He goes again without a word. Up the steps, one by one, his hands inside his pockets, with steps so slow that to an outsider it might look somewhat like a leisurely walk. Everyone else is happily hugging friends and classmates; this will probably be the last day our class will be complete in a very long while.
I turn and smile at my friends and tell them to go ahead of me. My family’s probably waiting for me now—you know, celebrating. I know I shouldn’t be lying to my friends, but this is my last chance. They nod at me and they continue talking about who’s going to which college and university, who’s taking a year off and why…all the fun stuff that comes along with ‘growing up.’ We don’t look like it, but we are grown-ups.
I hurriedly follow his steps, wondering if he’s still where I think he is. There are times when one moment he’s right there where I can see him but with a blink of an eye, he’s gone. I really don’t mind when that happens; I know he’s just like that…undetectable and mysterious and cool. But I can’t let him disappear now. Not today.
I’m always considered as the Most Unathletic Girl in our class. I trip on my own shoelaces, I fall on the safest steps, I get hit by balls all too easily—every little accident happens to me, Miss Uncoordinated—which is why I always avoid physical education and sports of any kind, including running. But right now, I run, run as fast as I could, run as if my life depends on it.
I reach the top floor of the building quicker than I ever have, and without a moment’s thought, I push the doors. The brightness coming from the outdoor lights blind me for just a second—and then I see.
There he is, standing so far away, near the edge of the building. He looks at the surroundings, just like always. Whenever I see him standing at the roof of the school building, he’s always alone. Wherever he is, actually, he’s always been alone. It’s weird, but in the quiet solitude of the rooftop, he never once gave the aura of feeling alone.
I take small steps toward him, careful not to disturb his thinking. It may have been the doors, or maybe my footsteps, I’m not entirely sure, but after a second, he begins talking to me.
He turns and looks at me, his brown eyes twinkling where the light hits them. I smile; he smiles. I try hard not to flush from the steady eye contact, so I turn away and look instead at our school grounds. There are still so many people below, but from the rooftop I can’t hear the hubbub from the crowd so much.
“You’re alone…again,” I softly say. Those words have always been my greeting to him…and his reply will always be the same.
“You’re here now, so I’m not alone anymore.”
I still remember my reaction when I first heard those words—my face became red, my heart started beating so fast I swore people on the school grounds below could hear it, and indescribable warmth would envelop me. I’m now more than used to hearing him say that one line, but each and every time I still get that very same reaction. With just a few words, he manages to stir in me a myriad of emotions, jumbled, twisted, all swirling like a vortex inside my stomach.
I bite my lower lip. It’s now or never. I have to tell him.
My mouth opens for half an inch as I try to find the right words to say. I close my eyes and open them in one second—and then he’s gone.
I quickly head for the doors and see him walking slowly, reaching for the exit. He always leaves the rooftop without a word, without one goodbye. Everytime he does, my chest hurts. Everytime he does, I want to ask him to stay, but I never do. Cowardice is the easy way out when you don’t want to get hurt.
…But right now there’s no next time, no room for what ifs and being cowardly. They say that when you bungee jump, you have to gather all your courage for the fall. That’s exactly what I have to do.
I muster my loudest voice imaginable, ready to shout it all out—
“You know,” he says in a soft voice, his back still turned, his right hand on the door, “I’ve always liked you. I promised myself I’d tell you that if you came today, so—”
His head is turned slightly to his left, his eyes not quite looking at me when he tells me, “I really like you.” After saying those words, he turns his head again, so now all I can see is a part of his slightly pink cheek and a glimpse of his lips, slowly curving into a small smile.
At that very moment, I can feel my very own curve into a smile just like his.
-Seventh Lovephase story. I found this in my Physiology notebook, but I don’t really know when I wrote it. 😀