Part IV: Caged
It was a Sunday, a week since Gale returned from his studies abroad.
Annalise wanted to spend more time with him. But, the more she thought about visiting him, the more she shied away.
It was not like she did not have any feelings for him anymore; rather, it was the feelings that proved be quite the hindrance. She wanted to tell him – at least hint – but, she was too afraid of rejection. She thought that being blind to her feelings was better than admitting them and being rejected.
Therefore, she had not seen him again that week, although it was punching holes in her already fragile heart.
As for Gale, he was craving for her company as much she was and wondered why on Earth she did not visit him yet, as she used to, three years ago. She would always ride in through the gate on her little blue bicycle, as if she owned the place – which was probably true, seeing as how his parents found her very agreeable.
By that evening, the waiting was killing him. So, he decided to pay her a visit himself.
As he opened the gate of her house, he could see a silhouette on a window of the room that he remembered to be hers. As soon as he focussed on it, though, it vanished!
He smiled to himself knowing that it was her at the window.
Why was she looking so hard at the gate as if she was expecting somebody…??
Gale went up to the front door. However, even before he reached up to knock on it, it swung open and Annalise stood at the doorway, her unique smile lighting up her entire essence.
’If you wanted to see me so badly, all you could’ve done was come home,’ he thought with an amused smile on his face.
Annalise led him upstairs. He saw that he had been right about her room. Inside, however, the room was a lot cleaner than he had last known it to be.
And, of course, her bookshelf had grown significantly!
“I see you’ve read a lot since I’ve known you last,” he commented. “So, that department is doing fairly good, eh?”
“Yep!” she said, popping the ‘p’ in her excitement. “I’ve read so many, many now!”
She brought out a chair from her desk from him to sit, while she sat on her bed.
“Anna, tell me one thing,” he said.
“Yes, Gale?” she replied, leaning forward in eager anticipation.
’God, my name sounds so grand when she utters it…’
“If you wanted to see me again so bad, why didn’t you just drop by?” he asked her. Although his voice sounded serious, she could see the look of amusement in his eyes.
Nevertheless, her face fell and the load she been carrying for a week now caught in her throat, rendering her speechless.
The tears that fell down her beautiful face told him everything he wanted to know.
Reaching out, Gale cupped her face in both of his hands and they stayed like that till Annalise decided to let go of the dam. As a result, three years’ worth of tears spilt down her perfect round cheeks, giving him pictures of all the pain and sorrow she had undergone all through his absence – and perhaps caged them inside her heart.
While he witnessed all these feelings, her heart lightened greatly and she was glad to let her thoughts flow for once in three years – the longest she had ever had to endure in her life.
“You missed me real bad, didn’t you?” he said, his voice gone a hundred notches below normal hearing level. She could feel his heart leaping in his throat, trying to reach out for her.
For a few moments, the air stilled around the two best friends, with the sounds of breathing being the only disturbance around them.
“You can’t even imagine,” she muttered in response. She gave a small sniff, in an attempt to stop more tears from flowing – which was quite useless at this point, since her well was already drying up.
“No, I simply can’t,” he agreed, a small rueful smile creeping up his face, “for, believe me, I’ve tried and failed.”
At this, the two young people dissolved into helpless laughter.