Inside the glass dome, feathery white falls down from heaven, covering the somber horizon with a blanket of thin ice and preserving it in the glory of life…
A moving car drove down the "paved" road of the metropolis, followed by a blue station wagon. From the station wagon's backseat window peered out two amethyst eyes, staring at the new environment, people and places that she was seeing.
Curbing her enthusiasm down a notch and sitting back down on the back seat of the car, the little girl, who just a few moments back was very eager and excited, sighed inwardly.
"Mommy, aren't we there yet?" asked the little girl impatiently, "We've been driving for more than an hour now…"
"We'll be there soon, Abby…" replied her Mother, patting her lightly on the head and running her hand through Abby's hair.
"Okay…" answered Abby, accepting that answer for now.
Staring out into the city that was all too new for her, she couldn't help but remember her friends' happy smiles and her friends' faces when she had said goodbye to them all. She missed Canada but since her father was transferred back to the Philippines, she had to leave it all and start anew in this country that is all so unfamiliar.
"Mom, will there be children there? Will they play with me?" asked Abby whose patience was running short once more, "Will they be nice like my friends in Canada?"
"Abby, you will make new friends… The children here are no different from those in Canada, you just have to get to know them…" answered her mother, "Look; our new house is over there…"
Quickly looking out of the window, Abby could see rows of similar houses sprinkled around the horizon. Each of these houses were unique yet similar – the same in structure but different in color, decorations and the works.
Coming to a halt, the moving van stopped in front of a Victorian-type house which was bordered by a neat row of red suntan, dotting the green lawn with sprinkles of red glitter. The lawn was freshly-cut and lay with Bermuda grass, the smell of which permeated through the air. The door was made of polished oak while the door handle was made out of solid brass, polished to near perfection. Beside the main house was a small paved lot, enough to hold two cars and further beyond that was a small pathway leading to the backyard which was furnished with a picnic table and a barbeque grill, gifts from the little girl's uncle who had prepared the house for them.
Eager to explore the surroundings, Abby quickly jumped down the station wagon and ran towards the house, examining it close up. Finally satisfied with examining it, Abby decided to explore further and came to a small grove of acacia trees where a little boy was on all fours staring at something on the ground.
Wearing a red T-shirt with a big white star printed on the center of the shirt, the boy, noticing her, stood up and smiled, his chunky onyx eyes becoming mere lines now. His raven hair was disheveled, messed up probably by staring downwards for such a long time. His skin was slightly tanned, a striking comparison towards the little girl's pale white skin.
Walking up to the little girl, the little boy greeted her, "Hello, my name's Cedric…"
Extending his right hand as a sign of friendship, Cedric smiled once more, exposing his lack of front teeth.
Taking Cedric's right hand with her own, the little girl introduced herself as well, "Nice to meet you, I'm Katherine Abigail but almost everyone calls me Abby…"
"So, what were you doing?" continued Katherine, checking out what Cedric was looking at before she introduced herself.
"Oh, I was just looking at some ants..." replied Cedric happily, "Hey, do you want to see something interesting?"
"Hmm? What is it?"
"Come with me…"
Grabbing Katherine's hand, Cedric dragged Katherine to a secluded area behind the bushes and smiling whispered, "Watch…"
Katherine looked around the small grove that she was brought into. Awed by the mysteriousness and immensity of the grove, Katherine couldn't help but stand there speechless only to be surprised when butterflies of all shapes and sizes began to fly out of the trees when Cedric lightly tapped one of the tree's branches.
"It's so beautiful…" Katherine remarked softly, her eyes drinking in the visual soup that was laid in front of her.
"This is my place. I come here to think or when I want to be alone…" said Cedric, happiness filling up inside of him as he saw the sparkle in Katherine's eyes, "It's your place now too…"
"Really?" asked an overjoyed Katherine, "Can I really come here with you?"
"Sure…" replied Cedric, running his hand through his short raven hair.
Katherine took Cedric's hand into hers and smiled as she stared at the bright blue horizon that was in front of them.
Cedric sat quietly inside his air-conditioned classroom, the only thing in his mind was the fact that school would be done in less than five minutes. He looked around his class and watched the bored faces slowly turned into smiles as the minutes flew by. The teacher, still as oblivious as always, continued to ramble about the problems of society not knowing that her audience had other things to look forward to.
When the final bell rung, the class stood up and was dismissed – set free into the "real world". Dumping his things into his backpack, Cedric rushed to ICA where he had promised to meet Katherine.
Katherine and Cedric had been friends since they were 5 and now, after twelve long years of bickering, arguing and making up, they've become the best of friends – inseparable pals.
Flying down the stairs, Cedric ran out Gate 14, flashing his ID as he went out. Taking the shortest route he knew, Cedric found himself outside ICA's Gate 2 waiting for Katherine to come out. Soon enough, he was surrounded by a sea of faces – yayas and Xaverians of all sorts who, like him, were waiting for somebody to come out of the metal gates.
It wasn't long before Katherine finally emerged from the long and packed lines that formed inside the gates, her eyes looking around for Cedric.
"Abby! Here…" called out Cedric, waving his arms in the air to call Katherine's attention.
Katherine, finally separating Cedric from the sea of faces that stood in front of her, struggled through the mass of people towards him.
"Did you wait long?" asked Katherine, finally meeting up with Cedric.
"Quite a bit but it's okay… I came here pretty early…" replied Cedric, running his hand through his short raven hair, "About 3:30, I think…"
Taking out her cellphone, Katherine said, "By the way, Tita called and said that she'd come and pick us up in front of E-Square later at 4:30…"
"Oh, in that case, we have lots of time to kill, wanna do anything?" asked Cedric, leading Katherine to E-Square, "Do you want to eat, drink or something?"
"No thanks… I have to keep my figure…" replied Katherine, seemingly engrossed at texting someone.
"What figure?!" shouted Cedric, meriting him a not-so-light smack on the head from a grinning Katherine, "Ouch… That hurt…"
"You deserved it…" joked Katherine, "Making fun of your best friend is hazardous to your health…"
"Corny mo talaga…"
"At least I know how to be corny… Ikaw marunong ka lang mang-inis…"
Cedric smiled. Katherine laughed. It was one of those ordinary days of their lives when they would just joke around and talk to each other. Cedric and Katherine would leisurely walk to E-Square, smiles and grins plastered on their faces as they narrated how their respective school days went. And just like every other day of their young lives, they found themselves sitting on their usual table in front of the E-Square parking lot, watching the cars that passed them by.
The day was too ordinary – too regular – and fate, being the bearer of change, decided to open Pandora's Box once more.
Suddenly, they both fell silent; both of them having nothing else to say to each other. They looked at each other for a moment and upon feeling a tiny spark in the air, looked away almost immediately. Looking down on the ground, Katherine began to speak once more, her voice now solemn and quiet.
"Cedric, I'm leaving for the US after graduation…" whispered Katherine as the sky slowly began to dark.
More silence – silence that continued even when they were inside their Tita's car.
"When are you leaving?" asked Cedric softly, finally breaking the silence, "You're not leaving immediately after, are you?"
"Not really… I'll be leaving by April… That's about 4 months from now…" answered Katherine, "I'll be back every Christmas to visit my family and friends – especially, you…"
"I see…" whispered Cedric, his mind filling up with so many questions and thoughts.
Cedric looked out the car, staring at the languid scene that played before his eyes. She was leaving after high school. Katherine, who had been with him for thirteen years, was going to go to US. Cedric stared at the night sky, gazing upon the pale full moon which was partially covered by clouds.
"Cedric, you're not angry at me, are you?" asked Katherine, breaking Cedric away from his silent reverie.
"Of course not… I'm actually happy for you. You've always wanted to study abroad..." replied Cedric, crying to sound happy, "You'll be back every Christmas anyway, won't you? We could go out and watch movies when you visit or maybe I could visit? I'll charge you for the plane ticket…"
Katherine smiled slightly. Cedric smiled back. And for the rest of the trip, they were silent.
Soft romantic music played in the background as both of them sat beside each other in Katherine's room with Cedric tutoring Katherine with some Geometry. Although Cedric was not one of the geniuses of his batch, he was an honor student and Katherine always found math much simpler when it was Cedric who explained it to her. She didn't know if it was the music that played when they were tutoring or if it was Cedric's style of teaching or maybe just Cedric himself, but it just felt that way. And now that she was leaving, she didn't know what she'd do when he was so far away from her.
"… Circles are defined as…" said Cedric, stopping his rambling about circles as he noticed that Katherine was spacing out, "Umm… Abby, are you okay?"
"Huh? Oh, I'm alright Cedric… I'm just tired that's all… Maybe we should just call it quits for tonight…" answered Katherine, slowly standing up from her chair and placing a new cd into her stereo.
"Okay…" returned Cedric, putting the book down.
Katherine slowly laid herself down on her bed and stared at her blank ceiling and let lyrics of the song play in her mind. Cedric took a seat beside her and he looked at Katherine for a moment before looking at the blank wall directly in front of him.
Cedric carefully reached out for Katherine's hand and grasping it lightly said, "Abby, I've always wanted to tell you something but have always been afraid to do so… But since you'tr leaving for the US soon, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't tell you before you left..."
"Abby, we've been friends for the past thirteen years and life wouldn't just be the same if you weren't there to brighten up my day… But for the past few years, I couldn't help but feel that we could be more than that… more than best friends…" continued Cedric, staring into Katherine's amethyst eyes, "I love you, Katherine…"
"… but I don't expect you to love me back…" finished Cedric, standing up from where he was sitting and heading towards the door.
Cedric was about to open the door when Katherine suddenly shouted, "Wait!"
Cedric turned back and found himself looking at a sobbing Katherine, her eyes welling up with tears.
"Wait…" repeated Katherine, standing up and walking towards Cedric.
"Cedric, I don't know what I'm feeling right now… I can't tell you if I love you back or not but…" continued Katherine as he hugged Cedric tightly, "… we can try… Cedric…"
Cedric hugged Katherine back and softly ran his hand through her hair to comfort her. Cedric slowly lifted Katherine's face to face his and slowly whispered, "Yes, I know we can try… But, no matter, what happens, we shall always be the best of friends…"
Katherine rested her head on Cedric's chest and enjoyed his warmth – a warmth that felt like the warm glow that was surging through her heart.
Cedric sat quietly in his plane seat, clutching in his hands a black box. He looked out the plane window and saw the dazzling lights of New York. It had been two years since Katherine left him in Manila to go to college and now, Cedric, a sophomore in college, was taking a well-deserved break from all the studying and partying he had been doing to visit Katherine in the US.
Disembarking from the plane, Cedric crawled his way through the long line of people waiting in front of the immigration counter and after a long time, he was finally able to go to the baggage area and claim his baggage. With his luggage behind him and the black box in his hands, he walked towards the departure gates and headed out into New York.
Searching for a familiar face in the crowd, Cedric looked around the waiting area and upon finding no one, turned back. Suddenly, a hand tapped at his shoulder making him turn back. He found himself looking at a smiling Katherine. Taking the black box, he opened it and gave the contents to Katherine – a snow globe. Katherine took the snow globe into her hands and looking into Cedric's eyes, hugged him.
Forever will this moment be frozen in SnowGlobe of their lives…