Building love is like building a tower; the higher you make it, the more it would hurt when you fall. Love is the one thing that encourages you to keep going. But sometimes, holding up to someone will merely hurt you more. It is in these situations that all you have to do is let go. You can’t be chained up to the past forever, because life only moves forward; it goes on, and on, and on, and eventually… it stops.
Before leaving my hometown in California, I used to forestall any foreboding thoughts wander into my head and ruin the agendas that I had for my new life as a college girl. It was a great relief that I had finally managed to escape High School and all the drama it held within. But my mother, on the contrary, held a complete different idea than me. She didn’t approve of the fact that I was leaving her and my little brother, Fred, alone.
Now meet Fred: that one nine years old jerk who, to be honest, Satan had taken over his soul, body, and non-existent brain. He’s that kind of brother who makes you cry and tortures you all day long, and then when mother comes in sight, becomes mommy’s little angel.
But among all that madness, what kept me sane was the small camera that I owned since my eleventh birthday. I saw the world through that camera and I cherished it with all I had in me, for it held more valuable memories for me than just a few simple pictures that I got every now and then.
Throughout the few last days of summer, I had become succumbed to think about the future I had planned for myself which could be summarized in a few simple words; decent grades, sedate life, and someone I could value with all my heart. But it was as if the universe had been waiting for me to say those words all along, just to lead me to the exact opposite direction of that agenda. Everything was going as planned until I enrolled and stepped into California State University and fell madly for a boy that every girl –including me- wanted;
He wasn’t that typical frat boy who charmed you with his looks and abs. What grabbed my attention toward him was his expressionless face and mysterious gaze that had been drowned in a world of darkness. I had no control on my eyes; they wandered wherever he went and studied whatever he did, and I couldn’t help but realize that he was more curious than what he tended to look like. He never spoke to anybody unless absolutely necessary, he was twrapped inside his own head, and he always spent his mornings in the coffee shop across my dormitory building, on a certain table, ordering two cups of coffee. So then it became my daily habit to go to that coffee shop and sit in a corner, watching James Anderson drink one of the coffees and leave the other one untouched.
It was my damn curiosity that brought me that destiny and ruined my already-planned future, my dreams, and my so called normal life. And this is exactly what I do now;
It was September Twenty-first and the clock showed six thirty. After stretching my arms, I pulled aside the bed sheets and got off my bed, tiptoeing as quiet as I could toward the bathroom so I wouldn’t wake my dorm-mate, Lily, up. But on my usual bad luck, on my way I walked on one of Lily’s pens that laid on the floor, causing me to let a loud gasp escape my lips. I spent so much time wondering how someone could possibly manage to be that messy, but absolutely no reason occurred to me.
Apparently wherever you looked, no empty and bare space on the floor could be spotted, seeing as it was filled by Lily’s stuff. I did all I could to keep that room tidy, but there were moments that I used to become heedless, and the next thing I knew, our dorm was messy again.
Ignoring the situation, I quickly used the loo and headed back to the room.
“Who on earth wakes up at five on a Saturday morning except for an idiot like you?” I heard a groan from Lily’s direction as I was packing my bag and placing my camera inside it.
“Six thirty, not five.” I corrected her with a scant eye-roll as I zipped the bag and threw it behind my back patiently.
“Same thing.” mumbled Lily as she collapsed on her bed again, falling asleep eventually.
Trying not to make another sound or knock something over as I always did, I exited the dormitory building and ran over the coffee shop across the road. The wind howled at the college’s grounds and tore down the walls of time surrounding me, as my heart pounded against my vulnerable chest.
As I reached the Coffee Shop, I opened the door gently and thus the bell rang through the deserted place. I gazed around, but seeing as it was an early Saturday morning, the only people who could be sighted in the Coffee Shop were the waiter –a skinny boy with glasses, and the cashier –a corpulent bald man with a deep Irish accent.
Just like always, I paced toward the same table that I always sat on, which was placed in a shadowy corner of the place.
My heartbeat kept speeding up, for I knew I would be seeing him again in a few minutes; which meant that it was only time that separated us at that moment.
Without asking, the waiter brought the drink that I ordered every single day and placed it before me; cappuccino.
“Thank you.” I muttered and he nodded his head, going away for a chat with the fat cashier.
I was just about to take a sip from my drink that the bells of the shop rang as someone swung the door open when time showed exactly seven o’clock.
Sharp jawline, messy jet-black hair, deep dark eyes, and an expressionless pallid face; James Anderson.
He walked over his usual two-chaired table that was placed in the middle of the entire shop, withdrew the chair, and sat down. I was making sure that he couldn’t sight me from where he was sitting. Once in a while I stole a glance at his direction, seeing that he hadn’t moved a single muscle.
That was when the waiter brought his usual order -Two cups of hot coffee- and put one before him and placed the second one in front of the other chair. I watched him as he brought his cup up toward his mouth to take one sip without changing his face’s expression.
It tore me apart when I tried so hard to think what was there in him that made me so attracted to him, but couldn’t find the answer. What was so attractive about a guy who was incapable of smiling, I wondered. But even with that, I still found him the best model for my photography.
Just like my usual stalker-self, I took my camera out of my bag, making sure its flashlight was off before taking a few picture of him. It somehow disappointed me when I looked back at my previous pictures from other days. Because it was only his clothes that changed every day. Not his expressionless face, his lips’ movements, his stone-like eyes; nothing.
At last I put the camera back in my bag and took a small sip of my cappuccino, but that was when I heard a cough from James’ direction which gave me a big deal of shock, causing me to pour some of my drink on my lap. It was hot and burned me to the point that a gasp was forced out of my throat.
In a split second James’ head jerked at my way and his dark eyes met mine, straightening all the hair on my skin. I looked away to break the eye contact. It was killing me inside out as I tried my best to keep a straight face.
He didn’t look away to continue whatever he was doing as I expected. Instead, he kept his eyes on me, piercing my skin. I could tell that he wasn’t even blinking, as if he was reading my every thought and was studying every inch of my body. My hands started sweating and my heartbeat went on faster.
At least four minutes had passed and he hadn’t took his eyes off me ever since. I started cursing under my breath to forbid myself from moving, or worse, looking back at him.
But at last to my great relief, I saw from the corner of my eyes that he narrowed his eyes and finally looked away, placed two dollars for tip just like other days, and then left the shop. I let out the breath I wasn’t aware of keeping it and then dried my sweaty hands by running them against my jeans.
That was a close one. I thought with a sigh of relief.