"Romantic dreams must die." (2)
“So, what did you think?”
His eyes reflect the shyness, but I admire his boldness for sharing his creativity with me. I give him a smile, “you’re such a melt, Nate!” I giggle as I place my hand on his forearm. “Were you listening to Boys Like Girls or Taylor Swift while writing this?” I honestly say, “Because it kind of sounds like one of their songs.”
He gasps, “Mariana, I cannot believe you think I listen to her songs. I’m offended you assumed that.”
“Hey!” I called him out. “How could you not? She is one of the best lyricists and artists in our generation.”
With mock expression, he raises his arms in surrender, saying that he was just kidding. We both chuckle at our silliness, shaking our heads. He continues playing some song I don’t recognize, it must be one of the indie bands he’s listening to, and we let the breeze pass us; the leaves and flowers rustle. He looks at me as if I’m the person he is waiting for all along. Well, I assume because that’s what I think whenever I look at him. I should be feeling self-conscious now, for he is just observing me, waiting for my insight. But I think it’s him who is embarrassed since I am still not saying anything.
I clear my throat. “Er, that’s the musical number I was thinking of earlier,” I giggle and let a lock of my hair fall on my face. When I glance at Nate, he gives me a chuckling smile.
We both fall silent and feel the caress of the air.
I bump his shoulder with mine as I say, “I like it. So what’s the title?”
He is shrugging as he puts the piece of paper back in his pocket. “I’m not sure yet. I mean, I only have a verse, a pre-chorus and a chorus. Maybe, when I have a bridge, I can come up with something.”
Smiling and gesturing for his guitar, I ask, “What do you mean by that line, now I know?”
He passes me his guitar, and I play Little Things nonchalantly, ignoring my aching fingertips for the lack of calluses and guitar strings scars. Surely he would not know about this song when I return to the future since he does not listen to mainstream musicians. I gasp as I lose focus on what he is saying. I forgot about — I mentally shake my head. He is already in front of me. I smile and listen to him.
He shrugs again when I turn my focus back on him. “Well, I was not entirely honest with myself, and I think I’m stupid for not admitting to what my friends have been saying.”
My eyebrows furrow. I could not control myself and laugh. “Nate, you’re such a sweetheart, but I cannot believe you would think that because you’re not stupid!”
He looks at me, sheepishly smiling and scratching the back of his neck. “Okay, Mariana.” He clears his throat and returns to the subject. “So, about the song I have written, what else did you think?”
Nodding, “You said it’s not complete, yes?” he nods, so I suggest, “Perhaps, this might help?”
I stop playing the guitar and sing:
“And that time the real you showed
From a distance, your voice was all I heard
I should pour my all and go
With what I didn’t know before.”
And then I laugh, shaking my head, “you know what? Ignore me. It’s not that good.”
“No, it’s not a bad idea,” he says as he pulls out the paper again and a pen from his pocket and then starts writing what he had heard and still remembers. “Maybe you should write the next verse!” he says and then mutters my words while writing. “From a distance, your voice was all I heard.”
“Why?” I laugh. “I told you, I am not a poet either!”
He pouts. “But what you did was out of nowhere, and it sounded good. Oh, come on, please?” he lifts his hands like praying, still holding the pen, “please?”
I laugh as I watch his chin wobble and lips upside down. He looks so cute; I want to squish his cheeks. “Fine, we’ll see about what’s gonna happen next,” and I play the tune of Little Things again without singing.
He smiles in ease. “I didn’t know you could play the guitar?”
I shrug. “Still not that good,” and I forgot the real 15-year-old-me is still learning. So, I wronged the Am chord on purpose. I give the guitar back to him and squeeze my fingertips because it’s starting to be painful. “I suppose we should head back?”
He nods, putting his guitar back in its case. “Yeah, my classmates would be wondering where I’ve gone off to,” he says, laughing, and then he checks his phone. “Yup, they are looking for me.”
I wait for him to close his guitar case securely. We stand up from the bench and walk back to the main building, talking and laughing about what our classmates might be doing right now. Suddenly, I feel my phone vibrating in my purse, and before I answer, Nate faces me and smiles.
“I’ll see you later at the Ball, Mariana,” he says and waves bye. He sprints towards his homeroom, careful not to hit anyone with his guitar case.
I wave and giggle as I watch him go. Then I fish my phone out to see Chandler calling. I answer the call. “Hey, what’s up, Chan? Is Ros looking for me, or does she have another task for me to do?”
“Hey Mari, er, no, not really, where are you, though?” his voice was quite loud and urgent on the other line. “I have something to show you!”
I chuckle. “Did something bad happen at the booth or on our bulletin board?”
“What? No,” he says. I assume, embarrassed and flushed. “I just found a couple of booths from other years that you might like.”
My face lights up, “Ooooh, is that so?” I gasp. “Okay, let’s meet up at the entrance of the great hall. I wonder why it’s closed today.”
“Beats me,” he says. “See you there.”