I love her. She loves him. He loves somebody else.
My life revolved around this pattern for how many years now. So was hers. And yet, she never pulled away from the pain. So did I.
I felt like a masochist and a sadist at the same time. I was just waiting for her to realize that someone actually cares for her. That that someone is madly, deeply, overly in love with her that he would endure the impossible just to be loved back.
I always thought that I was invincible because of that thought. But when it all comes down to it, she also thinks about the same thing. I see myself in her. And it irritates me.
"Isn't that great, Icarus?" Sandra said, smiling brightly. "They're finally together, all thanks to me."
I just studied her face, trying to keep my smile steady. Her eyes were the same shade as the chocolate that always melted in my hands. Her lips were pinkish and her black hair sparkled whenever the sun caught it. She was looking at me expectantly—to praise her or something.
"The bridge didn't win this time, huh?" I finally remarked, grinning.
She elbowed me on my side and then I winced.
"I'm happy for Val and Kate so don't ruin the moment." she said indignantly.
No. She's far from happy. She's tearing apart—bit by excruciating bit—inside. She can't hide her true feelings from me. And she wasn't seeking for praise. She was asking for assurance, for someone to tell her that what she did was the right thing.
I leaned forward and then I buried my face in my hands.
"Sandy," I said.
"Yeah?" she replied.
"You love Val, don't you? Since we were kids. Why did you let him go?"
I didn't look up. I knew that her smile already faded.
"I do love him, Icarus." Sandra quietly replied. "I love him so much that I want him to be happy."
"They say that…love is genuine if you wish for the other's happiness…in spite of your own."
"You believe that bull?" I asked, smirking. "So what're you gonna do now?"
"I'll wait for them to fall apart." she mumbled.
I glanced at her through the gaps of my fingers. She was covering her eyes with her right hand. The warm, March wind blew, sending off Sandra's scent that I knew so well in my direction.
"Sandy…what if they don't?"
She cleared her throat.
"You're not sharing your love life to me, Icarus." she said, smiling again.
"You want to know?" I asked.
I sighed and then I smiled.
"I have someone that I like, too." I began. "But she loves somebody else. I'm selfish and I don't know if my love is genuine so I won't let her go. I'll just let her get hurt, again and again…and then I'll pick her up and I won't release her."
"Who's that pitiful girl?" she asked.
I finally raised my head and then I stood up from my seat.
"We wasted Literature for that stupid news of yours." I said. "Let's head back."
"Hey!" Sandra cried, also standing up. "That news wasn't stupid, and we finished discussing Literature last week."
Stupid news is equal to facts that hurt Sandra.
That's what I think.
That happened eight years ago. And the continuation of my one-sided love triangle finally began when I received a letter while I was painting in my studio for a client of mine.
"Val and Kate wedding…" I read aloud. I placed it on my drawer and then I took out my phone.
"Hello?" Sandra's warm voice that always reminded me of summer rang through my ears, three rings later.
"Sandy, it's Icarus." I said. "I…received an invitation."
There was a pause.
"I received it, too." she replied happily. "They chose me as maid of honor."
I checked the invitation again.
"I'm best man." I said.
"I really couldn't believe it, Icarus." Sandra burbled. "I mean, high school sweethearts, to be wedded soon? Ha! And they're our friends to top it off. Isn't that amazing?"
"It is." I agreed.
"Well, how are you holding up over there?" she asked. "You must miss it here, huh?"
"I do." I answered. "I miss you."
A long pause.
"I miss you, too." Sandra replied brightly. "Take good care of yourself, all right? Don't get too stressed out. Oh yeah, Icarus, did I tell you already? Val and Kate chose me to design their ring."
"That's good." I said, pulling up the blinds. The window pane exposed the view of Zeal City at night. The stars were invisible because the city lights outshone it. The cars, from the 67th floor of the condo that I bought, looked like fireflies that blinked endlessly. The city was like a spool of neon lights.
"I should rest now, then." Sandra finally said.
"You do that." I replied. "I'm still busy painting."
"Geez, Icarus!" she finally cried. "Why do you reply in short sentences?"
I chuckled as I turned around and leaned on the window.
"What's there to talk about anyway? You know me well enough." I rubbed my eyes. "And besides, I'm still heartbroken."
"Wait, the girl that you told me years ago, was it Kate?"
"No." I answered. "She's not my type."
"Then, Icarus, who?"
"We're not in high school anymore, Sandy." I scolded. "You should rest now. 'Bye."
And then there was a long beep.
I stared at my phone, and then I sighed. If I drive now, it would take me ten hours to reach Crystal Town, my home.
"Sandra, you idiot." I muttered as I grabbed my car keys and the invitation. I took a final glance at my studio, and then I slammed the door shut.
I read somewhere that infatuation can only hold you for four months. If it exceeds that time span, then you're already in love. I was in love with Sandra for more than a decade. I never had any girlfriends for twenty-four years—since I was born—all thanks to that girl. Was it really love? Or pure stupidity?
It was already dawn when I arrived at Sandra's house. My hands were numb from driving, my legs hurt and my head was pounding.
I leaned my forehead on the door and then I rang the doorbell.
"Who is it?" Sandra cried.
I just rang the doorbell again, my eyes were already shut. The knob twisted. I heard a click, and then the door swung open. I didn't try to balance myself. I didn't care if I fell on top of her. I was already crumbling when I first met her, anyway.
"Icarus?!" Sandra cried, surprised. "What the hell are you doing here?"
My head was buried on the nape of her neck. Her scent didn't change.
"You missed me, right?" I replied, already groggy because of tiredness. "Let me sleep for a while. I drove nonstop and the traffic was irritating."
"You're heavy." she bluntly remarked. I then felt her arms around me. "But thank you for seeing me."
I slowly removed myself on top of her. I stared at her eyes. They were puffy and red. I smiled.
"I'll sleep in your room."
And with that, I went upstairs. My feet automatically brought me to her room that smelled just like her.
I'm home. I thought, as I slumped on her bed and slept soundly, for the first time in years, since I graduated and broke free from the safe bars of our school.