Loving You was The Hardest Thing to Do
On cold days like today, she always visit my house. She was a peculiar woman, she always seems to wear white clothes, white socks and white shoes. Every time I see her, snow always comes to my mind. I remember the first time she knocked on my door. I was making myself a hot coffee back then, when I heard the knock. I had immediately opened the door in fear that someone is in need of dire help. I was disappointed when all I see was the white snow. Annoyed and irritated, I slam the door shut. That was the first time I heard her voice. I can still remember her exact words, the paused in every single word and the emotions that goes along with them as if everything happened yesterday. "Is that a way to treat a woman? How rude of you!" Her voice displayed anger and irritation, but instead of annoyance, I felt my heart lifting. I immediately opened the door.
Her name was Eva. According to her, her parents left her when she was 3 years old. Ever since then she had been living in the forest, but the forest does not provide her enough warmth during winter, thus leading her to seek for other habitats that will let her stay until the winter ends. She used to stay with my Korean neighbor Su Kim Lee. Sadly Kim was deported back to Korea just last summer. The whole house was demolished. Eva could no longer stay there.
I had offered her to just live with me instead. At first she smiled, my heart lifts up expecting her to say yes. She said no, according to her she has her duty in the forest. I had tried asking her countless of times what her duty was but she never said anything. Eva is really a woman of mystery.
I was a bit restless this summer. I couldn’t help but keep on waiting for Eva to knock on my door. All I could think of was her long beautiful black hair and dark green eyes. I couldn't even focus on the simplestt of things. My co-worker, Julie had noticed this and gave me warnings. "Don't ever hunt in the forest. According to what I had heard everyone who had eaten meat coming from that place had gone mad." I looked at her with right in the eye, she returned my glare and looked at me stubbornly. I laughed her warning off. There's no way that was true, I had seen Eva recently and she is definately not mad.
The days continued as if Eva didn't exist.I wasn't able to talk about her with my co-workers in fear that they would think I was making up a story about how I was able to met a very beautiful girl who happens to live in a forest that is cursed. No one would believe me. Thinking of her all day was making me crazy. I couldn't sleep during nights and every single morning I make sure to leave food on the table, thinking that when she wanted to come in and eat she doesn't need to cook. Is this what people call addiction? Or is this love? I do not know.
One night, I heard a knock on my door. I was so excited, I was really wishing that it was Eva. I wasn't disappointed when I opened the door. I recognize the very same white dress and the black hair. I really thought it was Eva, until I saw her face. Her cheekbones were smaller, her eyes were bigger and the color of her eyes was dimmer. It wasn't Eva, it was a totally different girl.
"Do you have a spare room? I couldn't find any inns or hotels in the village and no one would let me stay." Her voice was very similar to Eva. Her whole existence was freaking me out. Who is this girl? Why does she look so much like Eva? "Excuse me sir? Did you hear me?" She asked in a polite manner.
"I'm sorry, the villagers don't really welcome strangers. Usually travelers stay in my house. I welcome anyone here. "I blurted out. The girl went inside and tries to pull her big bag behind her. I was so tempted to help her but her determination prevents me from doing so. A few seconds passed, and the bag were still outside, I finally decided to help her. The bag was a little bit heavy, but I manage to place the bag on the couch.
"Angeline, Angeline Jim." She stretches her hand out , attempting a handshake. Eva did the same thing the first time she introduced herself. I was beginning to wonder if everything was just a big coincidence, or perhaps Angeline and Eva are related to each other somehow. Long lost twins perhaps?
"Astral, Astral Flamboise." I said, as I shake her hand. It has been a while since I said my full name to any living soul. I had always gone with the nickname Ash. Everyone calls me Ash, even Eva did. She looked at me with her dark green eyes. I couldn't read the expression on her face, I was worried that she would say something bad but then she said something unexpected. "Reminds me of the main character of an anime I once watched."
The next morning, I was shocked to see food on the table. Woah, this is the first time a girl cooked for me. Angeline glared at me, as she saw me coming down from the stairs. "I thought this as a thanks for letting me stay here." The two of us were quiet all throughout the first half of the meal.There was one thing that I noticed throughout our meal. She put exactly five sugar cubes on her coffee. The dress she was wearing was pure black, with flower embroidery, her hair was neatly tied into a ponytail and her posture was perfect. It was like I was looking at a princess. It was Angeline who broke the silence, "After breakfast, can you accompany me to the graveyard? I want to visit someone."
The walk to the graveyard was as quiet as the first half of our meal. She wouldn't talk about anything, she just quietly followed me.The moment we were in front of the graveyard, I started asking her who she was visiting. "My sister, she died two years ago. We were on vacation that time when she was killed by a bear. The villagers didn't allow us to move her body to a different place." How horrible. I never knew of such tale, but the villagers..how could they...
"I remember my sister used to tease me because of how much I copy her. Now that she's gone, I can't stop myself from copying her. I'm still wearing her perfume, her clothes and I'm still using all of her things. You probably think I'm weird. I'm sorry for talking so much." I looked at the ground, she was the same as me. Back when my father died, I used to copy what he used to do, to the point that I don't even know who I was to begin with. "It's okay. I know how you feel and I actually like it whenever you talk."
"On the second of February, meet me in the forest. I need to tell you something." Eva said, her face was paler than usual and her white clothes were stained with these reddish spots ( are those blood?). I wanted to ask if there was something wrong but the moment I opened my mouth she put her finger on top of my lips. "Shh. Keep quiet or they will hear you. Never forget, I will be waiting"
"Is there something wrong Astral?" Angeline's voice woke me back to reality. I wasn't able to notice that the whole time I was remembering my conversation with Eva. Angeline had been ready in front of Eva's grave. I quickly run towards her, guilty for not paying attention to our conversation and not even managing to catch up with her.
"You will be remembered forever for you bravery, RIP"
Angeline placed some black dyed flowers on top of Eva's grave markings. She put her hands together,and prayed silently. I could hear some of her prayers."Oh dearest soul....go back to the place where you were born.....the underworld is your home........our father waits for your return...go back home my little sister."Her prayer was peculiar. It was as if she knew that the soul had not yet passed on from this world to the next.
"I love you Eva. " Eva smiled at me, her lips were redder than usual and her eyes were shining brighter than it used to be." I love you too Ash, but you know that I am a ....."
"Her nickname is Eva. She died wearing a white long dress with flower embroidery. She likes to add 5 cubes of sugar in her coffee. She always wears her hair down. If you were to wear your hair down and wear white instead of black you'll look exactly like Eva." Angeline step backward and began to laugh forcefully. "What are you talking about? You never met Evangeline. "
She was right, everything I had been blurting out has no evidence. The only proof I have is my memory of that February night.
"Have you noticed? I always seem to look different each time we meet each other. " I wanted to contradict her, to say that she never look different, that she was always beautiful in my eyes but I don't want to lie. Lying means breaking her trust, I wouldn't want to do that. "You were meeting two different Evangeline in each visit. The Eva who would always eat with you and talk to you non-stop about how much she loves you and the other Eva, the quiet girl who never seems to stay long enough for dinner. I am the latter Eva. I couldn't talk, couldn't eat and stay as long as I want in your house, because the longer I stay, the more I become transparent. I didn't want you to know who I really am, what I really am but I must tell you because this is the last time we will be meeting each other."
"No, you're wrong. I know everything about Eva, that's because I am currently looking at her right now. She's standing in front of me.