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Earnest for Ernest

Sometimes we feel so alone that we forgot that we are living in reality

 

The girl was in her adolescence, fair skinned, her eyes of dark brown shimmered in the light and her hair danced in the cold evening air.  It was not like any other evening she spent.  There was something special, something that made her wait...eagerly wait.  She stayed long in the evening, with no exact reason of whether the moon will ever stay to hug the evening.

            “I’ve been watching you for so long now”, a young man from behind the rocks where the girl was sitting appeared in the bleakness of the light.

            “Do I know you? Have I met you somewhere?”

            “Yes, you’ve been meeting me all your lonely nights”, the man answered with a soft, lonely voice.

            “If that is the case, I may as well break my mama’s warning.  May I know your name lovely man?”

            “Ernest”, he said.

            “Lovely name for a lovely man, just like the author of the novel I’m reading”

            “If I may ask young lady, may I know the title of the novel for which you are so interested with?”

            “A Farewell to Arms, nosy man”

            “Have you with the end of the novel?”

            “No, but I have read it many times now”, the girl answered in a proud boastful manner.

            “And how is that with the novel that you regret to see the final act?”
            “I don’t know, it’s just that endings for me are no good.  Endings bring loneliness.  It usually leads to death.  And I’m afraid of death as I am with life in living.”

            “There is nothing to fear with death.  Death is a beautiful thing to experience.  It’s something that fulfills life and gives you life though dead”

            “How is that?”, puzzled and weary, the girl questioned.

            “You see, in this life of so many deaths, you can never want more than life after death.   And the fact that I’ve been...”

            His words were broken by a sudden voice of an old woman possibly in her forties.  It came from the dark and gloomy seashore.

            “Agnes, Agnes where are you? Its time for dinner darling”

            “Been what, Ernest?”, anxious was she.

            “Agnes!”, the voice grew much louder, and obviously worried.

            “I’m here mama! I have to go. ‘Till then Ernest”

            “Yes, ‘till then...”

            The man wanted to say something.  A thing that could possibly change Agnes’ life, but there was something that hindered him not to.  He ate the words he just said, and thought that it wasn’t time yet, and when that time comes she could all be ready.  And so he hoped.

            The table was long.  Foods lined in such symmetry with the candles, giving the table a visible aroma.  House cleaners were lined too, in such manner given to a king or queen.  Flowers hung from the chandelier just above the table.  It was a dinner she had in her dreams.  It was so grand, so extravagant that Agnes’ eyes went wide open.

            “Agnes, go ahead and eat.”, her mother gestured her in the soft cushioned, wooden chair that is in the middle of the table.

            “Mama, what’s with this such an extravagant dinner that you’ve prepared for me?”

            “This is nothing compared to the happiness you’ve given me since you were born”, her mother took Agnes’ hands and touched it with her lips.

            “You sound like this would be the last dinner for me mama”

            “No darling..., don’t say such words:”

            “Sorry mama, I just can’t help but think of how I am”

            “You will be all right Agnes”, she gripped Agnes’ hands so tight that it felt so warm.

            “Let’s just eat mama." are the words that Agnes managed to say

           

            She was a special girl indeed.  Born and raised by a very wealthy family, with a very good parent a child could ever have.  However, from within that richness, she was poor.  Not from material goods but in the strength of character.  She lacked the courage to stand alone in her life for ever since her father died; she became her mother’s only solace...her mother’s only means of survival.  She was considered as a star without the light to shine, a flower without the petals to bloom, and a butterfly without the wings to fly.  She cradled sadness and treasured loneliness, but the books; the novels she read seemed to liven up the littlest spirit she had.  It seemed as though her life is between reality and fiction.  She often times consider herself as those heroes who passionately die in the midst of adversity.  She had the right to feel alone for beyond the beauty she have, she was not given a chance to feel love as anybody else did.  Not a love she shared with her mother but a constant love that will keep her strong and that one love that will accompany her during her waiting hours.

 

            Morning came.  The sun finally agreed for the night to trade light.  From her balcony, Agnes could see the rest of the world.  Moreover, it seemed so peaceful...so quiet, but the yearning inside her exhibited the chaos of a world once inhabited by strong people.  There above the rock designed by crawling weeds and lovely daffodils, sat the man she met last night.  This time he has this glow in his face that she cannot explain.  She waved to make him wait as she hurried down stairs to the troublesome rocks.

            “Have you been here long enough to see me wake in the morning?”, Agnes asked.  She wore a white satin night gown that stretched down to her toes.  The sun gave her the white silvery shine as she walked towards the rocks.

            “Yes, and I’d be happy to be here to see you retire to bed”, he said.  He was a very fine looking young man.  Judging from the way he dressed, he was probably a soldier.  Agnes could see a Red Cross over his arm, and he seemed so noble, so valiant.  Ernest looked strong although his features reveal a less muscled body.  His round face reveal a very childlike man with a very mature sense of responsibility.

            “You’re sweet and unpredictable”

            “I see you carrying that book again”, looking at the navy blue covered book reading A Farewell to Arms in a background featuring a soldier with light bombings over his head, Ernest shifted his sight.

            ‘Why you’d asked?”

            “Nothing.  You seemed to like that book a lot don’t you?”

            “Yes and does that mean anything?”

            “I don’t know...but I can see that you have such interest in war”

            “Not actually, but this book is not totally of war as you can see from the cover”, raising the book so as the cover seemed to reflect light on it.  “It’s about how love can be brought into a place so snarled by war”

            “How could there be love in war Agnes?”

            “I don’t know.  It’s an inevitable feeling”

            “So, you do believe in love Agnes?”

            “No, but I believe in a feeling that you can see yourself in another and be able to be yourself.  Becoming what you are and feeling something profound.”

            “Then isn’t that love that you’re telling me?”

            “Love is just a word that describes a feeling that common people tried to live with.  I see love as something that cannot be labeled with some sort of a name and with some sort of an explanation”

            “But have you ever felt that feeling?”

            “Everybody feels that feeling.  It lives within us.  God created us with it though most of the times we fail to use it and we forsake that it is in us.”
           

“If you don’t mind me asking, have you ever been in love?”

            “I want to think I have but I often feel that I’m alone in this world.  And I’m afraid to die alone or be alone for the rest of my life”

            “Don’t you want not to be alone?”

            “What do you mean? Who in the world would ever share his life with mine?’, she burst in laughter.

            “This is not a laughing matter.  You could be with me and me with you.  You see I love you Agnes.  It has only been a short while but I guess I have this feeling for you.”

            Agnes could not speak.  She was startled.  She never thought that this day would ever come.  That a man asked her to be his girl.  It was a big dramatic pause.  She was neither happy nor unhappy.

            “I..I..I....don’t know what to say.  I think I have to go”

            “But Agnes!”

            “I’m sorry Ernest.  This wasn’t the right time.  You should have not.”

 

            She left the rocks with a big cloud over his head.  Hurriedly, she went back to her room.  She looked at the mirror and she saw a young girl with brown eyes and soft, silky hair.  She saw a girl whom she thought was not her.  She saw her book and began to read the next chapter she was in.

            “You’ve been reading that book again, Agnes”, her mother found her sitting in a wooden rocking chair that faced the outside of the window.  Agnes did not return the gesture.  It was as if she was in another world or probably she just wanted to ignore the real world.

            “Agnes, are you ok?”

            “Ha?”, as if she woke up from a trance.

            “I said are you ok?”

            “Yes mom, I think so.”

            “I think I better get that book away from you.  I’m afraid that you are getting too close to it and give you some illogical effect or something”

            “Why you’d say?”

            “Because I cannot understand you now.  Sometimes you would talk to yourself or would be staring far beyond the horizon.  It’s just not you anymore”

            “I guess, it must have been brought by my malady”, from the sound of her voice she was afraid but from the look of her eyes she was strong.

            “Don’t say such.  You’ll be fine nothing’s wrong honey”, worried her mother eased her

            “Let’s just face it mother, I’m gonna die in just a matter of days or maybe hours.  But during those waiting hours nothing ever comforts me but his book.  The Lord may ever take my life away but at least when that day come I could have experience the life I ever wanted through this.”, hugging the book in both arms towards her heart.

            “I know how you feel but I also want to be a part of that world you’re telling.  I’m your mother, let me help you.”

            “Mother, all my life you have been a part of my world.  But this time I have to choose the world that I want to live in and in that world you cannot follow. I should live with it alone as you would in your world.”

            “I cannot comprehend.”

            “You see in life we are given our own roads which we may or may not follow.  But I, I have created a road of my own, a road full of flowers and thorns, animals and beasts, peace and chaos.  And if ever I surpass this world it would be because of you mother.”

            “Oh Agnes”, her mother hugged her tightly.  Her mother’s eyes went in tears as she continued to look far across the distance.  “I love you so much, my daughter.  Thank Lord for I have you”.

            “I love you too mama, my life is but not for long.  If you may forbid, I’d like to return to my world.  And I’ll see you in it mother.”

            “If that is what you like. I’ll see you then.”

 

            The evening came; the moonlight glittered in every wave the current of water sets upon the dark sea.  She stood there earnestly waiting beside the very same rocks she turned her backs into.

            “I thought you wouldn’t come”, Ernest finally shone in the dark.

            “I’ve been thinking about what you said, I think you’re not sure with what you feel, Ernest.  I thought that this was all I wanted.  That this was a dream come true.  But it wasn’t.  It will all end eventually and I want to end it now.  I don't want to break your heart Ernest.  I love you so, that is why I cannot let you to”.

            “What do you mean?  You love me and I love you what could ever be wrong?”

            “Me, Ernest.  Soon you’ll never see me again for I’m dying, Ernest” she trembled in fear but not of losing Ernest but of fear of what is in store for her in that death.  “So, I better not see you again, for I know we will in time”.  She couldn’t help the deep sadness she had.  She run away and with those last words she left the rocks.

            “I know how you feel.  That’s why I’m here, Agnes.  I’m here to fetch you and bring you to your world!”. Ernest shouted over the thick foliage where Agnes disappeared in the dark.  It echoed in the dark.  Though it was loud, Agnes did not hear a thing from among so many other things that cloaked her mind.

            She was brave, but coward.  She had the ability to fight death but she did not.  It was as if she was destined to such tragedy that most lonely people end up. 

The sun rose behind the waters, and with it was weeping.  Her mother sat beside her daughter’s dead body mourning.  She was beautiful even in death.  Her face that shone by the light of the sun made a lasting glow of contentment.  And on her right hand, she held the book she was reading.  On the margins of the page wrote, ‘A Farewell to Arms mother’.  Agnes never wanted to read the last chapter but during her death the book was turned to it.  Her mother took the book and read the death of Catherine Barkley, one of the characters in the novel.  She laid in her bed as Catherine would in the novel.  It was as if she made her death timely to her reading of the last chapter.  Her mother never understood what she meant by that, but surely her mother thought, that it would have been best if she had insisted of taking the book away from Agnes.