Authors: Jane Larry
As expected, the
first day of Spring Break was quiet in the
household. It was already eight in the morning and yet everyone was still
asleep, even the dog. Lisa got up and made her way down to the kitchen to
prepare breakfast for the troops. And as per tradition, she put on Foo Fighters
Fly” on blast to get everyone out of bed.
“Run and tell all
of the angels. This could take all night. Think I need the devil to help me get
things right…” Lisa sang as she took out the pans and mix out of cupboards. She
then continued on for about 40 seconds until a stream of loud footsteps came
downstairs and upset groans demanded her to stop. The last creature that made
his way down the steps was the dog. And after being attended to, Lisa’s Aunt
Jerri turned her attention to preparing human food and helped out by getting
the eggs and bacon.
waking up late,” she said.
“Oh, no worries.
It’s Spring Break. It’s normal.”
“Well, aren’t you
supposed to be sleeping until noon?”
“Yeah, but I’ve got
something I want to get an early start on. So how was the recital?” Lisa asked
as she looked on to her half asleep cousins sitting by the table.
! Josie here had a solo. And Jasmine got to play
the lead in a drama presentation. I had recorded the whole thing for you and
“Thanks. I’ll watch
it later. Speaking of which, I think he’s had a rough night. Was he up when you
“Up and upset. But
that’s just how it is. Last I checked on him was around one in the morning and
he was still awake. Fortunately, that guy could sleep through anything when
After the short
breakfast, Lisa decided to pack up her stuff and go to the park to reflect on
her homework. She decided to bring the dog along so he could have some exercise
as well since he had been cooped up inside the house for a week.
The park was always
beautiful this time of the year as it bloomed back into life. The trees were
especially magical with their blossoms spurting out. But what’s impressive
about all of this was that, just a few days ago, they were already withered and
seemingly dead. Now, they were alive and again, bursting with potential.
It was never a
secret to the family that Lisa’s mom loved the park. In fact, it was one of the
reasons why they moved into the neighborhood. According to her, the park felt
unpretentious and welcoming. And she said she had this feeling that as long as
it was around and in reach, it would give her family a daily reminder of hope.
Lisa recalled how she often went to the park with her mom when she was younger.
And how they would either play around or lounge under the shade of an oak tree
when they were feeling tired. She thought about how they’d usually set up a
blanket on this hill with a view of the pond and sometimes bring along a picnic
basket of comfort foods. And how when she were feeling lazy, her mom would let
her nap on her lap and just allow the afternoon pass as if they didn’t have
anything else better to do.
On her way there,
Lisa remembered how it took about a year before she was able to step foot again
in that park after her parent’s death. She was still dealing with the memories
she had acquired on the drive back home from the hospital when she saw the park
and remembered what it meant to her mother. Yes, it was a sad time. But looking
back through the rear view mirror she saw the lone oak tree on the hill,
standing in its full glory, crowned by the sun. And immediately understood what
she needed to take away from the experience.
On the very same
spot she used to spend time with her mother, Lisa spread out a small cover and
put down her things, which included a netbook, a copy of
In The Time Of
and the compilation she had taken
from the restaurant. She then pierced the ground with a steel hook which she
utilized as a tying post for the dog. And because it was still a bit cold from
the passing winter, she decided to put on a light sweater before she sat down.
As she took the
atmosphere in, she noticed that the air had definitely changed. There was no
doubt that spring had arrived. And in view of the slowly thawing lake, Lisa
gave a sigh of relief for what she forecasted would be a beautiful day.
about it, Lisa decided to write a love story that was set in the park, in memory
of her parents. Although they didn’t exactly meet and fall in love there, she
decided she would weave parts of their life into the characters she was going
to create and make the park their romantic setting. Not only did it simplify
the plot creation process for her, it also made it more personal. So she went
to work right away. And as she slowly picked up momentum, a Frisbee flew by and
excited. The next thing she knew, the dog
was already chasing after it at lightning speed. The ruffled Lisa tried running
after him but the puny mutt was just too fast for her unprepared feet.
Fortunately, someone was able to get a hold of his leash and calm him down
before he got lost. As the stranger made his way up to Lisa, who was panting
miserably, she began to feel a sense of alarm creep in.
“Cute dog,” the guy
“Thanks John,” Lisa
replied as she hurriedly retrieved her pet.
“Oh, so you know
me. I didn’t think you did.”
you. It’s hard to miss.”
“I guess. So why
are you here? Aren’t you going on a Spring Break trip?”
“I should ask you
the same question,” she countered with a slightly incensed tone, while backing
away. “Aren’t you supposed to be driving to the lake with your friends?”
John Mitchell was surprisingly
still in town, with time to spare, as he was in jogging clothes.
“Nah, I had to
bail. I had more pressing matters to attend to…” he said, as he followed Lisa
up the hill. “Wait, how did you know?”
Aware that she had
unwittingly trapped herself in a dangerous discussion, Lisa deflected by
exclaiming, “How can anyone NOT know?!”
John laughed. “I
guess you’re right. And it’s strange how that works.”
Once they got to
Lisa’s spot, John noticed that she was already working on Mr.
writing assignment. Conscious about feeling rude,
Lisa offered the guy a cold beverage, again thanking him for taking care of the
situation. John accepted but didn’t spare the opportunity to comment on her
itinerary, which to him seemed wasteful.
“So let me get this
straight – You’re missing out on holiday festivities because of school?”
“Well, I’m not
expecting you to understand.”
“No I don’t
understand. See, even Bill Gates got bored with school and dropped out.”
“Well, I just
didn’t think it would help my situation if I procrastinated.”
“Suit yourself. But
if you ever change your mind, we could hang out.”
nerve! This is so inappropriate.
Taking cue from the
lack of rebuttal, John slowly withdrew from the conversation and said, “Thanks for
the water. I’ll go ahead.”
That was probably
the longest conversation Lisa had with John or with anyone from his social
circle. He was not the type of person she appreciated talking to. And it didn’t
seem as though he was fond of reaching out to people outside of his tribe
either. But what annoyed Lisa most about John was that he never seemed to be
one thing or another. One minute he was nice and the next he was an ass. And
then, there was the fact that he was good and bad in his academic performance.
If a guy was put together, he wouldn’t exhibit such irregularities in his
studies. But I guess, that could be explained by the distraction his
extracurricular activities put out. In any case, it still didn’t impress Lisa
that John would hit on her after their first real encounter. And it didn’t help
that his actions derailed her from the appropriate frame of thought.
Thirty minutes in
and she still couldn’t come up with a decent page. And even though she had
tried to evoke inspiration by reading the Marquez book, nothing came through.
Nearing the hour mark, she finally thought about applying the techniques that
were found in the compilation. She thought they might just get her creative
juices flowing again. But when she opened it, she found an enveloped stuck on
the fly page with an “Irene” inscription. Feeling curious, bored and desperate,
she decided to open it up and see what surprises it had in store. In it she
found several origami pieces that unfolded to a series of letters penned by
someone named ‘Louie’. The first one she took was that of a swan and it
It may seem strange
to hear of it, but from the moment I saw you, I fell in love. You are beautiful
beyond belief. And you have the most soothing voice. When you smile, your eyes
dance in a sea of coral blue. And I like how you make your nose crinkle every
time you feel awkward or really happy. I am grateful that you decided to join
me in class because then I knew I could be with you for 45 minutes every day.
Please don’t be alarmed about what I am saying. I have the purest intentions.
And until the time I develop the courage to profess my feelings, I will only
write to you to remind you that you are special. And that whatever you are
feeling, whatever you are going through, and no matter how hard it seems to get
sometimes, you are loved. I am here for you.
Moved by what she
saw, Lisa continued opening the rest of the origami folds.
You were glowing
today. I liked the purple sundress you were wearing. And I appreciate that you
tied your hair back so that I could see the lines of your face. I took a
picture of you for art class so I could draw you as a subject. But fearing my
secret admiration would get disclosed, I decided to focus on this vase of
stargazers instead. I hope you don’t mind me keeping that picture so I could
still be with you even if you’re not around. I’m sure that new guy is making
you happy. But if I had the chance, I could make you even happier. Well, at least
I’d try. Those guys you date sometimes don’t seem like they know your worth. I
hope he’s different, for our sake. I wouldn’t know what to do if I saw you cry
again. I can’t afford to blow my cover. Please take care.
I’m glad you’re
wearing the sweater I gave you. I never expected that you’d welcome my
affection so openly given the circumstances. I hope you had a happy birthday.
If I could, I would’ve have swept you away with a vacation to the Bahamas. I
saw you flipping through a travel book in the library once and noticed your
interest in it. Maybe, someday, when I’ve gathered up the courage to speak to
you in person, I’d be able to offer you more than just a sweater. Believe me,
if I could, I would present you the stars. But right now, all I have to give is
I’m sorry your
boyfriend cheated on you. You deserve better. Don’t worry though because I’m
nearly ready. Just be a little more patient. Don’t cry on his account. You’re
far too precious to worry about such trivial matters. I hope the package I sent
you cheered you up. How I wish I could talk to you and hold you in my arms
right now. I’ll save you soon. Wait for me. I love you.
overwhelmed with emotion. It was as if she was struck by lightning. Her head
began turning numb and her skin started to develop goose bumps. Catching up to
her racing mind, she finally found the answer to what she was looking for. And
before the mood could escape her, she began writing about how she imagined
Louie and Irene’s lives were. It took about three hours before she finally lost
her steam. But while fixing up to go to lunch, she was already playing with a
number of ideas on how to develop the plot she’s established.
Three days in, Lisa
still found herself held back by a stumbling block that could not be broken
down using any stimulant. She had already read through the letters and written
up to the climax of the story. But now she can’t make up her mind on how it
should unfold and what the ending should be. Having depended most of the plot
on the contents of the letter, she felt it would unhinge the beginning from the
end if she took the liberty of making it her own. With that conclusion, she
decided to find out who this “Louie” character was and learn more about what
happened to him and Irene.
Her first instinct
was to rummage through the yearbook and determine which among her batch mates
was named Louie. Having had a very limited social circle, she couldn’t trust
that she’d come up with anyone at will. Besides, she couldn’t call Jodie,
Melissa or Hanna to help because they were all busy with their Spring Break
excursions. It was a tough few minutes and confusing at best. But Lisa was able
to round up a clue on which her mystery writer was. Much to her surprise, it
was John Mitchell.