I was shivering both because of the strong wind current passing through my face and the wet thin overall clothes I’m wearing over a bikini top and blue, lace shorts. At that moment, I can’t move. Wait. Was it really because of the weather and clothes? Maybe not. Cause he was there, right beside me — exactly a ruler away. Our bubbles are overlapping if only that personal space bubble is visible. We were alone at the terrace; we have an overlooking view of a vast farm opposite of the beach. If I were another person, I would probably think that we are couple. But we are not. Was that unfortunate? People probably would not care. Maybe I should, too. Cause I don’t even know how to answer that.
“Hey,” I glanced sideways, trying to make the situation comfortable as possible. He was wearing a black tank top, and swimming shorts.
“Hey, you all right?” He asked. I was never all right when I’m with you, I told myself.
“I am, just… Just breathing more oxygen. You know, the science of respiration. Ha ha,” I first looked far from the place then later gazed at my feet.
“Just tell me if you need help,” he replied. “I feel like if I leave you here, I’ll later saw a medic approaching this terrace. You know what happened to you before,” for some reason I appreciate the concerned look on his face.
“Seriously, Frank, I’m fine. That was different. You can leave me if you want. Just have fun, swim in the beach, whatever. Have fun, leave me. Go. I’m not in the mood to drip in the water.”
“I can’t,” he said. I thought that he was seeing through his peripheral vision that I’m still looking uncomfortable.
I gave a puzzled look.
The silence is deafening that I suddenly felt the need to fill the empty air. Something splurged inside me that pushed me to ask the question I’ve never wanted to ask. Or should I say, I have always wanted to ask? I breathed deeply. I moved a little away from him, far enough to clearly see his reaction but near enough to feel that kind of presence that solemnly happens.
“Ugh… Hey.” From right, I moved my hair to the left to make a volume. Accidentally, I thought that it looked like I’m flirting. “What if you love me…..I mean, of course you love me, but…let’s say you’re romantically-“ a sudden sense of shame stopped me. I saw him, looking confused at me.
“Shit., forget about it.” I shifted my gaze on the farm again.
“No, you were trying to say something,” instead of being surprised, I saw him laughing at me as if was telling a joke or a “corny” story.
“Okay, ha ha.” I did the fake laugh to cover myself. I decided to continue and thankfully the fear of knowing the answer subsided. But it was still there.
“Well. Okay, not me, but, just to make it a little more realistic, imagine your crush or whatever. What if her beliefs are different from yours? You know, religion. Are you going to convert for her?”
“Hmmm…” I was thinking he suddenly thought of Allah or someone not mentioned in my Catholic readings.
“You don’t really have to answer bec-“
“I don’t know.” He interrupted. I thought I was the one interrupting. “I don’t know because I haven’t fallen in love seriously to a Catholic person. I don’t really know. “
Wow Frank. You really don’t give me answer. Every time.
“Okay,” I smiled. As usual, it was fake. “You should know the answer because you might end up hurting her, you know.”
“Why?” he asked.
“What the hell, of course, what if you’ll suddenly leave her because you realize that two different faiths could never be together?!” I said with conviction. And with hand gestures, I guess.
“No, I mean, why did you ask that?” I thought that I went from pale to pink.
“It can’t be nothing, I know you.” I don’t know how the hell he said that. Because you don’t know me, I told myself.
“Fine. Let’s just say I like this guy but I don’t know if I will go for him.”
“Right. Because of religion. Do I know this person?”
I just shrugged and gave a you-could-have-known –him-if-you-are-sensitive-enough look.
“You’ll never know, I guess,” I said. At least it was fair that we both didn’t receive decent answers. Feeling that the conversation went wrong, I felt it was better to be alone than stay in the terrace with him.
“I told you, you can swim. See, I’m not shivering anymore. I’m okay.” That was real, because what I felt then was a combination of disappointment and anger.
“Okay,” I watched him turning back and finding the way to leave the terrace. Leaving as if he doesn’t need to leave any emotion. Leaving me confused, as usual. Leaving as if we had a quarrel.
I stopped watching him exit and tried to feel whatever I was feeling at the moment. I closed my eyes and tried to relax, trying to discern the things he said. Maybe there was an indirect message? Or maybe, there is really none. I was slowly feeling the other silence, the silence when one is left alone, when I suddenly heard his voice. So he hasn’t gone that far?
“I think…you’ll never know the answer unless you try falling in love for him. It’s the heart which will say, not what he will say about religion, whether you should be together or not.”
Once again, he didn’t give me the answer. But did he just tell me what I should do?
I hope that I could throw a final question, but when I turned around, he was already several feet away. I said it even though I was alone at the terrace; I said it even though no one would hear me. Not even him.
If that’s the case, can I try falling in love with you?