Posted in literary

Until That Lemon Tree (A Short Story)


xoxofrets

Hi! My name is Taylor and here is my story.


      xoxofrets

        It was on the first day of our senior year when I first met Bram. Being the new guy, he was the apple of the eye of the entire class – and when I mean “entire class,” I’m pretty sure that includes me. I found him cute. And just my luck, he was seated two seats in front of me! As boring lectures consumed the hours, I would daydream about Bram-hearts-Me. Of course I would tell these to my girl friends during our breaks and we would get giggly about it. Ugh, girls!

       And then that time came when it was not a mere crush anymore. And you also know that moment when your friends, or at least a couple of them, become so noisy and accidentally on purpose tells your secret when your crush is just two steps away from them? That’s much more likely how Bram and some other people knew about it. And I hate it when my blushing gave me away when I’m supposed to be pokerfaced. It was good Bram would just smile it away.

       Then one night, I received a quote message from an anonymous number which turned out to be Bram’s. He got it from our class directory. We started exchanging text messages and online chatting—from quotes to greetings to something more personal, even homework.  It’s where we basically started our getting-to-know-each-other phase. But still we don’t talk to each other in school, just smiling. It was like hiding a relationship minus the relationship part.

       One time, I got to school earlier than the usual and saw Bram sitting inside our classroom alone, reading a book. We knew that there’s something more-than-friends going on between us but at that moment, it felt awkward. We didn’t even have a technical friendship to begin with, for crying out loud! Well, that’s if you consider electronic messaging and no face-to-face verbal conversation a real friendship!

       I smiled at him. He smiled back. Then silence.

       “Hi!” I said. Then I felt myself blushing.

       “Hi!” he said back. And gosh! He also blushed!

       Then something came over me and I blurted out, “Bram, I like you!”

       Silence again. Then I felt like I was blushing more. Good thing it was the same for him.

       And when I felt like crying from the embarrassment, he replied, “I like you too, Taylor.”

      And boom! I woke up from a coma. Just kidding! That was real and we became a couple. It’s just that we had to keep it from anyone. Bram had a girlfriend before but this in-a-relationship thing is a stranger to me. For some instances, it was unconventional and others may not accept it. I didn’t even know how to explain it to my family. I’m just thankful Bram understood my point.

       We would secretly meet. Our conversations had to be subtle when classmates were around. As for our first kiss? Well, it happened in the empty locker-room in the school gym. It was delightful I should say. After classes, he would walk me home. Not really to the door or the front yard, just until the lemon tree more or less 15 meters away from our house

       Bram’s house was just a block away  from our school so during lunch breaks, we would leave our friends in the canteen and run off and head there. His parents were at work and his sister was at the university. We would usually make chicken waffles or pancakes while watching MTV. On one of those lunch breaks, another first time happened. He started kissing me and I kissed him back. Hands travelled over our bodies. The “deed” was done. It was hard to explain. A feeling of excitement, body-tingling bliss, pleasure, and a little bit of pain .

       Senior year was about to end. Our relationship was turning 6 months—still a secret for two. I still feel the fear. Should I continue or end it? It got me thinking for days until I decided to choose the latter.  One night, as we were standing beside the lemon tree, Bram smilingly asked me what I wanted as a gift for our graduation. I just stood still, not knowing how to break the news. I just bowed my head.

       “What’s wrong?” he asked me after a moment.

       Still looking down and with voice as soft as whisper, I told him, “I think it would be better if we break up.” I looked at him. I can’t really see his face clearly in the shadows but I was sure he was struck.

       He laughed. “Don’t go making jokes like that!” Another laugh came from him. But it was pained. He knew I was serious. “Why are you doing this? We love each other!”

       There was never an easy way to break-up with someone you love and you know who loves you back.  “All the time we were together,” I shakily answered, “I was scared about others knowing about this relationship. I am scared for you. That everyone would laugh at you for having a relationship with me. And I am scared that I may not live up to that.” I paused and started crying. “ I hate myself right now for being a coward and hate myself more for hurting you and letting you go. I know you love me and I also love you but I know that there will come a time when it won’t be enough. That you will look for someone who could give you more. ”

       Bram just stood there. I heard him sniffle. I knew he was also crying and for a moment, there was silence. “Tay,” he broke the silence, “I don’t know what to say. It hurts so much to know that you don’t trust the love I have for you. I know you are scared but I will not be that kind of person who will leave you because you think someone could give me better.”

       Those made the feeling worse. “ It’s also hard for me and it pains me much but we have to do it, for you to be happy. Thanks for the love. Don’t call or text me. Goodbye Bram” And with one last quick kiss, I ran home without looking back. I entered the backdoor and quickly headed to the bathroom with my head down. “ I need to pee!” I managed to shout as an excuse to my family. I let my tears out as the shower poured. I hope it will help lessen the redness and puffiness of my eyes. I guess I would just have to make another excuse as to how my peeing ended up in taking a shower.

       The last days of school went on without Bram and I talking to each other. It still hurts.

       Two years have passed and I happened to run into a high school friend while I was doing the grocery. We started changing stories over a coffee. I learned from her that Bram’s girlfriend was 15 weeks pregnant. I didn’t know how to take that news. Was I hurt? I didn’t know. But I was definitely happy for him.

       Several months later, I went to the hospital to visit a cousin who just gave birth. While I was walking along the hallway, I heard someone call out, “Taylor, wait!” The voice sounded so familiar and before I realize who owned it, Bram appeared.

       “Hi! Long time no see.” the smiling, manly Bram said breathlessly after running after me. His familiar scent wafted the air.

       I smiled back. “Hi yourself. I’ve heard you’re having a baby!” Realization dawned on me. “Oh! Has she given birth already?”

       ”Yeah. Grace gave birth to our baby girl last night.”

       “A baby girl! Wow! So what did you name her?” I asked excitedly.

       “Taylor,” he said somehow feeling awkward. “we named her Taylor. Grace loves that name.” He said with a smile. Then he showed me the the baby’s birth certificate.

       Of course I was surprised! Who would let their child have a name same as their ex’s? “Seriously?! But does she know about me?”

       ”No. Wasn’t I the one who promised you not to tell any soul about us?” he smiled again, “ We made a list of baby names and she added Taylor on it. Apparently, she loves Taylor Swift and picked it. I had no objections, it’s a very beautiful name.”

       ”It’s still weird.” I laughed though. “Anyway, Seeing how happy you are right now, I feel happier. You know that feeling that you know you have made the right decision?”

       ”Thank you, Tay, for everything.” he expressed. And then there was the charming half smirk again, “ Where are you heading to anyway? Would you like to see them?”

       ”Uhm, I was supposed to visit a cousin who also gave birth but I think I could spare some time before dropping by her room.”

       Then together again, we walked beside one another. Not as lovers but as friends. He introduced me to Grace. She was nice. We talked about anything and how nice baby Taylor and I are namesakes and about their engagement. Bram just watched as talk, sometimes he joins our conversation. I also tried carrying Baby Taylor when she was roomed in. After an hour of joining them, I bid my goodbye.

       It was nice. I was happy to see a family. I know they love each other and with that, I can go on with my life. I thank Bram for loving me before and I thank Grace and Baby Taylor, for loving him back.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

       Bram watched Grace and their baby as they slept. After seeing Taylor again, he can’t help but remember how Taylor showed him love and the sacrifice made for him to have the kind of family he has right now. He loved Taylor truly and even today, he still does. Not romantically but still, in a very special way. And he wished that Taylor would find someone who would love him for what he is and would be courageous to let others know. Someone who would ease off Taylor’s fear of other’s judgment and someone who would be proud of their relationship even if other people think that a guy should not be in love with another guy.

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Author:

Ambivert freelance graphic artist and coffeeholic..and most of all, a Slytherin!

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