Beads of sweat streamed down from her temple as she struggled to jostle her way through a host of frenzied people clamoring and singing in chorus, all in high pitch decibels to a group of males performing on stage as though they had never seen such a spectacle before. Had it not been for the relentless coaxing of her friends to seeing ‘The Canons’ – as the band was named, she would never have, under any circumstance, drag herself into such gathering. But being the impressionable friend that she was, she yielded to their request. She raked the entire podium with her eyes for semblance of a man she so have been trying hard to evade, as she was told to. And as though luck was in total defiance with the wishes, her eyes collided with his. An awkward recognition broke through their faces but she instantly withdrew hers. It seems that coming here would’ve proved to be such a bad idea afterall. And still as if she hadn’t had the worst yet, her friends had somehow noticed the same thing.
“Hey Alice, don’t tell us you know Traze Canon, the vocalist. He keeps looking at you.”
She couldn’t do as much as stare at them as she had not the slightest bit of idea on how to respond to their questioning glare. Although lying was just an option, oftentimes, in the most desperate moments, lying had to be the only option.
“No, never seen him before.” She thought she heard her conscience grumble.
“I’m sorry guys.” She almost said aloud. “I better get going.”
It was an excuse to save herself the trouble of having to confront their scrutinizing eyes with another dose of lies. Yeah. Lies. It was such a disgusting package in her rather tragic life yet she was left with no choice. It was a necessary evil she had to put up with in a toilsome struggle to blot out a shameful fact that she finds too hard to resign herself to –the fact that her family, unlike any other, was a dysfunctional one. This, she made sure was beyond the knowledge of others. To the few people who knew her, they simply know her as Alyson Bellefry or Alice as what she was often called. The only known daughter of one of the wealthiest clan in their town. One of the pretty faces of the L hailing from the stellar class. She, unlike any other wealthy kids, is a soccer player –which she of course kept hidden from her father, making her the only female in the team.
She intended to shun herself from the prying eyes of the crowd. In doing so, she had not been quite aware that she had already walked a great pace to a lone tree-shaded bench which she had christened as her special place of solitude and which she also shared with another guy. However, they had not done so much talk as just stare at each other in the corner of their eyes suggesting familiarity with each other’s presence though, he just known her as Keanne. The man who always seek for peace and answers from his nightmares.
She took the liberty of imbibing the moment’s tranquility. She thought about what had happened earlier. It was not the only time she had come across Traze Canon. There were more than a few times that they would be seen together by her friends, often in clandestine and whenever she was asked what she had to do with him, she would always counter it with loaded silence which made them more suspicious of her actions. She wondered how long she would have to endure this kind of setting in her life.
It was there practice game for that afternoon yet her heart wasn’t totally in it. Remnants of the looming anger and frustrations still consumed her on account of an unpleasant encounter earlier that day. She, though not on purpose, had kicked the ball with such a great force that it landed right smack on a girl’s head who was unfortunately passing by. Coming to the senses, she shamefully, with all sincerity, uttered more than a few ‘I’m sorry’s’ then asked to be excused from the game. She sprinted out into the place that she knew to be the only spot where she could vent her emotions. Luckily, there was no sign of the guy who frequents the same place as she does. She cried her screaming heart out in wretchedness. She had only stopped sobbing upon hearing someone rumbling a close distance from her.
“Uh… are you okay?” There he was again. She thought she had to be thankful he was not here. But, as always, she was wrong. Utterly embarrassed for having been seen in the point of her vulnerability. She hastily made her exit to the other side of the bench.
“Hey! You left your book!” But she could hear him no more.
She tore down the cobbled stone pathway and finally resolved to settle something that was already long overdue for her to have supposed to be confronted a long time ago. And as though the gods have conspired to help her, she had accidentally crashed into Traze Canon.
“Alice? Are you okay? You seem like you cried…”
She hasn’t yet decided on whether she ought to be doing this but she knew she had no other to help but him. For too long a time she had lived behind her father’s phantom. Now, it was time to embrace her own self. Earlier that day, her father arrived at home from work already passed down looking all harassed and dog tired. He didn’t even bother to eat his meal instead, as always the norm, he reeled off his litany of how she should work hard as he was doing, and that he wanted her to be just like him. That left her in despair. Seeing him in his pitiful and hapless state, she thought about how his father really meant her to be exactly like him. She almost dared tried to tell him that she couldn’t bring into her existence all the drams he had for her.
“I can’t take it anymore! I don’t want to give him false hopes ,Traze.” She told him in between sobs.
“Then, tell him honestly. Tell him that you wanna be someone else. That somehow you have other dreams for yourself. Alice just for once, forget about your fears.”
That was what she had always admired about this guy. He was always that courageous. He wasn’t afraid to place his dreams before anyone else. After all, he was her brother, and still is her brother. Their father disowned him a long time ago because he decided to pursue a career that was far removed from what their father dreamed him to be. And because of the disgrace it caused their father, she was forced by him to avoid Traze in every possible way. But she found no justice in it. Their father wanted him to be a successful business magnate. He wanted to be a singer. Their father wanted for him fame. He just simply wanted to be happy with his chosen passion. He would always believe in making your passion your profession. And she had wished she had the same faith and audacity as he has.
“Traze, are you happy with what you are right now?”
“Alice, if I hadn’t dared to defy our father at that time I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. So I’d say, I’ve never been happier.” He said with a contented smile etched on his face.
“Do not let yourself be left hostage to someone else’s expectations, even that of our father’s. I believed he loves us both and just wanted what would be the best for us.”
Having said that, she knew it was now or never. She was going to do what she was supposed to have already done a few years then but just couldn’t muster the courage to do so. And she was going to tell him that she wanted to be a veterinarian someday.
And maybe… that someday is now.
Written by Marie Rose Genaldo. A connecting story for Clandestine.