29 Dec 2013

Another Year (4/7)

A blonde woman invaded Harold's life today... in the form of posters and TV ads.

"Skelli", the stage name that she performed under... speakers all over town kept blasting that name, along with the name of the newly opened park nearby. It shouldn't matter all to Harold. He didn't need to concern himself with something as trivial as a female singer performing for the New Year's Eve concert, not when he had his own personal plans.

Yet the details were stuck firmly in his head: 8pm onwards, at Sicberry Park. He even still kept a flyer promoting the concert on that rackety coffee table in front of the sofa. Maybe it was the unholy power of advertising that caused him to be interested in her. Maybe there was something more to Skelli that intrigued Harold. Clearly that wasn't her real identity... so who was she?

Harold still stared at the flyer on the table. The paper was still in prime condition, prominently displaying Skelli's picture and the name of the event, save for a little corner that was spoilt by condensation from a cold beer bottle a few days ago. Why hadn't he tossed it into the bin yet? It was almost like a magical artefact that charmed the owner with a spell to prevent itself from being disposed.

He was suddenly startled from his gaze by a thump from the bedroom.

An armed burglar? That may not be too bad, since there was the chance that Harold would die by the gun right then. No more waiting.

Not a soul in the tornado-wrecked bedroom. One of the very rare occasions that he got disappointed by the lack of a stranger in a room full of scattered boxes and knick-knacks. He did see an open book strewn on the floor, out of its natural habitat that was the bookshelf.

One of his yearbooks. He almost forgot he brought it out with him when he moved out of his parents' house. Bizarrely, it was open at exactly the page displaying his less-than-decent portrait as the naive student he once was. Ruffled hair, thin smile, imperfect complexion, slightly tilted head to bring out the good shadows on his face...

And there was a girl's picture next to his below-average mug. Dark frizzy hair, wide grin flashing beautiful pearly whites, eyes that shone like glass marbles... and a very tiny mole below her left eye that marred her otherwise flawless face.

Wait. That mole. No...

Still cradling the book in his arm, he briskly shuffled back to the coffee table. He stared at the book, then the flyer, then the book again.

The same face shape, the same mole, the same big smile...

Click.

The dark-and-frizzy-haired girl that was Ellis Kurt had become the straight-and-blond-haired superstar that was Skelli.

Huh.

Harold leaned back on the sofa, still trying to digest that bombshell of a revelation. The cheery and funny bookworm that he used to crush on had metamorphosed into a stunning woman who would be rocking the stage on New Year's Eve. And right near where he lived. After so many years, he could meet her agai-

Wait. This went against Operation Faster Death. The whole point was for him to go quickly and quietly, without kicking too much of a fuss on the way out. Reconnecting with Ellis would mean not only giving himself yet another thing to lose when he dies, but also making her feel sad about his eventual death, something that she didn't even need to be aware of in the first place.

So... just forget about her, then?

Harold picked up the flyer and stared at it again.

Maybe... he should still go. If not actually meet her personally and talk to her, at least watch her perform to see how successful she had become. Then the question of where she was in life now would no longer bug him as he lay on his deathbed. One less regret in his life.

He put the flyer back on the table, eyeing it with a malicious stare. Dang piece of paper had cursed him, delaying his secret operation for a few days. But it was just a few days, right? Then he could go back to dying faster as usual.

Harold sighed. He had went from living to dying and back to living. Life was weird.