“Wake up Alice!” He leaped out of the bed to get ready for school, rushing awkwardly, boxers in prints, sprinting across the heap of overnight clothes and leftover fast food styros on the floor. It was Monday and he felt forcibly contending with everything that basically moves. But the floodlit room entranced with rays of rubies, promises of fresher beginnings, in their gentlest graduation life has sprouted. On this eve oozed within him the end of the term in March, it was finally summer, after all.
He swung over a long-sleeved shirt lying limply on the couch, its embroidered crest patch stood out on the bright white linen chest pocket. While facing the reflection on the mirror, he briskly half brushed his bristled hair, tracing the remnants of adolescence on the skin, the innocence radiating there, surfacing, and joyously immersing in his debonair youth.
Late afternoon radio-drama was on the background, for a moment of pause, he passively watched the fornicating dogs on the street by the fish-ball cart while sat there at the corner wall was Alice clasping the hems of her skirt nervously. She held in her hands a curious strip. It had two blue lines faint in color, keen on him for an opportune chance to dialogue. He scuttled underneath the sofa for his shoes.
Her beautiful dark hair was neatly tucked behind her ears, thick healthy curls down to her shoulders, prim like the holy mother. Fearful of the divine and the sins outside matrimony, her family follows the traditional and the sacred. She dreads and shudders. She never felt more alive.
She opened her mouth to catch the unusual rainfall, having a little taste of the sky, of that sweet, sweet rain in that midsummer. She struggled, plunging the blade inwardly until it was no longer seen. The blade must be dull, or her strength just dwindled. She is fading, drenched.
In her mind she used a skiff to dump his body on the other side of the riverbank under the bridge where there was soft red earth – This she contemplated while staring at the cream firming up in the lukewarm coffee by a Collin Classic. Earlier, they clinked glasses and loathed by the fire, all against the skies and their cardinal oppressors. She placed her head against his chest and sobbed. She loved him too well that she doubted and knew. “Will you please stay for the night, will you love?”
“Of course,” said he. “Where else would I be?”
She shook her head as if coercing understanding. “But you won’t.”
Her breath smelt of Italian spring flowers, and how it reminded him to set out and see the other side of the world even though he detested traveling. A cigarette was locked in between her fingers, dragging cold, flavored smoke. He wanted his soul to taste like nicotine that night.
They talked about poetry and what could have been like as if it were in the movies, of rewritten screenplays, oh how they loved a kiss, and another, under a bridge, draped by the tender lights of Manila.
He held up an old framed photograph that sat on a wooden chest, on a crochet table mat her mom made. Immaculate white curtains wavered over it like a ghost gliding in the nightlight. “It was such a strange thing to see mother dancing like that. Who knew? And I wonder whatever happened to the songs they indulgently danced to anyway? Like their youth in time, they must have simply transposed, minutely into mere fragments of recollections we now share.”
His voice strained but it had maintained resolute permanence. It’s almost never easy to live in the past his father concluded. In the mind of the old man, it is almost like an attempt to recover a deep lasting sleep, trying to recapture a wonderful dream he once had, at least what’s left of it.
And he can never, anymore, remember how many wonderful weekends he spent with those whom he loved, nor the feeling that they carried along with them. The night lamp was dimming along with the diminishing chirps of bush crickets in the enclosing windows until the fire had flickered no more, until the dark had devoured the nothingness and the absolute.