ray of peacefulness again.
We let the time pass after eating, but we decided to go in their club house: village’s club house. Well, there is something special up there. You can see the city go on with its life. Lights of random colors scattered everywhere, as the cold air from early fall soothes the rhythm of its ambiance. Nevertheless, every single detail of the place you are orbiting at is as beautiful as the one that made your heart jump.
We begin to talk like usual. She always hates the vultures; we all do, in fact, it’s a given. She is being anxious for next month’s declamation. Although her credentials were decorated with a series of regional and school championships, it is a different experience here in college. I open up my short story that I’m currently working at for a social site. I love to share my work but am ready for criticism. At the edge of the club house’s 3 steps ladder, we stay. She rests her head on my lap and lay down, as I lean on the towers of the corner. I let her talk with her eyes close from comfort. And I play with her hair, gently brushing them between my fingers. Now my chatterbox is quiet. All I want is to sit here forever. ‘’Just let me love you for the last time’’, I whispered.
She moved side ways facing my knees. After awhile, her shoulders are beating; I can feel warm tears filling my legs. ‘’Best?’’, I asked.
‘’How much do you love me?’’, she said
‘’I love you so much, I can let you go’’, my tears fall unexpectedly.
‘’I will start dating Ryan tomorrow’’, Jellaine started. ‘’you see, I am very in love with him. I have prayed every night for this, and I can’t let this moment pass. He is a good guy, and I just love him like the way you love me’’.
Who am I? I am her best friend; nothing more; nothing less.
‘’Jel’’, I fixed my words. ‘’what took you so long?’’
‘’Because I’m still moving on’’, she answered.
This is my fear honestly. I just want to love her but don’t want to know what’s real because in any way, truth hurts.
‘’Still moving on from whom?’’, I continue.
A moment of silence hurts my eardrums. It is more painful than the speaker of our neighbor that sings ‘’How much is the doggy in the window’’ every weekend. I want to break the silence in a pleasant way, trying my best not to drown with my emotions. But I end up yelling at her, ‘’Jellaine from whom!’’.
She stands up and moves in front of me, holding her hands in front her face. It took her a moment to get back from an obvious emotional break down. ‘’From you best’’, she delivered.
My eyes drop all the tears I’m holding back, all the pain from the daggers, all the rays, and all efforts that I wish she loved me more than just a best friend. Begging myself not to sob, I start. ‘’Jel don’t say it again. I’m scared, I might fall again. Jel I’m ready to let you go please? Please leave my heart broken this way’’. She doesn’t answer anymore.
I can just hear her crying as I walk away from her. I want to go any where as long as I can’t see her.
After few hours, I decided to cut all our communications. I texted her explaining that I need some space to forget her. I need to find my self; my self before I met her. I need to learn not to love her. At the end of my message I said that I’ll be back when my heart is whole again, and I love you goodbye. Maybe I’ll regret doing this thing but as they say; time heals so I’ll just deal with it. One day if I see my little sweet heroine that devoured my warmth, I will say hi; introducing her to my wife.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Mark Jester Cuyno.
Published on e-Stories.org on 08/20/2009.