Chapter 25:

Her story


“Let me tell you a story, Stan.”, she spoke with a forlorn tone as if this was her last attempt in helping this despairing situation. And still, my ears impulsively twitched.

“I’m telling you this because I trust you. Just know that, Stan.”

I did not offer her a response and merely listened.

“Once upon a time, there lived a girl and her father, and there’s the mom of course. Ever since birth, the daughter was a curious girl, a bit obsessive even. Her mind was incessant in wondering and guessing every single thing around her, to the point that she would grow scared if there was no longer anything for her to pry on.”

Suddenly Kiri halted, and rather than hesitant, it felt like she struggled to form the next words.

“The father was a man of the vagabond, so he shared most of his free time with his loving daughter. He knew of his daughter’s problems, and so, he always came out of his way to give her something new to do.”

Another discontinuation, but this time longer.

“Oh… The fun they had. The father still remembered numerous of his mischievous days, with tricks and ploys to act out and show his daughter. And it worked, she enjoyed it. Her father was always successful in distracting the daughter from her ceaseless doubting, and the daughter always looked up to her dad for more.”

Abruptly, a hint of a grin emerged from the despondent expression on Kiri’s face, and I a thin light shined upon her.

“And, the daughter started to engrave those fun things that her father had taught her, and now she could come up with new ways by herself to enjoy her life. The father and daughter were happy.” In an instant, any trace of a content smile instantly faded from her. “Until the days of loitering around with his daughter had finally caught up to the father. Until the mother started to involve herself in the story.”

The dimly lit light flickered, and the sun outside had fully emerged into the vast emptiness. And in the midst of the endless void, her voice came through.

“The mother was the breadwinner of her family. Hence, she never got the time to spend much time with her daughter, so, she was not able to understand her very well. ‘Work’, she said to the father, ‘for our daughter’s future’, she said. It was no surprise that one woman’s wage was not enough to support the daughter’s future, for the daughter’s college tuition. But that was also the mother’s mistake, she didn’t know her daughter enough to realize that that wasn’t what the daughter needed. The daughter just wanted to be happy with her father, to do what she dreams of, and kept on living her life, and her father agreed. Which of course, led to many falling out, and it continued on for years, and years, and years, until it ended.”


The immediate noise she made recoiled me, and I looked at her with a sense of bewilderment. Nonetheless, she did not return her gaze.

“The mother obviously won custody, being a working woman, and all while the father was just a hippy himbo. But the father wasn’t salty, he knew that the mother was more prominent in the daughter’s future, so he left to somewhere far away. The father offered his contacts to his daughter, but she refused it at first, the daughter was still mad and hadn’t accepted the separation. A bit dejected and melancholic, the father told the daughter to not worry about him. He said that his journey has just begun, and now he was going to achieve his dreams in a place far from here, in his place of origin. But it backfired, and the girl grew even more loathing toward him. To her, he was a coward, and he had abandoned her, in other words, he betrayed her.”

Suddenly, our eyes met. An otherworldly feeling forced me to look away, and I couldn’t tell what she looked like, or guess what she was thinking. By the time I had shifted my gaze back toward her, Kiri had already turned her face down and was ready to continue.

“Every day after their separation, the daughter felt meaningless. Day after day, and then night after night, she longed for someone. So, she decided to start spicing things up to distract her from that senseless feeling. But things didn’t turn out so well, everyone around her began to reject her, despise her. Even a boy whom she held dear dissociated with her, but there was no blame in him. After all, she was a bad influence, and he would only get hurt if he had continued knowing the daughter.”

It was painful, to say the least. Still, Kiri continued.

“However, the daughter never gave up, and she kept on living, albeit in hell. Until a year later, when she was already at the end of her first high school year, her father was again in her sight, although this time he was on a screen. Numerous photos of him hanging around in a variety of places appeared before her, hotels, airports, car parks, and even in nature, all with a wide grin on his face. It was then that something lit inside the daughter, and for the first time in a year she contacted him.”, Kiri’s tone shifted toward a softer side, and a glint of a smile shined in a moment. “The two had a comforting talk, each having myriads of questions for the other. The daughter was honest about her troubles, and it no doubt affected the father, so there was nothing he could do but offer a helping hand. And it was then that the daughter had an idea. An idea to escape from her hellish life.”

I had been patient the whole story, however, I could no longer feign ignorance about the chaotic spiral that Kiri’s been through. Consequently, and just as how I’ve always bolded myself, I finally spoke.

“So, your father knows of your runaway? And he was even the one who encouraged it?”

An anticipated frown emerged from her visage.

“Yes, he was the only one who knew me. And do you think I could just book a flight on my own, while being on a teenage runaway list?”, said Kiri.

A multitude of feelings gnawed at me, yet I did not try to subside them. This whole situation with Kiri running away to live with her dad, it’s fundamentally wrong no matter how you look at it.

I could feel my teeth slowly being revealed, and a look of chagrin and forlorn on my face before I started to speak.

“Kiri, I know you have a condition, and you need help and company. But I can swear to you that flying half a planet to live with your unemployed dad is not a good idea. As much as it pains me to say this, your mother is right, it’s not wise to leave everything behind.”

Following my response, she did not look back at me, and merely turned her head lower. Her eyes were now faded from my view, and I could not tell what she was feeling.

Suddenly, her voice entered the air once more, this time holding a force that pierced through my ear drums.

“So, what you’re saying is you don’t trust me.”

The sharpness of her tone punctured my heart, and I struggled to form words. My mind involuntarily wandered off, deeming its incapability to hold on to the stress. An eerie nausea entered my consciousness, and along with a sense of dizziness, I tried to shut my brain off.

But it did not work. There was nothing I could do aside from closing my eyes and hoping that I would eventually calm down.

My breaths felt shallow, and I gasped for air. Nonetheless, the air did not come, but only an abundance of torturous emotions and questions.

What should I say?

What can I say?

Do I really not trust Kiri? But if that’s the case then neither of us even have faith in each other. What the fuck even was our relationship in the first place?

I can’t

I thought that.

It doesn’t matter what you think, focus on what’s your goal here.

A familiar soothing and feminine voice accompanied me, and I felt my muscle tensing down a tad bit. Despairingly, I lunged myself toward the new meaning that I could focus my thoughts on.

My goal…

My goal is to do what’s best for Kiri.

Then, tell her the truth.

An excruciating sensation worked around me as if obstructing my urge to speak. But it wasn’t enough, for I had held my volition, and all I cared about was the girl I loved in front of me.

But before I opened my eyes again, the sudden sound of waves encompassed my ears, and the smell of fresh foliage behind me entered my nostrils. Finally, I disclosed my vision to ease my curiosity, only to find that the flat we were in had turned into a giant lake by a summer lodge.

The azure filled half of everything, leaving the green and hazel to wrestle with each other for the latter part. Strings of gold pierced the blue water to form myriads of white sparks, assaulting any vision laid upon them. And in the center of it all stood a girl in an oceanic summer dress.

Her visage was not in view, and yet a sense of sadness could be recognized radiating around her demeanor. Just now did I notice the ground we were standing on, a rocky cliff. 

The girl situated herself a step away from just falling down, while I just stood not even two meters somewhat beside and somewhat behind her. Ambiguously, the girl merely looked down at the ceaseless waves, turning her back to me.

“So, do you trust me or not?”, she asked, half dejectedly and half despairingly.

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