For Me

Sorry this one is coming out pretty late and a bit longer than the post before it. I struggled to make this one because despite of the emotion I had to present, I had to put some pieces together for the next stories before posting this one on the blog. Haven’t got the time to proof read this one so please be nice. And as always, this one is also connected with the rest, you can read this one separately or you can read it as a sequel. Enjoy.  

“ Hey, you’re still up. That’s bizzare,” said Ariadne when she found Edmund sitting in the living room as she got home. It’s past 2 a.m. already.

“ You use ‘bizzare’. That’s bizzare.” Ed replied with smile.

A half-empty bottle of 40 years old Bruichladdich on the coffe table makes Ariadne asked what happened.

“ I went to the hospital today. I saw Rose.”

Ariadne gulped. “ And?”

Ed smiles. “ She was alright…” he stares the bottle in front of him for a couple of seconds, “ and she’s dead now. Ian just told me an hour ago.”

Ariadne dropped his bag, and slowly sat next to Ed so she can hug him. Warm, 2 a.m. is pretty warm when you hug someone.

“ Thank you, love.” Ed whispered.

“ You’re okay?”

“ I guess.” Ed kissed her forehead. “ It’s late. You have another rehearsal tomorrow, I believe. Go get some rest.”

“ How about we, get some rest?” Ariadne stood up and pulling Ed to follow her into the bedroom. “ I believe we have something that we can’t do tomorrow.”

Ed smiled again, this time because of his lover’s wink. “ Alright. Let me finish that bottle first.”

“ No.”

 

*****

 

“ Did he ever write again?” Sheila asked me while fixing April’s make up.

“ No. His divorce was bad, and I believe what happened between him and his wife was even worse.”

“ But he got you. That equals getting a fucking new muse after losing a bloody cow.” Sheila added.

“ That’s terrible, Sheila…” Charles replied, drinking some soda. “ But, yeah, you are a fucking muse.”

“ I don’t know why it sounds really creepy when you said it, Charles.” I responded.

“ That can’t be helped. Perversion running through his veins.” Sheila backed me up.

“ Correction. It’s not ‘running’. It’s ‘galloping’.” April corrected, which leads to our laugh.

“ What did he write, your lovely Ed?” Charles tried to change the focus.

“ You know Kyle Rustic? That’s the character he created. Detective stories…but it’s kinda psychological and a bit sci-fi, you know. I don’t know how, but I fell in love with his writing.”

“ I think I heard that one before…” April wondering, “ Wait, does he know Mr. Reid?”

“ Yeah. They’re friends. Also with David Diervar.” I answered

“ No shit.” Sheila seems surprised.

“ David Diervar, the one who originally wrote the story we play? The Leaked Dream? Two thumbs up, Ariadne. You nailed a big guy.”

“ David Diervar is big novelist. Ed, he said he’s just one of Diervar’s friends. But other than that, he’s indeed big.”

“ Doesn’t matter. You should ask Ed to write again, or maybe collaborate with David.” Sheila said seriously.

“ By the way, isn’t he’s supposed to come today?” April throws a question.

“ No, Ed’s going to his wife’s funeral.” I replied.

“ What? No, I mean David! Mr. Reid said he will come today.” April corrected me. “ His wife funeral? She’s dead?”

“ Yes, last night.”

Then it was silence. I don’t know, I assume there’s no correct response to that. Even I couldn’t say anything when Ed said he’s going to the funeral.

“ So, David Diervar, he’s coming?” Sheila broke the awkward silence.

“ Yes. I think he saw us performed, I see him sitting near the entrance just before we took ten minutes break.”

“ He might not like our performance…and he might change something.” April looking at herself at the mirror when saying that.

“ He better not. It’s three days before preview, we can’t afford drastical change. We won’t even if we can.” Charles is obviously nervous.

“Speaking of performance, how’s mine?” I’m trying to cast away what is seems to be a negative energy, starting to form a cloud around us.

“ You did good. Honestly, I envy your role, Arry.” April answered.

“ Why?”

“ Haven’t you read the original story? The lines, Arry, I loved the lines. I loved your lines.” I can feel the excitement in April’s eyes. “ And with such innocent eyes of yours,” April added, as if she can also feel us exchanging stare, “ it felt right.”

I smiled.

“ How about my performance?” Charles killed the moment. This guy’s the worst.

“ You dance like penguin.” April answered. I know it’s just a joke, but it’s 60% correct. He does dance like penguin. I guess it has something to do with the suit he wore.

“ It’s time, gang. Let’s head back.” Sheila changed her face to work mode, such a hardworking lady who manage us all. April get out, followed by Charles who seems really taking the penguin stuff seriously.

Just before I get out of the room, I hear my phone ringing. A number I don’t recognize, and it’s not a cellphone number. Who is this?

“ You coming, Arry?”

“ Go ahead, Sheila. I gotta take this.” Sheila left then I answered the call. “ Hello.”

“ Miss Ariadne Bexton?”

“ Speaking.”

“ You are listed as Mr. Edmund Leidr’s emergency contact, and I’m sorry to announce you that Mr. Leidr passed away after a car accident in the highway, and based on…”

Everything went blurry. I can’t hear what else that woman said through the phone, all I hear is a high pitching voice, cancelling the very presence of the world around me, making me feel empty and insignificant. I want to think that this is one of Ed’s joke, but I know that’s just silly. Ed never joke.

 

*****

 

For the whole week after Ed’s funeral, Ariadne feels like weightless, not because she wouldn’t eat. She feels empty, floating in the world of monochromatic. She felt she can take it if it’s a mere harrowing experience, as those kind of experiences leave behind fear and trauma, corrupting the mind and the soul, leave her to live her life with a shadow casted upon her.

That, she could’ve take it. This, is something else.

At the very least, harrowing experiences leave her something, even if it’s as negative as fear and trauma. She would’ve mind and soul still attached to her, still working even if it’s corrupted. At the very least, harrowing experiences would leave her to live a life. Ed would, too. But he didn’t. He didn’t leave her anything to live her life.

This would be a case of overreacting, if it’s just about Ed passed away. It would still be a case of overreacting, even when it’s about Ed’s suicide by running at a car in a highway. But this isn’t a case of overreacting because he did it not only in purpose of ending his life, but also to be dead just like his long beloved Rose. Ariadne can accept the fact that Ed’s dead by suicide, she just can’t accept the fact that he did it for Rose. Because it obliterates the whole life Ariadne’s had with him. He, the very person she loved, voluntarily threw happiness they had together to join his ex-wife in the afterlife. In heaven. Or in hell. Or somewhere, in the case that both don’t really exist.

Ariadne now found herself on the empty stage, where she was supposed to play the role Valérie for the musical version of Leaked Dream by David Diervar. The preview postponed, indefinitely. Mr. Reid and even Mr. David Diervar himself said it was to honor their friend, Edmund Leidr. But Mr. Reid said to Ariadne that he postponed it, even ready to cancel it, for the sake of Ed’s ‘significant other’, which is Ariadne. Mourning period, they say. Even Ariadne doesn’t know what to mourn: the fact that her lover is dead, or the fact that her lover is dead for his ex-wife.

“ You like it?” said someone from the doorway. Ariadne turned around and recognizes the face as Mr. David Diervar.

“ What?”

“ Standing on stage.”

Ariadne paused for a moment. “ Yes, I guess.”

“ Guess?” David smiled as he brought himself on stage. “ Okay. Why do you like it?”

“ Excuse me, what?” Ariadne didn’t hide her confusion.

“ Why do you like standing on stage?”

“ I don’t know.”

“ So do I. I like standing and walking around on stage, I don’t know why. I don’t like not knowing why, so now I have something to answer. I really like how question shows up, unexpected.” David walks around the stage, “ By the way, are you decided not to play?”

Ariadne knows David talks about the play. It’s his novel, afterall. “ Yes, I’m not gonna play.”

“ Shame.” David murmured, then applies silence between him and his friend’s lover.

Of all things, Ariadne hates silence. She wants to break every silence wrapped around her, including the silence David made, and apparently he made it on purpose. Normally, Ariadne would made up some unimportant topics just to break the silence, some small talks. But with the emotional wreck she’s having since last week, there’s nothing but Ed inside her mind.

“ You know, Dave…” Ariadne begins, her eyes set on the empty seats in front of the stage. “ …the first time I heard the news from the hospital, I wanted to think that this is nothing but a prank. One of Ed’s joke.”

David chuckles softly, “ So do I.”

“ But that’s impossible.”

“ Why?”

Ariadne turned her eyes at David, as she can’t entirely understand why did he said so. “ It’s clear, isn’t it? Ed never joke.”

“ Oh, no, Arry. It isn’t that clear. Ed was always joking around. Always made up something funny. Among our friends – his friends and mine, he was the one who always able to come up with some funny ideas.”

Ariadne startled. “ I think we knew him differently. He was…clumsy.”

“ Clumsy?” David seems unable to accept such adjective defines his friend. “ How could you say so?”

“ Because he was indeed clumsy! Yes, he laughed at my jokes, never cease to respond what I say unless I kissed him, succeed in being so romantic to me…hell, he did many things to make me happy but he never joke. Never even once.”

David fell in silence again, this time not because he wanted to, but more because he needs to do so as there is no correct response to what Ariadne just said. He waited for a moment. Letting Ariadne cherish whatever memory of Ed she is projecting inside her mind. When he saw tears in Ariadne’s face, David, as sly as he is supposed to as a writer, he knows it is wise not to say anything until she does.

Ariadne shed her tears. “ Anyway, I like your novel.”

“ Thank you. Which one?”

“ I personally love Confiscated Affair. But I also like Leaked Dream, the one I used to play.”

“ I saw your performance as Valérie. It’s a revelation.”

“ Thank you…” Ariadne smiled, such sweet smile that would scar a heart as it was combined with traces of tears near her eyes. “ I’ve been thinking about my dialog as Valérie, this past few days.”

David waited.

Aren’t we might as well call ‘nightmare’ a ‘sweet dream’, when reality is far worse than the nightmare itself?” said Ariadne. “ Somehow that line is even more real than my entire life. You, David Diervar, a genius.”

David looked into her eyes, discovering a soul with a refrained scream of unhappiness. Even more unhappy than Valérie he once created.

A pen is a pen and nothing but a pen, when you think of it as a mere pen.” David quoted himself, with a line from one of his own book. “ Arry, the nature of my story is fiction, and it would become real only if the reader decided so. You, Arry, decided that line as something real, more than your life.”

“ Of course it is real! It felt real, Dave, it felt real! While my life is empty as Ed left me with nothing to do but mourning! Do you think I want to feel this way? No! I am insignificant, Dave, an insignificant person….”

“ You’re not insignificant.”

“ I am, Dave, I am! I fulfilled the definition of insignificant, because what is more insignificant than loving someone while knowing that someone didn’t love you back! At all!”

“ No, Arry…Ed loved you.”

Tears run and cannot stop, as Ariadne loves Ed and she cannot stop. “ No, I don’t believe it.”

“ Why don’t you?”

“ Because if he died for someone he loved, why didn’t he die for me?!”

Ariadne fell down to her knees. David just stand not too far from her with hands inside his pocket in his black coat.

“ Ed did write, you know.” David said, as if he doesn’t care if Ariadne doesn’t hear him. “ He did stop writing after the divorce, but he did write again, after he met you. I know because he told me, and even sending me his writing. And it’s about you.”

Ariadne still crying, but she is listening.

“ Just like me, he loves to write. He lost his reason to write after his divorce, then found it again after both of you find each other.” David said, then he gets down on his knees, place himself next to Ariadne. “ He did love you, Arry. He might not love you the way he loved Rose, but he did love you, differently.”

Ariadne still not responding to what David said. She would, really, but she can’t. David stands up, then gets down from the stage.

“ I’ll send you his writing later. I’m gonna leave, but consider this, my dear Arry : Ed almost killed himself after his divorce, but he didn’t because he met you and you know that. I know you think of him as someone who rather die for Rose. Me, I’d rather think of him as someone who rather live for you, and keeping you eternal through his writing. So long, Arry.”

David walks away, while Ariadne stares at his back. “ Oh, one other thing.” David turned around. “ He’s a fucking writer, and you know a writer loves you when he writes for you.”

 

*****

 

Three days later, there’s not a single soul in the whole city that haven’t see that colorful poster written Leaked Dream, starring Ariadne Bexton.

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In His Defense

This is also a new fiction, pretty short (the post before was a bit too long, i figure). I don’t have time to check on the spelling and grammar, but I guess that’s not a big problem. You may read this one without reading the post before this (titled I Remember) just fine. The two are connected, and you might have different understanding if you reading this one first than reading the other one first.

“ I never defend a murderer,” I said it to that guy as I sat down. “ because I don’t like murderers.”

“ I am an assassin.”

“ All the same. You put an end to people’s life.”

“ So does terrorist, executioner. And so does God, Technically.”

Smart-ass. I Never like one, either. They think they are able to get out of this shit with their smart-ass mouth. All they do is make things worse.

“ Bottom line, I don’t like killer. Whatever the reason and the condition is. People always have choice not to kill.”

“…or not to be killed.”

His eyes…too calm.

“ I will speak in your defense. I read all the report. Now, do you find yourself guilty?”

“ I don’t know.”

What kind of answer is that?!

“ An honest answer, actually, Miss Collins.” He added, as if he heard my mind talking. Maybe he read my face, I often losing control of my expression. Especially when I’m pissed or when I’m surprised.

“ Elaborate.”

He went silent. I bet he’s trying to understand what ‘elaborate’ means.

“ I’ve always found the system to decide one’s guilty is funny.”

“ Based on all the reports, the evidences, you are guilty. The trace of blood found in your…what is that sword called..? Katana?”

“ Chisa katana, to be more precise.”

“ Yes, that. You don’t have alibi, and Mr. Gladfire’s secretary saw you in his office at the night of his death.”

“ Oh, Rebecca told the police that? Yeah, she never liked me.”

“ So you admit that you are guilty?”

“ No.”

“ But, you did kill him?”

“ Not ‘kill’. He asked me to execute him. So I did.”

“ What do you mean by “execute”?”

“ As I told you, I am an assassin. A mercenary. People pay me to get rid of another people, and Mr. Gladfire was my employer for almost five years.”

Dammit, Dain wasn’t kidding. This guy and this case is…weird.

“ You did put an end to his life? By your own hand? Using that Katana?”

“ I did with my chisa katana. I beheaded him.”

“ See? You are guilty, by took another man’s life.”

“ Even if that man was the one who wanted it?”

“ Yes, even that.”

“ Confusing…well, okay then. I am guilty.”

“ Yet, I see no trace of guilt in you.”

“ There is none.”

“ How could that be?”

“ I am an assassin. I assassinate, that’s my job. I wouldn’t assassinate Mr. Gladfire if he doesn’t pay me to.”

“ You could have rejected his command.”

“ I couldn’t.”

Speaking more of it wouldn’t get me anywhere. I do want to know about this ‘paying an assassin to kill myself’ thingy, but that’s illogical and not really my bussiness. My bussiness is to defend this guy, and because he admitted that he did kill Mr. Gladfire, it seems like I don’t have to break a sweat in front of the jury and the judge. It’ll end fast and neat.

“ One question, Miss Collins,” he said as I’m about to get out from that room.

“ Sure.”

“ Isn’t it funny, that you could decide a man is guilty even if he has no guilt?”

*****

“ A Hamburger Royale with extra cheese, french fries and chocolate milkshake. Anything else, Ma’am?”

“ Nope. That’s it.”

I gaze through the window as the waiter took my order, seeing cars passing by and some people who’s not so in hurry. I really like gaze through the window, as I can see my reflection and also the view outside at the same time. My mom always told me that it is silly, while my dad, who rarely gets me, defended me by saying it is beautiful : seeing through the glass while also seeing yourself. You can’t get that by looking at the mirror, mirror only reflects yourself and people on your side. And it’s even more beautiful when in the middle of gaze-through-the-window, your mind often wandering and find some funny or happy memory. Like what I am doing right now. Then Dain stops me with his call. I pick it up.

“ How was it?” he asked.

“ As you said, Inspector. Weird.”

“ Told ya.”

“ The trial will be held three days from now, and he literally admitted that he killed that Gladfire guy, so I think it’s gonna be fast and neat.”

“ Well, for you, yes. For me, no. Based on his ‘story’, the big guy requesting for more investigation regarding this Gladfire thing, we might be able to find something to solve some unsolved cases.”

“ Is it that serious?”

“ I don’t know. Did you ask him about the hiring-employing-executing stuff?”

“ No, I’m not, I mean,” the waiter put my order on the table, and I noded politely. “ What’s the point?”

“ Don’t you want to know?”

“ I do. But not really want to.”

“ Yeah, whatever. It has more thing to do with my job. I gotta run, catch up with you latter, Leslie.”

“ Wait, did he say something weird?” I whispered. I don’t even know why whispered.

“ Weird? I say all of them is weird. Hell, he is weird.”

“ Yes, but he said something…nah, nevermind.”

“ What was it?”

“ I told you later. I gotta eat.”

“ A’ight.”

Dain’s is right. He is weird. Smart-ass mouth, too. But, what’s with his eyes? Those eyes were too calm…isn’t he supposed to feel gulity, a bit of it, at least? Nah, maybe he just played it cool, to mess up with cops and stuff. Crazy people used to do it. Maybe he’s that psycopathic serial killer like one of those movies about them. Or maybe, he had answers prepared before arrested. Or, he’s just a professional assassin as he said. This burger is delicious.

*****

I was just about to get to the highway on my way to police station, when Dain called me again. It was about 10 in the morning, the highway less crowded as it used to. I drove past the gate then pick up my phone.

“ You will not believe this.”

“ What, you shave your beard until it shiny again?”

“ No, seriously, Leslie. It’s about the case.”

“ What’s about it?”

“ After our dinner last night, I got called to the station because someone saying he was Gladfire’s friend.”

“Aren’t you done asking around?”

“ This is different. This guy also know about the assassin.”

Holy shit.

“ And?”

“ He was Gladfire’s associate back since Gladfire’s business barely established until four years ago. He said, Brett Williams used to come to Gladfire’s office every week. At first he thinks it was business or errand boy or something, but when he asked Gladfire, Gladfire spilled out everything. Brett Williams recieved payments for his service in ‘taking out some rival’. Crazy.”

“ So that story is true?”

What the hell is wrong with that car in front of me? Is he drunk..?

“ Yes. This Emerton guy was brought some evidence he found. He said it was the main reason why he resigned from Gladfire’s office.”

Is that car going to accelerate or what? I better accelerate and left that car behind.

“ Hey, Leslie, do you hear me?”

“ Yes. But, did he say anything about why would Gladfire asked Brett to execute him?”

“ That’s the reason why this Emerton guy fly across the continent, to find out why. He said Brett wasn’t just a mercenary. Gladfire once told him that Brett was bailed out from the prison by Gladfire, and Gladfire also gave Brett’s family a lot of money.”

“ So what are you going to do?”

That weird car wants to get past me. Well, go on then. Drive away. It’s highway, I wouldn’t take risk.

“ I’ve put a team to investigate Gladfire’s bussiness. You remember Rebecca?”

“ Yes.”

“ She said a woman was with Brett the night Gladfire’s death.”

“ A woman?”

“ Yes, she doesn’t know who she is, maybe we’ll ask Brett himself.”

The weird car that accelerate suddenly opens its door and a man jumped out the car into my drive lane, stood up and running towards my car. I’m in highspeed, I’ve stepped fully on the brake but it was no use.

“ Fu~!”

I felt and heard my car hit the man. Some car behind me stopped and watch, then I got out the car and run towards the man, lying down pretty far from my car.

“ Shit, Dain, I hit a man with my car in the highway!”

“ What? How?”

“ He threw himself at my car…God! Call an ambulance for me! Shit!”

I turned off the phone then a couple of guy also running towards the body, trying to help. I see blood, and the man with crushed face. He wears black suit, as if he’s going to a funeral.

Oh no…no…not me…no, please don’t die!

 

*****

I sat there, in front of the jury and the judges, beside my client, the suspect of the murder of Robert Gladfire. I couldn’t hear the verdict, but it’s definitely guilty because he’s admitted all charges, and we didn’t bring any witness. We didn’t do a thing. I didn’t speak in his defense. All I remember was me and Brett doing a conversation on recess, while the jury decided what to say.

“ I saw you…” Brett started the conversation, “…so, burdened.”

“ I am.”

“ I heard you put an end to someone’s life?”

“ You could say that.”

“ Elaborate.”

I smiled. Why did I smiled?

“ Two days ago, on my way to the police station, I hit a guy who jumped out of his car in the middle of highway.”

That guy, I think I see his face, just for a moment before I hit him, so calm and serious.

“Dress all black. Later known, he was on his way to his ex-wife’s funeral. He ran towards my car, and I hit him. I put him inside my car, with the help of some people, and drove like crazy to the exit, but he was dead on the way there.”

“ Do you know his name?”

“ Edmund Leidr.”

“ Do you find yourself guilty?”

I paused for a moment. “ No.”

“ Yet, I see a trace of guilt in you.”

He’s right. There is. Why?

“ Listen, Miss Collins. Do you know why I’m here?”

“ You put an end to a man’s life.”

“ so does terrorist, so does executioner, so does God. Now, you too.”

“ I am different. It was him, who threw himself in front of my car.”

Yes, it was him, wasn’t it? But if it’s true, why do I feel guilty?

“ To be honest, I don’t need you to speak in my defense. Because I don’t care if the world find myself guilty, as long as I can defend myself from the guilt. It is I, who decide whether myself guilty or not.”

“ That’s not true.”

“ Then, why does the world say that you are not guilty, yet you have guilt?”

Shit. “ What would you say, in my defense?”

“ Same thing I’ve been telling to myself all these years.”

“ And that is…?”

“ One doesn’t need to have what it takes to be an assassin just to kill someone, and one doesn’t need to be killed to become a victim.”

Then, two cops bring Brett outside, and everyone walks towards the door, including me. I can feel myself walking without knowing where would I want to go, yet my feet still taking steps. Then I stopped, outside the building, near the window of the empty court room. The same court room as before. I gaze through the window, seeing my reflection in the glass, and picturing myself sitting beside Brett in the same place at the court room, just like before. But now, it’s him who is standing. It is him who speaks in my defense, instead of me speaking in his defense.

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.”

Fictionnerie

Greetings, habitants of reality.
This is the first post in Fictionnerie, a site which I consider as a place for the fictions inside my mind. They wanna get out before they are forgotten by me. They hoping someone else would remember or at least know them. Inspire other would be too optimist, but who knows?
Posts will be written in bahasa Indonesia, english, and hopefully, en français.

Research and development of this site is in progress, and I personally hope you, the reader, find this site as something you would like to read.