301: Love Story (Drabble)
Last week, one of my close friends came up to me at lunchtime. She looked panicked, as if something was clutching at her, clinging to her. I took her aside and asked her what was wrong. As soon as she saw the concern in my eyes, she burst into tears. She was shaking, almost as if she had Parkinson’s. She was a mess, hot and heavy tears coming out her eyes. She was struggling to hold back the mucus flowing out of her nose. For a few minutes, I sat by her side, watching her cry, offering her tissues, wondering all this time what she could possibly be upset about.
A slow quiet crept up upon her. Wet tissues lay crumpled at her feet next to her scuffed school shoes. I waited for her to say something, anything. I wrung my hands together, wondering what she would say.
“I fell in love,” she said.
It was almost anticlimactic, as if I was expecting something grander. But that wasn’t true. I had known about her little affair outside school hours, but I had never paid it any more attention than I had needed to. Perhaps it wasn’t a little affair like I had perceived it.
“What happened?” I asked.
She gave me a dirty look, but began her grandiose tale, starting from the moment they met, spinning the golden cloth of the tale which had staled with the passage of time. I watched as she stitched white silk with the words of her story in gold thread, heard the orchestra in the background crescendo as she reached climaxes in her story. And finally, I saw the white silk yellow with mould and the gold became ink black. The orchestra packed up and left an empty stage still full of plastic black chairs and music stands, a ghost of the lively stage it had been.
“I’m so sorry.”
But nothing I say would ever rescue her from the burden she suffers, the burden of an unsuccessful, broken relationship. She suffers, and I can only watch on in silence.