Melody of the Soul
Copyright B.G. Q. 2000. All Rights Reserved.
Tony-Gallen Lo Cathy-Jessica Hsuan
Chris-Louis Koo Sandy-Ada Choi
Tommy-Julian Cheung Alice-Nadia Chan
Eric-Deric Wan Joanne-Kenix Kwok
Michael-Sunny Chan Tina-Mariane Chan
The lazy sun finally opened his curtain and looked down at the earth after what seemed an eternal night. With the recollection of the beautiful rainy evening, Sandy walked out to the kitchen, wearing the most satisfactory smile one could have seen from her.
Sandy: Good morning to you all (Sandy said as she was humming a song).
Tina: (observing Sandy from head to toes and then looked comically through the glass window) Hum…strange!
Sandy: What is?
Tina: The sun is not rising from the west, but how come the vampire queen is up this early?
Sandy: …And My God she’s humming the song with a big, scary smile too, right?
Joanne: How dare you read our thoughts!
Sandy sat down on the stool and placed her arms on the counter in a copied, sophisticated posture. She tilted her head to look at everyone and smiled interestingly.
Sandy: I’d hate to shock all of you, so be prepared before I tell you.
Joanne: Well, based on my years of being your friend, I bet you’ve either won the lottery or found yourself a boyfriend…again.
Alice: I checked her room yesterday and it’s not the lottery! (Alice chuckled as she saw where it was coming to.)
Slicing the bread steadily, Sandy slyly winked at Alice.
Sandy: My sister is so smart. Of course it’s a guy! What else can make me so happy in the morning?
Tina: Oh my… who did you plan to dump this time?
Sandy: Like I said, all of you will stare at me like dummies.
Joanne: (impatiently) Would you stop being so secretive and say it?
Not able to control her excitement, Sandy blurted out the news.
Sandy: You know…the person that I’ve liked for the last year or so…
Tina, who was munching on her crème cheese sandwich, almost spat out while Sandy gave her a disgusted look.
Tina and Joanne: Chris??
Sandy: Yes, Chris, (she said matter-of-factly) I was surprised myself.
Sandy turned to Alice, who stood immobile in disbelief. However, happiness blocked her eyes from catching the odd look on Alice’s face.
Joanne: You mean he actually asked you to be his girlfriend?
Sandy: (covered her blushing face) That’s 100 percent the implication of it!
Tina: And when was this?
Sandy: Just last night.
As she finished the sentence the group heard a loud sound of broken dishes. Their attention rotated to the kitchen. To their panic, broken pieces of the coffee set scattered all over the floor. In the middle of them stood Cathy, who looked like a beaten stranger over the elongated night. She quickly bent down to collect the shattered pieces and unfortunately received a painful cut in return. Alice immediately rushed to her, Joanne got up to grab a broom, and Tina went with Sandy to look for the first aid kit. While gathering the broken pieces Cathy totally avoided Alice’s questioning eyes. The rest was soon back to help them with the mess.
Sandy: Ayya, look how much blood is coming out…careless girl… (bandaging Cathy’s finger mindfully).
Cathy forced a smile at Sandy and the rest.
Cathy: I’m ok, just a little cut.
Joanne: When did you start drinking coffee? It makes women less pretty. Did you not have enough sleep last night?
Tina: No need to ask. Look at those dark circles under her eyes! Cathy, you’re worrying us (she said sympathetically).
Sandy: How come you didn’t say anything when we were talking? If I didn’t hear the loud noise I would have thought that you already left.
Cathy grimaced with the pain of her injury, but even more stinging was the uncomfortable feeling when she heard Sandy’s story.
Sandy: Aren’t you happy for Chris and me? (Sandy observed Cathy’s movement skeptically.)
Cathy: What do you think? Of course! (Cathy said, surprised at her own lying ability.) Just shocked that he never told me about this…and he calls himself a true friend! (She smirked.)
Sandy: Hey, how about we all go to a dinner tonight? Then he can officially tell everyone so that they can’t blame us for keeping it a secret.
Joanne: Why not? It’s been a long time since we did anything together as a group.
Tina: I’m not too crazy about this “official confession”; I’m more for the food (laughing childishly).
Joanne: Wonder why Johnny still didn’t dump you yet. You’ll eat up his whole salary!
Tina: Bite me! (She grumbled.)
Sandy: So dinner it is?
Everyone except Cathy: Sure.
Cathy: (reluctantly) …Ok. Just give me a call on my cell phone when you’ve agreed on the restaurant. I have to go jogging now.
Cathy quickly put on her sneakers and headed for the door as Alice stepped close to her. “Let it out…whatever it is, just let it out”, she heard Alice whisper. Cathy smiled gratefully at her sister and wrapped the towel on her neck.
Chris arrived home to find the place unusually dark and gloomy with all the curtains pulled down. The house carried with it an unfamiliar atmosphere of melancholy. Suddenly, he heard a quiet noise from the patio and curiously stepped toward it. Surrounding him were flowers, still fresh with their beautiful, blooming pedals. On the middle of the patio’s table lied some melted candles, a set of empty dinnerware, and a half-eaten meal. As he looked to the left, the sight of Tommy struck him with surprise. Chris approached his best friend, disturbed by the strong smell of alcohol. Unexpectedly, he stopped as a flat “I proposed to her” slipped out from Tommy’s lips. In Chris’s mind, the first words to come from Tommy’s lips were not anywhere close to this.
Chris: You proposed to her…
He asked rhetorically. Not until now did he realize the impact of those words on him. He put his hands in his pockets, as though he might do something foolish with them.
Chris: Did she say yes? (He asked while feeling an immense force buffeting his chest.)
Tommy responded in silence as he stared blankly at the ring. Chris, on the other hand, did not know whether to be happy or sad with the implied answer. He tried in a miserable way to come up with some sort of consolation.
Chris: Hey, cheer up buddy… You’re probably moving a little too fast. Come on, it was only your first day back; give her some time.
Tommy looked up at Chris for the first time since he’d entered.
Tommy: That’s what she said too. I guess you DO know her better than me.
Chris, himself was surprised at Tommy’s comment, stood in silence for a moment as Cathy’s image again penetrated his thoughts. He wondered what could have gone wrong to affect Tommy so greatly. After many years of being best friends, it was incredulous to see that such a refusal to this impulsive proposal had acutely clouted the ebullient Tommy. It looked as though something serious had happened between them. “They sounded quite stable on the phone”, he thought. “How unanticipated situations can be sometimes…” Just as if reading Chris’s mind, Tommy took a deep breath and picked up his line.
Tommy: It wasn’t her refusal that puzzled me the most. I know better than expecting an immediate “yes” from her, but something told me there are many things that she’s hiding from me.
Chris: What do you think it is? (He asked curiously.)
Tommy: I’ve been away for a year. Probably I should ask YOU that.
Chris: You know I’m not a psychic. A guy like me is quite oblivious of women’s feelings (chuckling at his own ridiculous guile).
Tommy: I can feel something is not the same. Her actions seemed to have come from her mind and not her heart… From the way she looked at me to her smile… I don’t know if she felt stranger after one year or that she needed time to get back to the old way…or probably she was just tired and not acting like herself that day…
Chris: (he cut Tommy off) You’re too tense on your perception… Mr. Sensitivity! Just a year and you’re already acting like an old man with an outmoded head (Chris said as he was hoping to provoke Tommy out of his despairing shell.)
Tommy: (after much thinking) A year is not such a short time. Look how many changes there were. When I knew her she was just an ordinary girl and now she’s already one of the most popular stars. It’s overwhelmingly fast; don’t you think? With her career right now she has too many things to do and too many people and choices to choose from. I’ve read every magazine with her articles and even on most pictures there’s more than enough people crowding around her. Yet when everything is changing I could not be there with her and that makes me feel as though I’m being pushed away further… And if you don’t know the feeling, I can tell you it’s not a very exhilarating one… Do you know what she said to me yesterday? When I asked her how she felt about me, she couldn’t say it. It might sound gay, I guess…but after all the time we’ve been together, she never once said, “I love you”. You can say I’m over-reacting but I really don’t want to lose her. Now that I think back I really can’t tell if she willingly agreed to be my girlfriend at first (recalling the car accident that brought them together). I don’t know if I asked her at the right time and under the right circumstance. I just know that I really loved her and I wanted her to be my girlfriend, so a little cunning would not hurt…Now I’m beginning to have second thoughts about that. She seemed too good to be true that I was afraid of letting that chance go… And I still am.
Chris sat motionless, absorbing each word of Tommy’s remarkably articulate speech. For as long as he could remember, they had never have such a conservation. Now that Tommy was suddenly pouring his thoughts out, Chris felt himself in a strange position as his guilt, pity, affection, as well as his sinful love mixed together in a destructive cyclone that further destroyed his throbbing heart. If Tommy’s fear were true, that Cathy never really loved Tommy, then could it be that she loved him? He snapped out of that thought immediately, not realizing that sweat was rolling down his temples. How he hated himself for showing any sign of his feelings for her. Deep inside he knew that Cathy must have figured out his feelings. Any fool would have! If this chaos were really coming true and if he caused it, he sure would not forgive himself for a long time. For once, he felt a true defeat in love.
His conscience was positively awakened.
Chris: (calmly) No one and nothing in this world is too good to be true…even Cathy. The competition gets tougher, of course…but you can’t say Cathy doesn’t love you just based on your inner voice. I’m a singer too; I know how it feels like. It’s not as pleasing as people might think it is. Sometimes you’re just desperate for some rest and you’d rather be a no-body than a celebrity. You probably do not realize how important friends and relationships are in a singer or an actor’s life. Sincere companions are simply important things in her life beside all the phonies she has to deal with everyday. Look, as a close friend I know that she is definitely not the type of person that would turn her back on you after one year… Talk it over with her. Find out what is bothering her; don’t just glue yourself to the bench like that!
Both stopped talking. No more words were needed since they understood each other to a point of virtual completion. Chris grabbed the phone and dialed Cathy’s number. He handed it to Tommy.
Chris: You know what to do.
Tommy: (took the phone and waited) She’s not home and she’s not answering her cell either.
Chris: Go find her.
Tommy: What? Are you crazy? Where?
It did not take long for Chris to think. “The beach”, he said.
Cathy sat quietly on the on a big boulder out-looking to the ocean and took a big drink from her water bottle. After her daily jog she wandered to every corner of Hong Kong. Now she was back at the beach, the place where she could free her soul of despondent thoughts. This aimless trip somewhat helped her clear up her hazy mind. As Cathy closed her eyes and enjoyed the cool air from the sea, she heard footsteps coming closer.
Cathy: (looked up to find Tommy standing in front of her) Tommy? …What a coincidence…?
Tommy: Chris told me that you’d be here.
Cathy: [How did Chris know I would be here?] I see.
Both looked at each other for a long time, neither one knew the right words to say. After quite a struggle, Cathy managed to open her mouth just before Tommy did.
Cathy: About the other day…I’m truly sorry. I hope nothing I said has offended you…I…
Tommy: (seating himself next to her) Way, why are we talking like strangers? I totally forgot about it. Now that I think back it was such a brash action.
Cathy: (revealing a smile) To be honest I was quite shocked at first… I’m still shocked now.
Tommy: Well… We both have to admit that some things didn’t feel the same way.
Cathy: It’s me, isn’t it? (She faced down, poking at the fine sand.)
Tommy: (smiled) You hold the key to all answers, Cathy. We both have a clearer mind today; I guess discussing this matter a bit wouldn’t kill us, right?
She raised her head to look at his warm eyes. She suddenly felt a sense of bizarre confidence through her.
Cathy: I don’t even know why things don’t feel the same way. Probably there were so many changes in everything. I think I need to readapt to our relationship, just as though it was on vacation… Well, practically, it was on vacation.
Tommy: (reaching for her tender hands) Cathy, you know you can always tell me what’s on your mind. As your boyfriend I really care and I certainly don’t want you to carry all these bothersome thoughts to yourself… unless…you don’t want to be my girlfriend anymore.
Her silence scared him for a minute. Nevertheless, she let out an assuring smile after what seemed to him like a century.
Cathy: What made you say that, silly? You’re not as sanguine as you used to be, are you?
Tommy: (feeling a sense of relief) To be truthful, I’ve never been too confident with you.
Cathy: Am I that unpredictable or is it that you can’t trust me?
Tommy: No… but there’s only one flower and too many butterflies are gliding near.
Cathy: I suppose you should be happy that your girlfriend has such a luring attraction? (she asked playfully).
They sat side by side for a while. Tommy curiously observed Cathy as she stared numbly at the far shore.
…Flashback of a summer afternoon…
Cathy: Stop, stop! I can’t run anymore (dropped on the sand, gasping for air.).
Chris: Whoa, are you really that tired?
Chris sat down next to her. He looked at the exhausted Cathy and let out a chuckle.
Cathy: What is it? (she squinted, still catching her breath)
Chris: Nothing…just that you remind me of a sick chicken.
Cathy: What did you call me, charcoal boy? (she hit him at the stomach)
Chris: Haha, now you look even more like one.
Cathy: I’m gonna get you for this! (poked him on the side) Hey, how come you’re not ticklish!?
Chris: Of course not… but now you just gave me an idea…(gave her a warning look).
Cathy: Oh…nooo…DON’T you dare! (trying to push Chris away) Hahaha, stop; I’m not kidding, stop!
She laughed helplessly with Chris’s tickle and dropped back down on the sand with a stomach hurt from laughter.
Cathy: (glared at him) You evil man!
Chris: Hey, don’t make me start another one!
Cathy: (quickly got up and suddenly threw a handful of sand at Chris) You deserve that! (jumped up happily).
Chris: (flicking the sand off from his shirt) That’s it, you’re going to paying for this.
They playfully chased each other. At last Chris caught up to Cathy, easily picked her up, and was about to throw her into the water while she was screaming loudly. Laughter filled the happy atmosphere.
Tommy studied her without disturbance. Suddenly, her cell phone rang, dragging Cathy back to the physical existence around her.
Tina: Hey Cathy! We’ve decided on the restaurant!
Cathy: Oh, so which restaurant?
Tina: Well, since everyone is craving for good seafood and we haven’t seen Jerry for a while, we thought we’d stop by at seven.
Cathy: …Ocean Star?
Tina: What, don’t you want to? Hey, just to let you know, you can’t beat the majority’s decision anyway.
Cathy: …Ok, I’ll be there…
Tina: And do you know where Tommy is? I couldn’t get in contact with him. Make sure he comes…You know Joanne is dying to see him!
Cathy: (glanced at Tommy) Sure, I’ll get a hold of him. We’ll see you there, ok?
Tina: Ok, I know you won’t be late. Bye Bye!
Tommy: Did someone mention my name?
Cathy: Yeah…Um, we should probably leave now. I forgot to tell you; the group is planning a dinner tonight at Jerry’s Ocean Star, and of course they’re expecting us to come.
Tommy: Well, it’s 5:30 now, so by the time we get to your house it would be around 5:45… Then you still have to take a shower and get ready; that would make it 6:15… So by the time we get there it should be around 6:30… Well, that’s close enough.
Cathy: Wow, good estimate there! What are we waiting for? Let’s go.
"True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen."
"We all want to fall in love. Why? Because that experience makes us feel completely alive. Where every sense is heightened, every emotion is magnified, our everyday reality is shattered and we are flying into the heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, an afternoon. But that doesn't diminish its value. Because we are left with memories that we treasure for the rest of our lives."