Constellation #1 – Cancer
Brown, with little gold particles floating inside them.
Her eyes. They’re round, wide, and it felt like they held a whole galaxy in them. Her nose wide and round, bold like her personality. Her smile thick and wide, hidden behind a mask. But he knew she was smiling — the way her cheeks moved the mask up, and her laughter drifting in a whisper. Her smile never reached her eyes, except for when she was genuinely laughing. Or when she was excited about a music performance; they would glow like a whole constellation of stars was hovering above them. Her smile was rare, but her eyes were always honest of the wonders they saw.
That day was especially hot, but she braved the sun in her bright yellow shirt, as if challenging it to shine brighter than her. She walked past his house like she usually did, and a set of eyes followed her every movement like they usually did. They were like a pair of thirst-ridden birds, amidst the scorching weather they drank on her like an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Where is she going? He had wondered. She stopped in front of his house, and a heartbeat or two skipped his attention. Is she here for…? His thought trailed off as she looked down on her smartwatch, read something on it, and kept walking. Just like she usually did.
No, of course she wasn’t here for you!
He turned his head to the floor length mirror in the safety of his room and saw a reflection so familiar. His own. His clothes, dark. His hair, dark. His eyes, dark. His intention, dark. Everything about him was dark but his complexion. And everything about her was bright but her complexion. Even her toffee-coloured skin glowed whenever light hit them.
She was the epitome of light, and he was darkness craving what he shouldn’t. He knew that it wasn’t healthy, that he needed to get over whatever he felt for her. Because it couldn’t have been love, it wasn’t lust either — he had no desire to bed her. He just wanted to get closer to her, feel the warmth of her light. What does it feel like to look at the sun and not burn from its radiance?
He decided to end this today. No, he decided to give up today.
He’d been obsessing over her for too long. Looking forward to her morning walks by the front of his house, documenting her image in his eyes, his head, every lobe of his brain, and his phone. But he could never get any closer. So, what’s the use?
Taking off his black hoodie, he put on a red one and walked the familiar path to her house. The pavement was grey, firm, and hot. He felt grey, not as firm, but his cheeks would definitely grow hot the moment she laid eyes on him. Sighing, he put on his mask and slowed down as he entered her vicinity. Breathe in, breathe out. End this, once and for all.
He rang the doorbell and waited for five seconds before the door opened. Oh my God, that’s her — “Hi, come on in!” she greeted him. No mask was on, and her eyes were framed with gold-rimmed glasses. Gold. Like the freckles in her eyes. Cut it out! He stepped inside the house slowly. “You’re here for the albums?”
“Ah, yes. Though, you probably should’ve asked me that first before inviting me in, don’t you think…?” he said hesitantly.
She chuckled. “You’re right. I guess that’s why my parents wouldn’t leave me alone. My friends are constantly equally worried.” Walking around the big sofa, she picked up a box full of CDs. “I probably shouldn’t have said that too.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bug you, I just — ”
“No, don’t worry. You don’t seem like a dangerous guy anyway.” She laughed. If only you knew of the thoughts in my head, he thought. “Except maybe for the mask, haha.” She laughed nervously. Is she scared of me?
“Oh yeah, sorry, I didn’t want to be ignorant, I thought this was — ”
“No, sorry, stop apologising. I was just kidding. I’m not exactly good… with jokes.” She fidgeted.
Shit. “Oh, ah, well — right. Yes, sorr — no, wait, I mean…” he stopped talking and took a deep breath, “Maybe I should stop talking.” He chuckled nervously.
She laughed quietly, “Anyway, here are your albums.” She handed the box over, with more than ten CDs of a Korean girl group. A second of silence fell upon them, before she asked “Sorry, I was curious, did you buy them for yourself, or…? No judgement or anything, really.”
He knew them, of course, but he knew them from her eyes. She liked them, and that was good enough reason for him to like them too. “Yeah, they’re for me. I recently listened to them, and I think they’re cool.” What a lame answer. “And your collection was really helpful.”
“Ah, thanks. I’m proud of my collection too. But, well… changes have to be made.” She sighed and he felt like sighing too. Don’t I know that feeling? “By the way, are you not interested in buying the original album? They have posters and photocards… I mean I’m grateful you bought mine, but…”
“Oh, well. Music is music. I figure the music should worth more than the brand. Buying second-hand album means double-valuing the album for its music, right?”
She went quiet for a second. Perhaps a second too long that he started to doubt his words. Just as he was about to apologise again, she said “Wow. You’re right. I like that. Photocards these days outshine the music — ”
“You know how different stores sell different photocards — ”
“Yes! I know it’s business for them and all…”
“I still think they’re smart, though.” He said while handing her the money.
She laughed out loud and stopped abruptly, head lowered, lips pursed. “I do too.” Her eyes sparkled with unknown wonders. He wondered if they shone because of the things he said, or because he was just so drawn to her, that everything on her seemed bright. Scratching her head and clearing her throat, she said “Right, anyway. Thanks for stopping by!” she clapped her hands and walked him to the door. “I’m Deandra, by the way.”
He stopped, took a deep breath and looked back, “I’m Marcel.”
Deandra bit her lips and stretched a shy grin that tightened Marcel’s throat. “I know.”
The cheapest surgery in history. He just had to pay $250 for 20 CDs to cut this obsession, before it spreads even further like a malignant cancer waiting for his body to cave in. But just like the cancer that took his mother, he knows it’s still lurking somewhere, waiting for him to look away before completely consuming his whole consciousness once again.
Like a moth to a bright flame, he’d gladly let her burn him to ashes and swallow him whole. Because where there is light, darkness must not exist.
Deandra closed the door and leaned back on it for a moment. Biting her lips, she held in the scream that bubbled up her throat. She felt like a silly schoolgirl with a silly crush, but she’d never felt more alive.
A deep breath in and she finally let out the short scream she held in, “I’m rich!”