Before I started singing, Trisha gave me a small intro. When she was done, she gestured me to come forward and I slowly did. There weren’t much people yet. Good. My eyes were still a bit puffy from the drama-rama earlier with Dan. I put on a smile and hoped for the best. I sat on the stool and picked up the guitar on my side.
“So, this one’s from Begin Again,” I started. My voice sounded coarse from the crying I did. I cleared my throat before I spoke again. “It’s a great movie starring Kierra Knightley and Mark Ruffalo; do catch it if you haven’t. So yeah, this one’s from it. It’s one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy.”
Before I was to begin, I saw two figures, holding hands, entering the pub. And my heart sank to my chest. It’s Dan and Lilia. I looked back to Trisha and mouthed, they’re here.
Get on with it! She mouthed back.
I played in the first chords and I can’t even look at the audience. I can feel Dan’s staring intently at me. Even from a distance. I don’t know how, but I just do. Before I sang the first line, I looked up and my eyes instantly found him. As I play along the song, every word I sang, I wish he got that I want him to know those things. When the instrumental came in, I bowed to let the tears fall. It’s painful. How can he not know that?
I looked back up and my vision was a blur from the tears. My face feels warm and my voice shakes but I still managed to sing the last line of the song. “You have broken every single, fucking rule. And I have loved you, like a fool.” Right after the last chord, I stormed out of the pub through the back door.
It’s raining. Oh perfect. I cried myself out. It was too much. I never should’ve told him about this pub. What was I thinking? That I’m okay? That I can sing the song for him, without having to shed a single tear? It was so stupid of me to think like that!
“Hey.” A familiar voice said. And when I looked back, Dan was standing next to me.
I have to get away. I ran into the streets and let the rain wash over me as I cry my heart out. Jesus. I’m like in one of those cliché movie scenes. Crying under the rain. How pathetic. I hear Dan calling me but I don’t turn around. I kept running and running. I don’t mind if I’m already soaking wet. All I know is that I have to get away.
Someone pulled me over and it’s obvious who it was. “Stop!” He’s soaking wet and he’s gorgeous.
Really, Marlee? That’s what’s running in your head right now?, I thought to myself. I am so unbelievable. Any car out there who’d like to hit me right here, right now?
“No, you stop,” I said firmly, wriggling out of his grip, trying my hardest to ignore the way he’s looking right now. “Go back to Lilia. Why did you even follow me here?”
“You’re really asking me that?” he said like it was the stupidest thing I have said in my whole life. “I wanted to know if you’re okay. What happened back there?”
“Nothing!” I shouted at him. “I’m okay. Forget it. Now you know I’m fine. Go!” I turned my back but he pulled my arm and wrapped me around in a tight embrace. My eyes grew wide and the tears stopped falling. My hands, like they have a mind of their own, found their way into his back and hugged him as well. This is wrong. This is wrong. “This is wrong,” I finally said it. But it came out as a faint whisper instead of a commanding call. I pulled away. “Why did you do that?”
“Why not?” he asked.
“You’re getting married. You can’t do stuff like that anymore. Especially not with your ex!” I began to shout.
“Why did you acted like that?” he asked, completely ignoring what I said.
“You fucking know why. But it doesn’t matter. Forget it.” It was true. Even if I tell him how I feel, that I’m still in love with him, it’s not gonna change anything. He’s getting married. That’s it. End of the line.
“If you felt that way, why didn’t you came back?”
He’s got to be kidding me right now. Maybe the heavy downpour wiped his memory of the day he just abruptly decided to end our relationship. “You let me go. You said you’re not sure if being with me was something you want. And you expect me to come back after that?” Every word cut my throat. Remembering that day was painful but having to spit the details out my mouth was way worse.
“I was wrong!” he shouted. “I never should’ve said that. I knew it the moment you left. I got myself drunk. And you know I don’t drink. It was the only way I thought of to ease the pain.”
“I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. You’re getting married. This is it,” I retorted.
No more, I told myself. I’ve had enough. I’ll walk away from this now. It was a mistake seeing him again. I never should’ve felt those things when I was singing the song. It never would’ve gone this far if only I had better control of my emotions.
That’s when I heard footsteps on the rain. And slowly, Lilia came into full view, holding an umbrella. She went over to Dan and shielded him from the rain. “Why are you two getting soaked up? Dan,” she looked up at him. And what I saw was the look of love. I couldn’t take that away. I should let Dan go. Lilia, she’s perfect for him. Maybe this is how it should be for us. Then Lilia looked at me, “Are you alright?” She sounded concerned. And I felt bad because I lied to her about how I knew Dan. But there’s no more time for guilt tripping.
“Yeah,” I managed to say with a smile. “Soaking wet, but fine.”
“Marleeee!” I heard Trisha’s screech through the roar of the rain. “Get over here.” She was holding an umbrella and I walked towards her. “You’re so crazy! Come on, we’ll dry you up.” I turned my back from Dan and Lilia, not saying anything.
“Marlee, tell –”
“Stop it Dan,” I turned and cut him off. “That’s enough.” My voice was stern. I meant what I said. And I wasn’t just telling that to Dan. I’m telling that to myself, too.