Story Title: Timeline
Quick Peek: “I’m just saying that you should open yourself up again. Don’t lurk to much on the past or you might miss something that’s occurring right in front of you.”
Disclaimer: Written for the 52-week writing challenge. This story is dedicated to Darren Judi once again. I’m sorry for it being late and I know I promised Sunday, but I only got the plot drive during the early morning of Monday. Next, the “insert number” years later breaks are in reference to the starting time period of the story. Finally, I’ll be gone for four days, expect zero updates, but I’ll be working on DDD-6.
Status: Un-beta’d. One-shot.
The two were at the kitchen of the house— Ailia’s house. Train had crashed her place for that day due to unknown circumstances. However, the apparent disheveled look he showed when he arrived at Ailia’s doorstep just screamed problems. The disordered look Train emancipated was too much of a surprise for Ailia to handle that Train forced a cough to get her attention.
Currently, Ailia was working on the layout for a poster. She sat across Train waiting for Train to spill out his problem. She knew there was something occupying his mind and rather than demand an explanation right away, she opted for the silent wait. She wasn’t a patient person, but at times, patience is the only way to get through someone.
“She won’t be studying in Academy City for college. She’s going to study at a college back at her hometown.” Train mumbled.
Ailia stopped tracing the design on the poster. Was she hearing right? If she were, then she knew how screwed Train was. To Train, Saori was his life— the essential part of him that made him continue breathing (along with his respiratory system and other scientific factors). She didn’t know how to reply, but she wanted to be certain whose choice it was for Saori to study back at Saori’s hometown.
“Sister’s request?” Ailia checked. Train simply nodded as he stared at the bottles of alcoholic drinks on the shelf. Ailia was sure he’d want to drink his worries away, but in no way was she going to make a 16-year old drink— not in a million years. “Go ahead and sulk then.”
Ailia returned to tracing the design on the paper. She wondered how long Train would last just thinking about what to do. She also wondered what was going through Train’s mind.
“Hey Ailia. May I ask you a question?”
“Um. Sure? You’re already crashing my kitchen anyway.” Ailia attempted to lighten up the mood.
“If she goes back to Pandora, is it wrong for me to hold on to the hope that one day we’ll get to see each other again and she might possibly still feel the same way?” Train voiced out in a tone louder than the previous.
Ailia wondered how she would address her answer. She had an answer for such a question— a staple answer. It was staple because she was a positive person when it came to love. However, she was also a realist, so her answer was rather complicated. It’s difficult to have a positive answer that could actually happen in real life.
“Honestly, it isn’t. However, what is wrong is simply holding on to that hope without giving some room for another. Saori and you may feel like this right now, but let’s not forget, you’re just in high school— a world filled with first loves. Don’t mistaken attachment to the feeling of first love to actual love. First loves are difficult to get through because they’re hard to forget. So go on and keep the feeling you have for her, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen the way you like. Love is infinite & you can make more of it.”
Train’s eyes were filled with confusion and Ailia knew her answer didn’t help that much. To be a true friend, she had to show him the bare facts— to be tactical about it. Love may simply be about feeling, but if that’s all a person trusts, then prepare for a brutal downfall.
“Thanks Ailia… for being here for me.” Train forced a smile, but Ailia knew that only one thing would make his smile return.
“Looks like this will be our last day to see each other.” Saori said.
Train nodded. He knew the day of their separation had arrived— there was no escaping it. However, he was anxious to know how the conversation they were in would proceed. Would it lead to contentment or to heartbreak? He was silently cursing the heavens to hurry up with its decision on how his fate would be. Would he get the short end of the stick?
“Being with you for the past 2 years was great. I really enjoyed spending time with you and all. I hope we’ll still keep contact after this separation though maybe as simply friends now.” Saori softly said the last sentence.
“J-just friends?” Train stuttered.
“I still love you; please don’t forget that, but I think breaking our relationship is better. What if the distance actually gets between us? I don’t want to get a break up over the phone and neither do you.” Saori explained.
“Love transcends distance.” Train quoted.
“Think of it in a realistic way, Train.” Saori hoped he’d get the point she was explaining. “Just don’t forget that I still love you.”
After saying that simple line, Saori walked away to meet up with her family. She had managed to slip away from her sister’s watchful eyes just to converse with Train. The graduation rites were over and it’s official, they were over in title, but maybe not in spirit.
Two years later…
“Are you still sulking until now?” Ailia said in a reprimanding tone.
The frustration in her voice rung through the room even though it was coming from mere speakers. She was video chatting with Train because she couldn’t be in Atria in person. She had no power to get a plane ticket at a snap of her fingers just to return home and snap Train back to shape.
“I’m fine.” Train bitterly said.
“Yeah right.” Her voice dripped with sarcasm. “I may be in Queria, but I entrusted your safety to Jin & Astianax’s care and they’ve been telling me that you’re still skipping class.”
“Hey! I’m just skipping English.” Train pointed out. “That’s how many units less than last year.”
“But it’s still cutting!” Ailia was infuriated and it was clearly seen on screen. She heavily sighed. “Look, I think I said the wrong thing to you before. I didn’t know it’ll end this way. Apparently, you have no control over yourself. Let me reiterate what I said to you before, ‘what is wrong is simply holding on to that hope without giving some room for another‘ and let me tell you, that’s exactly what you’re doing right now.”
“So are you saying I should go out and date someone new?” Train questioned, which Ailia quickly replied to with a ‘yes’.
“If it gets you out of your shit state, then so be it.”
“That’s cheating.” Train pointed out.
“What’s your proof then that you’re still together?” Silence engulfed their chat. Ambient noises were simply heard coming from both sides of the web camera. “Look…” Ailia’s voice trailed. “I’m just saying that you should open yourself up again. Don’t lurk to much on the past or you might miss something that’s occurring right in front of you.”
“Noted.” Train hesitantly replied.
Five years later…
“Wohoo! We’ve finally graduated.” Jin cheered.
“Real life actually begins now.” Astianax stated. Standing beside him was Lia, his current girlfriend.
“Now we just have to wait for Ailia to graduate.” Jin said cheerfully.
Train radiated a small smile at the energy Jin radiated. However, deep down, he was torn. The day that Ailia had told him to find someone new last year, Saori stopped contacting him. He stopped receiving message from Saori and he wondered what was up. Did Ailia’s forecast turn out right? Did Saori give up on him already?
“I come all this way just to see you sulk.” A familiar voice said, which shocked the group. They knew the voice all to well, but wasn’t the person supposed to be in Queria? “You all look like you saw a ghost.”
Lia was the first to snap back to reality. “Ailia!” Lia screamed before running towards Ailia. Ailia felt a bear hug from Lia, which was followed by a group hug from the three other guys.
“We missed you.” Jin & Astianx said in unison.
“I figured. Looks like you and Lia are doing well.” She coughed as she eyed the arms that linked each other. She didn’t notice the arms unlink because she quickly directed her attention towards Train.
“Hi Ai—” Train was cut off when Ailia gave him a quick slap to the left cheek.
“And you! You still look like shit.” Ailia bluntly said. “However, I am glad you actually graduated and as Magna Cum Laude as a matter of fact.”
“If you were just going to congratulate me, then why the slap?”
“So I could break whatever train of thought you’re having in your mind right now.” Ailia quickly replied. “Your eyes scream thinking about Saori, so I had to remove that thought for a moment. Also judging by that, you’re still not over her— am I right?”
Train simply nodded. “She hasn’t contacted me for 3 years already.”
“Face it dude. She has moved on.” Jin bluntly said.
“Thanks for the care man.” Train’s voice dripped with sarcasm.
“Sure thing!” Jin happily replied, which Ailia just facepalmed at.
Eight years later…
Train was currently at the grocery. It was his turn to buy the food needed to stock up the kitchen. He was sharing an apartment with Jin and shopping duties were alternated between them. Well, it was more of who was vacant for that day. Usually they switched, but that day, Jin was out on a date with his girlfriend, so Train was left to do the duty. Train had come to terms that he might not see Saori ever again, but there was this feeling in him that never left. It bugged him to no end.
As he was looking for a certain chocolate brand to make hot chocolate, a kid bumped into him.
“Sorry mister.” The kid quickly said before continuing to search for something.
In the kid’s arms was a Pikachu plushie, which made Train smile. He found it good to know that the kid appreciated the Pokemon series no matter how ‘old’ it has been. The kid’s eyes gleamed with delight when he found out what he was looking for. With some effort, the kid was able to tug out what looked like a pack of hot chocolate— the specific brand Train was also looking for.
He watched the kid run off to the cart trying to toss the bag inside. However, the girl, who was probably the boy’s mom, took the bag from the boy’s hands and placed it inside. She patted the boy’s head and was about to push the cart away.
“Mommy! I’m sorry, but I talked to a stranger a while ago. I bumped into him by accident.” The kid worriedly said.
“Did you say sorry?” She asked. The boy simply nodded. “If it’s just to be courteous, then it’s okay.”
The boy smiled, but it looked like he wasn’t done explaining. “Mommy, he smiled when he saw the Pikachu plushie I was holding. I don’t think he noticed that I saw his smile.”
The girl was taken aback by the statement and so was Train. The boy caught him smiling— an act he rarely did nowadays. Train continued to stare at the boy and the mom. Then it all clicked when his eyes met the girl’s. Finally. after 8 years….