Alone: A New Friend

He looked at his watch; nearly half an hour had passed since he came. She’ll be here soon, he thought anxiously.

“Are you alright, sir?” a boy beside him spoke up, breaking his reverie.

“Why, yes,” he quickly replied, surprised to see someone who he had not noticed before. “Why’d you say so?”

“You seem restless. What’s the matter? Who are you waiting for?”

“My love Halie,” he said, even more surprised that the intruder of peace was also a meddler.

The amusement park, under a black ceiling of countless glitters, was ecstatic, with the carousel of pink and blue horses, the mammoth Ferris’ wheel, the gala circus, and all its other rides and show offerings. While everything was spirited, he was dull, sitting on a bench side-by-side with a curious kid who was now asking if what was bothering him.

He was annoyed; nevertheless, he answered. “I’ve got a strong feeling she would break up with me.”

“Uh-huh. What happened?”

“This morning, she called me up saying she wanted to meet me tonight at our favorite place. I know where she meant. So I am here now.” He paused and looked at a passing couple. “I am worried. That isn’t usual.”

“Maybe you’re thinking the wrong thing. Maybe you’re only imagining.”

Smart kid, he thought. Halie had often reminded him not to lock up his feelings to himself, that expressing his joys and confessing his worries and fears to someone would help. He needed ears open to listen and a heart willing to accept. And that kid seemed to have both.

“I’m quite sure about it. She sounded bitter and teary on the phone. And I observed that lately she’s been cold to me. Cold! You understand?” Seeing the boy’s face twisted into incomprehension, he elaborated. “I mean, she isn’t like herself anymore. She’s not talking much. Smiles less. And lately, seems uneasy with me. She’s become totally different.”

In a brief instant, he recalled the moment he first entered Halie’s little office. It had been the immaculate white room, the fresh apple aroma of the air-conditioning, the heart-warming bareness, and the sight of the bespectacled woman behind a small desk that healed his throbbing head. But the headache had persisted; so in the months that followed, he visited her regularly, doing the remedial exercises, engaging in intimate talks with her. One thing led to another; the usual sessions became dinner together and became extra closeness, and finally, became love. Never had he felt so much complete before. Then, beautiful days began….

“You really love her, don’t you?” the boy was remarking.

“I love her so much that losing her will make me go insane. What’s happening to us right now is already driving me nuts.”

“Maybe something’s wrong with her. Maybe she’s got fever. Or colds. Or sick with something.”

He laughed at the companion’s little gesture of panic. Fun kid, he thought, Thank God I did not bore you.

His smile gradually vanished. He studied his new friend. The latter seemed familiar to him, as if he had seen him somewhere in his past. Then he remembered. In many ways, the boy resembled him when he was still that age – the young Elias with frail body, alert and telling eyes, and supersensitive brains. Unlike him, young Elias had been an introvert, a cry baby suspended in a dream island, distant and testy.

“What makes those toy horses run around the poles?” the boy asked, his finger pointing the carousel.

“A machine,” Elias dutifully said, quite unsure of his answer. “There’s something like an electric motor somewhere there.”

He looked at his watch again.

“Want to tour around and enjoy the rides?” he proposed for he had enough time to spare.

The boy’s face brightened, and he, too, was pleased, suddenly throwing aside his plight. From the carousel, off they hopped to the horror house, then to the roller coaster and to so and so.

He almost forgot the world, almost losing tracks of time if not for the people who surreptitiously looked at him from time to time. He even seemed to hear giggles and fatuous reactions.

“So what’s ridiculous hanging around with a boy,” he repeatedly muttered, meaning to address it to the mocking people. “The hell you all care.”

Nonetheless, he obliged himself. The boy was a prince, so full of curiosity and eagerness, so alive he fixed his moods right.

This little kid deserves fun, he kept saying to himself. And finally, it hit him; he was reminded of something….

To be continued.... 

Image courtesy of Our Awesome Planet.


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