Fiction · Short Story

Took Away

Note: This entry was originally posted on 28 May 2014.


A NEW DAY HAS started. The sun rose at the east showing its rays of happiness as the birds perched on branches of the trees in the city. Today was windier than yesterday and the sky gave a beautiful contrast to the urban view.

Just like every city on Earth, it was busy. In the morning, people set up stores and others find their way to hurry up to their offices. The city was loud. People here and there filled the sidewalks with noises from their feet hurrying and mouths chatting. The honking of the cars and bellowing of other vehicles occupied the busy streets.

Nevertheless, it says everyone’s world continues to revolve, except HIS.

He was sleeping the whole day not minding what was going on and what could happen. I doubted a fire or disaster could make him wake up from his wrong-timing slumber. He believed that his world must stop at the morning because he wasn’t a morning person. Either that was the real reason or his brain was just too manic at night.

At night where he couldn’t help but bring back the memories that shouldn’t be brought up. At night where his mind was always reminded by reminisces that shouldn’t be remembered. At night where the past kept on going back and never losing its grip on him. At night where he kept on thinking where he had gone wrong because only one thought occupied him: the thought of her.

When their relationship came into an end, his life went down completely. He was a sophomore in college when he met her, an awkward freshman girl. He bumped into her in the Uni during the first day, mainstream high school scene but set in college. With him being a jerk and all in high school, he found her frightened state a laughing stock. As typical as it already sounded, they ended up being together before the school year ended. The best about opposites attract. He loved her shyness, not because he wanted her to always be anti-social, but because he loved the thought of protecting her. He loved the idea of being her knight-in-shining-armour.

Their bond slowly went downhill at the end of her sophomore year, his junior year. Throughout the school year, they went to parties—a lot of parties. At first, the girl was still this reluctant when it comes to alcohol but as the summer came near, she learned to be independent and she learned to be alone. She learned to not rely on him.

That was where their story reached its denouement. He couldn’t accept the change in her. He couldn’t recognize her. She wasn’t the exact same girl he knew; she was totally different from it.

~took away~

“I SAID I am okay. Why do you need to need to overreact? It was your friend’s party. You know her,” She defended herself.

“I know her that’s why I worry. You can’t trust her, you know. What if someone took disadvantage of you that night? I told you to wait for me. I told you not to go without me,” He stood up from the couch of his flat as he emphasized the words.

“Nothing happened, okay? I’m totally fine. You don’t need to always be there for me.”

 He looked through the window and sighed before answering, “This isn’t you. This isn’t what you used to be. I never thought you’d be like this.”

 “But you’re the one who taught me to be this. The people I go with today are your friends. I’m still here. I’m still your girlfriend. I just learned to not depend on you most of the time,” The last sentence came out as a whisper but he was able to quickly decipher.

“I’m just here to protect you. I don’t want to see you hurt. I still can’t accept change,” He mumbled.

“Then, I guess things need to end. If you can’t accept that I turned into an independent woman, the exact opposite of who you bumped into a year ago, you don’t need to. Because it’s OVER.”

He looked at those brown eyes. He stared at her intently trying to find the weakness in her. That weakness in her that he wanted to comfort, that he wanted to protect. But only the strong side of her was visible, even the tears were not.

“I just don’t want you turn into a slut!” He wasn’t able to stop himself. And he felt a hard contact on his cheek.

 She had slapped him hard and that surprised the both of them. She sat down the couch again and those tears he was trying to find in her eyes were already there. “I am not a slut. I just don’t want to be that same vulnerable girl I was. I have learned that people won’t take advantage if they knew you are strong. I didn’t drink even a single glass of alcohol at the party. I am never planning to go to any party after that. I just planned to let them know I won’t need you to stay beside me anytime. And I thought you will be the first one to be happy for this change, but I guess I was wrong.”

 He sat beside her and tried to comfort her in his arms but she refused, “I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.” He tried again but failed.

“No! You’re not! Because you’re selfish. You can’t have me all to yourself. You can’t expect to be hiding behind your back all the time. Eventually, I need to stand on my own. I just hope you understand,” She was now drowning in tears and all he wanted was to ease the pain in her that he caused but her walls remained solid. She wanted to prove to him that she can stand alone.

 “We can do this together, babe. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”

 However, she knew he can’t absolutely accept what she was becoming; that things must really come to an end. It was the most painful and heart breaking thing to do, he was her everything, but at that time, it was what she believed was right.

~took away~

THE DAY WAS coming to an end for everyone, the moon and the stars were now visible in the night sky. People were preparing to fall asleep; people yearned to have enough rest for another day to come.

On the contrary, his day was just about to start. He was one of the few people who chose to start the day when the moon and the stars were the observable celestial bodies in the sky.

He got up from his bed to play some video games. Yes, he acted like a broken hearted teenager, and he couldn’t care less. He was waiting for a miracle to happen. He was hoping that she would come back if he finished the game successfully. Until his phone rang. He put the game into a pause before he picked it and answered it with annoyance, “What is it this time?”

It was one of his friends on the other line. They chose to tease him a bit, “Calm down, dude. You seem to be PMS-ing most of the time.”

“Shut up! What the hell do you want?”

He could hear the snickering of his other friends on the other end whilst the one who called him answered, “Just have some drinks with us, man. We’re at the pub right now. We both know that moping and sulking in that beloved flat of yours won’t help you forget her. Loosen up, dude!”

He quickly turned down the offer saying he wasn’t in the mood to drink. However, his friend was persuasive enough to make him give it a go to the pub where they usually hang out before she came to his life.

“I don’t know what impact that nerd chick has on you, but since she left, it’s like someone died, man.”

“She’s not a nerd,” He said with gritted teeth, his infuriation starting to boil.

They were sat on one of the corner tables of the pub. The music was getting loud, and a lot of people were getting wasted. The night with his friends was spent on chatting about what has happened to their lives, and he was like being put in the hot seat.

They started to tease him about how he changed. He was one of the biggest jerks in the gang; he was a heartless jock—until he met her.

“I’m sorry she left, dude,” One of his friends said. “She made you a better person in college and—”

“No. This is good. We’ve got our old friend again,” The other opposed as they took their own shots and they gave him a pat on his shoulder.

The night continued as they had the time of their lives, dancing non-stop and drinking alcohol like there was no tomorrow.

He easily got tipsy for his body had been sober since he met her. He stood up from his seat and made his way out of the bar. Two of his friends asked him what he was about to do, and followed him.

“I just need to end some unfinished things,” he said still trying to stand straight and not trip on the pavement.

His friend offered him some help but he refused. He turned every help down, and continued on speaking profanities as he continued to walk down the street careful not to stumble.

“I freaking love you! You know that!” He continued on shouting her name. His friends tried to stop him for he was making a scene but he couldn’t care less about it. His world is crap, anyway, according to him.

He continued to stroll down the streets, knowing that her house was only a block away. He still hasn’t stopped on shouting her name. His friends pitied him more, feeling sorrier for him as they saw him becoming more miserable. He was never weaker and more broken than this.

“I can handle this, dude,” He slurred to them as he stood up and made his way to the front porch of her house by jumping on the fence and railings.

They tried to stop but they knew they will fail for he hates how others mind his business.

He knocked at her door, and waited patiently. He knew that she couldn’t sleep easily either. They both have been suffering from insomnia. She answered after two more knocks and when he saw her, memories started to flood his mind. Her presence made him forgot what he was supposed to say.

She looked at him questioningly. She greeted him with disbelief evident in her voice. She never expected him to show up to her house; especially at that time of the night.

He greeted with a ‘hi’ whilst looking at the ground, avoiding eye contact which she returned with a rhetorical question, “You’re drunk?”

“Yeah, just tonight.”

“Oh.”

“Guess alcohol was really the reason why I had the guts to come here,” He chuckled nervously, inserting his hands on the pocket of his jeans. The way she bit her lips and played with her charm bracelet made him hope that she still reciprocates the feelings he had for her.

There was an eerie silence after that. She wanted him to stay, but she knew he needed to leave, “Uh, you really should—”

“I need to tell you this,” He disturbed her sentence. He was relieved when he knew that she wasn’t going to turn her back at him and close the door. She was leaning on it, not losing he hold on the doorknob whilst waiting for him to say something.

His breath was uneven whilst he formed the words he was originally planning to say the minute he stepped on her front porch.

“Uhm.. Well… I.. You.. Uhm..”

What?” She tried to make him speak out his incoherent stutters, and nodding, wanting him to continue.

“The moment when I said those words to you, I immediately regretted it. But I wasn’t able to explain. I am proud, so proud of you. I knew you were not going to be like the other college girls I know. I knew you were just trying to prove yourself that you can be independent. I knew you were tired of my constant partying, and the constant rudeness to you of the group of people I was with.”

“Huh?” She became confused of what he was saying. He stood up straight with a sigh.

“I knew from that time that you did that because you were tired of those parties. You were tired being the centre of attention because I chose to be with you. You were tired being known as this naïve, awkward girl. Heck, I even knew that was the last party you would go to. I heard you the night before. I heard everything you say when you thought I was asleep.”

“So why did you said I was becoming a slut?”

“I don’t know! But one thing I’m sure is that I am afraid. I am afraid that when you learned to be this strong, invulnerable woman you have become, you’ll need me no more. Crap, that time I even have thought you just said ‘yes’ to me because you need a protector in college.”

“You thought I just used you?”

“No! It wasn’t like that though it sounds like that. Trust me, it isn’t. My mind is just so messed up and all I am just sure of right now is that I’ve never fallen out of love. I am still in love with you. Being without you is the hardest part of my life.

“I screwed up—a lot. We all do, but mine was the worst mistake I have ever made. Letting you leave my flat that night was the biggest mistake I regret.

“When I was with you, I thought actions were enough to prove how much I am in love with you. But it isn’t. I lacked words, wait! I didn’t. I had said a lot of words, just the wrong ones. I started accusing you of the things I shouldn’t have said. I must’ve been the one to be proud, because I was the one encouraging you to be this better girl you turned out to be.”

He stumbled towards her. His face was inches away from her, his forehead pressed against hers. She could smell his familiar scent with a mix of alcohol in his breath.

“I am in love with you. Letting you go was the biggest mistake. I am so sorry. I hope you can forgive me. We can work this out, right? Tell me we can bring back the relationship we had minus the bad memories that had happened. Please, I know you still love me…” He spoke unable to continue, for he was crying and hugging her.

“Please come back.” He whispered to her ear. “Come back to me, love.”

She comforted him, and when he pulled away, they both gave each other a smile. He looked at her brown eyes with his green ones pleading her to say something, to speak out.

“I think you should go home,” she said as she stared at his shoes.

“Why?”

Her voice came out as a faint crack, “You need to leave.”

“We both know we still love each other. Why? Please—

His two friends held him before he could even convince her, trying to stop him from doing anything ludicrous. He tried to get out of their tight grips on his arms, but he was too drunk and destroyed to free himself.

“Sorry,” his friend explained for him, “he really gets emotional when he’s drunk.”

She nodded, her eyes locked with him; his friends still forcing him at 3 in the morning to go home with them.

There he was, couldn’t do a thing but to comply with his friends’ actions as he looked back at her. He saw her sigh a deep breath until she came inside and locked her door completely losing her from his gaze. That moment when she closed the door, he was left with nothing as he felt that she took away all the feelings he had in him.

-fin-

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