Understanding Promises

For the first time after three years, I have returned to typing on Notepad. I face the challenges of no Shift+F7, no Auto correct for my typical typos, and no formatting abilities of bold and italics. My MS Office is yet to be re-installed, but I feel that this fic should be typed, so here I am babbling away.

A story not only of Noah and Betty, but perhaps your story too, or someone you know well. Simple and clean.

Just what is a promise?

A promise is a pledge to do or not to do something specified.

It means that when your best friend in the whole wide world promises to be there and watch Sesame Street with you because she is is the only one who understands your keen affinity to Ernie's toy quack-quack. you expect her to keep it. You expect her to sit down with you in the entire half-hour of the show, stuffing kernels after kernels of popcorn into her mouth because she knows it would be simply rude to laugh at your queer likes.

That is, if she ever comes.

That is, if she finishes all her chores, commitments, and errands in time. Factually, she doesn't make it without tardiness in nine out of eleven chances. It would have been more understandable, really, if these sudden circumstances do not strike right before -- or worse AFTER -- your date with your best pal is set. And the thing is, she chooses those...things above you.

But of course, you can't protest. At least not properly. How can you, when she flashes you that disarming apologetic smile and a sincere word of promise to come back for you?

So you wait. And wait. Even if waiting in vain is not your style, you sit still and, in held breath, you wait for her to make true with her words.

It has always been this way, hasn't it? She runs, you watch her figure disappear in the shadows, and then you let out a sigh of exasperation.

And with time and boredom as your biggest foes, you scuffle your shoe, think of eighty other things you are better off doing than waiting for her to come back from wherever she has gone to.

You try to get mad, but the anger drive doesn't last long. As it has always been, your weakness, hands down, is her innate ability to make your annoyance readily melt with her rushed streams of apologies. You need only to imagine her emerald eyes begging you to try to understand her, and you are a washout goner.

So you try to get up, walk off, and find something else to do: pick a flower, greet a friendly elderly neighbor 'hello', or you tie and untie your shoelaces with the determination worse than one suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

And all the while, you remember the first flower you picked out for her, or how she delivers her sunny greeting to that neighbor while you two ride your bikes home, or how she became your first ever teacher in everything Kid Basic-- which includes learning how to tie shoelaces.

Then you tell yourself, "I am hopeless". Which you most certainly are.

You depend on her all the time to boost your morale, encourage you to try things you yourself will never contemplate on your own, and become your company when even your own self finds you way too boring.

She cracks the best jokes that serve your brand of humor best. She shoots the best hoops which you can only dream scoring, and she can ably defend herself from typical class headaches like Penelope. Yet at the same time, she is the only one who shares your viewpoint on the advantages of having extended library hours.

She is steps away from awesome, but you in comparison, what do you have to brag about?

Nothing, to start with.

There is not one single thing you can be proud of when talking to her. She is better than you in all fields, perhaps even outmanning you. She doesn't easily cower and she maintains her composure and wits even in the toughest of school-borne situations. She is the type who still methodically works around her math assignment even when the Math teacher is five steps away from the entrance of the classroom. It's her never-say-die spirit at work, something you can't be entirely sure you have.

Or in my case, I don't have.

And everytime I see her turn my way and wave hurriedly goodbye, I watch her back forlornly. She seems so...busy, always on the run. Her life is rotating at par with the pace of the sun and the moon balancing each other in the world's axis dance.

Constantly, constantly spinning.

I wonder where in her busy, busy life do I fit in. Noah, the helpless little best friend, the boy who sees her most recently hurriedly walking off and away.

There are times I can barely stop myself from grabbing her arm and asking her to stay whenever her wristwatch alarms and she starts to mumble apologies. I want to ask her the whys and wherefores of the situation, but then I think to myself how it can't be part of my role as her best buddy.

And so, I let her go off. And then I wait.

Waiting may not be the most painless task in the world, but this is the only one thing I am holding on to keep abreast with her flurry of activities that don't really involve much of me. And for that, I will continue to wait.

And until I see those raised arms waving my way, informing me that she had made true to her promise after all, and that she would really come, I shall sit down on the curb and count birds...or electric posts...or something.

If I am doomed to this kind of life, then so be it.

The simple thought of knowing that she will always come back for me no matter what, and that she would never leave me when I lag behind... this awareness is one among the other many reasons why I still find patience in the perpetual waiting I have been doing oh-so-recently.

A few things in life like right decisions and happy successes are worth the wait. Betty for me, my best friend I cherish dearly in ways more than I as her best pal should, is just like them, and more.

the end