After some arrangements at work—among other things, they finally arrived at the familiar scenery where four of them had grown up and came to love. It was the placid atmosphere and the breathtaking scenery that they had come to take for granted. They had arrived in the afternoon and used the rest of the day to settle in. Introductions and catching up delayed their plan a little longer. But they managed to escape from the crowd in time to enjoy the sunset. Sunsets at the beach were the best of all, and sunset at this particular beach was what they loved the most. Because it was home.
“I never knew you guys live in such a paradise,” Hebe commented as they walked along the shoreline together.
“Paradise?” Jiro asked, turning to Hebe with his face all wrinkled up.
“It is paradise to us, okay?” Selina jumped in, giving Jiro a warning look.
Jiro shrugged, turning his mischievous expression off.
“We should go surfing tomorrow or something!” Chun called back to them.
They turned in his direction to see that he had separated from their group. He had his back to them, looking out toward the water.
“If the weather cooperates,” Jiro said, gesturing toward the waves splashing and crashing at them.
“It would be even better tomorrow,” Chun predicted, turning back to face them.
“I didn’t know you’re a meteorologist now,” Jiro teased, throwing a pebble he picked up a few seconds before turning toward Chun’s direction.
“If you don’t listen to me now, you’ll miss out,” Chun warned in an as a matter-of-fact tone, pointing a finger at Jiro.
“All right you guys,” Hebe interfered. “We’re here to enjoy the scenery, not listen to you guys argue.”
“That’s right,” Selina agreed, her radiant smile apparent on her face.
Jiro walked toward Chun at that time. “I guess we shouldn’t mess with them anymore, huh?”
Chun nodded, his attention on the water ahead again. “Ready, man?”
Both guys cupped their hands to their mouths and faced the ocean ahead. “Surfing waves, we’re back! Woohoo!”
Hebe and Selina exchanged a look. Selina shrugged as she spotted Hebe’s questioning stare.
“Men,” Selina muttered, her eyes on the guys.
“Don’t be jealous of us,” Jiro said, dropping his hands to his sides again and turning to the girls.
“Exactly,” Chun chimed in.
“Are we going to walk or are we just standing around?” Calvin asked, giving each of them a glance over.
“They’re the ones who are stopping and doing weird stuffs,” Hebe argued.
“And you girls are with us because?” Jiro prompted, his eyes darting from Hebe to Selina.
“Because we’re…” Selina attempted.
While the four of them continued to debate over the subject matter or the importance of the situation, Calvin and Joanne continued to walk alongside the shore. Calvin knew very well of Chun and Jiro’s nature. The discussion would never end. The girls did not realize what they got themselves into. He smiled, feeling the familiarity of the past reaching a hand to him.
“Look!” Joanne called out at that time, her right index finger pointing at the horizon while her left still remained in Calvin’s.
Even Chun, Hebe, Jiro, and Selina stopped long enough to look at the horizon.
“The last bit of the bright light,” Jiro drawled out dramatically.
“You’re trying out for theater arts now?” Chun asked, puzzled.
Jiro shrugged. “I could try.”
“You guys are at it again,” Selina chided.
“It’s our job to create a lively atmosphere everywhere we go,” Jiro justified. “Can’t you see our efforts?” Jiro brought his left hand to his heart, emphasizing the hard work.
Chun shook his head. “You’re just too much, man.”
“You guys are always making noise and ruining the atmosphere,” Joanne spoke up again, attempting to sabotage both Chun and Jiro.
Jiro turned to Calvin and Joanne. “You better be glad we’re not targeting you, Missy.”
Joanne ignored them and dropped down at the sandy ground. Out of habit, she checked for seashells like many times before. Calvin finally let go of her hand and walked toward a spot nearby. Seeing the last glint of lights hitting at a particular spot earlier, he had to check the shimmering object out. As he reached down for it, he realized it was a seashell stuck within the sand. When the sunlight stroke at it, it shimmered from within, revealing its hiding place. He found the shape of this particular seashell unusual, yet he kept it in his hands and walked back to where Joanne and the others were.
“This is for you,” Calvin said, smiling and handing it to Joanne.
Joanne took it from him with much caution, handling it like some sort of treasure—just like how she had always treated all the things he had ever given her. She turned to Calvin upon seeing the shape of the seashell, her face lighting up even more. “How did you do it?”
“I guess someone’s sending me a gift,” Calvin joked.
Joanne did not care to return some sort of attack—like how Chun, Jiro, or Hebe would have if they were to hear his explanation. Instead, she studied it with much care once again before dangling it above her head, shining it in the last bit of the sunlight. “I’m going to keep this in a safe place!”
Calvin smiled, knowing very well she would be able to keep her declaration—like many times before. He took her hand into his again as they made their way to the old spot where they specifically marked it to be a ‘sunset watching’ spot.
“Come on, guys!” Jiro yelled back to Chun and Hebe—who were farther behind than he and Selina. “Don’t want to miss this last scene.”
“Hey, what do you have in your hand there?” Chun asked, looking over Joanne’s shoulder when he finally joined them. “A heart? How did you do it?”
“It’s a gift!” Joanne declared excitedly, still holding it in her hand like a prize she just won.
“Being secretive again, right?” Jiro asked, having overheard the two’s exchange.
“You guys,” Hebe called out.
“What?” Jiro asked, turning to her.
“Let’s stay quiet and enjoy the scene.”
“If you say so, Miss Tian.”
As if by a miracle, Chun and Jiro quieted down after that. The four of them followed Calvin and Joanne’s example, standing by their companions and staring out at the horizon ahead. The wind had picked up a while back, yet they had not noticed. But now, the swooshing sound added to the peacefulness of the atmosphere.
Looking out into the horizon at that moment, Calvin finally realized Joanne was Heaven’s gift to him. A gift he longed to have for as long as he could remember. A gift he often ignored, disregarded and abandoned. Yet Heaven was still willing to forgive him by giving him a second chance. A chance to fulfill his dream. He silently promised himself he would do anything in his ability to protect her and cherish her for as long as time allowed.
© Monday, June 28th, 2010
Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2011