Thursday, June 9, 2011

His name’s Sebastian (flash fiction)


HIS NAME’S SEBASTIAN

“If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.”

-George MacDonald
___

Addison’s sneakers, which were once immaculately white, were now stained with brown splotches of mud. She didn’t care, though. She was too irritated to care. The storm was practically a monster—its roaring crashes on the waiting shed’s roof were deafening, but these still appeared to be drowned by the soft tick-tocking of her watch. She gnashed her teeth angrily. 

Mikaela was late…for the nth time.  Late for an appointment she herself set. How marvelous. 

Addison was actually used to it by now; it has always been like this whenever they set important appointments or just when they would meet for a snack. What irked her to the core was that lately, she noticed it was getting worse—the once thirty-minute tardiness now extends to an hour or more. She would’ve understood if it was because of some emergency…but no, it was because of a boy. 

“Sebastian, huh,” she almost spat the boy’s name, kicking at the puddle of mucky water at her feet. “I never pegged Mikaela for the type who’ll worsen her already marred timekeeping record because of a maybe-boyfriend.” 

A jeep screeched to a halt near her and splashed grubby water on her calves; she clamped down the expletive that almost spewed out her mouth. The weather, like her mood, wasn’t getting any better. 

“Hey, Addy!” called a voice behind her, probably from someone getting off the jeep that had just stopped. She didn’t need to turn around to see who it was. “Sorry I’m late.” 

“As usual,” Addison deadpanned. 

Mikaela fake-pouted. “Come on. Patience is a virtue!” 

“So is punctuality.” 

“Whatever,” Mikaela waved her hands, as if wanting to ward off the conversation. “So…let’s go now? I’m going to introduce you to Sebastian.” 

At the mention of the name, Addison’s face curled into a grimace. Needless to say, she was incredulous—and furious. “Are you saying that we’re going to have lunch with him?” 

“Yeah,” Mikaela playfully replied. “Do we have any problems with that?” 

Addison opened her mouth to speak, but not a single word came out. All the possible “problems”, all the rants and insults she could come up with bounced around her head; she could chuck them out at Mikaela anytime. She really could, but she wouldn’t. 

“Then let’s go.” 

The smile Mikaela gave her was so smug that Addison was tempted to hit her just to wipe it out. She jammed her fists in her jacket’s pockets just to stop herself. Mikaela fished out her umbrella in her bag and tugged at Addison’s hand, leading her friend towards the alleyway near their school. 

“Where exactly are we going?” Addison snapped, snatching her hand from her friend’s grasp. 

“My dorm room.” 
“Your dorm room? Are you nuts? Sebastian is in your dorm room? I don’t know whatever’s wrong with your head right now, but—” 

“Just pipe down ‘til we get there,” Mikaela interrupted. “You’ll like him.” 

Shutting up was the last thing Addison wanted to do, but her thoughts were suddenly becoming messed up and shadowed that she couldn’t properly string them into logical sentences. So she kept silent, throwing baleful glares at the back of her friend’s head and muttering rants under her breath. 

They reached Mikaela’s dorm room in no time. Addison exchanged greetings with Dale, Mikaela’s roommate, who was hunched on the upper bunk arranging books. 

“Where’s Sebastian?” Mikaela asked. 

“Still there. Where you left him,” Dale replied, with a mischievous glint in her eyes. 

Mikaela asked Addison to sit on the mushroom-shaped stool near the door while she fetched Sebastian. Addison understood why they need to hide Sebastian; boys were not allowed to stay in girl’s rooms unless you have permission or signed passes from the hall master. 

She looked up when Mikaela returned—and gaped. 

“Addy, say hi to Sebastian,” Mikaela introduced. “Sebastian, this is Addison, the friend I’m talking about.” 

‘Love at first sight’ was not the right term, but it was the first that came to mind. Sebastian was nothing if not perfect—the caramel-colored skin, the slender neck that Mikaela was lovingly touching with her fingers, the open black suit that was half-swaddling his entire body… 

“Speechless?” Mikaela teased. 

“That,” Addison faltered, “is the most handsome violin I’d ever laid my eyes on.” 

Mikaela and Dale laughed in unison at Addison’s expression. 

“He’s yours,” Mikaela said, cradling the instrument like a baby as she handed it to her friend. “Beautiful, right? I chose him just for you.” 

Addison wanted to have her own violin ever since she could remember. She’d been vocal about it to her friends. Necessity over luxury was her motto when it comes to money though, so she never got around to giving something like violins even a little chunk of her financial pie graph. She couldn’t remember buying anything outside the category of “school expenses”, “transportation”, and “food”.  

She accepted the violin, a smile dawning on her lips. “All this time you made me believe Sebastian’s actually a boy.” 

“If I remember correctly, you’re the one who assumed it’s a human boy. I didn’t say he isn’t, but you never asked for details. And if I told you what he is, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise, would it?” 

“I didn’t ask for details because I didn’t want to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong,” she defended herself. “Hmm, so the reason you’re late…” 

“Is that I’m asking friends who know how to play it for a few details. Not how-to-play info though. Just the how-to-take-care-of-it ones. So…” Mikaela reached for the case. “Here. Jane told me that you have to rub this stone thing—I thought she called it resin or rosin, can’t remember—you have to rub it on the horsehair of this bow here so it would produce sound…” 
Outside, the weather—again very much like Addison’s mood—was getting calmer. The sun was even beginning to peek between the clouds. She had always thought Mikaela and herself were like night and day: so different from each other, yet so the same. On bad days, Mikaela makes her laugh as though it’s her job, just like how the sun lends some of its light to the moon so everything wouldn’t be so dark. On good days, they know they’re going to stand by each other, just like how the sun and moon take turns in guiding the earth below. There were some days of petty arguments—when they seem to be lost between the clouds—but they’ll always find their position no matter what happens.

Surfacing from her sea of thoughts, Addison found Mikaela still going on and on about the instructions. She liked the violin all right, but the thought that Mikaela bothered giving her this gift, that she bothered to ask around about how to take care of it—that was what she loved. She caught Mikaela in a grateful hug. 

Her friend complained that Sebastian was being crushed between them, but she returned the gesture anyway.
Sun and moon may be so different, but there’s a reason why there’s an eclipse.

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