I was trapped in humidity the moment I stepped out of the yellow cab. My fingers combed through my golden brown curls as I attempted desperately to tame these unruly mess but it only ended up sticking onto my face. Sighing in defeat, I dragged my dark suitcase behind me as I entered the air-conditioned terminal.
Almost instantly, I felt refreshed. My eyes wandered aimlessly, searching for my flight number as my hand searched through my tote bag for my passport. Enough said I was great at multitasking. Within minutes, I stood in a queue with my red passport gripped tightly in my hand, waiting for my turn.
I couldn’t believe I was already leaving LA. Vivid memories of the Los Angeles beach and its beautiful night-time city flashed through my mind. It was the second last summer before my college year – the summer that leads to my last high school year.
Time passed by so fast.
After receiving my plane ticket, I placed my luggage onto the carousel. An agent wrapped a sticker-like paper around it and sent it in. I watched it proceed for mere seconds before setting off. Making my way to the security checkpoint, I fiddled with my phone.
A security agent allowed me to walk through the metal detector once he checked my boarding pass and passport. I readjusted the Aztec print bag on my shoulder and wrapped my fingers around the straps. Subsequently, I doubled checked my gate number and headed towards the directory sign.
I turned on my phone one last time and checked the time. It was only six thirty – that made it a half an hour wait. Ensconcing myself down on the plastic blue chair, I pulled out my iPod. The soft tunes of Union J’s ‘Amaze Me’ echoed through my headphones.
It feels like I’m falling into sun, even on stormy days, it feels like we’re one.
It bothered me how I could still relate to the lyrics. There wasn’t an us anymore.
I hummed softly along with the beat, trying to hold back tears. I didn’t want to cry anymore – I’ve already lost too much tears. Shutting my eyes, I forced myself to concentrate on happy thoughts.
Think of unicorns, Elliot. I told myself. Unicorns, rainbows, and butterflies.
And it almost worked.
Just as I was about to let those joyful thoughts roam free in my mind, a sudden jab of pain shot through my toe. My eyes snapped open instantly as I let out a high-pitched screech and muffled curses. I brought my legs up and wrapped my arms around it protectively.
Some idiot had stepped on my pinkie toe.
Talk about the disadvantages of wearing flip flops.
My fingers caressed my bruised toe with extreme care as I examined it closely. It was in an ugly, dark purple colour with a hint of red. My head shot up and my eyes shot daggers at the perpetrator. Only if looks could kill, that person would be dead by now.
Right after I raised my head, I found myself staring at a dark haired boy possibly my age. He was tall and lean, athletic but not too muscular. His jet-black hair was swept back into an I-just-woke-up kind of style and his light green orbs, which were framed flawlessly by his long, dark lashes, sparkled with both interest and annoyance. Long story short the boy standing in front of me, the same one who injured my toe, looked like he just came out of an Abercrombie and Fitch photo-shoot.
But what shocked me the most, aside from his irritating good looks, was the fact that he had a pair of Mickey Mouse ear sitting on top of his head and an over-sized ‘Free Hug’ sign hanging around his neck. Scratch the model theory. He looked like he just came back from Disneyland.
The Mickey Mouse ear would look disturbing on many other guys, but somehow it made him look even cuter, even hotter.
Lacking a good reaction, I ended up staring at him with my mouth dropped open, dumbfounded.
“Take a photo.” the boy said haughtily, bringing me back to reality. “It’ll last longer.”
“Good idea.” I replied sarcastically, hoping the colour on my cheeks wasn’t too noticeable and I wasn’t drooling at him too obviously.
He just rolled his eyes and walked away, not even bothering to apologise.
“How rude,” I muttered under my breath.
After what seemed like a small eternity, the flight attendant finally called my plane number; I was ready to aboard. I handed the lady my ticket and watched her tear it. She smiled politely as she moved on to the next customer.
“B41…B41.” I murmured under my breath, my eyes scanning through all the numbered seats. Finally, I spotted my seat, which was located in the middle of the two aisles. Three chairs were side by side, one taken by a middle aged woman, the other two empty. Mine was the one on the very right, beside the walkway.
I settled down in my seat, shifting around, trying to make myself comfortable. My eyes wandered towards the vacant seat a by my left, curious about who might come next. I’ve never really seated beside two complete strangers before, it was my parents or my older brother, Blake, who usually sits beside me.
Hopefully it’ll be a cute guy.
Chuckling internally at my own words, I took out one of the magazines placed inside a pocket that was right below a small, dark screen. I flipped through the pages, examining all the products the airline sold. It was quite amusing, actually, but the price was nowhere near affordable.
A deep sigh escaped my lips as I gently placed it back. I buckled up my seatbelts as the plane shook a little, a sign that it was about to take off. With my eyes shut, I took a deep breath. I wasn’t ready to go home, not yet.
I couldn’t face everything that had happened.
I couldn’t face reality.
I couldn’t face him.
It was stupid how one person can easily turn my colourful world black and white. For my whole life I had thought that we’d last forever. We were meant for each other. He was my supposedly Prince Charming ever since I was seven – when we first met – but I guess I was wrong the whole time.
Maybe there wasn’t such thing as a happily ever after, after all.
Tears slid down my cheeks leisurely. I wiped them away and faked a yawn to cover up the fact that I was crying. But it wasn’t like anyone would care, anyways. Tilting my head slightly upwards, I fanned my face dramatically the way girls do in movies, hoping such action would stop the involuntary tears.
But it never did.
I covered my face with embarrassment, pleading that no one would notice. Right on a cue, I felt someone cleared his throat awkwardly beside me. I pretended I was asleep and ignored it. This time, I felt a poke on my arm. Shortly later, another one, but it wasn’t a soft one. The jabbing continued for a good half a minute or so until I finally snapped.
“Quit it!” I screeched as I turned around. It was the discourteous but annoyingly, cute, boy who almost made me lose a toe earlier. He wore this sour, irritated, expression still. I couldn’t blame him, though. I would act like him if I was the one with a preposterous headband and an oversized board with ‘Free Hug’ written on it with large, bold letters that turned everyone’s heads and that would, without a doubt, bump into things every minute.
The rude boy scowled and said, “You’re blocking my way.”
Right. I thought and pursed my lips. I am on an aeroplane.
Realisation struck me a little too suddenly. “You’re sitting here?!” I gestured the unoccupied seat beside me. It was a vacuous question, really.
“No, I just happen to standing here like a complete retard.” He rolled his eyes, “You’re still blocking the way.”
“Sorry.” I muttered and shifted my legs, clearing up a way so he could pass.
With a humongous sign around his neck, it was almost impossible for him to walk through the tiny space. The boy lifted the sign above his head and squished through. My cheeks flushed faint crimson when his legs brushed lightly against mine.
It didn’t seem to have the same effect on him though. He looked unaffected as he slumped down onto his seat. He ran a hand through his hair, but it got stuck halfway by those silly ‘ears’ of his. I watched him groan with frustration and chuckled silently.
It was completely and utterly ridiculous.
Remind me to snap a picture later on. I told myself inwardly. This is totally going on Facebook.
Making a mental note, I covered my laugh with a hand. The plane vibrated as the screen flashed on. A young flight attendant appeared and started talking, but I wasn’t listening. I sneaked a glance at the boy beside me. He was staring at the vivid screen with an unreadable expression on his face.
Deciding that it was none of my business, I focused on the screen instead. With the corner of my eye I saw the boy shifted uncomfortably. He turned towards me and opened his mouth to speak several times, but didn’t.
Knowing that he was going to make an annoying remark, I neglected it. A minute later, he tapped me on the shoulder. The plane had just taken off a few minutes ago. My ear was throbbing from the sudden rise, it was a feeling I get whenever the plane set off or started to land.
I turn around unwillingly.
To my surprise, he waved a dark purple package in front of me. “Gum?” he offered.
I mumbled a quiet ‘thank you’ as I accepted his offer. Chewing gum eased down the pain. It made it more bearable. Maybe he wasn’t such a bad person after all.
“Have we met before?” he blurted out.
I stared at him like he was out of his mind, thinking that he was kidding. But he seemed so sincere. Studying his features carefully, I thought about it. He did appear to be somewhat familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
“I don’t think so…”
“Yeah,” he shrugged. “I thought so.”
We both turned back to our own little television screen. I surfed through the list of movies. There were various types of them, it was practically impossible to only choose a few to watch. Finally I decided on one of my all-time favourite – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
It never gets old to watch young Emma Watson act. She’s adorable.
Unable to contain my curiosity, I gazed at the boy’s screen. It was playing a horrifically violent movie. My eyes snapped back to my own screen instantly, I didn’t want to risk another second watching that bloody film. It was so creepy that my mind was possibly scarred.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a nightmare later on.
I didn’t, surprisingly. I dozed off half way through the movie, but it was peaceful. Unlike most of the time, my mind was blank. I didn’t dream of anything, not even the creepy killer that I just witnessed on the boy’s screen. It was a plain, calming sleep.
I was nudged awake roughly. I rubbed my tired eyes, trying to get the sleepiness off. Couldn’t tell if it was day or night, I stared at the boy. He looked at me funny, making me wonder self-consciously if I had a streak of saliva running out my mouth.
My eyes flickered to the screen for a second, using it as a mirror. I looked normal.
“What?” I questioned.
He pointed his finger to something behind me. There stood a smiling stewardess with a trolley filled with food and drinks. “Good morning, miss. What would you like to drink?” she asked politely.
“Coffee.” I said at the same time as the boy replied, “Apple juice.”
Giving him a deadly stare, I repeated. “I would like some coffee, please.”
She chuckled. I was instantly jealous of her. When she laughed, it sounded like angels flying through the clouds. My laugh sounded like hyenas having seizures that also happened to be choking on plain air. It was, without a doubt, not a pleasant sound.
Turning to the pushcart, she poured me a steamy cup of black coffee. “Here you go,” she said joyfully as she gently placed it on a small, plastic desk that was in front of me along with a non-dairy creamer. After thanking her, I took a sip of this bitter sweet goodness.
I watched as she took out a juice container and a transparent demitasse. Golden liquid spilled into the plastic cup. “And for you.” She smiled as she reached her hand out. The boy reached his, too. For a second, I thought I saw the attendant wink. The next second, the cup fell onto my lap.
In the exact moment, my jaw dropped. As if played in slow motion, I watched the apple essence slowly flowed out onto my clothing. My light, floral tank top and white denim shorts leisurely turned into a yellowy colour. The boy’s laughter filled the whole plane. His obnoxiously loud, but somehow attractive, chuckles made me didn’t know whether to record it or murder him.
With her eyes opened wide, the stewardess exclaimed a quick apology as she hurried off to get a towel or napkin of some sort to wipe off the massive stain that was imprinted on my new top.
Great, now it looked like I just peed my pants.
But hey, at least it wasn’t not coffee.