“I’m counting on high hopes to get me over you, you,
‘Cause I’m a man on a wire, on a wire”
Althea’s intently looking at this man beside her. His eyes are close as they are both listening to a masterpiece. She knows he’s hurting so bad. She knows how devastated he is yet he’s trying–no scratch that–he’s not trying anymore. He just accepted the reality and the way its system goes. Together they are counting on high hopes to get over everything–just for an ephemeral moment, just for a blink of an eye second–they’re both trying to forget the tragedy of this universe.
“So what happened after that?” She asked the guy he just met. He’s pulling out the headset on his ear then she did the same.
“Well, she left me. Everyone does that.” He smirked at her but the latter knows that beyond those curves on his lips, there’s a man who doesn’t even know the word smile.
She doesn’t know what to say. They are both strangers to each other and she’s thinking that this guy has a power to make someone speechless just by the way he speaks. They have actually met at the most cliché way. They got stuck on the elevator and as time passed by, she felt a weird sensation over this guy. It’s like he’s weighing the weights of the world on his shoulders.
“They’re just good at first and if they found out something wrong, they easily give up without thinking what the other half might feel. Funny was, I gave everything and now everyone’s asking me why I am so empty?” The guy faked a laugh again.
“Cause that’s the worst part of loving, pouring and pouring everything and you’ll be left with nothing but emptiness at the end.” She said as she felt him move, so she look at him only to find out that he’s looking at her in return. She just can’t stand to stare at him and tried to look the other way around.
“If you don’t mind me asking, who bid goodbye?” She wanted to take it back after realizing he might feel that she’s being too nosy. There’s a long pause before he speaks… “Do you think I can bid goodbye to someone who mean the world to me?” He’s too broken but she never saw him on the verge of crying, emotional yet unyielding. “No, let me rephrase it. She doesn’t mean the world to me. She’s my world, she’s my galaxy. She’s every star under the pitch black sky.” He then closed his eyes and gave out a heavy sigh.
There’s this urge inside her to ask everything but she’s putting limits because he’s a total stranger and she don’t want to be too personal. She somehow want to mend him, not actually mend but heal him cause she feels that he’s really a good guy who fell in love with the worst way.
“If you really love her, don’t give up. I remember what my Lolo said to me: At the end of the day, what’s essential was the love you gave and not the love you received. Being in this world means giving love and not about being loved. If you’re hurting while doing the right thing. It’s okay. Rewarded in heaven, you’ll be.” She tried to look at him while saying this but she failed. He has this power that if you stare at his eyes, you’ll be doomed. For Althea, that’s dangerous.
“I don’t know anything anymore. Just let it flow, live life.” He answered back. “Well how about you? Tell me your story, why are you like that?”
“What? What like ‘that’? There’s nothing interesting about my life and I don’t share.” She’s a socially awkward person to be exact.
“I don’t want to be left with a thought hanging on my head. So try to lessen those info’s on your mind and spat out some worries from your heart. You’ll feel a bit better.” He said with a convincing power.
“Okay. Well first, I’m a shy and boring per–” He cut what she was about to say.
“You have doubt issues. You doubt yourself so much and that is not healthy. Aside from that, trust me when I say that shyness will lead you nowhere.” He said.
“Sure. Thanks for–” Again, she didn’t get the chance to continue what she’s going to say but this time it wasn’t because of him. It was the light from the elevator door that says they’re finally free. She can’t hide the fact that she’s happy yet disappointed. She still wants to talk to him.
“Are you both okay? I’m sorry for the inconvenience.” The operator said to them. “We’re totally fine. Thank you po Manong.” She said to him with a huge smile. “Thank you.” The guy beside her smiled and then they both waved a goodbye to the operator.
He started walking away from her–from the world they both made. Before he finally retreat…
“Hey what’s your name?” She shouted as loud as she could. The guy suddenly stopped and she found him looking at a cute girl with a guy sitting on the floor at the lobby. He gave them cold stares and turn the other way around. Looking at his retreating back, she decided to take the other direction. It’s already 9:45PM. She’s hundred percent sure her mom will gone mad. But she’s somehow happy that the fate let her have a moment with a guy who has so many life issues. By the way he talked; an hour or so wasn’t enough to talk about the tale of his undying love for his girlfriend–ex girlfriend. Her thoughts are flying away while walking on the school pathway, it’s already dark and she badly wants to go home. Tiredness was slowly consuming her. Her sleepy soul wants to rule over her energetic persona.
“Hey!” Someone from behind patted her back and without any word, he put the other half of his earphones on her ear, “Listen to this.” It was the stranger a while ago. All she can do is to stare at his face while he’s doing some work on his mobile. Seconds later, another song played.
“…I’m blessed as a man to have seen you in white,
But I’ve never seen anything quite like you tonight.”
She’s running out of words to say. They continued walking beside each other and she should feel the awkward atmosphere around but no, she didn’t feel a thing. It’s just her heart beating so fast–the drums are rolling inside. Her hands are shaking but she never felt that awkwardness plummeting over them. She closed her eyes as she started to feel the melody from the earphone travelling through her veins, reaching her heart. To be added, those butterflies inside her stomach will soon find their way through her heart.
“Wait” She tried to reach his arm as she noticed the sadness tattooed on his face and any moment from now tears will start to escape.
“I miss her so much. Why did we end up like this? Why did I have to suffer this much? It hurts like hell, knowing that I am giving my best yet for her it’ll never ever be enough. I’m tired and I’m just so fed up. People complained a lot about how they should always be put at first, when all I ever did was to put her first even if I’m just a second best to her.” There’s a hint of pain from his voice. It’s like he can’t spat out many words because he’ll be choke to death. She won’t say wise words this time because that won’t surely help. This guy in front of her need warm, rawness and honesty. This guy doesn’t need someone who can give advices but someone who will listen. She hugged him. That’s the only thing she can lend but she let go before the electricity coming from his skin consume her. The moment she look at him, the guy patted her head and gave her a smile. She’s hoping that this time it’s true because she can’t see the falsity. How come he can control his emotion when he’s badly wrecked? She’s seeing the cracks, not of his physical aspect but the man beyond him, the man behind his mask.
“Go now.” He said. She didn’t realize that they’re already on the jeepney station. Her mind’s not really with her the whole time.
Her glance falls to him and said; “Don’t give up on her.”
“I won’t.” Straightforward and fast. He said those words that way. For the last time, he smiled and he’s really walking away, retreating to the darkness. This might be too straightforward and fast too but she wants to take her chances better.
“Can I be your friend?” She said and waited for the answer that she already knew.
“No.” Then silence came afterwards.
“You can hang out with me, if you want to know me better than that devastated guy saying melodramatic lines to you a while ago.” She’s expecting him to go now but then he said, “But we can’t be friends because I’m an object at rest. I already accepted the fact that there’s no one that can make me an object at motion. I’m pushing people away so no one will share the same misery I am feeling every day. Sorry.”
He started walking away while putting the earphones on his ears and his hand on his pocket. All she can do is to look at his retreating back, letting him go outside the world they both made for a couple of hours.
The next day…
Classes were over. Althea’s walking down to that isolated pathway again outside the building. To her amazement, she saw that guy from yesterday. He’s leaning his head on the wall, of course, with his earphones again. Her feet just dragged her to him as if saying that she shouldn’t waste the opportunity of knowing him better.
“Shyness will lead you nowhere.”
“You can hang out with me, if you want to know me better than that devastated guy saying melodramatic lines to you a while ago.” She remembered.
When she’s already standing in front of him, she offered her hand and said.
“I’m Althea.” She said, trying to hide the redness starting to form on her face.
“Oh your name’s Althea. Ever wonder what that means? Althea is a Greek name which means; ‘to heal’. Maybe that’s why I felt safe last night, because of that healing power you’ve got.” He gave her a smile. The smile she’s been dying to see since the universe let him stop by. That’s the kind of smile not everyone would fall for but the kind that will make everyone float. As she look at him, his gaze travel the night sky and that picture of him looking above made a revolution happening inside her stomach.
“Starting tonight, I will let go of what’s gone, will gladly embrace what’s coming next and I’m going to live my life appreciating what is here… what still remains.” He said while still looking above. He continued his words while admiring the golden moon and those glittering stars.
“I’m an object at rest that stayed at rest for a long time. But then…”
There was a long pause before he decided to look at her. Now their gazes are both fixed straight to each other as they are standing under the breathtakingly bed of stars and both are drowning into the black holes of each other’s eyes. The guy put the other half of his earphones on Althea’s ear, like the way he always used to.
Slowly, the melody of a song start to find its way out through the enmeshed wire. The sing-song that only both of them can hear… started playing.
“…there’s this strange force acted upon me last night that made me an object at motion that hopefully, will stay at motion.”
“By the way, I’m Louis.” He added.
Worries stops as the music starts… everything went magical.
“Hey, what are you doing? Writing again and again?” A voice came from behind. Althea immediately closed her laptop so that this guy approaching her won’t see the new manuscript she’s currently working on.
“Mind your own business.” She said with a little touch of annoyance. “I’m writing and I don’t have time for a distraction.” She said the opposition of what she’s feeling cause as of the moment she’s totally distracted by his mere presence.
“Maybe you’re just stalking your crush. Hahaha you’re still a little girl. Try to chill out and meditate.” He laugh without knowing that in front of him, there is a heart slowly melting.
“Louis!” out of nowhere, someone called out.
Their gazes fell to a gorgeous lady. She’s Yana. Louis’ girlfriend. “Hi Ate Yana.” She said to the girl and in return Yana gave her a smile.
“Just go now. Go. Next time don’t bother me.” She shooed him away.
“Respect your Senpai (Senior at school)” He said with slight warning tone.
She just made goofy faces to him and in return he mess her hair. As Louis started walking to Yana, Althea can’t do anything but to look at the two retreating backs. They’re smiling while looking straight into each other’s eyes, totally whip and smitten. Both Goddess of perfection without that so called hamartia’. She opened her laptop again and with a long beautiful dream flashing on her mind, she traveled the world with him for a fleeting moment before erasing the finale of her latest manuscript. She can’t fool herself. Even in her fictitious thoughts and stories, there’s no probability of them. They might be walking under the lamp post on the same street, looking at the same star, breathing the same air. Surprises are endless and so as possibilities but she can’t hold onto those… she just can’t because reality already slapped her with the opposition of her daydreams.
She erase what supposed to be a happy ending and just accepted the fact that she’s just a friend. With that thought, she somehow feel relieved. Her fingers started typing the reality as the water of grief started escaping through her glassy eyes and as acceptance ruled over her melancholic soul.
“I’m an object at rest that stayed at rest for a long time. But… I love Yana so much to the extent that she’s the only force that can make me an object at rest and even at motion.”
“Go, find her. Be happy… Be better Louis. Till next time.” She said with a smile but deep inside she’s slowly falling into pieces. There will be no next time.
As he walk away to find his happily ever after, “I guess moon will always be unreachable and it reminds me of you.”
She whispered because even though she say it out loud, she’ll never be heard.
Althea pressed save and with that… her story ended the way it should be.