Our Carobs

Michaela was the best thing that happened to me since breaking my leg in third grade, which freed me from gym class for three years whenever I faked a pain.

Picking up girls is not my talent, and I usually end up hurting myself. Just like when mosquitos buzz around me; I find myself clapping at them and slapping myself senseless. But unlike mosquitos, Michaela was funny and beautiful; she had wavy blond hair like the pop stars that all the guys drool over. I knew, from the way she looked at me, that she loved me too. I gave her everything I thought she'd want. When she was looking for a pencil, I gave her five. When one of the books in her hands would fall, I'd pick it up and offer to carry them all for her. If she glanced at another guy, I'd go crazy. I was mostly invisible, and when I found the best place to hide, I probably hadn't yet found the best place to hide. Sometimes, I'd follow her home, making sure she didn't stop at someone's house or meet some guy behind my back; not only did I love her, but myself a little more when she was mine.

 

Until she broke my heart. It was a sunny Thursday. I ate ice cream on a bench in the park, followed her nonchalantly when I saw her kissing another guy under the carob tree; a blonde scumbag who looks like one of those pop stars who usually turn out to be gay. It was our tree; I always followed her on this bench as she sat with her friends under this carob tree. I couldn't believe that she dared to kiss him under it. Does she have no conscience? It hurt me that she didn't refuse his kiss, and it hurt me that I wanted to look like him. He had chest muscles that I knew I'd never have, as long as my workout amounted to one push-up when getting out of bed. Then I wanted her to die, and then I wanted him to die.

 

In the days that followed, I enjoyed my free time by thinking of exciting ways he might die that week. He could drown on Saturday when going to the beach with his family; drift and disappear into the horizon, away from my beautiful Michaela. Maybe on Saturday night, his mother will forget to turn off the gas and the house will catch fire. Everyone will run away screaming, but he'll be stuck in his room with his headphones and burn alive. Maybe on Sunday, the bus driver won't see him because his blonde head will twinkle under the sun and blind him, and he'll run him over. As I continued to think of nice ways he could die, I started to enjoy the thought of killing him myself. I could poison him or hire a sniper to shoot him from a distance. But I didn't want him to die like a hero with a bullet in his chest. Everyone would say, "He must've been fighting for his life, what a hero." And she'd cry over his body. I wanted it to be an embarrassing death, for everyone to say, "What a shame, poor Christopher. But what a way to die... he probably wasn't a very bright individual."

 

Every time I saw him walking down the street with his arrogant, charming demeanour and inflated smile, I thought how he could die right then, and how I could help. If I take a knife and stab him in the back, it'd be fast, but I'm not the terrorist kind. Although it would've been in my favour. After all, the terrorists' paradise is a virgin's hell, and maybe I'd have met my Michaela there. She's sure going to hell for how she treated me. But before I die and meet my beloved, I'll sit in jail until I'm a lonesome old man and I'll forget who Christopher was. They'll ask me, "What're you in here for?" And I'll say, "There was a guy, Cristiano or Cristobal or something like that, I think I stabbed him... or was it an accident? I'm not sure. My memory is not what it used to be."

But I'm a big fan of films, and every time someone dies in a thriller, the main suspect is the betrayed spouse. So I've decided that before I plan his final death, I'll have to break up with her.

 

I sat on the park's bench and waited for her to come and sit under our carob tree that she tainted with their kiss. When she appeared, I walked up to her, memorising in my head, "Michaela, I'm breaking up with you because you're kissing other guys in the park under our tree and I don't appreciate it." I tried to sound as mature as possible, "Michaela, I'm breaking up with you because you're kissing other people… no, not people, men. Other men... other guys in the park under our tree and I don't appreciate it."

She waved me over. Her smile was sweet as she motioned me to sit near her. I almost called the whole thing off and smiled back when something hit my shoulder. It was that Christopher, his shoulder hit mine as he ran past me and sat down next to her. They kissed again. She didn't even protest, even though I was standing right in front of her. What kind of a sick person would cheat face to face? I felt like I didn't even know her.

I stood in front of them and said, "Michaela,"

She looked up at me, "Yes?"

"I'm breaking up with you."

"Excuse me?"

"Because you go around kissing other friends, guys, um... people in the park, under our carobs... our tree. I don't appreciate it."

She looked at me, confused, and slowly said, "Our carobs?"

Then her gaze became clear, and she broke into a burst of rolling laughter. Christopher looked awkward, and his eyes bounced between us like ping-pong balls. Her beautiful eyes shone, the shades of small leaves danced around her neck. I immortalised the endearing display, her laughter under a trunk, surrounded by carobs.

I waited for her to finish and said, "Goodbye." And I walked away unwaveringly, even though I wanted to run.

Behind me, I heard her saying, "I don't know who he is, keeps following me around. He needs to get a life." and kept on laughing.

But life was the last thing on my mind. I turned to take one last look, and the two got up. She was wearing white shoes, patted her orange dress and took his hand. They ran to the road. I stopped and prayed that a bus would come crushing into them, save me the job. And a bus did appear, but stopped and let the two cross safely.

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