He was rummaging through his wardrobe. Really, he thought. He should start learning how to keep things clean. He had to find that particular box he needed. He threw around a dirty piece of clothing after another and soon they formed a pile. He was reaching for another pile of clothes when a cardboard box slid along and fell to the floor, its contents scattered. He stared at the video tapes and reached for one entitle ‘Little Jason at Hyde Park’. Soon, he dropped what he’d needed to find in that wardrobe from his mind and he just set up his video player and sat there, watching.
His mind was racing to moments, seconds, places, all regarding a very special person in his life.
Hyde Park, 15 years ago
Hyde Park was always so big and so interesting for any little kid like him. All those slides and swings felt like something exciting to explore. He climbed all those contraptions and flew paper planes, just to see where they’d land. And one day, it landed at someone’s feet. He slid down and picked it up, noticing the pink shoes right behind the paper plane.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey. Is this youws?” she asked, still unable to pronounce that ‘r’ perfectly.
“Yes,” he smiled at the owner of those pink shoes, a girl all dressed in pink with a ponytail to top it off. “You wanna fly this too?”
“Wait heye” he said, with as much capability of pronouncing ‘r’ as the little girl.
He ran to the bench next to the playground where his mother sat, asking if he could have another piece of paper. He folded it into a paper plane, identical to his and climbed back and sat next to the girl.
“You have this, now we can fly it,” he said, grinning. She accepted the plane.
“Weady?” she said. He nodded. “One, two, twee!” And two paper planes soared together.
From that day on, they spent almost everyday playing together at the park. From swings to throwing autumn leaves to slides, they believed they were the king and queen of the park. And they became best friends, without any declaration.
High school, 5 years ago
“I really shouldn’t have agreed with you about this,” he said, struggling to fold what would be his 9th paper plane.
It was midnight and everyone must have been asleep by then but they both needed to stay in that library to study Geometry. Well, he needed it to be exact. She was there to assist in case he lost understanding while staring at the pictures of those triangles.
“Hey, at least you’re wide awake, now!” she exclaimed, happily finishing up her 9th plane as well.
He picked up the next piece of paper, thinking she was right. He laughed victoriously as he begun folding his last plane.
A sneaky smile spread across her face. “Look! Isn’t that the cheerleader captain over there?”
“Where? Where?” he looked around, dumbfounded. She seized the moment to get the paper out of his hands and laughed.
“Oh no you don’t…” he said and he messed up hers too.
Moments later, two paper planes soared and landed on the rugged library floor.
It must have only been 2 hours since they’d started studying, but he felt as though it had been forever. She was reading her Geometry book calmly, not quite noticing how he’d nodded off while working on a problem. Suddenly, a car honked in the distance and he sat upright straight away. She smiled.
“You wanna stop now? You seem knocked out,” she said gently.
“But I have to pass this or else I’d have to repeat the class again next year,” he said. His eyes looked tired, though and she decided not to argue.
A few moments later, he nodded off again, this time she heard a couple of snores. She smiled to herself and pulled a paper plane out of her textbook, consisting of all the formulas he’d need for the next day’s test. And she continued reading, staying at the library just to watch her tired best friend sleep.
“He broke up with me.”
Five words, with sobs while they were spoken were enough to bring him to her place. With tubs of vanilla ice cream, her favorite flavor. He knocked on her room’s door and the sight of her in tears just broke his heart.
I’m gonna find that sick guy and give him a good hit or something.
“Hey,” he tried to be cheerful. “I got some vanilla ice cream. Whoops!” he tripped over her dresser’s leg.
She raised an eyebrow, still tearful but at least there was a small smile. He brought the ice cream over to the other side of her queen-sized bed. He got a spoon out and asked “so what happened?” and within minutes and after a tub or two of ice cream, tasting so much sweet flavors until they got sick of it, the story was told.
He said after a while of just picking at the empty tub, “You’re really too awesome to be with someone like him.”
“Haha. You’re only saying that ’cause you’re my best friend, right? Apparently, I’m not awesome enough for him,” she laid flat on her chest and leaned her head on his arm.
“Well then it’s his loss. Even though you’re not the best tutor in the world, and you eat a lot, and you sing like a dying cat or something,” she nudged his arm, scrunching up her face, “alright! But you’re still one of the coolest girls I’ve ever met.”
Soon her tears were replaced with laughter as they happily mocked her ex-boyfriend and his stupid accent and how he walked and they started laughing.
That night, she fell asleep, her head leaning on his arm and when he had to go home, he gently laid her head on the soft mattress, put a blanket over her and slipped a paper plane out of his pocket. The paper plane, containing all the reasons why she’s awesome now laid on her bedside table.
The small lake that belonged to them only, 3 years ago
He stared at the letter, still not quite sure that it’s even real. He read word by word, over and over again, trying to convince himself. It looked solid. It looked real.
It told him he had a place in UCLA, where he’d been planning to go after high school. And he honestly thought he would never graduate due to his horrid Math scores. Yet it’s written there. UCLA.
He owed it all to his best friend, of course. For all those late night studying when he mostly fell asleep, for being the best cheerleader ever, for simply… being there.
He smiled to himself and heard a “hey hey hey hey!” from the distance. Before he knew it, she’d hugged him from the back, putting her own acceptance letter in front of his eyes for him to read. His face immediately fell, but only for a split second. She was grinning and jumping enthusiastically that he didn’t want to break this happiness. He arranged his face into the happiest smile and said “congratulations!” and gave her a well-deserved hug.
The letter was from NYU. New York. Los Angeles. These two cities are separated, too far away from each other. He and she will be separated too far away from each other. He didn’t want her to leave. He didn’t want to be anywhere but near her. But she’s always wanted this so he’d have to let her go.
As much as it hurts to watch her be somewhere far from where he’d be.
College, 2 years ago
The static crackled. He checked, making sure his webcam was on. This is the only contact they could make for each week due to the towering amount of assignments and he didn’t want it to go up to smoke. Soon, the static broke and a voice called “hello?”
“Hey, it’s me! Sorry about that, it’s my stupid webcam,” he said and waved at the webcam. Her face, still looking the same after all these days.
“I miss you,” he said. No matter how many times he’d said it, he still meant it and it still hurt. He really, really missed having her around.
“I miss you too. How’s it going?” she said.
“Assignments, late nights at the library, more assignments,” he sighed. “I’m sick of college. And studying past midnight’s just not the same without you tutoring me.”
“Oh please, I bet you’ve got some pretty girl you have this huge crush on now,” she laughed. “But I’m going through the same stuff as well. I’m getting sick of all these schedules and plans and all.”
“I know! I miss that lake back home and eating ice cream all we want…”
“… and your Mom’s cooking and paper planes. Especially the paper planes,” she grinned.
“Yeah. I miss those too,” he grinned. But that grin faded quickly as he saw an arm pulling her away from the monitor.
“Whoops, I gotta run. Talk to you later. Byeee!” As she bid farewell, she was already off-screen.
He stared at her dorm room on the monitor, blankly. He didn’t want to miss her like this. He wanted to be there, he wanted them to see each other again, not just online.
Before he knew it, he’d dashed to his wardrobe, grabbed his clothes, and stuffed them in his travel bag. He seized it and flagged a cab to LAX. He got the cheapest and quickest flight to New York. As soon as the plane landed, he hailed a cab and went to the NYU dorms. He walked to her room… and it was empty.
The occupant wasn’t there. He missed out on her, the one he’d missed so dearly. The one he cared about so much. The one he unceremoniously fell for.
He sat there, wondering where on earth would she be. Suddenly, a paper plane zoomed past him and landed on the floor next to him. He looked up. She was there and that was all he needed.
A paper plane poked him sharply as the tapes stopped rolling. He jumped in shock, he’d been lost in thought. There she was, still the same, still beautiful in his eyes.
“Hey!” he exclaimed. She laughed. “Are we gonna have lunch or what?”
“Oh yeah,” he got up and put his arms around her. “I was just looking back.”
“On what?” she asked.
“You. Me. Us,” he smiled at her and they walked out to lunch together. Still together since forever.