My heart skips a beat as I witness for myself this magical moment. Up until now, I had believed that ‘heaven’ was a place, located somewhere atop the puffy, white clouds, with snowy-feathered doves singing along melodies of the harp as they welcome the purest of souls into a lifetime of eternity. But it is this moment that makes me realise, how heaven is just an abstract state of beauty found in the simplest of things, but treasured eternally by the blessed eyes of the beholder. There’s truly nothing unique about an aisle archway decorated with dangling white calla lilies and engulfed by the sweet fragrance of roses. But you, standing beneath it, in your simplest, most divine form makes it worthy of putting even the grandest of castles to shame. And the Sun has Her heart swollen with love She could not contain, thereby bursting and spreading across those pinkish-orange hues of love, as its old, motherly rays plant gentle kisses on your rose tinted cheeks. You had always wanted a minimalistic wedding, and surely, including the majestic Sun in it was minimalistic, right? But then again, you are ‘Eliana’. You are supposed to be the ‘daughter of the Sun’. And rightly so, for you have never failed to light up the lives of those you have touched, including mine.
What did I ever do to deserve this?
You make a direct eye contact, and I swear, those sea-green orbs haven’t changed a bit. They look just like the crystal balls I had imagined them to be when I had first looked into them, giving me a clear perspective of how I wanted my future to be, or rather, with whom I wanted my future to be. That was ten, perhaps twelve years ago…
The sweet scent of roses twirled romantically around the fresh night grass as moonlight danced its way through the shadows. Soft, warm winds gently caressed the youth in their faces as they lay on the damp grass, under the blanket of infinite stars that protected their childhood innocence from the outside universe. Tiny droplets of water playfully poked their faces as the ocean waves singing soothing lullabies crashed against the shore. Until, a real droplet of water made its way on to James’ cheek. Then another. And another, until it was a whole stream flowing his now moistened face.
‘I miss my Mother’, James whispered through light sniffles, though regretting saying it out loud immediately, for it would just remind Eliana of the similar tragedy that had taken place with her a few years ago. Jerking his head sideways in her direction, his mouth half-opened, ready to apologise for the tears he thought he must have brought, he noticed her pure, candid eyes staring at him, a serenity in them far more mature than her age as her warm hand made its way towards his, clasping it. Her gaze and gesture sent a funny sensation down the brown-haired boy’s stomach, before she eased it as she spoke,
‘You know, when my Mother passed away, people said many different things like, ‘she is still here with you but invisible’, or ‘she is going to come back to you, but in a different form’ and so on. But I don’t think any of that is true. Truth is, she is no more here, and that life is unfair’
James was taken aback by the slight bitterness in her words, a complete contradiction to anything-but-bitter expression on her face. The uncomfortable silence kept growing by the second, as he didn’t know how to reply. But thankfully, he didn’t have to, for she was not done yet,
‘But you know what’s fair? Death. For it treats us all equally. No matter how cruelly life takes our loved ones away, death will always give them a place in above, in the sky, as a star. Ever wondered why the universe is still expanding? It is because of these additions of new stars every day.’
‘What about shooting stars then, what do they mean?’
Eliana smiled at his question, causing blood to rush up his cheeks, as he realised how dumb he must have sounded. But she patiently answered, ‘Shooting stars are just our loved ones rushing over to us when we are in need of anything, ranging from material things like books, chocolates, toys, or abstract pleasures like happiness or love.’
‘How do we know which shooting star is meant for us?’, asked the hazel-eyed boy.
‘We don’t. And that’s just how it is. The only thing certain in universe is uncertainty. Every opportunity, be it an opportunity to wish upon the shooting stars or something as simple as a job opportunity, will either be meant for us or not. The only thing we can do is to seize it and wait patiently. As long as we keep the hope alive, we are keeping the door open for the right opportunity to reach us. The moment we stop hoping, the door of opportunities will get closed, and we may miss out on something that was truly meant for us…’
And as if on cue, just as her sentence trailed off, the trail of a star appeared in the sky. A shooting star, indeed. She hurriedly clasped her hands and closed her eyes, all while having opened his not a moment ago. That moment, was perhaps the beginning of a new SPRING in their lives…
With each passing day, life bestowed upon the flower of their friendship a new ray of sunshine, filling their ever-growing bond with warmth. It’s not to say that they didn’t experience any rains. But those were perhaps necessary, for it is only through a blend of sunshine and downpours that the most beautiful of flowers are brought up. Each hour of their day was spent in the peaceful company of each other, reading classic romances under the cool shade of the freshly-dewed green trees, their rustling leaves playing hide-and-seek with rays of the Sun, till they changed from a bright golden to a rosy tinge, until they finally gave way to the radiant, silvery moonlight. Oh how much they wished for the earth to swallow their watches away, as if that would somehow make the days longer. Yes, these are the same watches that notoriously blinked back at them during the nights, refusing to make the nights any shorter, like they should be. Their soothing voices reading the heart-fluttering tales of Romeo and Juliet was the soundtrack of their SUMMER…
‘You know, sometimes I feel it would have been better if Romeo hadn’t met Juliet…’ the brunet boy said, rather thoughtfully, one yellow September evening while walking down the orange path of crushed leaves, eliciting a chuckle from Eliana, the sweetest ever, as she replied,
‘Maybe that’s why they call it ‘falling’ in love’
‘Will you ever fall in love?’ James asked.
Her lips pursed together in a thin line as her eyes narrowed like they always had before her tongue would weave a thread of words that would end up tying his own. She gently picked up a leaf from the ground, warm and crisp under the mature, autumn sun that no longer played hide-and-seek with them. Twirling it in her hand, she spoke,
‘Love is just like the fall season, you know…it is the most beautiful, yet the most complicated. It is that season when the innocent, green-leaved tree falls in love with the earth. So much so that it blushes profusely to the point that its leaves turn into a warm, reddish hue - the colour of love. And it showers the earth, no matter how muddy, with its kisses. It gives the earth all its quintessentially-nurtured leaves, fully aware that it might just have to witness them getting mercilessly crushed under the feet of those very people to whom it used to provide shade once upon a time. And it expects nothing in return from the earth, even though it knows that this may one day end up leaving it so empty, so lifeless that covering itself with sheets of icy-cold snow would be the only way to protect itself from the winter…Love is something like that, the season of FALL, it will come one day, that’s the rule of nature…’
And it did come, didn’t it, the season of love. It is here, right in front of me. And with each step you are taking, it is tingling me more. And more. And more, until you finally let go of your father’s arm…and take his, James’ arm, sending down the same funny sensation down my stomach like you had sent that day. Yes, indeed, even though it was James whose eyes had cried a stream that day and it was towards him that your timeless gaze was directed, but, laying beside my brother, it had been me, the brown-haired and hazel-eyed boy, who had felt that funny sensation down the stomach. You had probably felt that butterfly sensation too, but perhaps your butterflies liked James’ black-hair and amber eyes more. Regardless, butterflies were butterflies, for all three of us, and their arrival had marked the beginning of a new spring for us, planting that ‘flower of friendship’ in our lives, which ultimately bore fruit for only the two of you, it seems… Or maybe, I am the seed - part of the fruit, but still different. And small. Insignificant. Bitter, like the poison Romeo and Juliet must have tasted - meant to divide them but ended up eternally uniting them. Yes, sometimes I do believe it would have been better if Romeo hadn’t met Juliet…
To be the best man at your wedding with my brother,
What did I ever do to deserve this?
The dispirited scent of roses twirled aimlessly around the tired night grass as moonlight lingered its way through the shadows. Cold, dry winds harshly slapped across his sullen face as he lay on the damp grass, under the blanket of infinite stars that separated his WINTER from the outside universe. Tiny droplets of water notoriously poked his face as the ocean waves singing melancholic lullabies crashed against the shore. Until, a real droplet of water made its way on to his, Paris’, cheek. Then another. And another, until it was a whole stream flowing his now moistened face. His left hand clasped tightly the pieces of his autumn leaf boutonnière that had accidentally been crushed under James’ shoe right before he and Eliana sealed their wedding with a kiss, while his right hand counted the stars as though they were the needles stabbed in his heart, until his finger landed upon a particular star. A shooting star. A wry smile made its way onto his face as he mumbled softly,
‘Life is a funny season, isn’t it, Mother?’