Chapter 4 "Bothered"

Two days after their graduation, Ces decided to wander around the neighborhood while riding on her bike. It's Monday morning, but not like other typical Mondays, the place was unusually calm and peaceful. She was used by the different noises here. Why wouldn't she? She lives here since she was five. Her family moved at this west side of the city when her father found a job here. 

Her father was a salesman while her mother was an accounting staff in a manpower company. Most of their time they dedicated it to their jobs that's why she and her aunt Lyre were always left alone in the house. Though busy with their own careers, her parents made sure to still be the best parents for her.

She was passing through a row of street shops when she saw the flower shop, where her Aunt Lyre always buy sunflower seeds too. She remembered Aunt Lyre was one of the Godmother of the owner's daughter. She crossed to another street and make a left turn into one of the avenue and saw a new build gasoline station which was the old playground where she and her playmates used to go. 

She saw how the place slowly changed. She saw a lot of people come and go here. She gained a lot of friends and lost a few. The city became part of her, no matter how far she'll go and how many places it will be, she'll never forget about this place.

She's about to take another turn when she hit a small rock that made her out of balance for a short time. When she managed to get back, her eyes met the portrait shop. The last thing she noticed is that she's taking out the key from her bike's padlock before entering the door. 

She saw inside familiar look of a big man wearing a red loose T-shirt and a red cap, it was Kris cleaning again some stuff. He smiled at her when he saw her.

"Good morning, " she said before returning the sweet gesture of him.

"Good morning kid, how are you? How's your graduation?"

"It was good. I decided to drop by to see new paintings." She look around and notice new sets of displaying portraits.

"Oh, you're lucky, we have new arrivals. In fact, there's still a lot at the back that not displayed yet."

"Wow. Can I check around?"

"Sure. You know you'll always welcome here. I hope this time you'll see something you love." She gave him a sweet smile. 

The store was divided by rows of thin wooden, painted in white. The divisions were made to act as mini sections of the paintings. She started with the row of flower paintings, She's enjoying to see different kinds of it, it's different colors brings such a nice vibe.

She made a few turns and indulge herself in the abstract paintings. She analyzes every detail, she imagines how the artist made every stroke. She's trying to unfold the story behind each painting. She made another turn and found herself in the portrait section and the first portrait that she saw was that painting she's always looking at. It was a portrait of a beautiful woman, based on her garments, she can say that she's from a tribe that she's not familiar with. Every tribe in their country has significant weaving patterns that were different from each. Perhaps, the lady was from a different land. She doesn't know, but there's something in that painting that makes her stop and stare for a long time. She felt a connection.

"I'll buy this one" she's on the counter again talking to Kris holding the portrait.

"You'll buy... that portrait? Are you sure?" Kris said in an astonished tone.

"Yes, this one. How much is this one?" She don't know either why she's finally buying that portrait but it's her heart that decides.

"Okay, if you insist. I'll just give you this in 10 bucks"

"10 bucks? That cheap? Why?" she's totally shocked. 

"You know this one stayed here for too long and I'm happy that it finally got an owner. A lot of people here really don't give even a glance on this one aside from you. So I'm giving you this on a cheaper price" She just nod with Kris' explanation. She somehow felt sad.

It was already 5 in the afternoon when she got home. She parked her bike on their garage and get the portrait and went straight in her room. Aunt Lyre was still not home at the moment. She carefully removed the cover of it and laid it carefully on her bed. She gets a hammer and a nail. She decided to hang it near on her study table. When she's done, she couldn't help but to stare again at it once again. She doesn't know what kind of magic it has but she couldn't fight it...

David can't focus on what he's doing. He's holding the folder that Aly gave to him. He stood up to get a glass of whiskey on his mini bar. He took a sip of it.

It was 5:00 in the afternoon and he can see how the darkness slowly engulfing the whole city from the glass window of his unit. He's staying on the 25th floor of the building.

He can't help but to remember his encounter with Ethan two weeks ago. Ethan's words was like a loop that keeps on replaying at the back of his mind.

"Some people will never forget what happened three years ago."

He closed his eyes and rest his back on the glass wall. A tear fell from his eye. Once he open it, he saw the picture frame on the side table. He took few steps towards it and there he saw an image of two boys smiling at the camera. He took it and sit back on his sofa. He doesn't know for how long he's staring at it.Even he's the only person who will remember what happened. He will never get tired of saying sorry even until he lost his last breathe.

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