Hundreds of people from all walks of life entered the entrance door of the mall. Parents with their children, a group of teenagers, middle aged guys, babies in their stroller and me – a single lady who was on her off day and trying to fill her day before Monday starts. I went to the mall to refill my empty fridge. I had not even taken my breakfast yet.
I entered the mall with a trolley and I went directly to the food area. I need raw meat, frozen food and of course junk foods to be my company on my sleepless nights. I did not need any heavy food as cooking is not my cup of tea. I had my meals at any stall. These foods were for the moment when I’m hungry but too lazy to go out. The perks of living alone, I can eat whenever, wherever and whatever I want and I don’t have to cook for others.
As I got what I want, I strolled around the mall to pass time before I went to cashier where there were long lines for each lane. I sighed at the frustrating sight. As I walked around, I passed toys area and there was a tower of boxes of jigsaw puzzle. Puzzle could be fun for the weekend, I thought. So I took one of the boxes from the tower randomly. 1000 pieces is just a piece of cake for me. I have never been fond of jigsaw puzzle but I could solve almost any puzzle. I took a glance at the lines. It’s shorter now and I guess it’s time to leave.
I drove off leisurely. It’s still Sunday morning and I had no plan for today. Well, not after I bought the puzzle. I cleaned up the fridge before I put everything I bought earlier in there. Well, of course except the puzzle. I made sandwich as my breakfast with cheese, salad and sausage. Also, I took a sip of my coffee. I went to the living room and made myself comfortable on the couch. I took out the puzzle from the plastic bag and placed it on the table which fit to combine the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle all together. One weird thing about the puzzle’s box was it did not have any hint or an image of the puzzle. So I need to imagine and make guesses to place the pieces in their position. It’s not as easy as I thought.
Hours passed by and I accidentally skipped my lunch hour as I solved the puzzle. I was supposed to feel hungry but not at all after I saw the image shown on the puzzle. The scenery seemed familiar, I mean very familiar. It was my office. What made me to be so sure were the people in there. Not only my colleagues but I even saw myself in there. Seated in front of my computer at my desk, as what I always do. This puzzle was like a picture taken in my office. A candid one. The image showed one of my male colleagues, was on the phone while jotting down something on his note pad, three ladies were walking passed my table while talking to each other or probably gossiping, that’s more accurate. In front of the ladies were a lady and a guy perhaps bumped to each other and cause the mess on the floor, the spilt coffee which I thought belongs to the guy as he was holding a mug in his hand. The lady’s shirt has a stain, black as coffee. The guy seemed sorry of what happened. It was a normal sight that people will see in any office. Except the coffee incident which rarely happened and I am pretty sure it never happened before. Was this picture showing the future? I noticed there was a clock hanging in the office right on top of the guy who’s on the phone. It showed 1038. Everything was normal to me except one. There was an alien figure, a lady, I reckon, in a white dress with red dots and barefooted. Her hair’s long that it covered her face. She was facing towards me. Her image was at the most left side of the puzzle whereas my image was at the most right side of the puzzle. We’re in quite distant but I am sure we could see each other’s faces really well. Honestly, this is terrifying.
I woke up at 0700 as usual and get dressed to go to work. I should be in office at 0900. I ate cereal as my breakfast. I had a hard time going to sleep last night. Well who can sleep in peace if they had their own face in a puzzle they just bought randomly? Before I walked out, I took a glance at the puzzle which I left on the table. 1038. Let’s see if the puzzle is portraying my daily life or this is just an...illusion?
I got in the office and went to my place and started working. I could not focus on the monitor. I kept on checking the time displayed on my computer and on the clock hanging on the wall. I looked at the male colleague’s table and I could see there was a note pad on his left side and his mobile phone was next to the note pad. I looked around the office and everyone was busy with their works. I tried to focus too. Moments later, the guy in the coffee incident stood up from his place. The clock showed 1032. I could hear ladies’ voices laughing near the photocopy machine at the corner of the office. The three ladies I saw in the puzzle.
1036. The guy’s phone rang. The three ladies were almost done photocopying their stuff. From my place, I could only see the guy’s head from the coffee incident was still at the lounge. 1037 and everyone was walking to the direction where the ‘picture’ took place. The ladies and the guy were walking in the same direction just as pictured. And then another lady was walking towards them. The guy was still on the phone and was reaching out for a pen. 1038 and bam! The lady and the guy bumped each other caused the coffee to spill on her shirt and on the floor, the carpet to be exact. Cleaner must hate that. The guy who was on the phone jotted something on his note pad and the ladies were walking and talking about the coffee incident. How clumsy and bothered about the price of the lady’s shirt. Everything was exactly the same with the puzzle but there was one thing been missing. I looked for the lady in a white dress with red dots on my left but there was no one to be seen except my colleagues focused on the papers and the screen in front of them. To think about her attire, it was not a suitable attire to be worn in an office. Her long hair appearance did not show that she was one of the staffs in the office. We’re supposed to tie our hair neatly. You know the office lady image. She’s probably not one of us. A visitor, perhaps? But I did not see anyone coming in from the entrance door except the familiar faces I’ve seen for years. Weird.
I went back home. My mind was about to explode thinking of what happened earlier. This did not make any sense. I stepped in the house and I rushed towards the puzzle. I should throw it away or something. This could drive me crazy. I took the box from under the table to put all the pieces in it. I opened the box and I freaked out of what I saw. There was another set of puzzle in there. I was sure the box was empty once I have done combining the pieces last day. I thought I wanted to just ignore it but my instinct demanded me to solve the new set. I sat on the floor to complete the new set. I did not want to touch the one I’ve done.
Three hours passed and why am I not surprised with the image shown? There was me, of course, sitting at a table, with a cup of drink, maybe coffee in front of me. I knew that place well. It’s my favourite cafe in town a stroll away from my office building. There was another person in front of me, my sister. Yes that’s the place where we always hang out when she came over to discuss about our problems, if we have one. We were facing each other. The lady in a white dress was there too but our distance has become closer than the previous puzzle. Will this happen tomorrow? Pretty sure it’s tomorrow as I was wearing my office attire for tomorrow. Deep in thoughts, I was surprised by the sound of my ringtone. My sister’s name appeared on the screen.
“Hey. What’s up?”
“I’ll be in town tomorrow. So maybe we can go for drinks or something?”
I was speechless. There was a long silence. I could not utter a word.
“Hey, Jen? Jenny? Are you there?”
“Yes, yes. Sure”
“Okay. See you at the cafe tomorrow after office hour?”
Could it be that the puzzle was predicting the future? But who the hell is the lady? A stalker? A stalker would not be that obvious, I mean, that was too close to spy someone.
I received text from my sister. She said she was at the cafe. I intended to invite her to my house but she said she just wanted to pass me something. I arrived at the cafe and saw my sister was waving at me. I looked around the cafe while I was walking towards my sister. The lady was not seen anywhere. The cafe did not have many customers. There were only two or three couples dating and a group of guys hanging out. I made myself comfortable and greeted my sister.
“Are you okay? You looked different, I mean, tired and pale...”
“I’m okay. Just tired”
“Well, have a drink. I’ve ordered your favourite”
I took a sip but somehow the coffee was tasteless. I did not know how to explain to her of what happened and what was on my mind. She took an envelope from her handbag and gave it to me. I opened it up and there was a resume in it and also a cover letter.
“What is this?”
I asked. It was weird as the resume and the cover letter was hers. As far as I knew, she had a stable job in a big company.
“See if it suits the company’s requirement you’re working at. I looked at your Facebook wall and your company has a vacancy of a position I used to work as. If it’s good enough then I think I might go for an interview.”
“You lost your job?”
“Got fired. A month ago”
I sighed and shocked at the statement. I asked her what happened and why she did not inform me earlier. She took a deep breath and started to tell me everything. I was focused to her speech until suddenly I felt my back was burning as if someone was watching me real close. I felt like I’ve been watched. I heard someone was calling my name in whisper in my right ear. I turned around real quick and shocked to find out there was nobody to be seen behind me. I was sure the voice sounded as if a person was standing behind my ear. So close and very clear. My sister was surprised with my act.
“Did you hear that?”
We proceed to talk as usual but I could not pay attention.
I arrived at my house at 2130. I felt fatigue. I rested myself on the couch and closed my eyes. I was just trying to get some sleep after those bizarre things. I tried to empty my mind from any thoughts. Just at the moment when I’m about to fall to deep sleep, a soft breeze kissed my cheeks and awake me. I probably forgot to close the windows, I thought.
I opened my eyes widely and almost fell of the couch. That voice, the similar voice I heard at the cafe right in my ears. I breathed heavily and started to sweat. Nightmare? Those puzzle really brought troubles to me. I thought I wanted to burn them. I took the box to fill the pieces into it and again, there was a new set of puzzle pieces in there. These puzzles really puzzled me. I thought of throwing it away but what if it predicted something bad in the future? Or maybe this time the lady wanted to reveal herself? I took the challenge and tried to finish it. Despite the fatigue, I did it eagerly. I did not realize how much time has passed after I have finally got a clear picture from the puzzle pieces. Crystal drops started to form on my forehead, my heart beat faster than it ever did, and my hands were trembling. It was me, at the moment. My posture on the floor, the clothes I was wearing, the other puzzles on the table and on the floor, everything was exactly at the moment. The lady was right behind me and her hands were on my shoulders but I did not feel her. I turned around.
“Anyone there?! What do you want?!”
I shouted to no one. Suddenly, I felt as if my throat was pressed by something soft yet strong. I felt I was forced to stand up by the force and the pressure on my throat felt stronger that I could hardly breathe. I closed my eyes, holding the pain. As I opened my eyes I saw the lady in a white dress and her face was totally covered by her long messy hair. I could not feel the floor beneath my feet.
This was totally something different from what I've written previously. I hope you enjoyed it!
“Go away! Leave me alone!”
“Honey, we’re sorry. We’re just trying to help."
My mother keeps trying to touch me. I walk as fast as I could and away from them, my parents, as we reach our home.
“I don’t need your help! Stay away!”
I hasten my steps to my room.
“We realise we’ve abandoned you and we’re really sorry...”
“Shut up! Leave me alone!”
I slam the door behind me. I shout like an insane. I guess I really have gone out of my mind. Tears are rolling down my cheeks like Niagara Falls. I don’t even understand why I am crying. Too many feelings are mixed up. Disappointment, anger, dissatisfaction, hatred and almost all negative thoughts. I sit down on the floor, resting my back to the door with my knees curled up. My parents are still knocking on the door, begging me to open it. Only now? Before this happened, the door was always opened but they never want to enter, never want to even catch a glimpse of what I was up to. I always let the door opened for them to come in and kiss me good night. But they never did. Now that I decide to shut people out, they are pleading to enter. They keep on apologising. I become angry and annoyed listening to that.
“Too late! I don’t need you. Not anymore! Just go away!”
Again, I shout at my parents. Not my fault, they made me. My phone keeps making annoying noises too. It keeps ringing. The names that appear on the screen vary. They send messages and call me. Only now? Before this, I never get a reply. No one wanted to pay attention on me when I need them. Now, it’s too late for them to say sorry or to show sympathy.
I can hear sounds of vehicles in front of my house and some other familiar voices other than my parents’. Those so-called friends that never give a shit about me. They keep saying sorry which I don’t know what for. I cannot understand the situation now. I am feeling stressful and annoyed by the voices. My tears still have not stopped. They are knocking the door and asking me not to do anything stupid. They are begging me not to hurt myself again. Stupid? They are the bunch of stupid. When I demand for their attention, none of them care about me. Now that I start to hate everyone including me, they start to care about me. It’s all too late. I won’t be the old me anymore. I won’t love anymore. I am tired of it.
I don’t want to live and ignored for my whole life. Why are they paying their attention to me now? All I did was cut my wrist. The cut still gives me pain even under the bandage. They brought me to the hospital and I just came back from there. Funny when I bleed my parents start showing their concern. Am I really important in their life? If I am important in their life, they will always concern about me. Always! Not only when I bleed and decide to leave the world. They are faking now. I always want this kind of attention but not now, not anymore. It is not impossible for them to ignore and abandon me again after this. And to get them back to me, I have to cut my wrist again? No, I don’t want to repeat the same damn thing. Let me do it once and settle everything. If no one cares about me, what is the point of living? I don’t want to spend my life with sorrow and solitude. Let me leave.
Last time, I was stupid to not lock the door. Now, the door is locked. Cutting wrist did not work so I take another way. I take the small bottle with the cross and skull image on it from my drawer. With all the noises and sobbing behind the door, let me die as they become my lullaby to death. Let me make it clear before I go,
“It’s all too late. You left me alone all the time now, let me leave. Alone.”
I drink the content of the bottle as if I am thirsty and that liquid is some kind of my favourite juice.
A/N: Hi and assalamualaikum. The words in this short story just randomly came into my mind as if I wanted to live in it. Not anymore. This post could be disturbing and sounds stupid to some of you but the thing that I want to emphasize here is: do not let any of your loved ones be in the “too late” situation.
Thank you for reading!
Hi and assalamualaikum. This story is actually a sequel to "Before I'm Gone Forever". So, if you have not read that short story, go read it first (click on the title) and proceed to read this one afterwards. Thank you in advance!
SHE IS STILL HERE
“Yuni, Yuni, wake up!”
Yuni opened her eyes widely and gasped. I smiled at her and she hugged me tightly.
Yuni uttered weakly into my ears.
“I had a dream. I thought I lost you.”
“No, Yuni. Ji is here. Always here.”
I caressed her back to calm her down.
“This is not your field but you’re still willing to help. I am so glad to have a friend like you, Ji.”
Yuni said to me while she was busy with her measuring tape, pencil and cloths.
“I am glad to help. It’s fun, anyway.”
Yuni only replied with a smile. Her eyes were focused on the cloths she’s cutting. I was taking a look at the models who want to attend for our audition on the screen. We asked them to email their details along with their pictures. My task was to choose the models for Yuni’s upcoming show. Yuni did not want any famous models as she wanted to keep the budget low. So she looked for new and fresh models, the ones who have the potential to become famous afterwards. Yuni had been planning this for quite a long time. We were working in her studio. This show is a public show that will be held at a famous hotel in our city in order to introduce Yuni as a fashion designer to the world. There were many people in the team. Yuni started the plan by voicing it out to me. She said she was tired of keeping her collections to herself. It’s time to show it to the world. I agreed without a doubt and voluntarily wanted to help her out. She said no worries about the money as she had figured it out beforehand. So, I only helped her to look for the people that would like to work with her. We needed more hands, like tailors, models, designer to design the stage and the hall where the show will be held. I admit, it was not easy but it is harder to see Yuni in depression and sadness.
Since I joined Yuni and the team, I have gained a lot of new things from her. It’s not too much to say that she is now an expert. She has a bright future in this fashion thingy. The people in the team were also impressed by her designs and that’s why they really wanted to be a part of her show. I felt proud of Yuni. Yuni really worked hard on this. It’s her first fashion show ever and she’s going to debut as a fashion designer, finally. She was going to introduce her design of cloths. Yuni said she does not want fashion to be looked as only a trend. Let our cloths, our shirts and everything we wear be a part of us, let it be our personality, let it be something that lifts us up. Everyone needs different style and colours. In designing, Yuni considered every aspect that matters – who is going to wear it? What kind of style that people demand for? Why they must wear this kind of shirt with that kind of jeans? How does it make them feel? She spent a lot of time on researching and surveying on the internet and magazines. Sometimes, we spent the night at the studio. There’s no time to go back home. We rarely sleep. Everyone was so busy. Coffee had become our main source of energy. I believed we took more caffeine than proper food. It took us months to prepare everything.
“Okay. Tonight is the night.”
Yuni hold my hand. Her hand was cold but I could see sweat formed on her forehead. Obviously, she was nervous. I took a tissue from my purse and wiped the sweats on her forehead with my other hand.
“It’s going to be okay. Relax and calm down. We’ve got everything ready. Just leave the rest to Him. Okay?”
Yuni smiled a little and nodded. She excused herself to the backstage to make sure everything is all right. I turned around and saw the seats were all full. The audience were here and the show was going to start in any minute. I began to feel nervous too.
A tap on my shoulder frightened me. It was Suri.
“Hi! Glad you made it!”
Suri was starting to talk and it’s unstoppable. She talked about she promised Yuni not to miss the show, the handsome models, handsome guys all over the place and she’s excited. I just nodded my head and did not really pay much attention.
“Oh God it’s going to be great.”
And she finally stopped. Then continued again. This lady just did not know how to stay silent.
“Excuse me for asking this, but, aren’t you tired?”
“Of Yuni. You’ve been doing a lot for her. I noticed you’re paying too much attention on her. You’re not this close before I mean well, not after...”
“No. Never. I am doing fine and will never get tired of her, will never get tired of helping her out.”
“I don’t think what you’re doing now is good for her.”
“I don’t see anything is wrong with that. I mean look around you, where are we now? At her show. All I know is she needs me and I need her too. That’s it.”
“I get that but I think she needs a treat...”
“Why don’t we take a seat? The show is going to start in any moment.”
We sat at the front row. The emcee announced the audience to take a seat as the show is about to start. Suri was not the first person to ask that question. Don’t they understand the value of friendship, love, sincerity? What is not good for her? A friend who’s willing to catch a bullet for her? Bullshit.
“It’s starting.” Yuni whispered to me. My thoughts stopped when I saw her. She gave me a smile and I replied. She was genuinely happy and excited for this. She said hi to Suri and thanked her for coming. Suri and I exchanged look but I looked away instantly and focused on the runway. The audience were cheering and clapping. Yuni was delighted to receive such response.
After the show ended, many people came to see Yuni. They congratulated Yuni for such an amazing collection she has. Some other designers gave compliments for the fantastic show she organised. Yuni could not say much except to thank them.
“Are you satisfied with the show?” I asked her who’s still smiling from ear to ear.
“I am on cloud nine! Everything went smoothly and everyone likes it!” she said excitedly.
“I won’t be able to do this without you, Ji. Thanks to you.”
“No, Yuni. I was just giving a hand. That amazing show was the result of your hard work.”
Yuni only smiled and thanked me again. Minutes later we arrived at Yuni’s house. We saw her parents’ car in the garage. They must be home already. Yuni told me that her uncle was hospitalized a few days ago. So, Yuni’s parents went to visit him this morning and that was why they did not attend their daughter’s fashion show. Yuni invited me to go inside first. I refused but she insisted. So, we both went inside. Yuni’s parents welcomed me warmly. We’ve known each other for quite long time.
“Why don’t you serve us some drinks, Yuni?” Yuni’s mother, Aunty Maria asked Yuni to go to kitchen. Yuni excused herself.
“Thank you for taking care of her, dear. I don’t know how to thank you. You really helped her and us a lot when we can’t find any way out.”
Aunty Maria started the conversation right after Yuni disappeared from our sight. Yuni’s father also nodded his head and expressed his gratitude.
“She is our only daughter. Now that she has you, it’s like we’re having two daughters now.”
Yuni’s father made us laughed. I told them I am tired of listening them thanking me each time we meet. They also asked the same question as Suri.
“Will she be okay?”
“Well, for the moment, she is doing well. She is happier than before, obviously.”
Seconds later, Yuni came in. She handed the drinks to everyone.
“And lastly, for you. Ji’s favourite drink, lemon tea.”
I thanked her. We continued talking on random topics. It’s such a great moment to spend it with good chats. Later, I excused myself as it’s almost midnight. I still need to drive for a half an hour or so to reach my home. I said goodbye and drove home. On my way home, I was thinking of Yuni. I let out a sigh. I hope I was doing a right thing. As soon as I reached home, I went straight to my bedroom and lay down on the bed. Everyone was sleeping soundly already. I watched the stars, the glow in the dark star-shaped stickers on my dark blue ceiling. I enjoyed watching them each night before I doze off. Slowly, my eyes started to feel heavy. Indeed, it was a long day. I could not remember when the last time I actually had a proper sleep. I fell asleep.
The ringtone from my phone woke me up. I looked at the screen and Yuni’s name appeared. At 3 a.m?
“Oh, dear. Please come over now! It’s Yuni. Please come now. Please! Quick!”
“Okay, okay. I’ll be right there.”
It was Aunty Maria. She sounded panic and worried. What has happened to Yuni this time? Is she sick again? If Yuni was sick, Aunty Maria should have called ambulance instead of me. I grabbed my sweater that was hanging behind door and my car keys. I drove with 140 km/j speed towards Yuni’s house. I was sweating heavily, worried of what might had happened to Yuni. Aunty Maria’s voice was so serious and panicked. I finally reached in front of Yuni’s house and as soon as I got out of my car, I heard someone was screaming.
I knew that voice even though it was at high pitch. I sprinted to the door and tried to open the door. Damn. It was locked. I rang the bell with my right hand and knocked the door with my left hand simultaneously a few times before Yuni’s father opened the door. Again, I heard Yuni screamed. I rushed to her room, ignoring her father. I saw Yuni was on her bed with her eyes closed but her mouth kept shouting for Ji. I went closer to her and sat beside her on the bed. I hold her shoulders and shook her a little to wake her up.
“Hey, Yuni! Ji is here. I am here. Wake up!”
Yuni opened her eyes and hugged me right away. I told her to calm down and rubbed her back to comfort her. I stroke her hair and softly caressed her head.
“I had a nightmare again. I saw you and you walked away. I thought you were leaving me.” Yuni said between her sobs.
“It’s just a dream. Look. I am here, right? I’ll always be there for you even it is...”
I looked at the watch on the table beside her bed.
“...even if it is 3.45 in the morning.”
Yuni laughed a little.
“I am sorry I made everyone went panic and made you drive at this hour.”
“Why don’t Ji spend a night here? I mean you can leave when the sun is up. It’s dangerous to drive this late, you know.”
I looked at Aunty Maria and she mouthed please. She insisted me to stay until the morning. Yuni seemed okay with it and she even suggested me to sleep on her bed. I could not say anything except to agree. I stood up to close the door. Before leaving the room, Aunty Maria whispered to me
“I am so sorry you have to do this again. But she needs you at the moment and I don’t know what else I should do.”
“It’s okay.” I replied shortly.
Later, both of us went to sleep. We’re really tired so we fell asleep easily.
I left the house the next morning after making sure Yuni had her breakfast. I drove to my house and I could not avoid thinking of Yuni. I hope I was doing the right thing, the best thing for her. I could not avoid it anyway. I stepped into my house and my mother was there in front of the TV.
“Where have you been?”
I forgot that I did not tell anyone that I went to Yuni’s. Well, everyone was asleep anyway. I explained everything to my mother and my mother only shook her head. She was just like the others. Always ask am I not tired doing this. But the difference was my mother will add
“However, I am proud of you, proud of having such kind hearted daughter like you. I hope you don’t overdo yourself.”
“Mom, I’m okay.”
I went up to my room and only then I realised I left my phone at Yuni’s place. I thought God was just signalling me to visit Yuni again today. I washed myself and get dressed. I had another plan other than just going to Yuni’s again and take my phone back. I guess we could spend time together today. Movies, perhaps. I was at the stairs when I heard someone rang the bell. I thought it could be Yuni. Mom must have gone to the market. I opened the door and exactly, it was Yuni. But she seemed a little bit different. She usually smiles but this time her head was facing the floor. In her hand was my phone which she hold it firmly like she was never going to let it go.
“Hey! I was just thinking to go to your house, pick you up and go to movies or...”
“Shut up.” She said with a stern voice. I startled. She was never like this before. I was getting nervous I could not utter a word. Seconds later, Yuni’s tears start to roll down her cheeks out of the blue. Damn! Something is really wrong, I thought to myself. I called her name repeatedly but she did not response. She was rooted to the ground. I invited her to come in but she remained silent.
“You’re not her!” she suddenly shouted and frightened me again. One thing I keep repeating in my mind “Did she realise it already?” I pretended to be clueless and keep asking her what is wrong.
“How could you let me live like this?”
“Wait. I don’t understand...”
“Stop pretending, Yazmin!” and again, she shouted.
She threw my phone and it hit me directly on the face and fell down to the ground. It accidentally unlocked. I saw photos of me with some other people back in the university. The photo of me and her during the university project also appeared on the screen. Maybe she had looked through my phone. I knew it. She remembered everything. Her memory has come back after looking at those photos.
“You’re not her! My Ji is dead! Why...? Why, Yazmin?! What are you trying to do?!”
She cried and started pulling her hair. I approached her and tried to reach her hands to stop her from hurting herself. I tried to explain to her everything but she did not want to listen.
“Stay away from me!” she pushed me hard and I fell on the ground.
It hurt me until I could not get up. I think I have sprained my ankle. My back was also hurting too. She’s suddenly unbelievably strong.
She ran away and seemed lost. She kept walking slowly but was not heading towards her car. She was heading to the road. She stopped by the roadside and looked left and right repeatedly like she did not know this place. She did not know where to go. Depressed of the situation, she grabbed her hair again and shouted at top of her lungs. I got up painfully and shuffled towards her. I called her name. She turned back and ran away from me. She crossed the road. I followed her.
“Yuni, wait! Listen to me!”
She looked back to me and her expression changed from sadness mixed with anger to surprise mixed with scared.
“Yazmin, look out!” she shouted at me.
I looked on my right side and only then I realised I was standing right on the road and a car was speeding towards me. I could not move as I was in so much pain and became clueless. Suddenly, bam! My knees bent backwards and I lost my balance. Again, my back hit the ground as well as the back of my head. I felt drips of blood at the back of my head. I lay down on the road and all I could see was the sky. And Yuni’s face appeared. She came back for me. Tears were still in her eyes. She asked for help from people to get an ambulance. She lifted my head and rested it on her lap.
“Yazmin, hold on.”
Then everything went dark.
I opened my eyes. I saw unfamiliar ceiling. It’s all white. I knew I was not in my room or in my house. I heard a familiar voice called my name. I turned my head to the left and saw my mother’s face and a bag of blood flowed into my veins.
“How are you feeling, Yazmin?”
“I don’t know. What happened? Why am I here?”
“You were hit by a car for trying to catch me.”
I heard another voice on my right side. I did not notice there was somebody else in the room. It was Yuni. I remembered what happened. The incident before I got hit keeps replaying in my mind. I was glad to see her safe, anyway. But at the same time I was nervous. I don’t know how to tell Yuni about everything that happened. How to explain to her about her delusion? Or did she know about it already? I wanted to explain to her why I imposed as Ji. No, wait. I did not impose as Ji. She was the one who saw Ji when she saw me. I tried to speak but the only word that came out of my mouth was “Um”. Finally, Yuni was the one who start the conversation.
“It’s okay, Yazmin. I am here to apologise. I was too emotional and got carried away. You helped me a lot , so, yeah, thank you so much for everything you did. You helped me to move on after Ji’s...”
She paused and I could see she was holding back tears.
“...after Ji’s death. I can’t thank you enough.”
“No, Yuni. It’s no big deal..”
“It is a big deal! Why, Yazmin? You let me live in lies. Why?”
She stared at me waiting for an answer. I inhaled deeply.
“I guess you pretty much have remembered this. 4 months, Yuni. After Ji’s death you locked yourself up in your room. You shut people out from your life. You were overwhelmed with sorrow, loneliness and guilt. You just could not move on. You quit studying. You quit everything. You almost took your own life so that you could meet Ji. One day, I visited you and you allowed me to get near to you. You looked me right into the eyes and called me Ji. You smiled. Your mother said it was your first smile after Ji’s funeral. That time, I thought this is the only way to help you move on, to let you believe that Ji is still alive and always be by your side. I thought that was the only way to get you out from the darkness and get your life together. After that, we spent time together a lot and we did the show and stuff. Since then, you’re you again. Happy, cheerful, passionate, talkative. You’re finally alive again. Your parents were so happy to see you finally able to do something else then crying and mourning. I did not have the heart to see you in misery and depressed and that is why I was willing to help you. I won’t allow you to go through it all alone because I am here to help you. If living in your delusional world could help you to be happy again, then I will live in that world to the fullest no matter how idiot, how insane it could be. Many people said it is not good to let you live in comforting lies but I cannot hurt you and let you go deeply into the bitter truth with sadness. I just want to give you a moment of happiness in your life. That’s all. You’ve had it enough.”
I explained to her every detail. She started to cry again. Did I say anything wrong? I apologise to her if my action only make her to feel worse but again, I emphasized I just want her to be happy and able to move on.
“I am so ashamed of my act. I’ve totally lost my sanity when I lost Ji. Why are you being so nice to me? Before this I only work for you, I mean I was just giving a hand. After that I left everything. We’re not even friends before.”
“Yuni, I am not being nice. I am being a friend. In my whole life, I never have a true friend, a friend who loves me like you did. A friend who cares for me like you did. A friend who needs me as much as you did. I’ve been living with the famous people but they never really care about friendship. When I imposed as Ji, finally, I have someone to share my stories, to be crazy with and someone who will take care of me. I know you may never intended to do it for me, you did that because you thought I were Ji but it’s okay for me. At least I got the chance to feel like I am needed in someone’s life. Even it’s not literally me but I could feel it. It’s a win-win situation. You need someone to help you to move on and I need someone who I can call as a friend in my life. We both were living in delusions.”
I took a deep breath and exhaled.
“Plus, I felt guilty. Ji did not have the chance to spend her last moments with you because I keep pushing the team to settle everything for that damn show. I’m really sorry for whatever happened between you and Ji because I was being selfish.”
“No, Yazmin. It’s my own fault. It’s me who did not appreciate Ji and abandoned her at the first place.”
Both of us kept silence for a while.
“Shall we pursue our friendship as usual? But of course you as yourself.”
We laughed to that.
Yuni raised her pinky finger.
“Stay with me, okay?”
I entwined my pinky finger with hers.
Thank you so much for reading! It's quite lengthy. 9 pages, people, 9 pages. Hahaha. Please tell me what you think. Grammatical errors, feedbacks, anything that you wish to tell me, please let me know!
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