It was Sunday.
We always come to town on the same day, each week the same boring routine; with the exception of Christmas, New Year and the usual holidays. One more year and it will be over. I was supposed to be happy, I was not.
Going down the stairs of the boarding house, I froze rooted to the spot, the bucket I was holding clattered to the ground. Who’s that? I didn’t realize there were people living there! When they moved in? The place was empty only the week before.
She looked at me straight in the eyes; I did the same. Then I went to retrieve the pail and fetch water. Funny girl. But eye-catching. Beautiful skin, kissable lips, and eyes that you could easily get lost if you gaze in them for too long.
She brought sautéed bitter melon with egg for supper. We ate from the same plate. I didn’t ask her name. We lived opposite each other. Her place was the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. I had no choice; it was there.
We played cards sometimes for candies. Money was never allowed. (One of her rules) we did it mostly with her mother and niece; and Christian, my best friend. He was really loud and sleek. Why I never noticed it before? Strange…
She stayed. For a while at least.
I was surprised to find her waiting at my house in the mountains one evening; together with two of the girls I know. Out of nothing better to do she said. It became a habit. I liked it. But we were always surrounded with people. That was the other side of it.
Very different she was. Unusual was not even close. Weird could be it. I’m not sure. Who cares? She could do something with her eyes. I don’t know exactly what. Kind of: saying everything, but really nothing. Very confusing…
She decided to take a boat in the middle of the night to go to an island opposite ours. I regretted telling her that the lights she was seeing was from a party.
I had to come. Can hardly let her go by herself? She was not exactly alone. We all went with her. Well…almost. Monday stayed. There was exam the next morning. Parent needed was the order of the day. So furious was my father.
I never realized that staying up whole night walking in a strange neighbourhood, or lying on a bare cement floor with nothing underneath stomach grumbling from the lack of food could feel satisfying. That defying the rules you have been following whole of your life could be fun. And that was only the start. I learned to lie and deceive. Even to myself.
Jumping out from the boarding house window to elope; skipping classes so I could go to the waterfalls with her, climbing on roofs for no reason at all just because she said so, breaking into someone’s empty house for fun, spending a night in the cemetery playing spirit of the glass, walking for miles in the rain searching for flowers. I did all that because of her.
I remember getting off the vehicle I was in; even though I was half-way home already, simply because I encountered the one she was riding. We spent the night together. What a pity not alone. Like I said; there were always others. We had some moments. But she always managed to elude the “what could” and “if”. I think things like that need practice. She must have done it quite a lot; she was the master of it.
Funny, but she was most accessible to others. I mean, closer. Like with my cousin. She shared a blanket. (For a picture that was. I still have it) She even sat next to Christian on the front of a closed shop in the dark and laughed. I hate my best friend for it. Did she know that he called her “hot”?
At the end, she broke my heart. She lied big time. Not about her age or who she was. That was not important. It was something else. I could forgive her everything! The complicated song and dance; that stunt with Monday setting me up, the first kiss I never had, the phoney letter, losing that special rock I spent whole afternoon searching for and gave to her, everything! But not Dimple. I asked her. She denied! Why??? At the end, she let me find out. In the cruelest way possible; face-to-face., just like that.
She said: “Eamon, you and I simply cannot.”
Growing up is sucks!