A World without Love
There was a boy. He was heartbroken because the girl he deeply loved made her choice of someone else. He spent his time with hefty smokes and alcohol. There was only depression and sadness to fill his day. He wished his life would end soon, for he had very little meaning to stay in this world anymore.
Mayhap God just pitied him for his mishap, or moved by his insurmountable grievousness, God appeared before him one day. He asked him if he had any wishes. He told God that he had no wish to live in this world anymore. He claimed that he found nothing on earth but only endless pain…He requested God to send him to a world without love. He told God that he would like to stay in a loveless world for only one month, in exchange he would offer all his remaining life.
God had a thought of it and agreed. “There is actually a place like you have requested and I can fulfill your wish”, God continued, “but I would like to offer you one last chance”.
“And what is that?” the man asked.
God told him, “If within one month, you were able to ask one girl to tell you “I love you”, you will be able to come back to this original world”.
“I will never want to come back here again”. The boy affirmed and accepted the offer.
“Because we do not have red rose here”
He closed his eye and when he opened his eye again, he arrived in his new world, a world without love, without pain. It was a world that was colorless other than grey.
The boy wondered the plainness of his new world and quickly accepted that it would be the place for him to embrace his death.
The water remained still until a drop fell. It was destiny. No one on in this universe would have stopped it. Everything was like he had planned, until one day. That day he saw a girl; a girl was identical to the girl he had desperately loved. They had very similar looking, very similar tone of voice. Her personality, her habit, even the tiniest details of her behaviors matched that of hers. It was all but reminded him about the girl he loved. He realized that, wherever he goes, how long he would try to forget, he would never escape from her. Even in this painless and loveless world, he could not help but love and remember her. He then thought about the chance God offered him. He decided to give the grey world one more chance, give himself one more chance.
He started seeing the girl everyday and bought her a rose from the flower shop – a grey rose. He would stand under her balcony and tell her how much he loved her. It became a daily routine for him, never interrupted. However, the girl had never accepted him. She did not even think about it but bluntly rejected him. The boy could not understand, he thought he was not that bad and the girl didn’t have any boy friend. He wondered why she couldn’t accept him. Or even consider it once.
Finally, he asked the girl, “Why don’t you ever give me a chance?”
The girl motionlessly replied, “because we do not have red rose here”. Her reply was as cold as ice, as plain as a type writer, not a single element of emotion was blended in her voice.
The boy collapsed, he couldn’t understand how a red rose was related to love. It was a world that was complete grey. He wondered where he could find a red rose from. If love was only about the color of a rose, why did he exchange all his life for one month here? He knew that the girl had always been cold to him. She had never even smiled at him. He knew it was a loveless world, but he couldn’t stop his emotion, but feel strangled and lost.
“Wasn’t this the ideal place? Wasn’t this supposed to be a painless world? Why would I exchange my whole life with one month of suffering?”
He ran away.
Time had passed. Then it was the last day of the month. The boy only lay on his bed and waited for his eventual salvation – death. He had not seen her since that day he ran away. He wanted to forget her, but only loved her deeper and deeper. He couldn’t understand why he had to endure such torment to pursuit happiness. What was wrong to falling love with someone? He found nothing but only tears and bitterness. However, nothing seemed important anymore, at least not to a man who is going to die very soon. For a dying man, everything becomes meaningless.
At that very moment, the door had been pushed open. She emerged at the doorstep, not anyone else but the girl he deeply loved. And she carried a basket of grey roses, dried and withered. He was stunned. After a few moments, he collected his thought and asked her…
A Basket of Grey Roses
“W…why, why are you here?” He asked sternly, yet curiously. It was a tone as if she would be the last person on Earth to be expected on this moment. But he knew that she was the most person he wanted to meet at that moment. It was a contradiction just like that he knew that the girl never loved him but he still felt warm by her patronage.
“Idiot”, the very first time, unlike her usual cold voice, she told him, “you have only one month in this world, if I don’t come now, then we would never meet each other again.”
“You can leave me alone.” The boy replied, “I don’t need any pity from others.” His pride wouldn’t allow others to see his weakness, especially not when he was defeated again. He pretended to be as strong as possible to hide his sorrows; however, his tearing eyes and shivering voice betrayed him. It was not that he didn’t notice, but he simply couldn’t stop it. The boy felt utter despair, for even at the very end of his life, he could not grab his much cherished love. “Leave me alone, for I will choose my own way of death.”
“Do you regret,” she thought a while then asked him, “Do you ever regret to come here?”
“I regret of my choice. It was a terrible mistake” the boy was crying, “I still can’t forget you, I still can’t stop loving you, I still can’t escape from the pain, and I still can’t make you love me!”
“Don’t you know that”, the girl said passionately, “I had fallen in love you long time ago, ever since our first encounter.” She smiled at him, knowing that it would be the very thing that the boy desired.
The boy was astounded. He was speechless. Then all of a sudden he shouted back: “I do not want your hypocritical pity! I don’t need your lies!”
“I am not lying to you.” She stood near him and looked into his eyes, “I loved you from the time you give me the first rose, the grey rose”. Something is shining in her eye, something she wouldn’t want him to see. She turned her face and stared at her basket, the basket of all the grey roses she received from him.
“That is not possible”. The boy could not believe what she was telling him. “If it is true, why don’t you tell me earlier, but only until this very end?!”
She smiled again. It was one type of smile that would melt even the hardest rock. It was a smile completely alienated from happiness or rejoices. It was made of sorrowfulness. “Because, I love you”, she sobbed, paused, in an obvious attempt to organized her words better, then continued, “Because I wanted to stay with my love longer. I wanted to stay with my love until the last moment.”
The boy baffled. He shook his head. He sensed that he must have miss out something very important but he could not figure out what that was.
“I love you, not forever”, she said, “I want my love only here, only this life and this moment”.
“Only those who have contracted with God will be in this world.” She calmed her emotional fluctuation and returned her usual tone, “Do you remember your promise to God? Similarly, I have also made a contract with him.” With warm tears rolling on her cheeks, she smiled at him. It is the most angelic smile one can imagine in the world. It is a smile that blended with the finest emotions, sadness and happiness, sweetness and bitterness, innocence and sophistication, hope and despair that any attempt to comprehend them all would be in vain. It was as beautiful as red roses, as passionate and tender as mother’s palm, as breathtaking as you stand on the top of the world.
It was also her last smile. “I promised God that I would never fall in love again. If I would ever fall in love with someone, and told him that “I love you”. It would mean the end of my life”.
The boy became speechless. He tried to fumble a word, but everything was running in his head and vein except a word. He stood like a stone. It was such an intensive entanglement of emotions and logic that no word but silence could convey the full meaning.
“I don’t want you to die”. She continued in a tone with very neutrality. “I love you, not forever”, she said, “I want my love be here, only this life and this very moment”. In a sense of emergency, or a sudden injection of courage, the boy jumped to his feet, as if realized something, he reached out his hand to her…
“I don’t want to go home anymore”
At that moment, all his visions were turning into fragile, dreamlike sequences; a slender breeze was blowing everything away from him. Simultaneously, he was stretching his body and his fingers were reaching out to hers. It was fast, but not fast enough before her disappearance. All the images had blurred and faded. Nothing was there anymore. He grasped nothing but a rose, a grey rose. He cut his arm and wanted to dye the rose with his blood. He wanted to fulfill her only wish, at least. His attempt was futile, because even his blood was grey! He was paralyzed. In front him was only the grey sky. He stood idle on a barren sand dune.
A strong wind was approaching from the far end. He swiftly closed his hand before the strong wind blew everything away from him. He timidly held the only remaining of her in his palm. However, the grey rose dissolved into millions of grains of sand. Although he tried frantically to catch them, through the gaps between his fingers, they flew and passed him and eventually reunited with the sky, and the rest of the grey world.
God, the almighty appeared again, as usual, belated. “Do you regret your decision?”
The boy nodded and again shook his head, “the world I had, I might have lost everything, but there is always hope”. He smiled, the first time ever since the departure of his last girl friend.
“I can send you home now.” God smiled and said to him, “since you had one girl told you that she loves you, you are free to leave for home now”.
“I don’t want to go home anymore. Because I don’t regret that I lived in this world. I don’t regret my choice in the beginning. If there is another chance for me to choose again, I would still persist in my decision.” He replied thoughtfully. Then he lifted his fist and held it in front of his chest, then he said, “I have already lost my heart here, there is no way to go back anymore.”
“Can I ask for a red rose?” Boy asked God for the last time.
“Don’t you forget that everything here is colorless” God answered him mercifully; “there is no other color here”.
“That is right. It is only my unfulfilled desire.” He mumbled and held his fist even tighter now.
God had long left. He stood motionlessly alone like a statue, accompanied with gentle breezes, endless grey sand, placid grey sky and the grey sunset. Contrary to the colorless world around, his eye brimmed with hope and satisfaction. The smile on his face might be the only color in the world of grey…
The clock had rung 12 times eventually to declare the end of the day. Nothing exists anymore. Nobody would know what had happened.
Silently, as if someone had seeded, a red rose is sprouting from the root of the wall. It was so red, as if it was dyed with someone’s blood…