12 April 2015

prologue

We met as neighbors, in our little strange neighborhood called kenningston valley. You are the kid who lives just around the corner of the old bookstore-some people told me you're kinda weird. With your blue hair and stripes stockings riding your bike around every morning like a newspaper boy. except you're clearly a girl and you don't give out a newspaper. We then became friends after Mrs. Nars paired us up at chemistry. I can smell a hint of apricot and strawberry shampoo on your hair. Beads necklaces, a toothy grin, and mesmerizing eyes.

I hate Mrs. Nars for shortening up your name because I like Rosaline-just the name. Not you. I mean not Rosaline as a person. Just your name. You told me you hate your name so much because it sounds like a grandma, but I kinda like it because it's the polar opposite of you. Rosaline reminds me of flowers, pink, tea party, and ceramics bowls that my mom collected from the Chinatown. But you're more like a Ruth, ruby, anything other than rosaline. Hot- headed like stone, smart but very clumsy, intriguing. sometimes I called you by Rosie, at first you didn't like it but it's been years and you're still a Rosie to me.

3 years of high school, we've seen each other as "lab partner", or "that newspaper girl, and that carpenter kid." My dad owns a construction company so people called me that. I hate my dad so I don't care. He dresses snobby, always drinking, and smells like bleaching solutions.

Later I learned that you hate your parents too. Your biological one. You live all your life with grandma ann, questioning where your parents are, until you decided to give up and just live your life without knowing them.

And Kenningston Valley, this place means so much to us. The old bookstore you used to visit every single day, for the old magazines, town maps, and history books. That diner near the pear we used to visit after school. Chocolate milkshakes and blueberry pancakes. Free soda from Mrs. Mae. Sunset at The Kenningston beach. Summer camp. A bumpy road to the shore.

One day, I asked you why you decided to color your hair blue. It doesn't match your hazel eyes, and made your skin look paler than it already is. You said the blue is intended to distract people from everything you didn't want them to ask. The blue makes them automatically paying attention to your hair, and not other things. The blue is like your shield.

I said to you why you wanted people to pay more attention to your hair, and you said it makes you feel more safe. Because hair is just hair. You wanted people to see you as "that blue hair kid" and not your true identity. And then I asked you, what is your identity, and you replied by shaking your head. It's true what they said, sometimes I don't understand you and your way of thinking. But now, I kinda get it what you mean then.

I like being your friend, Rosie. I like the fact that you're always trying even though you're so clumsy. I like your mismatched socks, and the low bun you wear when the sun is too hot. I like the way you talk about history-your fascinations over old newspapers and documentaries. I like that we live so close to each other and every time you water your roses in the backyard, I can say hi to you from my bedroom window.

I like reading classic novels with you, and pretended like we're living in that era. I like it when you borrow a book from the library and the first thing you do is reading me the synopsis. I like that you're cheerful, always throw lame jokes, and easy to laugh. I like being with you, Rosie.

So after high school, I put up all my courage to say it to you, god I know you hate this but I can't think of anything other than I kinda don't want to lose you as a friend, but I also don't want to lose a chance to be with you-always be with you.

The moment you said to me that someone from history class came to you and asked you to go to prom with him, I knew that anger inside me means more than just worry. Seeing you went to the tailor shop that evening, bringing grandma ann's old dress that she gave to you as a gift, to turn it into a prom dress-I don't know why but I feel kinda weird. Like I almost didn't want the dress to turn good, and I didn't want you to go to prom with him.

So then I said it. I said it a week before prom, when we were at the diner, on a spring day 5 years ago. As you eat your blueberry pancake, and your hair grew much longer than when we first became friends. The wind was blowing over you, and you looked at me after I said it as if the time stops. You forgot to chew, the blueberry jam was all over your lips. And then you just laughed, you laughed telling me it's not April yet-i'm still wondering until now did you really think it was a prank?-but being the lame kid I was, I laughed too. I laughed, and then we continue to eat, play in the seashore, and go home like every other day.

Except 2 weeks later, I got my acceptance letter from lawson. I was so excited to tell you that I almost got run over when I rushed to your house. I remember your screaming, and grandma ann came to see if everything is alright. And then you hugged me tightly. You said you knew I would be accepted. We hang out later until dinner, and then I went home. But ever since that day, every time we hang out, you started to become much quieter, and you always daydreaming. I asked you what's wrong, but you always said nothing.

And then, the day has come, I said goodbye to you on your porch, with my hand holding the luggage, and my dad is waiting for me in the car. You tried to smile, but I can see redness around your nose-the absolute sign that you hold your tears. I want to hug you so bad, but I can't risk it

If I hug you then I would say everything to you. I would rethink my decision. But then you hugged me first. you said let's always be this way. You and I. You said we promised each other to not lose contact. you said you'll be fine.

But Rosie, as I'm writing this, it's been 51 days since you disappeared. I'm back home for winter break, and the last time I got your text was 60 days ago, a picture from you of your students who drew a funny tyrannosaurus. You're now an elementary school teacher, teaching history and classical readings. you still live with your grandma, and we're still contacting each other as we promised. But since 2 months ago, every call I made to you all went to voicemail. And you never answered.

I keep asking myself, why? Why you choose to just leave everything behind. Grandma Ann is looking for you, we are all looking for you. I even prepared something, something I wanted to give to you for a very long time.

You promised me, we'll always be this way. Now I'm back to Kenningston, I'm back to our home. I just need to know where you are.

Please call me, Rosie. Call me, so I can hear your voice again. I miss seeing the bright blue of your hair.

And please come back, Rosie. You never left Kenningston Valley before, where would you be?