I was running through the park at full speed. The monsters were chasing me, and the path was getting smaller and smaller until the trees became blue and the sky became red and—
I crashed into a girl. We both fell together. Me, being the prince I am, wrapped myself around her so that I could get most of the fall; after all, it was my fault. As we hit the cobbled stone pavement, I felt the gravel pierce my skin, but I still held on, fearless of what lay ahead, determined not to let her go. My arms burned and bleed and finally, when we stopped moving, I was bold enough to look the girl in the eyes. Two pools of a dark blue ocean stared back. They were midnight blue, but not quite, like a sea and sky had a fight, and both refused to back down, they were full of rage and yet serene, a calm wave in an ocean of fury. Yet what stared back at me wasn’t anger. Her eyes screamed thank you before her lips even moved, and when they did, a melodious tune came tumbling out her rosy lips; she-she was beautiful. I hadn’t felt like this before. All the other girls were dumb and disgusting, but she wasn’t. I felt like Prince Charming with Cinderella, I just knew. Her hair flew in the wind, the blue finally meeting her chestnut; her hair braided like vines, intertwined, just like our hands. Some hair fell to cover her eyes and almost reached her lips. She opened them to say something again, but was drowned out but the frenzied screaming of our mothers. Frantic activity soon surrounded us. We kept holding each other though. Scared to let go, as if we will feel the pain if we move, still in silence. When our mothers reached, I didn’t want to look up. I knew what she would scold me for being irresponsible and putting another life in danger. And the girl’s mother, oh, she will scream that I was careless and reckless. I slowly looked up. They weren’t angry, well not that angry. They picked up and gently placed us on a bench and scanned for possible wounds and dressed them in white cloth, which, frankly, prickled.
The woman, who was her mother, looked at me and smiled. I was so confused. Shouldn’t she be angry at me? Shouldn’t she scream? I think it was the confusion on my face which she answered with a smile, “ Young man, you were so brave.”
“I wasn’t. I put your daughter in danger.”
“Oh, did you? I don’t see a scratch.”
I looked at the girl in bewilderment. There were no white cloths on her. She was smiling.
“My name is Lila.”
She spoke slowly, but not quietly. The word echoed in my ears, ‘Lila’. It should mean beauty or does it. It was my new favourite word because it belonged to my new favourite person.
“Will you be my friend?” she asked, a little faster this time. I smiled. It was as if she read my mind.
Our mothers smiled. They each took our hand, and we took each other. We walked into the sunsets and lived happily ever aft—
I crashed into the telephone pole. Lila laughed.
“Thirteen years later and you still crash into things.”
“I’m sorry, okay,” I said sarcastically, “You’re lucky it wasn’t you.”
She laughed again. I rolled my eyes, then smiled. The girl was my best friend after all.
“Come on, we’ll miss the bus,” I said, looking at the yellow box hurdling at us at full speed, well, its full speed.
I carefully climbed the bus, to make sure I don’t crash into anything again. She followed me, still laughing. We took our usual seats, the ones towards the end of the bus. We grew up together, hand in hand, laughing at problems and running to make forts; she was the funniest, smartest person I knew and I was well, I don’t know, the sportiest…
“Can you read my mind, woman?”
“Don’t call me woman, man.”
“Hush,” she laughed again. She laughed a lot actually. Mostly at me. She was stilling laughing when the bus halted suddenly. I looked up and saw a boy next to the driver, almost out of sight. I could see half of his face, and he wore it blank. Lila nudged me slowly. Just as our eyes met, I heard a sudden bang. It was deafening. Our immediate reaction was to duck. I couldn’t see anything. I held her tightly. She held me back. We sat there, trembling in the darkness, too scared to move. I heard two more bangs, this time louder, more fierce. They were followed by screams. The screams of the teacher. A heard thump right next to me. After a few minutes, I finally had the guts of open my eyes. I saw a hand. It was white. It was covered in blood. It had a pretty engagement ring on its fourth finger. I knew whose it was immediately. Mrs Gretchen had been so excited about her fiancé proposing that she showed it off to the whole class. Another bang. This time was louder than the rest.
“You can come out now.”
It wasn’t a child’s voice. I slowly looked at Lila, she was shaking, still in my arms. Our eyes met. I saw the turmoil in her ocean blue eyes. I could feel her tremors. I could feel her anger. I felt someone looming over us. I just held her tighter. I slowly looked up, ready to protect her from anything. I saw tall man looming over in bulletproof gear.
We slowly got out of the bus, not looking at anything but the door. Our parents were waiting for us downstairs. They hugged us, but we didn’t let go of each other's hands. We just held on. Hoping it was a dream. We walked home in our stained white uniforms and never forgot that day in the bus. Yet time went by. No one talked about what happened on that bus except the media. We turned back into our own selves. Except Lila didn’t laugh anymore. I wish I could—
I crashed into a chair. I cursed as I put it back where it was before. The wedding hall was perfectly decorated. The whole room was transformed into a palace. The windows wore their finest silk. The chairs painted themselves pure. The petals lay into a grand path that we would walk through. White peonies fell in cascades from the ceiling. They decorated the altar, the walkway. Everywhere you could see. After all, she loved them. Everything was in position. Except— I heard a cough behind me, and I finally saw her. God, she was beautiful. She was dressed in a white gown, the colour suiting her skin, the shape her figure. Her hair fell down her shoulders, but it was her eyes that took away his breath. Her damn eyes.
Now everything was in position. She was by his side. Until the end of the aisle. He handed her off to her fiancé. To Justin.
Everything was perfect for those two minutes he had. Before everything changed before she became his. She was nothing but Justin’s. He sighed and kept his head down. Then the part came when it was asked if anyone wants to object. He still kept his head down, and no matter how much he tried, a tear fell down his face. He waited for the silence to continue, for her to leave, but that didn’t happen.
He knew the voice even before he lifted his head. Lila objected.
“I can’t marry you.”
I expected outrage, especially from Justin. “I knew you would say that. Go. Do what you must, and I will too.”
She ran back down the aisle, and I too stricken to even move, watched what happened next. The groom, now a groom no longer, walked patiently down the aisle until he reached this pretty girl. He uttered two words “Forgive me.” That was it. She was in place of Lila, getting married, saying her vows. I knew what was happening. It was another man. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I ran. I didn’t even run up to my room. I jumped into the first taxi I could. I just ran, in every sense of the word. I ran from everything. I could do not—
I crashed into a man and pushed him off his feet. I jumped to my feet and helped him gather his things. I apologised furiously, but he just waved his hand and walked away. I turned around to see him go, still concerned I hadn’t given him a concussion, and when I turned back, that’s when I saw her. She hadn’t changed much, time had left her untouched. Yet she looked more mature. She was dressed simply, in a white top and blue jeans, but the top had a stain on it, quite visible from afar. That wasn’t like her. I almost walked away thinking it was someone else, but her eyes pierced through my doubts. They were devoid of any emotions. What were before the ways to look into her soul became empty; what was once full of laughter didn’t even have sadness, they were simply numb. The eyes only had one thing. Tears.
Something hit his cheek. It stung. He didn’t move. He couldn’t. He kept staring into her eyes. She would understand why he did what he did. She would- wouldn’t she? She uttered a single word.
“Because I couldn’t see you in the arms of another man.”
She gave a sarcastic huff.
“Another man? Another man! You’re right, I fell in love with another man! Not bloody Jason or Eric not even Justin! The man I fell for was crazy handsome, he was so kind and brave and most of all, he was there. Every single day. And you know how I met him? He was so clumsy — He crashed into me so hard, I should have gotten hurt, but I didn’t, not one scratch. He was— I don’t know how to say it. All I know is that the first time we met, I fell for him. And I waited, patiently, for him to say how he felt, for him to say that he loved me. But he kept silent. For twenty-four years I have loved him, and I don’t even know if he loves me back.”
I looked into her eyes, mine now full of tears.
“No. Let me finish. Do you know where I went after I left that alter? Straight to your room, so when you would come I— I would ask you to marry me. I was sick of waiting. I was sick of you not being mine. I needed you to be mine. I couldn’t deal with those girls staring at you, and you know what, I am happy you didn’t come to the altar at least now I know that you don’t—-”
“Don’t you dare say it.”
She stopped struggling. She finally looked me in the eyes. She finally saw it. I finally let her see it. All my love came pouring out of my eyes.
Turns out, we both fell together.