Love me when I am blooming.
Love me more when I begin to wilt.
Love me harder when I am officially old.
Love me the most when I am dried and not pretty.
p.s. The first two sentences are also appeared on Instagram account: 1001diarycollections.
This is the third part of the fictional stories of Gray Cloud and Sonny Sunshine. All names here are fictive.Both the first and second parts of the stories could be accessed on this blog.
Sonny Sunshine couldn’t believe what he has just heard on the phone. Gray is off to London for 6 months to interview and photograph families of children with serious medical illnesses. This girl always does something unthinkable. He never imagined that Gray would dare to leave him for this project. Sonny had a long day at work, but this one is the hardest of them all. He sighed, put down his phone and recalled the first time they met.
It was Sunday night in April when he met Gray at the church. They sat on the same row and apparently their cars were also parked next to each other. Gray had a flat tire that night and Sonny helped her by calling his friend, who owns car service, to come and fix Gray’s tire. They exchanged business cards and two days later Gray called him and offered to treat him lunch as a way to say thank you. Gray who worked in the non-profit foundation at that time invited him to her foundation’s social events on monthly basis. Sometimes, Sonny felt tired of responding to her invitations, but he did not want to sound unfriendly to her. Checking on Gray’s LinkedIn profile, she indeed is a smart woman with long lists of achievement. He noticed that Gray liked him just by looking at the way she was staring at him. This was not the first time he had female friends who grew fond of him, but Gray definitely was not his preferred one. Sonny decided to ignore her invitations and chats, though it did not last long.
Gray found so many excuses to keep in touch with Sonny. He wondered why this girl did not leave him alone. He knew at least some legitimate guys laid eyes on her, but she just ignored them. Sonny wanted to trade space with some of those guys. He deliberately screwed up things and acted somewhat childish to make Gray giving up on him. Unfortunately, all of those tactics did not work.
It was not until he changed to a new phone and open his unused LINE account that he learned Gray has been leaving him thousand unread notes addressed to him on her timeline. He seldom opened LINE and so he did not know that LINE users could customize their timeline’s audience. He read those notes from bottom to top and spent the whole day to read everything. The last note was written 6 months ago from the date he read it. The note stated that Gray asked for his prayer as she was heading to hospital.
Sonny thought long and hard. He could not understand why Gray did this to him. Who would write thousand of notes online and did not tell the intended recipient about those notes???? He shook his head again in disbelief as he skimmed through his LINE.
Sonny’s attitude toward Gray changed since then. He was more genuine and nicer to her than before. He slowly showed Gray his true behaviors not the fake ones. Gray never wrote on LINE again, but she did not bother Sonny as often as she used to be. This made Sonny felt weird because he has been used to be annoyed by Gray’s endless excuses and invitations. He wondered if he slowly became interested in her. No way, he thought.
Once he learned about Gray’s conditions, Sonny accompanied Gray to almost every doctor’ or lab’s appointment. They both knew the lump was not cancerous cell but they knew it could change at any moment. Understanding the fact that it could become a cancer made Gray feeling down. Life was hard both for Sonny and Gray during those time periods because Sonny had to go back and forth between two cities to care for Gray’s health. His contractor’s job required him to travel and check construction sites. Likewise, Gray could sense how Sonny became irritated and overwhelmed with these changes. He tried to make up the time he was away, but perhaps he was too tired that Gray knew he treated her as if she was his “construction job” that needed to be supervised.
The week Gray decided to take the project in London, Sonny was out of town. He is usually gone for 4 days and stay with Gray for 3 days. This pattern has been going on for a few years. He never left Gray longer than a week, but this time he had to complete this final touch of his construction work. Gray used to call him everyday before she found out her condition. Now, it’s Sonny’s turn. He usually checks on her 3x in a day when he is out of town, and when he is in town, he will come over and cook dinner for her.
Sonny’s faraway thought is stopped when he hears his phone is beeping. He grabs his phone from desk and sees that Gray is sending him a message. She wrote “Hey, I arrived in London. We rent a house in suburb area. There are 2 other students who are in this project. I am going to change my number. I will send you my new number along with the address. Take care!”
Sonny was browsing on the travel website as he read Gray’s message. He searched for outbound flights to London. Five minutes later, he secured his reservation. He booked one way flight from Singapore to London. His flight is two days from now. He could see the Singapore flyer from his window. Pretty night, he thought, but it was meaningless without Gray. There is a smile on his face. This time is a genuine warm smile. Gray’s birthday is on August 18. He wants to be there to surprise her. He needs a vacation anyway, and London is just perfect for him.
This is the second part of the “2gether is better than one.” The first story could be found on this blog, too. All names here are fictive.
Gray Cloud’s condition has been stable and good for the past two years. This has made her felt relieved and thankful. She started classes in photography and journalism a few months ago. These fields are new to her, but she is excited to learn more from the experts in the field.
Gray’s interests in photography and journalism started when she learned that she could be diagnosed with cancer. She would like to write her stories and take pictures of things that are mattered to her. Gray then started to create a personal blog. Most of her writing topics are around family, hope, and love. A few of them are fiction but the majority is opinion. If she could live long enough, she would like to interview cancer survivors as well as those who are struggle with cancer and share their stories with public.
On another note, Sonny Sunshine has been supportive to her. Gray has been trying to detach herself from him because she is afraid that her presence will disrupt Sonny’s work. Sonny always accompanies her when she goes to see a doctor or to the lab. Gray was worried how she could repay Sonny’s kindness. Gray already liked Sonny when they met on the first time. She tried to get to know Sonny more at that time, though it appeared to her that Sonny had no interest to her. Now, she regrets it because she does not know how to “undo” their relationship.
Mr. Gram, who is Gray’s teacher, knows that Gray has a strong interest in writing stories of cancer survivors. Mr. Gram offered her to join him to travel to London for 6 months to interview parents of children with serious medical diseases. He said this would be a good start for her. Gray wants to do this, but she doesn’t know how she would tell Sonny.
Gray and Mr. Gram will leave for London tomorrow. Sonny has been out of town for a week and won’t return until the following week. Last night, Gray called his cell phone and informed him about her trip. Sonny did not like her idea. He said it would not be good for her health. Gray quietly listened to Sonny’s words. Gray then said, “Let me go because I will go back to you. I will take care of myself. You could use the next 6 months to focus on your work and enjoy your life a little bit. I am sorry that I cause you a burden. I should not have approached you last time. I did not foresee that I would get sick. I promise I will be okay. I will return here because you are my home.”
Sonny knew he couldn’t do that much since he was far from her. He could only wish her a safe trip. With that said, Gray is off to London the next day.
The first two parts of this fictional story were written in Bahasa Indonesia and were published on the community writer platform (idntimes community) under the titles “Sally dan Kisah Cintanya di New York” (Sally and her love story in New York) and “Sally dan Tetangga Dokternya: from New York to Atlanta” (Sally and her neighbor: from Atlanta to New York). This is the third part of the stories. You could access the previous two stories on: https://www.idntimes.com/wieke-sutrisno
Sally met Willy, who was her next-door neighbor two years ago, in Atlanta. Sally is a wedding planner, and the only reason she moved to Atlanta because her boss offered her higher position and salary. Willy, on the other hand, is a medical doctor. He moved to Atlanta with his brother who is also a doctor. It all started with lunch and dinner appointments that turned into dating relationship. Willy asked her out on Christmas Eve while they were in New York for vacation. Their friends referred them as a workaholic couple because they spent more times at their own work than being together as a couple. Both Sally and Willy are forefront believers that so long as there is a trust and mutual understanding between them, even if work situation is busy, their relationship will remain the same. They even argued that they looked forward to seeing each other after long hours at work or after being separated for a few weeks due to work load.
Last year, Willy had to move back to New York for their medical practice, and this means the time they could spend together is getting shorter and rare. Although some close friends warned them about the challenges of long distance relationship, Sally and Willy never thought so much about it. Willy traveled to Atlanta to spend time with Sally whenever he could. Similarly, Sally would go to New York every major holiday and when she could get longer off days. Thus far, this arrangement has been working really well.
Neither Sally nor Willy planned to upgrade their relationship status. However, close friends and families urged them to make their relationship official and legal. Willy took neutral position in this matter. Sally was rather anxious, and the reason was because there is a huge age gap between them. Sally is four years older than Willy. Sally’s relatives frowned when they learned that she dates Willy. Although Willy has been convincing her that age has no issues or whatsoever in their relationship, Sally is still not sure how this will turn out in the long run. Willy is secretly planning on proposing her.
The proposal day is arrived, and that day falls on Willy’s birthday. Sally flies out to New York to celebrate Willy’s birthday. Sally booked a dinner at a fancy restaurant near Lincoln Art Center. Sally plans to watch Jazz after dinner, but Willy insists that they need to visit other places. Sally is surprised when Willy takes her to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Willy says, “I asked you out after attending Christmas mass. The church we went last time is already closed now. This church is still open, and so here inside this church, I want to tell you how important you are in my life. I know you are concerned with our age differences, but let me tell you again, here in the presence of God, at His house, that a good marriage is not solely based on age. A good marriage is mutual understanding and continuous effort between two loving persons. So, again, don’t worry so much about that. Here in this church, I ask you to be my lifetime partner, to stay beside me, and to cherish every moment. Life is unpredictable but my love to you remains the same. I am a doctor, so if you are too old and fragile to care for yourself, I could take care of you. So, are you in?”
Sally remains quiet. She doesn’t know what to respond. Willy says, “My little thinker, thank goodness you are not a doctor, because your patient could die when you are their doctor. You think too long and far.”
Sally responds to him, “Shut up!” and laugh. She then says, “Fine, I am in.”
“There you go, what it so hard to say yes.”
They both laugh and spend a few minutes at the church before heading home. Instead of giving Sally a ring, Willy gives Sally a necklace with a key pendant. The key symbolizes how he finally could un-tie the knots inside Sally’s heart.
They both set the wedding date on December 26, 2 days after their anniversary. The wedding is small and attended by close friends and family members. The wedding color-theme is tiffany-blue color because Sally likes Tiffany and Willy likes blue color. Guests compliment how pretty Sally is on her wedding day. Her look and style remind them of late Princess Grace from Monaco. Willy looks gorgeous on his tuxedo. He gets butterflies on his stomach as he watches Sally entering the church, walking toward him.
I like to call my friend, Yellow, Yellow Mellow, because she is very emotional person. She will cry for tiny little things, such as when she gets a gift from her boyfriend.
This morning Yellow called and told me that she didn’t want to look and act mellow again. She asked me to come early today and wait for her at the school’s gate. I was speechless when I heard this.
I waited for her outside the school’s gate. I saw her in a pink dress along with pink shoes and pink hair clips walking toward me. She even wore a pink lipstick and said “Hiiii” to everyone she passed by.
Yellow approached me and kissed my right cheek. This was new, too.. She never kissed my cheek..
I blurted, “Hey, are you okay?”
“Yeah, how do I look?” She twirled her hair and shook her pink dress in front of me.
“Err… Don’t you think this is too much?”
She grinned and said “Nope.”
I asked, “Why do you suddenly don’t want to look mellow? It’s part of your personality….”
Yellow sighed and said in teary eyes, “I searched for a part-time job last week. I saw an opening in the event production, and one of the requirements was that they look for a cheerful and energetic person. So, I thought I needed to get a complete makeover..”
I told Yellow that she should apply for that job despite of her mellow personality. The company is looking for qualities not outside appearance. I told her as long as she didn’t watch Korean drama series at work, she would be fine and no one would ever noticed her mellow personalities. Yellow laughed when she heard my comment. She cleaned her make up before entering classroom. Yellow is now back to her real self. She is a very talented person, but she doesn’t acknowledge it. Ever since then, I no longer call her Yellow Mellow because I don’t want her to think that having mellow personality is bad. You could be both smart and mellow at the same time. Instead, I call her Yellow Melon. Her nickname for me is Lemon Lemonade. When I asked her why, she said she likes how those two words sounded together.
It never crossed my mind that I would work in the teaching field. I, however, was a diligent student as long as I could remember.
Fast forward, I am now working as a teacher for students with special needs. I occasionally tutor general subjects such as English to elementary-age students. I initially said no to Math, but they brought their homework, so I had no choice other than studying Math and Science again in order to help them.
Kids nowadays don’t use this type of recorder, and so this tape recorder somehow looks “foreign” to them. I told my oldest student that I used this recorder to study TOEFL when I was young, and now, I use the same book and recorder to teach him.
When we say “never,” there is a chance we will say “yes” in a reality or sometimes in the future. This is somewhat true in my case. How about you?
New York, you are on my mind.
Atlanta, you are my next destination.
New York, you have been great to me.
Atlanta, you are my next hope.
New York, you are my lover.
Atlanta, you are my adventurer.
New York, I long to come back.
Atlanta, I’ll see you soon.