Guest Post by: Camille Santos
“You should come to my house, Vince. They’d be thrilled to meet you.”
Tonight would be the last night he would see her, and yet tonight would also be the first time he would meet her entire family. Vince took a deep breath and threw a cigarette, his fifth one, to the ground. He was shaking all over.
He wanted to go back into his car, to speed away from this place. From all of them. From her.
But how could he? Yin seems everywhere now – her very form haunted his dreams.
Finally he took a step towards the brightly lit house.
As he entered, the cloying smell of hundreds of hundreds of flowers assaulted his nose. A memory flashed in his mind.
“You know, scents evoke memories more than objects do,” she was twirling a straw absent-mindedly in her fingers. “That’s a fact”.
She smelled good, like melons and vanilla and oranges. And he just smiled.
He saw her brother, Kyle, standing near the entrance, greeting the people coming in. His eyes were bloodshot orbs rimmed with dark circles. Kyle glared when he saw him approaching. “Oh, so you finally found the courage to come,” he coldly addressed.
He could almost hear her voice whispering, “I love my brother so much.”
Kyle left him and talked to a lady way up front. Vince could hear them conversing in lilting Chinese, and he smiled.
Gua ai di.
Suddenly the lady was in front of him, and he realized he was talking to a spitting image of Yin – dark brown almond shaped eyes, heart shaped face, bee stung lips – it was as if she had come back.
“Vince.” Her voice was high, sweet and airy, like Yin’s.
She used to sing while playing the guitar, he thought.
He shook the lady’s hand. “Auntie.”
She led him quietly to the closed casket. “She… she was all over the place when you left her,” she whispered. “She loved you so much.”
“So finally you’re here!” boomed someone from behind. “The infamous Vince, huh? The one who broke her heart? Why are you here?”
It was Yin’s father.
“I… wanted to say sorry,” he mumbled.
“Sorry?! Are you freaking insane? Look at her now. You turned her into that. You killed my daughter,” he screamed. Yin’s mother sat sobbing in one of the chairs.
“Yin is gone,” the other line said.
He was confused. Did she go out of the country? “Where to?”
“No man, she’s gone. Like, dead.”
“This is a sick joke. She can’t be gone.”
“Car crash, man. She was killed going to your place.”
His phone slipped from his hands.
“Hey. Hey! Still there?”
He felt a dull thud hit him, and everything else was dark.
He heard her voice, the same high and airy voice that befits her name. He mouthed her name. “Yin…”
Her hair was tousled from sleep – short black locks covered h0er face. She ran a finger down his chest. “Good morning.”
God, she was immaculate. Every inch of her was perfect. He was glad that she was his. Well, almost.
“Vince, what are we?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Are we… us?”
“No, Yin. It’s not yet time.”
She didn’t say anything, she just smiled.
It came to him one night, when he figured out that this girl, Yin, was probably too good for him. And it was sad that he should let her go, but he honestly felt unhappy with her. So, grabbing his phone, he sent her a message.
“I can’t do this anymore. I have to leave you. Please stop thinking of me.”
It took her a long while to reply. “I don’t understand.”
“You have a great life ahead of you. It’s about time you prioritize something else.”
“I have my priorities set, Vince. You are one of them.”
“Then erase me. Forget me now.”
“That’s like trying to know someone you haven’t met. That is nonsense.”
Every time his phone beeped, he knew it was a message from her. And each message was stronger than the first, each one filled with rage, with loathing – classic Yin.
“I want my stuff back.”
That was the last.
When he came to, he was laying in one of the chairs at the back row, Yin’s mother holding an ice pack to his face.
“It’s a shame this had to happen,” her mother said warily. “I am sure Yin wouldn’t have wanted her dad to punch you.”
Oh, so he punched me and I blacked out, he thought.
She reached to her side and got a tin box. “Yin wanted you to have this,” she said, putting the box in his hand. It was badly dented in places, and there were curious brown splotches all over it. Blood. “I didn’t change the box… it was pulled from the wreck along with her body.”
“I want my stuff back.”
“You know what? That night, Yin told me she was going to your flat to get her things. If I had known then, I wouldn’t have allowed her to go,” she said in feigned tone of nonchalance. “What happened, Vince? My daughter was really happy with you. Where did she go wrong?”
He stared blankly into the bright lights.
“She got some tickets for a concert, you know. It’s for a band you like, she said. But a few days before the concert, you left.”
“I should go,” he interrupted.
“When all these hiatus is done, we’re gonna go and celebrate my birthday at a resort. Just you and me,” she was smiling.
“I can’t come.”
She rested her head on his shoulder. “Oh. Why?”
“I have other things to do.”
“Maybe you just don’t like going to the beach. Where do you want to go?”
He pushed her away and looked into her eyes. “I really do not want to go anywhere.”
“Okay,” there was that smile again, that smile which looked happy and sad at the same time.
His head was throbbing badly. Her father could sure pack a punch. Hesitantly, he opened the bloodstained tin box. Inside were letters – dozens of them – a CD, and a book she borrowed from him shortly before he left her. This was Yin. She’d been a writer, after all.
“If I get a novel published, I’m gonna put you in the dedication.”
He played the CD.
“Hey –“ her voice filled his apartment, chilling him. “By the time you’re playing this, I may well be away someplace else. I had a hunch you’re gonna see this CD first, so yeah. Uhm… I’m giving back your stuff – it’s nothing much, really. Just your book. I had a great time with that book, too. There are letters in that box, I don’t know if you would read them – but yeah. Those are all for you. They’re poems, actually. I wrote them for you, so technically they’re also your stuff. I’m giving them back.”
There was a short pause, followed by a sigh.
“I don’t know what happened. Maybe things just come the way they are, and I know I cannot change anything – I hate that. I do not want to place the blame on anyone, especially you. I know you have your reasons, and maybe it’s not yet the time for me to know. Well… I loved you. That’s all. I loved you with an honest heart. I don’t know if you loved me at all, but yeah. I’m grateful for the attention.”
Then she was sobbing.
“Grateful… even if… you know, you were… a-always busy… like, not wanting to come anywhere with me and stuff like that…” she chuckled bitterly, “and if I can return all your hugs, you know I will. Maybe we’re not cut out for each… for… for each other, huh? Soon you will – oh God this is so wrong – you will… f-find a girl… and you’ll be happy… and… and sh-she’ll sing songs with you… b-b-better than I can… take care of her when you find her, okay?”
There seemed to be a lot of fidgeting around, and then he heard her again.
“I put all our songs in this CD. Good luck, Vince. I’ll see you soon.”
Then he heard the first song they ever sang together. He shut his eyes, feeling them water.
Perhaps it is my fault… if she hadn’t gone out that night to get her things, she wouldn’t have died. If I hadn’t done everything I did, she would still be alive.
“I loved you.”
He lit another cigarette, puffing along as the CD played the songs she had loved.
“I was honest.”
What if Yin was indeed the one?
“What happened, Vince? My daughter was really happy with you. Where did she go wrong?”
Nothing happened, really.
“Look at her now.”
He didn’t even see her in the casket – their friends told him her face was badly damaged from the impact. The last memory he had of her was when he saw her off at a train station. And a few weeks later, he left her.
You broke her heart.
How exactly bent out of shape was she when he broke the news to her? Could it really have been that bad? In his mind he pictured her and that weird happy-sad smile of hers. In his frustration, he kicked the CD player.
“Good luck, Vince. I’ll see you soon.”
”Good luck, Vince. I’ll see you soon.”
He closed his eyes and let her voice fill his whole body.
“Good luck, Vince. I’ll see you soon.”