Do I want to grow old with you? No, I don’t want to.
But do I want to be with you, right at this moment, stuck in a limbo, in an infinite loop of this exact hour, forever with you? Hell yeah I do.
That’s probably the last time Romeo remembers having a really meaningful conversation with Juliet. But let’s not get carried away too fast. Just like any other stories, this story also has a beginning, and it starts with an introduction.
Romeo is a boy of 20. He came from a quite conservative but not so out-of-the era family, or in other words, most family on earth. He hated the name his parent gave him, and he hates it even more knowing that his life would be so full of cliché, to the point he needs to experience the same thing as what the famous fictional Romeo felt. The fact that the girl he fell for also named Juliet only adds more to how cliché his life is.
Juliet is a girl of 20. She also came from a quite conservative but no so out-of-the-era family, or in other words, most family on earth. She loved the name her parent gave her, although she hated the fact that she needs to experience half of what the famous fictional Juliet felt, and that is to fall for a man named Romeo. Thankfully, she doesn’t need to die for love in her life.
Both of them study at the same university, and they definitely not the type of people who can become friends with each other naturally. Fate, in the form of a lecturer, is what brings them together. A simple group assignment is what makes Romeo and Juliet knew each other, more than just a name.
Even after their first fated meeting, and many many more meetings to finish the assignment, there’s no sign that Juliet will meant anything to Romeo other than just someone who became friends with him thanks to the situation. Heck, he kind of hated her actually, thanks to a certain conversation that happened randomly between them.
But, as time goes on, and as the group assignments keep coming without any changes to the team member, Romeo and Juliet become closer. He started to see thing he doesn’t see from Juliet before, and that fact is scary for him. How could I like somebody like her? My mind is only playing a stupid trick on me … is something that keep spinning in Romeo head, day after day after day.
The day is Monday, and Romeo got a class he needs to attend. One other thing was different though. Normally going to a class would require him a lot of willpower, but now he can’t even wait to get to the class. He knew why, but he just doesn’t want to admit it yet.
The first thing Romeo did when he opens the door was looking at a specific table, a table where Juliet always sits. Sadly, the table was empty.
“Fuck,” said Romeo to himself. He didn’t curse because Juliet is not there, he cursed the fact that that was the first thing he did after opening the door.
After sitting at his usual table, Romeo starts reading the book he brought from home. Every time someone open the door, Romeo will immediately turn his head to it while saying “Fuck” for the same reason as before. Few minutes before the class starts, Juliet finally came with all the squeaky cheers she always does whenever she enters the class. That sound used to be one of the most annoying sound for Romeo, but today that sound manage to put a little smile on his face.
“Fuck,” said Romeo again after realizing he just smiled to the sound.
Is Romeo in love? He probably is, but he doesn’t want to admit that. Falling in love with Juliet is dangerous, like really dangerous. She came from a totally different background from him, have different skin color, and worship different God. He doesn’t mind people doing interracial relationship, but does it have to be him? No, no no no. Hell no. The thought kept spinning in his mind.
“I need to talk with you,” out of nowhere Juliet come to Romeo.
Romeo was doing an assignment in the canteen when it happens.
“Uh oh, what is it?” asked Romeo.
“Can you keep a secret? It’s really important.”
“I guess I can.”
“Good enough, because I really need someone to talk to.”
So, Juliet starts telling her story to Romeo. About the problems she’s been facing for the past few months, about how it affects her study, about how he is not the first person she talks to, and so on.
Romeo doesn’t know how to react to everything she said. He tried giving suggestion, a really stupid suggestion, but it’s probably much better than just listening and nodding while Juliet is telling all her story, or is it?
One thing for sure though, Juliet trusts Romeo, even if only as a friend. They share secret now, even though Juliet has shared the same secret to few other people before. It still makes Romeo happy, so damn happy.
Oh man, what a pathetic boy I am getting happy just because of this silly interaction, said Romeo inside his head.
After sharing everything she wanted to share, Juliet starts talking about lighter topic. Just before she left, Romeo asked her something.
“Why did you tell me all these things?”
“Hmm, I don’t know. I feel I can trust you, and you are one of the few people who can talk to others directly without need to sugarcoat anything. I guess that’s why.”
What Juliet said is true, but Romeo finds it funny that even though he normally acts totally direct to anyone, he can’t do that to Juliet. He is not himself when she’s around, or so he thought.
After that interaction, Romeo fell even more helplessly to Juliet. It’s stupid, but for someone who rarely fell so hard to a girl, Juliet makes Romeo crazy. And the fact that she’s the closer to love he ever felt in years, yet a big wall of cultures, norms, and other things stand between them hurt him even more. That if Juliet is actually into him too.
Days gone by, Juliet and Romeo become closer. They started telling stories more often. But all of the stories are limited to their study, their friends, or anything beside their feeling to each other.
“She’s not into me, yeah she’s just an extrovert person.” Romeo keep thinking about that. And when he’s thinking about that, suddenly Juliet came sit in front of his table.
“So, you said you want to tell me something.”
It’s true, he already sent a message to Juliet, telling her he wanted to talk about something.
“Oh wow direct to the topic, it’s nothing important actually,” said Romeo.
“Come on, it’s not like you to be so indirect about things, what’s wrong with you, boy.”
Rome0 actually called Juliet to talk about her attitude recently. She’s been weird, at least in Romeo’s eyes, and it feels like she’s getting farther away, removing herself from so many activities with other students.
Juliet answered all his question one by one. All the thoughts about how she seems to remove herself from all other side-activities manage to be thrown down by Juliet. Maybe it’s just me to think too much about every single thing she does, thought Romeo.
“Is that all? Anything else you want to say?” asked her.
“Do you know that I used to like you?”
The words came out from Romeo’s mouth of of the blue. It was a lie though; he still likes her until now. He doesn’t even know why he decided to confess his feeling right at that random time, moreover confessing a half lie like that. It wasn’t planned at all. When he heard Juliet say “anything else”, well that’s definitely one thing Romeo has been planning to say to Juliet, since eons ago, or in normal human time, since eight months ago or more.
Juliet shows a little bit surprised expression, and then she said “No, I have no idea at all. Why?”
“Why do you like me? I mean, there must be a reason right?”
“Oh yeah, probably … or not. I don’t know, I think there is, but I’m not sure. Argh I’m sorry I start to speak in gibberish now.”
Juliet did not respond to that. Romeo didn’t even dare to look at her face directly. But he saw that she’s still dumbfounded with what he just confessed.
“Okay, I see you as a really strong person okay. You have a big girly side, but you are also a really strong independent woman.”
“Okay I get the girly part, but what makes you think I’m a strong woman?”
“Well, just look how you work with all of your assignments and organizations. I definitely will never be able to do what you do. Ever”
“Oh come one, everybody has something they are good at. You also have something I can’t do and that’s pretty normal.”
“I know, but still … I’m not sure. That’s probably what attracts me to you the most.”
When he said that, Romeo tries looking at Juliet for awhile. He saw a glance of smile coming from her, or maybe that’s just his imagination. Yeah, that’s probably just my imagination.
“So, what’s next then?” asked Juliet again.
“To be honest, I don’t know. I said this because I can’t keep hiding it forever. I need to say it to you even though I know it’s impossible for me to ask you out, considering all the differences between us.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right.”
“You don’t need to say anything though. I just need to get it out of my system. That’s all I want to say.”
“Oh okay then, I have something else to do. You don’t have anything more to say right.”
“Yes, yes, that’s all.”
After that, they say good bye to each other. When Juliet left, Romeo let out a heavy sigh.
“Wow, that’s one hell of an old baggage I just let go, and whole hell of new baggage I just got.”
During the whole conversation, Romeo can’t keep shaking. It’s an old habit he just can’t let go. Thankfully, they were sitting during the whole conversation, so he can hide his tremor. Still, to let something that’s been keeping his heart heavy for the past few month, that’s a really big relief.
So now, after the big small confession, what’s next for them? Funnily, both Romeo and Juliet never mention that thing again, at least not to each other. Romeo told some of his friends about his feeling for Juliet. What about Juliet? Romeo didn’t know anything about how she copes with his confession. She probably told some of her friends too. But that doesn’t even matter, they weren’t mean for each other anyway.
On the outside, nothing seems to change between them. They still talk about their studies, about their friends, and about other shits that’s happening between them. But they never ever mention anything about the time when Romeo confessed to Juliet.
At first Romeo thought that confessing his feeling would mean he’s letting go a big boulder inside his heart. Turns out, it only transforms the boulder into a big monster that’s asking for more. Letting Juliet knows about his feeling is not enough. He need to have her, he wants to hold her tight, he wants to stare at her eyes and say he loves her to Pluto and back, he wants to hear her say “I love you too”, he wants to kiss her, he wants to runaway with her to a place where no one would care about their background and just see them as a cute young couple in love, he wants to do all good things in life together with her, and more than anything on this earth … he simply wants her.
The feeling is killing him. How could she acts normally after that confession? Does it mean his confession meant nothing to her at all?
The peak of his feeling came one day when he is falling asleep. Suddenly his body is drenched in sweat, his heart beats so fast, and his thought only run to one thing … Juliet. He wanted … no, he needed Juliet.
He doesn’t care about anything else, about the norms, about the families, about everything! There’s one thing he needs to do tomorrow, and that is confessing his feeling (again), to Juliet. This time though, he is asking her out. If she feels the same way, he will ask her to just give it a try and fight it together. He is going to take the leap of faith, and it will be the first thing he does the next time they meet.
It doesn’t happen the next time Romeo and Juliet meet. When Romeo sees her, he knows something was going on. There’s this weird aura surrounding her, scary aura that always makes Romeo feel afraid. Romeo is not a scaredy-cat, but being around Juliet can easily scares him.
The same aura came from Juliet for the next few days. When the aura is finally ease up, Romeo finally has the courage to approach her. It was right after a night class and both of them were ready to go home.
“Hey Jule, are you going back? Let me drive you home.”
“Oh it’s fine, I’ll just use Uber.”
“Uhm, I have something I need to tell you though.”
Her expression changed to something Romeo never see. Like a mix between happy, sad, and angry, if that kind of expression really exist anyway. “What is it about?”
“It’s about … uuhm … you know, the thing I told you a few months ago.”
The same expression, the slight smile he saw when he first confessed, returned to her face. “Okay, let’s go for a drive. I know a good place to talk.”
Romeo starts driving his car, and Juliet sit next to him in the passenger seat.
They talked for awhile about studies, about friends, and some other things they usually talk about. Juliet shows the direction on where to go to Romeo, until finally they reach a park, an empty park.
“I don’t know a place like this exist in our town.”
“You know nothing, Romeo.”
“Hey, how did you learn that phrase? You don’t read or watch Game of Thrones.”
“It’s everywhere on the internet though.”
“Good point, good point.”
They sat together on a bench. The time was almost midnight. It was a perfect night, with bright stars and big moon decorating the sky. The weather was great, it’s not too hot, and it’s not too cold too. They sat next to each other.
“So, what do you want to talk to me about?”
“Well, you remember that I told you that I liked you right?”
“It was a lie.”
“What do you mean?”
“I still like you, that time, before that, and even until now. And my feeling towards you is probably getting bigger, day by day.”
“Oh, I know.”
“What? Is it that obvious?”
“No, it’s not, but it’s kind of easy to guess.”
“Ah okay, so yeah there’s that…”
“You know, when I first confessed to you, I thought I only need to do it so I can let go some of the baggage I have in mind. But after that, you haunt my head even more than before.”
He continued with all the things He has in mind for the past few weeks, about how he wants to be with her even though it probably won’t end well, about things that has been bugging him and disrupting his studies for awhile.
“Romeo, I like you. I like you a lot, probably more than as friend. But you know, seeing from our backgrounds, it’s impossible for us to be together.”
“I know, but still … I really like all the interactions we had. Whenever I speak with you, I feel happy and afraid in the same time.”
“Why would you feel afraid?”
“Because I don’t want to say anything that will make you think less of me. I want to look perfect in front of you, even though whenever I’m in front of you, it felt as if I can only show all of my imperfections.”
“Hey, nobody is perfect. Beside, it still feels weird knowing that you liked me.”
“Oh tell me about it. I don’t even know why I can be so madly in love with you. You don’t like things that I like, and please don’t get me started with the fact that your favorite book is actually one of the book I hate the most in this life.”
“Huh? You mean The Secret?”
“YES! Oh God please let’s not talk about that thing now okay.”
“Hahaha okay, let’s not talk about it. But if you know that our relationship won’t work well, why you still keep telling me about all of this, again and again. Why don’t you try to forget me?”
“I’ve tried, but just one interaction with you is enough to make me think that you mean so much to me. You don’t listen to Explosions in the Sky, but your face is the one that appears in my head whenever I listen to them. You don’t play as much video games as I am, but your existence is what I want the most whenever I play a multiplayer game. We pray to different God, but your face is the one that appears whenever I pray for a good future on everything.”
Juliet didn’t say anything. She just looks into my eyes while listening to everything I’ve been keeping in my head, and my heart, for a long time.
“Before this, I always thought that when I fell in love with someone, it would be a person that I want to grow old with. Do I want to grow old with you? No, I don’t want to. But, do I want to be with you, right at this moment, stuck in a limbo, in an infinite loop of this exact hour, forever with you? Hell yeah I do.”
Both Romeo and Juliet didn’t speak for a while after that. They just keep staring to each other. They don’t know what’s happening, but they surely feel something weird, something magical, is happening between them now. After a few minutes has passed, Juliet broke the silence.
“Do you love me?” asked Juliet.
“I’m not sure, but if it’s not love, then I don’t know what is,” Romeo answered.
“But if it is love, why don’t you want to grow old with me?”
“Exactly, because it is JUST love.”
“You’re a weird guy, how come I manage to fall in love with you?” said Juliet.
Right at that moment, Romeo felt a big joy inside his heart, he felt as if a big waves of happiness just swept everything inside his body, destroying all the baggage that has been messing with his head and heart for a long time now. Too bad, reality hit as fast as the joy that came to his heart. Everything happens in an instant. In just one moment, Romeo felt the biggest happiness and biggest sadness he ever felt in his life.
“Hey, I might not be worth for you to sacrifice everything, especially your family. But if love is really that special, then maybe it will give us another chance to be together, even though maybe it can only happen in another life, when we are both cats…” said Romeo.
“Isn’t that the line from Vanilla Sky? I hate that movie.”
“It’s a good movie, how the hell did I manage to fall in love with you again?”
Both of them started to laugh together, until all the laughter turns into a simple smile. A simple beautiful curve on their lips that shows a deep meaning … only for the two of them.
“I love you,” said Romeo.
“I love you too … I guess,” answered Juliet.
They sit closer now while holding hands. Juliet put her head on Romeo’s shoulder.
“Is it worth it?” asked her.
“For now, right at this moment, it is totally worth it. But whether it will last as time goes by, as more people in the universe know about it … I don’t know.”
“Huufth … life sucks sometimes.”
“Life sucks most of the time. That’s why I want to make this moment last forever, if that’s even possible.”
“It’s possible, if we believe it.”
“Is that what that weird book taught you?” asked Romeo while laughing.
“Shut up!” Juliet answers while pinching Romeo’s hand.
They stay silent again for awhile.
“Hey, kiss me.”
The words came from Juliet’s mouth. Romeo doesn’t really know how to react to that.
“Why?” asked Romeo.
“Some people said that kiss is a magical thing. It can stop time, or even take you to the future in an instant.”
“Oh yeah, I heard about that. I always thought it’s a silly thing to believe in though.”
“The situation we’re stuck in is also a silly thing to believe in anyway.”
They kept staring at each other. As their face is getting closer, they closed their eyes. When their lips touched, it was the weirdest sensation Romeo ever felt. Everything felt so magical. It felt as if … as if … time has stopped, only for them. As if they just trapped themselves in an unlimited loop of that exact moment.
“GASP!” Romeo suddenly awakes from his slumber. Was it just a dream? He thought. He wore the exact same clothes as last night. But how come he is back home now? And then he remembers…
“Juliet! What about her?!”
He picked his cellphone, and start messaging Juliet. No responds for around 15 minutes, when suddenly Juliet replied his message.
“Romeo! Where are you?! Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, what about you?”
“I’m okay, we need to talk. Something is definitely not right.”
“Yes, let’s meet up.”
Romeo prepared himself to go where they agreed to meet. That was when he realized something … He felt so good. It’s been months since the last time he felt so free from bad thoughts and emotional baggage. But today, today is different.
Romeo arrived to the coffee shop they agreed to meet. Juliet was already there when he arrived. He ordered a cup of Americano, while Juliet is drinking the orange juice she ordered earlier.
“So, what just happened?” asked Romeo opening the conversation.
“I’m not sure, but I feel kind of light when I woke up this morning.”
“Me too. I feel like a part of me is missing from what’s happening last night.”
“Do you remember what happened last night?”
“Kind of … I’m not sure though.”
“How do you feel about me now?” asked Juliet.
“I don’t know … I still like you, a lot in fact. But it certainly is a different kind of feeling I have for the past few months.”
“That’s exactly what I feel!”
“What’s happening actually?”
“I’m not sure myself, but I have this theory, maybe, just maybe, a part of us that love each other has left us. Separating themselves from this world, making their own world where time stop and loop in an exact moment over and over and over again,” explains Juliet.
“That’s crazy, I’m the fantasy and sci-fi guy here, the fact that theory came from your mouth is weirder than the theory itself,” said Romeo while laughing.
“Shut up. But it’s possible though.”
“Nothing is impossible.”
“So … what now?”
“’What now’ what?”
“I mean, what become of us now?”
“We just live normally I guess. It’s been months, if not eons, since I can talk to you normally like this, and it felt awesome!”
“Hahaha yeah I know.”
“So we’re good then?”
“We’re better then good I guess,” answered Romeo.
After that, live goes on for Romeo and Juliet. They still maintain good friendships. They found their love, the one that doesn’t force them to sacrifice too many things in live, yet can still make them feels like the happiest person on earth. They grow old together, as a good friend, not as a lover.
What about their lovers’ part? The couple is still sitting in that bench, eternally, until the end of time. Creating their own world, without other people meddling, without judgments from others, just the two of them and their young naive pure love.
Some people said, you can see a mirage of two young couple in the same park every time full moon and bright stars are decorating the stars. Whether it’s true or not, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter for anyone on earth, and it definitely doesn’t matter for them.
Originally published at jetpackersjournal.wordpress.com on December 26, 2015.