Final Writing: The Last Color (Fiction)

Kinanti Fitri Febriani/ 180410150013

As though living in a prison. Her life always got ordered around, foods and clothes that’ll never changed, needles and drugs that always beside her became her ‘loyal friend’ in that prison, and not to forget there were people dress in all whites that always passing through her bedroom. Still, there were some convenient to this prison, in her room there’s a comfy bed, a clean bathroom, and also TV. That prison is what we called a hospital.

I spent all my life in in this prison-like place…I don’t know what life outside this place is. I don’t know what ‘reality’ is…even though I lived inside it.” She thought to herself while strolling through the corridor. “it seem that it’ll never change…that’s kind of like living no life at all. Hmm…that’s sucks.”

All of a sudden, she heard someone scream. Immediately she went to where the scream was. She peeped through the door and saw people arguing.

“Hey, young man! You can’t smoke inside a hospital! There are sick people here!” an old man scolded someone.

“Oh, it’s that guy from yesterday…” Sera whispered.

Without saying anything, the guy smoked his cigarette ignoring what the people around him were saying. But suddenly, a hand came flying in front of his face, smacking him on the face and his cigarette as well the full pack got stolen. Confused he only saw the figure escaped outside the room.

“OY!” The guy shouted.

“I’m taking this on revenge for destroying my vas yesterday!” Sera shouted from outside the room.

“Wha—who is she?!”

*

When midnight came, Sera went out of her room and strolled down the hall. The hall at night was quiet than in the day. There’s only the sound of clock ticking and her own footsteps. When Sera arrived at the room that the guy stayed, she tiptoed inside. She saw the guy was only looking at the ceiling, so she crept to the left side of the guy’s bed. And when he changed his position, he was surprised.

“YOU!”

“Hold up, hold up! Sshh, be quite…everyone’s already asleep.” Sera silent the guy.

“What are you doing here?” asked the guy. “Children should be in bed by now. “

Sera’s ignored what the guy’s said and grabbed her pocket, pulling out the cigarette box that she stole from the guy. While swinging the box with her hand, her eyes sparkled with curiosity.

“Teach me how to smoke! “

Without any further talking, the guy pulled out a cigarette and a lighter from the drawer beside his bed. He put it in his mouth and began to light it. Sera was watching him very seriously. When the cigarette light up, he started to smoke and exhaled it exactly in front of Sera’s face that made her coughing bad.

“Honestly, I don’t know why you want this. Smoking is really bad for you and your lungs. It will turned it pitch black, you know that?“

“So, why do you? Aren’t you here because of this? You got sick because of it right?”

The guy stayed silent again for a moment. “I smoked when I want to.”

“There’ll be no change whatsoever to my life, anyway…”

“Whether it will turns black or something, my ‘condition’ will never change…” Sera added.

They stayed in silent for a while, until the guy gave the courage to ask her why did she said that. For the first time, Sera’s willing to tell someone that she’s going to die. What illness that she had and how much time she had. Sera had an illness called a Cardiac Sarcoma or a heart tumor. It’s a rare kind of tumor. As well as, she could only wait for her time to run out.

Silent covered up the whole room, neither spoke a word.

“Hey, what do you wanna do before you ‘leave’?”

Hearing that Sera remembered her to-do list. She smiled to the guy and whispered that she wanted to see the ocean. Amazed by her, the guy laughed because it sounded so cliché. Not minding his words, she laughed along with him and she continued to tell her to-do list. Such as, she wanted to ride an open car, she wanted to fall in love and had her first kiss, and others

The guy smiled and pulled Sera’s hand firmly. He looked straight into her eyes.

“How about we make some of it come true?” Asked the guy while he stand up. “Then, let’s go!”

“Huh? Go where?” She let her hand go from his grip. She’s confused.

“Where? The sea, of course! You wanna see it, right?”

“I can’t go, that’s impossible! I’m sick. My doctor and parents wouldn’t let me.” Sera clenched her hands. Her heart was beating so fast, she wanted to go so bad, but in the same time she’s scared. The guy only looked at her flat.

“So? You’re just sick and you’re still alive. When you die, can you move? Can you walk? No. But, if you’re sick, like now. You still can move, right? You can walk. Use your chances while you can. As simple as that.” Still looking at her straight in the eyes. “For your whole life, you’re here. Aren’t you tired? You don’t want to see the world?”

Like she was slapped by those words. It was her thought all along that she wanted to leave the hospital and see the world. She clenched her hands tighter as she made up her mind, she nodded. With relieved the guy smiled and pulled her again outside the place.

*

“What do you think heaven look like? “ Sera stared off looking to the sky. “Is it similar to the sky? With lots of blue and clouds? Or something else”

“Either would be nice…”

Sera could feel the wind breeze stroking her cheeks. Morning came and they already half way to the sea riding an open car. Sera closed her eyes and could still see the light, feeling the wind and the smell of fresh air running through her face. She raised her hand high, while tickling her hand, she felt the wind through her fingers.

“Hey”

Sera opened her eyes and looked at the guy beside him.

“Grey.”

“Hm??”

“Grey…that’s my name.”

For a moment, Sera was confused but she realized that she never did told him her name. “Ah…mine’s Sera.”

They laughed at each other. Along the way they’re exchanging stories. When noon came, they’re planning to grab some food and fuel.

“Grey, is this you car?” asked Sera wondering from the start.

Grey looked at her and grinned. “Nope, not mine.”

“What?! Then, whose car is it?”

“I dunno, I just borrowed it from the hospital.”

“That’s not ‘borrowing’…that’s stealing. What do we do? What if the police find out? What if we’re going to jail?” Sera started panicking. But, Grey only laughed.

“Gee, relax! Beside we don’t have much time, you want to see it before everything disappears, right?”

Sera didn’t gave a respond, she’s pouting. She knew from the start that Grey was that worst kind of a guy, that’ll do as he pleased. But, the last word he said was true. They started to enter the big city and decided to take a detour.

Grey stopped the car at a gas station, he started to fill the tank while he went to the restroom to take his meds. When he went back to Sera, the girl’s panicking because the employee asked for the money. So, Grey lied that he said he forgot his wallet, but the employee got suspicious and said that he would call the police. Sera started to rummage the car and she found a gun. She pointed it out to Grey and asked him what it is. He thought an idea to point it to the employee and to steal some money from the cashier. And he did.

They continued their journey. But, Sera was angry because of what Grey did.

“I don’t have a choice, it’s a necessary sacrifices if we’re going to the sea.” Grey said to break their tension.

After that, they went into a fashion store. Sera and Grey went around to see something that looks good on them. After they’ve finished shopping, Sera saw that Grey used the money that he stole to pay the clothes. Later, they walk to find a place to stay.

When they nearly at the hotel, Grey collapsed with uncontrolled breathing. Sera’s panicked and she’s stuttering not knowing what to do. But, Grey grabbed a tube from his pockets containing pills and immediately eat some. Slowly, his breathing returned normal. Afterwards, they went to the hotel. Grey returned to his usual self, but Sera’s not. The she gave the courage to ask him.

“Grey, why are you will to do all this?” She wondered that is it for her or for he himself.

He didn’t answer, only looking back at Sera.

“Hey, are you liste—“

“I’m the same as you…” Grey said cutting off Sera’s.

“I’m going to die soon…cause I have brain tumor.” He added.” Even the doctor said that the only thing I gotta do is just to wait…”

“I understand! I want us both to go there, no matter what. I want our freedom to come. And the only thing I know now is that me and you, we’re both still breathing, even tomorrow we’ll live!” Sera said after to break the silent, hugging him.

“And…I also understand that I wanted to go to the ocean with you, Grey.”

Grey smiled and hugged the girl back. “Yeah…me too."

*

Sera slowly opened her eyes, the ceiling of the room that she stayed at was the first thing she saw. Then, she sat up to find Grey besides her still sleeping. She grabbed a remote on the mini table on her left and turned on the TV. When the TV’s on, the first thing she saw was Grey’s picture and hers, the police were on to them. Grey woke up after heard that his named was on the news.

“We really have to get out of here, fast!”

After they’re done preparing, they immediately ran as fast as they can.

“Oh god, the police are chasing us!” Sera said when they got into their car. “I bet my parents called them.”

“And probably because of what I did yesterday.” Grey added.

They looked at each other as always and laughed their hearts out. They’ve never felt like that before in their entire life. What could be better, they stole a car, pointed a gun at someone, robbed a cashier, the police were chasing them and they got out from the place safe and sound.

Hours passed after that, they’d arrived at some leftover from a festival, with lots of trash, there’s still some tent, amusement games and a stage. They got off to take a detour again, because they’re already near the ocean. Grey held Sera’s hand and asked her to follow him to near the stage. Then, he stand in front of the stage facing Sera.

“Hey, Did I told you what I want before I ‘leave’ this world?”

Sera shakes her head.

“I…really want to be a traveler! You know, going around to different places.” He shouted. Seeing that Sera smiled, but she saw that Grey wasn’t smiling.

“But…what did I get?” He said with his head looking down.” This illness…that gnawing my life away.” He added, before his body collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

Sera’s smile faded in a flash when she saw Grey collapsed. She ran to him. She’s shaking him and calling his name, but there’re no answer. She called over and over but still no answer. Sera cried, trying to find someone there but there’s no one. Then, she remembered the pills Grey took yesterday. She rummaged Grey’s pockets, only to find that the pills ran out. Without any more thought, she ran to find a drug store.

After finding one, she immediately asked the employee about the pills. Even though, the employee said that they had it, the employee couldn’t gave it to Sera. Because, the pills is a strong kind of drugs that weren’t used for easily. Sera begged, but he still wouldn’t agree. So, again without thinking, Sera pulled out the gun that she brought with her and pointed it out to the employee. But, with her panicking and all, she accidently pulled the trigger.

*

Sera went back to Grey, she’s out of breath. She made him drank the pills.

“Please…please, wake up.” She started to cry, hugging Grey that didn’t moved even an inch in her arms. “I’m begging you, open your eyes.”

“GREY! OPEN YOUR EYES!”

Grey’s finger moved a bit and he regained his consciousness. His vision went back and slowly he saw that the person whose voice he heard was in front of him. Sera felt relieved to see that Grey regained conscious. But again, tears fell from the guy’s eyes.

“I’m scared. I’m really scared…I don’t want to die!” As he hugged Sera tightly, he’s starting to get terrified of dying. Sera cried with him, she couldn’t say anything other than returning the hug and lending Grey her shoulder. Because, she never experienced what he had. And for the first time, Sera thought that she wanted to live. For the both of them, there’s only ‘this moment’.

*

The radio in the car informed that there had been a gunfire, but there were no victim. Sera and Grey continued they journey to the sea.

“The gunfire…is it you?” Grey asked.

“I-I just wanted to help you…I don’t know what to do.”

“It’s fine…and thank you.” Grey said while petting Sera’s head. “Before reaching our destination. I won’t die.” He said firmly. Sera only answered with a weak nod.

*

“It smells like…the sea!” Sera shouted and looked at Grey, and he smiled.

They walked towards it and Grey stumbled a little. Sera got worried when she saw the guy behind her was on his knees.

“I really am afraid…I don’t want to die.” He said like he’s in a lot of pain. Suddenly, he felt a hug and a peck on his right cheek. When their eyes met, they laughed. He was quiet surprised.

“There’s nothing to be afraid anymore, huh…” Grey bends his body and kissed Sera, making the girl’s face red, seeing that he laughed again. Then, they continued to play in the sand. The sun was going down, feeling tired the both of them sat beside each other while holding hand.

“Amazing…the world turn to an orange color.” Sera said laughing.

When Grey drank some water, his hand couldn’t move and his vision suddenly went black. His head slowly fell to Sera’s shoulder. Seeing Grey, Sera’s tears poured down. She knew that the guy beside her already went ahead ‘leaving’ her. Still, her tears won’t stop and her grip tighten around his hand. But then, she smiled because she knew too that soon she’ll follow him.

Words count: 2500 words

Reference(s) :

1. Based on the Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (1997 Film) – it has the same goal. (to see the sea)

2. Retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/cardiac_sarcoma_85,P00240/

Final Writing: The Metamorphosis (Fiction)

Lia(Wu Guangshuo)/180110169004

When the first rays of the morning sun lanced through a gap in the curtains, I finally made up my mind.

I heard my mom’s footsteps downstairs coming closer to my room. About ten seconds later, she knocked at my door. ‘My dear son, Gregor, it’s a quarter past six. Time to wake up. Otherwise you’ll have no time for breakfast.’

I responded, moved from the windowsill, fiddled with the lock and opened up the door.

Mom intended to embrace me but her arms held there, with smile frozen on her face. She looked down at me for a few seconds then turned around, walked into the kitchen.

‘I’ve prepared hot milk and toast today. Would you like some cheese?’ I tried stretching my slim limbs, made my way to the table and answered ‘Yes. Give me some more.’

When I came out, Dad was sitting beside the table, reading newspaper. He grabbed the cup at hand, frowning. ‘Grete, how many times should I tell you that do not climb out like this! Gregor could metamorphose into human since he was six years old. You are sixteen now. Why…’ Dad stopped his rebuke because the real Grete was brushing her teeth upstairs. She poked her head out and asked ’What’s the matter, Dad?’

Dad put down his newspaper then stared at me in a shock.

Pretending that nothing had happened, I climbed onto the chair with my several limbs and nearly fell off. A large brown beetle with a big round belly and several slim limbs appeared in the full-length mirror on the wall. That’s what I looked like.

‘My dear son…’ Mom hold the plates out of the kitchen, ‘I’m sorry to tell you that both of our cars have broken down. So you’d better hurry the meal then catch the bus to work today.’

Turning into a beetle equipped me with a sharper hearing and smelling but a slower reaction. When I was about to gobble the toast in front of me, Dad suddenly took away my plate. As a result, my head strongly hit to the table. ’You’re going to eat like this?’ He seemed to restrain his anger, which made me hesitate about my decision made this morning for a few seconds.

At that time, Grete went downstairs. Not having noticed the heavy air among us, Grete gladly came to me. ‘Oh my god. It is the first time I see you as a beetle. You are black! I used to think you were dark green.’ ‘Dark green? The same color of our mailbox?’ Grete laughed, which made her immediately metamorphosed into a small pink beetle. ‘What are you doing, Grete?’ Dad shouted. Grete immediately turned back into human, wiping her tears. ‘Grete, you are so small. When you were born, I’ve learned how to metamorphose for four years. I think I should let my dear sister to see the real me.’

Mom said to me ‘Gregor, you’d better hurry up. What if your employees start a rumor that you are slack in work? That will be hard for you to establish your authority.’ Without a word, I buried myself into the plate which Mom gave back to me and devoured the toast.

The rich flavorful cheese greatly satisfied my olfactory system although anything tasted insipid due to the degeneration of my taste.

After finishing breakfast, I rolled down to the ground, which could not be considered graceful at all. Then I sneaked to the front door as quickly as possible.

But Dad did it before I could. Standing by the door, he gazed at me and asked surprisedly, ‘Are you kidding me? You are going out as a beetle?’

Although nervous, I pretended to be calm and answered, ‘Yeah…’ Right at that time as if I had been highly near-sighted, his figure was gradually blurred in front of me. The rough breath indicated his anger. ‘Are you crazy? Unless I die right now, you can never walk out like this!’ He shouted.

Mom seemed a bit scared when she heard so. From a distance, she asked, ‘Gregor, are you feeling well today? If not, maybe we can ask for a day off…’ I interrupted. ‘Can’t be better. I don’t know why it’s not appropriate to go out like this. I just want to.’

‘Are you mad? What’s wrong with you? Now I told you twice. As long as I am alive, don’t even imagine you can go out like this!’ He roared, which made me nearly deaf.

Dad in front of me was both strange and familiar. He often yelled at Grete like this and called her an idiot. But for the first time in my life, he lost his temper and shouted at me. Which made me realize that I had been their obedient son for such a long time.

I had my first metamorphosis experience without conscious when I was three. At about six years old, I could wholly metamorphose into human and would not resile even in a state of dim awareness. Dad and I believed that it was mostly because my Mom was a real human.

Not until our little fool Grete was born did Dad change his mind that maybe I was just a genius.

Grete was not allowed to leave her room before she could metamorphose into human when she was ten. Even so, she was only allowed to take a breath when it was dark outside. Those days my greatest fun was to tease her after a day’s work and social engagement. The time spent with her made me feel most relieved.

With strong winds at my back for many years, I created sales miracles as soon as I started my career and since when I kept getting promoted.

I thought maybe several years later I would marry a woman and have our own baby. Not until then would my mission complete.

However, I was gradually fed up with all of this. I had to polish the whopper which I told since childhood with more and more lies. Although I looked just like a human, when I was in a crowd I still thought of myself as an alien. I tended to pay close attention to people around to find out whether they were human or beetles. When others were staring at me, I was so scared they would find out that I was not a real human at all. As time passed by, I was tired of disguising myself.

But that girl gave me the hope. She was the new secretary sent to my office. Long curly hair, fair skin, hazel eyes, she was so beautiful. When I saw her I finally believed the old saying ‘fall in love at first sight’. Soon she became my girlfriend.

But as time went on, I felt more and more insecure. I kept asking myself the same question: did she love me or just who I metamorphosed or even my post? And was the person I loved a real human or just the same with me, a beetle? I didn’t know. I was afraid that everything would be destroyed when the truth was revealed.

When I was young, I found my mom’s diary by accident. I’d never forget her fear through her words. She wrote in her diary that ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe what I’m pregnant with! A beetle? What? That’s impossible. What can I do? What should I do?’ That page was crinkled, on which I felt her helplessness. On another page her handwriting was unbelievably crazy which read ‘He lied. He is not a human at all. I loved him so much. Why? Why? Why?’ But after all she chose to accept all of this, holding no hope or passion for her future life. She avoided Dad’s touching, which disgusted her. Then Grete was born. They all knew it was an accident. Mom loved Grete and me but she just couldn’t believe that she had been cheated by Dad, the person she loved most for such a long time. All the time I couldn’t imagine her pain.

So I wouldn’t let the tragedy happen again on her, the girl l loved. I hoped that she would love the real me and would never suffer from such pain. Since when I decided not to disguise myself in front of her any more. But the truth was the moment she saw my metamorphosis into a beetle, she shouted as she ran away. Having left a resignation letter on my desk the next day, she left me forever. Although in grief, I was a bit grateful that I didn’t catch her disgusted look owing to the poor sight after I turned into a beetle. Before I had the chance to explain and tell her ‘don’t be afraid’, I had been already sentenced to death by her. But that was the real me rather than the one taught to be disguise since a very young age.

Both sides were in a stalemate. Mom suddenly wept out ‘Your father was right, Gregor. You cannot walk out like this. People will treat you as an alien. They will repel or even kill you. You cannot take the risk.’

Grete started to sob, too.

Dad pointed his finger at me, ‘Listen, I don’t care if you’re mad or sick. I will never allow you to climb out from this door.’

I realized that it would be a protracted war. Before I metamorphosed, I had already considered my parents’ reaction towards it. It was really a tough try.

I quickly moved my several limbs, making my way to the sofa according to my memory, where was quite and I could have a good rest.

In the evening, Mom told me to have supper. She didn’t get close to me instead she called from a distance ‘Gregor, you’ve missed lunch. I’ve made spaghetti for dinner. Come and have some.’

I stretched my body. It was the first time I slept and woke up both in the form of a beetle. It was really relaxing and pleasant, which was beyond expression, as if I had a full body massage. I slid down the sofa and climbed onto the table, this time more expertly.

Holding the plate, Grete walked to the table then sat down beside Dad sheepishly. Anxious and fear, she looked at me because she was forbidden to talk to me by Dad. I lifted one of my limb and waved slightly to her.

Dad put down his newspaper, stared at me indifferently, spoke to me in a disgusted tone ’Have you ever seen a beetle eating on a table? If you persist in doing so, back to where you suppose to be! Don’t spoil others’ appetite. ’

With a flourish, he swept the plate to the floor. With the plate broken in pieces, spaghetti rolled all over and the soup spilt to the tablecloth.

Grete began to sob again. ‘Dad. Please don’t treat Gregor like that.’ she whimpered.

I felt great sorrow in my heart, even more hurtful than the moment the girl left me. With hunger and also by instinct, I rolled down the chair, following the smell of the food. When I finished the last taste of the spaghetti on the floor, I found myself under the sofa, from where the light outside could be seen. I relaxed myself. A wave of drowsiness overpowered me.

The next morning I woke up surprisingly early. The cold ground was not so bad. I decided to leave right now, during which they were all asleep.

Unexpectedly, Mom made the bed near the door. She was still in her dream, breathing gently.

As if she felt my existence near the door, she sat up all of a sudden. I stepped back. Although I couldn’t see her face clearly, I felt her fear the moment she sat up.

‘Gregor…’ her voice sounded weak, ‘Why do you always go your own way and never look back? Don’t you know that if you go out like this, people will hurt you because they are afraid of you while your comrades will resent you because you are exposed. You’re such a smart boy. Why are you being so silly?’

‘I know. I all know. ’ I was a bit emotional, ‘Mom, but you know, when I was little I read your diary. I know that Dad lied to you which made you suffer until now. I also know that you hate beetles, which make you scared and disgusted. That’s all Dad’s fault!’

‘Stop, Gregor. Stop it.’ She sobbed.

‘But Mom, have you ever thought that if I keep disguising myself like him, every person I love will become the next you. Because who they love is not me but a big lie.’

‘My boy, why do you choose to challenge the reality? You just need to show the real you to the people you love, they themselves will choose to stay or leave.’ Mom’s tone was soft.

‘I’m tired of making up lies. I’m just tired. I don’t want to disguise myself any more to whomever, lover, friends or colleges. Mom, I was a born a beetle but I am as outstanding as any other kid. Yes. I can have a better sight if I turn into a human. But at the same time I lose my sharper hearing and smelling. Why do I have to be human just to gain recognition from those who I don’t even care?’

‘Please stop it, Gregor.’ Mom begged.

‘Keep going!’ It was Dad’s voice. ‘I just wonder what else you can say about it.’

I didn’t even notice his step. Instinct to danger drove me to quickly get under the sofa. A watermelon was smashed right at the place where I stayed just now. I knew that the war started.

‘Since you persist on ruining our family’s reputation, let me give me an end.’ He turned into an ugly huge grey beetle then climbed towards me.

‘Don’t hurt my son.’ Mom screamed.

I stepped back nervously.

All of a sudden he stopped his move. With huge rumble, he fell off straightly in front of me.

I tested to climb forward.

He died. Because the sudden metamorphosis made his beetle body incapable of enduring insobriety and asthma. His body lied there, in the figure of a beetle, which he hated most.

Mom came towards me, touched my carapace with her trembling hand, which gave me a sudden shudder.

‘If you insist on doing so, son, then go.’

Word count: 2473

Final Writing: A Stranger I Know of (Fiction).

Achmad Dani Rizki N

It hasn’t changed a bit.

Everything seemed older, of course. What used to be bright flashy walls now looked dull and the neon lights just didn’t have the same feel as it used to. That may be the lack of patrons, though. During the height of its time, Gibbs Diner never seemed to be empty. There were always guests, whether young or old. It was especially crowded after school hours, when the high school students would take up all of the empty tables. There are plenty of empty tables now and I took one by the window. A look at the menu told me that the only thing that changed from the past was the prices, which made total sense. All my favorites are still there and they were still very tempting. What is 11.00 PM valid for? Breakfast? Lunch? Brunch?

"Hello there,” someone touched my back.

I looked up from the menu and turned my head to see a woman standing there. She was about my age, with straight blonde hair ending at her shoulders and pretty brown eyes. She was tall, too, and just why was someone this pretty talking to me at all?

"Excuse me, but is your name Dylan by any chance?" She asked, a small friendly smile on her lips.

"Yeah," I responded, with my face looking confused as if I had pronounced my own name wrong. It’s been a long time since I was here, did I change that little that someone still recognized me?

"My name is Rose and my husband is Chris," she said as she points to a rather farther table near the exit door.

I looked in the particular direction that she was pointing to but I also did not recognize the man sitting alone at the table. This has been pretty much very confusing for me, a stranger just walked up to me to point out another stranger.

"I apologize. I’m, uh. But, I’m err, very confused. I don’t think I know you guys, which is why it’s a greater wonder why you guys know me. However, my name is Dylan. Dylan Allen to be precise" I told her hoping that she just mistook me for a wrong Dylan and would just take off.

"Chris Dixon. Chris from Ramona High School right here in Riverside, California?" She sounded particularly hopeful, though failing to hide her disappointment completely.

"I’m really sorry, but that name doesn’t ring a single bell." I said, and it looked like that broke her spirit.

She turned and walked back as quick as she can to her table by the exit door and sat down with that man that she was pointing out-Chris, I’d assume . She and her husband immediately began talking. A look told me that she was probably telling her husband of their conversation. Will I be on the receiving end of a fist-fight from this, I wonder? Is that a diner thing too or only a bar thing? They weren’t exactly subtle with the way they kept glancing at me.

I finally decided to order that brunch after what felt like hours of detour that I felt the urge to order dinner instead. However, I swallowed that urge and ordered bread and toast with butter and jams with a cup of decaffeinated coffee. I sat there continually racking my brain trying to remember who this Chris guy was. Am I just getting too old to remember people now? I’m drinking decaf after all…

"I have to know him," I say to the cup of coffee in my hand. "He recognizes me for some particular reason, I just have to search for him in this brain of mine." I picked my coffee up and took a slight sip of that coffee that was barely cool enough to drink.

All of a sudden it hit me, like that searching logo in my brain just found what it was looking for and came to a halt.

"Chris. KINETIC CHRIS." I whispered to myself, with eyes wide open I swung myself around on my stool and faced in his direction. Funny how things always came back around.

"The bully of my three years in high school," I thought to myself. He got that nickname by the way every other students would just part in front of him without him ever needing to lay a finger, although fortunately they didn’t call him Moses. Further more, he was middle linebacker in football from high school, he would just throw all the opposing players away. I know, such a super villain.

How many times had that sorry excuse of a guy made fun of my bigger than average nose in front of the girls in my class? It was full of boogers he would say t everybody. How many times had this son-of-a-gun laughed at me because I had no parents and had to live in an orphanage? He made feel very insecure because he said that no one, even my parents, wanted me. How many times had this big bully slammed me up to print my face in the lockers in the hallway just to make himself look like big and strong in comparison to all the other students?

Surprisingly, he raised his hand and waved right at me. I smiled an unsure smile, forcefully returned the wave and started turning back around and began to eat my breakfast, an activity that has been long since overdue.

"Jesus. H. Christ. He’s so thin now, what happened? He’s not that big burley guy that I remember from back in 1986, he was a freaking grizzly bear back then" I muttered to myself.

Then, all of a sudden the sound of dishes breaking broke the silence of the room, so again I spun my stool around to see what had happened. Chris, as unbelievable as it was, had accidentally hit several glasses knocking them off the table spilling water everywhere as he was trying to get into his wheelchair, which had been parked right by the door while they were eating. Funny how I didn’t even notice that, my brain had been too busy to study every detail of the diner. The waitress quickly ran over and started picking up the broken pieces of glasses as I listened to Chris and his wife’s apology to the waitress.

After that Chris rolled his wheelchair by me, being pushed by his wife. Now that he is in a wheelchair and I was sitting down we were on the same eye level. I looked right up at his eyes and I smiled, sincerely this time.

"Dylan," he said, as raised his eyebrows to make that smug look he always has. Although I don’t know why, it doesn’t seem to upsetting this time round.

"Chris," I respond back, as I nodded my head, in return. I also don’t know why I nodded though, maybe it was a habit of being bullied to just look at the floor instead of his face.

Unexpectedly, after all that trouble at the beginning of reminding myself of who he was, that was it. A single word, each other’s name was all that came out of our mouth, after all those years in high school, all those things he did and what he made me feel, that would have to suffice.

I watched as they slowly went out of the door and made their way to a family saloon. My eyes widen seeing as it had a wheelchair loader located in the side door of the vehicle.

I just sat and watched as his wife tried, over and over, pushing the button that’s supposed to get the ramp to come down. Tired of it, she puts her weight on the ramp in the hopes of bringing it down. But it stuck up there and just would not work. Finally I got up, paid for my meal, swallowed my heavy heart and walked up to the car.

"What seems to be the problem?" I asked without realizing that I sounded like a police officer.

"This stupid thing does this once in blue moon, I guess today’s just my luck" said Chris. "Could you please help me get him in the car?" Rose, her face looking flustered as hell.

"That’s the least I can do," I said as I grabbed his wheelchair and rolled him over to the other passenger door, the one without the ramp.

I pulled the brakes on the wheelchair and then I opened the door.

"OK. Arms up, put it around my neck amigo," I said as I reached my arm down and grabbed him by his thin waist and slowly but carefully raised him up onto the passenger seat of the car. Suprisingly, he was as light as a feather.

As Chris let go of my neck, I reached over to his chopstick-like, motionless legs and swung them up one at a time, into the car so that they would be sit nicely directly in front of him.

"You remember. Don’t you? Of course you do" he said, looking directly into my eyes with a sharp but somehow sad look painted on it.

"I remember, Chris, of course" I replied.

"I can’t blame you for thinking ‘what goes around comes around’," he said, softly, almost just under his breath.

"I would never think like that, Tony, is that how shallow you think I am?" I said, with a strong look on my face.

Suddenly, he extended out his hand to reach both of my hands and squeezed them tightly.

"Is how I feel, right now, in this wheelchair the same as how you felt way back then when you lived in the orphan home? Way back when I make fun of you for it?" he asked me.

"Not really, Chris. You are still very lucky. You have, Rose, someone who’s willing to push you through anything, figuratively and literally, who loves you very much. I didn’t have anyone back then." I responded, trying my very best to not let my voice crack.

I reached in my pocket and pulled out my notebook and pen, tore out one of the sheets to write my home telephone number on it and I reach for his hand to put it right on his palm, closing it as soon as he receives it.

"Ring me up sometimes. We’ll do lunch, again, just like today" I told him. We both laughed it off.

I stood there watching as they drove toward the high way and finally disappeared onto the southbound ramp. A smile was painted on my face, maybe they’d notice it from their rearview mirror. I sincerely hope he calls me sometime. He, my bully, will be the one and only friend that I have from my high school days. Maybe Gibbs Diner would change after all, maybe the walls would look flashy and the neon lights would have the feel it used to have again, now that I have company to be here with.

1835 words.