He swung his arm and threw the stone into the lake. He heard a quiet splash from a far. He thought he could see all those tiny waves chasing each other, disturbing the peaceful surface.
One thirty nine.
He murmured as he picked up another one from the ground. It was rough, and dirty, but it smelled like tears of this wet night. He closed his eyes.
They were flying. The world seemed to become smaller. They could see everything. They could see home.
But no. He was flying. Or was he falling. The world was further and further away, until it became a barely-seen dot in the dark universe. He could see everything, but nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Home.
Somebody was speaking. But he couldn’t recognize the content, or the voice.
“It is true… like everybody else… selfish… ”
“No, no, no,” he thought to himself. “Not this time.”
“I was enchanted to meet you…” the voice sang.
He swung his arm and sent the stone into the air, created a perfect curve before landing into the cold water.
“Hey, what are you doing?” a voice echoed from the woods behind him. Somebody was coming. No, not somebody. She was coming. Was she?
“I don’t know. Just killing time.”
“It’s gonna get cold really soon, you know.”
“I like the cold. That’s one of the reason I came here in the first place.” He sat down, and turned around. “You want to join me?”
“Yeah, sure.” She sat down next to him, and picked up a stone and played with it in her palms.
“What brings you here? You’re supposed to learn for your final, aren’t you?”
“Shhh…., I really don’t want to talk about it right now. Running in the natural land at night is my hobby, if you don’t know. It’s a way, well, to forget about everything else. A way to keep my mind relax.”
Thunder echoed from afar. Drums beat fast. Dust stirred beneath their feet.
He could hear his breath and heartbeat as he stood in lines with men marching into the storm. He could see drops of sweat trickle down their faces, fall down and got swallowed into the sand. He could feel the tension beating in their hearts, running through their veins, and breathing through their breath.
Their pace quickened. A march hurried into a charge… a charge towards the night.
“So what really brought you here. There should be something bothered you so much that you seek tranquility, right?”
“I just couldn’t continue to stay in the practice room anymore. I’ve run out of inspirations. I just can’t think of anything.”
“Oh, I see. I’m sorry about that, but I think your inspiration might be back soonner than u think.” He grabbed another stone and gave to her. “A change of air might truly help.”
She swung her arm hard and heard a splash of water from a far, crystallized into beads of sounds, ran across the surface, and vibrated the grass by the water.
“Enough about me. How about you? Why you are here?”
“Close your eyes.”
“You haven’t answered my questions.”
“Just close your eyes. Your questions, you’ll know the answer sooner or later.”
“Ok. Will you tell me now?”
“Be patient, my friend. Now let’s set the scene. What do you see?”
“Black, I guess.”
“Good. Now, let’s picture your surrounding. The moon. The water. The grass. The wind. The night… whatever fit your memory, or even your imagination.”
“Oh gosh, that’s a lot. I’m not good at imagining stuffs. I’ll probably try it slow first.”
“Yeah, just take your time. Slowly, get the image, but also build your feelings, as if it is right by your side.”
“It’s kind of hard to focus you know. I feel like the wind is trying to sneak under my coat right now.”
“Then make it your imagination. You don’t have to make up everything.”
“Alright. I vaguely get it now. I can see the moon glowing in the lake. Like a little precious gem fallen into the darkness.”
“Sweet. Now, can you hear the sound when that jewel fell into the thick liquid, when it sliced the surface in two, then wrapped itself with that dark substance?”
“What note is that?”
“what note is it? A? B? C?”
“I think it’s an E. A high E I think.”
“Nice. Now open your mind to your surrounding. Can you tell the notes?”
“E E E E G…”
Swords and spears were thrusting and slashing everywhere. He could see flashes of the blades wherever he turned his head to. And he saw her riding a horse across the battlefield like a ghost, or an illusion, and for just in a blink of an eye, she was gone. He thought he had seen an angel. Or even more gracious and noble than an angel. He could see the glimmer golden sword in her hand, the sword born as a blessing of the lake goddess.
He looked around, and again, follow the army forward into the night. He could hear the music. He could hear the hooves. But he couldn’t see.
Is it order? Or is it chaos?
“Touch my hand.”
He reached for her hand. It was stiff, and cold in this autumn night. “Can you feel it?”
“Well, your hand was warm.”
“Oh yeah. But not that. Can you hear the sound? Can you tell?”
She could feel his heartbeat beneath his skin. Softly, gently, but hurried as the chords coming from a piano, playing as the background for the main lines. She looked at him and smiled. She knew what he’d been trying to do. For now, she wasn’t lost anymore.
“I think I can.”
“Sweet. You might want to remember those and try again in your practice room later.”
“Oh, that. Thanks. But still, you haven’t answered my question.”
“What question?” He shrugged his shoulders.
“Don’t play the fool with me. You know what I’m talking about. What brought you here? You haven’t answered me.” She tried to look at him seriously, partly because she was really curious about this guy’s mind.
“Oh, that,” he hesitated for a while, as if he wasn’t sure what the answer was. Yet, he smiled at her, and threw another marble into the water. “I was looking for something.”
She looked at him with curiosity and wondered what he might looking for at this quiet and dark place.
“Have you found it yet?”
Now he could see the knight, the white knight in her glamorous armor and her white horse. She’s rushing towards him, looking him straight to the eyes. He braced himself and looked at her. She’s getting closer, and closer, and closer… the sword in her hand swung hard…
She was too beautiful.
Like a jewel…
He opened his eyes.
*If anybody’s curious, that was the first 5 notes of the song “Sad Romance”.
Author: Dat Le