“You know what am I going to ask you, right?” He looked deep into my eyes, searching for approval.
“I need you to ask me anyway. I don’t want to assume,” I replied.
He took a deep breath and finally asked that one question, “Do you love me?”
I was startled. Even though I knew precisely what he’d ask me, I was still shocked anyway. I knew that we’re already 20 something, it’s natural for us to have someone to settle with. But I am not quite sure about our age. No, actually it’s not about our age at all.
Was it about our relationship? We have a beautiful beautiful relationship, as friends, that even words cannot describe. I knew him since two years ago, and we became pretty close buddies since then. We’re always together and we had one or two conflicts which only pulled us together closer. No one bothers to ask us about where this relationship would head to, because it’s kind of obvious. So no, it’s not about our relationship.
I noticed him lowering his eyes, a sign of discouragement. Perhaps I hang it in far too long.
“Hey,” I tried to catch his troubled eyes, and ended holding his chin up.
From the position -where I sat on a bench and he’s sitting on the ground facing me- I could observe his face clearly. I could see his perfect eyebrows. Honestly, I am a fan of his eyebrows. They are sharp, thick, and shaped nicely, framing his eyes perfectly. I love his nose: it’s big, but not too big, it fits his face just right. I love his lips, it turned red easily on hot weather. I like his face. I like him. A lot. But do I love him?
“Maybe,” the only answer I could give him after a period of silence.
“What? Maybe? Did you say maybe?” His voice buzzing with sudden excitement.
“Umm, yeah, maybe…” I replied quietly, afraid of hurting him again.
“YESSS! YEAAHH! WOHOOO!” Suddenly he stood up, jumped here and there, towered over the bench, and smiling so widely that I could see his entire upper gum.
He left me confused with his reaction.
“Why are you so happy?” I asked my honest question.
He stopped jumping, running towards me and then he said, “Don’t you know it? There’s always a yes in a maybe! Did you hear yourself just now? You said MAYBE YOU LOVE ME!”
Now I felt a sudden enlightenment when he restated my statement.
Maybe I love him.
“You suck at this game,” he shouted at me “You suck at it, just admit it!”
His hands were religiously throwing the rocks at the lake. We’re playing at the shore of a man-made-lake near a path of an estate. This lake is so stunning, but no one gives attention to it. Except us. We could go there like everyday: walking, cycling, sitting, or just laying around the grassy land surrounding the lake.
We’re playing throw-rocks-as-far-as-you-can game. I am not good at this game, I never am. I couldn’t even reach a quarter of the lake.
“It’s boring, I’m giving up. This game is stupid anyway!” I frowned and throwing my rocks ammunition to the ground.
“Aw, this cute adorable girl is pouting. She doesn’t want to play with daddy anymore, poor daddy!” He’s hyper-actively mimicking the voice of a sulking girl. He kept throwing his rocks without looking at me.
I couldn’t help but laughing secretly, I turned myself back to hide my laughter. After I got myself together, I shouted to him, “It’s not funny!” I tried to look as pissed as I could.
He didn’t say anything. But he didn’t throw his rocks anymore.
“Hey, are you mad at me?” He said softly after placing himself in front of me “I am sorry, okay?”
Oh my gosh, this boy’s so sensitive! I could not hold the giggle any longer, seeing his worried look. He changed his expression after noticing that I was just teasing him.
“You like to make me sorry, eh?” He said, while raising an eyebrow.
“No! It’s just… your worried face… it’s so epic!” I mumbled between chuckles.
He kept his judging look for a couple of second. But then, he shook his head while smiling.
“It’s almost raining, look!” I pointed at the dark clouds hanging above us, “Maybe we should go home.”
“Maybe?” He didn’t look at the sky where I pointed, he stared at me, grinning, displaying his gorgeous upper gum again.
What’s so funny? I thought. Why are you smiling like that? I don’t get it. His reactions these days were messing with my brain enough to confuse me.
Then suddenly I remembered, I answered him with ‘maybe’ to that question yesterday.
I still couldn’t figure out what was it all about when suddenly the rainwater was falling. One drop, two drops, then it became a drizzle.
“Run!” He commanded. And then we ran. The drizzle turned to a heavy rain. We couldn’t see the path in front of us, it’s too blurry. So we just ran where the paths could lead us to. Running in the rain is always a big fun for me. It’s kind of funny, actually. I always had this idea to question why do human tend to run from something that couldn’t hurt them physically, like this rainwater.
This idea always makes me laugh while I’m running in the rain.
This was the hut, we found it when we’re exploring along the lake’s shore a month ago. It’s abandoned and empty, but still standing proudly. So we proclaimed ourselves as the new owner of the hut.
We often came here for some repairments, even though we’re only cleaning the floor from dirt, put carpet on it, and plestering some flexiboards on the rotten bamboo walls so the wind wouldn’t blow through.
This hut is so tiny, it fits only for two people. It only has three walls, the other side’s empty. Those walls and the support of the roof was made from bamboo, but the roof added with strong and thick tight-tied dried weeds.
We’re so lucky that the path lead us here, the only place that is owned by us. We hadn’t come here for some weeks after the reparations, and we hadn’t had a chance to sit together in the hut. I felt so strange sitting side by side this close to him. The idea of me spending whole afternoon here only with him, in this position, is so new.
The silence fell to the place, as we’re trying to dry ourselves from the drench.
“Hey,” finally I broke out the silence.
“Mm?” He turned his head gently to me. His face was so close to me that I could feel his breath on my face. Screw this tiny hut! I cursed in my mind.
“When I said ‘maybe we should go home’ on the lake, why did you smile? I knew that I answered you with a ‘maybe’ yesterday. But what’s the connection?”
“Let me explain. Everytime you said ‘maybe’ you lighted up the posibilities, you gave the wholes for positive results to come through…” He never looked so serious like that before, and honestly it’s kind of charming.
“Don’t be so philosophical, you!” I tried to shift the seriousness vibe in the topic, even though I was the first to start.
He kept his position facing me and didn’t show any crack of smiles on his lips, he continued, “When you said ‘maybe we should go home’ what’s the result?”
“We are trapped here inside the hut, screw that rain!” I replied playfully as I tried to deny a pang in my heart.
“And what is this for you?” He moved his body closer to mine and looked deep into my eyes. He’s like digging into my eyeballs and got my deepest nerve.
I was trying to understand what’s the meaning behind his question. Did he ask about this hut? What does this hut mean to me? But why? It’s hard to concentrate as I kept avoiding his eyes.
Then suddenly I gazed back at him when I got the answer, an answer that I was looking for, here and there. When I said ‘maybe we should go home,’ I never leaned on the impossibilities. Because I expected that the rain would fall, I expected that we’d be at home soon. So my mind had actually chose the positive results from the beginning!
But this fear of disappointment from the opposite results fooled me and forced me to not to say ‘we should go home’ and instead I was trapped in the middle ground called ‘maybe.’
“What is this for you?” He asked again, we’ve been in eyes to eyes and nose to nose position. So close to him, it made me think that I was undressed. Naked in the mind, all explored by him.
Suddenly his question woke me up. He was not asking about the hut, he was asking about himself. What is him for me.
I smiled brightly to him, even though my eyes were pooled with tears. I was so relieved to finally find the answer for his question.
“Home. I should go home. And I am home.”
This story is inspired by one of my favorite Yiruma’s instrumental songs. I love Yiruma.