Even today the rain poured down heavily outside the window. The cozy weather is just perfect for a cup of hot coffee and a little bit of daydreaming, two things that suit me the best.
My dictionary is ready, together with my thesaurus. Well, don’t be scared. It’s not like I am going to write my Pulitzer-winning book or an inauguration speech. I am a president—should I add “YET”?
What you will read here is only a short love story. Not more magnificent than Beauty and the Beast, or not as elegant as Romeo and Juliet—but for a certain someone, it is priceless.
It is about a certain simple-minded lad who was infatuated with an angel, and he fought against the odds to find the way to her heart.
I guess you could guess who the main character in the story is.
So sit down and relax—no need to fasten your seat belt. And when you finish reading this, I hope you learn that love, for lack of a better word, is irresistible.
May 22nd, 2008.
On this very day, nineteen years ago, an angel was born to this earth. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s her birthday today. I don’t know how she will celebrate it, and to be honest I don’t really care—if not for the scary question: with whom?. I mean, every single guy in love will be a stalker—and that doesn’t exclude me. Yet, God played His wild card, and I was forced to return to Indonesia for vacation at this very day. Which is the reason why my mind almost went crazy. (Believe me, all guys falling in love have lost their mind on the way. Ever wondered why we need a mental hospital?)
It has been 3 months since we became—in such a way, close. Not that kind of close I am talking about, nor because of that special feelings people talk about, but because of GOSSIP.
Yes, you got that right: G-O-S-S-I-P.(See, I could even spell it for you.)
Yeah, it was true that without this so-called gossip about us, I would have no chance to talk with her, chat with her, or to even know her better. To be in a relationship for us was a public wishful thinking. A public demand—if I may emphasize. Well, that’s the good part: everyone wants to see us together. Now for the bad part, if I may give you an example, the sound effect. I mean, we don’t need to hear those *whistle whistle* every time I talk to her, or every time I talk about her. We don’t fancy those things, but our dear fans love ‘em.
This is the first time in my life I ever realized that this world is full of paparazzi. I guess I have to erase actor and prime minister from my career options.
“Happy birthday,” I said.
In fact, saying it through phone was just not me. But I’m glad I could be the first to say. What else can I do?
It wasn’t really a big thing; nevertheless, looking at my situation right now, this is my first home run. Separated by the distance, all I could do was only thinking about her and missing her every single second, writing a song for her and falling in love deeper with her. But you know, these thoughts—if they remain as thoughts, they will never reach her. I had to remix them into the only thing that connected me with her: SMS.
I could guarantee that my SMS was fully charged with 100% pure love.
Whoever invented short-messaging is a genius. Love is in every single word—although probably it’s one-sided on me.
Getting back in Singapore, this had become my first to-do-list: meeting her. Now I found a good excuse to do that: a surprise birthday present. In my hand was a strawberry-colored box—her favorite. Not a big one, only two stuffed animals—a snail and a turtle.
Surprised? Let me explain.
Windows Live Messenger, the second greatest invention after SMS. And the third one would be emoticons. You see, we use them during our chat a lot. From our digital pizza to digital light bulb—the emoticons are without limit. And you know, we do have special emoticons: a snail and a turtle. You started to see the connection here?
Sounds stupid, huh?
Even we grew pets in the messenger. But believe me or not, this stupidity had caused me my second home run. A birthday present that no one could give but me. I know now that love does cause some disturbances in the brain. Not a single living being on earth would understand this kind of stupid present—except us. Correction: except me, but I do assume she does understand. I hope.
Two months had gone by.
The progress of my love enterprise was actually quite good: from MSN to SMS, from SMS to phone call. At least that’s what I thought. And now we were in the midst of our university’s newbie orientation. However, for me it was more like a confirmation period rather than orientation. Me and my hidden agenda: I wanted to know her feelings.
Would it be too fast if I confess now? Did I make the right move? Is there anything I can do for her? These kinds of thoughts haunted me like a never ending nightmare. Darn it—who the heck said that love makes everything beautiful?
But who would know that it’s going to suck even more. One of her friend was kind enough to come to me and said the words I never wanted to hear:
“To tell you the truth, she has already known how you feel about her …”
I was shocked. Okay, here comes the answer I’ve been waiting for. I could feel the blood rushing out to my head. Here are the words I wanted to hear for the last two months. The question is, am I ready to hear them?
“… But she said that for now, she still had no feeling for you. She is still confused.”
I believed that I died once at that moment. It was so painful. After all I did for her. After all the SMSes. After all the phone calls. If I were a girl, this is the point where the tears would fall down.
I am faced with two choices—and no one knows the answer.
Does loving someone mean you let her go to have her own space, so she can choose what is best for her, so that she can be together with the man she loves most,
Does loving someone involve chasing her with all of your heart until you prove that you are really the one that she needs?
Which path shall I choose?
I am back in my room, listening to the old song from the CORRS.
“What can I do to make you love me?
What can I do to make you care?”
As a girl, I’ve never been as dead tired as I am today.
There. My phone rang again. A new SMS, I suppose? Lately I’ve been receiving so many of them I barely think when replying. I took a deep sigh. Okay let me guess, the shorty A, the smart guy B, the economic student C, or … I looked at the small screen.
For these few months he kept on texting me. It’s not that I hate him, but I’m a bit tired. Tired of replying. Tired of the calls. Tired of trying to find the answer myself. I know he’s waiting for my answer. But I just don’t have one – not at this time. Alright, let’s see what he sent today.
Whoa, a thank you dinner?! I almost dropped the phone had I not read the next sentence. … Ah, with other people too. Hey, you there, I’m NOT disappointed about it at all, okay?
Well, probably a bit. Just a bit.
To make long story short, we did an orientation for new students arriving at our campus. We were somehow on the same team and somehow did a lot of activities together, but I had the feeling my friends were pulling the strings from behind. I mean, they tried really hard to get us together. And this thank you dinner was for the whole team – a celebration after the orientation ends, so everyone was meant to come. He knew it. Yet he still asked.
This is starting to sound really fishy.
And my suspicion came into reality when before I realize, we were called to the stage – both of us. An ingenuously evil plan. Whoever planned this would probably win a Nobel prize on cunning-ity, if they have one. Some guys over there are whispering. Some girls over there giggling. Yeah, I know. The gossip about us is even worse than the one in the Gossip Girl. Something was bound to happen. I knew it.
He grabbed the microphone, took a deep breathe, and said these words I will never forget.
“In this very day, on 1945 August 17th, Indonesia gained its freedom. People shouted, and is still shouting, “Fight with the spirit of 45!” – referring to the independence year. And today, what I want to say is …”
Okay, stupid words. I’m getting really used to them. He paused a bit, and took a quick look at me. Our eyes met, and I suddenly knew the exact words he was going to say. Those aren’t just stupid words. I just knew where he’s heading. Seriously? I mean, in front of all these people?
“What I want to say is, with the same spirit of 45, with all my heart, I WILL CHASE THIS GIRL …”
(I should add he said that while pointing at me.)
And guess what, within seconds, I could hear a loud applause. Standing ovation. Roaring laughters all over. What-the-heck-he-just-said faces from corner to corner. I couldn’t tell what they think. Well, I couldn’t even tell what he was thinking—saying things like that in front of dozens of them. I heard that guys do stupid things for love, but he’s on a completely different level with those guys. His eyes looked at mine trying to find an answer.
Never in my whole life have I felt this way. A mixture of embarrassed, panic, and a bit of, well, … having someone said that to you, wouldn’t you be happy? I tried so hard not to show any expression. Did my poker face work? I couldn’t really tell because I found myself unable to reply his eye contact. Darn it, this is just so embarrassing. I hope I wasn’t caught blushing red, because my heart tells me that’s what my face looks right now.
Since I took the stance silent-is-gold, the next people to give a speech came to the stage and grabbed the microphone away from him. As we walked down the stage, everyone was clapping their hands for him. Everyone – except me. I mean, come on, it just felt so awkward. I didn’t even have the courage to see his face when he returned to his seat.
The next person started to speak, but my ears were closed. My mind went blank, and it was like that until the dinner time came and we sat on the table. Me on this side, and him on the far end.
It’s a pity, however, that the awesome dinner turned out to be tasteless. Everyone said the food was super delicious, but my tongue had gone numb due to his stupidity. I mean, how much further could you go to get my attention, dude? My eyes always managed to steal a chance for a quick look to him, because I am afraid he might do something out-of-this-world again. Okay, the word afraid might be too much – I’m … curious? Nope, that’s not the word I’m looking for. I’m … kinda expecting. My mind kept asking the same question again and again: what’s next? You did a splendid opening for the night, and now my heart is beating fast wondering how you were going to close the night. I hope I won’t get a heart attack tonight.
But just like every other thank you dinner, this one was over without any happenings. Without a stupid guy making the next attack. Too bad. (Hey, it’s not like I’m enjoying it, got that? But it’s not like I hate it either, okay?) This kinda thing really confused me a lot.
Finally, what was a room packed with people is now just an empty space. The wine and the glasses have been put away. The joyful voices and the clapping hands are no longer there. All what is left is the memory of the party. That is why I am still here-reminiscing the moments. For one obvious reason, he is there too.
I looked at him. After all those embarrassing moments he caused, I don’t even have to ask to know what he feels about me. He’s being honest with his heart, and with me. That’s what I like about him-uh, I mean, it’s not that I like him in a special way, what I want to say is … how do I put it into words? Uhm, I don’t dislike everything that he did for me. He’s just trying to be cool. I guess this is what the prince does to win a princess’ heart. Well, he’s not a prince and I’m not a princess, but you know, I wonder if he thinks of me as one. I won’t deny that possibility anymore, but probably all I need is time to decide.
There is an awkward silence between us. It feels like hours have gone by, while in reality it’s just another minute. I can see in his face that he’s trying to make the final sentence of the night – as if his love declaration during the party wasn’t enough. Then, with his gentle yet decisive voice, he sent the last message of the day:
“At the end of August, if until then you don’t give me an answer, then I will put an end to it. Period.”
This time he knew he had to call her.
So he took his blackish mobile phone. As he dialed the number, he recalled her face—the lovely face he always wants to cherish. He smiled as he remembered the moments he had with her, before he finally pressed the dial button. He knew the time to end the chase is near. The phone rang on the other side. And the familiar voice answered.
“I am going to confess to you on 2008 August 29th.”
“Eh? But, but, whaaa … ?”
“What’s wrong? Can’t I?”
“Well, I mean, nothing’s wrong with it – it’s just that, you’ve already known the answer, so it’s a bit unfair …”
He finished the phone call. His mission is almost completed. He thought he knew the answer, or he wished he knew the answer, but still, he couldn’t get the butterfly feelings out of his stomach. He tried so hard to fight the what-if questions which pop through his head again and again. He tried to calm his head down by preparing for the last battle – the last chance he would ever get. Which is why he took the origami papers he bought few months ago, and started folding them…
* * *
Finally CHIJMES. He chose an old church that had converted into a public place for love confession. The light was dim, yet it was warm enough for both of them. The wood chairs were antique, and the small round table helped them to set the mood.
A candle light dinner.
Their eyes met. He could hardly wait to say what’s in his mind. She put a sweet smile—a sweet smile that captured his heart on the very first day they met. He faintly smiled. Not yet. He had to make sure. He had to show her just how much he had fallen in love with the angel sitting in front of her.
He pulled out a box made of glass from his bag. It was full of paper cranes. To be exact, a hundred of them. The myth says that paper cranes represent wishes – and that’s the very reason why he gave those to her: they represent his simple wish to be with her.
She took the box, and held it in her hands. She looked at the paper cranes. A hundred of them. Each one of them represents his feelings for her. How sweet of him, she thought, but why a hundred?
She glanced away from the paper cranes, and fixed her eyes on him – giving the hint for him to move on to the next step, which he completely understood. He asked her to unfold one of the paper cranes. She did, and found that some words are carved. So she read.
“I Love You.”
What a classic love letter. You would think it was too simple. But wait – there’s more to it. He explained to her what the number “100” means. A hundred of paper cranes represent 100 days he had spent to pursue her – from May 22nd until this day. Every single day. That is the sole reason why he needed to confess today – the 100th day. She didn’t show much expression, but deep inside, she was moved.
He closed the night by asking the question he had wanted to say. A question which will start a new journey, or end the old one. So he opened his mouth, and said:
“In life, everyone has to make a choice. Only one out of two. I am going to give you a choice to make. Would you be my girlfriend? Or, if you won’t, I could be your boyfriend.”
He played it safe. He knew the answer; nevertheless, he needed to hear an answer. A confirmation. A definite reply. And without doubting for a second, she gave him one.
I remembered that the moment she said that single word, I smiled. She smiled too. I could still recall the warmth of her hand as I put her hand in mine. Those moments are still fresh in my mind.
I closed my book and put the pen down. I had a sip of my coffee, and said to myself, this is not the end of the story. 100 days. 200 days. 300 days … who knows what will come next. But I know one thing: this time, I won’t be alone in my story. Ever.
we are writing another love story.
* * *
And back in her room, she looked at the glass box. She felt like a Cinderella who had her glass shoe found by the prince—and received it back. She was still smiling as she opened the box and took out the paper cranes one by one, and started counting. It’s not that she doubted him, but you see, he’s not really good with math. So just to make sure, with a small voice, she counts, “One, two, three…”