"Honey, which one is better?"
Alena is very excited about my high school reunion.
"Anything will do, sweetheart. You are always gorgeous."
"But still, ..."
We still have 1 hour left but she is relentless. Continuously changing dress and asking for my help to decide. How can I make her believe all of them look exactly the same?
"How about this one?" She said with widely opened eyes.
"Yeah, this one is the best." Actually, I'm lying. I just wanted to cut it out.
I don't know why they wanted to do a reunion with family members. I was waiting for the function for a long time. But this definitely has got me. I'm now trying to make a rock-solid plan to stop her from going with me. I can't risk taking her with me to the function. But I don't want to say it to her directly. Either way, a misunderstanding is undoubtedly coming.
I love her. I don't want to lose her. If she figures out about my past, our relationship will be history. I have to do something. And fast.
"So, it's decided. I'm wearing this blue gown. What do you say?"
"That will be so beautiful. But I'm thinking about the weather. Don't you think it's getting worse?"
"What are you talking about? It's only dull rain. And besides, we're taking our car, remember?"
"Oh, my bad!"
Indeed I am the dumbest person who ever has existed. Why did I go for that? She was watching the weather report with me yesterday. And besides, the room we're in is giving a clear view of the sky with a widely opened window.
Sometimes I think I'm just overthinking. Kids in high school do many things. And I did nothing much. It was just a promise. A simple promise. Why am I still thinking about it?
Was it really only a promise? Didn't I do anything? No, no. I don't want to remember anymore.
But it's also true I still think about her. She was so kind, so beautiful!
She was my best friend. I started it. It was all my fault.
She always wanted to be my best friend. But I wanted more. Why did I do that in the first place? I'm really angry with myself.
It was almost out of the blue. It was an ordinary study night. Richard, Leona, and I always used to study together. Richard didn't come. He didn't come on that fateful day.
I was carried away. I could not control myself. The animal within me was lurking.
But I'm not a rapist. I was never. I asked her out. But I'm ashamed now. Why did I do that?
She didn't want it. She always considered me as her best friend. She didn't expect that from me. I was mad. I told her a lie. A lie that I should never had told.
How innocent she was! She believed me. Why was I so mean? How could I do that? Maybe I was too young to judge right and wrong. Maybe I wasn't in myself. The desire took over me.
Soon I came back to my senses. I was regretting. I was regretting my actions. But I didn't have the power to admit it in front of her.
But the lie became the truth. I started to love her. I started to get more involved. She too was madly in love with me. But everything didn't go for a happy ending. Life is not a fairy tale.
She started to ignore me. I don't know why but she did. Did she somehow figured out the truth,? But I was not anymore a liar. I really started to develop feelings towards her. Then what happened?
The answer came. One day she was gone. Without any explanation, she was gone. I heard from Richard that she went to France for higher education. But why she didn't tell me? She was afraid. She thought I'd be hurt knowing it. she would hurt me. That's why she didn't tell me before.
But she did phone me after a week. We talked a lot. I said I'll wait for her no matter what. We were friends for a long time. I used to get bullied a lot during school days. She was the one who saved me numerous times. I had to promise. Because I loved her.
That was our last phone call. I didn't hear from her again.
I waited, I tried to contact her but no positive outcome. I was mad, I was angry and finally......, I was depressed. I don't know how many years I passed taking drugs as the only remedy. I don't know how many years I stroll around the city aimlessly. I was finished. I didn't have any hope for the future.
Then one day, she came.
I had forgotten how to live. She taught me the way of living. I had forgotten how to smile, she taught me that too. I didn't know how to love anymore. She showed me. She pulled me up. I followed her. She brought me out of the endless pit I was falling.
I was happy. Everything was perfect. After graduating from the University, we settled in a sweet little home. We enjoyed five happy years full of love.
But last month, everything changed. Richard phoned me. She was back. Leona was back. After so many years, we learned the reason for the cut-off.
It's common in movies but I didn't think it would happen in real life. Especially for me. It was an accident. She was struck by a car just after we finished our last phone call. She was hospitalized. Wounds weren't serious except for the problem it brought. She lost her memory.
She didn't remember anything. Patents, relations, whereabouts, even her own name.
But she remembered me. The only thing she remembered was me and my promise. She wanted nothing but to see me.
But she forgot my name. She forgot her whereabouts let alone mine.
She was depressed. She was broken. She was lost. She was completely empty. But still, she remembered me. She passed every torturing moment only by remembering me. She faced everything only for me. No trauma could hold her back. She loved me. She loved me a lot.
Year after year passed like vehicles running on a busy road. She was getting better. Her memory was getting clearer with every passing year.
Then the day came. She remembers everything now. She came back to Tokyo as fast as an airplane can fly. She tried to contact me but she didn't know I've shifted. My number has been charged too. So, she went to Richard.
He is one of my best friends. He didn't tell her anything. He knew how to deal with it. He managed everything without letting her know about my current affairs. Now everything was to be settled in the high school reunion function.
What will I do if she comes to the function? What if she still remembers? No, she does remember. And she IS coming.0
What if she tells me to fulfill my promise?What if she wanted to know why I broke our promise?
I can't face her. Not after breaking our promise. I am a cheater. But I didn't want to be. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't her fault either. She waited for me. But I forgot that once I told her I'll wait. No matter what.
I can not run away from my past. I have to face it. I have to draw a line between us. I have to explain everything. But I don't want to hurt Alena. I love her. It was she who dragged me out of my misery. I can't afford to lose her. The destruction is coming. I need a plan to stop it.
"Hey! What are you thinking?"
" Nothing. We're getting late. Let's go."
It's the end of the summer. The monsoon is trying to show it's charmed by blocking sun rays with its thick layers of grey clouds. All of them look totally filled and ready to unleash their true potential. Of course, their only potential is to cry out. Sometimes silently, sometimes so loud that will make you thundered.
The road is soaked with filth and glitchy oily water. Maybe one of the manholes is leaking.
Our car is moving fast ignoring the sliding road. Yeah, I know, the road isn't sliding, our car is. But from inside, it looks completely different.
We are driving our car on this slippery road to reach our destination. But where is that? Towards the tsunami? I'm thinking of a way but nothing is striking me.
Only God can help me now.
"Don't you think the weather is getting worse?"
I wasn't paying attention to the outer situation. When Alena tells me, I look outside. The wind was fast. The weather report said it will be only raining. But it seems like a tornado is coming.
"Yeah. We need shelter. And fast."
Oh, I can't say how much I'm relieved. Maybe God really is helping me.
We're sitting face to face in a table now. I never imagined everything will be this easy.
"Darling, I think I should go. Maybe everyone is waiting for me. You wait here, okay?"
"No. If you go, I'll go too." Oh, come on. I'm so close to solving this problem. Don't bother me now. I also want to live with you. That's why I want to leave you here.
A familiar voice reaches me. I look back.
It is Leona. Shit! But how? So, everything I did was for nothing? God isn't helping me after all?
"Hey, it's you! Oh, I missed you so much. You are going to the ceremony, right?" Her joy knows no bounds. If it continues she is going to...
I am totally speechless. What can I do now?
"You must be my husband's friend? Nice to meet you!.", Alena said stretching her hand forward.
I can see it. I can tell you she is shocked. I can't look at her eyes. Her deep blue eyes were reminding me of my guilt.
" It's a pleasure." Huh? What? You are shaking hands with Alena!
"Congratulations, David. I'm really happy that you moved forward."
I don't know how to react. You are pretending to be happy! But your eyes can't lie. I'm ashamed. You are just making me hate myself more than ever!
I can't forgive myself. Why are you acting to be happy? Why don't you ask me anything? Why don't you slap me?
"So, you guys also took shelter here?"
"Yeah, the weather is disgusting. Winds at very fast and wild.", I can't believe I'm acting as if nothing happened.
"Excuse me, you guys keep chatting, I'll be right back."
Oh, perfect timing for a washroom break. Now I can deal with it. It's now or never!
"H-hey, Leona. I, I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it. It's okay. "
"I understand where you have been these years. I'm sure it was tough. It's me who should be sorry."
"It was a harsh reality. But...are you really happy?"
"We were best friends. And still are. Of course, I'm happy. It's sudden, but I'll be okay."
Shall I tell her I was a cheater back then? But I was a cheater only for a moment. I did love you and..... I do love you but I love Alena too.
"It looks like the sky is clearing up. Soon the sun will rise." Literally, I don't know how the sky is clearing up so fast.
"David, I think I should get going."
"Why? Alena will be back soon. We'll go together."
"I......You see, I still need some time.
Let me be, David. See you soon."
I can not stop her. I don't have the right to. I have to let her go.
"Okay, but keep well, please."
"Don't worry, goodbye."
10 years have passed since the high school reunion. I have 2 little children now. I'm quite happy.
But the incident is still burning in my heart.
By the way, I think I should tell.
Leona didn't come to the reunion that day.
The next day her lifeless body was found in a drain.
I'm a murderer.
I Didn't kill her, but I'm guilty.
I know why she chose to do this.
I'm the reason for her death.
But I'm grateful to her. She gifted me with this wonderful family. She was my best friend. And always will be. But I'll remain ever guilty.
The world will never learn about my guilt.
But I'm burning.
And I'll continue to burn.