Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Through You - Chapter 1

I don't know why you hate your brown eyes.
I think they're lovely,
You don't know this, but when the sunlight reflects on them,
They glow up like a forest lit up in flames,
I can see my reflection in it,
By that I know, in your eyes,
I am yours.
And I am happy to be yours as long as I live now, and hereafter.

The lingering words played in my mind, and it had been on repeat for two weeks now. The four walls that surrounded me were echoing my thoughts, alongside by the dripping leaks from the ceiling above me. My fingers and toes were now in wrinkles, my body was now getting cold and the night didn't seem to end earlier as I wished it would have. I got up from the bath tub, my clothes drenched in the scent of rosewater. It was sickening, but I was tired of complaining. I knew mother was tired of listening to my complaints, well, she's been stronger than I had. Then the door of the bathroom slowly swung open and stood my mother with a towel in her hands.

Are you ready for dinner?” her voice was calm and collective, I nodded. I took one foot out of the bath, then another. She wrapped my body in the thick towel, absorbing all the sickening scent of rosewater out of my clothes, then she placed her hands gently, palming my face. I looked down, I knew she was trying to be strong for me as I was becoming weaker by the days.

You don't have to do this to yourself Cassie,” her eyes were filled with despair, my heart ached that I was hurting her by hurting myself.

Ethan loved rosewater,” I spoke my words but they weren't loud and clear. More like cracked and slurred. My mother nodded, “he wouldn't want you to be like this,” she touched the tip of my forehead.

He would still be alive,” I said, my chest was aching. I felt like a soul left my body like it left Ethan's.
Every night since the accident, I blamed the demons I was to him before it ended everything. I wished I could go back to that night, take back the words, not knowing they could be the last thing I said to him before he died. I wished everyday, that it was a dream. But dreams aren't always good ones, they're sometimes nightmares and for two weeks now I was living in one. The last words he said to me haunted me every night; how can I live knowing he loved me even when I was the worst to him? I didn't deserve anything that came from him, and reality took in when I can no longer see him stare into the eyes he loved dearly, the way I loved his gentle smile that was crooked at the edges.

I uh, I don't feel like eating tonight” I said, looking away, making my way out of the bathroom and into my room. My mother followed me from behind and stopped at the door of my room.

Cassie, the academic administration are asking when you will be back. They are aware of the situation you're going through and they're allowing your absence as a medical reason” my mother said, as she watched me dry my wet clothes.

I'll go back tomorrow,” I said with a lump in my throat as I dried my hair. I didn't want to burden her anymore.
Are you sure? You can stay for another week, they'll understand”

I nodded, “Ethan wouldn't want me to be like this, right?” I was tired, my body was fatigue and lethargic. My mother nodded, “Okay then, I'll inform them. I'll place your dinner in the fridge, if you get hungry you can microwave it.” My mother then walked into my room towards me, she kissed my forehead. “It hurts seeing you like this,” her eyes were sullen. I looked at the my mothers' face and I knew that she wasn't having her sleep. I knew that for the past fourteen days her nights were restless, afraid that I would do the unimaginable, constantly checking on me that I haven't bathed myself in a puddle of blood.
I can see that her wrinkles were getting more defined by the days, and that her eyes were filled with constant fear, and her heart was trying its best to stay controlled. I wished I could be that for her, but at the moment I was being selfish by giving her pain from the pain I was living through. I couldn't do that anymore, I didn't want to hurt another soul after I hurt Ethan.

I smiled, the first smile of the week. I was trying to be the one who consoled.

I'll be fine,” I said in my best fake voice I could ever give. My mother smiled, but a mother's instincts knew when her child was lying to her. She leaned in and gave me another kiss on the forehead, then left me alone in my room, leaving the door slightly open just in case.

I lay down on the pillows that I once shared with him. Where my mother knew he was in my room, she trusted me. We talked about things that were irrelevant, and we stared at the ceiling fan when we were tired of talking. The next day I woke up to him making me and my mother breakfast, she loved him dearly like a mother, as much I loved him dearly as a significant other.

My clothes weren't fully dry, but it didn't bother me as much. I wasn't that bothered to change into dryer clothes either. I just wanted to lay down, stare at the ceiling fan like we used to do. I can hear his voice, chanting how much he loved my eyes when I hated them. The promised he made to me, and I knew he meant it.
And my eyes were getting dizzy following the rotation of the fan, his voice was getting lost in the darkness of my mind, and I'm trying to ensure that tomorrow everything will work out okay. That this Cassie was going to be fine, at least act fine. Untie herself from the hurt and move on. It's time to learn that it wasn't my fault,
well that was what my mother said.
But at the same time I wished my phone was ringing, and I see his name popping up on the screen. I'd pick it up, and I'd hear his voice, his real voice, calling me to ask me whether I am alright, and whether I had eaten, wished me a good night's sleep and tells me that he can't wait to see me the next morning. Because that would be nice. Just this once, let me see that smile of his because I didn't appreciated it as much before. I wished I would stop being like this, 'he wouldn't want to see you like this', I wished I was ready to let go. And I really wished I would stop crying silent tears because the next morning I'll end up waking up to a damp pillow.

I wasn't wrong, my pillow were wet and my eyes stung, at least my clothes were dry. I looked at the time on my phone, it was 9 in the morning. I sat up straight and I could see a suitcase ready to go by the door of my room. I wondered when my mother walked in to pack my clothes for me. I walked out from my room and I smelled waffles. She was making my favorite breakfast in the morning. I walked to the small dinning table for two and a plate of stacked waffles were already on it.

You looked better today,” my mother smiled to me as she placed a hot cup of freshly brewed tea next to the my plate. She was lying, I looked like shit, my eyes were puffy and red. She knew I had my fourth midnight tears of the week. I sat down at my seat, pulled in the plate closer to me and my stomach was rumbling like a grizzly bear that had been starving in the wild. Well, I didn't eat last night. Of course I was famished. I picked up the fork and dug in. And by then my mother was really smiling, the sight of me eating soothed her. “Thanks,” I stopped eating to say that and then continued eating back the remains of the waffles. She didn't asked why I was thanking her, like I said, she knew what I meant.

Four hours later, I was dressed into fresher clothes.

My hair was combed neatly, flowing over my chest.

My face was covered in minimal makeup.

My body no longer reeked the scent of rose water.

I looked better than I ever did for the past two weeks.

I closed my eyes, and sighed. You'll be fine Cassie.

Two hours later, we arrived at the front entrance of my university.

Fifteen minutes later, I was in front of my dorm room. The music was blasting loud from the inside, the modern pop songs that you'd usually hear on the radio, the same songs that kept playing and you'd eventually get tired of the new stuffs so you change to another channel. I breathe in, took out the keys from my pocket and unlocked the door. I opened it and I could see my bed, nicely kept and placed orderly. Two pillows stacked on top of each other and a small teddy bear that was worn out, placed against it. My desk, that was on the right side was empty except for the text books that I had been given hand down by the seniors. It wasn't dusty, so that means Ava had been dusting my table from time to time while I was gone for the couple of weeks. Next to the desk, was Ava at her own. She was wearing her Beats headphone around her neck as she banged her head to the rhythm of the pop music whilst studying. I dragged in my suitcase, and by then Ava turned around.

“Oh my God, Cassie?” her round eyes widen by the sight of my existence in the room. She quickly paused the music and got up from her seat, quickly walking up to me.

“You didn't tell me you're coming back today. Are you, uh , doing better?” she took my hands of my suitcase and held them, patiently waiting fro my answer. I nodded.

“I uh, I'm fine. I'm...” I shook my head, trying my best not to get into an emotional wreck, “...I'm doing much better, thank you” I cleared my voice. Ava stared blankly at me, and then her face expression somewhat sympathized for me. “Well,” her voice was gentle. She leaned in and gave me a hug, “I'm very glad you're back. I missed my roomie” she said enthusiastically, trying to brightened up the mood. I smiled and hugged her back,

“I miss you too,” and we let go of each other.

“Gosh, Cassie, look how skinny you got yourself into” she touched my used to be plump face that had gone sharp and narrow.

“Now, that won't do. Either we're both fat or skinny, not one and another. So tonight, I'll bring you out to a new place that just opened up near off-campus and the food there is amazing. Everybody goes there, and I want to bring you there,” she smiled with two full moons on her face and her eyes became smaller as thy are interfered by those rosy cheeks; something about Ava I envied. I smiled, trying to loosen up, “I'm all yours” I said. Ava squealed and hugged my tighter.

Great, I'm excited! Now, I'll help you unpack”.

After Ava helped unpacked my luggage, she continued to study while I took a walk around the campus. I only left this place for two weeks and it felt like I was gone forever. I saw how they refurnished the library, there was a new mini mart beside the library and across it was the Hang Out, a vast land of grass were students just gather around to do whatever they wished, and I saw that they planted new flowers that brightened up the place. I walked to the Hang Out, there were a few students doing group studies, some were alone doing their own business, couples just chilling underneath the trees and there was me, awkwardly trying to find an empty bench so there wouldn't be a need to interact with anybody. I found one empty bench that outlooked at the university's pond, and around it was a track path were students jog around usually. It was quiet, peaceful and great place for me to exhale out more negative thoughts. I sat on the bench, admiring the view that had few ducks swimming and wadding around.

I looked to my left, a bench that was occupied by a girl reading comics and I remembered the first time I saw Ethan, a saw him on that particular bench reading onto the the thickest physics textbook I've ever witnessed in my entire lifetime. And days went by where I'd see him a the library, or at the hallway after my lectures and the textbook he was reading was slowly coming to an end. I would laugh to myself, what a nerd, I'd say, but only I noticed him then, only I knew he'd read a textbook until the end.

At the mist of me reminiscing, I heard a sudden crash from my right and ducks were flapping their wings every where; going ballistic.There, lay a boy on the ground that had fallen from his bike, his face was filled with agony as he held onto his knee. I ran up to him, his eyes shut tight as he frowned with pain.

Uh are you, okay?” I bent down, not knowing what to do. He grunted, then he started to get up.

Yeah, I'm fine” he waved his hand at me as he picked up his bike.

You don't look fine,” I said, I looked down to his trousers that were ripped on the left knee. Blood was flowing out and he said he was fine.

I'm doing great,” he said still grunting as he scraped the dirt off his trousers with one hand as the other held onto his bike.

Well, if you'd to fell into the pond, you'd be feeling swimmin'” I said sarcastically.

Are you joking right now?” he looked up at me, his facial expression dead and unamused.

No, I never joke about feelings” my expression was as dead and unamused as his.

Well, I really appreciated that” his eyes were blunt and I wondered why did I even bother coming up to him. “Now, I'd like to get going. Thank you for your heroic rescue” he raised his eyebrows and started to get back on his bike.

Wow,” I said with awe, “you're an asshole” I continued to say. I folded my arms, looking at him as he managed to get back on his bike. He snorted, “If I had a dime for every time someones calls me an asshole, I get two dimes” he leaned against the handle bar smirking at me. “Oh yeah? Where did you get your first dime?” I raised an eyebrow at him.

My mother,” he said. “And if my mother says I'm an asshole, I guess I really am. Because you know, mothers are always right. You just verified it. So thank you fellow pedestrian, you helped me fully acknowledge something I wasn't sure of its validity” his presidential speech was filled with insincerity and mockery to my face. I rolled my eyes, and walked away.

Hey, is that how are we going to bid our goodbyes?” he shouted from behind.

I turned around, “there wasn't even a proper introduction” I spoke with my eyes deader than the Great Barrier reef.

Well then,” he leaned up from his bike, smiling as he ran his hand through his long shaggy hair.

Timothy Levi, a mathematics major” he extended one hand out. I stared at it, and I stared at him. He was kidding right? A guy with a hair length down to his shoulders, a body that clearly being carefully built by the gym, a face of someone probably being kissed by many chasing girls, apparently a verified asshole was shockingly a mathematics major.

Come on, don't leave me hanging” he said as he shook his hand, indicating for me to make interaction with it. He then placed his hand away and sighed. “Well, there goes our introduction” he said.

Now, for the best part” I smiled with glee. “Goodbye,” I said and walked away from the pond, not wanting any more unnecessary communication with someone I'd have a very little percentage of ever seeing again around the campus. I walked my way through the Hang Out, and as I was about to step foot into shelter, Timothy Levi came in, halting his bike in front of me. My heart was racing as I was startled by the sudden appearance of someone I thought was going to be my last encounter. Apparently, that wasn't the case anymore.

Hey,” he said, his tone was different than before. The remorse kind of tone.

What is it?” I sighed.

I'm sorry, you were just being kind. I was being a jerk talking to you like that,” I saw the change of facial expression on him. He suddenly got off his bike and leaned it against the ground. He wiped his hands, and then extended one out again.

I looked at it, the hand that looked very lonely, hanging a meter above the ground.
“I introduced myself wrongly. Allow me to start again” he said. He started to inhale.

“Timothy Levi; an asshole major, a mathematics minor” he exhaled.

I was hesitant to answer back, to shake his hand that was still being extended. He looked at me, he was being patient.

Cassie Arthur; a mathematics major” I shook his hands, and there I saw the shock in his eyes. Then the shock turned to a smirk. Quickly, I let go of his hand.

So,” his voice was high-pitched, “you're my missing in action assignment partner” he smiled.

I guess, by then, Timothy Levi saw the shock in my eyes instead. And I swore to God, I will never be absent for two weeks ever again.

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