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
At the mall’s food court
Joanne: Come on Tina…you’ve eaten just about five dishes… Let’s go!
Tina: What? Stop exaggerating! At least wait until I get back my energy after walking for five hours!
Joanne: Hurry up, they say the new store has really nice clothes. I need something to match the pair of shoes I bought last week.
Tina: Ok…for a second I wished Tommy didn’t come back. Are you torturing your friend like this just to look good for him?
Joanne: Urghhh…just go, would you?
Tina: Huhuhu, Joanne, don’t you think we’ve done enough shopping for today?
Joanne: (dragging the exhausted Tina, who was clinging to the table tightly) Go or I’ll tell Johnny all of your bad habits!
Tina: (rolled her eyes) I could care less (pulled hard by Joanne) Owww…slow down!
At the same time
Tommy: What are you planning to buy?
Cathy: I have no idea. Well, when I catch something nice then I’ll know…What a waste of time, right?
Tommy: Hm…what do you think? We should have gone to the movie instead.
Cathy: [not paying much attention] Oh, let’s stop by that ice-cream counter! I’m craving for some peachy-vanilla flavor.
They walked together, each with an ice-cream cone in their hand. As Cathy passed by the arcade, a little boy ran into her, causing the ice-cream to smutch all over her chin and her shirt. Tommy could not help laughing at her cute, irritated look.
Tommy: (teasingly) Look at you; you look like a cute little kitten… Sorry, I don’t have a tissue with me but I can walk you to the bathroom though.
Cathy: Great…that doesn’t help… I look like a fool and the bathroom is about three minutes from here! (covering her face)
Tommy: Oh come on, it’s just around the corner.
They ended up in front of the bathroom.
Tommy: See, that wasn’t even a minute.
Cathy: Oh no, the lady’s bathroom is out of order?
Tommy: Wait for me a second; I’ll get you some paper towel to clean yourself up.
He returned a couple of seconds later with some wet paper towels.
Cathy: [carefully wiping her shirt] Joanne gave me this shirt for my birthday…
Tommy: Don’t worry, it’ll wash right off. Here, you missed a spot on your chin.
As he finished wiping it off for her, Tommy could no longer keep his stare away from her magnetic eyes. They looked at each other for a while and Tommy ultimately planted a soft peck on her lips. The action startled Cathy unexpectedly.
Cathy: Hey, remember we’re in a mall.
Tommy: No, we’re in the bathroom hall and even if someone is here they won’t be able to identify you from your professional disguise (smiling as he corrected her).
He bent his body closer to her. She could feel a sudden, hot current of air circulating the hall…or was that her own embarrassment which made her skin feel as though it were under the summer sun? She almost took a step back. But she didn’t.
She closed her eyes instead, and soon the warmth of Tommy’s exhalation brought forth an odd feeling, which she was unaccustomed with. The kiss did not last too long when a familiar clicking sound sent them jumping in shock. The reporter took the opportunity to take some more shots and ran away, swift like a crazy dog that saw a bone after days of being starved. Yet, the trauma was not about to end there. In front of them now were Joanne and Tina, two frozen stones…“half-cry half-laugh” with a mixed up look, in which disbelief was certainly an indicated factor.
Tina: (eyes still fixed in surprise at the couple) Uh…um…I guess we’re not going to the bathroom anymore, right?
Cathy, too, stood numbly as her fear finally came true. A nervous feeling gusted through her spine as she looked miserably at her friend, who stared back blankly at her with an obvious icy, impervious outer shell of hurt and anger. A second, two seconds…a minute had passed with heavy silence and fathomed condemnation. Tina, who was even more panicky of the situation, dumbly stated out of good intention.
Tina: What a coincidence! You two are going shopping too?
A menacing atmosphere answered her.
Tina: (mumbling) Ok…guess that was a dumb line…
Tommy, not any less uncomfortable than the rest, looked over to Cathy for the right response.
Tommy: Joanne, I…we…
Cathy: I’m sorry Joanne. We should have told you before…
Joanne: You mean to tell me this has been going on for a while now…(she asked rhetorically.)
Without waiting for an answer Joanne turned and walked away slowly, picking up her pace until she was well running through the crowd that was already starting to form around them.
Tina: Joanne, Joanne!
Cathy stopped Tommy as he was about to run after her.
Cathy: It’s no use… Now is not the right time. I know her; this will not be a one-night problem, Tommy (she said sadly, fearing that her sunglasses could not hide the tears that might form uncontrollably any second.) Tina, now is not the time to talk; can you look after her for me?
Tina: Look, she’s my friend too; you don’t need to tell me that. You owe us an explanation (throwing a reproachful glance as she turned and ran after Joanne).
At an unfavorable time like this, the whispering and stares of the crowd were the last things they had ever wished for. “Hey, isn’t that Cathy Yuen?”… “What is it, huh? What happened?”… “What? Oh My God? I missed it?”… “Hey dude, she looks even prettier outside!” “Haha, aren’t you afraid that guy will beat you up?”… For once Cathy felt as though a heavy weight of fretfulness had really gotten into her. With Tommy pushing for the way, they rushed to the car with trailing gossips.
Tina drove nervously across the bridge. She gripped the wheel tightly, wondering whether it was the sun’s unbearable heat or her mythical tactility of a suppressed convulsion that dampened her shirt with sweat. Her eyes constantly alternated between Joanne and the road. Without much hope, she naively whistled a song to halt the hanging silence.
Tina: (turning the air conditioner to a cooler level) Joanne?…What are you going to do now?
Joanne looked back at her with strange, frivolous eyes. She did not remove her gaze.
Joanne: I’m going to kill them (she said in the lightest tone).
Tina, upon hearing this, stared back with wide-open eyes and mouth. The next thing she knew, her car was a second from crashing into the one in front. She frightfully slammed the breaks and stopped centimeters away from it. Both knew they would have flown out the windshield if not for the seatbelts. Tina, still trying to regain knowledge of what was going on, was jerked back by Joanne’s laughter.
Tina: Hey, we were close to an accident there! What are you laughing about?
Joanne: I just didn’t know that playful threat would affect your driving ability so much.
Tina: Are you sure you’re ok Joanne? Your silence scared me more than when you burst out in anger (she asked with unhidden concern).
Joanne: (letting out a smirk) Do I not look alright to you?
Tina: (giving her an incredulous look) You sure don’t.
Joanne: Hm…Look, it’s no big deal. I can always find someone better than Tommy, right? And on Cathy’s part, I bet she must have her own reasons.
Tina: Whoa, how can you take it so well? Aren’t you a bit mad at them?
Joanne: Of course I am; how can I not… But you tell me, what good does it do anyway?
Tina: Haha, whey, aren’t I supposed to be the one comforting and insuring you?
Joanne: Then I think you should save it for some other time. Or better yet, save it for yourself. You seem to be angrier than I am.
Tina: I’m not angry…I can’t get myself to be angry at them because I’m not in your shoes. But I really felt that it was unfair to you.
Joanne: Don’t bother.
Tina: Anyway…however you manage to stay calm like this, I’m really glad it didn’t hurt your lifetime friendship with Cathy. It’d be such a pity otherwise.
Joanne: Yeah, whatever, can we start driving now? I think I’ about to melt.
Tina: Whooo, so it really was the sun…
Tina: Nothing. (Thank God it wasn’t as big a problem as I thought.)
A happy smile returned to Tina's face as she pulled her car back on the road. On the passenger’s seat, Joanne turned to look at Tina and rested her vision back on the reflections from the windshield. She then closed her eyes for a few seconds. When they opened again, a grin appeared on her face. And this time she looked straight ahead.
Sandy: (hysterically jumped up from the sofa) What? She knows that you two…
Cathy: Yes, she saw us… both Joanne and Tina.
Sandy: Oh no, I told you to tell her before but no…you didn’t listen! I know she has got to be furious with you now.
Alice: Sandy, stop adding oil to the flame. (turning to Cathy) Did you have a chance to explain to her at all?
Cathy: Tell me how to start. Alice…it’s so much harder than I thought. I tried and tried but I cannot find any sensible way of putting it into words.
Alice: Well, we all knew this day will eventually come, but…
Sandy: …But now that it did come…You never thought it would come so soon, did you?
The three sisters sat quietly, each trying to think of a good solution to the problem. Even Alice, who was always the advisor, was struggling in her effort. It was rationalized that each of them feared a slit on the friendship that all five had treasured so endearingly.
Sandy: I give up. You know I’m bad at these dilemmas. Why do you think I had so many unsuccessful relationships before?
Alice: If you and Tommy truly love each other then don’t blame yourself, Cathy. I think Joanne will understand… It will take some time, but she’ll understand.
Cathy: I…He…I never told you this but…the day he came back, Tommy proposed to me.
Sandy, jumping up in shock again, stared at her sister through accusing eyes.
Sandy: And you never told us?
Alice: (also surprised) Obviously you declined the proposal…
Before Cathy could nod a “yes”, someone rang the bell in an excessively urging manner. The three looked at each other, knowing too well who was at the door.
Alice: I’ll get it.
As soon as Alice opened the door, Tina came rushing in as though someone had been chasing her many blocks.
Tina: I’m here and I’m ready to listen to your side.
Cathy: There is no my side and your side. Everything is clear enough Tina. Tommy and I have been dating for the past year (she said listlessly).
Tina: (looking at Alice and Sandy) Well, evidently all three of you knew about this. Why didn’t you tell Joanne or me?
Sandy: Don’t blame her, Tina. How was she to tell? “Hi Joanne. Oh, by the way Tommy likes me so we’re dating now”? I’m not sure if she still loves him but you know Joanne was crazy about Tommy back then.
Tina: But if you at least told us, we’d be happy for you. We’re your closest friends, Cathy!
Cathy: Because you’re my closest friends…How happy could she be, knowing that one of her closest friends is dating the one she loves?
Cathy wanted to go on, but she did not feel the need to do so. She sat biting her lower lip as Alice told Joanne all that they had known.
Tina: (nodding her head randomly as the story was told) I see. Sorry Cathy, I can say now that it’s nobody’s fault. Well…at least I can’t blame Tommy because all along you were the one that he loves. And you…I guess you were just following your heart. Don’t worry, even Joanne is not mad at you.
Sandy: She’s not?
Cathy and Alice both looked at Tina in surprise, waiting for her answer.
Tina: At first I thought she’d be furious…But then she was fine (sighed). Don’t ask me how; I’m surprised too. But she did look as though this was not such a big deal. The amazing thing is that she even went back and reassured me!
Sandy: Now that’s a little strange. But again, we’re talking about Joanne. She can be quite generous at times.
Alice: You two need to have a talk and sort out the problem. Don’t let it grow and harm the friendship you have. If you love Tommy then love should come first….unless you don’t love him.
She looked at Cathy questioningly. At this point Alice knew too well what was going on in Cathy’s mind. All she needed was an eye contact, a tacit answer to confirm her conjecture. Yet, not with anticipation, she received much more than needed.
Cathy: (By mutual, implicit communication Cathy and Alice knew quite well what each other was thinking.) I don’t love Tommy…(she said in a low voice, staring at the carpet.)
Sandy: What? Excuse me? Did I hear something?
Alice, although knowing that her assumption was right, was no less dumbfounded than the other two in Cathy’s sudden disclosure. As she was still debating on what to say, Sandy dropped back on the sofa, letting out a big sigh.
Sandy: Look Cathy, you’ve given me enough surprises for the day; I don’t think I can withstand one more from you!
Tina: But…but I thought you two love each other! Then…why are you a couple? And why did you kiss Tommy today when we saw you?
Sandy: Why? Does your heart have someone else in it now? Please tell me that we already know everything needed to be known.
Cathy: I don’t know…I don’t know! (her voice almost turned into a shout) I don’t know why I agreed to be his girlfriend at first. I don’t know if I love him. I don’t know how I could have been so ignorant of my own feelings…I don’t know…(She ran to her room and closed the door behind her, dropping down in confusion and regret.)
Alice: Just leave her alone for now. She’s probably as confused as we are.
Tina: What is this? Can someone please fill me in???
Sandy and Tina exchanged clueless looks and Alice just stared at the dark, cloudy sky. The problem was bigger than they thought.
"A mighty pain to love it is, and 'tis a pain that pain to miss; but of all the pains, the greatest pain is to love, but love in vain."
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery