Chapter 8: State of
Melanie was confused in what Peter did but she kept thinking that Peter was fooling her and playing with her mind. She went to work the following day and avoided Peter but she found out that it was impossible to do. Her daily routine was a mess, and she did not seat in her favorite table during lunchtime, she sat far away from Peter as possible.
For several days Melanie did her best to avoid Peter but no matter how hard she tried their eyes met several times and she kept looking away. For the first time in her life Melanie was weak and as each day passes the more she entered the state of confusion.
“Lorna I have been trying to avoid him but why is it this difficult?” Melanie asked her friend as they walk out of the building. Lorna started to laugh at her and giggled. “Are you really avoiding him? Or are you waiting for confirmation or a follow-up on what he did?” Lorna asked her. Melanie stood still and looked at her. “What are you saying? I have been avoiding him and you know that!” she exclaimed. Lorna laughed even louder and said “Mel, if you are really avoiding him then why are you doing it half-heartedly?” Lorna asked again. Melanie started to frown and pulled her friend aside. “What do you mean half-hearted?” she asked her. “Well if you are really avoiding him then you can do better. Why are you still being visible to him?” Lorna expounded and the more Melanie got confused.
“I am doing my best to avoid him! I have not spoken to him even though I see him!” Melanie shouted and a lot of people were looking at her. Lorna giggled and grinned at her and patted her shoulder. “Mel, have you seen Anna lately?” she asked. Melanie quickly answered no and Lorna smirked at her. “What the hell does Anna have to do in this situation?” Melanie snapped and Lorna started to walk slowly. “Peter said Anna has been avoiding her, if Peter knew you were avoiding him then he would come to me and ask me. So far he has not come to me and ask so that means in his thoughts you are not avoiding him. And take note you never talked with him everyday” Lorna clarified and Melanie was silent as reality started to kick in.
The two of them walked away from the building and Melanie kept her head bowed. As they were to separate ways Lorna had more to say to her friend. “Mel, listen to me, if I were in your shoes I would be flattered with what Peter did, actually flattered and amazed with that cool move. I know you like Kyle and almost everyone knows that too. I also know you like Peter” she said and Melanie was about to interject but Lorna held her hand. “Let me finish please. You like Peter and you don’t have to deny that. If you don’t like him then you could have easily rejected him on the spot like you do with all your suitors. The first rose I can understand you were surprised that time but the next two, the Melanie I know would have done something nasty at once if she did not like the guy but you didn’t. For the first time since you became my friend I never saw you look that way for two straight days, Kyle and Peter. So right now I don’t know what’s on your mind but if I were you I would snatch them both!” she said and laughed loudly. Melanie stood still and looked up at the sky and sighed.
The next day during lunch Melanie did not proceed to the lounge, instead she went to the art gallery on the second floor. As she entered the room she saw Anna seated at the reception area munching on a sandwich. Melanie headed towards Anna and sat down beside her, “So this is where you have been hiding” she said. Anna looked at her and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t remember us being on speaking terms Melanie” Anna said and continued eating.
“I know you are avoiding Peter, I guess we are on the same boat now” Melanie stated and Anna looked at her surprised. “Would you like the other half of my sandwich?” Anna offered as she brought out the other half. Melanie quickly took the sandwich and smiled at her “Thank you I am really starving, I can’t go to the lounge because he is there” she explained. Anna laughed and fixed her seat and looked at Melanie. “So tell my why you are suddenly avoiding him” Anna asked Melanie. “You tell your reason first since you were the first one avoiding him” Melanie snapped back.
“That is fair enough; well I don’t want to fall in love with him. That is why I am avoiding him.” Anna revealed and Melanie almost choked hearing that. “You don’t want to fall in love with him? I thought you were” Melanie said but Anna shook her head. “I was falling in love with him, but I don’t want to hurt myself” Anna said and Melanie looked at her curiously. “I don’t understand you” Melanie said and Anna stood up “Come follow me I want to show you something” she said.
Melanie followed Anna as they walked towards the display area, a lot of art works were there ranging from paintings, sculptures and photographs. They reach the farthest corner of the room and displayed on the wall were several pictures on frame. “Melanie look at these photographs, can you tell me who took them?” Anna asked her. Melanie looked at the photos on the wall, there were twelve frames arranged in three columns and four rows. The last frame on the bottom was covered with a black cloth and the rest were the same photographs of the outside view which can be seen from the lounge but taken in almost different angles. “That’s easy, there is only one guy I know who carries a camera in the lounge, its Peter” she said and started laughing. Anna looked at her and said “Here you can see the reason why I don’t want to fall in love with him” and Melanie took another look at the photographs.
“Tell me Melanie why are you avoiding Peter?” Anna suddenly asked. Melanie was laughing but she stopped and looked at Anna. “I saw Peter holding a rose one day and we had a talk, he told me that he wanted to give that rose to the person he liked but he was afraid to do so. I gave him some advices and I got the shock of my life when he gave that rose to me hours after. I thought it was a joke but he was serious. I was confused, I did not know if he was serious or just playing games with me…so basically that’s the reason” Melanie explained. Anna nodded her head slowly but Melanie suddenly erupted in laughter. “I didn’t know you were a joker Anna, these photos are the reason why you are avoiding him? I really cant see why but these photos are funny. Why did they even display them? They are just the same photos of the same view from the lounge, you call this art?” Melanie said and again erupted in laughter.
“Stop laughing” Anna said softly but Melanie could not do so. “Please stop laughing!” Anna repeated in an angered voice but Melanie was not clutching her stomach and almost in tears as she kept laughing at the photos. Anna slapped Melanie on the cheek and everyone turned towards their direction. Melanie held her face in shock and in front of her was an enraged Anna. “I am in love with Peter but I cannot for the simple reason that he likes you! The day at that bar when he sang his eyes were focused on you! For a long time now I noticed the way he looks at you but I just ignored it. Then I saw this photographs, don’t you dare laugh at them! Take a look closer and tell me who do you see?” Melanie was almost in tears as she turned towards the photographs. On the first photograph she now sees the reflection of herself seated on her favorite spot on the lounge. As she moved her eyes to the next photograph it was still her reflection. Eleven photographs of the same outside view, all had her reflection on them, the only difference was they were taken on different days.
Melanie was stunned and speechless and turned to Anna. Anna was in tears as she held on to the cloth which was covering the last photograph. “And if that is not enough evidence for you then look at this” Anna said and quickly pulled the cloth to reveal the last photo. It was different from the others but still it was a view from the lounge, there were two reflections that were visible, Peter who was holding his camera and Melanie who was smiling. Melanie remembered that day well, it was the day when Peter told her she looked better when she smiled. “From the start it was all about you. Even though you were so mean to him he never did you harm or retaliated, didn’t you even think about that? How am I supposed to love him when he loves you?!” Anna furiously said then left the room. Melanie stood there in tears as she stared the last photograph.
“How am I supposed to love him when I like someone else?” she whispered to herself as more tears flowed down her face.