I Remember

This is the first short story in fictionnerie, I made this one a while back ago. Not perfect yet, there’s still some spelling or grammar mistakes. I decided not to fix some mistakes, left it unfinished. So I can remember that I used to make mistakes, as everyone did every once in a while.

There’s no way to love someone flawlessly, because even Love itself has it flaws, as always. All we can do is trying to keep Love, along with its flaws, within our reach. Edmund has been ceaselessly trying, but to be honest, it’s not a one person’s job. It supposed to be reciprocal. It always has been so.

Speaking of keeping Love within reach, Edmund maintains the distance as he walks slowly through the corridor, helplessly hoping that the Time would have a pity on him and adapts its speed to Edmund’s steps. Orange light breaks through the windows of the corridor, beautifully paints the white wall along with some calmly passing-by nurses that keep Edmund’s head up, unlike what he has been done for a couple of weeks earlier.

Two doors before the end of the corridor, Edmund stopped. He takes a deep breath as he looks up, trying to channel all happy, beautiful and funny memories he has to produce a smile, casting away sorrow and despair installed in his heart and consumed his mind simultaneously. After his tired face ready to lie, with a bouquet of red roses in his left hand, he attentively opens the door.

He stepped in, as attentively as he opened the door, makes his way toward the bed. As he’s close enough, he whispers formally. “ Excuse me, sir. This is room 3101, am I right? I believe there must be a woman named Rose who supposed to stay here.”

“ Oh, Edmund….” Rose smiling while she opened her eyes. She lying on the bed powerlessly.

“ Ro-Rose? I thought you’re a man!” said Edmund as he pretends to be surprised.

Edmund take Rose’s hand that feebly reaching out for him, feebleness that not even slightly shown in her stare.

“ You look so sexy, Rose. I should have asked you to shave your head a long time ago, maybe the day after we got married.” Rose smiles with relief after hearing Edmund’s joke.

“ I didn’t know you’re coming. Greg didn’t say anything yesterday…” said Rose.

“ Yes, I didn’t tell Greg anything. I believe he wouldn’t protest if his parents want to have a date.” Edmund replied.

Rose chuckles. “ A date?”

“ Yes, a date. It’s been so long, isn’t it? And we’ve never have a date in a hospital anyway.” Edmund affirmed. His eyes cleverly hide sorrow and cover it with wonder so that Rose would take it as a crazy idea.

“ Really? Here?” Rose held her laughter.

“ I’m serious, Rose. Let’s have a date. It’s gonna be fun.”

“ How? It’s not like we’re in a restaurant. You could get kicked out from here.”

“ Well, we did get kicked out from restaurant once, didn’t we?”

Rose chuckles. “ Yes, we certainly did.”

“ Right? So, let’s have a date.”

“ Okay,” Rose takes a deep breath and tighten her grip on Edmund’s hand, making him move closer to her. “ What’s the theme?”

“ Theme?” Edmund confused.

“ Yes, the theme. Don’t act like you don’t know. We’ve literally done thousands of dates and each date has its own theme…like what to do on our date to make it fun.”

“ Right…honestly I haven’t got the idea yet.” Edmund confessed.

With his black hair that half-turned into grey, Edmund haven’t got much chances to go out on a date. He still got some old tricks, like making fun of people around him, make a story of them, fill in the dialogue of the people across the table, fooling around with the waiters or waitresses, but this isn’t a restaurant. This is a hospital, they’re in the room, just the two of them. He couldn’t make a scenario now, he’s not that spontaneous.

Rose, who always understands Edmund over the years, gently placed the back of Edmund’s hand on her cheek. “ It’s okay…so now I know you’re not prepared for a date.” Her voice was weak, sounds like a whisper and for Edmund it does sound like Rose is disappointed that after all these years, he’s still managed to disappoint her. Edmund forces his mind to come up with an idea but Rose break the ice right before it begins.

“ Why do you bring me roses?”

“ This?” Edmund takes a look at the bouquet in his left hand and then places it on the drawer near the bed. “ Roses for Rose. Actually I was going to bring you lasagna, but I don’t think you’re allowed to eat foods aside from the hospital’s menu.”

“ God, I miss lasagna. I haven’t eat that for almost eight years.”

“ Wait, eight years?” Edmund’s face become relaxed as he’s truly surprised now. “ You and Ian never eat lasagna?”

“ He doesn’t like it, and I’ve been busy.”

“ Busy? Like for the whole time?”

“ Yes, I had seven exhibitions for the last five years.”

“ Rose, listen. Not eating your most favourite food for eight years is a crime. No, it’s a sin.”

Rose chuckles. “ Ed, you’re exaggerating. It’s not that bad…”

“ It’s that bad, Rose. Let’s see…eight years. If I’m not mistaken….” Edmund try to remember where are Rose and him eight years ago. After almost thirty seconds, his face turned into the face when he’s just discovered something terrible, like some sick plot-twist. “ …no way. Eight years ago, weren’t we at Milan?”

Rose close her left eye, her ‘signature move’ when she tries to remember something, and then agree with Edmund. “ Yeah.”

“ And you’re still alive?” Edmund put out his sarcasm.

“ I am.”

“ Maybe that’s the reason why you’re like this.”

“ Come on, Ed. Didn’t eat lasagna isn’t the cause of cancer.”

“ It isn’t the cause. As I said, it was a sin and this is a punishment.”

Rose smiles, then her face turned excited, her eyebrows going up. “ Wait, do you remember Milan? Eight years ago?”

“ Yes. We ate lasagna.”

“ No, not that, dummy. Before we ate.”

Edmund takes a few steps back into the past. Milan, eight years ago. And there they were, together, on a bus heading for the city. “ Yes, I remember….The Tourists of Justice…”

It was summer in Milan, Edmund and Rose take a bus into the city. As usual, or maybe it has become a ritual, that when they’re on a bus, they’d stand facing each other close enough but not touching each other, unlike a couple who holding hands in the bus or sit or stand side-by-side.. They were not stand face-to-face, Rose would take a position where she could lean into Ed’s left shoulder, making them close enough and they whisper to each other along the way while watching each other’s back.

When they were about to get down from the bus, Rose saw a man took a woman’s purse. She was watching closely the man who took it withdrawn, heading for the door to get down. Rose pulled Edmund and Rose followed the man while dragging Edmund.

“ You dragged me and walking so fast towards that man. So I asked you and you said he was a pickpocket, and you followed him because screaming in the bus will make him beaten by the people and just letting him go wasn’t an option.” Edmund explained.

“ And you got the idea to pickpocket him back.” Rose added.

“ No, I suggest to retrieve the purse.” Edmund corrected Rose.

“ That’s just a more pretentious way to say it.”

“ But you were agree anyway.”

“ So, I told you that pickpocket is just about eye contact as an attention diverter, and you talked to that man. In weird Italian language with a kind of British accent.” Edmund said.

“ And you, as sly as a real criminal, took back the purse.” Rose added.

And then they both fall silence.

“ Did we gave the purse back?” Rose wondering.

“ No, we didn’t. We couldn’t find the owner. That’s how we could afford that five tray of lasagna.” Edmund explained. As Rose laughed remembering their weird memories, Edmund realize something. “ Hey, that could be our theme.”

“ What? Pickpocket to eat lasagna?”

Edmund chuckles. “ No, let’s have a game of remembering our memories. There’s only the two of us in this room, one picks the story, the other remembering it and then we complete the story. It’s perfect.”

Both Edmund and Rose know that this would lead into tears and sadness and stuff, both of them understand it very well. But both of them also agree that they have no other idea, and an awkward silence isn’t a good option either.

“ Are you serious? You’re a bit absent-minded.” Rose said.

“ You’re not exactly a Ted Mosby either. This is certainly a game for two and we should finish the story based on our memory.” Edmund replied.

“ Okay, I’ll begin. Remember when…” Rose closed her left eye, trying to pick one of thousands of dates and everything that they’ve done as a couple together. She smiles, ready to laugh at Edmund. “ Remember when you lost in Sri Lanka?”

“ Lost? I’m not lost, Rose. I’m separated from the others.” Edmund defends himself, “ And you need to remember that you’re the one who left me, eventhough I’ve told you to wait as I strolled to that bookstore.”

“ You didn’t say that I have to wait for more than an hour. And you should blame those little rainbow-colored beads in that market.” Rose replied. “ And it’s also your fault by not remembering the way back into the hotel.”

“ You’re right….but I found my way back eventually.”

“ Yes, after two days. With a help from a dog.”

Edmund laugh. “ This is funny. My turn. Remember when you saved a cat in Amsterdam?”

Rose took a deep breath with an excited face, “ Yes I remember! On one of the bridge in Keziergracht. I remember it pretty well…We were cycling together in the afternoon. It was our last day in Amsterdam. I accidentally saw a little girl, seems so panic, looking below the bridge. Then I realized, it was her cat that plunged. I rushed into that girl…”

“ …and without further thinking, as usual, you jumped and reached for that cat.”

“ Yes, then I returned the cat to that little girl. I remember her name, it was Giselle.” Her eyes gazed through the window’s glass, hoping those skyscrapers turned into cloudy afternoon in Amsterdam.

“ Wait, the cat or the little girl?”

“ The girl, duh.”

“You remembered her name? Damn….” Edmund seems serious.

“ That’s not the best part. I remember too, afterwards you stare at me who smiles and scratch my head, you seems really astonished with what I’ve done. I laughed looking at your funny face but then you got me way more astonished.” Rose stares deep at Edmund’s eyes. His lips were nervous, trying to smile while trying not to cry.

“ You took off your jacket, put it on me, and then you jumped into the water.” Rose kissed Edmund’s backhand. “ You’re going back up to the bridge, all wet just like me, then you kissed my forehead…” she stopped a while, sobbing. “ and you said…”

“ I won’t let you look stupid alone.” Edmund’s murmuring.

“ You won’t let me look stupid alone…” Rose stares at Edmund’s eyes. They both know, when Edmund said that, he truly meant it.“ ….so we head back to the hotel all wet, yet with no rush.” Rose started sobbing. Edmund kissed Rose’s forehead, the same way he kissed her back in Keziergracht. The same way he kissed her after all she had done.

“ After all these years, you still haven’t let me look stupid alone.” Rose trying to be tough.

“ And I meant it. That’s kinda my thing, you know.” He chuckles, “ And, always trying to look stupid is your thing.”

“ Not really my thing, though, You had your moments, too. Remember February 20th? That was such a stupid thing.”

“ February 20th…?”

“ Come on, Ed…you don’t remember? February 20th 2004.”

“ 2004…oh! The tickets thing? That’s not stupid. It’s romantic.”

“ How could you say bought four tickets of a movie for both of us is a romantic thing? It’s just stupid.” Rose insisted.

“ It was a romantic gesture.”

“ It wasn’t. You bought us four tickets of a movie that I wasn’t even want to watch. That, sir, was both a stupid and selfish ‘gesture’ you had one.”

“ It was totally a romantic and smart gesture of a man who did know that his smart-ass fiancée was pretending to be late so she couldn’t watch the movie.”

Rose falls silence. Her face turned into that kind of face when she was caught red-handed when stealing something. Wavering, she said “ Y-you knew?”

“ Yes. You said you were stuck at the studio to repair some statue you’ve been sculpting and might be arrived a little bit late. I knew you’ll arrived 45 minutes late, as your usual ‘intended lateness’ and we would’ve change movie to watch. So I bought four tickets, just in case.”

“ My ‘intended lateness’?” Rose tried to defense herself, put on a fake offended face. Unfortunately, Edmund knew better and counter that face with a very confident ‘Really, Rose?’ stare of him and chuckles simultaneously. Rose is helpless, left with astonishment. “ But, how would you knew that I’ll be late?”

“ Correction. Pretend to be late.”

“ Yes, that.” Rose just wanted to skip the formality and get the explanation.

“ You’re so predictable when you’re about to lying, my dear Rose. At breakfast, you repeatedly check on the clock. You’ve never good at time-planning. You also checked the other movies to watch that day, so I wouldn’t be so pissed off when your plan succeded. And ultimately, you called an hour before the movie, saying you’ll be late because you had to repair some statue.” Edmund throws his ace-card. “ You’ve never repair some statue unless you’ve been bitching about them the day before.”

Rose smiled bitterly. “ So you were a bit detective back then, Ed?”

“ I’m a writer. I’m supposed to observe.” Edmund explained. “ Especially the character who inspired me so much in life.”

“ Alright, so you knew I was lying yet you’ve acted like you didn’t know. Impressive. I should give you an Oscar.”

“ You should be grateful, Rose. Remember that movie?”

“…I don’t really remember….”

“ Are you seriously remember the event without remember the movie?”

Rose nodded gently.

“ Here’s some clues. Later, you became addicted to that movie. You insisted that we should watch that movie at least 50 times.”

“ …50 First Dates…” Rose murmured. Her eyes looked empty, a regret suddenly arose in her heart for had forgotten that movie. The regret becomes way poignant as it mixed with memories of every date night at home she and Edmund had passed watching that movie for 50 times, as she insisted.

Edmund caress Rose’s cheek, giving her a way out the misery. “ Now, my turn. I promised you, this wouldn’t be a sad one.”

“ Let’s see how you keep that promise.” Rose replied.

“ Ready?” Edmund tried to give the moment a tension, let Rose guessed for a while what would he say. Rose nodded. “ Frank Sinclair.”

Rose falls silence for a moment then releases her hand from Edmund’s hand, starts to hitting his arm while trying not to laugh. “ I’ve told you to never mention it anymore! You little narcist!”

Edmund laughing pretty loud, pretending his arm is hurt by Rose. “ Wait, wait, the game! We’re supposed to remember the event!”

“ No, you know you don’t need my help!”

“ I really don’t need your help remembering it, I just want to make fun of you while we remembering it. No matter how unpleasant, we are on a date. We should keep playing.”

“ You cheating.”

“ There’s no winner or loser, so it’s fine to cheat, isn’t it?” Edmund said it smoothly, and he succeded to persuade Rose as her face becomes soften, giving him a gentle maddening stare. “ So, Franklin Sinclair..?”

“ ..is the one who I was going to the prom with. I accepted his request so I could make you jealous.”

“ But?”

“ But you’re not, as you going with Katya McDawson and successfully make me jealous. Smartly turned it back against me.”

“ Yes. See? It’s not sad, right?! In the end of the prom, after Franklin left you for Georgiana Michaels, and I let Josh take Katya home, I asked you for one last dance.”

“ Yes, you paid the band to play Me and Mr. Jones and asked me to dance.”

“ And we were dancing.”

“ And we were dancing.”

As their eyes staring at each others, their memories going back to that empty dance floor where everything moves in different speed then them. They were dancing, and still dancing long after the song is finished because the song has recorded and replayed over and over in their mind, until the room went dark eventually.

As their consciousness back to the hospital, they share a nice silence. Exchange smiles. Holding hands. Both of them know they had their time together, they had happiness together, but they just can’t accept that they haven’t had enough. They will never had enough. Those dates, those dances, those movies, those events, all of it.

“ You should have brought lasagna. Maybe it can cure me from this cursed disease, and we could have another date.” Rose, again, broke the ice.

“ Even if I brought it here, it’s me that’s going to eat it.” Edmund laugh.

“ Why?”

“ My dear Rose, the fact that you haven’t eaten your favourite food in eight years is your fault. Now, you should only eat what they give you here, some disgusting untasty yet nutritious food. If I give you lasagna, I could be arrested under attempts of murder.” Edmund explained.

Rose chuckles, but then she silenced. Her stare is again went empty, left Edmund confused and his laugh decayed.

“ Do you remember…you’ve once attempted to murder me?”

Edmund’s heart stopped.

*****

Edmund turned his face away, he does remember. He can’t not remember it. He always wanted not to, but he fails everytime. Everyone has their most regretful event, the one that hurt the most. They who has the luxury to recover from them, or even has the divine luck to forget them, are the luckiest or the strongest person ever. Edmund, unfortunately, not even close to join those people. Don’t be mistaken, Edmund was able to accept that event, or as he called it, tragedy. Accept things, even the one that hurt the most, is one of virtue that Edmund possessed.

But accept is one thing. Recover is another.

“ Yes, I can’t forget it…” Edmund took a deep breath. “ That night, I have my full-loaded Colt pointed at your silly face. God, I hate that night.” His face facing the floor. He’s got the feeling that the floor is the one who has the right to step on him, not the other way around.

“ You’re not the one to blame, though.” Rose murmured weakly.

“ Hell yeah I’m not. You’re the one who slept with Ian! In our fucking bed!”

Rose cried. She’s not sobbing, she just cried. Tears runs through her cheeks. Weak as she is, she still has the guts to ask Edmund to play. No matter how unpleasant, the game is not finish. They are on a date, and they should keep playing.

“ Yes, I remember. It was six years ago. It all started from there. From that night…” Edmund trying to control himself. He’s been through this two years ago, he has accepted this fact, he should really finish the game. “ You…” he took a deep breath again, lifts his face up so Rose could see. As been told before, as he knew, and as Rose could see, there is still a great deal of sorrow and despair deep in his heart, shown in his eyes. “…you were standing between my Colt and Ian’s head. Literally saved that guy from death.”

“ And you from prison.” Rose added.

“ Yes. That’s too. Even if I don’t mind.” Edmund replied. He smiled, way more bitter than Rose’s before. “ So, you and your beautiful face and your deep eyes right in front of me and my Colt. You were beautiful, even not as hot as you and your bald head are today.” Rose chuckles. “ So beautiful, no wonder Ian fucked you. You were standing there naked, with your stare trying to tell me that you’re the one who want it. And you did, you did tell me that you wanted it after I put down my Colt.”

Rose can’t take it anymore. It was hurt for her, too. Maybe not as hurt as Edmund felt but it was hurt indeed.

“ And I punched Ian right in his face, forced him to get out. And we talked. God, we were at war. We talked, then we screamed. But neither of us is listened. And as we are agreed, when neither of us is listen, stay would be an unwise move. So I left the place, because I can’t let you left naked or someone else will fuck you and things get messier than it was before. And because I didn’t know how to postpone that war except with the sound of slammed door.”

“ And then we got divorced.” Rose continued bitterly. The memory consumes her.

“ Yes. And you married Ian, because you love him…more than you ever loved me, apparently. Maybe that’s too the reason you guys fuck each other at the first place. Question, after I left that night, did Ian come back and you guys continue what you were doing?” Edmund’s began to pissed off again. He almost can’t control it.

“ God, Edmund. No, I’m not contacting Ian until we officially divorced.”

“ What? Why?”

“ I knew we’re not talking much after that night. Especially about us. But we both know things did not worked out that well anymore. Things changed. I know it’s not a…a reason, not a motive to be selfish. I’ve loved you, and I still am. But we were drifting apart! And I hated myself..so much, to be the one who blow things off. I loved you but I love Ian, too…I..”

Rose can’t go on, any further attempt would break her. She’s crying, cover her face with both of her palm. She loved two men at the same time, she just can’t have them both. That would be selfish, that would be wrong. Doesn’t mean that leaving Edmund was right, but not leaving him would not be right either. She had to choose, and she did.

“ Oh, stop it, Rose…what if a nurse comes in? An old man sitting near the bed of a crying bald lady isn’t a good scene to watch. We’re on a date, stop making me look like a fool.” Edmund tried to cheer her up.

Rose trying to control herself. It’s just a memory, a bad one. They’ve got through it, both of them, even not together as they were meant to be. The game was supposed to be fun, it just took a wrong turn.

“ Thanks…for reminding me how much I loved you.” Rose murmured, still sobbing.

“ Thing that I should have done more in the past. Remind you. You really not a good player in this, aren’t you? Bring up hurtful memory and all.” Edmund kissed Rose’s forehead, again.

“ One question, did you ever hook up with anyone else after that night?”

Edmund frowned.

“ Oh come on, I’m not gonna live for long. Just answer it.” Rose insisted.

“ Remember Ariadne?”

“ The hot back-up dancer? Our neighbor?” Rose surprised.

“ Yes…now she’s playing at some local theater or something. We’ve just started last year…it’s not serious.”

“ How could that possible?”

“ Apparently, she reads book. My book, and then she started to come over every Saturday…wait, what do you mean ‘how could that possible’?”

“ Well, so that’s a coincidence that she reads. That’s what makes it possible.”

“ I’d rather called it pure-luck.” Edmund corrected Rose.

Rose keep trying to get a good picture of that Ariadne girl in her head as she closes her left eye. “ She’s a damn hot lady, and you called me and my bald head sexy? You’re playin’ with me.”

“ In my defense, you do more shiny than before.”

Rose chuckles. Her tears had dried, her smile back on stage. Her hand reaches for Edmund’s a moment later, and she kisses it. “ Be happy, okay?”

“ I’m trying.”

The orange light has turned darker, night is approaching. “ Time’s up…Ian and Greg will be here soon. I guessed you won’t stay, which leads an end to our silly little last date.” Rose tried to say it as she’s not minding the Time, but Edmund noticed.

“ Why do you think this is our last date?”

“ I’m not gonna make it.”

“ Giving up already?” Edmund asked, but Rose doesn’t want to reply to that one. She is giving up, just not ready to admit it yet. “ If you’re dead, I’m not gonna come to your funeral.”

Rose chuckles. “ Seriously?”

“ I’m serious, I’m not gonna come.”

“ Yeah,” Rose smiled, she thinks she know what kind of game her ex-husband played. “You’re not gonna ‘come’. You’re gonna ‘attend’ the funeral.”

“ No, Rose.” Edmund put himself a little bit closer to Rose. “ This isn’t one of my word play. I’m not gonna come.” He kissed Rose’s lips, and clinging into it a bit longer than it’s supposed to, let Rose’s fingers run through his face, embrace it. Then as they done, Edmund stands, “ Farewell, my love of my life.”

As Edmund walks toward the door, Rose stares at that back, that same back of the same person which she cried about that night. The one who slammed the door, closed it with hate and anger. The one who didn’t say goodbye before. The situation was similar, as the door closed and that person lost from her sight, they’re not gonna talk to each other for a very long time afterwards. This time, even longer.

“ Ed.” Rose called.

Edmund stopped and turned around.

“ It’s okay if you’re not gonna come, I’ve decided not to ask you why…but if this is a true goodbye, a true farewell…do you have any last words for me?”

“ The reason why I’m not gonna come and my last words are the same thing, Rose.” He walks toward Rose, leans in and whispering words to her.

The whispers closed with a kiss in Rose’s forehead, some tears in her cheeks and a smile in her face. Edmund took his leave.

*****

There’s no way to love someone flawlessly, because even Love itself has it flaws, as always. All we can do is trying to keep Love, along with its flaws, within our reach. Edmund has been ceaselessly trying, but to be honest, it’s not a one person’s job. It supposed to be reciprocal. It always has been so.

So, Rose took the job, give Edmund a hand and a heart filled with love. No matter how big their problem is, no matter how indispensable their flaw is, she took the job. To love him, even if she loved another man too. To keep holding on that feeling into him even when she’s dead. To be there, wait for him so they can begin again. To keep believing in his words.

“ I bet you look stupid when you’re dead. So, I won’t let you look stupid alone.”

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