Melody of the Soul
Copyright B.G. Q. 2000. All Rights Reserved.

Cathy-Jessica Hsuan
Chris-Louis Koo
Joanne-Kenix Kwok
Tommy-Julian Cheung
Sandy-Ada Choi
Tina-Marianne Chan
Alice-Nadia Chan


Tina: She sure is acting stranger everyday.
Tina stuck a piece of bread in her mouth, her eyes not leaving the blissful Joanne. Since the day they had come to live here, both Sandy and Tina had recognized the deviant mood swings from Joanne. One minute she walked around with vacant eyes, the next minute suppressed fury seemed to conquer her and she would mumble things to herself that Tina could not figure out, despite how often she had attempted to eavesdrop.
Sandy: (looking at Joanne, who was fixing herself up in front of the mirror) At least she’s not grouchy today. You know how that can get ugly in the morning!
They smiled at each other and shushed as soon as Joanne finished looking at the mirror.
Joanne: How do I look?
Sandy: Do we even need to answer that? You know you would look good, so don’t bother asking.
Tina: Say, what’s the occasion? I think you’ve spent just about two hours just doing your make up and your hair!
Joanne: Shhh… It’s a secret. You two don’t expect me to really tell you everything, do you?
Tina: See, Sandy? How long has it been? Twenty years of friendship and that’s what we get… I’m hurt!
Joanne: (laughing out loud) Well, you can sit here and ponder about that for a while. I’m going now. There’s food in the fridge that I just bought this morning, so help yourselves.
Sandy: Hello, we’re talking about Tina here? Do you not think she’ll help herself?
Tina: Hey! She said yourselves!
Joanne: Ok, you two just keep on fighting; I’ll see you later!
Tina and Sandy: Bye!
Tina: (excitedly said after Joanne closed the door) So what do you think it is?
Sandy: It has to be a guy. She wouldn’t look as happy if it’s something else.
Tina: Tell me something I don’t know …Wait, then who could it be? The “Tommy” incident has only been three weeks!
Sandy: (sighing) That’s the Joanne we’ve known… always so secretive.

Tommy tiredly stepped out from Pacific Records. His whole day had not gone too smoothly. He silently wished that the new singers the company had chosen were a bit more facile to deal with. Out of the weariness a smile spread across his face as he remembered how Cathy and he had always clicked since their inceptive encounter. He missed her already…
As he strolled toward the car a familiar figure crept up to him. Tommy turned around, somewhat surprised at what he saw.
Tommy: Joanne! Wow, you look great; what’s the catch?
She smiled at him, a sort of enticing smile he had never seen before.
Joanne: I was promoted today at the cosmetic company. Can you go grab a drink with me just to celebrate?
Tommy: (After a quick moment of hesitation) Ok, do you want to call Tina and Sandy out too?
Joanne: No…no! (realizing her impudent action) Um… they’re busy for the night. Tina has to stay at the central police station and Sandy will close her shop late today. Uh… she’s offering a sale for her store’s third anniversary…
Tommy: Oh, I see… So where do you want to go?
Joanne: Let’s head for the Lavender Pub.

The rest of night was thoroughly quiet. Joanne did most of the talking while Tommy’s mind wandered off in Malaysia. Once in a while he threw a smile at Joanne, whose face seemed to have lighten up every time. They both drank for their own purposes and at the end of her third glass Joanne turned to Tommy tipsily.
Joanne: Tommy?
Tommy: Yeah?
Joanne: Do you not think I’m pretty? …Haven’t you thought of me at least once?
Tommy looked at Joanne’s reddening face uncomfortably.
Tommy: You get drunk very easily. Why don’t we call it a night right now? I’ll drive you home. Come on!
Joanne: No, I’m not going anywhere until you tell me…urgh… What’s so great about Cathy? …How come you chose her and not me?
Tommy: (sighing) It doesn’t matter anymore. I’m with Cathy and that’s the truth. I thought you could understand…
Joanne: Understand… understand what? …I don’t want to understand… I want you…
She murmured incoherently as Tommy realized the problem had definitely not come to a simple ending compared to what they had thought. He struggled to help her out to the car while she clang on as if she’d drown the second she let go of him.
They finally arrived in front of her house. Tommy looked down at the beautiful girl who fell asleep on his shoulder. “If I’ve never known Cathy… we’d probably be together now”, he sighed. She twitched and wrapped her arm around his shoulder. Tommy could smell her sweet fragrance from the close distance between them. Just when he was going to touch her cheek, the alarm on his watch went off, sending him back to reality. He rubbed his face, frightened at the effect of alcohol. He quickly pulled her to the door.
Sandy: (opening the door) Tommy? Joanne? What happened?
Tommy: She’s a bit tipsy. I was hoping that you’d be home. Good thing you closed the shop early!
Sandy: Huh? (giving him a confused look) …Um, anyway… Thanks for getting her home. I’ll take her to her room to get some rest. Now you drive carefully too!
Tommy: I will… Good night.
Just as Sandy exited the room, Joanne opened her eyes and a strange smile appeared on her face. She got up to the window and looked down at Tommy’s car driving off. As she thought back to their actions, another satisfying grin appeared on her face. “Tomorrow we’ll start a new game.”

Cathy slowly opened her eyes in consternation of the surrounding darkness. She supported her body to sit up, feeling a sharp pain from her right leg. Recollecting what had happened hours ago, the first thought that instantaneously came to her mind was Chris. She worriedly looked around and let out a sigh of relief to see him next to her. “Thank God he’s ok”, she mumbled after knowing that there was no serious injuries done on him. She moved over in difficulty to where he was.
Cathy: (shaking his shoulder) Chris, Chris, wake up… Do you hear me? Wake up…
At the tone of her voice Chris presently opened his eyes. He leaped up at the sight of Cathy.
Chris: Are you all right Cathy? Does it hurt anywhere?
Cathy’s eyes found his in the dark. A smile grew within her as she realized their truthful concern.
Cathy: I’m fine, just a couple of bruises (she lied). It looks like you should worry for yourself first.
She threw a critical look at him, purposely defining herself with an irritable personality.
Cathy: Do you mind telling me what happened and why we are here?
Chris: Obviously you’ve fallen down the hill. (He replied, a little surprised at her sudden change of temperament.)
Cathy: Oh no! How are we getting up there from here (frowning)?
Chris: Before I tell you this, promise me you’ll stay calm.
He took her silent answer as a “yes” and continued.
Chris: I’ve looked around while you were still unconscious. Unless I’ve not looked far enough, there is no way we can get back up there. Who knows, we could have been dead by now if not for the grass.
She stared at him without blinking and in a minute or so, forced herself up despite the pain on her right leg.
Cathy: You mean to tell me we’re going to be stuck here forever? No, there has got to be a way. We are not going to die here! (looking around nervously and mumbling) Who knows, there might be wolves…
Chris: There’s a good chance of that, yeah. What do I have to worry about? They’ll eat you first since you probably smell better than I do.
Cathy: Look, we don’t have time for your corny jokes here. Do you have your cell phone with you?
Chris: What do you think? We wouldn’t be here right now if I did. It’s too dark anyway; we can’t possibly find our way at this time... I guess all we can really do for now is sit and wait until dawn.
Cathy: I know many people do not take this route. What if no one goes by? Even if they do how can they know we’re down here?
A sudden chill of fear struck her. She cringed into a corner, eyeing the shadows of moving trees. From faraway the gnarled hands reached into the threatening sky and black clouds swirled into different figures, each of them equally frightening.
Cathy: Great, we don’t have anything with us… well, money… but I doubt that counts at this second.
From her right a caring hand reached out and touched her shoulder.
Chris: Don’t worry, in the morning everything will be fine. At least you’re not alone, right? Alice is smart; she’ll figure out that something is wrong and look for us.
Cathy: But can she find us? That’s the problem…
Chris: Whatever was planned cannot be changed. We’ll search again, and this time more carefully. Probably there is a possible path that I haven’t found. Now get some sleep and save your energy for tomorrow. [Who knows… we might need that if we want to live…] …Are you cold?
He took off his jacket and was about to wrap it on her when she unexpectedly pushed it back.
Cathy: No, I’m not cold (she said flatly).
Chris: Look, if you’re still mad at what happened earlier, forget everything I’ve said.
Cathy: Sorry but I’ve never put what you said into mind.
Chris felt as though he were slapped across the face. He thought over and over, but could not understand the reason behind her coolness toward him. They were still good friends, weren’t they?
The rest of the night advanced in silence, except for the random howls of night animals. Cathy lied on the bed of dry grass, recollecting what had happened earlier. She almost wished Chris never held on to her hand during the fall. She wished he could have let go, just as he would let go of the nonsensical dreams that they had both shunned themselves to. She stole a glance at Chris as Tony’s voice rang through her head: “Even fate sided with me this time.”
She sighed… Only if there were no Tommy or Sandy in her almost perfect dream. And again, dreams and reality were as distinguished as black and white. She did not want Sandy to be a replica of Joanne. Inside she knew Joanne had never forgotten Tommy despite the good act she had put up. Why hurt two more of your most treasured and loved ones when you can prevent it? She told herself over again: “Once was enough.”
At the same time Chris sat motionless, leaning on a fallen tree. He looked at the person who had her back turned to him and smiled, more to himself. What had happened earlier remained vivid in his mind. He could still feel that worse-than-death fear of losing the one he loved. He had chosen. Never once did the thought of letting go of her hand appear in his mind. It was his own will.
She was still there beside him.

Meanwhile Alice was talking to Eric on the phone.
Alice: Eric, they’ve been gone the whole day. Don’t tell me this is one of your brother’s crazy plans.
Eric: (confused) What plan?
Alice: Um… nothing…
Eric: Well, they’re adults right? What can we do? We can’t tie them back in one corner. They probably just want to go around the city before heading back for Hong Kong.
Alice: I don’t know… I don’t have a very good feeling about this. They would have asked me to come along. Besides, we have two more days; what’s the rush? I know Cathy… She’ll never go off at this time and not tell me, especially when she’s… [with Chris]
Eric: When she’s…? What’s wrong Alice? You keep covering the other half.
Alice: It is 1 o’clock in the morning. Where can they go? They left everything at home!
Eric: They have money, right? Maybe they’re spending their money somewhere. Don’t scare yourself like that honey.
Alice: You sound more and more like your brother everyday. Does everything have to involve money?
Eric: I didn’t mean it that way. I think they’re just having too much fun, or it could be that they just lost track of time.
Alice: Sorry…I just sense that something is not right; it’s sister intuition.
Eric: It hasn’t even been one day. Who knows, they might be on the way back.
Alice: Let’s just hope so…

A drop of mist landed on Cathy’s cheek, waking her to the first light beams of dawn. She held the tree limb nearby for support and stood up, feeling the stinging pain on her right leg. She took a quick look around. Chris was no where to be found. She hobbled along the path with a face of unmistakable panic, never stopping her eyes for his search. Suddenly a voice called out from behind, freezing her steps.
Chris: Where are you going?
Cathy slowly turned to face the man nonchalantly.
Cathy: What do you think? I’m trying to find the way to get back up. I can’t just count on you. (Her voice was soft, yet distant.)
He ignored her offensive tone and stepped closer.
Chris: How is your leg?
Cathy: What about it?
Chris: You don’t have to lie. I saw you limping with that leg.
Cathy: Oh…that! It was a little numbed when I woke up.
Chris: Really? (looking at her skeptically) Then come with me.
She let out a cry as he quickly pulled her with him.
Chris: Now are you going to lie again? Let me see how it is.
Cathy: You’re joking right? You know very well that I have a medical degree that I never used. I can take care of this just fine.
Chris: May I emphasize the “I never used” part? Come on, let’s get over there, it might get serious. I’ve also gathered some food over there. I know you’re hungry right now.
She figured there was no use for objection and quietly followed Chris to the shade, still keeping a safe distance between them.
Chris: Let me see if I can do anything with the injuries.
He glanced at Cathy, who did not participate in the eye contacts. As she rolled up her pants his heart ached to see dark purple bruises everywhere and her knee badly swollen. He quickly pulled out a little tube from his jacket.
Cathy: You really carry those with you?
Chris: It’s just been proven that they come in very beneficial sometimes. Here, it will hurt a little but I think you’re old enough not to bite a cloth, right?
He rubbed the cream on her leg as she bit her lips tightly, forbidding herself to let out a scream. Afterward the two leaned back on the fallen tree, eating the fruits that Chris found.
Cathy: So you haven’t discovered the way up…
Chris: I’ve looked everywhere but there’s no way we can get back up without the help of someone else, especially when your leg is injured.
Chris noticed the pause of movement and gazed at Cathy. This time she looked back at him, and for the first time in his life, Chris saw tears forming at the corner of her once radiant eyes.
Cathy: I don’t want do die here. I still have many things to do… I… I can’t possibly leave yet… And you… you shouldn’t have held on to my hand. What if our futures are going to be buried at this place, Chris?
She dug her face in her arms and felt the salty teardrops roll on her cheeks. Stranded without food or shelter in a place where no one visits… But there was more: a leg that could barely walk and an endangered person whom she’d give anything for him to be safe.
Chris clenched his fist. How he wanted to hug her and tell her that he will protect her no matter what… But fate dominates men’s life. No one could foretell what the future held in hand for the two of them, not even Chris. All he knew was that she would not be the first one to get hurt if he were around… But he could not find the words to tell her what she probably did not wish to hear. Instead, his timid hand found a place on her shoulder.
Chris: It will be ok. I know Alice is looking for us right now. She’s very good with predicting things, remember? I promise we won’t die here… at least you won’t be the first.
Cathy looked up to him with moistened eyes and slightly nodded. She no longer had the spare energy to put up a contest over something they had no control of. How she wanted to lean on those shoulders and shut her eyes to all the troubles ahead…
Yet she was not known to be stubborn for nothing.
“Thank you,” she heard herself say.


"Love cures people - both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it."
-Dr. Karl Menninger

"Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly
and without law, and must be plucked where it is found,
and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration."
-D.H. Lawrence

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