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THE BLUE SKY
(BASED ON "FINAL FANTASY")
He woke up and looked over at his alarm clock. It had already gone ten o'clock, but for him that still counted as early. He had to prepare himself for today, because today was going to be the day.
He quickly got washed and dressed. There was a long time to go until tonight, but he needed to prepare himself, to build himself up for the moment. He wanted to make sure that nothing went wrong.
It had taken a long while to talk himself into actually doing this. He was afraid that he would mess it up and it would all go wrong. But, after talking it through with his friends, he now finally believed that he could, and should, do it. One way or the other, he had to know.
It had been almost eight months since he first saw her. They were in the same group together for their seminars. His eyes were drawn to her the very first moment that he saw her, as she was the most beautiful girl on their course. She always spoke up during the seminars, and he loved the sound of her voice, which she used to make her points masterfully. By the time they had their third seminar together he couldn't stop thinking about her.
He had always dreaded going to seminars as he felt uncomfortable talking to a group of people, and he was also struggling to grasp the concepts that they were discussing, which was reflected in the poor marks that he was receiving. But they had been paired up together to prepare a talk about one of the books that they had read for their course. He visited her in her room in her halls of residence, where they worked on it together. Whilst she took the lead, she kept asking him questions about what he thought, and listened carefully as he fumbled out his answers. She praised him on the points that he made, and helped to make him feel at ease. She guided him on how he could control his nerves when it came to giving the presentation, and her advice became extremely helpful, and the presentation was a success.
Shortly after that it transpired that she was the friend of a flatmate of a friend of his. Through this network he was able to find out that she was still single at the moment. His friend wanted to know when he was going to get around to asking her out.
But he was too shy to do so. It had been such a long time since he had asked a girl out, and that had been a disaster. It was a girl in his sixth form that he had seen about the school. He didn't know anything about her, not even her name, as they weren't in any of the same classes, and they didn't have any mutual friends. But whenever he saw her he couldn't take his eyes off of her. He wanted to try and get to know her.
One of his friends at the time had somehow convinced him that he should just ask her out, and that the worst that could happen was that she said, "No." And so he eventually built up the courage to wait for her outside of her classroom, and prepared himself to speak to her for the first time.
The bell rang and the class started to file out. She and her friends were the last to leave the room. He walked up to her, and her friends were walking behind them. He said, "Hi, you don't know me but I've, er, seen you around and, er, I wondered if... you'd maybe, um, like to go for a coffee or something sometime... erm..." There was a pause and then he said, "Or shall I just go now...?"
She just said, "Yes, you should," and then walked off in a different direction.
He felt like a fool. Whenever he saw her around the school after that he was reminded of that moment and he remembered his embarrassment. To be fair, she hadn't laughed at him, or done anything nasty to him, but he could still feel the pain of that moment. Ever since then, whenever he saw a girl that he liked, he was reminded of that moment.
He was still reminded of that moment when he thought of this girl. He didn't want to make the same mistake again. But he also wanted, more than anything, to be more than just friends with her. He was thinking about her all of the time, dreaming about her, longing for her. But in attempting to take things further with her, he didn't want to jeopardise their friendship. He wanted to do it right.
He often spoke about her to his friends, who had all become fully aware of his infatuation with her. They had advised him that she was probably aware of what he thought about her, as it was pretty obvious whenever he was around her. They told him that he had to do something about it, he had to tell her. But he was fearful to do so, remembering what had happened all those years ago. His friends told him that he had to move on from that - if he didn't tell her how he felt, if he didn't try to resolve this issue, then it would just keep eating away at him.
It had taken a lot of convincing, but, eventually, he decided that he would do something about it. Today he was going to tell her how he felt, and he was going to ask her out. And she was going to say "yes," or at least that was what he hoped.
There was a regular weekly event taking place at the Union that night - where they played music from the last fifty years. It was one of the more popular events, and one of the few that he actually liked. His friends had already established that she was going to be there, and so he had decided that he would tell her there, tonight. In around twelve hours he was going to know, one way or the other.
But there was a long time to go before then, and he had to prepare himself. He had to try and defeat the nerves that were trying to control him. He had to build up his confidence so that he could tell her with a steady voice and without shaking. He decided to go out for a walk before his lectures to try and calm himself down.
He walked down the hill towards the seafront, a gentle sea breeze blowing into his face. It didn't take long to reach it. He looked out towards the sea. He liked living by the coast, the sight and sound of the sea always helped to relax him.
He walked along the promenade. The town was busy with other students going about their daily lives. He saw a couple walking along the beach, arm in arm, smiles upon their faces. He imagined himself walking along the same beach with the girl of his dreams. Who knows, by tomorrow he may be.
At the end of the promenade was another hill, which he started to climb. It was a fairly easy and straightforward climb, with a wide path gentle climbing up the hill. After about half an hour he was at the top of the hill, which had commanding views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
He took in deep breaths of the fresh air to try and clear his mind. As he did so, one of his friends walked up to him. As she approached he said, "Hi Lisa."
Lisa had appeared on their course part way through, and had quickly integrated with them. He found her to be very helpful and friendly, and she appeared to be enjoying every minute of the course. But she often talked about where she came from, and how she misses it, and how she misses all her family and friends, and especially her boyfriend. She had been one of the friends to convince him to tell the girl of his dreams how he felt.
She asked, "Are you still coming out tonight?"
"Yes, and I've heard that you-know-who will be there. I've decided that I'm going to tell her tonight."
"Good for you! It's about time you sorted this out. Have you worked out what you're going to say?"
"More or less. I just hope that I don't end up making a mess of it."
"I'm sure you won't. Just remember to try and stay calm, and don't forget that she's just human as well. The worst that can happen is that she says 'no', but I'm sure that won't be the case. Good luck! I'll be routing for you!"
Lisa continued on her way, and he looked back out to the view over the sea. He had a good feeling about tonight.
Around an hour later he had a lecture, but she wasn't taking this particular class, nor any of the others that he had today. His mind kept wandering during the lecture, and he struggled to understand what the lecturer was saying.
At the end the lecturer returned some essays that they had written. When he got his back he saw that he had only got a mark of 41, barely a Third. But it was consistent with most of the marks that he had been getting. The topics that were being discussed on his course were more advance than he had been expecting, and he was starting to think if coming to Uni had been a mistake.
He then when shopping as he had run out of food. He checked his wallet to see how much money he had. It was around five pounds, and had to last him the rest of the week. He would need some of that to get into the Union tonight, and so all he could afford was the supermarkets own brand economy pasta and sauce, but he was used to that by now. Money had been extremely tight, but he just had enough to pay for his accommodation, tuition, and food. It was hard and depressing, but he was struggling through.
But the depression was eased by her. His whole world lit up when she was in the same room with him, and especially when they were working together. Whenever he was with her he could put all of his worries out of his mind.
The rest of the day went by smoothly. He couldn't take his eyes off of the clock, counting down the hours, minutes, seconds...
Eventually his classes were over, and then all he had to do was to have dinner before getting ready to go out. But his nerves were starting to take over, and he had lost his appetite. He kept playing out in his head, over and over, what it was he was going to say. He had to get it right. He had to get it perfect.
His friends came to collect him, and they set out into the night. It was now a lot colder than before, with a biting wind coming in off of the sea.
There was a large queue to get into the Union and it took them a while to get in. But as soon as they were inside he saw her straight away. She looked more beautiful than he could ever remember. She smiled and gave him a wave, and his heart skipped a beat, causing him to almost forget to wave back.
He didn't go over to her straight away, he went to one of the tables at the side and sat down with his friends whilst some of them went to get drinks. He could see her dancing with her friends on the other side of the room. One of his friends asked him, "When are you going to go over there? Go on, get it over with!"
"Not yet, I'm not ready yet. I'm more nervous than anything..."
"But if you just sit here staring at her you're just going to make yourself more nervous. The sooner you go up to her, the sooner you will know one way or the other. Go on..."
He took a deep breath, and realised that his friend was right. "OK, I'm going to do this."
"Good on ya!"
He stood up, and slowly made his way across the dance floor towards her. She looked up at him as he approached. "Hi," she said, her voice still sounding sweet and soft in this noisy atmosphere, "I didn't think you'd be coming out tonight."
"Well, my friends talked me into it. Actually there's something that I wanted to ask you..."
"Sorry, could you say that again?"
He raised his voice so that he could be heard, "There's something that I wanted to ask you." Before she could say another word he took her hand and led her to a quieter corner of the room, where he was out of sight of his friends.
She looked at him with her beautiful eyes and said, "OK, what is it?"
He took another deep breath - this was it. This was the moment. Everything hinged on him getting this right.
"I don't know if you've noticed, but I've grown to like you, a lot, over the past few weeks, and I was wondering if you'd like to maybe, if you want to, go and have dinner with me sometime..." It was said. It was out in the open. The next words to leave her mouth would change his life forever.
There was a brief pause before she spoke, then she said, "I'm flattered, really I am, but, I'm sorry. You're a nice guy, but we don't really have the same interests. I don't think we'd be suited for each other. I don't want to sound mean, I hope you understand..."
He looked down at the floor and nodded.
She continued, "But we can still be friends, yeah?"
She smiled at him and said, "I guess I'll see you later then?"
"Yeah, see ya..."
She left him to return to her friends. He couldn't bear going back to his friends to tell them what had happened, so he quietly slipped outside unnoticed.
The cold wind was still blowing in his face, but he was too upset to feel it. How could he have got it so wrong again? How could he have dared to get his hopes up? It always ended the same way, he was always being turned down. What more could she had possibly wanted from him? She said he was a nice guy, what more could he have been? Why couldn't things just work out for once?!
He ran back to his Halls of Residence, trying to hold back the tears. How could he ever face her again? Whenever he looked at her now, instead of seeing her beauty, he would be reminded of that moment where he had made a fool of himself again. How was he going to get past this?
He went into his room and closed the door, and now he could let the tears flow. How could she do this to him? He had done everything right, and it still went wrong for him. Why did this have to happen, again?!
His thoughts of love and admiration were turning to anger and hatred for how she had made him feel. How could she do this?! He considered finding a way to punish her, to make her realise the mistake that she had just made...
But no, how could he be thinking like that? That was not the way. She hadn't said anything particularly nasty. She had tried to let him down gently. But the pain was still just as real.
However, the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that he had been travelling down had just been extinguished. Nothing was going right for him. He was failing his degree, he was out of money, and now the one ray of sunshine, the one hope that he had been clinging onto to make everything in his life bearable, to make everything feel alright once more, had been clouded over.
No, he couldn't face this pain. He couldn't face this humiliation. He couldn't go on like this any more. He decided that there was now only one way out, only one way to end his suffering once and for all.
He took the sheet off of his bed, and carefully tied one end of it to the curtain rail by his window, being careful to ensure the curtains were tightly shut. He fashioned the other end into a noose. He placed a chair by the window and stood on it, and then placed the noose around his neck.
But before he went ahead with it, he decided that he would call one of his friends to tell them what he was going to do, to say his goodbyes. He took out his phone, and dialled...
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