Sunday, 7 April 2013, 01:12
The First and Last Letter: "The damned words"
“Be my date to the prom.”
Linda blinked her eyes. Seeing her reaction makes me nervous. May be I shouldn’t have blurted that out. Now she’s going to speak no words for a while. And then she will smile hesitantly, and try her best to turn me down nicely. And I’ll be like…
“So you want to go now?” her question interrupted my notions.
“Only if you go with me.” I could sense a spark of hope when I stated that. “So, will you?”
Linda beams broadly, “of course I will!” I’m quite startled when she hugs me again. I hug her back and rest my chin on her shoulder. “Thanks.” I murmured. It feels so great, in her arms. And I can’t explain how much I’m happy right now. I’d never been so bubbly on birthdays in my life. This is the greatest gift I’ve ever had. Linda is my date. Though it’s not for a long term, I’m still grateful.
She pulls away and with the same bright expression, she utters, “You’ll love it! I promise you. Proms are always great, and I’m sure many people can’t wait to see you again!”
I roll my eyes, “I don’t wanna see anyone.”
“You should.” She replied. “And don’t wear t-shirt.”
“You told me already.”
“I know.” She stops and tapping her lower lip with her forefinger. “Maybe I should get you a suit.”
I glare at her. “Don’t you…”
“C’mon, Aaron. You’ll like it. I won’t get the ones you dislike.” Then she starts showing her flawless smile, trying to convince me. Boy, am I so powerless.
“Uh, fine. Can you stop that?”
“The smile.” I told her. “I don’t like that.”
Her smile then immediately disappears and she looks down. She must have gotten my words wrong. I mean, I know it didn’t sound right. But I don’t like that because it makes me feel powerless, her smile. Every time she smiles flawlessly, I will feel paralysed all at once and I can think nothing but how beautiful she is. And how much I want her. This is surely not a good thing. I’m striving to hold back, resist the urge to touch her lips, but she’s not helping at all. At the same time I don’t want her to stop smiling at me like that, because that’s what makes me feel breathless.
She seems to take it seriously. I can see from her eyes that she’s a bit offended. She’s standing up and I instinctively grab her wrist. “Where are you going?” God, am I shaking? I really don’t want her to be mad at me. I don’t want her to go. I don’t want her to call off the date.
“My job finished.” Her lips curl into a thin smile. “I have a morning class too. Should get ready.”
“You know I didn’t mean it.” I gushed. “Your smile. I didn’t…”
She suddenly giggles. “It’s okay, brother. I know you were kidding. Anyway, I think I shouldn’t do that too often. I’m such a spoiled girl, I know.” She ruffles my messy hair and leans down. Her face is so close to mine, I even hold my breath for a few seconds. But she only stares at my face innocently. “You should wash your face.” She muttered. “You look so… disarray.” I push her away slightly. She chuckles.
“That’s not funny. I feel insecurity striking me all of a sudden.” I get off my bed and move towards the mirror on the wall. “I ain’t looking that bad!”
“I know.” Linda said, still watching me rubbing my face. “I should go now, Aaron. See you later!” Before I get a chance to turn around, she strangles me from the back. “I love you, brother.”
This is the third time I heard the word ‘brother’ for today. And it’s still yet the first light of the day. Such a simple word, but it begins to irritate me now. Can you see my suffering here? I was going to bring up the thing about her smile, I was about to tell her that she froze me with her smile, but she was too quick. I lost my chance, again. For how many times, I have no idea. I pace slowly to my bed, and sits on the edge of it. I stare down at the floor, contemplating. Why did I always lose the chance? Why is she so out of reach? I hold her hand, but I don’t feel enough. I kiss her head, but I wish it could mean more than reassurance. She’s here, but I can’t embrace her. Am I asking too much of her? Am I wrong for wanting more? Am I the only one who’s suffering from this yearning?
Believe me or not, but once again, I asked Casey where Linda was just a while ago. I never could catch her on my own; I always needed to ask, at least someone. The fact that I can’t easily reach her gives me chills down my spine. It makes me think that… we’re not destined to be together. I shake my head so hard, trying to eliminate the thought.
Anyway, I feel even sorrier for Casey. Not that I’m too confident, but I could see her flashing eyes every time she talked to me. Apparently I never intended to talk to her. ‘Cause I didn’t feel like it. But she’s a really nice girl. She has a good smile, which shows that she’s open-handed. It’s just that I never had the interest to horse around with any other girls. I don’t know if Linda has brought a good influence on me. She’s like an addiction or something—I know it seems exaggerating, but I’m growing attached to her. I keep looking around until I find her talking to a guy by the coffee shop near the canteen. That Bruce guy.
I approach her and I can hear Linda’s indistinctive voice.
“I don’t know Bruce, I don’t think I can.”
“Ow, Linda. Please, just one time?”
“I… don’t have time. I’m so sorry Brucey.”
I watch Bruce grasp Linda’s hand, and I know she’s irritated from the way she tries to pull away.
“Let go.” I can sense indignation in her voice.
I quicken my pace and say loudly from her back. “Let go of that hand.”
Bruce tilts his head, his brown eyes widen and then he scowls at me.
“Excuse me, but I…”
“She’s mine, dude.” I cutted in. “You touch my girl I’ll smack your jaw.”
Linda turns her head, and she just holds her gaze at me. I know she must have been surprised by my words.
That Bruce kid is still holding Linda’s hand so firmly. That stubborn shit. “You seriously waiting for a huge livid mark on your face?”
He’s finally loosing his grip. Just as Linda rubs her wrist, I grab her shoulder and pull her to my side. “Did he hurt you?” I stare down at her right wrist. It’s flushing red.
I glared at Bruce in furious. I was about to ask him for a duel, but Linda squeezes my arm. “No. I’m totally fine. We go now.”
I look at Linda in the eyes, and she smiles reassuringly. I can feel my rage plummets. I nod and without saying a word, I put my hand around Linda, keeping her close to my side and walks away, not even looking at that total jerk as if he was nowhere.
“Why did you talk to him again?” I asked Linda as we walk across the street.
“He kept approaching me.”
“You could just turn him down in advance.”
“But nicely.” I emphasized on the word ‘nicely’. Linda looks at me and smiles neutrally. I add, ‘you should have yelled at him. Scaring him off or something.”
“Girls don’t do that.” She muttered while looking at her watch.
“Yeah, and you told me to be ‘less nice’ to some chicks out there,” I know I shouldn’t have done this, but I keep nagging. “Guys don’t do that too.”
She doesn’t seem to listen to me, she ruffles the inside of her bag and takes out this soft pink coloured magazine that seems to be a cooking book. “Look at this! I almost forgot to tell you. I just found nice recipes of cheese cakes, I’m planning on trying some…” She keeps flipping the pages, and her eyes widen in excitement as she spots the page that depicts this white and rich, cheesy cake.
“This!” she thrusts her magazine into my eyes. “I’ll try making this one. And you’ll be the first to try!” boy, is she so exhilarated.
She keeps reading the page and I just keep watching her. She looks like an innocent little girl. So charming, so beautiful, so sweet. But at the same time, she’s so mature. You remember that her dad just passed away two days ago? I’m so impressed by her rapid emotional recovery. She really is a strong girl. I can’t help myself. She looks up at me so suddenly I jolt.
“What?” she asked in bemused voice.
“Oh, nothing.” I cast down, trying to hide my face. I must be looking awkward.
Linda tilts her head, aiming to get a clear view of my face. “Are you blushing?”
She puts her hand over her mouth and chuckles.
“What?! Stop laughing will ya?” I feel slightly annoyed.
“I’m trying too.” She replied in between her amusement. “They say guys look so cute when they’re blushing.” She begins again. “They’re more than right.”
I raise my head and look at her, mystified. Did she just say I was cute?
She ruffles my hair to the point that the front part of my hair covers my eyes. “Naw, Aaron. I have no idea why you blushed, but you looked so cute.” She confirmed my guess.
I beam neutrally at her and I’m quite startled when she pinches my cheek. I pinch her cheek back. Boy, is she a cutie. I love this moment. If this is another way to catch more of her attention, I don’t mind blushing everyday. Though it sounds stupid.
“I’m going now, I need to get my dress.” She glances at her watch again. “You’ve got the suit already?”
“Yeah.” If it weren’t for Ariana, I wouldn’t get my suit by now. That’s the advantage of having a big sister. She knows what you need to wear. She knows which one is rad and which one is lame. I didn’t let Linda get my suit, because it’s just not right. I was the one who desperately wanted her to be my date and she got me a suit? Oh, hell no. I never want to bother her at all.
Linda circles her hands around my neck and I lean down to cradle her. A friendly hug, sure it is. “See you tomorrow.” She mumbles.
“See you, gorgeous.” By the time she lets go, I feel lost. I can perceive that yearning striking me all over again. As usual.
I’m waiting in front of her house, all ready to go. It’s only a few minutes until she’s out. Linda doesn’t let me in, she said I needed to wait outside. I have no idea why she’s not letting me. But oh well, as long as she’s not running away from me, I don’t mind.
After about ten minutes, she finally opens the door. I whirl around and find Linda in a short, shimmering violet dress. She let her hair loose, and braided the side of her hair into a complex, gorgeous plait. She doesn’t look flashy and is so flattering. It complements her classic, exotic face. I gasped and blinked my eyes a few times.
“You look great.” She complimented. “As usual.”
“You should’ve looked in the mirror.” I told her. “You’re… stunning. Lindy.”
She casts down her eyelashes demurely, calling on the blush that adorns her smooth cheeks.
“I’m worried now.”
She looks slightly baffled. “Why?”
“They will try to steal you from me.” I said, looking agitated. “Those guys. I should stick a sticky note on you, which says ‘Aaron’s’. Do you mind?”
“Strongly objected.” She gushed, but she looks amused. “I’m not a noun.”
“I know. Let’s just pretend that you’re mine then. Agree?”
Before she opens her mouth again, I hold out my hand and put the corsage on her right wrist. “We’re going now, beautiful?”
She giggles and reaches my hand. “Sure, dear.”
I was right. By the time we just arrived at the destination, we were surrounded by excited, bubbly old high school friends. Some have mistaken us, saying that Linda and I are a couple. Before I got a chance to say a word, Linda quickly denied it. She was just laughing when people mistook us for a couple.
It is no doubt that the old girls I’ve met in high school attempting to hunt me down all over again. This is why I refused all kinds of invitations. Those chicks gave me a serious trouble. I’m glad I now have Linda by my side. At least they will keep their distance.
“Aaron Jones!” I heard a bright voice from behind, and I immediately know who that is. My biggest fear of the night. Colin Bennett.
I glance sideways, and he’s already plopped next to me. “Hey man! It’s been a thousand years!” what a nice greeting it was. So dramatic.
“Long time no see, Colin.” I said, openly hit him on the back.
I can sense from the clutch on my arms that her body stiffens. I see from the corner of my eye that Linda holds her gaze at Colin.
“I hear that you’re doing more than brilliant at Cambridge.” I think he still doesn’t notice the person next to me. “It must be too easy for you. You should’ve just gone with me to Columbia.”
Now he turns sideways, looking at Linda who’s probably been so eager to be recognised. Colin’s expression changes gradually as he studies her face. His coral blue eyes widen. And there’s no way I’m enjoying this view.
“Linda… Linda Young?”
She nods slightly. “Hi, Colin. It’s been so long.”
Now Colin moves to her and holds his gaze. So does she. I feel excluded all of a sudden. I resist the urge of pulling Linda away forcefully.
“You still look the same.” Colin stated under his breath.
“Same old, same old.” Linda replied. “How are you Colin?”
“I miss you Linda.” Jesus Christ. This is the moment I’d been so afraid of. Now Colin is going to hug her. And she’s going to hug him back, forgetting me completely. And they’re going to enjoy the night on the dance floor; slow dance and I’ll be here, standing like a total loser. I really can’t stand the thoughts.
Colin hugs her and I’m starting to believe that what I’ve foreseen is really going to happen.
“Oh, Colin. I miss you too. So much.” Linda puts her hands around his neck and I cringe.
“Aaron, do you mind if I borrow your date for a little while?” Colin looks at me, I can see his pleading eyes. I stare down at his hand, still holding Linda’s tightly. Actually, whose date is she?
I sigh, and glance at Linda. “Up to you.”
She shows me the same pleading eyes as Colin’s. God, I hate this so much. I was going to refuse, but that would upset her. So I relent.
“Fine. Only a little while.” I told Collin, emphasizing on the word ‘a little while’. “three minutes. I’ll count the time.”
Linda grabs me by hand and she pulls me in. I lean over and encircle her waist. “Don’t be too harsh, Aaron.” She whispers in my ears. “I’ll be back. I love you, brother.”
“I love you, Lindy. So much.” I murmured softly. But I’m sure she could hear it. I finally have the strength to let go, and let Colin replace my hand around her waist.
Last night was amazing, except for the Colinda part. I hate how their names fit perfectly. I don’t want to have the idea that Linda belongs to Colin. But it hit me already. Collin returned Linda to me exactly after three minutes. But Linda was approached by her close friend from high school, so they needed time to get all nostalgic. I talked to Colin and all we discussed about was Linda. How she has never changed and is still the same beautiful Linda. How nothing about her appearance did she ever change unlike those showy babes. I know that Colin still wants her, it’s so obvious from the way he described Linda. He adores her, as much as I do. But I’m not sure if he knows her as much as I do. That’s my plus point right there. I’m glad he chose to move out of the country. It gave me so much benefit.
I had the rest of the night with Linda. It was a beautiful night, I kept on telling her that she was beautiful and the most stunning girl in the night. She kept laughing when dancing, and I couldn’t help myself. I would say I love her and she always took it as a friendly manner. She would say I love you back and add the word ‘brother’ at the end. How much I wish I could tell her straight away that I meant it. That I love her not as a best friend. Not as a little sister. Not as a family. But as Linda Young.
The sound of my bell house interrupts my thought and I move towards the door. I see Linda beam so brightly and I can’t help smiling too.
“Good news?” I asked her.
“How do you know?”
“I’m used to your smiles Lindy.”
She pulls my hand and I snigger as she’s struggling to drag me outside. “What so excited about? Perfect grades?” or some random guy approached you again?”
“uh, you almost got it there.”
“What?” my amused expression slightly disappears.
“The last one.” She revealed. “Similar to the last one.”
“What?” I repeated. I shouldn’t have. I really don’t want to hear what she’s going to say next.
“Colin.” I can see her blush coming out of the blue. No. Don’t say. Please, don’t.
Before I get the chance to turn a deaf ear, she blurts out the damned words. “He asked me out.”
And I can feel my whole world turns dark completely.