"Every hello ends with a goodbye." (2)
“What the heck?!” are my thoughts when I lose the grip of my journal. And I just spoiled myself by reading the entry for tomorrow! But also, I thanked myself for it wasn’t detailed enough. I have no idea if I should be grateful or choke my younger self for leaving out everything. Does that even make any sense? ANYWAY, Nate doesn’t even make a move or say hi to me in school (YUP, like before). It makes me think I really was an ambitious and hopeless romantic, stuck-up and naïve bitch. AND! RYAN AND I ARE DATING?!
So, I write: “Are you there?” and let the ink sinks in.
As I wait, I change my clothes to PJs and wash my face. When I finished, there’s no reply in my journal. But my phone vibrates and lights up.
From: NATHAN 11/17/2010 9:16 PM
I had fun hanging out with you. Thanks again for the treat.
From: Me 11/17/2010 9:16 PM
Me too! And you’re welcome! Text me when you get home.
From: NATHAN 11/17/2010 9:17 PM
It's true what they say, the best things in life are free. 😊
From: Me 11/17/2010 10:07 PM
Nate, are you in your home now?
From: Me 11/17/2010 10:13 PM
Uhm, Nate? Is it okay if I give you a call?
Still, Nate hasn’t replied. I wanted to shrug it off, really, but… After the incident, I have to know. So I pressed the call button and put the phone on my ear. He answered after the fourth ring.
“I’m sorry,” says the unfamiliar voice; it was deep and throaty, “but this is Nathaniel’s father, he’s in the E.R., this is not the best time.”
I gasp, “Oh no, Mr Turner! If you don’t mind, would you please tell me what happened? Is Nate going to be okay? What did the doctor say?” If it’s not obvious, my tone was shaky and panicky. My heart is thumping loudly in my chest as I wait for Nate’s father to answer my questions.
It felt like torture waiting for a response from the other, but instead of answers, I heard laughter.
“Nate?” I say with a stricken uneasiness in my voice. “Are you playing me?”
The bark of laughter continues. I wanted to scream at Nate, punch him hard on his shoulder if I could. “Nate, are you messing with me?!”
I hear him catch his breath, “Of course, I am.” He clears his throat, but there’s still a playful tone in his voice as he says, “I am home now, actually. There’s no need to worry.”
I roll my eyes. “You’re lucky you’re not beside me or else, oh you~!” I huff. “You are such a weirdo! Good night.”
“Mariana!” he calls out. “Wait, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I won’t pull this kind of joke again, I swear!”
Tears welled up in my eyes, “That wasn’t nice, Nate.” I sniff, “Please take some rest now. Tomorrow will be hectic AF because it’s the last day of prep.”
“Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I am truly sorry, Mariana,” I can hear the remorse in his tone. “Well, you should get some rest too, alright?”
“Before you hang up, what is af?”
I sniff and smirk, “I’m not telling.”
He sighs, and I feel him smiling. “Okay, well then, good night!”
“Good night, Nate.”
Before the call ended, I was about to press the end button when I heard him add, “Sweet dreams, Mariana.”
Then the silence was replaced with toot-toot-toot-toot-toot. I smile and put my phone down on my end table. I pull my journal and open it again. I write, letting the ink sink in once again: “Hey, are you there?”
“Uhm, I guess you already know what happened?”
“Am I gonna be in trouble?”
“I don’t think so.”
Now I have been itching to ask why Nate suddenly became friendly around me: “Er, about Nate, what changed?”
“Is it because he stayed when you asked him to?”
“Yeah, and I read the November 17th entry. I didn’t write anything about the date part.”
“Do I really need to explain what happened? I think you already know the answer.”
My eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “That Nate likes, rather liked, me too?”
It doesn’t reply.
“I take that as a yes then?” I whisper. I am happy to know that. Jubilant, even, but in the pit of my stomach, there are some angry cries of regret as I write: “Care to explain what happened this whole day starting with why I won the contest when Leslie Casillas is supposed to win?”
“That’s because you haven’t done anything remotely similar. In your original timeline, you rejected the wardrobe-makeover offer of April because instead of Candyman, you sang Ain’t No Other Man. You were great, but not as great as Casillas, sorry.
“Second, when you didn’t win, Ros still gave you and your crew the free day except for the rest of your homeroom.
“Third, you spent your free pass in the library, reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for a millionth time; no one knew you were there. I think you didn’t want to be called a nerd or geek or something?
“Fourth, when Ryan asked you on a date, you two were already heading out of school. He really did forget his phone at home, too.
“And lastly, you got so happy you didn’t know how to explain what you felt that day. That’s why there was not much about your date with him.”
I can’t help myself but mouth, whoa, reading what the soul said makes me think about the old me; the 15-year-old-Mari was hiding from everyone just to read in the library and the shocking revelation about Ryan and me! Why can’t I recall this?
“I know I told you not to stray from your real memories, but I cannot change the fact that you changed, Mariana. You are not the 15-year-old-Mari everyone knew anymore, and I know you can’t be her again.”
“Will the change in this timeline carry on when I go back in real time?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“How did you know?? It’s kinda creepy you know everything, and I mean EVERYTHING about me, don’t tell me that you’re a Horcrux of mine or something.”
“If you can only hear me laugh, I’m laughing, but... I don’t know why I know it, either.”
I bite my lip. “It’s just so weird and really mind-boggling, you know?”
“And! Ryan and I are secretly dating?!”
“Why don’t I remember that?” I whisper, and I get curious, so I ask: “How long am I staying in this timeline?”
“If Cinderella had until midnight and Casper had until 10, you were given four days.”
I count in my hands. “I only have two days left,” I frown. Then I write: “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
It doesn’t reply; nothing.
“And!” I write, letting the ink sink in, but I don’t know what to say. “What is my objective? Why did you bring me here?”
“For you to experience how it truly feels.”
“What do you mean by that?!”
“You’ll find out soon enough.”