Picture of cover image

Picture of cover image.


 

              The Bluff

It was the ending of May and all the leaves and bushes were preparing for the rainy season. The rainy season here brings a lot of havoc and calamity. And then by the end of the season it would feel like not just a storm had passed but also a very dangerous phase of life. And since the insinuation of the August start of classes. I, a newly graduate of my secondary studies has two additional months of graduation summer vacation. So in total of my four months of summer vacation I have finally reached the middle of it.

It always felt to me that when I am in the middle of finishing something it becomes obvious that I will have to make a turning point decision. I always find that the very turning point of some story or some event is always found in the middle, even if the decision is so minuscule. To the point that it can come unnoticed and before you know it, its significance is unmatched.

I transferred to this place a year ago due to an incident. It wasn’t hard for me to fit to this town because I got help from the most friendliest lad  I ever met, Kahlil. He just also happens to be my neighbor so its convenient. And to my luck he is one year older than me and he studies in the same college I am going to attend. We also have another neighbor who is within our age group and is also going to attend the same college. I will talk about him later.

Kahlil as a neighbour can sometimes go overboard. Since he takes his being a neighbour as a very serious task.

Its May 30 and the sun is just rising, so it might be around 5 am or so. My eyes try to hide from the rays of sun shine that slowly peek through my window. It is a beautifully calm sight since I can see the rays change from a blue-purple to an orange glow. And when they hit my curtains they give off this amplification of serene light. I must really be sleepy because I am talking so flowery right now.

But just as I try to sleep again I can hear the footsteps that pummel through my floor toward me. I cover my head with a pillow to ignore it but I could still hear him take a big breath before saying:

Kahlil: Good morning~! Tasha, Tasha its morning so wake up! The sun waits for no one!

Tasha: Ugh. Give me five more minutes…

And then a snore could be heard. Kahlil then turns to the side of the bed where her feet can be seen and slowly grabs her by the ankles. She could feel the slow pull that causes her shirt to slowly compact toward her chest by the friction between her shirt and the bed. So she quickly pulls down her shirt and says:

Tasha: Kahlil! Just let me sleep won’t you!? Its summer but you have been keeping me from the luxury of sleeping late! Plus, you don’t even need to wake me up so early. It’s around five in the morning.

Kahlil: Aw, come on. I am just doing my job as your over friendly, over dutiful, over  responsible, and over cheerful neighbourhood friend.

Tasha: Your “over” is right. Because I never met a guy who comes into a girl’s room just to wake her up.

Kahlil: Really? But I know of one.

Tasha: Who?

Kahlil: You know, the one that gives kisses on a girl’s face to greet her good morning and makes her coffee. And then asks if she enjoyed last night.

Tasha then blushes because her imagination just ran wild and then rushes to dig her head into the pillow so he won’t see her face. This shows Kahlil the backside of Tasha and so he checks for her feet and slow places his hands hovering above the soles of her feet respectively. Then Kahlil does his attack, a ticklish scratching motion is done on her feet, and Tasha falls out of her bed and hits the floor on her behind. Kahlil could hear a squeal of pain from her and then he apologizes. She then asks him to come closer so he does. And as soon as he comes close she grabs his arm and drags him to the floor with her. Now both of them are facing the ceiling of her room looking at all the sketches she made.

Kahlil: Ouch. Couldn’t you be a bit more gentle?

Tasha: Then can you stop waking me up so early?

Kahlil says with a pout, “No.”

Tasha replies in know-it-all manner, “Then, no.”

Kahlil pouts even harder but doesn’t say anything back. So the both of them just stare into the ceiling for a few minutes until Kahlil suggests for them to get up and have breakfast downstairs. She says for him to go first and that she needs to wash up a little. Kahlil makes a sad face again and asks her if she’s just saying that to trick him to going  away so she can just sleep again. She responds with a stern no and asks him who he thinks she is. So then Kahlil just smiles and goes on ahead.

As the door closes she exhales saying that Kahlil should stop pretending like nothing happened. And it makes her feel sad if he continues to think that it hurts to see him put on a face in front of her. She also blames herself for going along with this pretend, anyway.

At the start she found it refreshing that Kahlil treated her like a person unlike her old school and neighbours, so she enjoyed his company very much. But now she realizes their relationship might already be broken because Kahlil never mentions what happened, and pretends in-front of her for the sake that it will be like nothing happened.

She washes her face in the mirror just to feel that someone might have been looking at her. But she continues to pretend that she doesn’t notice this and then hears a familiar voice asking that she stops pretending she didn’t notice him because that hurts.

Tasha: What’s the point? You don’t knock, your footsteps can barely be heard and you act like a ninja. And then you tell me aren’t doing it on purpose.

Tasha calls the person in a very sardonic voice, “Naite.”

Naite: I just don’t want other people to notice me but you. After all its only your eyes that can really see me. And its only you who I want to know about.

Tasha: Why? After all you could have just locked me up in a cage, people close to me won’t suspect a thing. After all, I am dead.

Naite smiles at her for understanding so he tells her to notice him more then. And she just spits at the sink in rebuttal. So he walks away from the door and waves his hand and tells her he’ll see her later.

Tasha, Kahlil and Naite were all supposed to die in an accident a year ago. Apparently their bus was hit by train and there were no survivors. But what’s confusing is that they are alive but its like their bodies were cloned into two so all three of them had bodies that were buried in a cemetery. So the three suffers from a supernatural phenomena of being dead to their families but alive to others.  None of the people they knew before can recognize them.

All three of them are college students and they each have their own bank accounts that can support them so they got all the money from their accounts and lived near each other. They couldn’t share just one house or apartment since they didn’t really know each other. They also chose to work  part-time at a convenience store nearby, for daily expenses. And just to their luck they all happen to be very independent so none of them actually need to depend on another. The three kept close  on an agreement that they keep their deaths a secret and that they might lose their heads if they can’t have anyone to relate to. Since each and everyone of them still experienced dying.

So after a year the group began to become closer to one another and decided they can sometimes share their meals together. It was a unique bond that banded the three. And that unique bond was that they all died by the same accident.

Tasha: Kahlil, when is your shift today?

Kahlil: One hour after yours. So I will leave it you to cook for dinner later.

Tasha: Sure, but we should invite Naite to go with us sometime. He only goes out when he has to work or buy something.

Kahlil: I would but I think he just likes you too much for me to just go, and tell him that he’s going on a date with you but I am coming too.

Tasha: Ha?

Kahlil: I mean he really likes you, you know. And you are just playing hard to get.

Tasha looks down and smiles at the thought.

Tasha: When did you notice?

Kahlil: From the start. You only held his hand when we watched your funeral, remember? And I remember very well that you cried a little on his arm.

Tasha: I couldn’t have been that obvious…

Her voice fades at the end of the sentence.

Kahlil just smirks and gets his dishes to wash them. Leaving only Tasha at the table to think that she could have been so obvious.

Tasha heads out with Kahlil to go to the park. Naite waves them good bye from his window and the two return the greeting. Tasha and Kahlil have a routine to go out to park for some fresh air or just wander around. They hope someday Naite will also join them. Tasha also wants to fix her relationship with Kahlil soon so that she won’t worry about his and her own pretending to each other.

They made it to the park and Kahlil starts to stretch which makes Tasha wonders why he does that because he didn’t come here to exercise. Kahlil just continues to do some stretching until Tasha ask why he keeps pretending. This surprises Kahlil since he doesn’t think he was pretending and wonders what is she is talking about.

Tasha: I mean why are you acting like nothing happened? You tried to…

Her voices dies out from fear of what happened and she can’t seem to say it.

Kahlil: What happened? What did I do?

Tasha suddenly stands up and breathes heavily before her legs start to shake unsteadily. She gives in to the fear and she kneels from the agony of trying to say it. Kahlil rushes to her to check if she’s alright, but she suddenly cries out for him not to touch her. Kahlil continues to ask what he did to make her this scared of him. Even though nothing has changed recently, he also tells her this. Tasha still refuses to stand up so Kahlil decides to sit beside her and tell her it’s alright. Tasha ignores his words and he knows that but he continues to tell her its okay, anyway. They stay like that for a few hours until Tasha tries to speak up again. But is stopped by Kahlil who wraps an arm around her and kisses her forehead. This makes Tasha sulk even more for what she was about to say.

Kahlil: Take your time. Just take your time.

Kahlil blows on her a little which she feels and asks why he did that. He just tells her he wanted to try blowing her mind. Which makes her laugh a little. He starts to smile and wrap his arms more around her just to place his head on hers. Tasha returns the hug and tells him she’s alright now. So she pushes him away from her and then stands up. She gives her hand to him and accepts the gesture gratefully. They continue on their walk at the park not saying anything.

Its her shift now so she tells Kahlil she has to go, so he tells her to take care. Apparently Naite also goes out and then tells her they have the same shift today. And she responds to him that she knows, which makes him smile and says to her that she is finally taking an interest at him. To which she replies that of course she knows, he wrote it so big on the schedule board at work that everybody saw it. She also tells him not put a heart around their names next time. He just smiles and starts to walk beside her.

As they change to their work clothes, Naite asks her if she asked Kahlil about what happened. She tells him she didn’t and reported to him what happened.

Naite: If you don’t tell him now I am gonna tell him. Its not fair to us that he pretends that what happened wasn’t real. And it isn’t fair for him either.

Tasha: I know, I know that very well that is why it hurts the most to me that he doesn’t even try to apologize for it. I am sorry Naite but can you continue to pretend that its alright.

Naite: Ok, but promise you will tell him. Please. I can only ask this from you. I just didn’t expect he would do that.

Tasha goes closer to Naite and gives him a pat on the shoulder and smiles. She thanks him for caring so much about him and that she really loves that part about him. He then jokingly asks her if she is now willing to give in to him. She says no with a very bright smile.

Tasha is assigned to the cashier and she sees Kahlil coming so she greets him with a good afternoon and smiles. Kahlil suddenly looks away and tells her to greet him normally. This makes Tasha confused since she did but Kahlil just tells her he meant the one when she does something mean to him every time he greets he good morning. This makes her more confused since she can’t do anything rude to a customer or else she might get fired. Kahlil just sighs and tells her its nothing. So Tasha just looks at him with a confused look and forgets about it anyway.

The day ends and Tasha is back in her apartment to cook dinner for the three of them. She sighs it might be a waste to cook for three because she knows Kahlil will just tell them he will come later to eat because he might want to work extra hours since he might not have enough money for the next month. And then she will have to scold him again about wasting his money to which he just replies with a laugh.

So Kahlil does make the call she expected and then Naite rings her doorbell. She ends the call with a good luck and tells her Naite just arrived so she ends the call and answers the door. Naite apologizes for not coming earlier to help her with the food to which she just replies it’s okay since it’s her turn after all. He tells her he wanted to see her in an apron though so she gives him a little slap and then turns away quickly to blush real hard.

Tasha tells Naite that Kahlil will come later to eat, so spare some for him. Naite replies that he will since it was always Kahlil that ate the most among them and that idiot still doesn’t see the importance for his to put some space in his budget for savings.

It does disappoint them that Kahlil only has a few characteristics that are actually good since its mostly Tasha and Naite that are actually more mature. This makes Kahlil like a younger brother to them despite being older than both of them. Apparently Kahlil and Naite are brothers but they actually look like twins sometimes except that Naite has black hair and nearly the total opposite of Kahlil. But they don’t share the same last name since Naite is his brother from their father’s affair. Kahlil’s mother is the legal wife of the their father. It was not in their families knowledge that the two knew each other because their mothers didn’t get along. Kahlil and Naite only met each in the bus by chance which is the same bus that all three died on. Sadly they could have united the two families if they just showed them they got along.

Tasha smiles at the fact she met two great people but is saddened this might end too soon. Naite notices her sudden change of expression and asks her if she is alright. Just for her to tell him she is, he then rises from the table and kisses her head.

Tasha feels sad that she needs to tell Kahlil that she knows the truth. Naite hears her say this and tell her that she’s doing for him. He smiles at her for that, and says he knows she’s doing her best so don’t worry because he won’t ever leave her alone and that they already died so even death can’t keep them apart. And he’s really happy the three of them got to meet each other.

Kahlil arrives a few minutes after Naite left to sleep at his apartment. Kahlil apologizes for not being able to enjoy dinner with all three of them since they used to do it often. She says its okay and asks him to sit down because she will start reheating the food now. Rather than sitting Kahlil approaches her in the kitchen and tells her she looks cute in an apron. She tells him if you are trying to act like Naite then you have a long way to go. This displeases Kahlil since he thinks he did a good job so he pouts again that she is really mean. She smiles and tells him that’s supposed to be obvious.

They sit at the table as Tasha watches Kahlil eat like a glutton and how the two brothers are so different. Kahlil asks her what she’s looking at and if she’s hungry too. She says she’s not and is just appreciating this calm night. Kahlil tells her that he’s really happy the three of them met, this surprises Tasha. Kahlil asks what wrong and she just tells him that Naite said the same thing. This makes a tear fall from her eye. Kahlil stands up suddenly and asks her whats wrong this time because he doesn’t understand why she’s crying. She tells him she’s not until she felt her cheek was wet from tears. She wonders when she started crying. She looks down and covers her face with her hands. Kahlil gets out from his seat to comfort her.

Kahlil: Whats wrong? Please tell me, I can’t bear to see you cry like this. Please.

Kahlil begs her with a really, really sad voice. This makes Tasha resolute to tell him the truth. So she pushes her away from him and tells him that she needs to tell him something important. She stands up to match his eyes with hers. And she holds his hands, this makes Kahlil blush and he tries to hide his face by looking away but Tasha strongly tells him to look at her.

Tasha: Kahlil. Please listen to me.

Kahlil: Of course. I am just having a hard time because you are really pretty.

Tasha doesn’t faze from his compliment and takes a deep breath to ready her heart.

Tasha: Naite is dead, Kahlil.

Kahlil: No, what are you talking about? We saw him together this morning. He even waved good bye to us.

Tasha: Kahli, that was just you. You have been living your life as both you and your brother. So please stop.

Kahlil: Please, Tasha stop joking. Naite is alive. NAITE IS ALIVE!!! You even saw him earlier!

Tasha squeezes his hands even harder, and she drags him to Naite’s room and opens the door.

Tasha: Look Kahlil! Naite died saving the people he loved the most!

Tasha’s tears start to run wild and so she grasps his hands even harder.

Kahlil: Tasha please stop this, you’re hurting me.

Tasha: Kahlil, I beg you, Please don’t make his sacrifice in vain. Please recognize he died for us. He died to save us!

Kahlil: No! No! NO! Stop! Please stop! Naite is alive my brother is not dead. I only got to know him. I beg you! Don’t kill him in me…

Kahlil: I don’t want him to die…

Tasha: Kahlil! Naite did it to save you! Please acknowledge this was his last act that he loved you. He loved the brother he never knew he had. And he knew very well you loved him too. So please!

Kahlil breaks down to the floor. Tasha holds him tightly in her arms. He doesn’t return her embrace but simply cries out his brother’s name.

Kahlil: Naite… Naite…Nai…te…

Tasha: Its okay, Kahlil just let it out I am here for you. Naite said he won’t ever let us alone anymore so he might not be here physically but I believe he’s won’t leave his two favorite people all alone. I know him that much…

Kahlil continues to cry in her arms and so the storm in their hearts is slowly changing to the morning light.

 

 

 

 

Two years ago Naite was told he didn’t have much time to live.

And this was a solid fact he knew this very well.

He wished that he could have spent at least one more year together with the people who made him happy the most. He had a crush in his high school named Tasha. He never really got to talk to her. So he felt like he didn’t exist to her. He bet she didn’t even know they took the same bus to go to school.

One day Naite sat at the bus and saw a guy who looked just like him. They were both shocked to see each others faces. He was greeted by the stranger in such a friendly manner that it made him smile. They talked for almost the whole trip and he felt he could trust this guy named Kahlil. He doesn’t know why but he felt really close to him for no reason. Kahlil then encourages Naite to approach the girl.

Naite tells him he can’t and he’s too shy to do that.

Kahlil smiles at him and grabs his hand and approaches the girl together with him. This causes to make a commotion in the bus. Kahlil introduces Naite to the girl, the girl blushes in surprise and tell them she knows. So Naite and the girl blush really hard. She tells him she knows a lot about him which is a shock to everyone. She tells them she’s been waiting when he will approach her. The people in the bus start clapping. This makes the three of them feel embarrassed.

So Kahlil takes the initiative to sit them all together.

They laugh out loud about what happens and Naite feels that his wish just came true. They talk more about themselves and reveals that Kahlil and Naite might actually be related that is why Naite felt he could trust Kahlil. As the ride was about to end, the driver of the bus was smiling about what a lucky day it must be. And then the bus gets crashed by a train that didn’t signal to the signal lights causing the bus to continue to drive on the tracks.

Naite begs for this not to end. And tells himself he didn’t have much to live for, until this moment. He only had one year left so begs that he could spend that last year with them.


A year passes and Naite dies a  two weeks before June.

The accident happened on May 20, 2013.


2014-06-17 17.06.24

Tasha

2014-06-17 17.04.50

Naite

2014-06-17 17.02.52

Kahlil

 

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