After dismissal I let go of anything that would hold me back from confronting Chrixa about her problem and tried hard to catch up with her as she, almost jogging, head for the gates. I managed to grab her before she could reach the gates and drag her towards the white leadtree. I asked the Gang to clear it up so I could talk to her in private and pray for our conversation to fix whatever Chrixa’s problem is.
Mort: What is your problem?
She didn’t answer but looks down at my feet looking very sad. I sigh.
Mort: Chrish…Why are you acting like this?
I’m trying to be very cautious with how I say things this time as to not make her go berserk again.
Mort: Did you fail the audition?
She’s still looking down. I’m relieved that she did not fail the audition. But then I felt nervous.
Chrixa: I knocked them dead, Mort. Just like you said.
Mort: Then what’s the problem? Why are you acting like this?
Chrixa: I did so well that I got the lead role.
Then she breaks into tears.
Chrixa: They’re going to take me to their studio and wants me stay near there to prepare for the project.
Then she just cries hard as she struggles to talk more.
It’s weird to hear her say something wonderful while seeing her crying in sadness. But the reasons for her sadness seems to be of no mystery to me.
I think she’s very upset because she doesn’t want to leave. She doesn’t want to leave without confronting the truth. But even with that thought, I just can’t tell her about it.
Mort: Well then, Congratulations Chrish! You nailed it! You’re getting closer to your dreams. You’re gonna be a star!
She suddenly hugs me.
It’s as if the warmth of her body weakened me. She’s crying.
Chrixa: I don’t want to go…
I push her away gently to look at her face. She’s waiting for it. But I just can’t.
Mort: This is your dream. You’ve been working hard to reach it. If you wanna hear what I think about this, I think that you have to grab this chance.
Chrixa: But…it’s just so sad….to leave…
She’s looking at me, pleading. For me to stop her? To acknowledge her affections for me? I don’t really know. I feel so cold.
Even with a face soaking with tears, she looks so beautiful.
I hug her. The feeling that I don’t want her to leave invading the spaces of my heart. As I hold her in my arms I tried to think of reasons why I don’t want her to leave.
What do I really feel for her? I know I love her but to what extent? Do I love her because she’s been my best friend since first grade? Do I love her because she’s like family? Or do I love her because…because….
Mort: Chrish…I have to tell you something…
She looks at me.
Tell her what you really feel!
Tell her that you too lo-
I exhale, freezing my heart.
Mort: I really want you to go, Chrish.
Chrixa lets out one final sob, lets go of me, and wipes her tears away.
Mort: It’s your dream…
So cold. I feel cold.
Mort: And I’m so glad that right now…
Then warmth slowly fades in.
Mort: …you’re close to fulfilling it. So grab the chance, Chrish. Don’t let me hold you back.
I force a smile even if she’s not looking.
Chrixa: Thank you, Mort.
Her voice was so faint. Her eyes refuses to meet mine.
She smiles and wipes her face.
Chrixa: I’ll just bring you a souvenir then!
Her voice squeaky as she forcefully continue in a cheerful way. Her eyes darting towards mine then the ground.
Chrixa: I’ll also give you free tickets for the movie, also for the Gang. Be there ok!
Then she turns her back on me. And faces me, possibly, for the last time.
Chrixa: Bye, Mort.
Her smile looks very sad.
I watch her go.
I watch her leave not even running to ask her when she’s coming back!
The sudden warmth of my desire for her to fulfill my dreams was overpowered by the coldness of my farewell.
It was the third time that she froze me today.
But unlike the first two, this time, I wasn’t confused. My whole body just felt really heavy.
I shouted inside.
“Chase her and tell her!”
But I am not budging.
“Tell her what she is to you!”
But what is she to me?!
I held my head. Then my chest hurt so bad that I have to clutch it. Tears are now forming in my eyes. I started sobbing.
“You’ve been pretending long enough!”
And then for some reason, my mind went so clear that memories suddenly rush back in me. Memories that I’ve chosen to forget. Memories that left me after getting used to pretending for a long time that it wasn’t there.
Memories of a beautiful young girl holding a young boy’s hand. She was dragging him towards a small hill, a young acacia tree standing gloriously on its tip. They both stopped beside the tree and decided to rest underneath it. The boy felt so happy having someone for company.
He was always alone after his father’s death four months ago. But just that morning, this girl, now sitting beside him comparing the clouds to all sorts of things, came up to him while he was sitting in front of their house watching the other kids play.
This girl, to the boy’s amazement, was the girl he had a crush on. He remembered the same beautiful face when he saw her on the balcony of their house. He was surprised when the girl suddenly talked to him like they were best friends for a long time. He never even had the courage to approach the girl because he was too shy. The girl told him that being alone is a bad thing and that his father won’t be happy if he’s alone all the time. She knows this because that’s what her mother told her when her father passed away. Apparently the girl knew about his father’s death. The boy was surprised to know about their similarity that he, almost instantly, decided to trust the girl with his life and swore that he will never be sad again.
They became instant best friends. They played all morning with the other kids and before the sun sets, they go to their secret place.
The top of a small hill in the middle of their subdivision’s park. They’re leaning on a young acacia tree, comparing clouds to different things.
A promise has been made that moment: The boy swore that he would never leave the girl and the girl as if reading the boy’s mind, promised him that they will always be together forever.
I was sobbing so hard as I recall the memories of my childhood. The memories of how I met Chrixa. The memories that I tried so hard to forget when I learned that if I invite the feelings accompanied by it, I’d lose a very great best friend.
I love her.
More than just a best friend.
But I chose to forget because I learned the consequences of letting it linger. I never wanted to lose her as my best friend. So I forced myself to be contented of making her happy as her ultimate best friend.
And I’ve gotten so used to doing it that I didn’t even move as I see her. The girl that I love. My best friend. Leaving. Unsure if she’s ever returning.
I watch her shrinking figure. The promise has been broken. It is too late to chase her now. I already decided to bury the memory within me, without telling her, until I die.
“I’m sorry, Chrish. I am not brave enough to tell you the truth.”
I head home with a hollowed heart.