[Yuki, I have passed the exam for the abroad studies and I have even attained a scholarship!]
It was the morning of January 4. When I woke up, I had received an email from MYX informing me that I had passed the examination with flying colors. Since it was a weekend, she was available to talk at the moment.
When I had attained the first position in the test, I remember running straight to my mom and telling her about it and being all excited.
And while I was telling her about this, I felt the same excitement rushing through me.
[Really? Congratulations Sam!]
I felt like she was also happy for me. I had no way of seeing her but I felt that she was honestly happy for me.
[Today I will be going to the institute for some paperwork. I will text you again in the evening!]
[Okay. And congratulations once again Sam!]
I changed into a sweater with black jeans and black boots. I put on a black trunk coat with a blanket muffler over.
The sun was almost non-existent. Even after putting on a good set of clothes, I still felt a bit cold. Rubbing my hands and exhaling thick white breath, I started walking.
I headed towards the bus stop. Ever since my mom’s death, I hadn’t gone out much. So, this was going to be my first ride in a while.
Damn, I didn’t know a bus ride after just about two weeks could be so nerve-wracking. Will I be able to handle overseas at this rate?
I shook my head to clear those thoughts. I had to do this. For her sake. For his sake. And for my sake as well.
I got on the bus. Fortunately enough for me, there weren’t many people inside and I chose a seat at the corner in the very back.
I plugged in my headphones so I wouldn’t need to hear the unnecessary banter of two couples sitting in front of me.
Ah, seriously, do it somewhere else, you morons!
I kept that to myself.
After a bus ride of about twenty minutes and walking about ten minutes, I finally arrived at my destination. In the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, I stood still to gaze at the tall building in front of me which had an MYX written in big bold metallic alphabets.
I was a little nervous and I could feel the sweat in my hands. But I had to go in. Preparing myself, I went in through the automatic doors.
The inside was spacious and spectacular. There was a reception desk on the left with three ladies clad in the office suit who were helping the students. There seemed to be quite a lot of students who had applied. I decided to sit on the huge couch on the right side. There was an electronic board displaying the students’ assigned numbers.
I nervously waited for my turn when someone suddenly called out my name.
I slowly looked up at the person who was standing before me.
“Lena. Why are you here?”
It was my classmate Lena. Her hair was a mixture of black and brown that stretched almost to her waist. She was wearing a dotted top with the sleeves ending on her elbows. A white long-sleeved cashmere sweater was peeking out from below her elbows. Combined with black trousers and knee-high boots, she looked stunning.
“Why? The same reason as you.”
She sat down in the seat next to me and showed me an envelope with a sign of MYX on it.
“Wait. You as well?!”
Upon my question, she just gave me a bright and cheerful smile. She had applied for abroad studies as well.
“I didn’t know about that. When did you apply?”
“Maybe about a month ago. And yes, I passed the test easily!”
Of course, she did. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be here today with that envelope in her hand.
The office I was in, right now is the MYX agency or institute or consultancy, whatever you want to call it. Basically, it helps students prepare for foreign studies and also has the provision of scholarships. It had always been my dream to study pure physics and become a professor at some university. And that was why I had applied at different universities in the US and I had also managed to get a scholarship.
Today I had to do some paperwork and they would also ask me some questions though I don’t know what about.
“It seems like my turn has come.”
Lena stood up from her seat directing towards the electronic display hanging above the reception desk.
“Yeah. Good luck.”
“You too. And yes after you finish let’s have some talk over some coffee, okay?”
She went towards the reception desk. She looked cheerful as always but I could tell that she was nervous.
After about ten minutes or so my turn came as well. I filled in a form (it was quite long and I was honestly annoyed) and then I was sent to a room on the third floor.
After knocking on the door politely, I was called in by a masculine voice.
I said entering the room. There was a big monitor attached to the wall and right in front of it was a single-person chair. The man motioned me to sit down and did some experiments with my hair and posture.
“Okay. Good. Are you ready?”
The man nodded in affirmation and slapped me hard on the shoulders to snap me out and release the tension that was building in me. He then gave me a confident smile and I nodded gratefully in response.
I sucked in a deep breath.
The monitor changed colors. On the other side appeared three people. One woman and two men.
“Hello! You are Mr. Sam, right!”
“Yes. I am.”
Then started the interview. I was asked some questions related to my background like where I was from, my age, my hobbies, and other things. They make us fill the form with all these questions and then again ask the same question? They already have all that information about me, right? So why bother asking?
Although I thought so, I replied to the best of my ability. They also asked me some questions related to the basics of classical and quantum physics. I answered them all to the best of my ability.
I didn’t know interviews could be this exhausting.
“We want to ask you one last question.”
“What made you want to study physics?”
The corner of my mouth curved up ever so slightly.
“It’s because it’s our dream.”
“Yes. It is our dream. This is just not my dream. This was my mom’s and my dad’s dream as well. So, I am dead set on becoming a physicist. For my mom’s sake, for my dad’s sake, and for my sake as well. And I am prepared to work hard to make that come true. After all, I don’t want to disappoint them.”
I didn’t know what the three of them on the other side thought as they didn’t change their expression but the man behind me was smiling.
“Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Sam. We look forward to your arrival here.”
“Thank you so much!”
I bowed to them and the monitor was finally turned off.
“Ah, finally over!” I exhaled the heaviest sigh of my life.
“Good work there, young man.”
He threw a bottle of water at me, that I needed the most at the moment.
“Thanks a lot.”
After I finished my interview, I found Lena waiting for me near the entrance.
We decided to go to the café right in front of the MYX.
Lena ordered a Marshmallow Latte whereas I ordered Irish coffee. Irish coffee is made with just four ingredients: hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream. As expected, the coffee was overwhelmingly sweet and rich.
“So, how did it go for you?”
From directly across me Lena asked while sipping her drink.
“Pretty well. Though I was nervous as heck.”
“Yupp. Me too. I almost felt like I was sweating. Even though it was so cold outside.”
She said earnestly. I was nervous myself but I don’t think I ever felt like I was sweating.
“I didn’t know that you had also applied for abroad studies.”
We were good friends. She had even helped me with the funeral rites after my mom’s death. We were on pretty good terms so I should have known that.
“That was because I wanted to give you a surprise!” She let out her tongue in a childish gesture. That expression suited her cute looks.
“So, which university were you accepted into?”
We talked about the universities we would be attending and the courses we would be undertaking. Turns out both of us had applied to the same university for the same course. I was pretty worried about how I would handle living overseas alone but if she were there it would be a great help.
Since we had nothing better to do, we loitered around the city area and window-shopped. Since she liked clothes and fashion trends, she dragged me to various shopping malls. It felt refreshing to wander aimlessly like this after a month or so.
I was usually the type to wander aimlessly here and there on an everyday basis with Ryan. Ever since my mom’s death, I hadn’t even stepped out of my house once. Lena must have been worried about me. So after seeing me outside, she dragged me to all these places thinking that it would help me recover in some way.
“Thank you, Lena.”
It was about 5 in the evening. We hung out for quite some time.
“It was fun today, wasn’t it?!”
“Yeah. It really was.”
“When is the day for our departure?”
“It’s the 12th of the next month. We will start the course starting from March but since they want us to get a bit accustomed to the environment they want us to come a month earlier.”
“I see. Just about a month and we will be leaving this place.”
Gazing intently at the park in front of us, she muttered. This park has a lot of memories associated with our childhood. Especially for me, Ryan and Lena.
Relieving those memories we walked leisurely through the park and we talked about our childhood until I dropped her off at her home. Her dad did invite me to have dinner with them but since I felt somewhat uncomfortable I politely declined their offer.
After returning home, the first thing I did was check my phone only to be shocked.
Normally, there should have been a text in my inbox from Yuki but there was none today.
“Did something happen again?”
Maybe I was overthinking. It could also be possible that she was tired from school activities and collapsed immediately after returning home. No, but today was an off day according to her. Well, she must have gone to sleep early today.
“Yeah. That is what must have happened.”
I convinced myself of that and shoot her a message comprising of today’s detail.
The next day. There was no response from her. I was getting anxious. I texted her day after day but there was no response from the other side.
“Maybe something did happen after all.”
Days passed by and now it has almost been two weeks. The last time she didn’t text me was for a week. But now it has been two weeks. What really happened? I messaged her day after day but no response. I was getting more and more anxious.
The day of my flight was approaching. But more than that, I was worried about why she is not replying. Maybe she is dead? I was so worried that at one point I even arrived at that conclusion. I shook my head vehemently to get rid of those thoughts.
Now, it has been a month.
I have even given up on texting her. No matter how many times I text her, there is no response from her.
But, why was I expecting a reply from her?
She was someone whom I happened to meet online. We lived countries apart and there was no way for the two of us to meet.
It was just an online friendship. Why was I thinking that I would have this relationship forever? That I would get to talk to her every day?
“I am such an idiot.”
Days passed by and the day for departure finally arrived as well.
Even now, I hadn’t got any sort of response from her.
I boarded the plane together with Lena.
I took out my phone and opened Swifter and read through the messages we had exchanged.
I tried to feel those emotions that I felt when I chatted with her. But now, there was nothing. There was nothing but this feeling of hollowness.
“Sir, we request you to please turn your phone off.”
A female staff said that to me and I reluctantly turned off my phone.
The plane took off and I could see the clouds. Lena was really excited to see that. I would have been as well, normally. But today I didn’t feel anything. It was all empty.
Why the hell was I so hung up on this?
I should have known that this online relationship wasn’t meant to go on forever. It was just a virtual relationship. I have never met her before but why do I feel like this. Why do I miss her?
A laughed self-mockingly.
“Sam? What’s wrong?”
From the seat next to mine, Lena called out to me.
“No, it’s nothing.”
I said and thought to myself.
Me? Miss her? Am I out of my mind?
“How can I miss someone I have never even met?”