This is a story about hope. But most of all, it’s a story about love.
He was on his knees – his hands shaking and sweating, his feet balancing and trying hard to maintain his position for the next fifteen seconds.
She was sitting down on the stairs in front of him, posing. Her hands pressed firmly on the surface, supporting her weight as she lifted her head and pushed her lips forward as far as she could.
He moved his hands slightly to the right, and to the left, finding the best angle through his $2,000-worth camera lens.
Finally, he pushed the little black button.
“I think my jaw is going to drop. How come it took you so long just to take one picture?” the girl said, while adjusting her sitting position and extending her arms to see the newly taken photo.
“Sorry, a photographer always wants to make everything looks perfect,” he muttered, still shaking due to the overweight professional Canon camera that he had been holding for too long.
“Well, let me be the judge on that.” She snatched the big black camera from his hands.
She looked at the results, and smiled – pleased that the picture was much better than her expectation.
“I’m happy that my boyfriend loves photography. Or am I the good model?” she joked, looking at him who came to sit down beside her.
“It’s the camera effect. What’s good there might not be as good on the computer,” he pointed to the camera screen and laughed. “I love your expression.”
“Me too. Do you think you can photoshop my super huge zit? It would ruin my image,” she grimaced, uneasy because she looked like a 15-year-old who just got a puberty outbreak.
“I’ll see what I can do.” He grabbed the camera from her hands, and took another shot at the river and high-rise buildings with colourful lights. It was almost sunset.
“There are so many couples here,” she whispered, glancing over the countless crowd. Couples, just like the two of them, sitting down on the stairs before the fascinating city view, dating.
“Too bad we are not exactly like them,” his lips curled, forming a smile. But his eyes cast sadness.
She lowered her sunglasses.
“Baby, don’t cry,” he pleaded, patting her head.
She chuckled, “Too late.” Her tears could no longer defy grafity.
“But if you cry I would feel hopeless. I don’t know what I can do,” he stroke her hair gently, while unsuccessfully trying to widen his eyes and push his lips forward.
That made her laugh. “You can try to console me.”
“But I’m still here. Why don’t you cry when I’m already gone?” He moved his hand towards her cheek and wiped away a tear.
“But then there’s no one to hug me.” She choked.
He put one arm on her shoulder, going to a world of their own. He patted her head gently, just like the way she loved it.
She prayed time would freeze.
“We haven’t gone to Universal Studio yet. I haven’t gotten my wish.” She removed her sunglasses, opened her sling small tosca bag, and took out some tissues.
“Next time you’re here, we’ll go there, OK? Promise.” He kissed her head, his hands playing with her medium-length black hair.
“You promised.” She bit her lips, unable to look at his face without tearing up.
Both were silent for a while, feeling the warm breeze that passed by. She closed her eyes, trying to reminisce every second they have left. She tried hard to remember his smell, his Calvin Klein perfume, and the feel of his fingers locked with hers.
She lifted her head, and looked at him. Medium-built body, grey glasses, blue t-shirt, white knee-length shorts, white Adidas shoes with red and blue stripes. Gelled black hair, black G-shock watch, black ring on his right thumb, black belt.
She began to bite her lips even harder.
“When’s your flight tomorrow?” he asked, hoping that he mistook the date of her departure.
“Ten,” she put her sunglasses on again, covering her almost swollen red eyes. It was already dark.
He wrapped his arm around her even tighter, and kissed her head once more.
“You’ll be there on my graduation day, right?” she asked, her hands playing with his.
“I’ll try to. December 14th?”
She sunk in deeper into his chest and closed her eyes, letting the tears flow.
Taking a deep breath, he kissed her forehead and whispered to her ears, “One day, we will say no more goodbyes.”
She tightened her grip on his hand, and nodded.
Photo by Tjokro Aminoto