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Chapter 4: Lullaby

That sensation pricked me so deep--that was the moment I crumpled my chest and lost my balance.

“Hey are you okay?” Earl caught me.

“Hmm yeah. This maybe the result of skipping breakfast” I escaped a chuckle.

“Nice alibi Ivy.” He sharpened. “Let’s go.”

“Where?” I stupidly asked.

The crowd seems still. They didn’t see my little lost of balance. All of them is boldy listening to our founder Head Council Alexander Charlington.

“I’m okay.” I liked more but my vision starts to blur. Every word that H.C(Head Council) Alexander is saying echoes in my ear in a low pitch.

Crap! I think...my conciousness is slipping.

My vision and hearing begin to swirl. I hold my head and hope I will regain even a tiny strength but it’s no use. I saw Professor Big Dumboo look at me. He knows I’m not well so he stride to walk in my direction. He shove the crowd in haste to get as quickly as he can.

But, I notice something. It may sound creepy...but the crowd, the students...they did not take a glance on why Prof. Dumboo is in hurry. In fact, they are solidly in focused on the speech of our founder, H.C Alexander Charlington.

They were like mannequins with no emotions. Deeply in silence.

“Are you alright Ms.Ivy?” Prof. Big Dumboo shows worried. “Let me take you to the infirmary”.

“I believe that you’ll be needing here Sir.” Earl notifed. “I’ll take responsibility Sir.” He initiated.

The announcement is on going and a teacher like him must stay here. His presence is a must. Earl thinks it that way. He is very reasonable. Very rational. You can’t find words to argue.

I know he is not the type of guy to spit a care and sincerity but I just wanna hear it sometimes. You know girl stuffs? Sense of belongingness? But I know in my heart that he will not treat me more. What he only want is to give me fresh breath of air. Nothing more nothing less. That’s it.

“Sure Mr. Earl” Prof. Dumboo agreed. “But, your attendance is a must also. This is an announcement for student body.” He strongly reminds. “It would be best if you let me take her.”

I can’t stand any more. I grabbed Earl’s elbow. The swirls and echoes became more violent. I will faint in just a few seconds. I can’t faint here. What the heck is happening to me. I can’t control my gravity. Suddenly, I’mleaning my whole body and weight to Earl.

He noticed it.

“I will take responsibility, Sir.” He insisted in the most polite manner. “Excuse us.”

I stared at him silently as I burry my face on his chest. Glad at this moment he is taking liability.

I felt his hands crawled and grasped my waist.

He controlled his muscle to release a small force. He adjusted his fingers around my waist. Calculating how much effort he will put in to lift me. He adjusted his hands again.

I think he’s processing a thing on his mind. His finger adjustment speaks one truth. His arm and hands can crushed me if he puts an unnecessary force. So, he is making a movement to achieve a desired fit.

And, finally, he made his cue.

He lift me , still in a standing position. He put a minimal effort to lift my waist two inches above ground. This made me look I am still capable of walking.

I glance a look on Prof. Dumboo and I saw him hissed. The crowd were intact, stationary and motionless as we leave.

The cold refreshing breeze kisses my cheeks. We are now outside of the University ground. Nothing can beat the natural atmosphere here in Dublin. It may be gloomy base on the climate appearance but it brings solace in our soul. A comfort in times of distress and sadness.

He halt when we reached the park. He shifts his gear. He decided to carry me, carry my whole body.

I closed my eyes.

I will be okay.

My hand slides on his. The structure of his hands were athletic but soft, as if he is trained to kill in the most delicate and exquisite way.

Sometimes I asked myself why am I still here with him...still here for the person can’t love me back. Martyr? Stupidity? Or will I call it selflessness because I think of what is better. Better for his needs—a company of a family, of a home.

“Stop thinking too much please.” Earl

“You’re always like that” I put a half-baked smile. “As if you know everything” running on my mind. I hissed.

Our feet settled on the bench of the park. We sat on wooden chairs on the 7th post light under the tall pine tree. Although its already winter its leaves are still lively green. Surprisingly this tree is the only tree that has its leaves, but just several. It’s amazing how strong and well grown this is coz it’s the last to lose its leaves and first to regrow.

We laid our back and watch people go and round. You can see the busyness of everyone. They don’t even take a break and be stunned by the nature. We don’t live forever, no one will. We live temporarily, sad to say. Humans were created by countable days and years. We ae created to die, created just do die. Hypocrisy they say if you want to live forever.

No conversation with Earl just a dead sound. Maybe we both have different matter to think with. We are too preoccupied by the thoughts but we both know we got each other’s back—not forever but always. Always is more practical and realistic than forever.

I want to pause this second. A moment where Earl is beside me.

I let the moment passed and take a nap.

My whole body became light. Does someone carrying me? I can smell the sweet aroma of honey in perfume. A resemblance to a lullaby that keeps me feel safe and warm. Its addicting. Earl...he’s the only person I know who own this kind of smell.

I gazed on his smooth face and smiled but something on his chest bothered me. I find it weird. An oblong shape and inside of it, an inverted v was engraved.

“Please take care of yourself Ivy” Earl utter in small voice. “I can’t guard you anymore...” he stares at me so worried. But there’s more than those dead eyes. It is somehow a mix of fear, tiredness and weakness. It’s my first time to see him show emotions.

I woke up in my bed like I was so sick. Bed?! I scanned my surroundings...Yes I am! “How the hell—” I was terribly shocked.

“Hi” Earl said the word so casual sitting on the rocking chair.

“Why am I here?”

“Because it’s your room?” he replied and I gaze him a sharp look. “Stare out the window”

I went and slide the curtain right in time pop to out my head. It’s already morning. I glance at my wall clock and it says there 9:45. I recalled what happened a while ago? No...yesterday! Okay I was...okay I mean, we were at the park then we let the time pass by...I was thinking things...and...and...yeah that’s it! So how on earth—wait, did I fell sleep?! That was not like me.

“You just did” Earl mummed.

“What?” I saw him speak but didn’t hear what he says.

“Charl saw you sleeping at the park. Aren’t you’re not feeling well yesterday? Better ask him. And he’s the one who calls the taxi to ride you.”

I am certain that I’m with Earl yesterday. Did he leave me alone? The reason why Charl saw me? What is he talking about? More importantly, how come that he isn’t the one who brought me here, impossible. Was it all a dream? I am certain he carried me. He even talk to me! Right?

I managed myself to be calm “Is that so?” but still feeling down and confused.

“Yeah.” He replied.

“I should thank him.” I smiled and exhaled my upset. I need to ask Charl if he is the one who brought me here. Back here in my room. Because, I am very sure that I am with Earl.

“Oh!” his voice rise then stoops so low “Yeah. Hmm, he’s at the university library. Yeah...he is.” He utters so odd.

I feel like he’s lying. I can see he’s not confident in his words. There’s one way to find out if he is. I remember he has an engraved or tattoo? On his left side of his chest. I move closer and stop the momentum of his rocking chair then I lean my body to him so he won’t escape.

“What are you doing?” Earl utters.

I didn’t mind him and aim to slide up his shirt. “There you go!” my high expectation drops immediately. There’s nothing on his chest, on any side. No trace of engraved I was speculating. He isn’t lying. I’m the one who acts and thinks strange and more so maybe I was just dreaming?

“Move fast Ivy” he pulled up himself and walk going to the door and I was left on the chair so dumbed and stupid. Embarrassment crippled in my veins. I can’t almost breath. I looked crazy.

“Hurry. We’re going to the library.” he hissed.

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