Melody of the Soul
Copyright B.G. Q. 2000. All Rights Reserved.
At the sisters’ house
Sandy: I guess I’ll stay over at Joanne’s house. I’d be really lonely at home… you know that.
Alice: Yep… that’s a good idea. It’s only two weeks anyway. You should be just fine.
Tina: Did I forget to tell you that I’m moving in with Joanne? I’m sick of living with my constantly bickering family for once.
Cathy: That’s even better. Now you have someone to bother everyday.
Joanne: Have you two finished packing yet?
Alice: We’re all done. See? (Holding up the suitcases) only two of them.
Tina: Yeah Joanne, not like you and Sandy. When you go somewhere, it looks like you’re moving there permanently. You might as well airlift the whole house with you.
Cathy: (cut in before Joanne or Sandy could make a comeback) Alright, we should get going now, it’s not too early anymore.
Sandy: You’ll get it Tina! Remember you’re stuck with me for two week!
Tina: I’m so scared (sticking her tongue out at Sandy).
Joanne: Hurry up, the guys are waiting for us down there! Let’s go!
Hong Kong International Airport
Sandy: Chris, remember to buy me some souvenirs and… (smiling cutely and placed something in his hand) don’t open this until you get in the airplane. It’s supposed to be something to keep your mind from wandering around those Malaysian girls, even if it’s only two weeks!
Chris: In that case I’ll have to think twice whether I should open it at all (he grinned).
To the right Cathy stood facing Tommy. “We have spoken six lines to each other”, he counted. The atmosphere was no longer one of uneasiness and awkwardness, yet the perceived boundary had its own intention not to be crossed.
Tommy: I know this trip will be a successful one, like always… (he smiled sweetly).
Cathy looked at him with smiling eyes. Tommy just said the best things at times.
Cathy: (she winked) Hey, you’re not getting anything extra gifts for saying that.
Tommy: I didn’t say you have to. It’s not a vacation anyway…
Without knowledge from either one, Tony came up from behind.
Tony: Who knows? People forget their way home when they’re having such a good time.
Tommy: (looking at Tony with confused eyes) Is there something really special in Malaysia that we all should know about?
Tony: Haha, I think you’ll have to ask her that yourself.
Cathy’s eyes immediately stopped wandering around Chris and Sandy’s spot as Tony purposely stepped in between. Fearing unnecessary words slipping out from Tony’s ominous lips, she pulled him to a corner.
Cathy: If I figure any hint is leaked out from you…
Tony: …I’ll be damned.
Cathy: Worse than that! Don’t you realize this is not a joking matter?
Tony looked at Cathy with peeping eyes. He made an attempt not to laugh. Knowing the toying object that she’d transformed herself into, Cathy blotted out the need for further arguments. She turned to the group.
Cathy: It’s time, we better check in now.
Alice: Oh, right, I almost lost track of time! Now Sandy, be a good girl and don’t mess up Joanne’s house.
Sandy: Please! Stop with the ‘mother talk’. It’ll be even greater if you can go away the whole month. Then I won’t have to be such a perfectionist at home anymore.
Cathy: Alright, bye everyone…(she said, glancing at Sandy, who would not let go of Chris.)
A hotel in Malaysia
Chris: You know I’m right next door, so if you girls need anything just call me.
Cathy: Hm… Thanks but don’t be too sure that we’re the ones to call first!
Cathy stood awkwardly waiting for a comeback from Chris. Instead, there was just a weak smile on his face.
Alice: What’s wrong? Before you always came up with something to defend yourself when this naughty girl teased you!
Chris: Um… (He hesitated, trying to come up with a credible excuse.) Don’t laugh at me, but I’m still a little sick from that flight.
Cathy: Oh My… Wait, I’ll get some medicine for you.
Alice and Chris both looked after Cathy as she rushed to get the medicine. For as little as five seconds she returned with a glass of water and a nausea pill.
Cathy: Here, take one so that you won’t throw up all over this floor (trying to sound as though she could care less).
Chris: You are exaggerating way too much!
Alice: Hey, since the concert is not until two more days, why don’t we go out tomorrow and take a quick tour around the city?
Cathy: (dropping on the twin bed) Of course, I’m not going to rot in this hotel!
Chris: But of course, we still have to practice for the concert as much as possible…(got up) Well… I’ll leave you two so you can get some rest.
Cathy and Alice: Good bye.
The night quickly advanced. High up in the dark sky, beautiful stars flashed their gleaming smiles and the moon filled Cathy’s room with an uncanny, magical blue light. She lied on the bed, counting every tick of the clock and recollecting her reasons for blaming Tony. They both knew too well the intention of this bogus trip. “Yeah, gone a week for a one-day concert…” she laughed to herself. “Tony, it’s never going to work… I don’t want it to work!”
Yet she feared it.
She could not lie to herself. Truly, she knew Tony would not put her in this concert, provided that she consistently objected. Showing reluctance to take part in the show, she hoped that no one saw the little light of happiness inside of her. It is that evil side… yes, that goddamned dark side that she had tried so hard to demolish! “You’re certainly not going to ruin any precious friendship. You cannot afford to”, she told herself repeatedly. They had never been so close and yet so far. There they were, together in another place… and there was always that wall. Be it the walls separating their rooms or the walls separating their souls, she had a feeling something will always stand on the way. Cathy looked over to Alice, who seemed to be deep in her peaceful sleep. She whispered silently, as though the echo of the room will wake her sister. “Tell me Alice… If it happens that I’ll make a…a big mistake, will you forgive me? Sandy and I are both your sister, both sides of the palm… Hard question, isn’t it? I know you’ve recognized my feelings toward Chris…Thanks for keeping it a secret, Alice.” She pulled the blanket over Alice’s shoulders and stepped out to the small balcony.
Unknown to Cathy, at the other side of the wall, another person’s sleep was also raided. The person, after undergoing many attempts to put his mind to rest, leaped up angrily in his night robe.
The ocean waves carried with them a taste of acridity. Cathy leaned her elbows against the cement, studying the miraculous heavenly bodies. How miniature the world seemed under this vastness. With her attention totally focussed on the night scenery, she was not aware of the sliding door.
Cathy: …Twinkle twinkle little star…How I wonder what you are…
She sang with a sparkle of happiness in her eyes as she realized the slightest movement of a star. From the other balcony, a smile grew and a pair of eyes watched her with endearment. But not too for long, Cathy’s singing stopped as she caught the movement of the shadow. She turned to the person without an obvious expression while the figure stood scratching his head with articulating difficulty.
Cathy: What are you doing out here this late?
Chris: Uh…me? Just had too much sleep on the plane. What about you?
Cathy: No…Just watching the sky.
Chris: Watching the sky? At this time? (realizing how dumb it sounded from his lips. Nevertheless, it was suddenly more difficult than expected to find something decent to say.)
Cathy: You won’t often find a beautiful night sky like this in Hong Kong. The lights make it so hard to see…
Chris: I almost forgot that it’s only two more days until the full moon of Lunar New Year. Time flies, doesn’t it? Sometimes I can’t help but look back at the past and wonder if we could have the power to change it… if time goes back.
Cathy glanced at Chris’s reminiscing eyes and looked back at the vast ocean.
Cathy: Chris, some things are not meant to be.
Chris: Whom should I blame? Fate or myself?
Cathy: Blame fate if that makes you feel better.
Chris: I’ve learned. Ironically, sometimes our closest friends are the cause of our own despair. (He let out a silent, self-mocking laugh.)
Cathy: Well… that’s the only good thing about a secluded live.
And action always leads to reaction. Badly enough that they had circumscribed themselves with responsibilities and senseless solutions, others were unintentionally dragged in, making the problem one that was increasingly vexatious.
Cathy: I still remember the first time that I met you… also at the beach.
Chris: …When Tony was still a matter…
She let out a pretty smile.
Cathy: “When you look at the ocean, you’ll realize humans are so small and weak…. Humans are so vulnerable to many things but when being put on the larger scale, these problems are usually trivial.”
Chris: You remember!
Cathy: Of course. If not for your words that day… I don’t know what could have gone wrong.
Chris: How bold I must have been!
Cathy: …Chris, there’s something I’ve always wanted to ask you…
Chris: What is it?
Cathy: Why do you love going to Jerry’s Ocean Star so much?
Cathy: Is it because you want to… look toward where we first met?
Chris took his gaze away from Cathy’s curious eyes. Still leaning on the banister, he stared at the dark water below with a teasing, yet mysterious, smile.
Chris: I don’t believe I need to answer that since Garfield probably opened his big mouth already.
Cathy: Forget that question. What good would it do anyway? …Have you called Sandy yet? She’ll kill you if you didn’t (teasingly)!
Chris: I did. She said she’s having fun at Joanne’s.
As soon as the name Sandy came up, both stood muted.
Cathy: Well, I should go in now before this mist dampens me.
Chris: I’ll see you in the morning.
Cathy: Good night. (She nodded.)
Cathy closed the sliding door behind her and sat down on the bed. She glanced at her sleeping sister and slowly turned on Color of the Night.
“You and I
moving in the dark
bodies close, but souls apart
Shadows rise, secrets unrevealed
I need to know the way you feel…”
How well Lauren Christen sang her emotions. Cathy lied down, her mind drifting to a faraway place where dreams of being together with the one she loved was not such a tormenting crime. When Cathy slid under the blanket, Alice opened her eyes and let out a tacit sigh. Her intuition told her that something would happen… very soon…
Tina: Ey, so tell me, how’s it going with Chris?
Sandy: I don’t know. He’s so nice to me…too nice.
Tina: Isn’t that a good thing? Unlike Johnny who doesn’t know what the word “gallant” means!
Sandy: Hey, Johnny is not bad at all. You two match perfectly!
Tina: You think so? (smiling happily) …(sighed) I wonder what he’s thinking of right now…
Sandy: Are you crazy? He’s probably snoring right now; it’s 2AM girl!
Tina: …Hey, just curious… Have you and Chris… you know…
Sandy: Hey! Heck no, you’re such a dirty girl! (shoving a pillow on Tina’s face)
Tina: Sorry. But it’s a natural thing, people these days…
Sandy: What if I tell you we’ve only kissed once?
Tina: Whoa! Are you for real?
Sandy: He’s a gentleman, Chris. He truly is.
Tina: I can tell you’re very in love with him. After all your years of dating and about twelve times breaking up, I’ve never seen you so happy like you are right now.
Sandy: I can’t hide anything from you girls!
The two giggled happily until…
Joanne: Tommy… no… Ahhhhhhhh!!!
Joanne’s body leaped up in the middle of the night. Sweat rolled down her temples and she breathed in difficulty. She recoiled herself on one side of the bed, immobile except the movement of her respiration.
Tina: What’s wrong Joanne? Are you having bad dreams again?
Sandy: This is the third night in a row. Are you all right?
Joanne: I’m fine. Just a dream; what’s the big deal?
Sandy: You sure don’t look fine to me!
Joanne: I said I’m fine…
A strange glare flickered in her eyes for a second that scared both Sandy and Tina. But that was only a brief second.
Joanne: Sorry, just that I need my sleep. I have to work early in the morning. Come on; go back to bed. We all need our sleep.
Tina: Are you sure Joanne?
Joanne: Yeah (nodding)
Sandy: We’ll go get you some water; maybe you’ll feel a little better.
Joanne: Thank you.
In the kitchen
Sandy: Tina, she’s definitely not fine. Did you see the look in her eyes? It’s like the real Joanne was gone…(whispering)
Tina: (whispered back) I know… and did you hear her call out Tommy’s name?
Sandy: She did?
Tina: Yeah, I distinctively heard it! And I heard it last time too.
Sandy: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Tina: Oh man…
The concert was a bigger success than expected. Outside the theater hundreds of fans gathered around the crew in wild cheers. With three days left and no where to go since they had already visited all there was to see, Chris and Cathy decided to climb up the hilly side near their hotel for a fresh view of the city. Meanwhile Alice stayed inside to finish the company’s paperwork. It was indeed a nice day…
Chris: Careful, don’t trip on those rocks.
Cathy: Speak for yourself mister! I’ve always been a professional climber.
She turned to him and smiled proudly as they proceeded. At last both came to their destination.
Cathy: Wow! What did I tell you? The scenery over here is gorgeous!
Chris: Don’t you think Victoria Peak has a much nicer view?
Cathy: I agree, but this is not bad either. Look at the sunset… Some things seem so ordinary that people just tend to forget how to treasure it.
Chris: Like love?
The words slipped out from Chris’s lips before he could have had the time to think clearly. Cathy’s reaction further did not help. She squinted accusingly, hiding a gleam of satisfaction.
Cathy: I believe some people would treasure love if they had the chance.
Chris: But how many chances would a person get? Probably many, but sometimes…every one of these chances would hurt someone else that he or she loves. So the person chooses to let the chance blow by. (He stepped closer to her.) I believe you know what I’m talking about. We are just one type of people. You are doing the exact same thing I am… and that is: not hurting the ones you love. Or at least that’s what we think it is.
Cathy shoved a strand of hair aside. She felt a tingling sensation at the tone of his voice and shivered at the realization that Tony’s plan was really working. Her weak side, unfortunately, had slowly taken over her mind despite her obvious struggle to stick with the philosophy. The two stood idly, studying each other’s thoughts through a deep gaze. Finally, with her last attempt, the mind was once again her dominant force.
Cathy: Look, this conversation needs not to go further. I’m heading back.
Chris: Cathy, if I don’t tell you this right now I’ll probably never have a chance to tell you again.
He held her elbow, speaking rapidly as though she’d vanish the second he stopped.
Cathy: (She turned to face him with a forbidden look.) I’m listening.
Cathy: Nothing to say? That means I can go now.
She pulled her arm from his hand and turned away before her inner self could cry its remorse. But she did not get far at all when a yell froze her motions: “I love you!”
“No, it’s not a dream”, she thought.
“I might regret forever if I don’t seize this chance and tell you now”, the voice got closer to her. “I’ve always loved you. I’ve never wanted to be just your close friend.”
Cathy: Chris Cheng, do you have any idea what you’re saying? (Her voice was almost a shout now.) What about Sandy? If you don’t love her then why went out with her in the first place? Don’t you dare hurt her in any way!
Chris: What about you? Why did you go out with Tommy in the first place? You are just as guilty! Don’t lie and say that you’ve always had him in here (pointing to his heart).
Cathy: That is different! At least I am not using him as a way to escape my own feelings or even to make someone else jealous…. I…
She stopped in the middle of the sentence, unsure of what she had just said.
Chris: Oh yeah? And who would that person be?
Cathy: My business is none of your concern.
Chris: Cathy Yuen! You are the best actress I’ve ever known. When are you going to stop putting up a show with your own feelings?
Cathy: It’s my life, I’ll love whomever I want to love and marry whomever I will.
She took a step back. They were now near the edge of the hill. Below, the city was preparing for repose from the humid day. Only up here, on this silent hill that no one cared for, two people were fighting, ironically about something that they had never differed on, from theory to experimentation. Both were tied in the friendship knot, both tried to make others around them happy by cheating their own feelings, and both were unsure of their own consequences. Now, one of the friendship walls had tumbled while the other one still stood stubbornly. A decrepit one, it was.
Chris: Stop being so unreasonable.
Cathy: Don’t you know I’m unreasonable like that? What do you want to hear from me anyway? I’ve already made the line clear, haven’t I? …Chris, don’t like me! (She said desperately, like a child begging her parent for a treat.) I’m irrational, very temperamental, very hard to satisfy… I…I…
Chris: …You’re Cathy Yuen and that’s all I care about. Why do you have to grant yourself those characteristics? That’s not the person you are.
Cathy: You won’t be able to put up with me.
She stepped back more and without awareness, tripped on a rock from behind.
Chris: No, watch out!
"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction."
"Sympathy constitutes friendship; but in love there is a sort of antipathy, or opposing passion. Each strives to be the other, and both together make up one whole."
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge