Fiction Romance

Thirteen hundred — that's how my ex-military father taught me to read the time and I got used to it — it's one in the afternoon when I started moving the boxes outside my old apartment. My father gifted me this apartment after I graduated from college. I took Visuals Arts and Photography as my finishing course and I became a professional event photographer for two years now.

A friend of mine in New Zealand said that they need a wedding photographer next week and so I decided to clean my old apartment before flying to New Zealand. I moved the small box filled with dusty polaroids on the top of my desk. These pictures were taken two years ago. I held one polaroid and cleaned off the dust. My mouth twitched in amusement as I remember how I took this an hour before she arrived at the balcony of my apartment.

The day I took this picture was the most important day of my life. It was December 13, 2020. I have been sharing my love and pain with her since December 13, 2017. After three years of being in a relationship with her, I made a promise to her that day that I will prepare her the most remarkable dinner date she will ever have.

I couldn't hold back my laughter when I remembered how I ended up using some old Christmas lights and recycled them by wrapping them around the railings. Then I showered rose petals around the floor while carefully avoiding stepping on them. A black tablecloth that I borrowed from my neighbor, Aunt Pery, because I knew you love the color black.

The scented candle that my mother gave that I placed at the center of the table with rose petals around it too. Two comfy chairs and a small speaker placed on the other side table one meter away from our dinner table. Before you arrived, I grabbed my white Fujifilm Instax Square and positioned myself back away from the table to clearly capture the background lights as well as the rose petals on the floor.

I looked at the polaroid again and thought that it was the cheapest dinner date I prepared for her but she said it was the sweetest thing for a man to do for his woman. It made my heart pound softly and it was a relief to know that she was contented with it — I was so happy whenever her gentle, grateful words pass through my ears. Everything was enough or so I thought.

I put down the polaroid and picked another one. Every time I reminisce about my memories, she was always there. Whenever I took a trip back down from my bittersweet memory lane, her delicate face shows up which makes the hairs of my skin stand up and giving me this nostalgic sensation. Every picture in the box is sentimental but it's a memory that I needed to crop out.

I let out a faint chuckled and closed the small box. I grabbed the Scotch-tape and wrapped it around the box to seal it. I picked the black Sharpie marker and labeled it as "2020 Pictures".

Yesterday passed and today is the day Clinton and Maria — the newly wedded couple who hired me as their official wedding photographer last week — came back here in Los Angeles from their Hawaii honeymoon to get their wedding photos.

I got out of my car and grabbed the huge picture frame that I wrapped yesterday. I went towards the gate and pressed the doorbell then waited for someone to come out. I was expecting her to open it but the door opened and I saw Clinton. He was walking towards me when I saw a tabby cat followed him outside. "Hey!" he called and unlocked the gate. The creaking gate opened and we shook our hands before he let me enter their new house. It was simply aesthetic to look at and I love how black paint goes well with the white paint.

I slowly devoured the feeling of having someone by your side forever in your own house, living through both happy moments and miserable times. "Welcome to our humble home," he said and told me to sit down on the grey sofa, "I will call Maria first. Make yourself comfortable, Fin."

I nodded and he ran upstairs to call Maria, his wife. While I was waiting, I wandered my eyes around their living room. It was neat and fresh to live and look at. Small frames hanged on their white wall and not-so-complicated patterns on the tiles. It was simple, it was minimalistic.

My head turned back at the stairs as I heard their steps coming down. The first part I saw was their feet stepping down and then I saw Clinton's fingers intertwined between Maria's fingers until I finally saw Maria's glowing face.

"Fin, thank you for coming," she said gently with a subtle smile.

"Of course," I said and watch them as they sat across me, "Congratulations..."

Both of them look at each other and grinned, "Thank you."

I took the picture frame and gave it to them. "20 by 26 inches and black frame," I said and she smiled at me then mouthed the words, "Thank you"

"Shall we take a look at it," Clinton said and wrapped his arms around Maria's hips. 

She nodded and they untied the ribbon and tore the wrapper. When they finally saw it, their faces glowed. "You are so beautiful here, Maria," Clinton whispered in Maria's ear.

The faces I am seeing right now are much more beautiful than the picture I took from their wedding. Pure smiles carved on their faces like it was speaking their love for each other so loud. Very loud that it's impossible for them to hear my presence, to know that I am here in front of them.

They let out a faint giggle and looked at me. She smiled at me so widely, the smile that it made me complete two years ago. Sadly, I was not the reason for her smiles anymore.

"Thank you, Fin," she softly uttered.

February 17, 2021 05:18

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