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Under The Cherry Tree
“Uhm… Da Ya?”
We were at the cafeteria again; I was with Da Ya, she’s one of my trusted friends, she’s an expert in any kind of relationship, she talks more about devotions, gives tips about love and there’s one thing I can’t believe it’s possible…
She SMELLS love.
She knows when you are no matter how hard you try to conceal or withhold your feelings with someone. But she’s not petrifying; she’s compassionate in many ways.
“I was just wondering…” I took a deep breath, “You see…”
I told her everything, everything about what happened, every little detail, starting from last Christmas at the bookstore… everything about “him” that I know, what I’m feeling and what I think of him, what I call him as “mysterious guy” and where I’ve been this past few days.
“Aww… that was so nice of him. I think he likes you.” She grinned. “So, uhm, what’s bothering you about him?”
“Well, I did tell you about the uhm, d-dance next week, and I… I kinda, indirectly expressed that I don’t want to go with him, even though I didn’t said that I agree of going with him but he kind of concluded that he’s taking me to the dance though I didn’t object about that fact… in fact I was complaining that I don’t have a partner and that I wouldn’t go if I were to be a pathetic wallflower, but then he asked me and then I don’t know why… I just… I don’t know why I’m feeling introverted and reluctant about it, but I’m supposed to be happy coz I don’t get to be a wallflower again so now I don’t have any reason to not go at the dance, and… and… you know, sighs.” My shoulders dropped as I let out a huge sigh after talking nonstop.
“Yea, you already told me that.” She gave me a friendly smile while patting her hand to my shoulder.
“You think that he might be disappointed, or depressed about it?” She asked.
“Or maybe even angry.” I added.
“You told me that he just talked to you this morning, and you were like shocked.” She tilted her head giving me a bemused expression.
“But you’re still worried, coz Ya Tou said that guys are experts in hiding their emotions.” I nodded.
“Hmm… I think it’s ok if you give him the cookies you baked… just to clear things up.” She then reached out for the pizza in her tray and took a bite.
“To clear what?” I looked at her munching the pizza in her mouth.
“That it’s ok for you to go to the dance with him.” She smirked.
“Huh? I didn’t mean it that way; it’s just that, I think I…” I think I have hurt his feelings, but I think I’m just pessimistic and stupid.
“You think you’ve hurt his feelings?” She creeps me out, can she read minds too?
I nodded slowly like I didn’t nod at all.
“Haha! Oh Gui Gui! Guys do know that it’s usual for them to be rejected by a girl during situations like this, some reasons are: someone had already asked them, or, he may not be her type, or, she’s waiting for someone to ask her.” I took a bite at my pizza and looked at her, puzzled.
“By how you explained to me about his actions, I think he’s just fine with it.” She smiled.
I just looked at her, speechless.
I don’t know what to say.
“Hey, may I have a look on your cookies?” She put the half bitten pizza down the tray while I opened the zipper on my back pack exposing the pink wrapped cookies with a tied ribbon.
“Whoa, look at it; you’re so creative Gui, mmmm…” She closed her eyes trying to have a moment with my cookies, smelling it.
“I think it taste awful since the first two tries was a disaster.” I flapped my hand frantically.
“Mmmm….” She kept her eyes shut as I persist on finishing my pizza.
“It’s baked with… and smells like… like…”
“Like what?” I said it with my mouth partially full giving her a perplexed look although her eyes were still closed and her nose leaning down the bunch of cookies.
She inhaled the scent of the cookies one last time as she gradually opened her eyes.
I almost choked and gasp for breath like I was drowning.
* * * * * * *
Maybe I’ll wait till its dismissal time since we had the whole afternoon taking up classes of Trigonometry and my least favorite, Chemistry. I hate chemistry coz you get to memorize the periodic table (the WHOLE periodic table) and loads of numerous formulas.
I can’t believe Da Ya just said that. Love? Ha ha, can you believe it?
I remembered the wrapped cookies inside my locker, I wonder if it still smells good or rotten since it was baked just this morning and it should be eaten fresh if you want someone to be happy with your cookies. What if it’s not crunchy anymore? What if it’s soggy? Would I still have the chance and confidence to give this to him? And why would I give this to him?!
I wish I had a time machine to foresee how everything will come out.
Will he laugh at me when I gave him these cookies?
Hope not. *fingers crossed*
* * * * * * *
It's Valentine's Day.
The hallway's full of students.
Some girls gather round telling stories, chit-chatting and doing some girly-girly gossips while holding a stalk of rose as they gave a hard and piercing laugh. It obviously looks like they just bought it so they could show everyone that a guy gave it to them, pfft, show-offs. But don’t get me wrong, since I sort of know about it doesn’t mean I’ve done that before… LONG STORY.
I’ve seen a bunch of couples, too. They would stay on one corner or sit on the bench, other twosomes would stay talking while leaning on their lockers, some getting lonely inside the rooms, other sweet lovers HHWW (holding hands while walking) on the school’s garden, some girls giving their chocolates to the guy, some are dumped, being brushed off, and some are…
It’s not like every Valentines Day people get to be lucky in love. Yet, it’s a day given in behalf to all the love duos or even families, to remind people to give love, to show them how you feel, to express what love means…
Am I just thinking about LOVE?
I went straight to my locker to stuff the roses in. I left the cookies there after I had this small talk with Da Ya who’s deviously saying that I’m intensely in love with him.
* * * * * * *
And there he was, sitting still on a bench under a Formosan cherry tree, or the so-called “Taiwan Cherry.” A tree with flourishing rosy-pink and bell-shaped flowers and is about an inch size. It blooms in the early month of February, and this tree makes the holiday of love more delightful and idyllic. I had searched for him all over, and I found him at the very enigmatic and secret-like place here in our school… I didn’t know there was a tree like this nearby.
But my cookies are crushed into teeny-weeny pieces, almost the size of a piece of cereal. I didn’t take notice of the heavy books in my locker that might fall and, well, mash it into this.
But what’s done is done.
And I find myself scrutinizing more on him rather than worrying about my awful cookies as I sat down the other side of the bench.
He was in a deep slumber…
I moved slowly near him as the wind blows and I feel the green grass linger down my shoes and some petals of pink falling and coiling down the ground. His head tilted slightly downward while his arms drawn close to each other, he seemed relaxed and away from anxiety, at the same time I find a simple touch of tranquility and a fine on-going atmosphere better than that in my room. His hair falls down to his eyes as I intently listen to the sound of his breathing. And his lips, curved beautifully as if he was almost smiling.
Slowly, his eyes begin to open, and I find myself stuck close to him and far from where I was sitting before.
“Wow.” I heard him hissed through his breath as he caught a glimpse of me.
I didn’t stand up and ran till I was far from his sight, or knock him hard on his head till he faints and wouldn’t remember anything. I just leaned my back on the bench and sigh.
“Something wrong?” He said as he rubbed his other eye.
“Nah, just… hanging around.” I watched the scene in front of me, because from here I can almost see the suburb city and its towering buildings and highways.
“Nice, huh?” I nodded as we both took the moment of watching the view while the wind blows and few petals fall.
“I believe, you’ve come for a reason.” He spoke with propriety, breaking the moment.
“Yea…” I slowly showed him the cookies that were sitting with me on my side. I don’t even know why I was following Da Ya’s advice.
“For… me?” He smirked as I nodded. He untied the ribbon as he read the tag. “‘Sorry’… for what?” He asked giving me a confused expression.
“Don’t ask.” I said rolling my eyes then looked straight at the city.
He smiled, though I couldn’t see it, but I just know he did.
“It looks…” I looked at him looking at the exposed cookies, “Beaten up.”
“Yea, my books smashed it.”
He took a bite as I gulped and prepared myself to his reaction.
“So, does this mean you like me?”
“Actually, no.” I answered. “The tag doesn’t say ‘I love you’ or ‘Happy Valentines Day’.” I added.
“So what does ‘sorry’ mean?” He faced me munching up the cookies.
“I said don’t ask.”
“You can’t keep me from asking.”
I gazed at him as he does the same at me.
“I see…” He grinned, and by that enlightened expression, I could tell that he already know why.
“So why are you here anyway?” I asked, changing the topic.
“I’m always here; this is where I find peace. I just wanted to be away sometimes.” He answered.
“Yes, I agree with you this time.” I smiled, trying not to catch his nut-brown eyes.
Then the wind blew again, I looked at him inhaling the fresh air that passed by.
“Did you know,” He mumbled and I looked at him to listen fervently. “That I loved this place ever since I transferred here and it made me bought this bench.” He continued while holding the trunk of the tree.
“It looks expensive, though.” I brushed the palms of my hand to the bench that’s obviously made with fine wood.
“But this bench is too big for one person, is it?” He looked at me but I kept caressing the long swinging bench that’s tightly tied on the thick branch of the tree with its design that’s intricately carved.
“How did you find such place?” I wondered.
“I explore… sightseeing is one of my hobbies.”
“Oh… that’s… nice.” I smiled weakly. He must’ve visit so many unique places, I wonder if there are more hidden places like this that he knew. I’m so curious.
“So I made a promise with the tree…” He continued.
“WITH the tree?” I repeated and he smiled.
“That once I found this girl I like, the right one for me… I’ll bring her here and we’ll both watch the view. We’ll stay here till sundown, till the red and purple horizon comes out. I like seeing the view of the sun as it sets or rises, it’s nice.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know what else to say, I should’ve waited for him to come out. Stupid me. But I must say, we both like watching the sun.
“Thanks for the cookies, it’s crunchy and I like the little pieces of chocolate.” He complimented.
“Yeea.” Phew! Glad it tastes good this time.
I wish I could see the scenic and vivid sunset he was talking about. But he saved it for the girl he likes, and I don’t want to get in the way to his perfect plans.
“So, uhm…” I couldn’t stand the silence anymore, so I spoke up. “Have you found her yet?” That question just came out of thin air, though I wish I hadn’t said that if he’s keeping it private.
“I didn’t…” He answered.
“Oh.” I looked down at the grass.
“But… she found me.” I looked up at him flashing his incredible smile.