"Broken Circle"

Manuel had a not so serious car accident last night. It happened merely because he felt miserable missing the person he never thought he loves until two months after she went away. The next time he woke up, his best friends were there. He felt so happy because he didn't see them for a long time since they chose different careers. To his surprise, the person he misses so much was also there, just silently smiling at the corner while everyone was shouting for joy because of his awakening. She just arrived. Manuel felt so happy but didn't know what to do. His pride took over him again. As a result, he ignored her presence at the room. Hours had passed. They had long talks and vicious laughter at the sudden reunion. After long hours, the visitors are ready to go home. She was the third one who steps out of the room. He's going to let her go again.

The sound of her footsteps were loudest in his ear. It is going to be the end. But just like a circle, the ending is connected to the beginning. Manuel who didn't do something that could make him happy today decided to dwell on the past where it all started.

Manuel, along with his friends, saw his name at the heavenly list of board passers. His circle of friends was all there and saw their success except one whose shadow never appeared on such glorious day even though she also passed. When Manuel was already on his way home, a stranger gave him a letter. That friend who mysteriously didn't show up confessed how she loves him for four years. The next day, Manuel and his friends learned that she already went abroad to work.

He always knew that she has feeling for him but he ignores it. He really looks at her as a friend. In his personal opinion, she's completely out of his league. Unlike his usual girlfriends with raving beautiful faces, she is an average looking girl and behaves like a cowgirl. But she's adventurous, energetic who is not afraid to try anything she has not experience before. At that aspect, they are pretty much the same. Eventually, they became best of friends.

As much as possible, he didn't make actions that will create misunderstanding on her part. Like for example, he never gave her gifts in any special occasions or holidays. He also prevented himself to take advantage of her feelings like asking her favors involving school works. He used to do that to his admirers in his high school days. She, on the other hand, didn't push herself to him. Perhaps she feels jealous too whenever he's with other she has her way of not showing it.

When Manuel read the letter, he just smiled to the fact that all things or suspicions he has in mind got confirmation. He saw it in her eyes. He knew that all mysterious gifts he just found suddenly in his bag were from her. But good thing she's moving on and accepted the fate of a hopeless love.

He soon found a work. He didn't think about her even for a second. When one ordinary day, something happened. He was eating lunch along with his colleagues when he cracked a joke. No one laughed. He has to explain the joke first before they understood that there was indeed something to laugh at. That was the first time he tasted the spoonful of bitter emptiness. He expected to hear the most crispy laugh, the one who laughs so long as if there's no tomorrow. And there's no way he could hear that at the moment.

The second incident happened when he went to see his old college friends. They watched a horror gore movie again. But he didn't understand it at all. The whole time he was staring at the big screen, his mind was filled with her memory. He remembered that horror was their favorite movie genre except her. Before, she only goes to that kind of movie simply because that's the choice of the majority. She can bear to watch it but can't help to close her eyes when it comes to violent slaughtering scenes. Manuel would laugh at it and he, together with the others, will force her to open her eyes. He remembered that she would often open her eyes a little but closes it again as if she glued her upper and lower eyelids together. They tend to become very noisy that other audiences will be so much irritated.

That was very funny for Manuel because it was the only vulnerability he knew she has. Mostly, she is not afraid of anything. Her most memorable bravery show off was when she ventured a long road at night. The road is popularized by many people who experienced seeing white ladies there. She brought a camera with her that night. But she saw no ghost. And he also remembered when she talked privately to their terror professor regarding his irresponsibility. Surprisingly, the professor didn't become angry with her but showed improvement afterwards. Only she could do that sort of things.

Manuel was very frustrated when the movie ended. He went home with so much longing in her heart to see her. To get rid of that feeling, he played his all time favorite gore movies at home. But it only went worse.

He finally thought of sending her an e-mail to ask if she's fine. But in her letter, she requested him not to contact her by any means. She will try to do the same too. But if ever she couldn't help herself, she pleaded him not to give her any response. So generally, she was asking for his ignorance to help her forget. At first, Manuel was having no problem with that. But at this point of time, he was starting to have second thoughts.

His birthday came and for the first time he didn't find a surprise gift in his bag. His friends were so busy that they could only send him greetings through e-mail. How he wished he would receive a "happy birthday" message from anonymous like before.

Last week, the company where he is working organized a birthday bash for the employess who have their birthdays at that month. They provided cakes, ice creams, spaghetti and pizzas. There was also a tarpaulin where all the names of the celebrants are listed. Almost all employees were there and most of them didn't even know him. He felt no warm in that celebration. For his past birthdays, he didn't have any parties like this but they are far better. And he realized that what made them special were the moments he wonders about the next mysterious gift from anonymous. Mostly they were handmade; a straw bracelet, a photo-manipulated photograph, pencil with his name engraved on it, a pencil case and many more. The most expensive were the tickets for a concert. There was even a letter with it telling him to invite his girlfriend at that time. Unfortunately, he didn't have the time to use it that's why the tickets are still with him. Of course he already thought of confronting her. But he doesn't want her to feel embarrassed so he just let it be.

While thinking about this, he realized that the mysterious gifts made him happy for years. The reason is not a materialistic one. It made him happy because it made him feel that someone is celebrating his existence. That even in his existence he knows he is making someone happy.

At the end of a day, he finally found himself staring at pc monitor, thinking what to write for her. "But she's the one who loves me. She should be the first one to reach me."

Then from that moment on, Manuel declared a competition which none, even his competitor, knows about. He was very sure that he will be the winner because after all, she's the one who longs for him.

That only made matters worst. Everyday, then every hour, every minute, he peeks on his e-mail. He also checked his cell phone more frequently than before. Moreover, he keeps switching his older sim cards hoping that one of them will be contacted by her. While his college friends continue to receive news from her, he was ignored.

Their college friends don't have knowledge about the letter, nor her true feelings toward him. While they were still in college, she was very good in hiding it to anybody else except him. Her common technique is to express her love to an artist or celebrity. She would often say that she wanted to see them in personal to tell them she loves them truthfully no matter how hopeless it may seems, no matter they would dump her at the end. She even had past relationship but none of them lasted long. But still, Manuel can't count anymore on how many times he caught her stealing glances at him which keeps him always suspicious.

The letter also told him not to tell their progressing ignorance and that includes lying about him receiving messages from her too just like anybody else. He wanted badly to share how he feels right now but his pride is keeping him not to do so.

"She's the one who loves me. She's the one who has something to confess. Not absolutely me", he always tells himself.

One day his friends called and invited him to attend a reunion. Before the conversation ended, his friend remembered one important thing. At last, there was a message from her and it's exclusively for him. "She wanted me to tell you that she followed your advice in troubleshooting the computer. Thanks to your help because her computer is completely okay now. ", his friend told him.

Honestly, the message is absurd because they never talked to each other about a computer. But Manuel definitely understood. It is not the issue of a computer but the issue of her heart. Perhaps she already moved on or she found someone else who deserves her love. He was not sure. He tries to avoid thinking about it but everything negative come to his head.

One day, he found out that its true. Upon hearing about it, he felt extremely weary that it felt like many years had passed and he aged a lot. The competition was over. He was the loser of the damn self-pioneered competion.

That midnight, he bought four bottles of beer and drank alone. He scanned their pictures taken when they were still together. After more bottles of beer, he started to mumble sentences like "stupid" "Oh No" "You're unfair" and the downright stupid of all was " I think you're the summation of my happiness in this world. Please come back." This the one moment in time where he finally threw away his pride. However, its already late and that fact is crippling him.

The bottles were empty. He craved for more. He went to his car to buy again at the nearby store. With his mind blown away by drowsiness, confusion and loneliness altogether, it was definitely wrong time to drive around. At the end, he crashed to a tree.

This is the point where the circle of events touched where it begins. As what discussed earlier, Manuel had an accident which is not enough to make him die or comatosed. It happened merely because he felt miserable missing the person he never thought he loves until two months after she went away. The next time he woke up, everyone was there, his best friends whom he didn't see for so long. To his surprise, the person he misses so much was also there, just silently smiling at the corner while everyone was shouting for joy because of his awakening. She just arrived. Manuel felt so happy but didn't know what to do. His pride took over him again. As a result, he ignored her presence at the room. Hours had passed. They had long talks and vicious laughter at the sudden reunion.

But now, the visitors have to go home. She is the third one who steps out of the room. He's going to let her go again.

So that's it. His heart may felt throbbing right now but at least he regains his pride.

He prepared himself to be jailed inside the circle. To his horror, the circle looks like a black hole in the universe. It was stark darkness there, not even light can be seen or pass through. The beautiful stars that once glowed so bright, dimmed, pulled and were eaten. The scene was so eternally melancholic. He doesn't understand why he feels strongly that he has to deal with this vision forever.

He went out of bed , ran and shouted her name as if it is synonymous to emergency. There was this voice nagging on his ears. It was asking " Who in the world is against about your love? Family? Friends? God? Death? Nothing! It's just you! Stupid!"

His friends who were just a few meters away from his door stopped from walking. They all looked back. He doesn't want to cry. That will make him look stupid. He doesn't want to rush to her and hug her tightly in front of other people. It will make him very cheesy. And most of all,he doesn't want to say he misses her so much and If she went away, he will follow her wherever she might go. That sounds so criminal. But to his embarrassment, he did all of them. He doesn't care now though.

She never said anything. But she cried and hug him tightly too. She also had that great thirst for that tender and warm arms.

is is still a circle.