It is not the heart that longs for another. It is the soul, for a heart will stop and rot away, a soul will linger.
Staring at her under the lantern lit walkway. Then at our friends, standing around stalls of games, food and merchandise, still discussing where to go. She wore a white yukata with a cherry blossom design. Her back to me, her hair tied into some sort of bun with some hair pins stick into it; playing on her phone.
Even now, after so long of exchanging messages, whenever we’re face to face we are without words. After five years of friendship (very long to the modern teen), we still feel like strangers. With the smells and sound of the festival around us, where people of all ages still flock to enjoy a mixture of tradition and the modern mixing together in a strange but beautiful way.
Crowds of people walk past us like water on rock and she just stood there. Just slightly outside the group not far enough to be out of the conversation but close enough. Looking at her now I wonder whether she just replies to my messages out of pity or just because we’re friends and never because she wants to talk to me. (I always think too much)
Should I have confessed or should I have kept quiet to preserve our friendship. I can always stand back in the background and continue to enjoy our strange but normal modern relationship.
Am I really going to continue to do this? Thinking to myself.
Still playing on her phone.
Am I really going to continue……… ahhhhhhhhh FUCK IT!!!
Taking out my phone, I type…
Do you want to get a drink or something?
and sent it.
Then just as a precaution. I added…
While they’re discussing where to go I mean.
I could see she received it because she immediately turns and I could see that she was surprised. But it only lasted a second.
She typed something and moments later I received it on my phone.
I walk towards her and as we came face to face, I nodded towards some shops further down the way. She nodded in reply.
Before we leave, I touched one of my friends on the shoulders and nodded downwards. He saw her just a few paces behind me. He smiled mischievously which I blocked her from view. I put my phone to my ear and pointed at it. He nodded again and waves me off.
Children running around wearing masks and running in groups while some with their parents in tow. People laughing, eating, haggling with the shop owners, playing games, all enjoying the festival, us the awkward duo walking several spaces apart in silence, in awkward bloody silence.
No one gave us a second glance, probably because we weren’t the oddest duo there.
This is bloody embarrassing.
I finally thought it was time to “Nut up or shut up” the wise words from Tallahassee in the movie Zombieland played by Woody Harrelson.
The longer we walk the more I feel like I fail at something.
“Uhhhhh, so yeah… how’ve you been?” I said without thinking.
I almost regretted saying that so used and dried up conversation starter.
“Not so bad, how bout you?”
I almost took too long to reply when she suddenly ask me the same dried up starter.
“Oh that’s good. I’ve…I mean I am good too nothing new.”
She replied almost immediately
“That’s good, how’s U.K. like? Got any new friends?”
“Oh its good a little boring but yeah got a few friends…”
Before we could continue, we reached the store and got us some drinks. The Shop owner was raving something about some fresh and refreshing drink that would keep us walking to enjoy more of the festival.
I don’t know about fresh but it’s damn refreshing. It had a touch of sourness and a touch of carbonated water with a whole lot of fruity something. The water also helps ease the awkward silence. We just walk and enjoy the drinks. Even though we should have walk back to our friends even if they haven’t call us. But I just continue walking down the street and she just follow. Either she was just following me or didn’t want to complain I still don’t know.
We started to walk closer together as the number of people increase. We have reached the heart of the festivities. Where most of the food stalls were located, this is where most of the people were starting to get food. The families and couples mostly dominated most of the benches and chairs located all around the grounds while others just hunkered down all over the place. It was almost like some sort disorderly picnic grounds. But no one complain, they just manoeuvred across the various clumps of people to their spot. An unofficial order among the chaotic mess of bodies.
We avoided most of the commotion and people by walking behind the stalls, which was surprisingly quiet. Our path was lit up by the lanterns to the side and the starry sky above. With the occasional sound of chatter, it was surprisingly calm and distant from the festivities.
Finishing our drinks we threw them at a nearby trash can and sat down under a tree. (Well I sat and she just followed) And we just stared at the sky for some reason.
“So how are your studies going?” I asked.
“Well if you enjoy a lecturer who continuously talks about Freud at the beginning of each lecture then I would say yeah I enjoy it thoroughly.” She replied almost immediately.
I laughed, for some reason and I could see that she smiled slightly. “Well what are you going to do then?”
A short silence where a slight breeze blew past us, when she replied “I dunnu I think of going overseas but yeah I dunnu”
“You never mention any of this in your messages”
“Well do you really think I would write that much in messages? If you skyped me I might have.”
“Well you don’t seem to have a problem when we meet face to face.” What the fuck am I saying. Shut the f up boy.
“What do you mean” She asked.
“I mean you’re always on your phone whenever we gather and you say you don’t like messaging that much.” For bloody fuck’s sake shut up. I kept thinking to myself but I just couldn’t.
She just stare at me “Do you honestly think I just message other people when we happen to be together?”
“Well what else could you been doing it can’t be Facebook or Instagram since you don’t post anything at all” AWWWWWWWWW I’m fucked for good.
She then suddenly smiled which caught me by surprise. “So you do stalk me huh?”
“Huh wait I didn’t mean it like that I mean-
She cut me off “Well I don’t really mind and for your information. I read a lot of manga on my phone which you do too and I am always on my phone because I’m just lazy at arguing with the group on where to go next. Which you do too.”
“Oh” Was all I could say. Boy you really do suck at this.
“Sorry I didn’t mean it like that.” I added after a while.
“I know, I don’t really mind, I guess we know something new once in a while” smiling.
“Not the important thing” she stares at me as I said it.
Then suddenly a bright light shone from behind me accompanied by a large BANG. A few more follow right after, lighting up my back in different colours. And I just looked at her our eyes meeting. I finally looked at her after so long; her black hair slightly covered the sides of her face, a small nose, and normal contact lens which make her eyes a little bigger.
And I mouthed.
“I Love You”