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The Beauty of a Dying Day

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Chapter 2

“It’s strange!” She exclaims walking into the airport.

“No matter what I do I’m never on time! It’s getting frustrating.” Lexine wearily says as she rushes to the check-in line. Her voice is calm as she converses with her best friend but with the calmness you can hear the cool tone of disappointment as well, the slight difference between being frustrated at the world and being frustrated with oneself. She was crying all the way to the airport but the moment she took a step inside the building she tried to forget about the gloomy days that she had just endured and tried to focus on her current motions.

The airport today is filled with a scholar touring group: guys who range from slump to confident, girls who act as if the world owes them everything and girls who try extremely hard in order not to be noticed. Within the vastness of an airport their variety is but merely a few. She walks right past the group without even seeing a glimpse of them, completely caught in her world as she talks away into the phone while standing in line with the rest of the passengers.

“Next.” An old man with gray-streaked hair shouted from the east-most counter. “I’ll phone you as soon as I land.” She says and ends the call. Her high heels are clicking as she walks to the furthest counter towards the middle-aged man. She simply hands her identification and booking details over to him and awaits confirmation. “Miss Lexine Winslow,” he said and inspected her paperwork.

“Joshua!” she hears a cry from behind her. Suddenly the bustling sounds of conversation and announcements and bags rolling across the floor went mute. The only audible sound a loud thumping noise protruding from within her chest. This is too soon, her thoughts whisper. She knows the way destiny works and has always worked; usually it gives her at least about three months before they bump into each other again, that is the best way she could interpret the period that destiny granted them apart. It has only been nine days since their last encounter. She inhaled sharply and clutched her handbag closer to her, trying to fight the urge. Trying to fight the feeling of wanting to run away, run away until she can’t run anymore. Finally, she turned around to the direction of the voice that echoed her great love’s name. And there was no sign of him; all she can see is a group of scholars.

Quickly she turns back around towards the counter and allows her breath to steady itself again. She did not realize that she was holding her breath until all she saw was a bunch of unknown faces. “You scored yourself a window seat.” He says and hands back all of her documentations and her plane ticket. “Have a lovely trip!” he said completely oblivious of her internal panicking and called for the next person to attend his counter. She grabbed her ticket and started towards the gate for her departure.

She has done this so many times, checked in for her flight, that it seemed so natural. Flying feels to her like freedom now. It is a way she can escape the harsh reality hidden upon this earth and those few moments in the air feels as if every single time she is granted a brief chance at freedom. She has grown to love it, to love this way of no real assurance the unplanned delays and extra stops. In some way, traveling feels to her as if she can betray fate to create her own destiny- and that is exactly what she is planning on doing. She does not want any high force to control her life, to decide who gets to leave and who will want to stay. She wants every single choice in life to truly be her own and somehow doing the things that she does not necessarily want to do make her feel like she is achieving her goal- her goal of allowing herself to be in control of her destiny, even if it meant running from love.

He is sitting on top of a mountain with his hazel-colored hair blowing in the wind. This is his escape, his freedom, his life. He climbed all the way up here just so that he can feel the wind piercing through his skin; that is the feeling he loves- the feeling of breathing in untainted air, feeling a crisp breeze flowing through his curls and seeing the different face of a new born day. He started climbing an hour before day break simply because this morning he woke up with the urge to run away and the best way to satisfy this peculiar craving is when he runs towards the sky on mountain tracks instead of through the streets towards nothing. At least he feels like he is reaching a goal while pursuing the tracks of the mountain- and that goal is to reach the top in time.

Now he is sitting here with sweat covering his skin. His eyes are capturing the newborn day as if it is the most precious thing in life. The dark horizon slowly being touched with peach colored paint; the birds singing and spreading their wings one after the other. And the more the sun emerges from its sleep underneath the death-dark horizon its presence sends a shock of life to the ones that are still asleep. His rays awake the humans from their dreams, the people from their nightmares and the animals from their fears. All is well in the morning when the sun greets you with a promise of another day. Because there’s only one thing in life that is guaranteed: the sun will rise again. No matter if there are clouds in the sky or rain pouring down the sun has always stayed. And perhaps that is why he loves starting his days underneath the watchful eyes of the sun; because throughout all his running and all his fear the only thing that stayed constant was the presence of this sun. The sun who watched him the moment he woke up from his long night’s sleep to the moment where it went to sleep and sent his sister, the moon, to come and watch over the city as the citizens sleep. It gives him reassurance that his fear for running has a limit; otherwise, he would have wanted to run from nature itself. And he loves it too fondly since he was a child, to let go of the love that they share.

His love for the moon and the sun, just as they love him through never being gone.

“You know I’ve never wanted anything more in life.” She whispered as they’re both standing in the middle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. “What are you talking about?” he asked trying to understand this girl that joined his side about half an hour ago. “To meet someone who loves to watch the day break as much as I do.” She simply replied, with no uneasiness in her voice. He tore his eyes away from the darkness stretching out in front of him to look at the girl beside him. All her facial features are delicate: her mouth is thin with a slight curve upwards, her nose precisely placed to transform her face into a piece of art. Her eyes-her eyes light up her fragile face. She turned to him when she felt his eyes lingering on her skin. She found his beauty intriguing. And under the light of the fading stars he looked like a knight struggling with his being, struggling with the thoughts inside his mind. They were staring at each other deeply, taking in the essence of one another with their eyes.

At that moment it was as if the world’s that they both lived in faded away- as if all of those years were simply a dream. And this, this with the stars, the bridge beneath their feet and the feeling that they belonged was the true reality. “It’s an unusual time for someone to be standing on a bridge with a stranger?” he asked rather than stated as he was glancing around to see no one but themselves. Her thin lips parted and he saw her smile for the first time and at that exact moment, the rays of the sun crept out from behind the horizon. She looked like someone he had dreamt about but never thought he’d meet. “You’re not a stranger; you’re a very distant acquaintance.” She said with a voice failing but her smile still an enchantment on her face. And he smiled, actually smiled for the first time not only with his mouth but with his inner being. For how long they stood staring at each other neither of them knew but what they do know is when they finally broke eye contact to stare at the sunrise the sun was already in the sky and they missed the beauty of a rising sun. “That was the first time I missed it.” He whispered staring longingly at the sky where the sun had emerged but where it was no longer floating. He wasn’t sure she’d understand him until she replied with a voice filled with unexplained adoration. “For the first time I had something more fascinating to look at.” And she turned away from him to head for the solid terrain where the bridge ended to head home. He wanted to stop her from taking another step away from him. He feared, strangely, that every step she took away from him that his world would forget about her existence, and he never wanted to forget her.

That day was colder than any of the others he had ever encountered. It might have been because he felt emptier. Just as he felt empty that day- without his presence, she felt sadness. She had the need to see him but also feared to meet him again. It was about two hours before sunset when she found herself walking towards the bridge, walking towards nothing but cars coming and going. Her eyes were focused on her feet as she watched them walking as if she didn’t have control over the direction they wanted to go and she was fascinated- fascinated by their need to walk towards the unknown. The moment she reached the middle of this bridge her eyes lifted from the tar to see a familiar stranger’s face. It was him; the boy with the broken smile and the flame in his eyes. “I just found myself walking towards the bridge.” He said with a smile that held a hint of satisfaction as if he hoped to see her here and that made her heart jump. “I figured since we didn’t see the sunrise we should at least indulge in the ending of this peculiar day.” With those words she stepped forward to take her place beside him.

Lexine suddenly gasps for breath the moment his hand took hold of hers in the reverie. She can still feel the warmth of his touch as he took hold of her left hand without hesitation and she remembers how strange she thought it was that she didn’t unclasp her hand from his. That was their first time they indulged in the beauty of a dying day instead of watching another day begin. That was the first day their inner beings collided. They did it often after that one specific day- but their meetings were never planned. They never scheduled to watch the day come to an end; somehow they just walked towards each other at certain times on certain days.

She is on the airplane staring out of the window at the great ocean waving from far beyond. She loves getting a window seat; the beauty of nature from far away gives her a different perspective on life. But she hates when her daydreams turn into memories. Hates how whenever her mind wandered it wanders down a path towards him.

“Who is this Joshua?” a man asks interrupting her thoughts. Her mind suddenly clears of all dreams and tries to focus on reality. How does he know she is thinking about Joshua? How can she explain him to a stranger, she cannot even explain him to her best friend. With a heart knocking on the inside of her ribs she looks away from the window to stare at the man who is seated beside her. He has a muscular build with a strangely beautiful face framed by golden curls. He is strikingly beautiful, and he looks about two years older than her. His beauty made her forget about Joshua and the way his hand fits into hers, all she can focus on is the curve of his blue eyes and how they make him look happy even without smiling. She struggles to find her voice but finally manages to form a sentence in a whisper: “He happens to be my greatest love.” And with that his mouth was smiling as well as his eyes. “Well, I’ve never been happier about the name that my mother gave me.” He replies and holds out his hand to her for a handshake. She places her hand firmly in his only to be startled by the feel of it being cold; instead of heating up her hand like Joshua’s his cold hands send a shock of excitement through her body. “May I have the privilege of knowing the woman’s name who has adored me all her life?” he says with laughter bubbling inside his sentence. She looks like an animal caught in headlights: big eyes, scared, astonished and unaware of what her next move should be. But as wide-eyed as she feels she smiles towards him and asks if his name really is Joshua and he corrects her by telling her that his full name is Eric Joshua Smith, but everyone calls him Eric and then stares at her still waiting for her name. “I’m Lexine,” she finally answers and adds mockingly “And apparently I’ve been in love with you for my whole life.” She can feel her cheeks turning red and tries to look away, but he saw it before she had the chance to hide her scarlet cheeks. “The color red certainly suits you; it allows me to know what you’re thinking.” She turns her eyes towards him and saw that he said that straight-faced, serious and concerned. “A charming mind-reader. Well, that explains how you knew who I was thinking about,” she says allowing her smile to fade and stared at him with a stern expression on her face. “Actually, the name ‘Joshua’ inked into your wrist only caught my sense of curiosity but let’s go with the conspiracy that I knew you were thinking about him.”

“Well what am I thinking about now?” she challenged his mind-reading abilities. He inspected her for a while until he finally broke the silence. “You think I’m strange and mysterious in a negative way, and you wish that I would simply leave you alone.”

“On the contrary, that’s the exact opposite. You’re the best company I’ve had on an aircraft so far.” With those words from her his smile reappeared and he called for the air hostess. “See- I got you to tell me exactly how you’re feeling even without magical abilities.”

With his last sentence she found herself smiling at this stranger who found a way to understand her.

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