As the crow starts to descend towards the still damp soil due to last night’s heavy rain, at around 6 a.m., Albert wakes up. As a daily routine, he starts his day with a little exercise inside his circular room in the attic of a three storey 1890 wooden house near west coast.
It is normal Friday for him as he rushes to the kitchen to cook pancakes for breakfast. Tandem with, a hot milk chocolate with four floating marshmallows on top is the perfect pair for his favorite meal (pancakes). Pancakes are what he eats during lunch, snacks and yes, even dinner. This is Albert Waters, 17 years of age; living alone in an old tall contraption left to him by his long dead parents.
After breakfast, Albert immediately ascends back to his room to check his Facebook account. And after almost an hour of scrolling down his home pages and stalking his only 2 friend’s account, he immediately turn off his computer and walks to the bathroom. If you are wondering why he has only 2 friends in the globally acclaimed social network nowadays, well, the only reason to that is that Albert hates to socialize to a lot of people. He prefers to talk and know less people in his entire life. After his parents died in the car crash with him when he was 12 on their way home from a vacation, he prefers to talk to less and know less people. After getting out at the hospital months after the accident, Albert started to be different (you may include the pancake thing). His relatives tried to adopt him (not whole heartedly of course, just for the public show), but he refused. The government even took an action unto his situation but, still they failed to change Albert’s mind. Instead, he stayed in his family’s house. Nobody knew why. What everybody tried to conclude is that it was all because of the accident.
Around 5 p.m. in the afternoon Albert wakes up after a long siesta and goes to the place he calls, Paradise. Here, Albert watches the birds go home and how slowly the sun sets at the horizon. He sits above the grass until it gets dark or until Mrs. Grim (his nanny) begs to ask him to go inside to warm himself. Among the two choices, he decides he will wait for Mrs. Grim’s voice to crack from the porch near the back door.
It is dark already and Albert starts to wait for Mrs. Grim’s “beg portion of his life time” (that’s what he calls it). But, his patience already depleted to zero percent and he starts to bother. And as he is about to enter the house by himself, he sees Sasha (Mrs. Grim’s only daughter) standing a few meters away at his back. And like him, Sasha was like in the middle of appreciate –the- world- alone- deeply time.
“What are you doing here?” Albert asks Sasha.
“I was just looking for those stars tonight,” Sasha replied. She starts to walk toward Albert and sits beside him.
“Yes,” Sasha answers vaguely as he stares back at Albert. Albert starts to smile and then without any warning, he laughs hard and loud.
“What?” she asks, trying to know the reason why Albert is laughing.
“Nothing,” Albert replies, “I was just trying to make myself happy because my life has run out of things that could make me smile for just a moment. And there, I decided to make your statement a personal reason why I laughed. Even though, it was not funny enough to be laughed at as hard and loud as what I did.”
“Ok,” Sasha replies. She stares away from Albert and starts to lock her gaze at the dark sky full of stars. Albert did the same also. Now, there they are, two teenagers staring at the unreachable heavenly bodies.
“See those stars, Albert?”
“Those stars need dark sky to be seen, am I right, Albert?” she asked.
“Because if the sky is bright, then those stars will completely be invisible, right?”
Sasha takes a deep breath and looks at Albert.
“You are a star Albert,” Sasha says. Albert looks at her blankly.
“What?” he asks.
“You are a star…… You are a star that doesn’t shine even though the sky around you is already dark. Move on.”
Albert stands, his hands roll up. He doesn’t know what to say.
There was a moment of silence.
“This is not dark enough and I am not moving on anywhere with them still there at Africa. Tell me Sasha; why on earth am I still here for?” Albert says.
Sasha remains silent.
“Tell me!” Albert shouts. He grabs Sasha at the shoulder with both hands making her feel nervous.
Albert starts to cry. Tears slowly escape the corner of his eyes.
“Is it because all the ingredients for pancakes in this world do not and will not run out until I die? Or is it because African people still love my parents?”
“Neither,” Sasha answers.
“Then what is the reason Sasha ?” Albert asks.
Albert look at Sasha’s eyes keenly, both staring each other with teary eyes.
Sasha takes a deep breath.
“You still deserve to live a happy life,” she replies softly.
Tears start to escape from Sasha’s eyes after the last words escaped her mouth. She bows her head down so she can hide them from Albert. She doesn’t want to cry.
“Move on Albert. Dispose the darkness around you to shine. And if it’s bright don’t let it blind you. When it is very dark, take the chance. Take it positively. Grab the moment to shine bright enough so that darkness will not swallow you. Like those stars, Albert. Be one of them.”
Silence follows but it’s interrupted as the cricket’s choral voices start to emerge from the nearby woods. Sasha walks away from Albert and enters the house through the door at the porch. Albert is then left alone.
The golden rays of the sun start to color the skies full of clouds at the horizon. Albert slowly stands from his bed and walks down to the kitchen for his routine: eat pancakes in breakfast. He is about to get the pancake powder when he discovers that there was nothing left.
He is shaking as he storms to the living room looking for Mrs. Grim. Yet, Mrs. Grim isn’t there. He looks for the other rooms, still no trace of any humans. After frustratingly failing to look for other people to ask where the pancake powders are, he decides to return to the kitchen to look for it again.
It takes hours for him to accept that the procurement of the pancake powder is now impossible. He gives up and instead of taking breakfast he goes straight upstairs and dumps his face to his pillow and screams at the top of his lungs. He is angry (not being able to eat a pancake for breakfast today). He is angry because he can’t do anything about it. He is angry because he felt lonely again. The loneliness he felt for already five years; loneliness that keeps his sky bright and not making it dark enough for him to shine brightly.
His eyes are red and damp from crying as he stares the room’s ceiling blankly. After several minutes on bed, Albert stands and sits on the chair to open his Facebook. He checks his home page. Only two users are present on his homepage. He clicks the blue -link name of one of his friends.
There is silence. The screen of his computer is all white as the page starts to load. Then as the loading completes, the screen starts to fill up. It was a profile page of a Facebook user named George H. Waters. The profile picture of the user has a lot of resemblance to Albert’s features. He scrolls down the page and looks for the latest post of the user and found out that the latest was on October 19, 2007.
“Going back to the West, my brave little son Albert was a little upset here at the back seat with us leaving early on schedule… Sorry son. Your mom and I will make it up to you next time in Africa. We promise you. : ) ”
It takes several seconds when Albert starts to hold the mouse. He pointed the cursor directly on the comment box (982 Comments) below the status.
“When are you going home, Dad? Mrs. Grim and his family left me, that’s what I thought first but, ahahah I am stupid I forgot it is Saturday today Dad, no Mrs. Grim. It’s her rest day. So here I am again, alone in our house in the middle of a Saturday morning. What took you so long, Dad? It is really unfair that you and Mom took a vacation without me. By the way I cooked you and Mom pancakes yesterday, hoping it will surprise you if ever you go home, still you did not, so I ate it instead. It tastes good Dad. Like the taste when you taught me how to cook it. I miss you, Dad. Is Africa really far from here? Actually I was thinking if I will go there and surprise you and Mom so that we can be together again. I will not tell you when but in case I lose all my patience in this remaining life of mine, I might go there Dad. So go home now, or else I will spend some money from your savings to buy some plane tickets. Go home now Dad. I am still waiting. Go home and I will shine brighter than the brightest star in the universe Sasha was wrong Dad. I can only be a star like those at the sky last night if I am with you.”
Story by: Joel S. Andrada Jr (I hope you like it : > please leave a comment….)