"So you didn't love me?" I asked desperately. Till now I don't know wgy I even asked her that question even after knowing the so-called truth. I guess the only word that could describe me was delusional.
"Throw your love in the garbage bin! Stop being so delusional!"
"Was it not out of love that you flirted with me?"
"For a desperado like you, even normal conversations would feel like flirt.. Grow up kid" Clara remarked sternly, driving me further into the pool of sadness.
"Touch your heart and say you hadn't loved me once?"
"NO, NO, NO! I hadn't and won't in this generation! I'll say this once again.. you are worth nothing to me!" Clara's intense words from her sharp tongue literally shredded me into a thousand pieces. My shoulders dropped as my head faltered downwards as utter disappointment hung in the air. After all we had gone through, it was saddening to hear what Clara perceived me as - worse than a complete stranger. After knowing each other considerably in the past 2 days, this is what I got in return - an barrage of negative comments directed at me. What had I done to deserve such a harsh treatment? Is confession of love such a major blunder that it insinuates rage and fury? Clearly Mrs Amy had been reading my mind all these while as she stepped forward to my defence.
"That's enough young woman! I think you are going way overboard!" Mrs snapped at Clara furiously. It was the first time I had heard Mrs Amy soumd so strict. She was typically a jovial person and it would have taken a lot of effort to make even her angry. Clara had just done that. Clara had scolded so much that even Mrs Amy had enough and had decided to step in to the matter.
"What wrong did he do to deserve this much of scolding?" Mrs Amy asked.
"Confessing his love was the biggest mistake"
"What's wrong with proposing? At least he found the guts to say it - something even half the boys are scared of doing"
"Whatever.. I don't have any feelings for him.. Kenneth will always be my sweetheart. You better take a good look at yourself, Aaron" Clara warned me. That must have angered Mrs Amy even more as she started in a war of words with Clara.
"And you better take a good look at yourself missy! Look at yourself! You're behaving like an animal! You're totally rude and impolite! You're such a disgrace to all other flight attendants!"
"First teach your so-called son how to behave with others properly! If not, he won't get a girl in the future!"
"Don't worry, he'll find someone better than you! And you'll be totally worthless to us"
I watched intently at the table tennis match that was going on with Clara and Mrs Amy. Both of them were literally in a heated argument and I couldn't believe my very eyes. Clara was actually arguing! She seemed like a cute and nice girl. Never in my wildest dream had I thought that she would rebel against us. What Mrs Amy had said was correct. People should not hastily conclude she was a polite and kind person. She didn't deserve to be called as a flight attendant. It was a shame calling her that.
A concoction of grief and mild anger ensued me as I quickly glanced at Kenneth who seemed to be wearing an evil smirk on his face. He cunningly smiled and winked at me as if he had successfully done his job. It was as if he was non-verbally saying "better luck next time". Seeing his cunning face made me want to punch him even harder. Perhaps I shouldn't have spared him alone.
But what can I do now? I cannot do anything. Everything was over and Kenneth had successfully won the heart of Clara and I was merely a lost soul, living in my own delusional world, believing firmly in the non-existant love towards Clara. I was a puny and miserable loser who had just been friendzoned. More than missing my parents at home, seeing her reject me saddened me to a greater extent.
Just then, an announcement caught our attention. Apparently, we had been offered a choice of boarding a rescue plane back to Landerville or another plane to Vale. Boarding would commence at about 30 minutes time.
"Kenneth, let's go back to Landerville" Clara told Kenneth. Apparently, Kenneth's hometown was Landerville and hence both of them decided to board the rescue flight to Landerville.
"Let's head back home, boy.. Don't think of anything else"
After all the things that had happened, how could I stop thinking about it? I was leaving Catah Island with possibly more confusion and questions than ever before. I still had no clue why this whole hijacking happened and who was responsible for everything and more importantly, leaving Clara amd seeing her with another dude was probably the most overwhelming thing.
"Anyways.. all the best for your future amd take care" Clara quickly grabbed my palm and shook it. Well, there wasn't anymore love and I perceived her actions to be mere formalities. I gave her a blank face, still ingesting everything that was happening. Clara then moved on to Mrs Amy and she hugged her briefly, asking her to take care of herself. It was then Kenneth approached me.
"I... I am sorry.. I didn't know" I tried to apologise to Kenneth who had a straight blank face.
"Take care.." he said bluntly as he made a small fist bump with me.
"And one more thing.. Clara's mine.. forever"
That phrase was utter cringey and I almost choked at that saying. It made Clara feel like a mere commodity. Like a mere property belonging to Kenneth. It was sickening to hear such a thing from a so-called boyfriend. I didn't even raise a single eyebrow as I stared blankly at Kenneth, cursing him on my mind.
"Ok then.. I guess.. bye.. till the next time we meet?" Clara laughed as she started to grab Kenneth's hand firmly. They then started to walk away fron us towards the plane that they were taking.
Mrs Amy and myself stood there, looking at them leave. We had mixed feelings about them going away. On one side, it was absolutely gutted that I would never get to meet this beautiful lady ever in my life again. I could now only live with all the memories we had replaying in my mind and not get to experience them again. On the other hand, now that I know Clara wasn't mine anymore, I knew I should start to care less about Clara and Kenneth. Now they would go ahead with their own life journey and we had to go on our way. No matter how painful and depressing this sounds, we had to part ways and carry on with our own lives.
I wiped the tears from my eyes as Mrs Amy wrapped her arm around me.
"Don't worry son, I'm here for you"
"I'm sorry Mrs Amy.. I should have listened to you since the start"
"Listened to what?"
"Listened to you when you had asked me to declare my love to her way earlier on the plane. I should have done it then.. we would have been able to know the truth earlier"
"Either way, we were going to get the same result - Clara rejecting you. So it doesn't matter after all"
"I had so much trust on Clara.. all that was shattered within a matter of minutes" I uttered.
"Let me tell you this, this Clara doesn't even deserve you. Look at the way she treated you! I'm more worried for Kenneth now"
"They'll go on and live happily ever after while me... I just have to sit there, drowning in the wonderful memories we had.."
"Don't be sad boy.. one day you'll find your perfect match who would appreciate you for the person you are. And then, not even a 1000 'Claras' could make up to her."
"Mrs Amy.. Clara was perfec.." Mrs Amy quickly interrupted me, disagreeing with me wholeheartedly.
"Absolutely No!! You're still saying that she is perfect after everything?"
"She was perfect.. not anymore" I sighed.
"Look Aaron, its not like its the end of the world without her.. you deserve someone better.."
Mrs Amy's words relieved my pain about an eighth. It was really hard for me to digest that Clara did not belong with me anymore. How did she have the heart to leave me with a guy who looked rather sinister both on the outside and probably on the inside as well? Why did she do something like that?
"I know its hard but sometimes, letting go is better than clinging onto" Mrs Amy comforted.
"I won't find another girl like her, will I?"
"There are way more others way better than Clara so keep your head high up young man"
"So I guess its time for us to go as well?"
Mrs Amy and I both walked towards our evacuation plane in which survivors were already starting to board. Co-incidentally, this rescue plane was also a Greenair airline but a different model.
I used to love green but not anymore.
As we were queuing up to board, the memories of me boarding Flight 72 rushed back to my mind. How happy was I seeing Clara at the entrance of the plane. I wad over the moon, thinking how pleasant the flight was going to be with her around. But now, it was the complete opposite. Yes I was somewhat relieved, blessed and happy to be returning home unscatthed while some had perished in this fateful journey. But on the flipside, I was somewhat resistive towards leaving Catah Island solely because I would never ever see her again. Even after all that she had done to me. I still had a soft spot for her in my heart.
"You still thinking about her?" Mrs Amy asked buckling her seatbelt.
"Remember how elated we were initially on Flight 72 while Clara was serving us? It was just unforgettable.."
"Ughh.. don't talk about that woman.. I am sick and tired of hearing about her. She is not worth my time"
"I mean, the way she treated us as passengers onboard Flight 72 was exceptional.. I have to give credit for that"
"Even after all that mean words she had said to you, you still won't talk ill about her right?"
That was kinda true. Even after the words that Clara had said, I still somewhat had respect for her. Eventhough I knew Clara now had another boyfriend, my mind was not ready to accept the truth. I still kept thinking about her as if I still had a chance to rekindle our broken relationship. That would never happen ever unless of course in my imagination. .
I peeked out of the window seat, staring straight at the flight Clara was on which had lined up on the runway. I thought that was it and it hit me that that was the real moment where I had to say goodbye. We watched closely as the plane started accelerating down the runway before lifting off from the surface of Catah Island. We watched and watched as Clara got further and further out of my reach with the plane shrinking smaller and smaller in the evening sky. And eventually, the flight vanished from our sights, never to be seen again.
Just the thought of it sent some tears down my cheeks.
"Well, I guess thats it.. thats the end of that"
"Alright.. time for us to go as well.. just think of everything that had happened as a mere bad dream, a nightmare"
I nodded in agreement as our plane lined up on the runway this time.