Author’s Note: This is the continuation of Euphoria, loosely based on a true story of a friend of mine, woven together by the fingers of fate.
Toby stood straight in front of a mirror with wooden carvings. A feeling of disgust surged through him. An image of a fat boy stood before him, with the same disgusted look. He yelled, out of frustration. Then the scenery shifted into a classroom full of students in uniform.
Everyone stares, looking just as puzzled as Toby.
Toby tried absorbing his surroundings, familiarizing himself of his whereabouts. I was dreaming, he thought. He stepped outside to get some fresh air.
A few meters away, the school’s gardener is tending his flowers and plants, providing enough water to avoid wilting. Basking in the sun all day is not an easy job. Toby tried to get a closer look. Red roses greeted him, sparkling in the daylight. A smile lit Toby’s face.
“How do you know the exact time to water them?” asked Toby.
In a low-pitch voice, the gardener answered, “Actions speak louder than words, boy.”
Toby slowly lifted his head and replied, “True. Actions really do – ” Toby’s reply went to a sudden halt as the gardener vanished. He stood, looking to his left and right, trying to spot the gardener. He was nowhere to be found. Toby stood in silence, stunned at the moment. He shook his head, scratching his eyes in disbelief as he walked back to class.
Lunch break. Selena had just finished eating, along with two other friends. Selena was careful not to eat too much, as she was on a diet.Being obese is hard in almost every aspect. Determined, with a strong will to match, Selena swore to get slimmer.
As they made their way back to their room, Selena noticed Toby step outside, his expression grim. She was worried, but couldn’t do anything as she was starting to distance herself from Toby. A perturbed girlfriend ofyour crush is not a good choice for enemies.
Selena and her friends stood outside their room, engaged in a conversation about lungs and respiration. Selena caught a glimpse of Toby outside through her peripheral vision. Standing beside the window, she leaned,pretending to ponder about something.
“Let’s go inside, Selena. My feet are killin’ me,” one of her friends suggested, gesturing to her feet.
“You guys can go on ahead. I’ll be there in a sec,” Selena replied.
As her two friends entered the room, Selena faced the window, looking down and staring at Toby. He was sitting down, his gaze fixed on the red roses, smiling intrinsically. Selena couldn’t help but smile as well.
Toby started talking, but Selena couldn’t make out if he was talking to himself or to the roses. Weird, she thought. Suddenly, Toby started looking lost, facing left and right as if crossing a road. He tried getting his bearings straight, heading back to his room as if nothing happened.
School bell rings.Students start packing up their bags, using their mouths more than their hands. It was a common thing among teenagers. Chatter filled the room, reverberating at an exponential rate.
Toby approached Selena. “Dude, wanna watch Viral Infestation 5 this Wednesday?” Toby asked, eagerly awaiting her reply.
“Oooh, sorry, dude. I already have plans,” Selena replied, managing a slightly crooked smile, masking the impression of sadness and disappointment.
Selena wanted to watch Viral Infestation 5 so much, being an avid fan from the start. Watching it with Toby would be a mega upgrade. It would be like hitting two birds with one stone. A one-in-a-million chance. But Selena had to let it go. The consequences didn’t look good. Never did. Probably never will.
“I’m off,” Selena exclaimed, turning her back on Toby, making her way to the door.
“Wait!” Toby stopped Selena, holding her hand with a slightly tight grip. Time stood still yet again. Selena’s heart started beating so rapidly that she was afraid Toby would hear every beat. Blood rushed through her veins. Her face was red. Embarrassed, Selena looked down.
“What?” Selena answered without looking back.
Silence. One second passed.then two. Before they knew it, they were still for a couple of minutes. Apparently, nobody noticed two students standing still in the middle of the classroom, trying to be statues or something, while holding hands.
Selena pulled her hand. It took all of her willpower to do it. It made Toby seem that he did something to upset her, but Selena didn’t turn her back to check Toby. They parted, not a single word uttered.
On the way home, Selena couldn’t help but remember the times she was with Toby. The “study date” in their school library was her best. Nothing could top it, but it didn’t make her other memories any less significant. In class, Toby would suddenly appear beside her, asking her to study with him. She would brush him off like a fly, making him frown. Then they would laugh together. When Toby didn’t have notes, he would borrow Selena’s, with the latter ignoring him because of her headphones on her ears, provoking Toby to shout and making Selena apologize while giggling. At times, Toby would unconsciously correct Selena’s grammar and diction, making her feel uneasy, but also thankful deep inside. Selena has nothing – absolutely nothing – but happy memories of Toby. Thinking about what happened in their classroom earlier, she concluded something of utmost importance. I’ve fallen for him, she thought.
Selena arrived home, expecting the place to be booming with people,only to be welcomed by a deserted place and a creaking door. Strange. Usually, her house is jam-packed with people. Tears started falling her eyes, not because there was no one home, but because of Toby. It pained her that she fell in love with someone who could never be hers. Selena tried to wipe her tears, but before she could, she noticed something on her palm. A small little smiley face was printed on it. “How – ” An image of Toby holding her hand flickered in her head. More tears fell, creating a puddle beside her left foot. Selena started stammering, unable to control her tears. A gentle breeze blew, her hair dancing in the wind. Leaves started falling, coloring the pavement yellow and green.
Selena’s phone beeped twice, telling her that she received a message. She checked her phone. It was Toby. “Impeccable timing as always” she thought sarcastically. She opened it reluctantly:
Dude, I think I’m breaking up with my girlfriend.