Saturday 14th February 2009by Tina
– 7 –
“She never got over it, you know.”
I leaned on the railing right in front of the Swan Lake and watched the kids on the ride paddle their way around the pond. Olive leaned on the railing too, but with her back to the pond, looking the other way. We had moved from the bench when the others decided they want to go and play paint ball. Olive sat out from it again, and I did too, because I still wanted to talk to her.
“But nothing happened.” I said, almost helplessly.
“I know,” Olive wrapped her arms around herself. “I know. I believed her, and I believed you. She just couldn’t get rid of her guilt.”
Olive put her hand on my arm. “I’ve tried reasoning with her too. I told her I understood — she was sad about her mom, she was thinking. And it wasn’t that she kissed you then, and now that you told me what happened, I knew there was really nothing. But she couldn’t live with it.”
“Is that…why you broke up with me?” I asked after a few minutes of silence. I turned to look at her and saw her smiling at me sadly.
“In a way, yeah,” Olive sighed. “I loved you Chase. I really did. But I couldn’t risk our friendship for it. I hope you can understand,” she turned to face me. “Amanda has always been there for me, and she’s got me through so many things in my life and I couldn’t imagine life without her. I made my choice.”
I sighed. “Did she leave because of that too?”
Olive shook her head. “That was for an entirely different reason. She wanted to say goodbye to you, but she felt like she couldn’t talk to you anymore.”
We fell silent again. This was a different kind of silence, not the one of avoidance, but the one of understanding. When Olive broke up with me a couple of months back, I wasn’t really surprised. I kind of saw it coming, really. After that night at the beach, Amanda acted normal, but I could feel some kind of apprehension with her. She never wanted to be alone with me, always making excuses why she couldn’t be where I was if Olive wasn’t there. My time with Olive became strained. I never told her about what happened because I didn’t know how she’d react, even if nothing happened. I didn’t thin Amanda would tell her, but just the same, I kept quiet.
“I’m sorry.” It was all I could say.
“I forgive you.” It was everything I wanted to hear from Olive.
I thought Olive returned as a different person after that summer, but I realize now that Amanda had changed her. From being the protector, Amanda became the protected. Olive valued their friendship too much to have me risk it, so she made the choice and broke up with me before Amanda got too paranoid and do harm.
“There was something else, too.” Olive said after a while. I looked at her again.
She chuckled. “You’ll have to ask her yourself.” She pointed to our left and there came everyone, led by who else but Amanda. They were all laughing and wiping off some paint ball stains.
They stopped right in front of us. “I think we have time for one more ride, yeah?” Olive said to her best friend.
“Yeah, if we want to make it to Tagaytay, we’ve got to wrap this up.” I added. I looked at Amanda, who smiled.
“Let’s go then,” she turned around and led the way to the Wheel of Fate.
* * *
I don’t really know how it happened, but Amanda and I ended up having a gondola all for ourselves when we went to ride the Wheel of Fate. It might just be a coincidence, but then maybe it was called the Wheel of Fate for a reason.
We were the last one to ride, so everyone else was already up the ground when our gondola was locked. I looked up and saw Olive already a quarter up the loop, and she waved when she saw me looking. I turned back to my companion just as the ride started and saw her with her eyes closed, almost like she was making a wish. I sat back and waited for her to open her eyes again patiently.
“I’m sorry there are no fairies,” I said, when she finally opened her eyes. We were just about to reach the top of the loop.
Amanda laughed. “It took me how many years to get over that,” she said, tucking her hair behind her ears, which have started flying around her face.
“But that story still stands.”
“Of course,” she shrugged. “It’s an ice breaker.”
We paused as our gondola passed by the ground and then moved back up in the air. “So.”
“So,” she echoed, looking at me.
“I missed you,” I said simply. She looked away before looking back at me. Right at that moment, the ride stopped us right at the very peak of the wheel, jerking the gondola a bit. I watched Amanda look around the park before looking at me again.
“I love it here,” she said, almost whimsically. “This is the best place to be stuck.”
“Even if you’re stuck with me?”
She considered it for a while, and for a moment I thought she’d change the topic again. But she looked at me straight in the eyes and smiled. “Yeah, even with you.”
Silence again. I opened my mouth to speak but she beat me to it. “Chase…I’m sorry.”
“For that night. At the beach.”
I shook my head. “There’s really nothing to be sorry about.”
“There is,” Amanda said, looking away. “I…I wanted things that I shouldn’t. And you were one of them.”
“Yeah,” she blushed and looked away. “I liked you ever since I met you, Chase. But you liked Olive more, so I stepped back. She liked you too, and who was I to stand in the way of my best friend’s happiness?
“But when my mom got sick and Olive went away, and we spent too much time together, it was too much. I fell for you. And I know it’s wrong, because Olive trusted me. And I broke that trust.”
“You didn’t,” I said gently. “Nothing happened between us.”
“I couldn’t live with it,” Amanda continued. “I couldn’t, even if Olive said it was okay. So I stayed away. I figured that this was just a crush, and I can get over you. Which was kind of why I stayed away.”
“Was that also why you left?” I asked.
Amanda half-nodded. “It was one of it. I was offered a job abroad so I took it. I wanted to start anew, to let go of how I almost destroyed our friendship.”
“You didn’t, Amanda,” I said. “You didn’t. Things just happened…but none of it was your fault.”
“Olive told me that,” Amanda said. “But I guess I couldn’t let it go.”
“Well, now you can,” I smiled, and reached for her hand. She looked at my hand that covered hers and smiled.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry Chase.”
“I forgive you,” I replied. Maybe, just as I needed to hear it from Olive, Amanda also needed to hear it from me.
And I was right, because she brightened instantly.
“Thank you,” Amanda said softly. I squeezed her hand.
The ride started up again, but it was time for us to start going down. We watched as the ride stopped every now and then to let the people down. Pretty soon, everyone else was already on the ground, waiting for us to get there too.
When we met up with them, Amanda and I were laughing at something that happened during their paintball match. I looked up and saw Olive smiling at us, her green eyes sparkling, thankful that things may finally be going back to how it used to be.
“So Amanda, were their fairies up there?” Vince asked Amanda as soon as we got to them.
Amanda grinned. “No, still nothing,” she looked at me and then at Olive, and her grin got wider. “I got something else better though.”
Author’s note: So I really wanted this to be a “sawi” story, but it didn’t turn out to be that way. I have a feeling it had something to do with my characters, but I liked how it turned out — not overly mushy, and more on the friendship. I think. Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day!