Aira (jumpingstorm) wrote,

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Please stay with me (short story)

It was then that I saw him as a guy and not just the boy that I grew up with. I noticed how good he looks even with a messy hair after riding our bikes. I noticed how good he smelled every time he hugs me. I noticed how perfect he was. And before I realized it, I’m already in love with my bestfriend.
It was a love at first kiss.

One of the happiest thoughts in the world is knowing that you have someone who will stay by your side through thick and thin; someone whom you call YOUR bestfriend. I have always believe that your bestfriend is the one person in the world who accepts everything about you, especially your negative and dark sides. He/she is the one person who will listen to you whined about something that upsets you and makes you feel better. He/she is the one person who will not get piss even when you call in the middle of the night just to share to him/her how happy you are in your lovelife.

Your bestfriend is the one special person you’ll never want to lose. Not just because he/she is the best among all your friends, but because he/she is special and that you love him/her. And because you don’t want to lose your bestfriend, you must not do something that will break your friendship. Arguments, no matter how small or big, won’t really tore your friendship apart as long as both of you knows humility and reconciliation. In spite of this, falling in love will.

I wouldn’t have regretted all the decisions I made back then if my bestfriend was a girl, the same gender as me. Not that I regret having a boy as a bestfriend, it’s just that because we have different genders it’s not difficult to fall in love. How could you not fall in love with someone who’s always by your side every now and then? Someone who knows you since childhood. Someone who knows your secrets and favorites. Someone whom you watch grow up at the same time as you. Someone who protected you from bullies and mean classmates. Someone whom you laughed and cried with. How could I not fall in love with someone who’s as good looking as my bestfriend?

His name was Joshua. We both lived in a small town where people knew each other’s name and businesses. When we were still small, Joshua and I used to play together with other children, but it was him who happened to get closer to me because we were entering the same school in elementary. The rest of our childhood friends were attending a different school.

Joshua used to visit our house every afternoon so we could help each other out in our assignments. Sometimes, if there were no assignments, he would still visit just to see me (according to him) and play with me. He plays basketball with our other friends but he spends most of his time with me.
From then, we have considered each other as bestfriends. It was because of us that both our family became good friends, and sometimes, we eat dinner together. Everything was perfect back then. All my happy days were with Joshua and my family.

We do some pranks sometimes and it’s one of the most fun days I spent with him. We rode our bikes and went to distant places. Though we got scolded a lot of time, we never ceased to explore our small province. With our bikes, we found a lot of places we called our own. Just the two of us.
Joshua made my childhood days perfect.

In high school, we entered the same school and were even in the same class. Even with new friends, we still find time to be together, like when we’re eating lunch. And every afternoon, he waits for me so we could go home together with our bikes.

Joshua, however, is a dense kind of person. He had rejected a lot of girls in our school without a second thought. That, I could say was one of his bad sides. But despite it, I still accepted him the way he was.

I can still remember our first Valentines in high school. After school that day, Joshua and I went by the river before going home. His face was serious and I could say he was thinking deeply because of the scowl on his forehead.

“Is something bothering you?” I asked as I stared at his face.
We were sitting on the grass near the river bank. The sun was setting, leaving an orange colored atmosphere stretched across the vastness of the sky.
Joshua was staring straight at the distant horizon.

“Are you bothered by the gifts and chocolates that you rejected today?” I asked again with a funny tone, breaking the silence.
He finally looked back at me and smiled.

“I was wondering why they keep on confessing to me.” He replied. Then added, “Just what is love by the way?” he asked comically.

“Well, I’m neither the dictionary nor Google, so don’t ask me. How should I know?” I answered shrugging.
Darting my gaze to the moving water, I thought of us. Joshua and I were both single since birth and I have to admit that a part of me was terrified to experienced love. Things might change between us, and I can’t imagine the day when Joshua and I have to walk apart because of it.
Then to my surprised, Joshua suddenly laid a hand on top of mine. I turned to look at him. He was seriously staring at me, and for the first time, my heart skipped a beat. And before I could even utter a word, Joshua leaned on me and kissed me. He was my first kiss and I could never ever forget the spinning feeling it caused me. It felt like the time paused and I froze along it. I could feel his unmoving lips against mine and I almost fell out of consciousness.

When he leaned back, he was smiling widely at me, and I, in the other hand, was wide eyed, staring at him in shock.

“My friend said that kissing a girl will tell me what love is…” he said trying to hide the blush on his face which I could clearly see nonetheless.
Then he continued, “…but I still don’t understand. Sorry about that.” He said in a soft and shy voice. And with a peace sign and a cocky grin, he pulled me up and we went home like nothing happened.

However, it took me a whole night before I was able to compose myself and found the energy to speak again. I was thinking about Joshua the whole time and the kiss that he gave me.
It was then that I saw him as a guy and not just the boy that I grew up with. I noticed how good he looks even with a messy hair after riding our bikes. I noticed how good he smelled every time he hugs me. I noticed how perfect he was. And before I realized it, I’m already in love with my bestfriend.

It was a love at first kiss.

Then that I realized the answer to his question.
Love has no exact definition. Everyone has different kinds of ways to define love, but no one could ever described the true essence of love. It is unexplainable. And whenever I am ask about that question again, I’ll only say: “You’ll know when you get there.” Because explaining what love is, is like trying to make a 1 year old baby how to read. It doesn’t make sense to the one you are explaining.
The moment I realized my feelings for Joshua, was also the moment I realized how difficult it is to fall in love with your bestfriend. As what I said, he was dense and I can never say if he has feelings for me too or to other girls because in that matter, he is secretive. I’m scared to be one of the girls he rejected.

Joshua never told me anything about whether he has a crush or if he was courting a girl. I knew everything about him except his lovelife. Or does he even have one? I really don’t know.
That’s the reason why I can’t tell him about my feelings. The moment I confess to him is the moment where things will change for us. Because if he doesn’t reciprocate my feelings, it will create a gap between us. It will end our friendship. The things we do will no longer be repeated and I never want that to happen. I just can’t risk it.

So for 3 years, I kept my feelings to myself. Somehow, I was contented with what we have. Joshua never showed any sign of affection to other girls, nor to me. We continued being bestfriends and thankfully nothing changed, except for my feelings that grew deeper as time passed by.
Each day, I longed to see him and dreamed of the next day that he’ll kiss me again in attempt to search what love is. But it never happened again. This thought even occurred to me: What if I do the same thing to him and caught him off guard? Will he realized that he loves me like I did back then? But I never attempted of tolerating the thought. I can’t. I just can’t.

But no matter how much I tried to keep everything the same between us, I knew we couldn’t stay the same forever.
In our last year in high school, I experienced my first heart break. Joshua told me that he had finally found the answer. He was inlove with a girl. I haven’t even noticed that he was inlove until he told me about it and it broke me. If it were me, he would have confess right? Unfortunately, he didn’t. So I assumed that it was a different girl.

No matter how many times I asked him who the girl was, he just wouldn’t tell me. It was the first time that he’s hidden something from me, especially such an important information. It broke my heart even more. The pain is that my bestfriend is openly hiding something from me and that I don’t even know who my rival is. Was she perfect for him? Was she prettier than me? Smarter? Sexier?
I just don’t have any idea! And I cried to sleep for so many nights, aching the fact that I’m in love with my bestfriend and someone who can never return these feelings.

Then one day, I received a news that I passed the college entrance exam of one of the most prestigious school in the country. I took that as an opportunity to escape my feelings.
I chose to preserve our friendship that’s why I need to be able to move on. Staying here with him and entering the same school again would make it difficult for me. That’s the reason why I chose to go away. And by the time I come back, we’ll still be the same. The same bestfriends who grew up together. By then, he’ll be able to tell me who the girl is and I’ll be able to present a boyfriend to him.

When Joshua learned about my decision from my mother, he kidnapped me one afternoon after school. He brought me to an unfamiliar place, walking almost an hour struggling from his strong grip on my hand.

“What’s your problem?” I exclaimed as soon as he let go of my hand. I rubbed it against my other hand because it was red and hurting.

“I should be the one asking you that Rina!” He retorted.
He stared at me with a grim expression on his face as he ran his right hand on his hair. He was sweating, but I can’t help but be mesmerized by him even when he was angry.

“And why would you ask me that? I don’t have a problem Joshua. I’m not the one hiding something from us, remember?”

“Why are trying to turn this to me?”

“I’m not.”

“You didn’t tell me about your moving to Manila.”

“You didn’t tell me about your girl either.”


“What? I’m just trying to be fair here. Besides, you already learned about it. And me? I still don’t have any idea about your little secret.”

“It’s not just a little secret! I’ve already explained this to you.”

“That you can’t tell me because there’s a risk and you’re afraid to take chances? You can’t even tell me what risk that is Joshua. Do you have any idea how confusing that is to me?”

“It’s not a big deal, okay?”

“It is to me. This is the first time you’ve hidden a secret from me. You would never understand how it felt until you put yourself in my shoes.”
For a moment, he didn’t said anything. He just stared at me, and I saw a trace of concern reflected in his brown eyes.
I forced a smile to lighten up the tension. The last thing I want this afternoon is to go home without reconciling with him.

“Of course you can’t put yourself in my shoes because my size is smaller than yours. Hah-hah-hah!”
I did my best to laugh at my lame joke, but Joshua only sighed heavily and turned his back at me.

“You can’t leave…” he said softly, but I heard it clearer than wearing a headphone in maximum volume.
His fist was tight but he tried his best to relax.

“I-it was a tough decision, you know.”

Joshua turned to face me again. This time, there was loneliness in his expression and I don’t understand why.

“Why?” He asked.

It took me awhile before I was able to answer him. I can’t just tell him the real reason. I need to be careful with my words.

“B-because it’s a one-in-a-million chance. I need to grab the opportunity while I still can.”

“The opportunity to study to that prestigious school?”

I nodded and saw the pain in Joshua’s expression. I felt it inside too, and for a moment, I debated inside whether I should really go or not. But then, my decision is resolute and I can’t back out now.
“We promised we’ll attend the same university.”

“I know. I’m sorry that I can’t keep that promise.” I replied looking away.

There was a moment of silence, but Joshua broke it a few seconds later.

“I can’t believe you’re leaving me Rina… Please stay with me.”

For a moment, it occurred to me that Joshua might have feelings for me too. That I might be the girl he was talking about. But I shoved the thoughts in the back of my mind, because I know it’s impossible.

That was the last time we talked about my leaving. In the next couple of days, neither of us ever mentioned it again. We continued to be the way we are. Nothing changed, but we both know that we were only hiding the conflict behind our backs. I guess both of us just want to preserve our friendship as much as we can.

In the last minute before I left for Manila, I found the desire to stay deep inside my heart. The desire to stay and be with Joshua. But before I could even hesitate, I stepped inside the plane and left for good.

However, that was the biggest mistake I ever did in my life. The one decision that I’ll forever regret.
I live a nice college life in Manila with the support of my parents but I never found the love that I was expecting to have. I dated a lot of guys, but none of them can ever replace Joshua. They only made me realized how much I love him and how much I miss him.

I spent my entire college life longing for him, and though I could go home anytime if I want, I didn’t because I’ll only get hurt again. What if he’s happy with his girl now? I didn’t even heard a single news from him. He didn’t texted or emailed me, or even tried to write me a letter. That time, I thought perhaps he was already happy with his new girl that he already forgot about me. I knew it’s all just assumptions, but I chose not to leave my comfort zone.

Then 5 years passed. I graduated as a BS in Accountancy student and passed the board exam. Thinking that I have had enough of being away from everyone I love, I finally decided to go home. I wanted to see my family again. And I wanted to see Joshua again. I wanted to see his smile and hear his laughter. That time, I didn’t care if I get hurt again, I just wanted to see the only guy that made me feel complete.

But fate, I realized, is cruel. It is unfair as much as life is.

When I arrived at my home town, everyone was so happy to see me. There were parties and a lot of our folks have welcomed me back. The town hasn’t changed at all, as well as the good people. But 3 days had passed since I arrived, but I never saw Joshua. I don’t want to ask my family, but I was already consumed with loneliness that I can’t take it any longer. So I decided to finally ask them.

“Why hasn’t Joshua showed up?” I asked them in the middle of a meal and their expressions turned pale. From there, I began to feel nervous and I can’t explain why I suddenly want to cry. They knew. They knew from the very beginning why he hadn’t showed up the entire time, but they chose not to tell me.

“Do you wish for us to take you to him?” my mother asked.

There could be hundreds of questions to my mother’s statement. Why do you need to take me to him? Why can’t he just show up here? Is he sick that’s why he can’t go here and you need to take me to him? Etcetera, etcetera. But I only nodded and didn’t bother ask any of those questions because when we get there, I know I’ll discover why.

I can never forget the feeling. It felt like my heart dropped to the ground and shattered into millions of tiny pieces, each of them being crushed. I remember my vision blurring as tears escape my eyes damaging the make-up I’ve been wearing. I remember falling to my knees as all the energy from my body was drained from what I discovered. And then, I remember leaning my face on that cold grave as I cried helplessly.

Joshua was gone.

He died in a disease I-don’t-wanna-know-what a year ago. But I don’t care about how he died, I just care about how I felt when my family brought me to the cemetery and to Joshua’s grave.

All the years I spent in Manila were for nothing. If I only knew he was dying, I could’ve stayed even if it means not becoming a CPA. If I only knew, I could’ve told him my feelings for him even if it means risking our friendship. I could’ve taken care of him. I could’ve stayed by his side until the last minute.

All the wrong decisions I made hurt like hell. And I remember his lonely expression on the day he told me to stay.

“I can’t believe you’re leaving me Rina… Please stay with me.”

Please stay with me.

Please stay with me.

Please stay with me.

When we got home, with my eyes still puffy and my nose red, my mom handed me all the letters Joshua had written for me in all five years. Letters that he didn’t send, scared that he might distract me.

I stared at all the letters scattered in my bed as I continued to cry. I can’t summon the will to read them because I knew it would only make the feelings worst. But then, I found his last letter and decided to read it first.

Sorry, I really don’t know how to begin. I stared at the ceiling for hours deciding whether I should write Dear Rina or My Bestfriend Rina. In the end, I decided I should just say hi.
I would be direct to the point now. I really missed you Rina, more than I could ever say. I know you miss me too, don’t even try to deny. If you do, I’ll be upset. Heh-heh.
This time, I would be honest with you. I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps, I’ll start with the secret that you desperately want to know. Rina, you are the girl that I love. In that Valentine’s Day when I kissed you, the truth is because I’m already in love with you. I am in love with you since elementary, but I was always scared of telling you about my feelings. I was scared that you might not feel the same and our friendship will be shattered.

I always wanted to be with you, that’s why when I found out you were leaving, I can’t help but feel so lonely and heart broken. There are lots of good looking guys out there and the thought of you dating one of them kills me inside.

It also hurts to live a day without you Rina. And all the years that you were not here were hell to me. But I finally decided, that it’s best for your future.
When I found out about my disease, I struggled to decide whether to call you or not. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but that time, you were reviewing for the board exam. I can’t just be selfish, call you here, and sacrifice your future, can I?

My heart aches for you Rina. I wish I could kiss you again, but I guess God won’t allow it anymore.
I don’t know about your feelings, but I’m glad that I finally got the chance to tell you how much I love you.

By the time you read this, maybe, I’m already a couple of feet below the ground, but remember that I’ll still be your bestfriend and I’ll be watching over you.
I want you to be happy. That’s the only wish I have in my heart. And please don’t forget to smile because it’s the most wonderful thing I ever knew in this world.

I love you so much Rina.

                                                                      Always yours,

I smiled as I gently swept the fallen leaves on Joshua’s grave. 20 years have passed, but until now, even if I have found happiness and a reason to continue life, I still ache for him. I missed him so much, and even now I have to admit that I still love him and no one could ever be greater than my love for him. My husband understands this and even if he struggled at first to understand me, somehow, we worked it out. I love him of course, and he is the reason I live now.

          “Mom… why do we have to pull these weeds? This will only grow back you know!” my son whined as he struggled to pull a weed with his little hands.

          “Don’t complain Brian! Uncle Joshua was mom’s bestfriend and he watches over us. You should at least thank him by pulling those weeds around his grave!” Belle, my daughter and Brian’s twin sister, scolded him.

          I smiled at both of them. They were wonderful children and they were a blessing to me.

          “You’re sister is right, Brian. If it wasn’t for your uncle Joshua, your mom and I wouldn’t have meet and both of you wouldn’t be here.” Luke said from my back and I turned to smile at my husband.

          “Oh… sorry uncle. I’ll pull the weeds around here next time. Heh-heh-heh!”

          We all laughed and I stood up from sitting on the grass, preparing to leave the cemetery.

          “All right! Who’s in for some pizza?” Luke asked enthusiastically.

          “Me!” Belle and Brian both said in chorus. Laughing and cheering as they ran to their father and grabbed both his hands.

          I smiled as I watched how happy and perfect my family is and then I looked up at the blue firmament.

          “Thank you…” I whispered.

          Sometimes, we need to take a chance no matter how high the stakes are. No matter how much you don’t want anything to change, taking a risk is sometimes necessary for you to see if the results are better because you’ll never know what will happen. And if you regret the result, remember that regretting after trying is a lot better than regretting without trying.

“…Because just wishing I could see you makes me cry so much…my love. Sighs spill out, floating into the night sky. Please stay with me.
If I say I want to meet you, will that cause you pain? Even though my tears overflow…my love. While we pass each other by, you become more dear to me. Please stay with me…”
by: YUI
Tags: short story

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