Wednesday, 12 June 2013

9. STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT


Camping. Something I fond of. Since I was a kid, I solely love being with nature as if we were born best friends. When I was in primary school, I joined the Young Scouts Club until I reached fifteen. Unfortunately, I lost my interest when I got to get used to the new school. A well-known, prestigious high school, which somewhat take along a peculiar impression on me. In good conscience, I love and comfort studying in my previous school, a public; government school. There, I met a few cool pals, ordinary friends who came to school on foot, by bicycle, by bus with an innocent goal to study. Yes, there were a few loaded kids too. Nonetheless, I liked it hanging around the other kids who brought lunch packs from home and happy to share with the other, under the tree in the field during recess.

Wearing a uniform is a beneficial idea, in which it doesn't distinguish which class you come from. Perhaps I was still a child back then. Nothing matters much to me. However, I possess the liking in observing circumstances in many different angles of perspective. Knowing the other kids coming from different backgrounds, by chance, I learnt about humanity, family bond, care and concerns. Some are good, and some are not really good looking. Some are blessed with love, some are blessed with material… Lucky for those who privileged with both.

It was my dad’s command to accept the new school, which indeed a respected high-end school, the best in its class, certainly when you own parents who own a class. Who doesn't want to be a part of the establishment? Either for the name or the quality it offers, I guess every spoilt brat is cheerful to be one of the students, for whatever mission they are bearing... I don’t refer to me in either way. And as I have made it so clear to see, mixing around people like that does not comfort me.

Most of them, if not driving their own car, with or without a license, mostly the parents can afford to provide a family driver. Some are comfortable riding a motorcycle like me, especially the boys. From scooter to superbike, it evidently demonstrates how lucky people can be, born in a silver spoon. The uniform is a joke. Like a marathon, more precise, girls, as though being possessed are dying to prove that they have the best accessories, the most branded expensive clothes from designer boutiques. Showing off the stuff they own, bought by mum or dad, who else, brought exclusively from London, Milan or Paris or where ever part of the planet. Whilst the boys engrossed in their interests, the best car, gadgets, and the coolest bike, whatsoever…

For me, a butch, I’m just happy being me. There was nothing I intended to show. Levi’s and T-shirt will do as long as it is comfortable. I’m thankful enough to have my lovely Aprilia, awarded by my parents in my fifteen years of life anniversary, and also for the unimpressive result I achieved in my Junior Hi-School. Being fair and square, Adrian rewarded with a brand new Jeep Wrangler. I was totally OK with that. Jealously never was my problem, let alone feeling envy. Furthermore, I really fancy the superbike. Thanks to mum for her effort persuading my dad to get me one. She knows I adore superbike better than lipsticks. Actually, it was indeed a surprise how she got to know that Aprilia is my favourite, exactly the model I wished for. Maybe she found out some magazines inside my drawer or a poster I hung on the wall of my room gave her that idea. Anyway, that was how I came to instigate my new world in an exclusive way where the lake has become my buddy since then. It has witnessed every circumstance I've ever encountered through the years and will remain my silent witness, as long as I am nowhere from here. Even if time would take me far away, somehow I know, I will return.


Adrian was so gracious for lending me his Jeep when I pointed my wish to drive Rina to the workshop to pick up her car since it was already closed when I sent her home last night, around midnight. It was a long outing day for my teacher and me. From lunch to dinner, from dinner to supper, before we had to confirm the needs to say goodnight. We expressed a lot. Many honest things about life, study, the future, quite a bit about the past, about our pastimes. From one subject to another. From a restaurant to a diner, from a diner to a café. I wished I owned the ability to prolong the rendezvous. No kiss received nor given, still, the vibration wholeheartedly entered my conscience. Little by little, Sophia’s silhouette grew dim.

When I got home after the date with the teacher, Adrian was reading alone by the swimming pool. Hence, I joined him and we used up a few hours talking, relating about the day. I notified my twin about the camping suggested by Rina, yes, right afterwards I told him how I enjoyed the time occupied, hanging around with the teacher.

“Did Sophia give you a call or maybe a message?” For any reason, Adrian needed to highlight that name. The silhouette rushed in my brain again.
“What a joke. For sure nothing because she doesn't have my number.” 
“She checked out your profile… If she wanted, she would have it.”
“I don’t know Andy… but nothing from her. Never, except for the lunch break, I told you about. Well, I guess she is taken. That call must be from a special someone. A guy or girl, either hurt me the same way.”
“Yea, beautiful woman like her… The probability that she's taken is well predicted.” 
That stance didn't help at all even supposing there is an honest contingency in it.
“We are constantly expecting for a yes, but no is always a guarantee.” 

I surrendered to his words with a despairing sound. Her silhouette that sank by Rina’s presence returned and floating on the surface of my naive soul. I think to myself, recalling how innocent the excitement rushed in my vein the minute I saw her and how effortless it is taken away by a simple telephone call she received, leaving my heart blue for an absurd reason. I was expecting something more than that, the certainty I was not able to deny. A dinner like to offer by Rina, or a simple afternoon tea, or even giving me her phone number would do. Looking deep down to the core of my being, I realised how unwise it is, planting hopes and dreams on unknown soil.

“I saw it, Andrey. Your eyes dilated every time you look at her. You adore that teacher but, like the man said; love doesn't begin and end the way we seemed it does. It is a battle, a war. Love is growing up.” 
“Like a war… easy to start, hard to end.” Momentarily, I misgiving myself for saying that. It is undeniable started very easy but, to stop? Will it be a laid back for me to forget about the feelings and hopes I keep for the teacher? The truth was, I am in a war, a battle between my logical and sentimental.
“Any reason why are you are so fond of the teacher?” A question I don’t own an answer, somehow it made me ponder solemnly about it. About the reasons. The why. The facts. The effects. At times, it looked as if I actually see that it is simply an emotional game, a distraction in my being. Nothing serious whatsoever. Isn't it normal to be attracted to beautiful people, to the splendour?
“No idea. I'm captivated by her look. Yea, Andy… as you can see, her good look attracts me, that's unquestionable. The brain easily affected by colours, doesn't it?”
“Yea, Sophia is attractive and good-looking, but frankly, if you ask a guy’s perspective, I will choose Rina.”
“Any special reason?” Adrian set her eyes on my face.
“I don’t know... Somehow I intuit that Rina possesses something that Sophia can never offer.”
“Maybe you say that because you assume Sophia isn't a lesbian whilst Rina is. Of course, she can never offer anything to a butch like me.”
“Oh, no bro, don’t get me wrong. That was not what I mean. Trust me. I said it clearly, I see the matter in a man’s perspective. I suppose she has a big heart, your Rina. That accentuates the beauty inside her, makes her millions time adorable than Sophia.”
“She loves me. Andy. I'm touched but I have no key to the emotional therapy she imparted on me.”

The conversation went on and on revolving around those issues until our eyes grew heavy and it was time to bed. After refreshing myself, I laid down on my divan, staring at the ceiling. The dim light of scented candle set my spirit alive. I love candles and scents, they relax me. Even though the side table lamp is more practical, nevertheless, I appreciate reading and writing under the candlelight. It brings out a soft truthfulness from my spirit to my own ego, my own creation. My reserved galaxy. The warmth from its light and the willingness to watch and listen, it’s always ready to be a dedicated companion through my lonely nights. Everyone in the family is aware of my fondness. Every now and then, my mum, sometimes my sisters, leaves some candle on my board since they understand that I value candles rather than a cake or chocolate.
  
Engrossed in the deepest thought, the sound of my phone shuts off my reverie. A text message. An unknown number. A surprise.

“Andrey, I've been waiting for your reply… now school break is nearly over, sadly, you don’t open yourself for a day of the month. I'm still waiting, thou’.” And so it said. The text message woke my drowsy eyes up and kept them awake. This instantly answered the mystery of the SMS I received at Rina’s house last week, The message was meant for me. The sender beyond doubt asking me to solve a riddle, keeping itself anonymous. I read the message over and over again, attempted to recognise the number, but I found no clue. Why this person didn't call me instead of sending a mysterious message like that? And why it rather kept itself a mystery? Isn't it easier being open and straightforward? Or at least, stated a name I can keep track on. Whatever… I don’t entertain such a game, let alone liking it.

Ones should have guts of what they want, I said to myself. Yea, they should have guts of what they want… What am I looking for? It’s a question for myself, indeed. What do you want Andrey? The same voice inside communicating with me again, with crowds of questions. Sophia's face reflected in my eyes immediately, but then in the same approach again, Rina kisses took over her face, turning it into one of the obscurity that I wish to clarify. I wish for a girl I call inspiration, who defines beauty to my life simply with her existence. A woman whom I call love. This is what I desire and I want her to be that someone. Sophia. 

Definitely, I want that woman to be mine, even considerably clear that it requires huge efforts to turn this dream into a reality. Undoubtedly, I must have the audacity to fetch the intention of my innermost core. Sophia’s love, heart, attention, caress, kisses… Those dreams consistently become my fantasy. Am I really heady with romance? Love. It is a fresh word I begin to learn. Something new in my life. The feeling which somewhat incoherent me. Eighteen years and that is the first time it got into my soft spot. Too young, undeniable, still, there it begins. I started to understand that it is an upheaval of teenage souls, a turmoil that occurred to every adolescent. I am experiencing changes which require discretion, patience and scrutiny in guarding the feelings. Each thought, clutter, confusion, bewilderment, slowly peeled from my heart. I looked at them one by one, sensibly, to unlock the answers in my own way. It’s just a matter of time.


My twin agreed to carry his task preparing our needs for the camp, while I took the responsibility to take care of the food supply. Rina? I told her just to be ready, look good and nothing else. Like I do, she was also really excited for our first camp as she spread out the door when I ring the bell.

“Good day teacher,” I saluted the teacher with my right hand grasping hers in a handshake, where a hug and a kiss upon the cheeks becomes a fluency. Never in my life have I managed to practice this with anyone apart from my kin.
“Are you driving without a license?”
“For my eighteenth birthday, I’ll get one, don’t worry. Both me and Andy will drive legally end of the year.” Rina shook her head while looking at me and said, “please bring me safely to that place. I trust you.” 
“Greatly honoured. I won’t disappoint someone who trusts me.”

After I dropped her at the workshop and make sure that her car is ready, I excused myself to do a little shopping for our camp.
“I’m going to buy a tent too, for us. We don’t want to share one with Andy, right?” I told her before we departed.
“No, thank you, I don’t sleep with a bloke.” It is an honest truth. The openness of which set my heart at ease.
“Hmm, hon, you don’t need to buy a new tent. I have one. It stands untouched for so long, but it’s still good. We can share the tent, unless if you feel comfier and safer to sleep in the same tent with your bro rather than with me... I leave it to you.”

Sleep in Andy’s tent and let my teacher sleep alone? No way. You smell a million times better than my twin, Rina. My inner voice speaking to me and I accepted the fact that the time has come to say goodbye to childhood. Now he has a girl, the place where his heart dwells and I am sure, with time, there will be someone meant to be mine. Practically, I already have someone now. Rina. The first of everything in my life. Only God alone knows where this relationship might take us. Merely, time will reveal. I smiled at her suggestion without any argument.

“Here we are, finally, after so long. Do you remember when the last time we camped?” Said, Adrian, as he parked his Jeep close to our campsite.
“Not that long ago, a year, I guess.”
“First time, Miss?”
“Here, yea but I made out some camp before when I was in the university. I really like this place. Isn't it dangerous to camp out here?”
“No, the police are always on guard around this area and we are not the one who camp. Take a look there.” Answered my twin, pointing his finger at the other side of the lake. At least four other tents were standing and also a few people waiting for the fish to eat their baits. 
“Here…” I passed on a binocular to my teacher. 
“We informed the nearest police station about our camp, in case of anything. So, don’t worry about it, besides, this is not our first time to camp out here.” I explained. She smiled at me and put down the binocular on the stool we brought.

The afternoon gave way along really smoothly. After we helped each other unloaded the stuff and setting up our campground, it's time to appreciate the tranquillity of nature. Sunshine and cool breeze complement each other combined with the serenity of the trees surrounding us, the open blue skies above, the quiet green lake. How wonderful and peaceful it is to hear the whisper of the wind while the birds are flying free, singing their songs. 

Every time the breeze blows softly to its surface, the water created a modest undulation. It is an incredible connection I have always savour to discover. There are many things we can learn from nature, I couldn't agree more and the best part of the camp this time was that the precious moment is shared with two very beautiful people. An understanding brother who is full of love and tenderness. A teacher who cares about causes and reasons that I still have not put across.

They manifested in my life to understand the meaning. A value in those instances that I've neglected. The meaning is me, which I never read in-depth over the years. The substance of life that occurs with time. Is this what they called maturity? If so, I am getting a line about it, about maturity. Matures, according to my life, childhood was the time I exited. In this phase I made a pledge to myself, knowing that I have been missing some things from my point of view. Those things now become the direction and purpose in my existence. By all means, that's the goal. The purpose in life which is definitely full of thistles and thorns course, therefore, I need to be better prepared.

“Got it! I've got it!” I yelled when a fish caught my bait. A middle size, I have no idea what type it was, a Tilapia, I guess. I am not familiar with types of fish even though fishing is my hobby since I don’t consume fish. It’s the feeling it gives that matters. Rina who was diligently painting stopped her activity for a while and run to me to share the rapture.
“So this will be our dinner.” She expressed her joy. I nodded and replied, “I will try to prepare the best for you. You can have all the fish in the lake. I don’t fancy eating fish.”
“Yea, since she was eight, in detail.” Adrian interfered. He who showed no interest in the fish, continued his reading, lying lazily like he always does when we spend time here.
“Seriously? Haha, weird… but why?”
“Can’t stand the smell, Rina.” That answer made her laugh cheerfully. The sun shone over her face, made her eyes browner than I have ever seen. Magnificent. We went back to our activities.

I didn’t know what she is painting and never knew she likes to paint. However, when I saw her packing that painting stuff when we picked her up, it reminded me of the book she read. And I remember that yesterday she told me about the compatibility between us. Nature, music, art. Those leave me some clue.


From the spot I sat down with my fishing rod, I stole a glance at her who looked so deep and diligent, focusing on her job. Her simple appearance in a Persian green top suits the motive of our camp, matched with her knee-length jeans. The sunglasses rested on her head brings the glimpse of how she looks, while teaching at the school. I grinned alone, watching her from that distance. 

In the end, I caught four middle size fish and decided to stop, considering it is enough for the day.

“Andy, you set up the campfire, I will prepare our dinner.”
“What did you buy?” 
“Some canned food, instant noodle, some cookies, buns, bread, peanut butter and we have fresh fish here. You will see.”
 "You never cooked.” He doubted.
“You know that’s the best part, Andy. When she doesn't but is willing to try, that is what I call passion. An experiment. I’m honoured to be the first tester.”
Said Rina and then she continued, “this is for you, hon.”

I was really impressed. Rina is indeed a great painter. It has never crossed my mind that Rina is so skilled. Why I never knew about it? At school, I just know her as an economics and commerce teacher. Well, it's true that I never cared much about anyone at school let alone the teachers, but that day I was truly awestruck, amazed by the teacher who used to be my rebel.

That picturesque acrylic painting looks so alive. For a few moments, I got speechless adoring the artwork she exhibited to me. There was me painted on the canvas, fishing, while lazy Andy lying down reading and also herself standing at one corner, painting. The painting is exactly like the real model, complete with the colours of nature around us. Perfection.

“Don’t you like it?” She asked when I spoke out no words. 
"This is a masterpiece. Are you sure you want me to have it?” I fixed my eyes straight into her eyes. They are smiling, glowing. Full of unaffectedness.
“It’s yours, honey.”
“Oh, Rina… I have no words to express how grateful I feel… this is so affecting. May I hug you instead?” She laughed, noticing that the words taken from yesterday’s dialogue. And to make it similar, she smoothly took me in her arms and fed me a firm squeeze. Tender and warm.
“I love you, Andrey. Thank you for permitting me to partake in your playground.”
She whispered in my ear severely delicate, very gently. We let ourselves soothed in the grip until the flash from Andy’s DSLR shocked us. My brother smiled and flashed another few shots before he showed us the pictures he just was taken.

“Beautiful moment like this should be captured.” He said and continued, “this will make you smile one day. Come, give me another handsome grin, you both. Let me take a non-candid.” So we stroke some other pose for the photoshoot session.

I was busy preparing dinner when Rina excused herself for a swim. Seeing her in a swimming suit, once longer, I'm thrilled to see her pristine perfection. For a moment, I ask myself, is she an angel? My sight followed her movement, walking carefully towards the lake. As she set her feet on the water, I began to realise how beautiful her legs are. And when she sank her body in the water, it gave me a clearer look of her perfect figure. It is an impeccable picture I would always love to portray, in any given way.

The sunlight radiating on the surface of the lake sparkling with her presence, complements the scene like the moonlight accompanying the stars, admiring each other’s splendour in the still darkness. I, who was preparing the dinner, every now and then stole a glimpse at her who delighted in the freshwater of the lake. She swam carefree and independent, comforted my heart to see her happy.

“Too bad you don’t swim.” Andy teased me when he caught me glancing at the teacher. I smirked, accepting my inability to swim. Somehow I am afraid to swim, but I love to be near the water. I tried, but I just can’t.

“As a proficient teacher, I believe she’s willing to teach her favourite student.”
He finished his sentence with a gentle smile when I didn’t reply to his comment.
“Sometimes I can’t believe it, Andy… it’s to me like a dream that she is here with us now.” Brushing off the words he just says, I expressed my thoughts.
“We couldn’t know the surprises life holds for us. I like her. I think she’s cool.” I nodded to his remark.
“Yes, she is. You should have been there the moment she stole my bike.” We laughed.
“I believe everything is well-written for us. On that point are some mysteries but there's also answers behind all that happen.”
“You are right.”
“Seems it does not a matter to her if I know about her feelings for you. I like her honesty. Just being her true self without any effort to hide anything…Ohh...you bought lemon too?” Said my brother and after that asking me when he saw me dividing the lemon into two with my favourite Swiss Army knife. 
“Yea, I learnt the basic of preparing fish after the dinner with her. She had a fish that night. Halibut or something. Pan-grilled.”
“Hahahahhaha…… first, the book she reads, now you told me about the fish she had. I'm eager to see what's next. What did I say? Now you can see, there’s always a mystery and an answer for everything. God, I couldn’t believe this… but after all, I'm proud of you.” Burst out into big laughter my brother uttered his compliment. I laughed too.

“It seems a really interesting subject. May I join?” I didn't notice when she came out of the water as she approached us from the rear.
“Just reminiscing the good old days, Miss.” My brother did the reply.
“Hmm, hon… that looks nice and smell good. Lemon. I love fish.” She commended while drying her hair with a towel, still in her swimming suit.
“This is my first time preparing fish, so don’t expect too much. A comment is acceptable but not a complaint.”
“Ahhh, doesn't matter. It’s the accountability that counts.” She conveyed a profound line before she went inside the tent, to dress. Adrian gave me a meaningful smile. 
“You are one lucky butch. Unbelievable... how lucky you are… A teacher, a great painter, a head-turner. What a complete wholesome. Tell me what have you been doing to her? Putting on a spell or is my brother a silent charmer?” Adrian still can’t get over his feeling of surprise on the attention Rina provides me. I put my finger on my lips, “Shhh…lower your volume. She might hear us. She has really good ears.” 



The darkness finally enveloped the night. Andy has set up a campfire and we took place sitting in front of the flame, to enjoy dinner. The fish which I marinated now ready to be grilled. Kettle with coffee also available. To me, pretty please with instant noodles and baked beans. If we were still hungry later, bread and cookies can keep us full. Such camping easily makes us hungry, what is more, when we are awake, talking and singing all night long. 

Once the fish is laid on the grill, the aroma pierced the appetite. Although I do not eat fish, I love the flavour of herbs and lemon mingled in the marination.“It smells and looks really good. Can’t wait to taste.” Rina who sat beside me already gave a compliment before even tasting the meal. She appeared so attractive with the simplicity she shows. Her hair still wet, made her look sexier. No cosmetic applied, nevertheless, it does not affect her natural beauty. Her perceptible loveliness, an allure remains, untouched.

“I would like to thank both of you for the nice camp. It’s been so long since the last one. I'm truly loving it. Perhaps next time we can fix up a camp by the river or anywhere.”
“Certainly, Miss… I hope next time Lisa is allowed to join us. Her parents are quite strict. I wish she was here.”
“Of course, her parents are concern about her safety. Worried to let her join a private camping like this. Sooner, Andy... the time will come. Anyway, Lisa is a very cute girl. You are lucky to have her. I bet she is as smart as you. Take good care of her.” 
“Indeed, she is, Miss, and that’s the reason I love her. For sure I will never let her down. She’s my first. I know we are still young to be so sure about love, but there is one thing I am very certain of that if God willing, want her to be my eternity.”
“Lucky you, bro. I’ll pray for you. If God’s will.”
“I wish you the same,. When we are sure of what we want, of course, we will work for it. But, it’s all the will of God that has been written for us. As a human being, we are only able to put effort and the rest, we leave it over the hands of fate.” We both nodded to the sentence she spoke, acknowledged the truth of her words. Try. Ones must try. Ones must work on the things they wish to have. Ones should have faith, pray and put an effort to get what they wish for.

“What about you, Andrey? Don’t you want to accept one? Someone like Lisa, maybe?” 
She took over the momentary silence with an inquiry that was a bit jolting me and certainly bringing out Sophia’s adorable face into my eyes. I didn’t submit an answer for her interrogative sentence. If Adrian wishes for Lisa, I honestly wish for Sophia. I let my heart do the talk, which only I alone can hear.
“Or are you more interested in a woman like Sophia?” 

Either my mind is very easy to be read or she is extremely sensitive to my emotions, it was another query I won’t be able to retort.

“I actually am comfortable with you,” the answer spilt out of my mouth without my first thought. Well, at least it is honest patency. Adrian smiled from ear to ear at my answer while enjoying his fish. I turned my face to her, she smiled at me with her eyes glowing. Her hair is getting dry. I was actually expecting a response to my reply but she just kept on smiling at me, commenting, “your fish is superb, hon, you should teach me this.”
“I’m still learning.” It seemed like she chose to let the topic hang, so I traced her flow.
“In that case, what about learning together? I’m not a good cook, but I love to wine and dine. The best is at home, I assure.”

That was a pretty clear statement, in which delivering excitement inside me. We gazed into each other's face again as if we wish to cling on to the moment for eternity.

“Andrey told me about the dinner she had with you.” My brother alarmed us of his presence.
“I bet she told you everything occurred between us." 
“Yes, I did. He is my only friend.”
“Well, Andy… I hate to be bogus. Let me come clean that I sincerely love your sister.” 
Without hesitation she let her feelings out, clean and clear.
“I know, Miss. I can see how much you mean it.” 
My brother replied, without articulating his curiosity. Well anyway, it wasn't a surprise to him anymore because I have told him quite everything. Rina took my hand and in that firm grip she completed her sentence, “It’s pure.”

My mouth shut, listening to the confession she made. Even it was not the first time, but to say it in front of my brother is something new for me. Too new.

“I'm happy to find that there is someone who cares about my sister. And Miss, whoever the person is, not the case. What counts is the earnestness and sincerity. I am heartened that the person is you.”

Soundly lost for words, I could just give my all ears to the dialogue as I sensed the handgrip of my teacher strengthened.

“You are so sweet, Andy. Thank you for your understanding.”
“I am the big brother…” We laughed and then my twin made a request.
“Miss, maybe you would like to share the story about how it came to you to like my sister.”
“Oh, Andy… you are trying to tease me. I told you everything.”
“Yes, but at once I would love to learn from Rina’s side. It wouldn't be the same. Don’t argue. We are in a camp and it is a tradition to have a campfire tale. Haha.”
“I have no problem with it. C’mon, hon… don’t be shy. Let’s share the moments.”
“Yea… OK. Go on.” I relented. The truth is, in the meantime, I actually excited to hear the breakdown.

“I believe it was destined, I am assigned to teach economics in her class. The first day of my lecture, she wasn't there… I mean she was late. Yes, honey, you were twenty minutes late… I watched the clock, don’t be surprised,” she looked at me, raised her brows and then she kept on, “your sister got in through the back door, without greeting, nothing… She just quietly took her seat at the most isolated corner. I was sure that she thought I didn't see her, but no, she was wrong. I saw her. Call up, hon?” The preamble made me smile. I nodded and silently said, “yea.”
“I just ignored her. Pretending that I didn't care or didn't notice.” 
“Yea, but then after you granted us some tasks, you went straight to my desk and ask my name.”
“Right, glad you remember.”
"How can I forget..."
“Not only that, but she also asked why I was late,” I continued and then I looked at her, “I gave you an honest answer… I needed to see Remy.”
“Yea, at first I thought it was just an excuse, so I went talking to Mr Remy, I asked him and he confirmed your excuse. The same day, he let me read your 'criminal' file." At that point, we were all laughing.
"Criminal, yea that sounds dangerous, Rina," I responded. She took my hand and let it rest on her lap.

"Anyway, Andy, that was the first day I met your sister. Her attitude somewhat distracting, which for the first impression, definitely, I find it rude, yea, you know, for her to enter the class, presenting such manner. But, the best and interesting, the romantic part is, before I met her in person..."
There she paused, granted me a big grin.
"It seems I've missed this part," said Andy. I just shrugged, having no idea what was actually took place. Somehow,  I'm getting excited to listen to her details.

"Ready for a surprise, baby?" Asked Rina, moving closer to me, smiling and rest her arms around me.
"This must be dramatic," winking at me, Andrian expressed his excitement to hear the love story between me and Rina.

"Well, truth be told, I've already given you a credit when I saw your painting in the art room. Somehow, I sensed something special through the painting and I reckon that the painter must be someone special too. It's just come to me, intuitively.” 
Her sincerity reflected through the thorough explanation that reaches my heart.
“You never told me this… which painting?” I was kind of a surprise since I couldn't remember which painting she’s talking about.
“Mr Fauzi told me it was from last year… From what I've learnt, you were active in art before but suddenly stopped for an unknown reason. So, I thought to myself, this is a great painting. The student is very gifted. This excites me to ask  Mr Fauzi for the details. He mentioned your name in which was still unfamiliar to me until the day I first teaching in your class, where the proof is more than I expected.”
“So, it was love at first sight, I supposed. How romantic…” said Adrian, eager to learn the further specification.

"Yea, telling the truth, I fell in love with the painting. It's incredible. The tone, the colours selection, the perspective, it has so much momentum, seems alive. The painting, describing the freedom and I was so eager to find out more."
“But which painting do you mean cos’ as far as I remember I have a few paintings there.” 
The Eagle’s Eyes. You named it. Don’t you remember?”
“Oh, that one… yea… sure.”
“It is a great job, hon. Believe me. So, Andy... that was the day, where I learnt the name and the face of this little Picasso. ” She said while her hand messing my hair. I smiled at her, loving the way she treats me.
“Wow… that is very interesting. I find it so sweet.” Adrian's face delighted.      
“Yea, and after that came many unpleasant stories… you don't want me to repeat, please.”
“So, all this while you keep complaining about me to your bro, huh?”
“Once in a while… whom else?”
“Yea, some, not entirely. You know, she can be so secretive, sometimes.”
“Haha, not a wonder…both of you are the Scorpios. Secretive, passionate could be more intuitive.”
“Could be…” I murmured.

“Everything falls off slowly if we truly desire to perceive. Only when we want to explore them with both patience and passion.” And so she sang to me.


Adrian helped to set out the telescope and I took the guitar for us to value the scenic night. That is how we usually enjoy the camp on the shore of the lake. It was a perfect night, in perfect weather. The darkness highlighted the stars that adorn beautifully in the endless sky with a beam of the moonlight. The breeze contributed to revitalising the senses, embracing my heart with feeling superior and compelling. How I missed moments like this… Moments we used to spend together, me and my brother. Beyond my expectations, someone has sent to me to share the same interest in valuing nature. It’s like I have found a reliable friend and a friendship. A teacher who seems to be teaching me more than just economics. A woman who wants to love me. I give thanks to God for the blessings of this.

“I love observing the sky,” I said to my teacher while my brother started to cuddle with the guitar.
"If not with the the telescope, I would lay down and look up there, try to count the stars, the constellation, to find out the mystery above.” 
“Yea… and make a wish upon a falling star…” Adrian finished my sentence, something I neglected to say. I tried not to reveal myself completely to the teacher even though I begin to understand that she doesn't need my details, sometimes.
“I do that too. Make a wish upon the shooting star. At home, I like to sit on my window sill to watch the sky, like you do, too.”
 It is true what she said. I do that at home, sitting on the window sill or lying down by the swimming pool to watch the sky. 

At that moment, my twin started to pick some chords I am very familiar with, which made my heart sings and encouraging my soul to reach Rina’s hands and pulled her in my arms.

“You haven’t told me about the sensational dancing with a monkey,” I speak to her beautiful eyes as we swayed lazily into the rhythm played by my brother.
“What more can I say. You know it was perfectly wonderful, just like what I am feeling right now.” She rested her right hand on my shoulder while the other holding my right hand.
“C’mon Andy… sing for us.” I requested.
“Let’s sing together, bro.” 
“That’s a lovely melody, relate me the story, please, honey.” She whispered very softly, piercing her warmth directly into my soul. My heart melted with the gaze from those shining brown eyes, how could I deny the request?

“It’s about the first love… Describing how the writer got struck the moment he saw her and how he finally found out the truth that it’s her he wants to be with. Something like that… listen…” I made a brief sketch as I held her close to me. My brother who seemed to understand what is right to be done, finally sang the lyrics while I did the second voice when he came to the last verse.


“Are flowers the winter's choice?
Is love's bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice,
not love's appeals to know.

I never saw so sweet a face like that,
I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling-place
and can return no more.”

The urge burnt inside me to kiss her lips. However, my intention withdrew, when I think of Adrian who is still with us. By the same token, the confusion has drawn a borderline between right and wrong, seeing that deep inside my heart, still, I am holding Sophia’s face. As for Adrian, I know he wouldn't say a thing about it. On the other hand, I find it improper to display the scene in front of my twin. I was still timid and didn't wish to hear his comment tomorrow if I do so. Anyway, I did kiss Rina’s cheek, instead.

“That’s really beautiful, Andy. Thank you for your great performance.” Rina was still in my arms like she wished to dwell there forever until I led her to sit and join my brother.
“Thanks for the lovely dance, hon. I’m pretty sure that I will never regret dancing with a monkey.” She whispered a sense of humour in the truth she's conveying, as she kissed my hand. Her actions had penetrated the deepest recesses of my soul. A girl kissing my hand? I didn't expect that. Never. Merely with Rina, I discovered many things. Countless of new things. Crazy things. Great things. My heart is denying, yet, it is unable to deceive.
  
“We usually don’t sleep at the camp, but the next day, we claim it at home,” I explained without being asked.
“Moment, please.” releasing the grip of her hands, I went inside the tent to get the mat and my little pillows.
“It's time to lay down and watch the sky,” I said when I came out with that stuff and spread the mat on the ground.
“Yea, and we talked and talked till the break of dawn. Coffee after coffee… cookies, noodles again or buns… talk and just talk. Sometimes we fell asleep under the open sky unless it was raining.” Adrian helped me to illustrate further.

“But if you are not comfortable, if you feel sleepy, you can sneak inside the tent, Rina. Anyway, feel free to join me.” I assured her and without answering, she immediately moved towards me and reclined by my side. My heart smiled, very pleased with her reaction.

The stars scattered across the stretching sky without an end, clearly visible in this position. They looked so peaceful. The spectacular view of nighttime scenery gave me a distinct feeling, reconciled my soul that still searching for the answers to the questions of the heart and emotions.

“Don’t you want to bring out your mat, bro?”
“In a while, I’m I the mood of playing now. Feeling so inspired tonight.” 

“Once in a while, we need some soul-searching. But to me, I will never tired of doing this every day.” Quietly I spoke to Rina with my eyes fixed on the speckled sky.
“I sensed that, hon. I can see how happy you are, being here. It unlocks your ego and opens your heart to the things you never revealed before.”
Her words... it's hard for me to deny the truth of her words. Everything tucked with truthfulness, whether she delivers them in jest or intently. Whichever way she chooses, those lines gently expressed passionately. Therefore, the message often delivered to my senses effectively.

“How are you feeling?” I asked her, who seemed to also enjoy the splendour of the night sky.
“Hard to distinguish, or there’s no word to key-out. Happy. Fulfilled. Touched. Feeling great, wonderful… all in one. Positively.”
“Yea, it’s also hard for me to name the feelings I am feeling now, but all of them are positive. That's what is important, right?”
“Sure, hon. Positivity is the key to everything. Positive thinking, positive deeds. When we think positively, we are leading ourselves to good things, great things, in fact. And vice versa to the negativity.”

The gentleness of her words emboldened me to touch her hand and entwined my fingers with hers. I know she wanted that too. I sensed the willingness as she surrendered with her inclination to give, of which I could feel the pulsation in that simple and honest touch.

“A shooting star, you saw?”
“Yea, I saw. I just made a wish.” She chuckled at my words.

I didn’t realise when Adrian left us both alone, certain is I fell asleep while gazing at the sky. Rina woke me up and told me to get inside the tent. When I checked, my twin was already asleep. Maybe he was bored or maybe he didn't want to disturb the privacy and give me the way to be alone with Rina.

“Was a bit cold out there.” She said when we were in the tent and for that, I helped to put my blanket around her. I don't use a sleeping bag, somehow I don't like it. And Rina agreed to leave the sleeping bags at home.
“The flame should have kept you warm… You must be tired and sleepy.”
“I’m OK, honey. Don’t worry.” Pulling the blanket up to her neck, she looked like a baby in the cradle.
“Sorry, I fell asleep. I was a bit sleepy and tired, but I love talking with you.” She smiled.
“Don't worry about that, hon." Her voice is so soft calling me with that name. I begin to like it.
"Do you know what made me happy the most?” I shook my head.
“That you threw your heart a chance to see a different side of me, indirectly you have given me a chance to show it to you. This allows me to experience another side of you, and yourself proves it without you even realising.”
“That’s penetrating.” As a reaction, she chuckles again, showing those dimples adorning both of her cheeks.

We were lying down, face to face. The tent illuminated by a small flashlight, but bright enough for me to be captivated by her lovely brown eyes that always shine.

“Rina, why do you love me this much?”
“Because you deserve to be loved that much and I have so much love to give. I chose to give them all to you.”
“You think it’s right?”
“I believe in the quality you have... I love the real you, honey. You are different from any other students at the school, any other butch I know from the other class, outside the school... You own a trademark, your essence. That makes you special in my eyes.” 
“You know some other butch outside the school? Means?” I don’t like the statement she made. Am I jealous? I asked myself. But then she replied, “just knowing from hi and bye, nothing serious, hon, don't worry. Nothing energizes me. Nothing like the ardour you bring to me, honestly." Her confession put me at ease.

"See baby, when we are called to love, then it’s time to love. We can pick out with whom we want to be but we can’t choose with whom our hearts are meant to be.”

The answer she provided drove me wordless, trying to dive to its deepest interpretation. She took my left hand and wrap it around her shoulder as she moved and laid her head on my arm. Covering me under the same blanket, this position allowing my face to rest on her head, drifting to the scent of her hair. I love her smell.
  
“I love you, ” she looked up at me and kissed my chin.
“I really do…” Those three words often get me a tongue-tied. Yet, I managed to wrap my arms around her and held her close to my heart. With eyes closed, I struggled to figure out the truth of the sentiments I hold towards her. It is not easy to find the answers, so I chose to leave it to my intuition, in which it finally reassured my lips to leave a kiss on her forehead. Gazing into each other’s face, I built up some guts to caress her cheeks, adoring her baby soft skin, which made her grin. Her eyes were smiling, too.

The urge I had when we were dancing rushed back into my strains. I couldn't help to rest my lips on hers, somehow I know she was waiting for that as she reached my lips sexily with her hand caressing my neck. She loves to do that. At that moment, my heart raced and pounded heavily. I swear, I could feel the blood ran through my venous blood vessel. Her breath told me that she is experiencing the same. We kissed passionately, long and deep… and I learnt to caress her delicate arms, for the first time. Her skin is as soft as silk, it amazed me as I traced her outline.

“That’s amazing, Rina…” I whispered as we broke the kiss.
“You are indeed an astonishing kisser, my baby.” Her smile never tired to beam. Gently, she held my cheek with both hands, saying, “I love you, hon…please know that."
My forehead kissed with affections and sincerity from a heart ready to give.

“I witness everything. You shower me with love. I feel so blessed. We still have lots of tomorrows, don't we?”
Still smiling as a reply, I could see her eyes growing heavy. My eyes too, getting smaller. So I kissed those beautiful brown eyes of hers and gently I whispered in her ear, “sleep in my arms tonight, honey.”

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