A Little Taste of Heaven

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"All I want is to hold you." (2)

April tells me, animatedly, what happened between Ros and Andrew. Apparently, Andrew popped the question to Ros. He asked her to be his girlfriend! No wonder why they were freaking out without me. Anyway, Ros said she would be thinking about it, and they’ll see how it goes. I congratulated her and told her to enjoy these moments because we never notice how they are fleeting away.

She smiles at me and says, “How come you’ve become so wise?”

I shrug. “Lessons I learned from books and films, hun,” and eye her if she will listen to me this time. She shrugs.

I have been holding back my irritation because twenty-two-year-old-future Ros doesn’t acknowledge my bits of advice; I only want the best for her. But she assumes I cannot help her since I am inexperienced. Perhaps I am, yes, but I know how to handle the obstacles in front of me with the help of books I have read and films I have seen. One exception is the night I saw the blinding light where I was losing my will to live.

“Hey, what about me?!” gasps April.

“I love you,” I pull her for a long hug, and then Ros wraps her arms around us.

April laughs, but I could tell she is grateful. “Don’t be so mushy. Save it for Ryan or Nate!”

We laugh and continue focusing on making ourselves beautiful. These kinds of moments are what I treasure the most: the little things. But what April just said left me wondering and just as confused as I had been for the past couple of days. The dawning feeling that my hours in this particular timeline are ticking. I have to make a choice, and perhaps it will help after I dance with them. It will be unpleasant, but I have to. My hands start to shake because of being anxious, but I take deep breaths and, eventually, I calm down.

After I am good with putting my cosmetics on and styling my hair in a low messy bun, I follow Grandma and Nana’s instructions to wear my dress. April and Ros fix their hairstyles and use my beauty products to make themselves lovelier in front of my mirror. I put the blouse on first with precision, careful enough not to mess my hairdo, and then the skirt to tuck the blouse in, and then I ask Ros to help me tighten up the skirt along my waist. When it’s fixed, and I can breathe normally, I wrap around the longer piece of clothing around my waist and tie it neatly. And lastly, I put the smaller cloth around my shoulders and got the pin from the box to keep the cloth stick together. I take out the gloves to put them on and then smooth the creases on my skirt.

I walk out of my closet to look at myself in the full-body mirror. April, who just applied foundation on, and Ros, still putting lotion on her face, follow me to look at my transformation. The three of us, mouth hanging, look at my reflection.

“Wow, you look timeless,” says Ros, mesmerized and smiling in the mirror.

April rests her hands on my shoulders and leans in. “It’s the dress!” she laughs. “Nah, you know I’m kidding. You look beautiful in it!”

I giggle as I smooth out the skirt again, even though it is already creaseless. I beckon at the two to finish applying the cosmetics so that we can go to the ball. “Stop gawking at me and now focus on yourselves so I can say timeless and, it’s the dress, to you guys too!”

They laugh and go back to the vanity mirror to finish their beautification.

As I wait for them to wow me, I open the smaller ornate box and rummage delicately through the pages of letters, photographs and sketches. I see where I get my fascination and talent for artistry. The drawings were raw yet so extraordinarily brilliant. I scan through the pages and see S.C. at a few sketches on the lower parts of the parchments and then change to S.C.S. on the newer, less faded papers. I should always wear gloves the next time I look through all of the drawings. I place them back in the box.

The faded black and white and sepia photographs caught my attention next, and I noticed the dress I’m wearing is almost the same as the woman sitting on a grand-looking chair. She must have been Nana’s grandma, and she was stunning. I look closer at the men, and somehow the younger boy looks oddly familiar. I look at another photo next and, the background is the gazebo; here in Eastridge! Nana was still a kid here with her parents, holding a baby; I reckon that was Grandpapa Henri, her younger brother. I couldn’t help but laugh. They looked so blissful. I flip to another photograph and see Nana playing with Grandpapa. They might be preteens in the photo, and they were so young.

I smile and whisper under my breath, “May your souls rest in peace,” as I put the photos back on top of the sketches in the box. I open the folded letters and read some of them. The letters are about business matters, and some are just letters about their travels, addressed to Mr Daniel Charmonte from a guy named Mr Henri Colinsfirth and vice versa, and letters from Grandpapa to them during the war. Whoa, the family owns a mining company? Lol, as if I didn’t know that. Before I got really into reading the letters, my mind drifted off to, geez, my friends are taking so long.

So, I put the letters and sketches back inside and neatly put the box on my desk. I will read them when I get back. I walk into my closet and ask, “Are you guys done yet?”

April looks at me as she applies luscious red lipstick, and it complements her elegant, midnight blue evening gown with patterns on her skirt looking like diamonds in the darkened sky. “Almost done, I swear!” She stands up straight and walks out to examine herself in the full-body mirror.

“What about you?” I ask Ros as I watch her apply mascara on her eyelashes.

She shushes me by saying, “Don’t make me lose my concentration.”

I laugh and head out to look at April. “Oh, wow, you look gorgeous, girl!”

Her bob-cut hair is in curls, and she adds a finishing touch with a diamond-studded hairband. Her bare neck glitters with a Harry Winston diamond necklace; I don’t want to ask how many carats it has. Her dress might look modest, yet, she definitely looks expensive with her accessories.

She looks at me over her shoulder and mimics my accent. “I know, darling. I know!”

I giggle and shake my head as she twirls, letting her skirt twinkle in the light. We wait for Ros to come out, and when she does, we look at her, amazed. She’s wearing a lavender turtleneck dress with silver, hand-sewn thread design all over the hem, and over her shoulders is a laced, yellow shawl. Her makeup is simple, but she doesn’t need too much makeup to look beautiful.

“You clean up good, Ros!” says April.

Nudging her side, I say with a wink, “Andrew’s jaw will drop when he sees you later.”

Ros’s pinkish cheeks redden as she hit me lightly on my arm. “Not a word more. Let’s head there.”

April and I don’t breathe another word, but we both giggle as Ros rolls her eyes at us.

Mum and dad are waiting at the foot of the stairs, holding a camera, and she squeals when she sees us. The lights of our Nikon DSLR flashes as the three of us head downstairs. My phone chimes and, I check it and see that Ryan has texted me saying he is walking towards their front porch. Then the doorbell rings before I could reply. Mum asks Martha to get the door as I try to respond, but mum gets in front of me to take a closer look at my face. She cups my cheek and smiles and then steps back so my friends and I could pose for pictures. April and Ros pull me into the centre to smile with them. So, I just text Ryan to see him soon. I smile in front of the camera, letting the moments immortalize.

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