“Why is there no news from you after that?”
“I wanted to forget about you,” he admits.
“Because if we had continued, I don’t think it will work out in the end. We are from two different worlds, have different cultures and stayed in two different places. It is better to leave with unadulterated memories of innocence and fun before it was soured with fights and squabbles later on.”
“Do you understand the anguish I felt waiting for a reply that never came? Every time the phone rings, I rushed to pick it up, hoping it was you. Every morning I checked my inbox, hoping there’s mail from you.”
He remains silent, his head bowed.
“So you don’t have faith in us?”
“I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“How do you know I will get hurt? I think you are afraid you will get hurt. You know, you are a coward.”
“Maybe I am.”
She bursts into tears.
“You didn’t even try,” she says between sobs.
“I’m sorry I am selfish and insensitive. I didn’t know how to deal with it. It was the first time I have feelings for someone.”
He allows her some time to recompose herself.
“You know, deep down I also realized that it is quite hard for things to work between us. But at least you should try.”
He studies her while contemplating his next move. She is still as he had remembered her to be. Her hair is back to its original wavy cascade. She still smells of pink rose. Like a bottle of good wine, she has aged well with time. The only subtle difference is that she now looks like an adorable young woman rather than an adorable little girl.
“Come on, let’s make use of the time we have and forget about everything else.”
“What about your fiancée?”
“I’m sure she will understand.”
He offers her his hand, and she accepts it.
They stroll along the perimeter of the river, gazing at the pair of ducks swimming gracefully in it.
He races off and gathers a bunch of lilies by the pond, tying them up with a piece of weed and gives the bouquet to her.
They walk across a lush green field, and lie amongst the mishmash of cow grass, tall weeds and traces of small flowery plants, admiring the big blue sky unblemished by any sign of clouds.
She races off and makes a face at him, enticing him to run and chase her. They run through dense green foliage and thick brown trunks, playing an impromptu game of hide-and-seek.
As the sun sets over the hill, he is holding her tightly in front of him, his arms encircling her diminutive waist. His fantasy turns true under a golden bath.
And he plants a lingering kiss on her mouth.
As darkness descends onto the clear November sky, he drives her to the brightly lit airport. On the way, he stops at a florist and buys her a bouquet of pink roses.
This time, it is she who is leaving.
“Thank you very much. I have a lot of fun today. I am glad we bring this to a closure. Now I can at least move on the next phase of my life.”
They embrace each other again before she walks toward the departure gate.
“You know,” she says, turning back to face him right at the gate. “You will forever command a special place in my memory as my first love.”