3 👣 The Unfamiliarity

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What exactly brought him to the doorstep of his absent neighbor—Eugene? Was it his bitter hope to bid the drunker his farewell? Or was it the oily pickup parked on his lane and the familiar poem's melodious flow?

Whatever the reason was, at least he has fulfilled his last wish before beginning his survival anew.

The last glimpse of the girl who has restored his crushed self for the gazillionth time.

"I'm all well now, see?" Tayana's smile was still infectious, like always. Her hazel waves taunted his unwashed blacks, from which dandruff tangle and flutter. "It's a miracle."

His neighbors stare from their yards. The rumors must've spread like a jasmine's scent, blooming from a certain field—in the form of the neighborhood's securities, who are always the first in pickpocketing information.

"Ai, poor child. No surnames. No parents. What will he become?"

"A workaholic who's patching his parents' red inks."

With his removal from this prestigious neighborhood, the ink officially scrawls itself all over his face.

He notes the details of everything last. The crowd of mansions which are blocking his vision; Eugene's surf-boards, which interfere his lane when they're set out to dry; and the exotic trees sprouting from the gardens.

He should contact Faux, the neighborhood's gardener and his close acquaintance, to keep a daily eye on the creations he leaves behind. The hydrangeas and the ripe berries he planted will bloom in a few days.

"You can stay here with me and Eugene," she grasped his coarse, thorny hand with a silky gentleness. She's never one to offer such things—is this a good sign?

"I can deal with it." He distracted himself on her healthy hands instead. The plague was nonexistent, unlike what he saw on his first visit.

His arms attempted to lunge forward, circling around her back and relished her warmth, like he used to engulf before her downfall. He longed to release his burdens on her shoulders in the form of salty tears. She's stronger than him; she must've understood his reasons.

But his arms' muscles remained loose. Tears surfaced from his eyes, triggering his runny nose and its silent sniffs. His chest ached from the mixture of emotions. The suitcase's handle has left an imprinted mark on his rough palm, as an outcome of his constant clenches.

"Goodbye, Ana." He pushed his tears back to their caverns and inhaled his sniffs, forcing himself to stare at her wavering blues.

It's as if they're begging him to stay, moreover after his loving nickname for her.

The neighborhood's directly connected to a twin two-way avenue, which is flooding with race-capable vehicles. Towers with bizarre architectures—asymmetrical indenting cubes, spined windows, and spiraling installations—overwhelm his hazy sight.

It's weird how contrast is the neighborhood's chilly environment and the futuristic terrors beyond its border.

He follows the streetlights, which grow brighter in sync with the fading dusk, and amble on the yellow-petaled sidewalk. Several times has he got caught by the Chinese Flame trees' coaxing branches, earning mouthful snickers from the spectators.

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