I’m awaken by I guess eight or ten girls singing, Arya was the first to notice they woke me up. She approach me thinking she’ll apologize to me, instead she walks towards my bed and shakes me up. I’m pulling back my arm and throw a pillow at her.
“E, meet the girls.” She says pulling my arm. “Come on girl.”
When I gather my energy to sit, I sit down and I was wrong about the count of the girls inside the room because all the girls in the camp are here and they’re playing the songs of The Pedal on an Ipod and singing with it at the top of their lungs. Disrespecting my peaceful sleep. It’s shocking because they’re already showered, I’m the only left in pajamas I feel ashamed in this early hour of the morning because they can wake up earlier than early and take a bath faster than fast. I don’t know how can be a people be this fast.
“I need to go to the bathroom.” I say.
I stand and go straight to the door, but before I can open the door someone at the back of the door open it for me. One of the roadies says that breakfast is ready and we have to go to the dining table. And that’s where I got wrong when I thought it’s too early when it’s already six thirty in the morning. The girls immediately obey and I still need to go to the bathroom so I go straight to the bathroom. After I pee I go straight to the dining room wearing the clothes I wore last night and my messy hair with my messy face that’s obviously haven’t wash my face, yet. The campers already chewing their meal and they all stops eating and looking at somewhere like the heaven opened to save us all. It made me stop and I look at the direction of their eyes just to see Harry makes his way to the dining table with his pals. His hair is still messy and it’s obvious that the clothes his wearing is the clothes he was wearing last night, just like me. Everyone is looking at him, when I reach to my seat I lean over to Zara.
“Who’s everyone’s looking at?” I ask.
She looks at me quizzically. I just realized now at this bare moment the turning heads of the people around me. They’re looking at Harry then turns back to look at me, I don’t know what’s going on but I dismissed their look.
“At him and you.” She points at me and Harry using her fork.
“WHY?!” I ask in disbelief.
“Because it’s too obvious the two of you slept late?”
Oh my god we actually did? Yeah, we actually did.
“Is that a big deal?”
Her eyes widen I’m afraid it might fall on the ground.
“Of course it is!” she shoves me.
Arya heard our conversation. She leans at me like we’re conversing for a secret mission.
“Dear, what did you do?” Arya asks.
I turn to look at her. “We just…” I shrug “Talk?”
“What? How the f, you talked to him until late in the night?” Arya says.
I furrow my eyebrows. I can’t understand my friend’s reaction with talking to a human last night. Arya makes me turn to her. I want to know why it’s such a big deal and I also want to understand why I have to explain. I want to change the conversation. The awkward questions of my friends makes me want to punch them in their faces without hurting them but I don’t know how. Is that possible? The late conversation Harry and I had last night was nothing but two strangers just met in the woods nothing much special but for my fiends it’s more than that.
“I’m hungry can we please eat?” I say.
I grab rice and eggs because I am hungry. Arya and Zara continue to give me creepy stares I can feel it even though I’m trying to ignore them but I can feel the anvil of their eyes dragging me down. The girls on the table next to us are whispering and I know they’re talking about me because they’re accusing me with the look they’re giving me. Why do girls have to be bitches? I give up.
“What?” I put my utensils down.
“What did you talked about?” Arya ask having bitterness in her words.
“We talked about music.” I grab my utensils again and take a bite of my food.
“Try to talk to them.” I chew my food. “They’re nice.” I add.
“How the heck did you talk to him?” Arya began chewing her food.
“I used my mouth.”
“Come on E, we envy you.” Zara says.
“He’s just a human he’s not God!” I say.
I didn’t realize my voice is loud until I noticed all of the eyes are on me. The world is looking at me right now judging me and jealous of me because I talked to a goddamn human, name Harry. The time stops and everyone stops breathing I just want to die. I don’t look at them instead I look at my friends whose wide eyes open at me.
“How dare you to say something like that to Harry?” says the girl in front of me, her name is Kristine.
I notice the big mole on her right ear that’s not too noticeable but I noticed it since I’m staring at her wondering ‘why she’s offended by what I’ve said when it’s obvious that Harry is just a human.’ Now, I guess is not a good time to think about it, because I am glue in the eyes of the people that’s thinking talking to a human is a huge blessing, when they can talk to these people they adore so much any time under the sun. They think I’m blessed but I felt annoyed because my ‘me time’ and ‘alone time’ last night was intruded.
My best friends are also jealous at me and judging me. I wish my other best friend is here with me because I know you’re the only one who will stand up for me you’re much stronger than I can ever be. I don’t know how to defend myself when I never been in any situation like this before.
“I’m just saying I talked to Harry last night and we lost track of time. Besides...”
“And how did you do that? Did you seduced him?” she says cutting me.
“I did not! Besides, why the hell do I have to do that?” I defend myself.
“I don’t believe you!” she yells at me.
“And so do I” says the other girl at the other table. And so the other agrees with her.
“Why the heck is talking to a human is a big deal?” I stand up.
“Hey! He’s not just a human!” the girl at the last table says standing up.
“You can talk to him all you want!” I yell at them.
I can’t understand where the anger of these people around coming from. Is this how obsessed people act knowing that their idol talked to someone whom they can talk to?
I don’t know where the manager of the gays and I don’t know how the gays reacts I am too busy to defend myself with these idiots that acted like I killed Harry last night until I just notice Harry is standing next to me he puts his hands on my shoulder defending me like I’m his girlfriend. Standing with him I stare at his green eyes, I thought I will never felt so guarded and secured in the hands of a man, since my father passed away years ago, I’m happy to feel it again. I missed the feeling of it and I left wanting it more craving it more even though I don’t really like this guy beside me.
“She did not talk to me.” Harry’s voice came out defending, like our conversation is only between us. It’s not controversial or what but it’s only for us. Harry closes the gap between us and looks at me while continuing his sentence. “I talked to her. You don’t have to be jealous because you can talk to anyone of us.” He says.
“Anytime.” he adds.
I yank his hand on my arm with a strong force I don’t know if I still have an energy to do that, I thought the eyes of these people and his eyes drains my energy. The girls look at the scene like a drama on a movie, then I felt the weight of their eyes dragging me down deeper. Brit, I just want to be liquid or be eaten by the earth below. They’re judging me. I wish they didn’t hate me that much, I left the scene as I walk to my room the whispers and looks continues. I feel stalked, I just want to end this camp. I feel embarrassed even after Harry stood up with me.
I heard Neal talk before I left the cafeteria.
“Yes he’s right.” Neal says.
When I’m far enough to the dining room Neal’s voice muffled in the wind. The coach speaks I assumes he wants everyone to get ready for the next activity. I return to the bathroom this time I take a bath, I took the shower longer than I used to. I’m not so sure how to face the people from what happened earlier. Though, what I hate the most was that I didn’t finish my food and I’m still freaking hungry. After I put my clothes Zara and Arya enter the room frowning at me. Zara knows me pretty well, by the look on her eyes it’s obvious that she really does feel pity for me I don’t want pity but I appreciate her. She knows I hate being looked at that’s one of the reason why I never tried to sing in front of the stage.
“I’m sorry for doing this to you E.” Zara told me.
“It’s not your fault, Z.” I assure her.
“I guess we’re part of it.” Arya says.
I don’t want to blame anyone because the way the people took it is the reason why it became a big deal than it actually is. I’ve never been anyone’s point of interest. I’ve never been someone’s problem, or stares, never been a subject of gossip. This is the first time I guess I can blame this to Harry because he was the one who talked to me first. What’s with me? He found me interesting? He’s flirting with me? Isn’t he?
The activity room is so silent when I arrive, when I walk in, all eyes pierce on me again. I look down watching my steps with my head low. It feels heavy in my neck but I can manage it.
I feel the urge to go home.
I walk straight to my friends.
“I’ll repeat the activity.” The coach says straight to me. “Think of someone who inspires you to sing.”
Then I think about my past. Before knowing someone who inspires me sing, I sing because it’s my only way to express my feelings. I never had friends who can understand my choice of music or can support me with all of the things I really want to do. My parents are proud of me but sometimes they want me to join a contest where people can know my name and face but I just want a thing where I can be free and be myself using it: through music. At a very young age I already knew I had a talent in singing, my family told me that but because I was never exposed to an audience I never gained confidence. I never had that strong bond in friendship until you came into my life.
“Now, think of a song that you would like to sing to him or her.” The coach says.
I guess I already know what to sing.
“Now let’s begin to the members of the band.”
The coach looks at the gays and begins to laugh on his own joke but I assume they already plan this Zach stands first. I look at my back looking at Harry he’s focus tuning his guitar, I just notice that his hair is still wet he’s wearing a pale pink shirt makes his broad shoulders shows.
“My inspiration is my mom.” Zach starts. “She died because of cancer when I was sixteen.”
He sings See You Again by Wiz Khalifa. It’s the first time I ever heard him rap but I’m not a fan so I expect this is not the first time he rap, he’s really good I am astound watching him. The next is Neal he says that his inspiration is his ex-girlfriend who broke up with him after he joins the music competition. The girls awed with what Neal said but me, I want further explanation. He sings something I didn’t know but what suiting is that the bridge part is like the story of that horrible breakup. I felt sad the way he sings it because he cries on the bridge part. He wipe the tears on his eyes after he sings. The next to stand is Landon his inspiration is his brother who taught him everything he knows in music he sings the soundtrack of Toys Story.
I remember when we were little, those precious time we had together in your room, I love the pink color walls and the stuffed toys on your bedroom and the sweet scent of your room that reminds of flowers. At age of eleven we thought that world is in favor in us. Remember the first time we had a sleepover on your house we watched the Toys Story? We laughed and cried throughout the movie, then when the movie ended you turn to look at me.
“What if the movie was true?” you asked me.
“What’s true?” I asked confused on what you were asking.
“What if our toys at night are awake while we’re sleeping?”
“Don’t scare me!”
You laugh, you grab your doll. You went closer to me trying to scare me. “Hi, I’m alive Elise.”
I ran around your room laughing, shouting “Don’t scare me Britney!”
I wish you were here so we can reminisce the memories together.
When it’s Harry’s turn he grab the guitar next to him, he doesn’t break his stare at me until he reaches the center. I talk to my friends trying so hard to ignore the weight of his stare. He lick his lips and finger comb his hair before speaking.
“First, I want to say that don’t ever give any false rumor about me and that girl!” He says angrily and he points at me.
I shut my mouth with my friends’ mouth wide open. Their manager looks at me when he sees me looking at him he smiles, then once again all eyes are looking at me like birds looking down at a worm, I’ve never known how gravity works until now. I look at Harry again then he gives me a smile I don’t want return his smile so I made a face to him. I honestly want to crawl and gladly be eaten by any monster or go back to my mother’s womb never once leave again.
“Seconds, she’s my inspiration.” He says never once blink. “I wrote this song last night.” He break his stare and look at his guitar.
Starlight in your eyes
Sparks in your smile
Who are you tonight?
You’re so beautiful and that’s all I know
So different to someone else
You’re so difficult to find
So easily to fall
Don’t try to ask why
Because the answer is because you do
Ooh because you do
Ooh and that’s all I know
Talks like an angel
Sings like an angel
Looks like an angel
Are you one of them?
Ooh those eyes tangled to my heart
Don’t try to smile I can hardly breathe
The song is a pure acoustic, it’s better that way because I can’t imagine the song with drums or bass. I imagine him singing it in acapella still it would sound like acoustic. The song is giving me something that I don’t want. I can feel his electric green eyes on me even with his eyes are close. When he’s done he looks at me again and with that I can see the sparks in his eyes he never blink again while he walk straight to where I’m sitting dying to break our stare but the magnetic force of his eyes making me want to stare to him more, when his near I try to inhale but I felt so suffocated. He sits beside me that’s when I realize I’m smiling back at him.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I whisper.
“Sitting. I like your smile at close.” He says following Teresa with his stares, the first kid who perform after them, walking in front. Then I loosen the smile on lips.
“What the hell, Harry? I’m not liking your game.” I say.
He looks at me with straight face. “You’re not in my game and I am not playing.”
Harry does his best to be an asshole. I wish for these all be worth it in the end. What these all means are: the rumors that aren’t true, the piercing eyes they put on me, and the embarrassment I’m gaining. The girl beside Harry starts a conversation with him. She asks about Liz and other girls that linked him. I don’t want to be anything that feels like Harry and I have something when we’re not closer to that thing but I don’t want to be like the other girls to be rumored with him and what’s the best thing he left me alone… this time.
Zara says that her inspiration is her ex and I know she’ll say that. I also know one of the reasons she decided to attend the camp because of her ex, she wishes that with the use of this activity she’ll be occupied too much to forget to think about him. She sings Come In With the Rain by Taylor Swift she really chose a songs of Taylor to move on.
I guess that what’s inspirational with that song is: Taylor says in the chorus ‘I’ll leave the window open ‘cause I’m too tired to call your name. Just know I’m right here hoping that you’ll come in with the rain.’ And I remembered that her ex-boyfriend broke up with her while raining. It really suits with her experience. There’s also a part in the song saying ‘I’m too tired at night for all these game.’ There was a time were Zara called me just saying she was tired crying. I didn’t asked her what she was referring too when I knew exactly what it is. I didn’t said anything and she didn’t sobbed over the phone. It was also full two weeks where she tried her best to get back together with him when she was still want him back. I smile at her she returns my smile while singing the chorus. The glow in her eyes hasn’t return fully as she keep on trying to mask it with a perfect smile but knowing her she’s different from before and this Zara, is the product of that breakup.
Arya says that her dad is her inspiration I also know this all too well. Her dad has never been so supportive in her singing. She said she first joined a contest when she was seven, since then her dad was against it. She never got any moral support from her father but then every time she sings it’s for her dad she never told us why her father is against it, I suspect that her father hates fame. You know just like in Coco, LOL. Though, her mother is always supporting her since she was a little, she was the one who trained her since and always with her whenever she’s in a vocal practice and contest. When we’re at their house her mother once said that she was once a singer but gave it all up when Arya came and adapt herself in marriage life.
Arya sings Daddy’s Little Girl by Michael Bublé.
I can’t control my emotion remembering my dad that’s why I am crying during her performance. I remember when my dad told me that he wants to see me sing on stage just for once but that never happened because he left in the blink of an eye and I’m lacking confidence to perform. Maybe if given a chance I will do that for him, only if there’s a way to bring him back to life. I’m not like the others who joined the contest because someone they love died, after they died they’ve decided to join the contest and their reason is of joining is for their love once that just died. I’m not like that because it would be useless, my father would never be there he won’t see it anyway, so what’s the use joining a contest for him? Anyway, it would just made me want to see him more and more because of thinking I am there for him, right?
Harry tap my shoulder and tells me it’s my turn, I ask Harry to borrow his guitar and with a satisfying irritating looks in his eyes and awful unpleasant smirk on his lips he give his guitar to me. And everyone follows me with their piercing eyes. I wonder how to stop this awkward sense I’m feeling. I stand unease, I wish that I can read minds because I don’t like the expressions of the girls in front of me, it’s the same expressions they gave me a while ago.
“My…” my lungs tightens and I can’t speak well.
I have a terrible stage fright, a phobia that I develop at this moment. I never known what the feeling of having a phobia until now. I look at my friends and gives them a little smile, they smile back.
I clear my throat then try to speak again. “My inspiration is my childhood best friend.”
The tears in my eyes that’ve been there for three years begins to form. My throat tightens that I can barely speak I fight back my undying guilt because I don’t want to cry I never cried in front of anyone. I don’t want to be embarrassed again in front of these people who don’t know me that keep on judging me by just knowing my name.
“I wrote this song for her when we were nine and I never had a chance to sing this to her because I think it’s stupid.” I laugh at my own comment to my song but none of the other campers nor the lads laugh.
“There’s nothing stupid when it comes to an artists’ work.” I look at Harry, his pal agrees with him.
“But I am not an artist.” I say with a fake laugh.
I shove the guitar on my side and look at Harry. He’s serious and the look in his eyes looks like his trying to read me but I know he can’t read me, by reading back those green eyes. What I’ve been feeling right now is like what I felt last night during our conversation. I forgotten that there are people around us, looking at us, judging me, hates me and we are afar but it doesn’t feel like that. I can feel him close like last night.
“When you know how to play an instrument, sing a song, draw a line, and act you can already consider yourself an artist.” Harry says.
I look back at the guitar and nod at him, I just want to end this. I strum the chords of the song but it seems like I forgotten them, then I try again. I fish my phone on my pocket and apologize at them for my mistake. I sit on the floor and look at the chords of the song on the notes on my app then place it in front of me then strum the guitar again.
I don’t want to be alone
Here she is so adorable
I don’t know why I have to say this
This is my thank you song
Are you listening?
This is my way to say things
Because I know this song is not enough
How I felt so thankful
This song never meant anything to me before, even before and after I wrote it but it changes now, during this performance. The last time I remembered playing this song was the day you left the Philippines. I was crying while playing the song on the day you left, because I have no idea when will I be able to see you again. I wish I played this song to you because I am truly glad I met you. While writing the song I was planning to play it on your tenth birthday but it never happened because thinking of playing it on your party makes me scared. You know that I don’t like being in crowds and all of the eyes of the people are on me, luckily now I’m screwing it.
I didn’t realize I’m crying until I reach my seat and my friends hugs me. I never told them about you I still don’t know how to say things without remembering the memories we had and being able to feel pain just thinking about you. I know you don’t want me to keep you from my new friends but everything is just too much, I don’t want to live in the past but I don’t want to forget you, either. My mom and I never talked about you not until the time my life’s has been like standing on quicksand. Sometimes I want to understand why shitty things have to happen but I guess some things are better to be left unspoken and unexplained. Maybe, that’s why mom never question me on how I was feeling about what happened when I came back from Manhattan.
I sniff and look at them, Arya looks sad and by the look of her eyes it’s obvious that somehow, she wants me to explain everything but I don’t want to say anything, Zara caresses my hair. I’ve never cried this much before especially in front of the people I barely know. I ignore Harry beside me even though he was staring at me like a kid crying inside the grocery store.
“It’s okay, E.” says Zara.
I’m glad Zara respects my silence. It feels like she feels the pain I felt. Maybe this is what she felt when her ex broke up with her. I’ve never asked her before what happened, she opens it up with us because she wants to spit every detail of their breakup because it’s easier to move on when you do that. In my case there’s no easy way out and it’s not my choice to move on. Our situation were different but we’re both in the same side of darkness. I know the dark hole because I’m in it, I just learned how to ignore it.
“You can tell us whatever it is, E.” Arya says as we take our seat.
I feel multiple embarrassments by crying while singing and I hope everyone will forget my crying performance after the activity ends with the coach telling us the difference of our performance from last night and today. It’s true though, todays, we’re more serious and the feelings were more intense and honest. I’m so proud of everyone because we manages to choose a song that came from our heart to dedicate to the person we hoped were here so they’ll hear the song, which I found stupid, but the coach telling us that it is important to choose a song that close to our heart because emotion is very important in performing. I want to ask the singers who don’t write their words and how they can manage to sing the songs like they own it.
I hurriedly go somewhere I can be alone I don’t think I can do that inside our room and I’m afraid that they’re going to bombard me questions, questions I don’t want to hear, questions that I don’t want to answer, questions that I already heard, and question that I often ignore.
Luckily this place is huge, there’s a tiny treehouse I found, this is further than the tree I sat with Harry last night. Maybe he was here when I went outside that’s why I didn’t notice him. I notice someone when I take the last three steps to the treehouse.
“What brought you here?” it’s Harry’s voice.
I quickly look in his direction and see him sitting quietly, his hugging a guitar. Ashtray beside his cup. The treehouse is empty, there’s no furniture just a little bulb but Harry was sitting with a candle beside him.
“Aren’t you scared to burn this beautiful treehouse with that candle beside you?” I ask him.
“I asked you first.” He says.
I strode to him. “I want everyone to forget the last nine hours of my life.” I sit across him
Then I return his question. “What about you?”
“That bulb is broken besides, it’s not lit.” he replied to my first question.
He shrugs and point to his guitar, and that is the answer to my second question. He doesn’t seem to like me being here so I stand up and walk towards the door.
“Wait.” I turn to look at him. “I didn’t say I don’t like you being here.”
“It feels like that.” I walk back. “In some ways.” I’m nodding my head.
“I’m…” he starts but nothing follows.
“Is it true?” I ask.
I’m astound that I don’t have to construct long sentence for him to understand the question just those three words and he knows immediately what I meant. Just wow, I don’t know how he finds me inspirational when I feel shit about myself in so many ways, in multiple reasons, and thousands things that I could tell him that I’m not inspirational at all. I taught myself how to be invisible because I know it safer than to be noticed, since my life was thrown in the pit of mud I became distant from the crowd. I don’t want to be part of any club and I decided to have only one to two friends because I don’t want a lot of people to know me but I found popular friends but they are better than any other people in school. And those efforts I put myself to be that person are being thrown away because of one person who keep on knocking at my door in front of me, right now.
How to say “f*ck you” in nice way? Because I’m dying to know. Fun fact from knowing Harry for 34 hours I discover that he can be a nice, spontaneous asshole.
“Telling me something about you.” he says.
“I already told you last night.” I reply.
He pouted his lips annoyed at my reply. I enjoy his reaction so much that I try to hide my reaction to him.
“No, I’m not.”
“You’re forcing yourself not to laugh.”
He stood and put his guitar on the guitar stand and kneel in front of me and tickle me. I scream and laugh so hard he stop looking down at me. He look so beautiful. I pushes him and comb my hair using my fingers. He does then same and clears his throat.
“Tell me how you met your friends.” He asks.
“I remember Arya told you how we met.” I say.
He looks at me disappointed with my answer. It’s so satisfying disappointing this man. He caught me smirking.
“Do you want to laugh again?”
I fear of what happened earlier. So I roll my eyes.
“I met my friends when we were in freshmen.”
“Since then?” he looks at me then back to his guitar.
“They don’t like the kind of people you will choose to be friends with.”
Is that a compliment or an insult? Instead of saying it out loud I ask him different question.
“What do you mean by that?”
“It’s just you look different than the other two. I mean, not in a bad way, it’s that just they look popular in high school campus and you look like a person who likes to sit in the corner.”
He’s right that’s why I don’t feel mad or offended.
Freshmen year was not about being popular, it’s about finding a friend so you won’t look a loser. Before finishing elementary my mother and I moved in our current town it was for good my mom said, my dad just passed away a month before she decided we have to move, so we can move on to his deceased. What she didn’t know, I knew she did it more for herself than to me.
It’s been three years but I know my mom still in pain by the death of my father just like what I feel but we both have to be strong. Being in different school for just a month it is difficult to find a new friend. Yeah I finished my elementary in a new school, I know you already know that. Fortunately I didn’t have to explain myself to anyone why I have to switch schools when there’s only a month left.
By the time I was a freshmen I wanted to be the same as I was during those one month, but this time is different I will be at the same building for four years, I have to make friends and talk to people. But for two weeks I didn’t bother to make friends I just wanted to be invisible, at biology class the teacher told us to pick up a partner since I didn’t know anyone I kept my mouth shut. The teacher asked who doesn’t have a partner I didn’t raised my hand.
Zara is a grade conscious student, she has a high IQ that you won’t know by the way she dress or act, you just think she’s clubbing every Friday night, though she’s not because it’s either she’s in a singing contest or up in her room reading a book, so when the teacher asked who doesn’t have partner, and we were the only people who doesn’t have, besides Arya was not in our class so Zara doesn’t have any other choice but to choose me, Zara stood up and sat beside me. But I was sure as hell if Arya was in that the same class in biology she will ignore me like everybody does in that class.
“I guess the girl at the back doesn’t have a partner, I can partner with her.” She says.
I wanted to shake my head because I know I can do the activities alone but her mind was made up. As the teacher told us our first activity Zara is talking to me, she smiles and introduces herself I didn’t replied, I was focused on what the teacher was talking.
“Do you have a name?” she ask me and leaned closer. “I just said my name do you have to tell me your name that’s how it works.” She added.
“I’m Elise.” I say.
After biology class was break, she pulled me to the next classroom and introduced me to her best friend, Arya. And that’s how our friendship started. I’m not nerd nor a loser. I just wanted to be alone but they didn’t let me. I remember that day they just met me but they almost told me their documentary that lead us to stay up until 9:00 p.m. at school it was so hilarious.
But Brit, we also had our version of surviving that time, do you remember? It was an effort but we ignored the fact we were pretending we were not apart. It was hard but we managed, but now it’s different, without you I don’t know why I want to be alone because that’s how I find peace knowing that I disappoint you and I disappoint myself, either. I know its good thing to socialize and have friends, people say ‘move on, and have a normal life’. I can’t do that feeling the guilt inside of me whenever I’m happy. I need to feel the pain, I deserve them anyway, and to be able to do that I need to be left alone because it’s the only way to taste the pain of being left by, I just lost the people I love.
Harry leans closer to me. “What are you thinking?”
I look at him and say. “We have to feel the pain.”
He’s confuse by what I said so I elaborate what I said. “The people who left will be sad if we’re happy with the new people we met. I guess it’s safer if we’ll show them we’re still thinking about them.”
I look at him and by the look in his eyes he’s processing the words I’ve said. The expression of his face looks like he doesn’t want to hear what I’ve said. I was hoping he will understand what I meant when I know no one would, just hope I didn’t let him hear what my brain is saying somehow.
“Where those words came from?” he finally asks.
“Never mind, I know you won’t understand.”
He wants to say something, something that I might disagree so he changes the topic. That’s better I guess since I know he will never understand. He smiles before opening his mouth, made me think he’s intending to make me smile.
“The song you sang last night, is that your own composition?”
“It’s not for sale.” I say.
He laughs at my comment. This is one of the reasons why I don’t want someone to know that I’m writing songs: first they’ll just ask if I wrote it, then they’ll ask how or why I wrote it. Just like Taylor Swift, people use to misconstrue the woman just because she likes to express her feelings to something beautiful. I shouldn’t have said I’m writing a song. And now I’m here with this guy that I’m sure to push me just to be able to answer his questions plus my friends who are wondering who’s that childhood best friend I was talking about that made me cry during my ridiculous performance. Like sucks if you’re bad in decision making.
“That was wonderful I wish I can write like that.” He says.
I made a quizzical face, how the heck did that became a good song? For me it was a bad song, besides, I just told you that I never appreciated it from the moment I wrote it. You told me before I write good music but I was young I don’t know if I have to believe in what I’m writing. I never have someone who could critic my piece, well you can’t have one if you keep on hiding it, right?
“Do I look like I’m blushing?” I ask.
He’s serious, I’m afraid he’s telling the truth sometimes I hate honesty, it’s painful and brutal, most of the time. I wish feelings can lie, I wish eyes can lie, I wish his eyes is lying, I wish three years ago is a lie, I wish last year is a lie but none of those are lies. My mom told me that the most painful thing in the world is not about the break up it’s when we have to accept to say goodbye to one of the most important people in our lives.
“Our manager likes the song you sang. He even asked us who sings it, Zach assume it was original and he was right. He’s not going to buy the song.”
“I never said I wrote it.”
I told him I have to go back to the house, and said maybe my friends are looking for me, and I was right. The room this time is quiet. By the time I enter the room Zara is in front of the door, surprise to see me. Arya is sitting on her bed with knees in front of her hugging them. When Arya see me at the front door she stood and also surprise to see me. I hope their eyes are perfectly connected into their skull so they won’t fall and roll on the ground, because by the look of their eyes looks like they’re watching a thriller movie where the story just revealed the killer.
“Where the heck did you think you go?” Zara put her hands on my shoulder leaning down on me.
I remember my mom the way she reacted. Before I had a chance to continue my explanation Arya is on Zara’s side firing a question.
“We’ve been looking for you everywhere. Why didn’t you tell us where you go? Who’s with you?”
“I just went for a walk.” I say.
The two of them sit on the bed. And exhale.
“We…” Zara begun but didn’t continue.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you but…” I sit beside them. “I want to be alone for a while, the last eleven hours of my life is too much for one day.”
I don’t want to explain everything to them, I don’t have to because they know I hate explaining and I’m glad I have a friends like them who respects my choice to be silent. It’s been quiet for thirty minutes, the silence breaks when someone knocks at the door. One of the roadies to inform us it’s time for another activity. The coach is wearing a jogger jeans and loose shirt same as the gays wearing. The coach informs us we’re going to dance. The band leads us for a simple dance moves that usually is being used. I’m not a dancer but thankfully we use to dance in some school activities I’m not happy, though. After lunch we were left alone again. The ‘do your own shit’ is my favorite thing in this camp. I went to the ocean and just watch the other campers enjoying the water. Sitting in this peaceful place is magical, when suddenly Landon sits beside me.
“You okay? He asks.
I nod. Sometimes when I’m alone I pretend I’m deaf and mute. Sometimes I convinced myself I am one of them.
“Mr. Kite likes you.”
“Do I give a shit?” I say looking at him then I look back at the ocean. “What’s the purpose of this camp?”
“You speak with your brain. You’re here, you’re supposed to know.” He says smiling at me then looks at the ocean.
“My friends just pleaded for me to come with them.”
“That’s why,” he stands up. “Do you want to go for a swim?” and he offers his hand.
I accepts it. Landon takes off his shirt and I just let my jogger jeans and shirt to soak in water. He hold my hand while walking towards the deep part of the water when we’re in the waist level of the water he drop my hand. I swim further following Landon, the water is relaxing. I end up wishing all my worries would be taken away by the waves or washed away by the water. Ever since I got here and ever since I heard the news, this is the first time I didn’t think about you, with my sub consciousness I feel the guilt again. I can ran whenever I feel sad, but nothing it will not change anything if I keep on thinking about you. I end up hoping you’ll be able understand that but I should be the one who starts understanding because I’m the one who keep holding on.
By ten in the evening we make a bonfire near the ocean. The campers have beer in their hands, some of them are holding a bucket of beer. We gather together like friends not like a team, Neal is playing his guitar we’re singing and most of the campers are drinking while singing. Landon says we should play a game, he suggest truth or dare. Landon grabs a bottle and start spinning it the bottle stops at the girl with short hair. She says dare, I guess it’s her friend who told her to do a lap dance for twenty seconds to the most beautiful person on the group. She’s looking at me while she stands by the look of her face she’s bitching at me, she wants to see if I’m going to put up a fight. She walks towards Harry and do the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Harry doesn’t seem to be liking it but he tries to have fun. The next is Neal, he says dare he has to kiss the most attractive guy, he stands up and kisses Landon on the cheek. Arya’s dare is to drink three bottle of vodka, I’m glad it’s not a sexual dares not like the other dares but it made tipsy. We continue the truth or dare for another hour and I’m next, I play it safe and I said truth.
“Why did you write the song you sang last night?” Harry ask.
The water balled on my eyes, the black hole returns, and all the memories flood. Everything’s gone but me and a slideshow in front of me I feel like I’m in a darkest room with no one to hold onto. I curl my hand and make a fist with the hem of my clothes pressing it tighter that all of my strength left me by doing it. I feel trapped in the game and from the choice I made I look at him.
“There’s a thing called privacy.” I say.
“Then why did you sing it?”
Harry didn’t like my answer his jaw tightens and by the look of his posture he’s willing to put up a fight. He looks at me straight in my eyes straight to my soul then falls on my heart. That’s what the electricity of his eyes did to me but he’s serious now, though, I don’t like what he’s forcing for me to answer. I look at him straight in the eyes too, trying to be confidently look through his soul like what he’s been doing to me.
“I didn’t say I wrote it.” I say.
Harry didn’t force the question anymore, the heaviness of his stare became a mellow and gentle. I continue to look at him even though he’s no longer looking directly at my eyes. I just notice his eyes are very different the way he looks at the others.
“I guess we have to ask her another question.” The girl I had fight with in the morning suggests, the others agrees on her.
“What did you and Harry did last night?” Zach asks, he’s grinning.
“We honestly just talked about music, last night.” I answer.
Some of them are convinced hopefully the topic would settle. When it’s Landon’s turn his dare is to run at the beach without underpants, we laugh so hard the way he did it flawlessly. Since the only light we have is coming from the bonfire and he’s wearing t-shirt that’s long enough to hide what he have to hide, making it less R rated, for me. Zara’s dare is to kiss a girl on the lips for five seconds, Arya stood up volunteering to the dare and they kissed! I guess it was because of alcohol that they act that way. I am amuse that they know how to do it and I end up sitting there wishing to find it disgusting but they look really hot. I know it’s not a good thing to find your best friends hot while kissing but I do. Playing games like this frightens me because I’ve never been in a wild group of kids.
After forty minutes have passed some of the campers left after they got drunk. I’m not a drinking I’ve never drink before, I don’t want to try to, thankfully that I didn’t drink because Zara told me she’ll go help Arya to the room but Zara needs a help also, I doubt she can walk straight towards the room. I’ve never seen any of my friends get drunk, and I’m so glad that they’re not wild. Arya is just sleeping on Zara’s lap, Landon carry Arya. I know Zara is drunk too so I help her, she keeps on saying she’s fine and repeatedly saying me she’s still in love with her ex even though he seems not to care about her anymore, I say she’ll learn to let go.
My mom told me that moving on, is just literally moving on the things that makes us sad, or mad, or on the previous heartbreaking experiences we have, but letting go is leaving the things behind: no regrets, no worries, and baggage. I know I’m not taking my mom’s advice but I have reasons besides I’m too young to lost someone in my life but old enough to understand the pain that brought losing someone in my life is hella traumatic. I want there to witnessed it but for some reason I felt responsible for those deaths. It’s just hard losing someone you never have a chance to see again not even a glimpse even if you wish to. Death is irreplaceable it’s very different from a beak up, where you can still go back to the person that once belonged to you. What about death? It’s all about forgetting the person you don’t want to forget. Sometimes I’ll be wide awake at night wondering “why do I have to forget the people I don’t want to forget?” that keeps me haunted. I feel sorry for my mom not opening up to her but if I do, she’ll be lonely as I am just like showing her the dark side of me.
Landon looks disturbed on what Zara’s saying, he’s looking at us every now and then. I wonder if I have to explain to him the shits Zara’s saying. She’s crying now and I’m freaking out. When we’re inside the room I point to him Arya’s bed. Zara went straight to her bed and starts to undress herself I look at Landon and he walks towards the door without looking at us. I thank him and he waves his hand. Zara quickly falls as sleep as soon she changes her clothes alone. I am amuse that she can be able to do that after being so drunk. I pull Arya’s pants and grab her pajama that she wore last night it’s hard but I also manage to change her shirt that smells alcohol. I don’t want to sleep, not yet. I want to stay up late for my birthday. I walk towards the door then glimpse at my friends before stepping outside the room, Landon is waiting for me he’s standing at the wall his hands in his pocket looking at his phone. I feel suspicious wondering what he’s doing on his phone, because there’s no signal here in this island, than to why he looks like waiting for me to leave the room.
“Want to swim?” he asks.
“What’re you doing with your phone?” I ask while we’re walking towards to him.
“I battled with myself to where you’re going to sleep but I notice you didn’t drink, and thought you might want to do something. I like capturing things I’m editing some photos.”
“Thank you for inviting me.” I told him.
We walk back to the ocean and since we’re still wearing the clothes we were wearing a while ago we didn’t bother to change to our swim attire. Most of the campers are sleeping, some remains in the bonfire drinking, conversing and the others are swimming. I assume that Zach and Neal are sleeping I saw them while helping Zara and Arya walking inside the house, I saw Harry remaining in the fire with the others. Landon holds my hand as soon as we dip into the water, as my feet reach the water I shivers. It’s colder than earlier.
“It’s cold.” I comment.
He laugh at me and continue to hold my hand.
“This is not cold.” He says.
I splashes a water at him and he continues to laugh. He do the same until we’re both soaking. We laugh until our stomach are aching then I float staring at the moon above. The sky is full of stars but there are number of clouds swimming around but the beauty of it remains shining than the clouds.
“Your friend, Zara, she seems broken.” I heard him say.
I can see the comma the way he says it, looks like he doesn’t want to ask the question. He pauses every word he’s saying. He knows his stepping to the line. I can see him with my peripheral sight he’s not looking straight at me but his face is facing at my direction. I found it hard to answer because I’m not in the position to tell the story. But maybe it’s not a question I have to answer. He hold my hand then I blow an air.
“You don’t have to say anything.” He let go of his question and floats beside me.
“She’ll be fine.” I say.
“She has to.” He blows air as soon as the last word came out.
“I’ve been in a break up too.” he says.
It’s a rumor that Landon and his girlfriend just broke up, it’s been said that he cheated on her. No one will know the real reason of a break up until that person in rumor will talk about it but since then everything will remain a rumor. Landon’s girlfriend is not a celebrity, they met because of a friend. That’s what my friends said.
“She just decided she doesn’t want to see me anymore.” He laughs the saddest laugh I’ve ever heard.
I stand and look at him in the saddest face I can. I nod in response. Just like Zara’s break up. She said ‘he just said I’m wasting his time.’ it echoes in my ear the way she said it
“It’s been months. I just want to forget her.” he added.
That’s what every broken people say, they want to forget the person they loved the most. After the long love messages been shared, after the late night kisses, after holding hands, and hugs, after the intimate feelings, after the sex, just forget them all, hide it in a box at the furthest part of their brain until it’ll got dust as if it’s easy like that but most people they can do that as easy as taking off the clothes of their exes, or better to throw all the memories like a garbage, but of course I don’t want to say it out loud to him.
“Time does not heal pain. It’s you who can do something to fix it, or if you want to be over with it.” I say.
I don’t know if that’s the right thing to say. I don’t know if he needs it. He stops floating and faces me. This is the first time he looks at me in the eyes it’s not attractive like Harry. It’s not daring like Harry. His face is so serious I thought I offended him or something but then his seriousness changed into a smile. I’m not in the right position to lecture him.
“I want to be friends with you. You’re the only one who seem to know what to say in every situation that you are in. You speak with your mind.” he said with a laugh.
I laugh on what he said. He just changes the topic, it’s funny because he’s the one who brought that topic and now his changing it. Well I’m starting to like him now, not as artists but as persons, since I’m starting to know him better. They are not bad like what I’ve heard: English people are difficult to handle or maybe I’m judging him quickly. A moment later Harry joins us. He walking towards where we’re standing, I’m not a fan of night swimming that’s why we’re near the shore. Plus it’s cold I’m not even joking.
“You seem to be enjoying yourselves, can I join?” Harry says.
“Yes, of course.” Landon says.
I can say I’m making friends with the two of them; Harry seems to understand my silence while Landon helps me to forget the things I want to forget, it might include you and I feel sorry for it.
We swim, we let our worries be carried away. Most of our conversation are serious it’s hella stupid but I feel sad that it doesn’t make me laugh when all I want to do tonight is to laugh with Landon. We talk about music and movies, Landon says that he learned to sing when he was three, he says his brother told him to join the contest just like what he said in the earlier activity. He was a fan of My Chemical Romance before they broke up, and that brought us to a new topic. I’m also a fan of My Chemical Romance, but ever since they disband I stopped listening to their music. He says he’s still listening just like Harry. I never thought they like the stuff I like. For me they are corny and lousy. Harry says sometimes they just want to change their genre to pop rock but the management won’t let them, at first it was what they like since most of them are listening to rock and that it’s their inspiration to sing. Landon says that it doesn’t mean they hate what they’re doing, he already knows that something against his will would happen if he will be a part of the industry before signing the contract of the management.
Then Landon suggest to wait until sunrise. Harry and I thinks it’s a nice idea, and since it’s what I’m planning to do, alone. Changes when Landon offer to come with me. We left the water and sits by the shore. Harry crosses his legs and plays with the sand. Landon sits with his hands on his back supporting his neck. I sit beside Landon, hugging my legs I feel cold I can feel my body shivers I keep rubbing my arms with my palm.
It’s silent for three minutes until Landon shares his first kiss: it was horrible and funny at the same time. Landon’s first kiss was when he was fourteen. It was P.E. class and he was at the gym for a basketball class, a girl in the other class went to him. The girl told him she liked him. Landon had a huge crush on this girl, he doesn’t know how to confessed his feelings to her, so during that day he thought it was the right but he was tongue tied he just kissed her without thinking about the consequences. The girl was stunned and her friends laughed. She slapped him after leaving the gym, he saw her friends gave her money. He said, he thinks that it was a dare not including the kiss part. Harry thought it’s embarrassing on the part of the girl.
“At least you’re famous now. For sure that girl feel proud that you’re her first kiss. I think.” I say.
“Why? Are you feeling proud that the people inside the camp thought you and Harry did something last night?” Landon asks.
I slaps his stomach, he swiftly hinder it with his hands.
“It’s not funny.” I say.
But Harry and Landon are laughing. Harry shares his first kiss too, but unlike Landon’s first kiss his was romantic. He describe it like being in an old black ‘n white romantic movie. Harry’s first kiss was when he was sixteen, he was having a fight with his girlfriend, that time they were dating for two weeks. His girl was Catholic and the girls’ family was so religious. They were outside the café, when suddenly it rained. They doesn’t have an umbrella, luckily Harry was wearing a jacket, and he pulled the girl to his chest and hugged her. Her girl looked at him and pulled him for a kiss.
Kiss in the rain.
That has something to do with Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I can imagine every detail of what he just said, just like watching an old movie just like how he describes it. I always wanted that scene, and I made a mental checklist to include the ‘kiss in the rain’ scene in every movie I want to do in the future. They asked me about mine but sadly I can’t say anything. They goggled in surprise when I told them I haven’t had a first kiss.
“How old are you?” Landon asks.
“I’m seventeen, turned seventeen.”
“It’s your birthday, today?” Harry asks.
I nod. The two of them greets me. We talk more about our lives. Harry and Landon have in common beside the type of music they like to listen to, they’re also both pet lovers. I told them I don’t like to keep pets but I like animals, you know I respect their lives but keeping them to be a pet is not right for me, animals deserve to live in their respective place where they belong. I share my love in music and that I can play instruments, even though I already shared it to Harry. I’m amazed on how exposed they are in sports, nonetheless with their busy schedules, I only play sports when it’s requires in school. We were quiet for a moment the time the sunrise starts until the sun showed up. It was amazing and worth the wait. The love I witnessed between my parents is what I’m feeling while watching the sunrise this is how amazing it is, it feels like freedom. They asked me why I never had a boyfriend, I look at them.
“I never had a boyfriend before, because I believe in things may happen when it’s time to happen. My mom’s first boyfriend was my father, she told me that her mother used to tell her ‘Get a man who respects his mother.’ My mom literally took her advice. On their first anniversary as a couple they went to the hospital, my mom didn’t know why until she was face to face with my father’s mother. That’s amazing when you witness love with your own parents because you will believe love truly exist and you’ll be a fan of it not only fall in love with the idea of love. My mom and dad didn’t had a perfect relationship because there is no perfect relationship but what I admire the most is that they know how to respect each other and know how to fix the problem they’re facing.
“But I better be left alone than dating. Its hilarious most kids at my age having their third or fourth boyfriend or girlfriend that only last for not longer than five months, I don’t want to be a kind of person who needs a guy in my life temporarily then look for another shoulder to lean on. Besides, this is the first time I interacted with these huge amount of people.
“It’s because of my friends.” I added.
They’re astound and speechless for a while. Then Harry says. “It’s good you’re believing in it, I will be sad if you don’t think you’re not capable of love.”
The ways he says it makes me want to pull him into a hug, it electrifies me more than he did it before. It makes me believe I’m beautiful even though I’m not that confident to feel that way. And by the way Harry’s looking at me right now gives me a nostalgic feeling of the way my father looks at my mother.
“Yeah.” I say silently breaking the intense eye contact.
“Stop staring… you might guys melt.” Landon whispers.
I look back at the sun. Then again, I forget about you: I forget our friendship and our dreams and plans. I don’t know if you can still remember me but I want you to know that I don’t want to forget you because you’re my best friend, or maybe I was wrong, maybe you were my best friend.
I mention that my father died three years ago. He died in a car accident, he was driving to work. The police talked to my mom about it but I chose not to know the reason of the accident.
“Does the song remind you about your father that’s why you said it’s private?” Harry asks gently mimicking the way I said ‘private’ hours ago.
I nod. Not sure if I have to convince them, though, they buy it.
“That’s kind of heavy.” Landon says without looking at me.
“Yeah.” I say quietly.
Lying now a talent and it’s not my talent, but, I’d rather lie to them than say the truth. I feel Harry’s hand touches my fingertips I look at my hand then feel the butterflies in my stomach, then I look at Harry he’s not looking at me he is looking at the sunset. He mumbles something and turns to look at me.
“I said, it’s beautiful. Doesn’t it?” he says looking at me.
He smiles making his dimples shows, that’s the first time I’ve seen it. I nod my head and hold his hands turning my head to the beautiful sunset. Without me knowing it, I’ve fallen asleep.