I let Linda sleep on my
lap after she cried for about half an hour. I’ve decided to stay over and keep
her in company. I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I left her alone in times like
this. I don’t mind not sleeping all day, as long as I can see Linda and know
that she is fine. The most important thing now is that she’s right by my side.
It took a solid attempt
to comfort her, I was so scared of ruining her mood even more. So I just did
the same thing as I’ve always done before, I kissed her head, I kept on doing
it until she actually stopped crying. Her curly black hair smells of
pomegranate and honestly speaking, I wouldn’t stop kissing her head if she let
me. It’s not like I look for opportunities in the most unexpected times. I just
can’t deny the fact that her hair smells really good, and kissing her head is
the only thing I’m most confident about. I might run out of words, but my
actions always kill. I stroke her hair and lean slightly forward to see her
sleeping face. She looks so peaceful. I’m glad she’s having a good sleep. I was
expecting for nightmares and screams, knowing she’s got a lot to take in now.
Strange, I don’t feel
sleepy at all. I had always been sleepy these last few days, all those college
assessments and the big project have exhausted me. But now, sitting in Linda’s
house and with her head on my lap, I’m wide-awake. I’m about to grab a tiny
note on the short table in front of the couch until her eyes flutter.
I wait for her to slowly
open her sleepy eyes and look at me. She rubs her eyes and when she looks up,
she beams her usual smile. It looks so nice. She looks so serene, as if nothing
ever happened today. I’d been waiting for this smile since this morning, now I
feel so much better, like all those puncture-like pains in my chest have evaporated.
“Sorry, did I wake you
up?” I asked, smiling back at her.
“I shouldn’t have slept
here. Don’t you feel tired?” she gets up and fixes her tangled hair, I was
going to pull her back in, tell her to sleep again. But that’s just silly.
“I’m not tired. Not at
all.” I said.
She raises her eyebrow. “You’re
“My body cells have this
great storage of energy.” She’s right, I never look tired in front of her. I
should have just said that she’s actually the source of my energy backup. “You
feeling better now?”
She looks down and
smiles weakly, I thought she was going to break down again, but she’s not. “I
think we just need to move on, don’t we? Life goes on.”
She killed me. It was
very stupid of me to almost think that she was very sentimental. Linda, you
just can’t predict her. She’s so unpredictable that one moment she can be very
emotional and the next, she turns into this very mature and courageous young
girl. I nod approvingly and playfully mess with her hair. “That’s my Lindy.”
She grabs my hand and
puts the black jacket in my hand. I know she’s feeling better now, but she
doesn’t seem so. She’s still very quite. Well, I can understand that. “So, when
will you go back to Indonesia?”
“My uncle doesn’t want
me to go back.”
I’m quite surprised by
that. “What? He doesn’t let you?”
“Not that he doesn’t let
me. Actually my mom doesn’t.” she looks at me with the sad eyes. Again, she
shows her weak smile. “I guess she thinks I won’t be able to handle it.”
“Things are going to be
fine. Eventually.” that’s all the best I can say. I study her face, and she
actually starts laughing lightly, though I know she’s forcing it. I can sense
her tears are going to flow down her face again, I quickly touch her face and
stroke her cheek.
“You’re right, I’m not
coping. Even if I try.” She said, now looking down, afraid if she looked at me,
her tears would flow out.
“How about I show you my
biggest and craziest project, while you can show me your first class violin
She doesn’t respond to
my question, she just keeps looking at me. She must be baffled by my sudden and
unexpected suggestion. She turns her head to where the rounded clock is. “But
it’s too late.”
“We’ll disturb the neighbors.”
“I don’t think they will
be distracted since your music is very soothing.” We stop talking for two
seconds, until I finally decide to run back to my house and grab my project.
Boy, am I so excited. That crazy project was my nemesis; I can’t believe it
turns out to be my lifesaver now.
“Where are you going?”
she called out when I just touch the doorknob.
“I’ll be back soon. With
my awesome machine.” I said and grin cheerfully. All of a sudden I think about
the night sky and all those stars above. This brilliant idea pops out in my
head. I have this one fancy telescope that my grandfather once gave me on my
eighth birthday. I love everything about stars and Milky Way; I suppose I can
say astronomy is my other hotspot. “I’ll show you something.” I added, being
hell thrilled all of a sudden.
So I rush back to my
house and try not to interrupt Ariana who is probably sleeping by now. I’m
planning to imitate those old warriors with soundless steps, but my skill is
too lousy, I don’t even think I can sneak in without waking my sister up.
Ariana can wake up even to the sound of a feather
drops. She gets it from my mother, whom you could wake up from a thousand
miles away. Women always hear everything. They always know everything. But my father, even if I hurled a wooden chair by his side,
he would still be sound asleep. I miss my parents.
So I open the door and
close it in a very, very slow motion, struggling not to make any sound. I count
my every step to my room, and it’s not long until I hear my sister’s steps
behind me. “Are you trying to rob the house?”
By that time I know I
won’t ever succeed to fool her. I turn around, trying to act cool as hell. “Not
“Wide-awake.” She said.
Then she looks at me awkwardly. “What are you trying to do?”
“I’ll be out again, I
just need to grab my stuffs.”
“What, you’re moving
out? Don’t you…”
“C’mon, what do you
think I am? I just need to stay over till tomorrow morning, and I need to cheer
Ariana’s face looks
concerned. “What happened to her?”
“Her dad just passed
away.” I said and look away.
“I’m so sorry to hear
that.” She uttered in her most sympathetic voice. “You can stay over at her
house as long as you want. I feel more in peace if you’re not around anyway.
But if you dare to touch her…”
“For God’s sake, you
need to sleep. You’re wandering off.” I said and shove her back slowly to her
room. I go to my room and grab my machine on the desk. I throw a quick glance
around my room and I feel like being trapped in a wrecked ship. I shake my head, I couldn’t
careless. Even if I clean my room, it’ll be a wrecked ship all over again. So
I just let it be. I go to a small closet where all of our family’s old stuffs
are kept in. Well, my telescope is not an old thing, it still looks as fresh as
brand new. I find no scratch on its white metallic body, I can recall how many
times I’ve used it. I was just a half-baked little boy back then, I didn’t use
the telescope to the very great extent. I completely forgot about this awesome
equipment until today in Linda’s house. If it weren’t for cheering her up, I
wouldn’t visit my closet and break it open.
Once I’m all ready to go
back to Linda’s, my sister gets in my way. I cluck my tongue and sigh, “what
She grins teasingly. “It’s
really nice to see you like this.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, look at you,
anyone who knows you and Linda would eventually notice that you like the girl
I stand still. Is it
that obvious? I really don’t know what to say afterwards, so I just walk pass
I look back at her, “hah?”
Now her face looks
serious, yet gentle. She shows me her smile, not the sarcastic one, but the
tender one. “I hope she notices it too, brother.”
✿ ✿ ✿
Before I arrived at
Linda’s house, I stopped walking for a while and looked up at the sky. Perfect
timing. I could see a thousand stars in the sky with some shining so brightly.
I’m more than excited now. Before I open her unlocked door, I can hear the
sound of her violin from outside. I notice the song she’s playing, it is Voi Che
the Pride and Prejudice. I know most of the songs that Linda likes and plays.
Solely because I know almost anything about her. Every time she plays, I will
just look at her hands and her serious face. Her face always shows the same
expression when she plays; a serious face that reveals a sense of serenity and
exquisiteness. When she plays, you can instantly sense her passion for music,
because she shows it to you. And that can turn you crazy about music all of a
This is what I’m looking
at right now. I put my machine and telescope down and just lay my back against
the wall. I rest my head on the wall and watch Linda close her eyes as her hand
moves the bow in the most complicated way I’ve ever seen. She looks so
professional. The way she moves her hand and the way her body moves to the
rhythm of her own music are holding my attention. It is so captivating. I didn’t
even realize I was holding my breath until I feel breathless.
When she stops playing,
I immediately clap my hands hell hard until they actually turn red. I don’t
care. “So you played that song this morning?” I asked her.
“How was it?” she asked
me while putting her violin back in the case. She looks at me and beams so
brightly. That just gave me a boost. “it was great, wasn’t it?”
“you sure are very
confident indeed.” I said. “I wouldn’t call it great unless you play another
song just for me.”
She suddenly puts on a
tiring expression. “I’m bored. And tired. Thought you wanted to show me
What an excuse. But it
doesn’t matter. She can play me another song tomorrow or the next. I’m so glad
that she looks much better than thirty minutes ago. Now she looks untroubled
and she can even show her flawless smile. I don’t mind listening to her play all
day if that really makes her happy. If I can’t do it good enough, then music
can. I don’t mind it at all.
I eye my telescope on
the floor. “It’s so beautiful outside, would you like to go?”
She follows my gaze and
her eyes widen at the sight of my telescope. “Is that yours?”
I grin proudly. “So
fancy, isn’t it? It still looks brand new.”
“You never told me.”
“I forgot about it.”
“I can’t believe it.”
She uttered in the most untrusting voice I’ve ever heard. “You got yourself a
very costly telescope and you love astronomy. And you told me you forgot about
I laugh lightly. “Sometimes
my memory is not as great as yours.” I grab the heavy telescope and a question
pops out in my head. “do you know anything about constellation?”
I can see her eyes
shining in excitement. “You mean, mythological figures of the stars?”
“You love it.” I said
and I feel excited. Seeing Linda excited makes me excited too.
“So much! But I don’t
even know how to spot the shape. So you’ll beat me…”
“I’m going to teach you.”
I said, and she nods approvingly. I love it when Linda is so interested in
things that I love and do. She always is. That’s another quality of her, you
tell her something, and she will immediately know what you’re talking about.
Nothing is new to her. She knows almost anything in the whole world. And she’s
never incurious about nothing.
As I’m about to heave
the telescope outside, Linda calls out. “What about your machine?”
I almost forgot about
it. I’m still excited to show her my new project though. “Lets just leave it
We stay outside and I
look through my telescope first to find a pattern in the sky. While I’m still
searching for one, I hear Linda sigh. “It really is beautiful tonight. I should
stay out more often.”
I pause my search and
look at Linda who’s still admiring the sky. “Not all nights have the brightest
“I don’t mind it.” she
replied. “It’s just… quite, and peaceful. I like it. I really like it.”
“May be I should bring
you up the hill? We can have a camp up there. Just both of us, admiring the
starry sky.” I suggest playfully.
She actually thinks I’m
serious and she looks enthusiastic. “Are you serious?”
I just look at her for a
little while and ask her, “do you want to?”
She doesn’t answer for a
moment. I actually start arranging some mental plans until Linda interrupts my
thought. “Are you going to show me a pattern or not?”
“Do you actually want to
go with me or not?” I asked her back. I seriously need some kind of
confirmation. It’s her fault, it was just a joke and now I feel like going up
the hill all of a sudden.
“I don’t mind going of
course. May be someday? When we have the whole time in the world.” She said. “Now
show me a pattern.”
I’m glad she answered
that. At least I know that she won’t refuse if I ask her to go one time. So I
look through my telescope and start searching again. I smile widely at the
sight of Orion. “I spot one!”
“What is it?” Linda is
literally pulling at my jacket and demanding to look through the telescope. I
scoot over and give her a space in front of the telescope.
I watch her face that
looks very eager. She looks just like the seventeen-year-old Linda I met three
years ago. We were in the same high school back then, and you wouldn’t trust me
if I said I actually didn’t know her until the final year of high school. The
first time we met wasn’t in high school. I remember I was just walking around
British Museum, when I saw this enthusiastic girl who kept on writing on her
tiny notes while studying some of the prehistoric works. I had no idea at the time,
why she caught my attention. I seriously didn’t know why. I thought it was
merely because of her exotic face. It was really disturbing, because I couldn’t
stop looking at her. When she noticed me, I thought she was going to look at me
in the most awkward way and think that I was a stalker. But instead, she was
smiling so nicely I couldn’t catch my breath for a second. From that time I
know, Linda Young was a girl from my high school and she was—is captivating.
She keeps looking
through my telescope until she eventually gives up. “Uh, will you tell me where
the Orion is?”
I turn the telescope to
the location where I spotted Orion. “Now look for three bright stars. They make
up his belt. Then look for his sword. It is a triplet of faint objects dropping
down to the left of his belt.” I explained to her. It’s not long until she
finally spots the pattern. “I found him!”
“It is called Orion
Nebula… and the middle region of Orion is where stars are forming about 1,300
light years away.” I continued. “Can you imagine him? Orion, the Hunter?”
“Yeah, it’s very
beautiful.” She said softly. She looks away at me and pats me on the head. “You’re
so smart, Aaron. I like you.”
I know what she means by
‘like’ just now. The first time I heard her say ‘I like you’ to me, I actually
thought she had something for me. She always says ‘I like you’ when I’m being
all genius. But sometimes I feel something different when she says that, I feel
like she actually likes me. But I think it’s just me expecting too much.
I grin neutrally and
imitate her motion, “I’m glad you’re doing fine now.”
“Thank you. I know you
had a hard time trying to cheer me up.” She said, while still looking through
“What the hell Lindy?
You thought I wasn’t doing it for…”
“Stop swearing.” She
looks at me with her gentle gaze. Then she says softly, “You’re a very good
This is not the first
time I heard the word ‘brother’ from Linda. I can hear that word from Linda
twenty-four per seven. And every time she says that, you have no idea how much
I wish it could be more than that.
Another morning class.
Today I’m not that lazy and restless, I’ve got everything under control. I
finished the project yesterday, and anyway, Linda was very impressed by my
insane work. Again, she complimented me for that. Right, I’m nuts about her
attention. You’re right. If being all Einstein in front of Linda can gradually
improve her impressions on me, I’ll do everything since that should be the
easiest way to win her over. So what am I thinking right now?
I go to the dining room
and find Ariana who’s having a bite on a toast. “Who’s turning twenty one
I look at her, confused.
“How would I know ‘bout your friends Ari?”
Her eyes widen and she
raises her eyebrows. “What’s up with your head?”
“Still alive and well.”
I answered and then quickly grabbed one toast on her plate.
She just shakes her head
slightly and bites her toast, “is Linda better now?”
I remember Linda’s
flawless smile. “Never better.”
“Are you sure? Does it
mean she likes you?”
“C’mon Ari, go get
“I know brother. I get
it. What if I really go out there and find me a boy? You have no more defense.”
“I’ll keep on reminding
you to mind your business.”
“You should shoot her
already.” She starts again. “Three years of close friendship is like…”
“Ari! Mind your
business.” I was about to leave, but I briefly kiss Ariana on the head.
“You never did this in
high school.” She said.
“I’m being a very good
younger brother and shut up.” Before I go out, I give her another brief kiss
now on her cheek and strangle her. She chuckles.
When I’m just about to
reach the doorstep, I can hear Ariana yells, “good luck!”
By that I know what she means. I should ask her to wish me luck
everyday. I need most of the luck I can get.
I got in the class so
early today I though I misread my timetable. But things were highly boring as
usual. At the time I thought I was just going to drop out of college. That way
I could invent my own technology, create a huge company and be the richest ass
in the helluva world. I could claim myself the youngest founder, much better
than that Jobs guy. But I don’t think I can make it. I have a sister who would
kill me immediately if she knew I dropped out of school. And Linda would be out
of reach. She wouldn’t want to be near a loser like me. And I would be like… I
have no idea. I would be a hysterical hobo I guess. Or worse.
So after this morning
class, I went out to look for Linda as usual. You might start wondering if I
ever hung out with my male friends. Of course I hang out with them. Sometimes.
One thing about being a guy is that your friends never complain. Guy would
rather be quite and couldn’t careless. We have less trouble in social life.
Unlike girls’ friendship. If one doesn’t talk to the other, she will be hell
offended. Seriously, why would you fight with your best friend over a guy?
Thinking about that gives me a pain in the ass. Sometimes I would thank God for
bringing me into the world as a guy. That way I don’t feel lesbian when I look
Anyway, I still can’t
find that girl, she’s everywhere. While I’m still looking for her, I find Casey
again on my way. “Hey Case!” I called out.
I feel a bit guilty when
she shows that very big smile on her face. Every time I see her, I never really
want to talk to her. I always look for Linda. And this is not the second, I
think… I have no idea.
“Hey Aaron! What’s up?”
“uh, have you seen—“
“Linda? She’s right
there.” Casey points out to her side. I can see a bunch of youngsters on the
lawn. “Why are you always looking for her?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“She never asked for
you, Aaron.” Casey muttered. “She never did.”
“I guess I’m addicted to
Linda. And her never asking for me doesn’t mean she didn’t miss me.” I said
very confidently. I know Linda wouldn’t ever ask her girl friends for me. If
she wanted to see me, she would come to me. It’s just her. Casey grins lightly
and shakes her head. “Alrighty, see you later Case.”
When I see Linda, she’s
holding a tiny blue envelope in her hand. All other kids are holding the same
envelope. I notice those kids are also from my old high school.
“Aaron! Have you got
one?” asked Linda, while holding up the blue envelope.
“Should I get one?”
“It’s an invitation for
the school’s reunion prom. Get it now!” she then pushes me to the girl who’s
still sharing the invitations. I tentatively accept the invitation and just
stare at the italic word that says “Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s Leavers 2010
What a very long title.
And it’s prom. Why would they hold a prom for reunion? “Isn’t it great? We get
to see our old friends!” Linda said, looking hell excited.
I know why she’s so
crazy about this. There is this one guy named Colin Bennett that Linda has ever
had a crush on. The helluva school knew that Colin liked her too. I mean, who
doesn’t like Linda? They have known each other ever since high school started.
People thought they would be together and be the cutest couple in the history.
He was kind of my rival, but in a good way. He always joined in the same competition
as I did. And he always came second to me. But He was more popular than I was.
He was very keen in doing everything—very much like Linda—and he was the head
boy of our school. Not only was he good in his academic, his guitar skill was a
legend. He would play his guitar in the most unexpected time, and every time he
played he could rob the whole school attention. I guess that was more than
enough to win Linda over. Though I wasn’t very much of an attention seeker,
girls just kept chasing after me. I still have no idea why. I never tried to
catch other girls’ attention, but Linda’s. Shame, my unmistakeable charisma didn’t seem to work on
Linda, instead it worked on other chicks. Until now.
Anyway, Colin is now in
the Ivy League Columbia University. Big deal. I was offered a spot in that Uni,
but I turned it down. I love where I live right now and I don’t want to leave
Cambridge. Leaving Cambridge just means leaving Linda. Linda once said ‘Collin
is helplessly romantic’, I still want to puke every time I think of it.
“You’re coming, right?”
Linda’s voice interrupts my thought.
“I ain’t sure.”
She starts pulling at my
sleeve. “Can you come? For me?”
“Give me one good
reason.” I said to her. I was going to refuse to come completely.
“For me? Isn’t that
enough?” now she starts looking at me with the puppy eyes. Boy, is she very
“To be honest, Lindy, I
don’t want to be hunted down by those girls.”
Linda bursts out
laughing and I smile. She has a good laugh. Her laugh sounds so crunchy and I
love it. Everything about her is good. “That’ll be very entertaining, isn’t it?
I’m pretty sure all those girls are still making a long line.”
I open the envelope and
read the dress code part on the invitation. Semi-formal. Meaning I can wear my
plain white t-shirt.
I ask Linda for confirmation,
“Does it mean I can wear—“
“No t-shirt please.”
Linda raises her hand to stop my words. “No need to wear tuxedo or anything. C’mon
Aaron, it says semi-formal. You should know what it means.”
“I don’t think I’ll come
then.” I said, and chuck the invitation into my jeans pocket.
Linda sighs and she puts
on that disappointing face. I just keep smiling at her. “How else can I change
“No how.” I uttered instinctively.
Damn it. I can hear
something so loud from outside my room, what in the world is Ariana doing at
this time? I’m pretty sure it’s still five o’clock in the morning. I can’t see
the sunrise. I can still hear that freaking loud sound, I grab my pillow and
hold it up against my head, trying to block out the sound. I was going to
scream something out loud, tell Ariana to cut it out, but I know she would make
the sound even louder.
Finally it stops. I can
have a peace of mind at last. I was going to continue my sleep but someone
opens the door. Ariana. What the hell is she…
Then I can hear the
sound of harmonica. My eyes that were fluttering are now wide open. I toss my
pillow and I can see Linda, seating on the edge of my bed. She’s playing a
happy birthday song while looking at me with her smiling eyes. Is it a dream?
When she stops playing,
I’m finally convinced it’s real. Nothing of this is a dream. “Happy birthday,
brother!” she said, and then she hugs me so tightly that I’m the one who doesn’t
want to let go.
I laugh lightly and say,
“I forgot about it.”
“You always do.” She
replied. She wants to let go, but I hold on to her still.
“No, stay.” I said
briefly. I seriously don’t want to let go. It’s so comfy and warm. Especially
the feelings inside my chest right now, I don’t want it to disappear.
She lets me hug her for
longer. “You’re twenty one! You’re officially my older brother now.”
I let her go and look at
her face awkwardly, “I don’t like the idea of being younger or older than you.”
“But you are older than
me.” She said. “How was the song? Was it good on harmonica?”
“I’d never heard you
play harmonica. But that was unique. Thanks.” I told her.
“Mm, I’m sorry for not
bringing in a cake, you should see one later.” I can see her sorry face. I gave
her a reassuring smile. “So can I make a wish instead?”
“You have no cake.”
“That’s my point.” I
replied. “I can make a wish first, I don’t mind having no cake.”
“Your birthday.” She
agrees. Instead of closing both my eyes, I just keep watching Linda. She frowns
in confusion. “What?”
“I have a wish you have
She giggles. “I thought
you couldn’t force to have your wish granted?”
“This is an exception.”
I said to her. “And you have no choice.”
“Fine, what is it?”
“Be my date to the prom.”