By Tom Lin

            “We haven’t arrived yet,” the woman said, looking out of the bus window. The heavy raindrops were still falling down from the skies, dancing happily on the top of the white bus. It has been raining the whole day. “We’ve been traveling for an hour already, and we haven’t arrived yet.”
            “You were the one who wanted to come,” The blond-haired man sitting behind her said. He was lying on the bus seat, playing with a paper airplane, just made from a sheet of notebook paper. There weren’t many people filling the plastic seats of the bus; the rain had scared people off the pavement streets.

            “Well, I just felt like it...” she replied in a low voice, looking out of the glass window of the bus still. She had blond hair also, tied back into a ponytail.

            The man was making airplane noises, as he moved the airplane slowly in the air, turning and elevating it, his brown eyes following every move. He seemed to be twenty-some years old, just a little older than the woman. “Lest the world really goes away,” He began singing, in a soft-tuned melody. “I don’t want to hear you say, ‘good-bye’...”
            “What’s the title of that song?” The woman asked rapidly, turning back to look at her best friend, who was still playing with his paper airplane in the damp bus air. He could see her eyes now, which were of an emerald green color.

            “Why do you ask, Celes?” The man answered, his eyes still on the fragile airplane. His hands were resting on his black T-shirt now, which had the words ‘Metallica’ drawn on it.

            “Because it has a nice melody to it,” Celes responded. She was wearing a pink jacket, black pants, and white walking shoes.

            The man just nodded silently, his eyes still staring at his toy. “It doesn’t have a title. It’s a song that I just made up, you know, out of my mind.”
            “Oh.” The woman replied, slowly turning toward the window once again. The rain was still falling down outside. “I always said that you should have become a musician.” Celes whispered, after a minute of silence.

            “It’s not a steady job. That’s why I didn’t take it.”
            “What do you mean ‘it’s not a steady job’?”
            “Well,” The man said, finally looking up from his airplane. “Being a musician is a lot like being a writer or a poet. If you can’t get a publisher to publish your work, or if no audience will listen to your words, then you’ll be out of a job, and you won’t get pay. You may become a star in one day, but you may fall down to the dumps the next day too. Being a singer is just too unstable to be a real profession.”
            “And being a lawyer is a steady job?”
            “Sure it is. Mankind will always fight with each other, producing crimes every minute. And there’s always one or more lawyers needed for every crime tried in a trial. In other words, the need for lawyers will never cease, till humans cease to fight with each other, which is as impossible as our president having sex with an alien in an UFO.” That’s when the man paused, and looked down at his airplane once again. “Thinking about it, that may be possible after all...”
            Celes nodded silently, still staring out at the falling rain. “Lest the world really goes away,” The man began singing once again. “I don’t want to hear say, ‘good-bye’. Lest the rain will never fall again, I don’t want to hear you say, ‘I’m gone’...”
            “What does the word ‘lest’ mean, Locke?” The woman asked, not turning away from her window-watching.

            “I don’t know.” Locke shrugged his shoulders, still playing with his plane.

            “Is that even a real word? I mean, does it have a meaning?”
            “I guess, if you look it up at the dictionary.”
            “So, if you don’t know the real meaning, why is it in the song?”
            “Because it sounded right.” The man replied, his brown eyes looking up from his creation. “The word ‘lest’ means nothing at all in the song, it’s just a word that starts the whole song lyric, just like a detonator of a bomb, or Cupid’s arrow in love.”
            “Oh.” Celes nodded once again. The rain still pouring outside the window. The bus was slowing down now, as it spotted people on a bus stop.

            “Why do you dye your hair blond, Celes?” Locke asked suddenly, as the bus came to a full stop, sliding open the doors on the front and the back.

            “Because Brad liked it blond...” Celes replied in a low voice, as some people went out through the back, only to be replaced by the people coming in from the front.

            “Who cares about what your husband said. Don’t you like your own red hair?”
            “Yes... But it made Brad happy to see me blonde, and seeing him happy made me happy.”
            “He’s dead now. Why do you still dye it after he’s dead?”
            “Because he liked it before he died...”
            Locke looked at her with disgust on his face. “Bummer.” He said after a few seconds of silence, his eyes back again on his fragile airplane. The bus was moving now, as Locke continued his song, on that same soft melody as before. “And the rain is still falling down, and you’re still sitting by the window, looking out, staring out. I don’t know how you feel, and I guess you don’t know how I really feel, do you? So lest the world really goes away, I don’t want to hear you say, ‘good-bye’...”
            “I always dreamed that I would grow old with Brad,” Celes interrupted the song, still staring out the window. “Have children, a normal family, grow old...”
            Locke just looked at Celes, not moving, not saying anything. “I never thought that he would be killed in a car accident...” Celes continued, as the bus stopped for a red light. “Do you have any dreams, Locke?”
            Locke didn’t say anything, as he fumbled with his plane. The bus moved once again, through the shower of raindrops, as Locke started his song once again. “Lest mankind ceases to exist, I don’t want to hear you yell, ‘bye-bye’. Lest my life finally comes to an end, I don’t want to hear you cry, ‘farewell’...”
            “Yet I still stand away,” Locke continued his song, as he raised his paper airplane, preparing it for its flight. “Afraid to tell you how I really feel, I’m afraid. I don’t know how I feel, and I guess you don’t know how you really feel, do you now?”
            “So, lest the rain will never fall again,” Locke sang in a louder voice, bursting it through the silence in the bus, as his hands finally leaves the plane, finally letting it fly gracefully in the air.  “Lest mankind ceases to exist, lest my life finally comes to an end...”
            “I don’t want to see you go...” Locke sang louder now, his song gracing the ears of everyone in the bus, as the airplane flew faster in the air, feeling the freedom of life, glancing the many billboards above the passenger’s heads. “I don’t want to be alone... I don’t want to wave farewell... I don’t want to say good-bye!...”
            The plane crashed on the clear window of the bus, before it could feel the freshness of the falling rain, and fell down onto the dark-colored floor, its nose now broken. “So lest the world really goes away,” Locke sang now in a low voice, almost a whisper. “I don’t want to hear you say... ‘good-bye’...”

            Locke got up from his seat, wiping his hands on his blue jeans, as he picked up the wounded airplane. “Dreams are like the flight of a paper airplane.” Locke said, mostly to himself, as he sat down once again behind Celes.  “It’s able to soar as high and free as it wants to, in its first time. But no matter how well you fix it afterwards, it will never be able to soar as high as the first flight, never as well...”
            Locke looked up at Celes, who was still staring at the heavy rain outside. “You sure you want to go to the cemetery?” Locke asked in a low voice. “Since this is going to be your last day here...”
            “I have to...”
            “Why are you moving away, Celes? What’s wrong with here?”
            “I promised Brad to never love anyone else but him...” Celes whispered. “And now he’s dead... And you’re now so near... So close...”
            The bus was now motionless, blocked by the red light of the metal traffic signal once again. “Right...” Locke answered after a while, as his hands tried to fix the broken nose of the plane. “I see...”
            Locke threw the airplane once again. It wasn’t able to fly as majestically as before, just as Locke said, and crashed nose-first onto the garbage-scattering floor, its freedom lost once again. Locke and Celes didn’t speak to each other anymore, as the bus slowly mover through the green light barrier of the signal, under the heavy rain and the cloudy skies. 


---Written by Liang-Tang Lin

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