“Who did you meet, Babe?”
“My ex.” My fiancee replies, flashing his beautiful smile, along with the lovely dimples on his cheeks.
I thought Bella died? Or he had a girlfriend after Bella?
As curiosity fills me, I turn my head, trying to have a peek on whomever he is talking about. Watching my action, he lets out a chuckle. “Don’t be jealous. She already died a long time ago.”
So it was Bella.
Bella was a girl that I hated.
Back in high school, she had shoulder-length, wavy red hair that was beautifully paired with her dark brown eyes. I remembered her upper lip was thick, but not the lower one. On those lips, she always put on a pink-coloured lip balm. Another outstanding feature of hers was the high cheekbones, the one she shaded with a pink blush.
Uh, she looked tacky with those pink makeup all over her face.
Back then, she was a popular figure. She wasn’t the smartest girl alive, nor did she represent the school’s sports team. Yet, born with hourglass, model-like proportions, she led the cheerleader team to various competitions. With that title, she gained respect from the other girls in the school.
And, yeah, boys liked her presence too.
However, during the last year of high school, she got a boyfriend: a boy from the basketball team. A kind-hearted boy who never pulled off insensitive jokes, who would smile to anyone, who never judged anyone from the cover. A boy who had a crush toward her since the first year of high school.
A boy whom I loved back then, and still do even to these days.
From thereon, the two always spent their lunch break together. Despite separated by the different classroom, Bella would come to visit the boy when the lunch break began. With a packed lunchbox in her hands, the couple enjoyed the meal as they spoon-fed each other.
And I was there, watching their lovey-dovey action from the end of the cafeteria, secretly wishing I could be the one who fed my love.
And I buried my face into the food as soon as Bella noticed my stare.
The two sometimes studied together at the library. The boy was smart, one of the top performers during the exam period. Meanwhile, the dumb Bella sat beside him, tried her best to understand whatever he taught. Then, when she became tired from studying, she leaned her head on his shoulder, intertwined her fingers to his.
And I was there, watching their publicly displayed physical affection from the other table, secretly wishing my hands were the one locked with his.
And I hid behind the book as soon as Bella turned her head towards me.
The two often seen near the basketball court. The boy focused on his basketball practice, while Bella cheered on him from the side. The boy who smiled whenever his three-pointers were in; the girl who screamed his name from the top of her lung.
And I was there, watching the boy’s game from the other side of the court, secretly wishing that his smiles were for me.
And I grabbed my bag, ran away as soon as Bella’s eyes met mine.
The two rarely fought or argue with each other. But when they had one, they had it at the old park behind the school building.
“Who’s that green-eyed girl?” The girl opened the discussion while sounding upset.
“The ugly and fat bitch who keeps following you, Kevin! The one who keeps lurking around us, continuously staring with her creepy dark green eyes!”
And I was there, listened to the whole conversation, secretly wished that he chose me instead of this foul-mouthed woman.
And I left the two as soon as Bella’s tone turned happy from the boy’s apology.
The two never came back to school after that day. Rumour said the two went on a trip and involved in a car accident.
And people assumed both of them died since no one ever saw either coming back to school since the crash.
And while I felt happy that Bella was dead, I felt a deep sadness thinking I could never see the boy that I love anymore.
And I cried for a couple of nights, grieved the loss of my first love as I gave a rest to my jealousy.
Exactly eight years after high school graduation, I had to blink twice, questioned what I saw. I thought he was dead, but there he was, right in front of me on the pedestrian-only bridge.
I was no longer the same me from high school. Not the ugly girl who couldn’t wear makeup, not the fatty girl who could be looked down, not the creepy one who could only stare from afar.
Yet once again, I followed him secretly.
The boy seemed different from what I could remember. He looked unhappy, completely different from his persona back in high school. His dark brown eyes looked lifeless, his footsteps were powerless, beautiful smiles disappeared from his face.
The boy reached the edges of the bridge, then jumped straight right into the river. The boy who made me panic-dive into the water; the boy whom I managed to pull out and save from the strong currents.
“I don’t know what your experiences were, but don’t throw away your life!”
Ah, my first sentence to him turned to be something out of anger.
Ah, yes, this was the first time I talked to Kevin, despite knowing him for ages.
The boy cried as soon as he heard my scolding. His shoulder shivered, although I couldn’t tell whether it was from his emotions or the coldness of the water that drenched his entire outfit.
The boy who then opened up and told me what happened on the day of the car crash.
About him who suggested to fulfil Bella’s wish. Any wish that could calm her down of being upset from some “stalker” back in high school.
About Bella who welcomed that idea, forced him to bring her for a stargazing picnic at the observatory atop the mountain.
About him who sneakily took off with his father’s car, although he was still learning how to drive.
About them who fell from the cliff, about Bella who lost her life.
Ah, this boy also grieved from the loss of his first love, just like me.
It’s even worse since he was the one who took her life.
The boy followed me after that incident. The vulnerable boy whom I took care of, the heartbroken boy who needed support in life. The boy who gradually gained back his smile and slowly moving on with his life.
The boy or I should say, the man, who turned twenty-eight when kneeled with a diamond ring in front of me.
Ah, this man finally looked at me, not at Bella.
“Then, you mean…, you just met a ghost?”
Kevin looks directly at my eyes and nods, still with a smile on his face.
And so I turn my head toward the tombstones once again.
Yeah, I can’t see her, but I know that she can see me.
And I know that she will remember about me.
The girl she called “ugly”.
The girl she called “fatty”.
The one with very, very dark green eyes.