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25 January, 2012


By Rekha Trimaryoan

Three days before Valentine day, Cupid was asked by his father to match people on earth.
“There were wars on earth. And I am sick of them. Now I command you to go down to earth and create love there. Your deadline is only three days  from now,” said Cupid’s father.
“Yes, father, I’ll work upon your command.”
Cupid flew down to earth right away and made an observation. When he saw a girl came out of Read-Me bookstore, he prepared his bow and  arrow to make a shoot.

Welcomed by dark clouds when stepped out of Read-Me book store, Rhea walked fast for a shelter as she predicted that hard rain would surely fell soon.  Her prediction was right as the drizzle marched slowly soon after she walked along the sidewalk.  She noticed that everybody who walked in the same or different direction from her did the same thing as she did. Once her mother told her that it is the drizzle, instead of hard rain, which causes a severe headache. She had had tons of which-could-burn-her-brain-assignments during the week, so she didn’t have a cruel intention by letting the drizzle ruin her head. During an unpredictable weather on December, she made a big mistake that afternoon: neither bring umbrella or at least, a hat.
Actually, she would stop a taxi to bring her directly home for lying on her soft sofa, having a cup of coffee while enjoying the books she just purchased. There was nothing excitingly fun than doing those on a rainy day, was it? Unfortunately, taxies in town were seemed all occupied as she noticed many of the yellow cars, with their different registration number of course, busy wandering the town. Realizing that, she knew that going home by a taxi was impossible. Besides taking a taxi, she actually could go home by a city bus. But imagining of having such a troublesome trip-2 times moving to a different line of city bus plus 10 minutes walking home-had her delete the option soon from her mind. She then made up her mind to find a shelter since it was the only best, last option while waiting for the drizzle to stop.
After about 10 minutes walking, she decided to bring herself into a gazebo in the middle of the city park. She took a deep-relieving breath when finally she stood in the front part of the gazebo. She grinned while moving her right shoulder up to down, back to front, to release the tiredness after holding her handbag for covering her head from the drizzle. But her relieving breath turned into a curse a second after when she opened the gazebo’s door and welcomed by such a terrible smell. It seemed that the gazebo had not been used for such a long time. The dirt, the packages of crisps and beverages were almost in every corner of it.  The dustbin provided there was also almost full with rubbish. If she had another better choice, she would positively not send herself into the gazebo. But she had not another choice. She reluctantly sent herself in.
 She took out two pieces of tissue-papers from her handbag for cleaning a wooden bench provided in the gazebo. As she realized that the two pieces of tissue paper couldn’t clean the dirt, she then used all the tissue paper she had and sent them into a-almost-full-of-rubbish- dustbin. Then she tried to comfort herself on the bench - ‘though she barely couldn’t because of the dirt - reading one of the books she just purchased. Outside, as her prediction, the drizzle had brutally changed its tune into a hard rain.
She read a novel by Nicholas Sparks, Nights in Rodanthe. A novel narrated two hopeless, lonely persons, Paul and Adrienne, because of an unhappy marriage. Both are left by their spouse for another person. In The Inn in Rodanthe, they both fortunately met by faith. Sometimes, indeed, things we did, places we visited, persons we met, unexpectedly led us to a new circle of life experience. An experience that we thought we couldn’t possibly have had. A week in Rodanthe wrapped Paul and Sara in such warmth of intimacy, filled both hearths with undeniable passion, indescribable love, and new hope. Many times during reading, Rhea presented a simple smile after reading meaningful sentences available in that novel.
After finishing a half part of the story, Rhea stopped reading for a while. She took a deep breath, imagining herself in Adrienne’s position. Betrayed by her husband for another younger woman, became a single parent for her three teenage children, saved sum of money for her father’s treatment in an old folks’ home, were all Adrienne’s burden every woman would not like to experience.
Rhea was about started to read the second half part of the story when a well-build figure entered the gazebo. His height was about 185 cm. So tall he was he had to bow to enter the gazebo. Noticing the dirt covered the bench, he placed a newspaper he brought on the bench before he sat on it. After taking a book from his small-black-leather-bag, he sat in front of Rhea. While the guy doing those, there was a kind of force that commanded Rhea’s eyes to look nowhere but to him. He glanced at Rhea a second before he opened the book and started to read. The glance surprised her as she didn’t think that he would do it. Realizing that she had been caught in the act, she felt both shy and tremble at the same time. She also felt that as if there was heat burned her face and melted her flesh. The only-a-second-glanced totally numbed her time and ruined her heart pulse. She felt there was something inside his look she couldn’t tell what it was.
Trying hard to tame the tremble, she tried to focus reading the story as she previously did. But so deep the image of the guy’s glance written on her mind, she just couldn’t again focus on the story she was reading. She continued reading, ‘though her concentration had been gone into two separate directions. First, to her book. And second, to image of the guy’s glance. During her pretending-reading-time, she secretly tried to look at the guy, hoped he would sent her another glance. But she only could read the title of the book he was reading as he put the book right in front of his face. The Alchemist, she said to herself.  
Actually, the tremble was not only Rhea’s as at the same time, the guy felt the same thing too. When he made the glance, capturing the attractive face in front of him, his heart raced. Once he had a feeling he just felt when he glanced at Rhea when he, two years ago traded look with Koming, a Balinese girl. He sent a simple hello at that time, she responded, and they then entangled in love for almost four years before they finally broke up because of their different faith. After the breaking-up, so down he was in disappointment, he didn’t want to get involve with romance for a quite so long time. There were some women, ‘though who approached him but he felt that they were not just in to him. But when he glanced at Rhea, he felt something inside him which had already been tightly slept suddenly awoke.
He put his book on his lap, tried another trick to glance at her once more, hoped she would glanced him back. But Rhea was so absorbed by the novel; she didn’t realize his second glance. He didn’t know that Rhea just pretended to be absorbed by the book. In fact, she didn’t at all. Her eyes were looking down to her book, but her mind went to someone sat only three steps from her.  At that moment nature played its game in such a funny way  as Rhea thought he was focused on reading he didn’t know that she secretly sent her eyes to look at him. But she was wrong. His eyes were looking down to her book, but his mind went to someone sat only three steps from him. 
Meanwhile, the hard rain started to slow down its pace. Several minutes later, it completely stopped.  Rhea decided to go home before another hard rain attacked. She closed her book and inserted into her handbag. The guy knew that Rhea wanted to leave. Actually he wanted to hold her intention by offering a simple hello and followed by a light conversation. But without apparent reason, he was suddenly mute.

As soon as she reached home, she hurriedly went to her brother’s room. Her brother was in the bathroom when she came in and she couldn’t wait to find it with his help. She decided to searched it by herself. For several minutes, she stood in front of her borther’s book shelf, trying to find a book she wanted. After minutes searching, she couldn’t find the book.
“Where is The Alchemist?,” she asked, almost screamed to her brother.
“What?,” her brother screamed back.
“Where is The Alchemist?”,” she repeated the question. A bit louder this time.
“Find it in my bookshelf.”
“I have but I didn’t find it.”
There was a second silence in the air. “Try my bag.” Her brother screamed for a clue from the bathroom.
Rhea looked at one of the corners in her brother’s room where several bags were put one after another.
“Which bag?”
“I don’t know. Open it one by one.”
She cursed, realizing that her brother was a very disorganize man. And the curse went longer as she opened every bag her brother had. When she opened a medium-cotton-bag with Jack Daniels sign on it, she finally smiled.
“Huh……got you.”
“Found it?,” her brother ask as he was out from the bathroom.
“I think you should hire someone to re-arrange your now-pathetic-books-arrangement.”
“Someone who’ll get this towel is definitely the one whom I’ll hire to re-arrange my now-pathetic-books-arrangement,” he threw his towel to Rhea.
Trying to win the game as she barely won the game in the teasing battle with her brother, she threw the towel back to him. “Do you want to hire me?”
“Yup. Will you?”
“Emmm……tempting, but no, thank you,” she said while walking out of his room.
Meanwhile, in another part of the city, at the same time as Rhea was busy searching one of her brother’s book she wanted to read, a guy was reading a novel he purchased before he went home.
          When the first time he opened the novel he bought, he felt as if he was one of the most silly person on earth. He was a big fan of science and thriller books. But he bought a romantic novel written by Nicholas Spark, Nights in Rodanthe. The image of the girl he just met suddenly visited his mind when he saw that novel in one of the shelves in Read-Me bookstore on his way back to home.
His sister teased him when she knew he was reading that novel.
“A novel? What’s on earth that make you read it? It’s not so you.”
He grinned hearing that. He chose not to respond the teasing as he knew that the teasing would definitely went crazier than before.

Two days before Valentine day, a messenger Cupid’s father sent to accompany him, asked him, “When will you launch your arrow? Why didn’t you do it when they were in the gazebo?”
Cupid answered, “Everything has its glory. I am waiting for the time. The perfect time.”

February, 14th

The “Devoted to U” café which was located in the down town was not as crowded as it usually was when Rhea entered. She just came from her working place as a freelance translator in a nearby office. Bobi, her old friend, worked as a waiter in that café. She decided to drop by as it had been a while she didn’t meet him.
“Hei you, book worm,” Bobi greeted her.
Rhea grinned. “Hei you back, fat bag,” Rhea replied Bobi’s hello innocently. They’ve been friends for years. A mocking game was their tradition.
“You have never lost your weight, have you?”
“I’ll. A day before the doomsday, honey.”
Rhea laughed then hugged him. “I miss you, buddy.”
“I miss you too. Two slices of orange cake and cappucino?”
Again Rhea laughed. “You always remember my favorite menus, don’t you?”
“They are carved here,” Bobi pointed his head.
“Can I have them soon. Kind of hungry.”
 “Sure. As ordered your highness,” Bobi started to walk to the café kitchen.
“Thank you.”
Rhea pulled out a chair when Bobi left her. She chose a side beside the window. She took out a book she brought in her bag and she started to read. Minutes after she was through with several pages, Bobi came with her order.
“Thank you, my man.”
“You’re welcome,” Bobi replied, glanced at her book. “The Alchemist?,” his question came in a such surprised tone.
Rhea knew that Bobi knew her favorite book and The Alchemist was none in her favorite-books-list.
“Yes. And since you’ve presented my order, your time with me is off, and I believe that you have bunch of works to do. Now……get lost.”
Bobi smiled at her funnily. “There’ll be an earth quake after you finish reading it,” he said.
“Get lost,” Rhea ordered, pretended to be mad.
When she knew she could spend her time by herself, she backed to her book again. After about thirty minutes, she stopped reading when she heard a loud voice greeted Bobi. She looked at the door where the voice came from. It was the time she realized that her heart almost jumped out of her mouth. There, in front of her, stood a guy she met in a gazebo three days before. A guy who made her read The Alchemist. That guy felt the same surprise as Rhea’s felt. They traded looks for a while. He, without hesitation, walked toward her. His eyes went nowhere but against hers.
“Hi, you,” he said, pulling out the chair from the table. “You are the novel, aren’t you?”
Without knowing what to say, came up the response from Rhea, “And you are the Alchemist?”
He smiled, showing his well-marching-teeth. “Hi, I am Roman. It’s so good to meet you here,” Roman offered his hand.
Still amazed by his sharp eyes, Rhea couldn’t utter a single word to reply his response. There was silence in the air before he finally broke it by tickling his fingers right in front of Rhea’s eyes.
“Oh, hi, sorry,” Rhea shuddered. She received his hand and shook it gently. “I am Rhea.”
“Are you okay?, Romas asked.
“Yes, I am fine. I was kind of surprise of meeting you here.”
Roman pulled out the chair in front of Rhea. “What are you doing here?”
Rhea lifted up his hand to show him the book she was reading. “Reading this,” she said.
Romas smiled. “Ummm……is it a coincidence or what?”
“What do you mean?”
“I also bought this,” Roman stop uttering for a while, taking a book from his bag. “Here it comes……Nights in Rodanthe,” he said. Then they both laughed.
A minutes after, while waiting for the meals Roman’s ordered, they tradded conversations. Mostly about the book they read. During the chat, Rhea tried so hard to hide the tremor she felt. Everytime they looked each other, she felt as if her world was quaked. She thought the only function of eyes were for seeing things. But when her vision met with his, she knew she was wrong. So wrong. She felt as if his look was a sharp blade easily sliced her flesh and carved her bones. It was not enough for her just to look at him for minutes as his look stood as addictive pills she must consumes to answer her addiction.

Watching them, Cupid slowly aimed his arrow to both of them. “The perfect time is now,” he said to himself.

The nuance between them magically changed out of the blue. Their talking grew intensely. They just couldn’t hide the chemistry emerged. The chat, the look, the laugh showed that they were really in to each other.

Watching it, Cupid satisfactorily smiled to himself. He then flew back to the sky. His father asked him, “How’s the project?”
Cupid reported, “Mission accomplished, father.”