He threw his violin bow with such force that it narrowly missed her feet. Her tense muscles only moved to flinch before freezing up once more.
“Do I even mean anything to you?” he asked, his accusing tone piercing through her skin.
Tears welled up in her eyes. Her mind was a frenzy. She knew exactly where the situation was heading and all she wanted to do was to lock herself up, far away from him. But nonetheless, she forced herself to look at his hurt eyes, “You mean everything to me.”
His nose flared, as though her words were fuelling his anger, “Prove it.” Without warning, he swung her violin which was resting on the table, and smashed it on the floor. A loud screech came out of it, the evidence of terribly damaged strings and then a deafening silence. Ice spread in her veins. She stood rooted to her spot.
She had really made him mad this time.
“Say you’ll quit the competition,” he challenged.
It was one of those things that happen when your physical body cannot cope with what’s happening and your mind gets up and walks away to spectate everything from a distance, detached from reality. She felt herself watching the spectacle from elsewhere. The love of her life was standing right in front of her and yet he felt miles away.
There was a distance between them that she desperately needed to close and she was willing to sacrifice anything, even her passion. Her mouth formed the words, ready to comply. But a voice in the room stopped her, barely audible and yet it echoed in her head. Before she could stop herself, she had spoken, “No.”
There was a pause, her world slowed down, waiting for his next words.
“I guess we’re over then. I can’t be with someone this selfish.”
Overwhelmed with emotions, she grabbed his hand, holding onto it as if her life depended on it.
“I’m sorry, please don’t leave me.”
She hated how pathetic she sounded, how small she felt and how heavy the world weighed on her shoulders. But she couldn’t stop, maybe if he stayed with her, the empty feeling in her chest would dissolve. So, she begged and begged, sacrificing her pride for a boy who never truly loved her.
He shook her off, causing her to trip over the violin and sending the broken instrument off to the corner of her room. The strings screeched painfully against the wooden floor, resonating with the sound of her shattered heart.
She willed herself, pain and all included, to let go and he took the chance to leave. The door slammed shut, and every ounce of energy she had dissipated, leaving her sobbing on the cold floor.
Minutes passed by and slowly stretched into hours. Before she knew it the sun had set. Darkness cloaked the living room but she could not find the energy to turn on the lights. Instead she remained curled up in a ball, cheek pressed against the floor, cold and sticky with her tears.
“I made a mistake,” she whispered to herself. Regret overflowing in her chest, leaving no space for her to breathe.
“No, you didn’t.”
It was the same voice she heard earlier which compelled her to disobey him.
“I was selfish, I should have given him all my time,” she said. At that point she was too exhausted to care that she was having a conversation with herself.
“Why?” the voice asked.
“Because I love him,” her tone lace with irritation.
“That isn’t love.”
Annoyed, she finally sat up.
“What do you know?” she asked, glaring at the dark. She was either going insane or debating about love with a ghost. Neither sounded appealing to her.
“A lot more than you,” this time the voice was more distinguishable, a male.
“You’re just a figment of my imagination.”
“At least I don’t throw my identity away to be ‘loved.’”
“You don’t know me,” she said, standing up as she wiped her tear-stained cheeks. Her eyes were puffy and swollen. A dull ache was forming from curling up on the floor for too long.
“You don’t even know yourself-”
“Shut up,” she croaked.
“You abandoned your family, your friends and your passion just for a one-sided relationship.”
“I SAID SHUT UP!” a sudden burst of anger burned within her as she smashed her hand on the light switch. The lights flickered almost hesitantly before illuminating the dark room and any trace of the presence she felt earlier disappeared.
The tears she fought to control came streaming down her cheeks, harder than before. This time her cries were loud, accompanied by the sound of pillows being thrown, books being swept from tables and the piercing scream of glass shattering on the floor. The sound of losing yourself.
Nights passed, but the hurt she felt didn’t fade. Instead, the pain grew, sinking its claws into her skin, feeding regret with her bleeding heart. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t escape the black hole in her mind, sucking away any tangible thoughts and leaving her alone with her sorrows. What was the point of living when there was nothing for her to look forward to.
“I’m sorry,” a voice said, so soft that she almost dismissed it. It had almost been a month since she heard that voice but she replied anyway, “For what?”
“For everything that happened to you.”
She chuckled bitterly, “It’s my fault.” The voice remained quiet and she found herself talking, “Everyone told me that our relationship was toxic, and deep down I knew that too. But it’s different, he’s different, he just needs attention and I wanted to give it to him.”
The atmosphere in the room was still and she was almost convinced that she was talking to herself, until the voice finally replied her back. “Honestly, screw this stupid guardian angel stuff, let me tell you this frankly, you deserve better.”
“Are you like my good conscience or something? Because it would have been more useful if you showed up before the relationship started.”
“What part of ‘stupid guardian angel’ didn’t you catch?”
At this point, she didn’t mind entertaining the thought. A break from replaying her mistakes over and over again in her mind. “Fine, if you’re my so-called guardian angel, then show yourself.” She flicked on the table lamp beside her sofa, not exactly sure what she was expecting to see. Light surrounded the empty room, leaving her slightly disappointed that there was no massively pale dude with large angel wings. Huffing, she turned off the lights, wallowing back into darkness, “Guess you don’t exist.”
“Rude,” the voice answered.
Sinking further into her sofa, she mumbled, “Maybe I am going crazy.”
Just then, the phone rang, causing her to jump slightly before dissolving into the sofa again.
“Aren’t you going to get that?”
The phone stopped ringing and the silence lingered. She almost dozed off when the voice said, “Can you play the violin?”
Her heart sank, looking at the neglected instrument at the corner. She hadn’t picked it up and quite frankly couldn’t be bothered to. It was the cause of her heartache and she couldn’t even bare the thought of reliving those dreadful memories once more.
“No,” she said firmly, closing her eyes to block the voice out. All she wanted was to stay asleep but the voice wouldn’t let her.
“Okay, tell me about yourself.”
“Why would I talk to myself about myself?”
“For the last time, I’m not you.”
“That’s exactly what I would want myself to think.”
A loud sigh was heard, followed by a, “You’re insufferable.”
“Fine, if you’re supposedly my guardian angel, why can’t I see you?” she asked, her eyes staring straight at the ceiling.
“Because when the lights are turned on, I disappear. We’re not supposed to let humans know we’re watching them you know.”
“We only appear when humans feel depressed. So, all your happier moments, we don’t know about that.”
“So you’re saying you are constantly surrounded by negativity? That’s sad”
“In a sense.”
After a few seconds of pondering, and entertaining this voice in the dark, she said, “Then I’ll tell you how better times look like.”
And so, her usual quiet nights were suddenly filled with conversations and laughter as the two of them got closer. She began feeling better about herself and the emptiness in her heart slowly slipped away. Although things were getting better, there was a constant thought at the back of her head, doubting herself. What if all of this was just an illusion she was cooking up to cope with the dread. She didn’t know how to deal with the pain of knowing that whatever bond she made with this voice in the dark was purely fictional.
And one day, the doubts had just become too much to overlook. “Can I see you?” she asked, sitting cross-legged on her bed. For a long while, she didn’t receive any reply that she almost thought the voice didn’t hear her.
“Can I hear you play?” he asked.
A lump formed in her throat, overwhelmed with the fear of holding a violin and the potential scenario of matching the voice with a face. Hesitantly, she nodded, walking to the living room to grab her violin which remained untouched on the floor. It was covered in a thick layer of dust, causing her to sneeze. Just holding the instrument in her hand was enough for the memories of the breakup to come rushing in but she pushed it away. She was stronger than this. She would not let him take away her passion.
So, she grabbed the violin and the bow and rushed to the room. “Light a candle,” the voice said. Confused, she went to the kitchen to light up a candle and brought it back into her bedroom.
She almost dropped the candle the moment she went in. The light from the candle was small, but it was enough to illuminate her dark bedroom. And there he was, a tall, dark-haired boy with the purest pair of blue eyes that she had ever seen, staring straight at her. The dull yellow light reflected on his face, highlighting his high cheekbones.
He didn’t say anything, instead he turned his attention to the violin, urging her to play and she did. The strings were loose and the hairs from the bow was in bad condition, but she didn’t care. For that short period of time, she found herself lost in herself. Her eyes were shut as she let the melody speak for her, allowing all the emotions that couldn’t be expressed spill out. All the anger, the pain and the sadness was composed in one melody. She lost track of time, playing one tune after another until the candle burned out and she had found herself.
When she was done, she opened her eyes, expecting a pair of blue eyes to meet hers. But the room was empty as it had always been.