Melody of the Soul
Tommy rested himself on an armchair, looking overhead through the clear glass of his patio. Prevalently he would be sitting across from Cathy at a candlelight dinner or drinking his favorite beer at the Lavender Pub with Chris.
He hadn’t heard Cathy’s voice in two days. Every time he managed to dial her number, a strange Alice responded with the same agitated “hello”. The lie in her voice was apparent. Cathy was not busy; she couldn’t be busy the whole two days after her concert was over…
He sat staring at the gray and heavy drifting clouds as he felt Cathy drifting away from himself. Inconceivable notions plagued his love-stricken world. He sensed that something was wrong; insecurity had unusually developed for him a sort of foreseeing power that rarely proved to be advantageous. His decision to leave a year ago was evidently a bad one, for he found out he did not simply love Cathy. To him she was always a fervor of idealism.
A doorbell cut his thread of thoughts. He took his eyes away from his sunless garden and slothfully walked toward the gate.
His voice was a mixture of surprise and embarrassment. In front of him stood a beautiful girl in a low-cut dress, a half-smile blooming on her bright face.
Joanne: Can I come in? (She asked inquiringly.)
She had already stepped in when Tommy uttered a reluctant “Sure.”
Joanne: Is it not okay if I don’t have any particular reason to come over?
Tommy: Do friends always have to have reasons for coming over?
The word ‘friend’ created a frown on her face but it quickly dissolved.
Joanne: Actually I do have a reason. We all knew you would live off instant noodles again since Ca... since guys are always too lazy to cook. Look what I brought.
Tommy: You went grocery shopping?
Joanne: Yes! And all you’ll have to do is sit and wait and dinner will be ready in no time.
She walked naturally into the kitchen with Tommy trailing behind. He watched in amazement at the girl who coughed ceaselessly over the smoke she created at the picnic over a year ago.
Tommy glanced up at the uncomfortable stare of Joanne and looked down at the dinning table again.
Tommy: You really surprised me (he hesitated, drinking the tasty soup). I thought out of the group only Alice can cook this well.
Joanne: There are many more things you ought to know about me (not removing her gaze from him).
Her stare must have captivated him for a moment for he remembered there was a long silence in the room. Unexpectedly Joanne leaned forward and planted a deep kiss on his lips. He drew back almost immediately, stupefied by the brash action. Gathering his thoughts, he turned back to the nonchalant Joanne.
Tommy: It’s quite dark outside. You should go home now. I’ll walk you to the door.
Joanne: Aren’t you going to let me finish this bowl of soup at least? (She asked, observing his avoiding eyes.) And you’re not even driving me home? You do know it’s hard to find a taxi at this time, right?
Tommy: Finish it up while I call the taxi.
With that he went to the living room, leaving Joanne in laughter of the blunt sentence.
Alice: Hello? Eric! I’ve already contacted the police but the search so far didn’t result in anything. Where can they be? Where can they be??
Eric: Calm down Alice. It’s only been two day, I’m sure we’ll find them in no time.
Alice: What do you know? One is my sister and the other one is her… my close friend, and your close friend too! Why aren’t you worried?
Eric: What made you think that I don’t care? But what good will it do if we all panic like this? You have to think, Alice. Where would Cathy more likely go?
As soon as Chris and Cathy got into a cavern, it started pouring down like a waterfall. Now and then the sky was blinding with strokes of lightning.
Cathy: It is gushing down like Niagara Fall out there!
Chris: At least it waited until we got in this cave. See, fate can’t be that bad.
They lighted a fire and looked around, observing the muggy, cold cave.
Chris: It’s not quite covered with dust. Consider us lucky.
Cathy: Yeah, thank God it doesn’t have that molded smell! …But… what if there’s ‘something’ in here?
Chris: Cathy, stop scaring yourself.
Just then a thing rushed out from the shrub behind them.
Frightened, she shook Chris’s shoulder and clang on to him tightly.
Cathy: What was that??
Chris: (couldn’t help but laugh) They’re just rabbits!
She let go of his neck and dropped on the straw. He too, sat down tiredly next to her.
Chris: How’s your leg?
He turned to her, examining the swollen knee.
Chris: It’s a little better. Does it still hurt a lot?
Cathy: No. Worry for yourself first. I’m going to get some sleep now.
Chris ignored her insolent reply.
Chris: Yeah, why don’t you get some rest now. Maybe the rain will help.
Cathy lied down on the soft straw, her back towards him. She closed her eyes and let her thoughts chase each other. Here they were, without the hotel wall while an invisible hammer was pounding on their transparent barrier.
When there were no more sounds except the chirping of crickets she opened her eyes and cautiously sat up. Beside her Chris had fallen asleep peacefully. Casting away her compunction, she studied his handsome face as a bizarre feeling of contentment crept up in the form of a smile. Her tempted hand unconsciously reached over and touched his cheek. Surprisingly, she had forgotten about Sandy.
Suddenly, the person’s hand reached up and grabbed hers. Unsuccessfully, a panicky Cathy quickly tried to draw her hand back from his unwilling fingers. The man raised his eyebrow mischievously.
Chris: You’re not going to tell me there was a mosquito on my cheek, are you?
For a very long time Cathy felt her cheeks burned with extreme embarrassment.
Cathy: Let go…
Her voice was almost a plea.
Chris: Maybe I should thank this fall instead.
Cathy: You’re crazy!
Chris: Not as crazy as you are. Before I thought that you’d get your happiness if I give up mine… but now I realized that’s not true.
His caring gaze was glued on her avoiding eyes and he continued bravely.
Chris: Cathy, I’ll never take back what I said to you on top of this hill. I love you, and that’s the truth. Nothing matters more. Call me selfish but I am sick of being Mister Generous.
Cathy: What about Sandy? Don’t you love her at all? It would be so unfair to her.
Chris: I was touched by her… I thought for second that it was the best way to get us out of this triangle. I thought she could help me forget about you and at the same time it would be a safe way to assure your relationship with Tommy… Boy was I wrong… For a moment there was silence except the incessant chirping of crickets and trickles of water. They were facing each other now, lost in each other’s gaze.
Cathy: We’re supposed to be buddies…
Chris: No, only you regarded me as buddy. I loved you since the first time at the beach.
There was surprise added in the moistened atmosphere.
Cathy: But we were strangers…
Chris: Ever heard of love at first sight? …I didn’t believe in that either.
For the first time in the last two days she smiled; a smile so sweet it was indescribable. For these embarrassing words to come from Chris’s lips was such amusement.
Cathy: Well, one-way love isn’t going to work out.
Chris: One-way love? You are lying again Cathy Yuen. But your eyes can’t lie.
She no longer tried to avoid his eyes for she was hypnotized by the intensity of the gaze.
Cathy: Then look at my eyes. What are they saying?
Chris: They’re saying “Chris is a bastard… but he’s the only one I love.”
They both smiled. Slowly but surely they bent closer to her until they saw in each other’s eyes the doorway to a vast future. Their lips touched. The taste of victory was ever more luscious after the long skirmish both had endured on the battlefield of love. The kiss had certainly transformed ‘buddies’ into something beyond definition.
Pulling away, he held her hand as if afraid to let her slip away once more.
Chris: You guessed right. I love going to Jerry’s restaurant so much because I've always wanted to look back at where we first met, and…
Cathy: …And you started to like seafood just because of me?
Chris let out another one of his adorable smiles.
Chris: Cathy, if it happens that no one can find us… (She put her hand over his mouth.) No, let me finish. Even if I were to die here I wouldn’t regret it… because my simple wish had come true… And you’d be the last one I see. There’s no need for death to recognize what I treasure the most. I’ve known it all along.
He wiped the tears that were now flowing on her beautiful face. They embraced each other tightly, still wondering if the happenings were just a dream. Her trembling body felt so safe in his strong arms. He kissed her forehead, the tip of her nose, and finally her wan lips. They kissed each other intensely, never wanting to be parted. Precious hours cannot last forever. They both knew there was no better time. At this point nothing mattered more than the closeness of the two. They were alone in their world, alone and happy that they had each other in their arms. Moreover, they were in another galaxy where responsibilities, guilt, and the quickening pace of life could matter less. Never before had the night seem so magical and the raindrops such a beautiful melody of the soul. He moved his lips down to her tender shoulders where the chemise was torn and she slipped her hand under his T-shirt. They sank down, leaving only their shadows printed behind the yellow flames.
The last brick of the barrier was removed.
The rain had ceased. Even the sprinkles had come to a stop. The depressing clouds had scattered and the high, golden full moon marveled at its own reflection. Now and then a water drop or two would scare away the wandering little night insects. Cathy rested her head serenely on Chris’s torso, softly singing a song that Tommy wrote for her without realizing it.
Cathy: Me too.
Cathy: You said you wouldn’t regret dying here. Same thing for me. I no longer fear death, Chris… as long as you’re with me.
Chris: Pinch me. I think I’m dreaming.
She did. He let out a low-pitched cry.
Chris: Not that hard! (wrinkled at Cathy, who was giggling presently)
Cathy: What are we going to do when we get back?
Chris: We’ll have to tell the truth. I’m going to have a talk with Sandy.
She was shuddered by the thought.
Cathy: I hope she’ll be okay. She does love you… maybe a whole lot too.
Chris: The last thing we'd want to do is hurt our closest friends. But looks like we don’t have a choice. The most important thing is that we have to do this together.
Chris: What are you thinking?
Cathy: Do you think they’ll find us soon?
Chris: How big is this place? I’m sure they’ll find us soon.
He stroked her fine hair and they both looked outside.
Cathy: Wow… didn’t know a night in the woods could be so beautiful!
Chris: Guess what, it’s Lunar New Year! Look at the moon.
Cathy: Oh yeah…! Too bad we don’t have any candles or lampshades or those cookies.
Chris: It’s all in here (pointing to his head). Candles and lampshades… hm… we’ve got burning wood; that can be the candles. Uh…and this cave can be a big lampshade if you imagine it to be. But cookies... We don’t have any human food right now, unless you want me to catch those bunnies over there and barbecue them for you.
Cathy: Hey! (hitting his chest) Don’t be so mean!
They watched the clearing sky.
Cathy: Did you make a wish?
Chris: My wish has already come true. Did you?
Cathy: Yes I did.
Chris: Don’t tell me or else it won’t come true.
Cathy: P-lease… You’re even more superstitious than I am.
They both laughed out loud. Together they took advantage of the tranquil night.
After all, no one can tell what tomorrow might bring.
"Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time... It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other."