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A Simple Story (Prelude and Verses-Edited-) (standard:romance, 3765 words) [1/5] show all parts
Author: sickboyUpdated: Oct 22 2002Views/Reads: 1941/1660Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
2 hearts crossed, one was taken...
 



Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

Trapped within a confinement accompanied by the “scent” of perspiration
and over worn perfume, everyone looked like fishermen going home empty 
handed after a full month of deep-sea-fishing, or maybe they were just 
plain lazy to even put an expression on their faces. The most exciting 
“items-of-interest” (excluding the recorded announcements) were some 
sudden soft yawns; sudden coughs here and there, a covered sneeze, the 
dominant voices of two aunties talking about the slow flow of the stock 
market, and... you. 

In some miraculous way, I was standing at a position whimsically
convenient enough for me to notice you more. With half a cart of 
sardines between us, I couldn't help but observed as you slipped into a 
relatively comfortable corner next to the door and leaned against the 
glass divider next to the seats. Comfortable, considering the fact that 
we were in a sardine can and at least you didn't have people 
practically breathing at the back AND the front of your neck as you 
struggled to keep yourself from falling on them. You slowly adjusted 
yourself to fit the position, then just leaned your back against the 
train wall with your head a little tilted to lean against the glass 
divider. You had an almost illegible expression that set you completely 
different from everyone else. You didn't have that immense tiredness or 
boredom or that jaded look people write all over their faces at the end 
of the day. Instead, what you had was like a blend of slow laziness and 
a little bit ignorant of the world, the type that emits pure 
non-conforming individuality that says, “This is me, deal with it.” 

You closed you eyes, projecting a soft innocence yet all the while
remaining the incomprehensible coldness. It's like beneath that almost 
angelic look lies coolness so still, so strong, so undeletable that 
even the most smoldering flames and fury of any kind would never shake 
it one bit, let alone struggle to melt it in any way. Once in a while, 
you'd move a little to the music you were listening to with the 
headset, completely inattentive to the sudden looks glaring at you. 

The “observation session” went on until when we were almost arriving at
the last station. By now, most of the sardines had left the can, and 
there was a seat on my left next to an office lady who looked like she 
hadn't had a good time for God knows how long. I stood where I stood, 
well, partly because the lady didn't look like much of a dish, and I 
guess mostly because I'm a guy and guys don't pass on chances to look 
at attractive chicks for as long as they can. As we were approaching 
the station, you slowly opened those hazelnut-brown windows to your 
soul. 

“Dung Dong.” 

The remaining sardines systematically marched out of the train, silently
making a date like that UPS television ad... “Same time tomorrow.” It 
was during that one fraction of a millisecond as we both remained 
standing where we stood among the moving people, among the silent 
footsteps, among the mild breezes as air flowed through the opened 
doors, you turned at me, and our eyes met, both irises reflecting none 
but the other, locked in that micro-second... 

“Shit...” 

Having a cigarette addiction is actually one of the worst things one can
ever have, especially when the winds have a problem with you, blowing 
directly at your face and your lighter, robbing the gadget's ability to 
perform its magic. I stood at the pavement outside the station by the 
roadside, waiting for my ride; desperately trying to light that damned 
cigarette in my mouth. You disappeared with the rest of the crowd; I 
didn't see you anywhere when I exited the train or the station. But 
that moment of meeting eyes with an unconventional-looking girl in a 
most uninteresting place was... 

*Clink!* 

A sliver-coloured Zippo lighter clicked open with a bright, wonderful
flame flickering from its torch. Flickering, but still holding on 
strong. 

You. No smiles, no looks, just flame and silent attitude. Irony. The
girl with the impenetrable coolness offers ‘warmth' for the needy. 
Surprises do happen... 

“Thanks.” 

*Clink!* “Got a smoke?” 

I hesitated a bit, a little startled actually, uncertain if it was
because of the offer or was it the inquisition... 

“Yeah.” 

*Clink!* 

You sucked a bit, puffed, turned and looked towards the direction from
where the cars were coming. Your headset was off. Your soft, short hair 
brushed against your forehead as the wind blew across your almost 
angel-like face, but the sheer attitude you projected posed a striking 
contradiction from being all angelic and innocent. Never judge a book 
by its cover... 

“You do that all the time?” said you, still looking at the passing cars.


“What?” 

“That... (puffed) looking at people.” 

... 

... 

“...If they're interesting enough...” 

... 

... 

... 

“You er...waiting for someone?” 

“Mmm...”, you answered. 

... 

“You er...take the train all the time?” 

You nodded. 

... 

“What was er...” 

“Was there something you wanted?” 

“Well...” 

“Why bother?” 

“What?” 

“Why bother? At the end of it, I'll find out that you're just another
CS-playing-crap-talking-self-proclaimed-nice-guy who may, underneath 
the physical be intelligent, perhaps witty, charming, sensitive, nice, 
caring, yet annoying, impractical, insecure and completely unsure of 
why is he talking to a girl who's a total stranger right now because as 
a general opinion it's just plain stupid to do so.” 

“...” (Insert “Oops” face here) 

“So tell me, was there still something you wanted?” 

“Well... yeah, but it's not an interrogation.” 

You turned, and our eyes met, again. We looked at each other blankly, as
if waiting for some magical beanstalk to suddenly grow out from each 
other's faces... 

“Beep!” 

A short honk broke our little unlikely moment. Well, my unlikely moment
actually, I figured you must get a lot of morons like me trying to talk 
you up all the time. We both turned to the direction from which the 
interruption came from... You started walking. 

Halfway through those 10 paces, you turned to me and raised your hand
with the cigarette. 

“I'll pay you back.” 

The car door slammed shut and the vehicle sped away, leaving only a
mixture of carbon monoxide and dust, instantly taken off by the evening 
wind. I stood, a little startled, a little disappointed, a little 
childishly happy and very, very intrigued. 

I wondered if I'd see you again, wishful thinking, perhaps. Technically
speaking, we were acquainted, I think, and as I said, I'm a guy and 
guys always wish for another chance to meet beautiful chicks who not 
only attract them, but blast their curiosity level off the charts. So, 
in the name of testosterone and science, wishful thinking was 
inevitable, and so were coincidences... 

3 days later, 1900hours. You were standing where we last left. Your
short, straight hair waved lightly as the soft, polluted evening breeze 
blew across the pavement. Your fitting, black short sleeve shirt 
created a mild contrast with your beige khakis, and the same 
white-coloured tiny backpack I saw the first time hung over your 
shoulders. With your headset on and a cigarette in your mouth, you 
looked kinda distracted and a little annoyed as your hands went through 
the pockets on your outfit. 

“Here.” 

A typical blue-coloured lighter clicked on with a flame holding on and a
hand behind shielding it. You took-off your headset, hesitated a while, 
then used the flame anyway. “Got a smoke?” 

An open packet of Marlboro appeared in front of me. 

“Thanks” 

... 

“So... we're even.” 

“(puffed), I guess.” 

... 

... 

“Can we still talk? Or are you always this quiet?” 

You turned and looked at me with those brown eyes displaying a mixture
of mild annoyance, mild irritation and mild disbelief. 

“What are you?” 

“Well... (Sighs) Design student, designer and singer wannabe. What about
you?” 

You gave that blank look again, and for a moment, I thought I should
plan an apologetic retreat... Then you smiled, briefly, hiding it as 
you turned a little. You tilted your head a little, looked down 
briefly, then looked at me again. 

“Student, accountant and poet wannabe.” 

“Watched dead poet society?” 

“Carpe Diem. Seize the day.” 

“That was it.” 

“What? The one that made you want to do poetry?” 

“Nah, the one that made me thought ‘I ain't gonna be a girl who's stupid
enough to be dragged by some guy who does corny poetry'.” 

“...and the only way to achieve that is to learn poetry yourself?” 

“Something like that.” 

1840. Sardine can. We met again, it's been a day after the
“Get-to-know-someone-through-your-cigarette” procedure; I was enticed 
to post the whole thing to Marlboro for the suggestion of a new ad. 
Movies. We agreed on the simplicity of “Chung-King Express”, argued on 
the complexity of “Fight Club” and its impact, pondered on the 
stereotypical ignorance of hidden messages in “The Matrix”, criticized 
big time the stupidity of MI2... 

“But you have to agree that it was a great movie altogether.” 

“John Keating was great; the entire ‘get-a-girl-with-corny-poetry' idea?
Not really. Though it does impress me that the movie reflects an untold 
fact of modern society.” 

“How so?” 

“When you think about it, even the title is a mirror: we live in a world
where the greatest poets are dead, cleverly hinting that true poetry 
had ‘died'. Also, remember the guy who shot himself? Clearly noting 
that the true value of art and literature had dimmed, overtaken by 
focuses of modern realistic pursues...” 

“...but that's just me.” 

These were the times when I wondered: what do you eat to keep your brain
going? 

“Next station: Nautical Gardens....” 

The same ritual of smoking on the pavement commenced. As the cars went
by leaving residue pollutants to the already contaminated evening air 
(I am just the environmentalist), we puffed away, sharing the moment of 
mutual silence from our (my) unlikely acquaintance. Your ride was 
seemingly late, it's been 20 minutes since I cooked you a stupid reason 
to stay until you left: “Oh, I'm waiting for my friend too.” Yeah. 
Right. 

“Tell me something.” 

“What?” 

“Why did you bother? 

You looked blankly. 

“Why did you bother? As you put it, you knew everything there is to know
about me before you knew me.” 

“I like to proof myself wrong time and again.” 

“I'm honoured.” 

“Don't be, you're just a lab rat” (smile). ... 

... 

“He's dead.” 

“What?” 

“He's supposed to be here 25 minutes and 15 seconds ago, I don't dig
unpunctuality.” 

“Call him?” 

“Why bother, he's here he's here, he's not he's not. Even if I did call,
the best he would do is cook me a stupid reason.” 

Mental note: punctuality. 

“HELLO?” 

A car pulled over right in front of us, the driver was sticking his head
out of the window with his True-i held close to his right cheek as his 
left hand just took off its hold on the steering wheel to open the car 
door. The guy, probably in his mid 20s, stepped out of the 
silver-coloured Honda Civic Type R, wavered a bit, all the while 
talking to his hand phone at a very loud tone. 

“HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HAIYAH, CAN HEAR NOT??” 

“Shit.” 

He turned off the phone, stepped on to the pavement and walked to you. 

“Hi.” (a quick peck on your left cheek.) 

“My phone's out, need to call Peter, how's your phone?” 

You shook your head. 

“Get in, give me a sec.” 

He ran towards the phone booths nearby almost hysterically. At the
moment he left, you suddenly turned to me. 

“Get in the car.” 

“What?” 

“Shut up, just get in the car.” 

“Woooohoooo!” 

Many years from now, I'll look back on this day and still never be able
to answer the question: what the hell was that? But I suppose at the 
time, I was only up to “hell, you only live once.” So there I was 
cruising away at a speed of at least 95km/h, practically dodging nearby 
cars with a girl I just met for less than an hour who was on the wheel 
maneuvering her boyfriend's (I assumed) car and the best part was: he 
never knew what hit him, I think. 

We sat in silent speed for about 3 minutes, far and away from the
station and a guy I figured would be very, very pissed by now. You, 
however, looked extremely, almost unnaturally calm with the whole 
escapade. I've learned 2 things that day: you drive incredibly well; 
your dominating look is the what-are-you-looking-at face under any 
circumstances whatsoever. 

“You're nuts, you know that?” 

“Hey, you're the one who's in a car with a girl who just stole it from
her boyfriend.” 

“But... you asked.” That was stupid. 

“It's a free world; you could've not jumped in if you wanted to.” 

“And miss the chance of getting to know you better, right.” 

“You trying to hit on me?” you threw a sarcastic glare. 

“I said I want to know you better, I never said I'm hitting.” 

“Okay.” said you, nodding lightly with a smile on your face. 

The interior of the car was relatively typical. The overall colour of
the interior was a shade of grey, the dash board covered with a piece 
of dark-blue wool and a sticker reading “Make My Day” stretched across 
right above the glove-box. A light-blue air freshener clipped in front 
of the air-con (the type that mimics a miniature windmill fan), and a 
model of a .338 bullet hung from the rearview-mirror. 

“That's a real bullet.” You switched on the radio. 

“No shit?” 

“Touch and see. It's a...” 

“.338” 

“Right.” 

“How did you...?” 

“He, you mean. His uncle's in the army.” 

“How long have you guys....? If you don't mind me asking, that is.” 

“3 months.” 

“You pull off stunts with him like that all the time?” 

You threw that sarcastic glare again. 

“So, where are we headed?” 

“I don't know, where you wanna go? Or are you worried about that friend
you were waiting for?” 

“I would be lying if I told you that wasn't a lie.” 

“Figured.” 

... 

... 

“...and I give up forever to touch you...” Iris, Goo Goo Dolls. 

“I totally dig this song.” Bad habit of mine, can't help myself when a
song I like comes on. 

“Man, you sound like a girl.” Glare. “Have you checked out the lyrics to
it?” 

“Yeah. And what's your expert opinion?” 

“In the words of Dirty Harry, ‘opinions are like assholes, everybody has
one'. I do have an asshole, but to tell you my opinion, would be, in a 
way, to admit that I am an asshole.” 

Blank eyes looking at you, you looked back. 

“Confusing, isn't it?...” 

I supposed it was time I started re-evaluating my modes of questioning
with you. 

“...Depressing, but close to home, people do exactly the same thing to
each other as the lyrics say, but everyone totally takes the other 
person's feelings for granted, ‘when everything's meant to be broken, I 
just want you to know who I am' No one really knows the people they 
know, we take people for granted everyday, in fact, most of the time we 
completely do not want to really know people. Oh, and it's ‘when 
everything', not ‘if', in reality, everything is meant to be broken, 
especially because the way we treat each other, it's only a matter of 
time, and when it happens, all we wish for is that the other person 
would at least act like they give a damn...” 

Actually, I never thought of the song that way, I never thought of
anything in that way as a matter of fact. But at that moment, it was 
like your words suddenly opened a whole new window to my own world, to 
the people I know, to the people I cared about. I thought about my 
“friends”, I thought about Lynn. ‘When everything's meant to be broken, 
I just want you to know who I am'. 

“...and that, was a thought, not an opinion.” 

“That's... one way of putting it, I guess. There's a line from ‘Time and
Tide', ‘God failed to better this screwed-up world, so he created 
something else, called Hope.'” 

“HOPE?! Hope is an illusion and an excuse people give themselves to be
ignorant, and in case you haven't notice, life is pessimistic, we're 
all just a bunch of tiny apes running around on a goddamn rotating rock 
and yet we choose to HURT each other, GODDAMNIT, I HATE THIS SONG!” 

... 

... 

... 

“...That was Iris from the Goo Goo Dolls; it is now 10 minutes past...” 

The deejay's voice stretch across the momentary silence between us. At
the speed of about 90km/h, I imagined it'll be extremely awkward if a 
cow was hanging on to the roof of the car trying not to get its hooves 
flown-off. However, it would still be none as awkward as the atmosphere 
inside. You kept your eyes on the view beyond the windscreen, and your 
hands on the steering wheel, and your feet on the pedals. But the 
expression on your face struggled from giving yourself away, and for a 
moment, I thought I saw a shade of silent sorrow swept across your 
irises. 

“I'm sorry. I didn't scare you, did I?” 

You turned to me for a moment and forced out a smile. I just looked at
you, perhaps wondering where that sudden sorrow came from and perhaps a 
little amazed at how you tried to hide it. 

“It's just that... well, things aren't going very well... Oh God, what
am I doing? ... I hardly, no, I don't even know you and I'm talking to 
you like we've known each other for ages. Hell, I don't even say the 
things I said to you to my so-called best friend.” 

“Well... I don't mind.” 

“Look, I'm sorry... is there a... place you want me to drop you off?”
“Er... well... okay, make a turn here, go down to Section 34, it's my 
place.” 

That trip to my place seemed a thousand times longer than the one I
usually have to take on a feeder bus, guess Einstein was right, 
relativity. The silence between us had grown from strange awkwardness 
to almost pure absurdity, but then to begin with, this entire scenario 
was completely absurd in the first place: it was completely impossible 
that 2 strangers were inside the same car under these circumstances; it 
was completely impossible that 2 strangers talked like we did unless we 
were in an interview; it was completely impossible that 2 strangers 
screwed themselves up over a song they just heard over a car radio. 
Yet, somewhere down this entire line-up of impossibility and absurdity, 
as we passed through 15 minutes of silence that felt like 15 decades, 
as somewhere in my head I was hoping to wake up from this dream, I 
threw the one question that I wanted to ask when we first met and gave 
‘absurdity' a new meaning... 

“You got a name?” 


   



This is part 1 of a total of 5 parts.
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