Manual for Falling in Love: Chapter One

«Dedicated to all of the people in my life that stayed enough to make a lasting impact and i never saw again»

Maybe Ever After

«Why do you always stare at the sky?». She asked, resting her face on my chest, grabbing my hand and leaving a deep breath behind.

We were on the park, just laying on the grass, dogs were running around, kids were playing in the sand, couples were kissing each other on benches. But we, we were not a couple. Just friends.

«I guess, i have always liked the sky. When I was little I used to stare at the sun, at the clouds. I always imagined big dragons in the sky, roaring and breathing fire. It was fun. I also imagined what would it be like to see the earth from above, like an astronaut, i always wanted to be one».

Laura laughed «Well, that explains the glasses». I smiled. She could not spend more than one day without mentioning the glasses. They used to be atrocious.

«Are you serious?»

«About what?» I answered.

«About being an astronaut, travelling the world, seeing the dragons up close.»

«No, i can’t»


«Well, you have to be a scientist, you have to be investigating something worthing the hassle of going up there. I am not like that. I am a journalist, and journalists don’t go to space.»

That was the last day we saw each other. We used to talk a lot, Laura and I. Specially on long sunny days. Her parents never let her out after 9:00 PM, so all of our official meetings, as she liked to call them, were during the day, as early as we could to have more time together. Her house was exactly 57 minutes away and everyday that we had a «meeting«, I had to go to her house to pick her up. Every. Single. Day.

Of course Laura always received me with ice-cream and cookies, and in exchange i gave her long hours of talking about college, about which «Star Wars» movie was better, about why the protagonist from The Legend of Zelda is named Link and not Zelda. She in return gave me long stares, cuddles, confused looks and a shoulder to rest, although i was the shoulder most of the time, we did it ever since we finished school. We did not wanted to separate from each other just because i entered college, her parents were straightforward with her: «Painting is not a real career». And so she started to work as a bartender to save enough money to study. That day, after unsuccesfully trying to make me switch careers and escape from my boring life as a journalist, she gave the bad news.

«I’m leaving» She said in a somber tone.

«Are you sure? I saw a very particular duck on the park’s lake, we can go and feed him»

She laughed. Again. «My uncle Joyce will be arriving tonight from Australia, he is going to stay here for a week or so and then he is going to take me with him. He already made all the arrangements.» She was not laughing anymore.

I looked at her, she looked at me, and an electric feeling rush through my eyes, like if a ligthing had struck nearby, like if suddenly the whole world had vanished, it was just me and her.

«You can visit me, Australia is not that far away»

«That’s why you should not skip classes. ¡It’s literally on the otherside of the world!»

«Then you can write me letters» She said. «You always write cute«.

«I would not call my writing cute, it’s academic». I was going to cry. We had been friends for over 10 years and then ¡poof! that friendship would be gone in an instant, but she would be okay, i thought, she would be happy, she would sell her paintings and…

«And i would sell my paintings in the louvre, –the biggest artist since Monet- That´s what the magazines would say, you can have interviews with me and you would be famous and then…»

«I would be famous too and we can go to the space». Back then, Laura was able to read my mind. We spent all afternoon fantasizing about our lives in the far away future, what would happen in the year 2020. Would we have flying cars? Would we have colonized mars? Would we be together again. I hugged her when we arrived at her home because i feared the worst. She kissed me in my cheek and said goodbye. We never saw each other again.

Daniel finished talking, the auditorium was empty right now but he could hear how the whole auditorium clapped, he could imagine the director Alan, someone who could only be described as the oldest person in the world, giving him the prize for the best story and his teacher Marcus would be astonished at him, he would say «but how did he won, no one believed in him» and Daniel would answer «I believe in me» or something catchy and corny like that, it was the final year, after this everything would change, college, state, personality, friends, he was ready to face it all… Except that he was not, he always feared speaking in public. Daniel was not a particular guy, just another average high school student, brown hair, brown eyes, slim, average height of 5′ 7» and horrible glasses pulled directly from a telescope.

«I think we have a winner, wait, scratch that, you should work on the ending, it feels rushed. Do that and then we will have a winner» Said a female voice that pulled him from his line of thought.

Daniel looked down, smiled and bowed to a single figure. Liz was there.

«So, let me get this right, in your story, I will go to Astrala, and then our friendship will be over?» Said Liz frowning.

«Look Liz, the fact that the character i wrote has your name does not means that is based on you, and it’s Australia.» Said Daniel very convincingly.

Liz looked at him, looked him straight in the eye. «Right. That’s why her hair is black.» Daniel looked at her for a second, Liz always liked to wear long white shirts with cute designs, always one size up, black jeans. She was also another average girl, but if you asked Daniel he would tell you that she is the most special girl in the world. Liz had black hair of course, green eyes, and she was the same height as Daniel, which instantly made her taller than almost all the other girls in the high school.

«Well, yeah, her hair is black, and so what? Literally like half of the world has black hair»

«Right…» She said unconvinced, and with a sly smile, looked straight to Daniel. He smiled and tickled her ribs. She punched him in the arm. Slightly harder than usual, but not that hard as to hurt him. «And why did you said that you have atrocious glasses?» She said while he took her by the arm. «And what does atrocious even means?» She took his glasses and wore them. «Look at me, i’m a big nerd who says weird words and now i can see the future, no, scracth that i can’t see shit»

«Atrocious is not weird, it’s evocative»

Liz scowled at him, then she grinned and she mocked him. «Atrocious is not weird, it’s evocative, i am using so many oxford words»

Daniel tickled her again and took his glasses from her. «You are a completely headache… and by the way, these glasses are completely fine» Before Liz could answer, the bell rang and lunch was over.

«If you excuse me, I have to kill a lizard» Liz let go of his hand and turned around, then before she started running because she knew she was late. Liz had a thought, an intrusive thought telling her that something was going on inside Daniel’s little emotional brain, she sighed and looked at him sideways and in a serious tone, at least as serious as Liz could sound, she said. «If i go to Astrala…»


«Doesn’t matter, if i go there, and you stay here, we can always talk through chat, or you can skype me, it will not be the end of the world, we are friends since i have memory and we will remain friends until we forget. And I will never forget.» Then she smiled. «And that’s why you love me Mr. half the world» She hugged him and then she left.

Daniel saw her leave, he was wondering why did she said she had to kill a lizard when her next class was math. Then he thought about the end of things, the end of the school year, the end of his parent’s marriage, the end of his previous relatonship, he looked down and when he looked up she was already gone from his sight. He then walked back into the auditorium, his literature class would start in any moment, the other students arrived as well, Daniel sat alone. «But you will forget me…» He said to himself before opening his notebook and starting to write. «Second day is over, a million more to go«.

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