When I wake up I’m alone in the room. I thought I overslept and wake up late but it’s just 6:00 in the morning I look at my nightstand and saw a little box of gift sitting there. I pick up and read the card.
Happy seventeenth birthday, E. We’re sorry to give it to you now. We honestly forgotten to give it yesterday. Hoped you like it.
Love, Arya and Zara
I open the box. They got me a silver bracelet with a musical note charm with a fake diamonds on it. They knew me well that I love music that’s why they got me this. But I don’t like accessories, I love it though.
Then I brush my teeth and wash my face. I changed my pajamas with the shorts my mom insisted to pack for me and aT shirt with a corny joke. I sit back on my bed and wear the bracelet my friends gifted for me and head to the kitchen for breakfast. Breakfast usually starts at 6:30 A.M. but my friends aren’t here, yet. There’s only a few campers on the table. I decided to look for them first before deciding to sit.
I found them at the living room sitting in circle with other campers on the floor. Listening to the story to one of the residents here. They look so interested to the story. When I walk nearer to the circle I noticed the keychain that he’s selling for the tourists in this island.
I sit between Zara and Arya and ask. “What everyone’s doing here?”
Zara shoot me a look. “Mr. Anilag is telling a story of the island.” She smiles at me.
Arya look at me and grabs my wrist. She smiles when she sees the bracelet they give. I thank both of them.
“I chose that bracelet for you.” Arya says to me.
“I like it.”
“We’re happy you like it.” Zara says.
After a moment we were told to go to the kitchen for breakfast. I sit with my friends like everything that happened last night didn’t happen at all.
Harry keeps on looking at me. The tension of his eyes keeps distracting my soul and I don’t know what to do to annihilate the weigh it’s making me feel beside of talking. I try to talk with my friends but it’s still freaking the hell out of me. Maybe I need to confront him what he wants for him to just stop bothering me but sometimes talking to him don’t result the way I want to and the intense of gravity did not go away but it just makes my knees weaken.
After we eat I went outside. I take a slow pace of my steps by the shore and let my feet buried on the sand feeling the cool breeze of the air on my skin. Zara found me she joined me by walking I the shore adjusting her speed for me. I walk closer to the water letting my ankle to get wet. It feels odd to be here with her waiting for her to break the silence to ask me what she wants to know because I know what she’s doing here.
Then she ask what I was waiting her to do. “When did you start writing?”
I look at her then return on my feet. “When I was ten.”
“Mmm mmm” She steps closer to the water closer to me. “Who is she?” her voice is gloomy.
I remain quiet for a few moments. It’s not like Zara because she would never force a topic that would make anyone get hurt. I don’t want to tell everything about you, Brit. I can’t, not yet or maybe I would never be ready.
Instead of answering her question I change the topic. “I learnt to play piano at age of five. We already had a keyboard because my mom has it when she was in college: She took Bachelors in Music Major in Piano in a prestigious university. She thought me when I was only three. At age of six my dad thought me to play guitar.”
Her expression changes she flashes a bitter look at me then look at somewhere to hide her disappointment, I know she’s disappointed at me by changing the topic and by not answering her question she must understand that she’s stepping on the line. She looks at the sand. We stopped pacing and focus our stare on the ocean. She then sits in the riptide and I sits beside her.
“Wow,” but she said but she’s not amuse. “At the very young age you knew a lot.”
“Yeah. That’s what you got if you have a musician parents like mine.” I say in my lazy voice.
When the sun is too hot enough to burn our skin we return in the house. We walk quietly. We pass where on the circle we’re in earlier but no one at the outside beside the two of us. At the house, some are eating and some are watching movie. We look for Arya but she’s not in the group. We saw her talking to Zach laughing. The chef told us it’s time for lunch, so we all go to the kitchen and grab a food. This camp only let us eat five times a day that would surely make every one of us obese after the week.
“What’s with that best friend of yours you can’t tell to us?” Zara says without looking at me but I know she’s talking directly to me and I know she’s talking about you.
“What do you mean?” Arya asks looking at her.
Zara ignore her. Arya look at me then shake her head in madness. I pretend I didn’t hear her. We were again quiet for a moment. I don’t want to explain to them anything about you, because telling them about you is opening up the memories that I don’t want to remember but I don’t want to forget either. The things I want to keep to myself is the reason why I sing and that I don’t want to share to anyone. I finish my food faster than I could. After I finish my food I went to the treehouse. I don’t know why but I just cry here nonstop. I saw Harry’s guitar and sing the newest song I wrote.
Wrecking me now, I see
Can’t you see?
Who would like to feel?
Cause when I’m down
I can see
I can feel
The emptiness I feel
Before I can move to chorus I heard someone is opening the door. I’m expecting it to be Harry because this place feels like our secret hideout to the other people in this world. When he open opened the door, I quickly put his guitar down and I wipe my eyes. He stands in front of me looking on my broken face before he sits across.
“Why did you cry?” he asks.
I shake my head. “I wasn’t. I was playing your guitar.”
He smiles at me not buying my lie then grabs his guitar and pluck the strings it’s a soothing note that calms my emotion.
“Is it wrong not to mention your old friend to your new friends?” I ask Harry out of nowhere.
“Is it something about the one that made you cry?” he asks back.
“I told you, I didn’t cry.”
“I assume you cried because they asked about your old friend?”
I made a face to him in my irritation. “Don’t answer me then. I don’t think it’s necessary.”
I rest my back on the wall and blow a huge amount of air and cross arms in front of me. I guess I hold this air for three years. I found relief but nothing changes. Harry laughs at me.
“I agree… that it’s not necessary but maybe sometimes you have to mention some of your friends…”
“There’s a thing called privacy.” I repeat it again. “Besides, I told you that you don’t have to answer my question.”
He laughs again and pinch my cheek I playfully hit him. He asks me why I can’t tell them about this old friend of mine but I remain quiet. We remain quiet, Harry keep playing his guitar without singing the song. I rock side to side on my side feeling the rhythm. He hand me the guitar and he says to play something. I play the song I played earlier before he got here. That made me cry again. Harry wipe the tear away while staring at me. I shakes my head but thankfully he didn’t ask why he just hold me and I let him.
That song is not something about the death of someone but that song is what I felt every time someone left me without returning. It’s about what I heard and what I did not expecting to happen to the people I love the most, I never had given a time to say good bye to them, right Brit? You didn’t let me. That song was the feeling I soak within me by the time someone died, without thinking it’s possible to happen that time and what I failed to do. I told him it’s the newest song I wrote.
“It’s beautiful.” He said.
I played another song I chose to play I’d Lie by Taylor Swift.
“Wow that’s pretty amazing. I mean I never thought you’re writing a love song.” Harry says.
I laugh so hard then he looks serious not even smirking. It looks like I’ve insulted him. I shake my hands and head.
“That song was not mine.” I continue to laugh and he’s eyebrows twitch.
He laughs with me.
“It’s I’d Lie by Taylor Swift. Its unreleased one so some of a die-hard fan only heard about it.” I explain.
His eyes widen when he heard the unreleased and wider when he heard die-hard fan. I mean isn’t
“You’re a Swiftie?” He points his finger at me.
I nod at him and explain that it’s just one of her songs I listen to.
“My friend, Britney,”
I pauses from the thought that I am now opening up the story of us even if it’s just something we shared and not the deeper part I got scared.
“What’s with her?” Harry asks.
“She was a fan of Taylor Swift. She influenced me to listening to her song.” My voice is low I doubt he heard me.
He looks at me closer, trying to catch my eyes but I’m looking on the floor filled with water that have a tendency to crawl on my face. I never cried for eight months now because of you but I don’t want to cry again by mentioning your name. You abandoned me but I’m paying it because I became a useless friend and I don’t want to remember you by leaving me.
“Is she the reason you cried?” Harry asks me again.
I nod. “She was nice.” My voice shakes, I tried not to cry.
I glue my eyes on the floor again. I don’t want to look at him and sees my face, not because I’m worried he’ll see my sadness but he’ll see what I’m hiding. I want to stop but I couldn’t stop myself.
“When my father died we moved out of town, but we remained friends through social medias. We’re three hours apart we tried to see each other. We’re so close like sisters. And then they moved away… and went to Manhattan. We tried so hard to keep our friendship real tight. People tend to say that long distance relationship is possible and because of distance it makes the relationship stronger? It’s true. It’s hella true but it’s hard. Real hard. We shared everything and tell how our days went, I thought: I thought she was being honest all those days. When her family were still here every Saturday I used to go to their house, sometimes she’ll go to my house. Sometimes I’ll stay at their house, sometimes she’ll in my house. We shared our dreams and plans. I thought the Britney I met, I knew, was real. I thought what I heard was real. But I was wrong. She was keeping something important.”
I’m breaking that’s all I know; I fight back my tears but I keep on breaking and I can’t keep my tears to myself no more, the next thing I know is I am crying real hard. The tears I was holding for months is now a rain keep on falling from heaven. I just cried moments ago and now I keep on crying. I don’t like showing this version of me to anyone who barely know me but I can’t help it. You’re the vulnerable part of me that I couldn’t handle even by just thinking about it. I close my eyes and put my hands on my eyes. Harry move closer to me hold me. He holds me like a fragile glass and I let him do that. I let him hug me.
I never mention you to anyone before ever since that we got separated. I never mentioned your name to the people I currently met. Why would I if they are going to ask where are you or how you been doing. What am I going to say? You left because of me. That’s not a good thing to say to someone you referred as your best friend. How would I look at them after saying our story and how we grew up together and ending to something so painful? I wanted to remain our story as a secret, my mother and I never talked about you because it was a formative story that ruined my insanity. I failed, I failed today, I guess I just met someone I can fully trust and by thinking about that, I stopped for a while. I think, I’m replacing you and that’s Harry. I don’t want that. I don’t want him. I pushed Harry away from me he look so shock by my sudden movement. I stopped crying.
“I’m fine.” I told him and wipe my tears.
I gaze at Harry and he’s so worried I don’t want someone to pity me just because I can’t move on to my past because of someone I never thought would leave. When I look back at him I finally look at his eyes as he smiles at me. I don’t. I lean my back on the wall again and look at the roof. This is the first time I look at it, it’s wooden they use the leaves of the coconut to cover the roof of the tree house with a weak and thin wood.
“I read somewhere on internet, ‘if a memory no longer bring tears to you it means you’re already over it. But if it still does, you’re still in the past’.” Says Harry.
“You don’t understand, Harry.” I say quietly. “You don’t have to.”
He leans on the wall next to mine and hold my hand. I’m weak right now so I accept it just like the hug he gave. I squeeze his hand and he squeezes tighter, I stood and walk to the door without looking at him, but I can feel the pressure of his eyes. I left him in the tree house.
I head straight to the room expecting my friends to be here but Zara and Arya are not here. I guess they’re at the ocean enjoying their selves together. I grab my notebook and a guitar, I don’t know who borrowed this from Belle: I recognize it because she used this one of our activities, I sit on the nightstand checking if it sounds right. I sing some of my old songs, a song I wrote for my father when he died. Then the song I sang to Harry. After singing a couple of songs I feel so exhausted. I lay on the bed looking at the window until I feel my eyelids got heavy.
As soon as close my eyes I see you in the foggy darkness. You were running and running your hair is covering your face as you keep on running. I couldn’t see if you’re smiling or sad but your eyes are fixed on something. You’re saying something but I can’t hear it clearly, the sound of your words are muffling in the air. I tried to scream something but my throat is dry and my jaw is tight, my voice coming out as a whisper. I am shaking my head while my tears streaming down my face. And then someone bang my head. I open my eyes when got awaken by someone who was shaking me. Zara looks confuse looking at me. I feel more tired after having a sleep or maybe it was the dream that made me tired. My notebook fell on the floor and I’m hugging the guitar. I can’t remember lying in my bed with this guitar.
“Its dinner.” She says.
I look at my watch: seven P.M. I’ve slept for four hours. Zara is waiting for me at the door. I stand swiftly when I realize she’s waiting. As we walk over to dining room she says that I was sleep talking.
“You’re saying ‘forget’ repeatedly.” She says.
Maybe that’s what you said on my dream. I guess it is but it make sense if that’s what you’re saying because if I tried to speak in my dream maybe I wanted to explain why I don’t want to. Do you really want me to forget about you? I’m sorry but I don’t want to. You made me feel like it was my fault, you do. Don’t ever think I will do that for you.
Zara turns to look at me. “Are you dreaming?”
“I don’t remember a thing.” I just say.
I know that I am not a good liar, maybe it shows on my face and by the look on her eyes she knows I’m lying. It obviously make her annoyed thinking that I’m keeping her even my simple dream.
When we’re finally seated at the dining room, Zara and I are uncomfortably in a silently awkwardness. Like we don’t know each other and we both doesn’t want to be there. I wonder why she fetched me and not Arya. I guess Z is still mad at me. I thought Arya is the one who’ll hate me for hiding a huge part in my life but she was acting so mad at me and speaking of Arya she seems fine around me. I want to understand her anger if she has a right when all I did is hide the huge part of my life, besides she got nothing to do with it. It’s my choice to whether share something to them or not, besides I didn’t do anything wrong to them. Did I killed someone? Did I buried her dog alive? The answer is no and no so why does she have to be mad at me?
Speaking of Arya, she couldn’t seem to stop talking. She keeps on asking questions about my music questions I never answered before like: when did I start to sing and when did I learned to play instruments. Questions I never heard to someone asked me before. LOL. I answer her honestly.
“You said you wrote a song for your best friend, right? When you were nine?” she says looking at me using her fork to point to me.
I nod. I’m too lazy to speak. Besides, I owe them an explanation and all, so I’m trying so hard not to get her mad. I’m so tired today and I just want this day to end or this camp to end.
“Is that the first time you wrote a song when you were nine? Is that the song you sang?” she asked again.
She stopped chewing and wait for me to answer her question, she’s too focus on this. Like, her life is about to revealed why she was born. I keep nodding on every words she’s saying. I don’t like her questions but since it’s new to her ears and I don’t want to lose a friend I have to be patient.
“Wow! That was amazing, Elise.” I look at her. Her eyes are widely open. Her mouth is in circle like an O and she’s clapping like a kid. “You’re stunningly, unbelievably, wonderfully, amazingly, TALENTED!”
Does she just completed the synonym of amazing? I don’t know if I have to believe in her but she just said that too when they first heard me sing. I don’t know if amazing is a right word to define my music but acclaiming me with complete words of the synonyms of it – I won’t buy it. I just nod and thank her. I told her about the song I wrote for my dad’s funeral after all the visitors left me alone with my dad lying in the casket buried with sand.
I remembered it when you first heard the song I wrote, that was the first song you heard from me, I mean the only song I lend to your ears that was written by my own heart and hand. We’re fifteen and I thought my sadness will never leave me I was too young to be taken a father I love the most. I told you when I found out his death he will never met the guy I will be dating. He will never be there if someone will break my heart. He will never have a chance to walk me in the isle on my wedding day. He will never see my children. He will never be there when my husband and I had a fight. He won’t see mom grow old.
It was the third day of his death. A sunny Sunday morning. While waiting for you in front of our house, I was playing with my guitar on the floor. Trying to memorize all of the words I’ve written from the night before. When you arrived I told you to sit you chose the spot across from me with your leg in an Indian seat position. I didn’t said that the song was mine I just start singing and you listen quietly looking at me when I finished the song you asked when I was wrote it and you clapped and hugged me and said that I was good: feels like you dig on the dictionary to say the praises, I heard that some of the words I never heard before.
“It’s just so sad that your dad won’t hear you sing again.” You told me while combing my hair.
“I know.” I didn’t know that I’m crying again until you wipe my tears away.
You leaned on my shoulder. “I will never leave you, Elise.” You promised looking at me in between sadness and hope. “I promise.” Then you smiled covering the pain in your heartaches.
I smiled at you between tears. “I will never leave you too.”
A month after dad’s funeral we moved away. You cried so hard in fear that I would be alone for the rest of high school but I assured you I’ll be fine. Then two months after you moved farther away. I was scared because it was Manhattan I knew that it would be harder in your part but I told you to just be braver. Then, you’re gone. You will never coming back. I thought you’re stronger than I can ever be. Where’s the promise, Brit?
“Wow, you really love your dad.” Says Arya.
I look at her wrinkling my forehead then I realized that I was talking to her and not to you. I got hypnotized in hope to be talking to you someday. You missed a lot in my life for just a matter of one year. Sometimes, I tricked myself that I’m talking to you and not to Arya or Zara. Sometimes, I convinced myself that I’m with you and not to any of the two friends I left. Sometimes, I wish they’re you. I was too busy talking to you inside my head and sometimes I actually talking to your photo and sometimes I really convinced myself that you’re still here.
“I love him so much.” I smile sadly.
After dinner Arya told to me to go to the ocean with her. I followed her, I assume she wants more to my story. So I told her more about my music. She asked me about why I cried when I told about my best friend. I know that this will come.
Zara followed. We’re walking where the water meets the sand, silently like we’re so afraid to break the sound of the sea splashing on the sand. I can feel the tension that they putting in the matter of silent. I told them what I told to Harry since that’s what they want. After that I know they’re not satisfied yet on what I just share but luckily they didn’t force me to tell the whole story. Zara said she feels like swimming, we swim, the three of us.
Out of nowhere Zara asks me the question I tried so hard to ignore.
“Why didn’t you mention her?” Zara is looking straight at me.
It feels terrifying to lie when I becoming addicted it and sometimes I convince myself that I’m getting good at it. I wish I could just pretend I never mention you to anyone but I have to let this question go.
“Z, don’t force her to say anything. She’ll say about it if she’s ready.” Arya says and floats.
I smile and float too. Zara swim away. The night consist a lighter mood to me than last night. We head to the bonfire and join the other campers. Harry makes space for me to sit beside him so I sit next to him. He smiles at me and I smile back. I can see the glimpses of the campers looking at me; they notice the glances between Harry and I and how he made a space for me to sit beside him. Landon is sitting next to him. They’re singing along.
Harry leans to me and whispers. “You’re not there at the activity. We start to write a song.” He whispers.
“I’ve fell asleep. I’m sorry.” I whispers back.
“It’s okay. Mr. Kite just noticed you’re not in the activity.” He smiles then brings back his attention to the others in the circle.
After a moment pass, Harry invites me to go with him in the tree house, I don’t want to go but just since I don’t feel like singing with them and I feel bad for the things that was going on for the last 12 hours of my day and I also feel so empty after telling my friends about you, I go with him. We walk silently hand in hand to the tree house. Hand in hand that I barely notice his hands clasping mine in the dark. We use the flashlight of his cellphone on our way. When we got there he helped me to climb the ladder. We reach the top I told him it’s too dark - I usually have my phone whenever I go somewhere despite of having a zero signal here but I left my phone in the room. He grabs something in his pocket: a lighter and a candle.
Wow, he’s prepared.
He sits on his spot where he always sits, I sit beside him. I don’t want to think something that he’s planning something bad but I feel like he is not that kind of disgusting person.
“I’ve noticed you’re so silent in the circle. So, I assume you want to be somewhere else.” Harry says as he fishes the cigarette.
He lit the cigarette, this time he looks at me and smiles, before blowing the smoke and finger comb his hair. The way he finger comb his hair makes me like him a little, I think he thinks his cute when he does that. I change my mind and I still don’t like him.
“I still don’t like you.” I smile back.
I stand and grab his guitar on the corner. I go back to where I’m sitting, next to Harry. I pluck some chords.
“You don’t have to like, though and just to inform you we like you” he says without looking at me.
I shoot a look at him back but his not looking at me.
“What’s likable in me?”
He dip the cigarette butt on ashtray and look at me smiling. Sometimes he looks at me with his normal stare but most of the time his eyes makes it want to liquefy me. Even with just the light of the candle it’s still powerful. And I sweat to hell that I can make a whole thesis on how it’s possible in the situation where am at to be a water.
“You seem to not to know that you’re talented and beautiful.” He says.
My eyes remain my eyes focus on his, the last word he said make the air to my lungs escape faster than breathing. I got speechless like I don’t know how to speak. My mind just shut down like a computer. My heart forgotten how to pump. I’ve never remembered someone called me beautiful. Not just I never been in a date or I had guy friends but the way he said it so pure and honest and he really mean it. He hold my hand, I feel it in my heart and I’m alive again. I look at him blankly.
“You don’t believe in me, do you?” he asks.
“Beautiful is overrated.” I laugh, he doesn’t.
His face is so serious now. Like he wants to say something but he doesn’t want me to know it.
“I want to kiss you.” He says.
The way he said it is like he’s telling me he loves me but he doesn’t want to. I want to know what he doesn’t want to do, to love me, or to kiss me. Or to say what he really want to say because what he said was not what he really want to say. I look at him straight in his eyes where I can see his soul, the brutal reality of his feelings.
I pull my hand. He resist but I force him to let go of my hand. I turn to my side. He put his hand on my back attempting to hug me but I shrug off my shoulder. I want to scream but I completely loss my energy of arguing. Feelings are so hard to understand that’s why I want to understand Harry after contemplating what kind of relationship is he going to be a part of my life but I gave up when I thought that all that he wanted was to be my friend and when I embraced him in my life he’s now disappointing me.
“I didn’t mean to scare you.” he says.
I force to face him. His eyes are sad; it reminds me of Zara’s sadness. I don’t want to feel him ruing with his reckless decision in saying those words.
“You did not.” I stand and look at him. “You did not scare me. But just because I still haven’t had a first kiss it doesn’t mean you’re in the position to that!”
“I…” he starts.
“No. Need of explanation, Harry!” I scream cutting him.
He stands and stride across the room towards me. I step back slowly. I stretch my arm to him.
“No.” I say.
“Please, hear me out.”
I shake my head indicating that I don’t want to hear it and storm outside. He remain quiet as I take my way back to the house. I shut the door, I quickly brush my teeth and do my routines.