The lights were everywhere, flashes from the camera were blinding, gnawing at my face, “we’re close,” Micah said. He grasped my arm firmly with his hand, holding my body close. I leaned my head down, the long strands of hair cocooned my face, keeping my face hidden from the greedy, seedy cameras.
“I hate this,” I whispered already wanting out of this. I exhaled a breath once we’ve reached inside the hotel, calmness cascading through me. The anxiousness slowly seeped away, surrounded by throngs of people speaking loudly, huddling in circles with people they know. I looked around, staring blankly at the unfamiliarity, the agitation creeping up as I stare around me to be enveloped amongst strangers. “I hate this,” I repeated.
“I know you do. This is for the greater good. Once you’re not needed, once we have shown our appearance we’ll be gone, okay?” Micah said.
“Yes please,” I returned. For the first time, a small smile shaped my face since I showed up to this event. My skin crawled at the fake glamour, happiness, love, this farce game deluding us that we’re doing the greater good, that we’re part of something extraordinary, when we’re just money makers to them. Nothing is real about this world because everyone is dealing with their own form of darkness. The smiles revealed nothing but fakery, hidden behind their expensive clothes, jewellery and pinned up hairdos, shaping up a face of their suffering and toxicity.
“Come on, let’s find our seats,” he urged. He lightly pushed me forward, guiding my body with his hand on the small of my back to our table. I looked straight ahead, ignoring the greetings from strangers passing by, dismissing their offensiveness of being ignored. Nobody cares about your little feelings being hurt, why should I care when nobody cares about me? It takes two to tango, baby. “It’s no harm to say hello and how are you, you know. It doesn’t indicate any interest, nor does it open the idea of a friendship or acquaintance. I think they don’t bite,” Micah whispered as he pulled my chair out, waiting for me to be seated until he took his seat beside me in the circular table.
“It’s all fake. Doesn’t mean anything,” I let out. “Not like I see them on a regular basis, it’s small talk. Who likes small talk please? They don’t really care Micah.”
“Were you always such a pessimist, how are we friends?” he laughed.
“Because you love me,” I countered.
“And because you love me too,” he quipped, his eyes light and humorous, his expression warm and kind.
“Yeah, I do,” I shrugged, releasing a second smile of the evening.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, it is lovely to see all of you. Welcome to the Golden Gala event, thank you so much for taking the time to attend it. In this event, we raise money annually towards a charity that resonates with us. This year it is raising money for orphaned children who are left without a family. We will donate money to an orphanage that we believe truly serves in the right interest of the children and the children only. We will donate to Haven Orphanage. I would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our talented volunteers, committees, and team, this event wouldn’t have been possible without them.” The audience erupted in cheers and claps, displaying thankfulness towards them. Mr. Malcome smiled and relieved a laugh in response, slowly indicating to the audience to be quiet so he could continue with his introductory speech. “Thank you again for attending the Golden Gala of 2020. I am certain you will be glad you did. Now, I will welcome the stage to Mrs. Simone Montgomery, the founder of Haven Orphanage.” The servers were working swiftly as they placed down the food and drinks on the tables, asking me if I needed anything, I responded with a ‘no’ and ‘thank you.’ Playing with my food as the hunger was non-existent. Micah openly helped himself to my food, shrugging his shoulders when I stared at him with a questionable look.
“We shouldn’t be wasting food,” he simply commented. Pushing my plate towards him, grateful that he has a big appetite to eat for two. I pushed my chair backwards, I get out of the hall, the toxicity within the atmosphere was too heavy on my chest, walking up the flights of stairs towards the rooftop, the more I walked up, the quieter the space between me and the loud people drowned out. Silence. I enjoyed silence, it’s simple, and quiet. There is only me and my company in silence, there is no other second person, chaos, ache, or complications. There is only me, me and aloneness is simple, easy, and painless. I let out a breath when I found it was only me in the rooftop, relieved to find it empty. I watched the burning lights illuminating brightly from the buildings as they floated with each other. The sky-scraping buildings varying in shapes, widths, lengths, creating infinity with the buildings which were luminescent and contrasted vividly from the dark sky.
Leaves that had fallen on the floor from the chilled breeze were crunching, the footsteps weren’t heavy nor light, rather sounded calculated and hesitant. Turning my head to the sound, to see a person, the figure stayed behind the shadow, but I knew from the build and form it was a male. “Who is it?” I let out, portraying a hint of annoyance, he never responded. The vellicate of my impatience was rising higher, more annoyed than unnerved, “do you understand English? I said who is it and what are you doing here?” I pressed. I kept my gaze on the figure that was hiding behind a dark shadow of the towering plants and flowers.
“It’s me,” he said, he came out of the bleak shadows. I recognised the voice even after years of not seeing him. My heart constricted against my chest and tears welled up in my eyes within seconds of seeing his face. The potty words disappeared and fallen short from my mouth, the silence between us was deafening. Heaviness of my sorrows pushed against my body, masking the intense sadness and devastation with my anger.
“What are you doing here? Why are you here?”
“I was invited to come here I didn’t know that you were here until I saw you come in. You’ve been avoiding me for years, I have been looking for you, but I couldn’t, until now. I want to talk to you. How are you?” he began as if we could continue like the old times.
“Fine, you don’t need to worry about me. There is no need to want to talk to me, there is no reason to talk. If you didn’t want to talk then, you don’t need to talk now. It’s okay, I’m okay, you seem okay, and that is great,” I expressed with sarcasm, trying to keep the sadness at bay but seeing his face, hearing his voice, being near him after so many years that passed, I didn’t know if I could control the emotions searing inside of me.
“I’m not okay, Kalina, I think about you since that day, I regret it every day and I’m sorry for everything.”
“You shouldn’t lie, Ricardo. Don’t you know lying is a sin? I should have known better, but I didn’t. I don’t want you here, it is what is it, and you’re forgiven, you can leave now,” I said, my heart hurt from all of this, my breath became shorter as the familiar anxiety arose beneath my skin.
“Come on, don’t be like that, what I said all those years ago was the truth, it is still the truth now. I have never lied to you, believe me, Kalina.”
“How dare you?” I started, tired of being civil, of being patient. The top of the sinus tickled as the tears have started to prickle my eyes, blurring my vision.
“Kalina, stop it. Stop trying to avoid me, please. I don’t want to run from this anymore, I don’t want to run away from you anymore, don’t run away from me.”
“Yes, yes, I can, and I will run away from you because I can, I want to, I need to. You’re not safe for me or my heart. You hurt me, you hurt me and you knew what you did would hurt me.”
“I thought I was protecting you. I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m tired and I don’t want to run away from you anymore. I want you to talk to me.”
“Nothing to talk about here. What is done is done, I didn’t need you to protect me, I wanted your honesty and your truth. I put so much into you I didn’t have anything for myself at the end. You’ve hurt me, you knew I was hurting, and you did it anyways. Get away, go away from here,” my voice got higher with each octave, the relentless tears streamed down my face, my heart burning and squeezing, the pain becoming unbearable. Needing him out of here so he doesn’t see my resolve shatter “go away, get out of here,” I shouted into abyss, nobody here to save me from myself, from him. Beating at his chest, going crazy, wanting him to see me crazy to drive him away. Him being here opened my heart wide open, the pain fresh and my mind travelling back to time of me and him. Pounding my shaped fists against his chest “get out, I don’t want you here. You hurt me,” I cried.
“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, hurting you hurt me too. I’m so sorry,” he chanted, his hands covered my fisted hands, stopping their attacks on his chest.
“Get out of here,” I whispered. “You’re dangerous,” the tears streamed down my cheeks, through my neck, and wetting my chest. Frantic footsteps and harsh breath appeared in front of me. The intensity of my emotions consumed me, shaking me to the core. A devastated gasp released from my lips as the moment sunk in, my body dropped to the floor, Micah caught my body before it collapsed, the shrill cries turning into silent hiccups and wheezing. “Tell him to get away, Micah. Tell him to go away,” Micah sighed, his hands wrapped around me, whispering consoling words of validation and hope.
“Go on Ricardo,” Micah said quietly.
“I’m sorry Kalina, I’m sorry for everything,” he ended, his footsteps pelted the ground, echoing in my ears as he faded away into the darkness.
If you see this, I assume you have come to the end of the chapter. This is a new story, inspired by heavy feelings and an overactive mind. It is a longer version of a short story I had created called Celestial Light, and it felt like the right time to give depth and substance to the short story. Thank you for reading, I hope you liked it. This is one of many drafts and hope to see you again. Regards, Konijja.