"Romantic dreams must die." (1)
After I watched Nate finish his meal in our coffee and tea shop, he pulled me from the commotion of the inflating crowd inside my homeroom. He leads me to the familiar trail going to the lake. I suppose this will be a thing for him and me from now on. The thought of it makes me smile and hide my blushing face from him to see. I know the campus is roaring with visitors and students, but walking beside Nate and the feel of his hand in mine, they all seem to disappear or fade away. As if it is just him and me, in our outdated styles. I never thought in a million years something like this would be happening to me, dressed in my great grandma’s pale pink, delicately hand-sewn, day gown, holding hands with a tall boy wearing his 1930s outfit, which he, I assume, rented in a vintage store. Nate and I are like a couple of mismatched dynamic duo, born in the wrong generation of characters, who found each other in a romanticized manner to splash colours to their dull, black and white lives. The next thing should be a musical number.
I laugh at my airing wishful thinking, and Nate looks at me over his shoulder when he hears my giggles. So, I say, “Nothing, this all just feels like we’re in a film, a classic black and white film.”
He turns his head back on the pathway. He may try his best to stifle his amusement, but, oh, honey, I saw it. I keep my gaze at him. He smiles when he looks back to check on me and squeezes my hand.
The tight corset hugging my bodice underneath this beautiful dress is not that great. How did the women breathe normally back in the day? Anyway, before I drift off to something else, I feel the approaching brisk winter air pushing the warm autumn breeze, slowly tickling my senses as Nate and I tread our way over the crowd to reach the docks by the lake. Today the forecast is cloudy, and the meteorologists were right, for the sky is bright even if the clouds have been concealing the sun. The people thin out by the time Nate and I entered the solarium. I see a guitar case; lying on the floorboards.
“What’s with the guitar?” I point out as he takes the case and sits comfortably on one of the marble benches by the solarium’s windows. He looks back at me and takes a piece of paper out from his inside chest pocket. I sit down next to him, watching him in confusion as he opens the case and pulls out his leché-flan-looking acoustic guitar. “You just left it there?”
“What if it rained?”
I am stunned at his reaction, for it’s the very first time I see him roll his eyes. He gestures his right arm to the bright sky and then turns back to me, smiling. When he realizes what he was doing, Nate suddenly drops his arm, and I see his cheeks turning red as he avoids my gaze.
I nod and shrug, giggling. “Fine, so why did you bring it?”
He shifts slightly to make himself comfortable on his seat and clears his throat, facing me. “Um, so, I know this may come off as weird but, you inspired me to write a song, and I want your honest opinion about it, okay?”
Clearly, red as a tomato, hoping he wouldn’t notice even if the surrounding is clear as crystal. I nod and say, “Of course. I’d be even harsh if you want me to,” smirking at him as I wink.
He suddenly laughs. Oh, that adorable sound coming out from his mouth is melting my heart. I’m not even trying to be funny, so I playfully hit him. He chuckles before becoming serious again. He presses the neck of his guitar (C, G, Am and then F chords). He slowly plucks the strings, adding dramatic flares onto his written lyrics, which sounded sort of like ’Two is Better than One’ by Boys Like Girls ft. Taylor Swift, and then he stops all of a sudden.
Is this song he’s about to play about me???
“Fair warning, I’m not as good as you in singing and not poetic as well. So, go easy on me,” Nate holds out his right hand.
“Neither am I, Nathan.” I giggle and slap his palm lightly, demanding for him to get on with it.
With his amused grin, he presses his fingers firmly on the neck of his guitar, plucking the strings A, B, and G, then E, D and B, repeatedly, shifting from one chord to another. But, he improvises, leaving me confused at which of the strings he just plucked, and then strums once at the F chord. He breathes deeply before breaking into the song, looking from his fingers to me and then the paper on his lap:
“To be honest, I’ve been craving for something sweet
So, I wondered if the clouds taste like cotton candies
I don’t know what has gotten with me,
But I feel fine whenever you are here.”
I laugh, and he continues:
“After all the talking and the teasing, I thought
You’re in sorrow ’cause I heard it in your voice
But, I’m here like your best friends, dear
You don’t have to pretend. Confide in me.”
He stops and says, “The next part is the chorus, but I’m still not entirely sure if they make sense or —”
My eyes widen at the disruption. Mouth agape, I gasp and exclaim while raising my eyebrows, “Just continue!”
“From the moment you shared your insights
Even if you’re hurting, you still shower light
I’m charmed. That’s one thing I can’t deny
As if I’m munching full of sugar high
For showing who you are on the inside
From a distance, all I see is your smile
Why didn’t I notice it before?
To say the least, Hun, now, I know.”
And then he plucks his guitar with the same chord progression again, saying he has no lyrics to add yet, but he will work on it. With one last strum, he looks intently into my eyes.