My eyes became misty again.
It was another April day not like this one. It was humid and hot.
The heat rudely woke up the blossoms from their winter slumber. They were forced to bloom without warning and took many by surprise. When most people were finally fully aware of the blossoms, they had already turned into a storm of petals, waning and withering in the unexpected searing air.
On that day, I stood alone under one of the cherry blossom trees behind my school. Although there were many petals dancing in the air, they didn’t obstruct my view into the sky. I found myself staring at it through the petal rain, slightly dazed gazing at the pinkish tint that it took on.
Most kids went home already. There were maybe 3 or 4 of them standing in front of the school waiting for their parents to pick them up. Rich kids, I thought.
I stood under the tree alone, listening to the wind nosily yelling at people and rushing them home. Of course, as a kid, the only thing I thought was that it was too damned hot. I didn’t even play any sports on that day and I was sweaty all over and even my panties were drenched (I didn’t need to wear a bra). Some had said that my pale skin took on a pink, healthy glow.
I closed my eyes. I was in no rush to get home. My mother was on a business trip for the entire week, which meant I was the only person in the house. No one would be home to greet me, to help me take off my uniform jackets and ribbons. I was even clumsier back then and I couldn’t really get out of my school uniform without falling down on my ass.
I heard a singing voice. It was soft probably due to the scorching wind howling and trying its best to drown out the song. But I still heard it.
I wish I could describe what I heard in words. But the moment I heard it, I knew I was home. Not home here on this earth, but somewhere in an ancient past, where I never fell down just from trying to get out of my uniform and I always sang my words beautifully.
“Sayosayo?” Mari’s voice gently led me back to the present. I shook my head.
“Nothing…I was just remembering…” I mumbled.
“Yeah. I know.” She said. After plucking with her golden strands of hair a little, she reached out and grabbed my right hand.
“Let’s go get some coffee and desserts.” She said.
I nodded. I never really said no to any of Mari’s requests because for the longest time, she was the only person that I could have an intimate conversation with. That was before she moved overseas.
But now, she’s back…
Ryoko’s image flashed in my head and I bit my lower lip for a second. Why was I thinking about her?
Mari and I ran through the streets. For someone with princess-like manners she ran like a tomboy. I think we bumped into some people because I vaguely remember being yelled at, but I was smiling the whole time on the way to the café that I didn’t really care.
I wonder if Ryoko ate desserts like normal girls do? She was so fit and confident and not disgustingly thin like some supermodel. She had some good looking and well-toned muscles on her. She had a lean waist and a flat belly. Mmm, eating desserts. Mmm, eating desserts off her belly and watching her squirming and enjoying the teasing that I’d do with my tongue at the same time…
“Sayo!” Mari’s voice was more urgent this time. I snapped out of my lustful thoughts with some regret. I felt my face becoming hot.
“Are you all right? Sorry, I forgot that you were not into sports.” Mari said. She folded her hands in front of her and she was gazing at the ground in front of the café. Her gaze seemed gloomy.
“I’m sorry, Marimari.” I offered an embarrassing smile.
“No, you’ve done nothing wrong.” Mari said quietly.
We stood there silently for a while as ambient noises filled our ears and the moonlight covered us softly. The air became a little thicker, however.
“I guess we should go inside, huh?” I offered.
She nodded, turned and started walking. I sighed and followed her inside.
I still had trouble understanding Marimari even then.
A Friendly advice
Leaning back in the cushiony chair in the café, I let out a soft sigh. Being around Marimari was relaxing. The aura she emanated had always eased my mind.
I was feeling comfortable around her. I mostly remained silent in front of most people in my school and most of the time they didn’t even know I was there. But around Marimari, I found endless amount of words within to share with her.
She nodded as she listened to me recounting about running away from Ryoko. She crossed her arms and frowned.
She looked away from me for a moment. I thought I felt some distance between us. I bit my lower lip.
Marimari always puzzled me. She had been puzzling me since we first met on that day.
My mind drifted back to that day again.
I walked out from under whatever was left of the shade of the cherry blossom tree and nearly stumbled my way to where the singing was coming from. Finally, after crawling through some bushes, I found the singer.
She was a blond girl with braces and a pair of thick glasses singing with her eyes closed.
I fell back on my bottom and I was surprised at the sight.
Although her voice was heavenly, like the sound one may hear in a European cathedral on certain Sundays, her face wasn’t attractive. Not that she was ugly but her braces and large glasses made it hard to take her seriously.
I could tell her soul was burning with love and passion for her music but her braces played the perfect foil to the seriousness of it all. She did have a fair complexion. Not pale like my, but rosy and fair, like the white roses one found in the garden of a princess in medieval times.
As she was totally drowned in her ecstasy over the high notes, her braces were quite visible and I couldn’t hold back my laughter any longer.
She stared at my direction. Her eyes were wide and her mouth was agape. For a moment, I was stunned at my immaturity. I stood there like someone who had crashed the stage during the key part of a live performance, unable to run away and unable to speak under the burning spotlight.
She bit her lower lip. “Did…Was I terrible?” She asked in a tiny voice.
I shook my head violently. “No, no, it’s just that…your braces…”I put my right hand over my mouth to suppress my laughter. “You were so serious and yet…your braces…bwahahahahaha…”
I burst out in laughter.
She frowned. Quickly, she grabbed my arm.
I jumped but couldn’t get away.
“Fine. Why don’t you try it then?” She demanded and her eyes were flashing. The princess was furious!
“Um…” I was taken aback. “I can’t sing. My voice sucks.”
She shook her head. “No. You have a nice voice. But since you thought I was funny, I want you to try it!”
I couldn’t just shake her grip off. It wasn’t because she was super strong; it was more like the calmness and earnestness in her voice grabbed my attention. More than watching, perhaps I wanted to join her because the next thing I knew, I was taking a deep breath.
“So, how does the song go?” I asked.
She rolled her eyes. “You’re telling me you don’t know this one?”
I blushed. “Would I be considered a moron if I said I didn’t?”
“No.” She shook her head firmly. “Why don’t you just follow me then?”
She opened her mouth.
The heavenly sonata resonated in my ears but this time, I participated with my voice. I quickly caught up to her. With her passionate notes burning in my ears, I couldn’t help but ignite my soul within me…
Marimari’s voice gently shook me out from my deep reflection. She was looking directly into my eyes.
“I think you should just be normal and just say ‘hi’ to Miss Sannomiya as if nothing had happened…if you see her again, that is.” She said.
I blinked at the simplicity of Marimari’s advice.
I peered at her face. She merely nodded to herself without displaying any readable emotion. “Can’t be that hard, Sayosayo. After all, you didn’t know what she was talking about, right?” She took a sip of the coffee and then continued: “Maybe she just wanted to be friends with you.”
I bit my lower lip again. Maybe she wanted to be friend with me, yeah, but I wanted…
Seeing her naked, fit and flat belly that time in the locker room really didn’t help my mind to calm down. I closed my eyes…A girl really couldn’t like another girl that way, right?
Yet, I couldn’t help but picture the degree of ticklishness of her stomach. Some girls played tickle fight with her in the locker room and she fell to the floor laughing and squirming. I pictured her belly muscles tensing, struggling and trying hard to fight off my tongue-bath.
Had I clearly laid my thoughts on the table for Marimari to see and to decipher, maybe thing would have turned out a different way. But as I gazed into her eyes, there was a sense of gloominess that made me hesitant.
My eyelids narrowed as I thought unpleasantly about trying to speak to the light of my life as casually as possible. I shook my head and sighed.
I felt Mari’s hands taking hold of mine. I opened my eyes and I found hers probing deeply into mine. Her moist eyes were not something I could resist.
“Give it a try.” She almost whispered. “Just be friends with her, all right?” She said.
I held back her gaze. Those doe-like sapphire eyes were not giving me any opportunity to say no.
I wondered later if she knew what I was thinking then.
Nodding my head, I sat back and let go of her hands.
“OK. I’ll try to be friends with Ryoko.”
“Just friends.” She repeated as if warning me.
I frowned and nodded. Taking in a deep breath, I reclined in my chair. We talked some more and ended up leaving the café around 9:30. Waving goodbye at her, I turned and ran home after we parted.
I had to sleep on everything. I just had to do it.