“Good morning Mort!”
Chrixa shows up in front of me, cheerful. Which made me raise an eyebrow. Atleast the forget-everything-overnight attitude of hers is still in tacked.
Mort: Morning Chrish…
My voice is hoarse from lack of sleep. I don’t feel awkward. I just feel so awful.
Chrixa: What’s wrong with you?
Her face shows concern
Mort: Not enough sleep.
I look at Chrixa. Kinda annoyed because all I see is her smiling face as she lets herself fall off the cliff. But as my eyes linger on her face I can’t help feeling warm. It’s as if she’s dazzling in the morning sun.
I shake my head.
That barely came out.
Chrixa looks away. Guess she still heard it. She might be thinking it’s her fault.
Chrixa: That’s bad.
It pains me to see her like that.
The warm feeling replaced by coldness.
Chrixa: We better hurry!
Chrixa starts running then stops. She faces me. I really don’t feel like running right now. She walks back towards me and grabs my hand.
A wave of electricity shot through my arm from her grasp making my eyes widen and my heart beat fast.
She’s held my hand hundreds of times before. What is happening now? I can feel myself shivering not in disgust but something else. Something I don’t want to entertain. So I slowly freed my hand from hers. She glimpses at our hands as I let go but kept walking.
During class, my mind was flying again. I barely hear our teacher lecturing in front.
I’m feeling really dizzy that I can’t help closing my eyes.
I jump as the bell rang. It’s already lunchtime.
I slept through the whole morning classes!
As I look around I notice the Gang is surrounding me, looking at me worriedly, including Chrixa.
Chrixa: Mort, are you okay?
Her face infront of mine. Shining.
Lance: We tried to wake you man but –
Mike cuts Lance off with a “shhhh!”
They are letting Chrixa tend to me.
I look at Chrixa. I tried to focus so the shine around her disappears but it didn’t. I force a smile.
Mort: Yes! I’m fine!
Chrixa: You don’t look fine.
She looks like she’s about to cry. I felt a pang of pain inside.
Mort: I’ll be fine, Chrish.
I look at her. Finally the shine is gone.
Mort: No need to worry.
I faintly smile.
Chrixa: Well, you better be fine.
She hands me the lime green lunchbox.
Chrixa: And you better eat!
I cringe at the sight of the lunchbox.
Mort: You brought me lunch again?
Somehow I’m a bit annoyed.
Chrixa: Yeah! Get used to it!
My eyes follow Chrixa as she walks out. I wanna chase her and confront her but my knees won’t even move.
Mike: Hey Mort!
The gang gathers around me. I look at them sort of dazed by my thoughts.
Mike: How’s it going?
I look at their faces one by one. I look at the door and Chrixa’s seat if she’s there. She’s not. I look the Gang’s face again.
Mort: Lance’s right.
I turn to Lance.
Mort: I am stupid and…
I turn to the others.
Mort: …she did fall for me.
They probably thought that Lance’s theory was just a big joke to tease me with before, because now they’re not teasing or laughing. I assume they realize now the weight of Lance’s theory because…
Jake: Huddle time.
We only huddle if something really serious happened to any of us.
Mort: Does this face look like its joking?
I didn’t really look at my face in the mirror, but I must look really pitiful to make them have no doubts.
Lance: How’d you know?
Mort: I overheard them yesterday. Karen and her.
I look at Daniel. He smiles apologetically.
Daniel: I have to, you know. She’s bugging me about seeing Chrixa so affected by it.
I recall Chrixa’s tone yesterday. I also witnessed how affected she is so I understand Karen and Daniel. I didn’t say a word.
Jake: So, what’s the plan now?
Lance: Isn’t it obvious? Mort should fall for her too!
Mike and Daniel gave him a slap on the head for that.
Lance: I was just joking!
Lance said, rubbing his head. Good thing, Chrixa and Karen are not in the room at the moment.
Lance tilts his head down.
Then he smiles.
Daniel: But really, Mort, what are you planning to do?
Among everyone, he might be the most likely person who’d want me to take this thing seriously. I know because that’s what he’s been doing with his falling life.
Mort: I don’t know.
Mike: You should talk to her.
Mort: I’ll try but what will I tell her?
Jake: Tell her that you know.
Mort: Tell her that I know?
My mind is running in circles.
Mort: What happens after that?
There was a short silence.
Daniel: Look, Mort, if you don’t want to fall with her then tell her that you both should just stay as best friends. If she really loves you she’d understand, right?”
The rest of the Gang say, “Yeah”s and “That’s right!”. I tried to consider what Daniel said but then I remember Chrixa’s voice yesterday. The way she said it. The pain she surely felt during that time. I still can’t erase the pain that hit me when I heard her say that phrase. My best friend. Falling in love. With me! It’s too painful to even imagine myself telling her that I know and it’s okay but she have to stay as my best friend despite her feelings for me because I don’t feel the sa-
My thoughts suddenly stops. And a sudden pain hit me inside.
Do I not feel the same?
I close my eyes and shake my head violently which surprised the Gang. The huddle was broken.
Daniel exclaimed while some of them held my shoulder to stop me.
Daniel: Mort, what is the problem?
Mort: All of it!
I didn’t shout, just a loud whisper. The pain surging in my brain and in my chest is preventing from letting the words out properly.
Mort: All this romance thing is my problem!
Every time I think of falling, I’m reminded about the pain that I felt the last time I did. That cliff was really deep I almost thought it was endless!
Last year, I fell for a girl named Rochelle. She’s very beautiful and really smart. Having recently fallen and landed at the bottom real hard, her view of romance was wide and dark. She’s been my crush since the start of high school and when I decided to talk to her, I learned I’m her crush too. I was always there to cheer her up last year because she always prefers to be alone. Cheering her up is something that I’m good at because I managed to make her smile. And after three months I tried to ask her to be my girlfriend. But she said she’s not ready and told me to wait 10 years. I was so willing to wait 10 years for her. I told her I’d wait even if it takes forever.
The fall might be long but I pictured that there’s a soft cushion waiting for me at the bottom so it will all be worth it because I love her and she said she loves me too. Everything was going well. I’m happy with her and she with me. But then the cliff changed. It got dark. It started swaying in many directions. She started avoiding me and she won’t even tell me why. I tried to reach her but I ended up reaching the bottom. Hitting not just its hard surface but the spikes protruding from it. One night, she texted me that she still loves her ex-boyfriend but she loves me too. She said she was confused. I know by then that it’s worthless trying to win her back and since I did love her, I told her that she has the freedom to choose between us and that I will accept it with all of my heart whoever she chooses. But even if I did say I will accept it, I can’t help to feel that excruciating pain when she ended up choosing the other guy. I know that she thanked me for being there when she was at her bottom. She thanked me for the happiness I’ve given her when she was sad. I know that she apologized and I forgave her. But the pain is still there! It hurt so much that even now I can still feel it.
Mort: Last year…
I’m crying now. The Gang huddles around me to cover me from the rest of the class.
Mort: …with Rochelle…the pain…I don’t want C-Chrixa to feel it…
Is all that came out. They already know what happened to me. They we’re there when I was at the bottom and they helped me up. Including Chrixa. The thought of her hitting bottom. It pains me so.
Daniel clasp his hand on my shoulder.
Daniel: What happened to you in the past won’t happen to Chrixa. And you can’t deprive her of the lessons she can learn by getting hurt.
All of them assents.
Jake: Just don’t forget that even if she do hit the bottom, we’ll still be there for her.
He gestures to the others. They all smile encouragingly.
Jake: Because we’re the Gang, remember? We have each other, right?
I was calming down when they all patted my back, telling me that falling is not such a bad thing and that Chrixa will be fine.
But then I remember the dream. I did pray to God what to do last night and He gave me the dream. Surely it means something.
So I told them about it.
The field of flowers. Chrixa and I being happy. Her willingness to fall while I shout at her falling figure.
They all got quiet when I’m done sharing it to them.
Lance: That’s… something.
Mike: C’mon guys…it’s just a dream. We don’t know what God really plans for Mort and Chrixa.
Jake: Yeah. But we’ll be praying for you, Mort.
Lance: That’s right.
Mike: So first, Mort and Chrixa talks and then…
Daniel: …we’ll see how things go after that. If Chrixa hits bottom, we’ll be there to ease the pain. I will also share this plan with Karen.
Daniel turns to me.
Daniel: Does that sound good, Mort?
I don’t know if I’m ready to talk to Chrixa about all this but I nod.
Mort: Yeah. I guess.
Jake and Mike slaps my back. The force seem to snap the negative feeling out of me.
They apologize and we all laugh.
The bell rang as the huddle time dismisses. And I am relieved that our other classmates was unaware of our conversation in the huddle because they were too busy having their own conversations. Chrixa was not in the room that whole time, too, as I see her enter the room with Karen minutes after the huddle. Which gave me extra relief. Karen seems to have talked with her too because she looks okay. She gives me a smile as she sits on her chair. I smile back.
Daniel and Karen both stare at each other then glance at me. It’s as if they’re telepathically communicating with each other. Those guys have super love powers.
I take a deep breath, releasing all the negative thinking I had before, replacing them with a new and happy determination of being a better best friend to Chrixa.
I then prayed a short prayer, asking God for guidance, as our teacher for the next period came in our classroom.
The afternoon classes helped me forget about the whole drama during lunch time. The surprise quiz during our Math period made sure of that.
Chrixa and I were walking together on the hallway heading to the gates, plunged in the conversation about the Math quiz. She then talks too much about her summer, how she got the new look, etc. We didn’t really hang out last summer since Auntie Jane and her went out of town.
She looks so happy, sharing her stories, while I look at her. Everything seems normal again. And I can’t help myself feeling that I did miss her absence during summer. I was so happy being with her right now that the happiness was probably shown through my face.
Chrixa: You’re creeping me out! Stop smiling like that!
Mort: Nah, I was just amused by your enthusiasm of sharing your adventures during the summer…
Then I pretend to be sad.
Mort: …while I’m all by myself at home feeling so lonely.
I give her a forceful frown.
Chrixa: Ah! So you did miss me, huh?
Mort: I never said, I didn’t.
Then I give her a threatening look.
Mort: So you have to compensate for your absence.
Chrixa: Fine! What do you want?
Mort: Are you free tomorrow?
We’ve been hanging out hundreds of times before during weekends. This shouldn’t be any different.
Chrixa: Well…I think so…yeah.
Mort: Okay. Let’s watch a movie tomorrow. I think X-men Origins: Wolverine is showing. Let’s watch it.
Chrixa: Are you kidding me?
She said, one eyebrow raised in suspicion. Or probably remembering the Hugh Jackman incident. But I just brushed off the assumption.
Mort: Nope. C’mon I’m not making fun of you.
Trying to evade the possible talk about the incident on the actor’s name. That will come tomorrow. Probably.
She suddenly turns her head down but then she smiles.
Mort: Good! Better prepare some money coz you’re paying for everything.
She crosses her arms but slowly smiles.
We smile at each other then we broke into laughter.
We then talk about movies the rest of the way.
Being best friends, we always go out on weekends. So I’m not really doing anything that could hurt her. I can’t let these recent events destroy what we already have. I will still have to talk to her about it though. An opportunity for it might come tomorrow. I do hope things go well.