There is a young girl about 8 years old, with a smile like a grassy field covered with rainbow flowers under the afternoon sun. She is unpretentious, telling things as there are. Her laughter echoes through the school yard when she’s at play. She is, however, just fair with school work. But her friends are varied and many, drawn by the life radiating through her.
This little girl is “in love”, the kind which people say “puppy love”. A boy, her age and a classmate, the brightest in class, captured her tiny heart. She often tells him she likes him. During the break, while her teacher is lost in the folds of the faculty, she writes his name on the black board, in bold strokes, and with words “I love you”. Everyone in class does not find this embarrassing or annoying, which is queer. Perhaps it’s the innocence of the whole thing or the funny streaks of pink appearing on the boy’s face. Whatever it is, no one cast a sly at this sheer display of affection.
Wearing a short, shiny dark hair, with all the silky strands combed to one side, the boy is a perfect picture of a catholic school boy. You see, he has a vow -he dreams of becoming a priest. One can immediately see the typical plot of our story. The boy is one of those rare souls who, from birth, feels so certain of his path; knows exactly why his here for - a prospect disconcerting to the many who grope, mess up, and wallow in uncertainties. The boy desires to be a priest. He does not say anything good or bad to the little girl.
Relentless and unperturbed, the girl calls him at home - telling him what she often writes on the school blackboard: she likes him and she loves him. This takes place every day, in the afternoon around 4:00, a few minutes right after school. This becomes a predictable routine: every day, around 4:00 p.m., a phone call, and words “I love you”. The young boy, true to his saintly core, remains composed. He does not say anything good or bad to the girl.
Time flies in clear strides, and along with it, the events that are forever stuck in the pages of its wings. The girl is now a young woman – full of life and jest. She’s unpretentious telling things as they are. Her laughter reveals the fine bents on her slim cheeks. Her friends are varied and many. She and the boy, who is now also a young man, go to the same college. She still maintained her vice but this time with a twist: she writes little notes to the young, soon-to-be priest. These notes simply contain a smiley, no words. She never missed a time doing this.
For all the myriad things in her life that changed, one thing remains: she calls him at home, around 4:00 in the afternoon, a few minutes after school, telling him, “I’m here”. The words may be different but not the routine. The young man, being prim and dignified, neither says anything good or bad to her.
One day, an afternoon, around 4:00, something’s changed. Something is missing. At first, he cannot figure what it is. What has changed? What is missing? Then he senses it. There is none of the usual and familiar sound - the phone does not ring. At this hour, at this place, there should be a phone call. There must be a phone call. This routine, which has become a part in the rhythm of the young man’s life, is suddenly not there. Of course he can care less about that. He is on his way to his dream – the priesthood. But he feels uneasy, distracted, and unable to do his usual chores.
At school, the following day, he looks at the young woman’s chair - it’s empty. He scans the room. She’s nowhere. The class went on. His mind adrift, streaming through the infinite possible reasons, looking for something sensible, something logical and at the same time craving the familiar. He flips open his leather notebook, took out the several notes with drawn figures of smiley. Finally, after class, he dares himself to ask someone.
“Oh, didn’t you know? She died yesterday around three.”
The classmate goes on telling the details of her absence - her ordeal, her repeated fainting, but he can’t hear her. His mind is reeling, his senses numb. He could only hear, faintly, as if an echo coming from a long tunnel, the word “cancer”. He stood there, forever fixed, gazing at something, but not really looking at anything.
Just like that, something is missing, a phone call does not arrive and the whole world is gone – like a picture of people with a face that is torn away, the whites on the edges of the tear shows the deliberateness of the tearing. What has gone? What is missing? The routine? The chance to say goodbye? The young man, soon to be priest, remains standing, unmoved, his feet is cemented on the ground. He is gazing at something, but not really looking at anything.