What are words
If they're only for good times
Then they don't
When it's love
Yeah, you say them out loud
Those words, They never go away
They live on, even when we're gone
-Chris Medina

Natsume Hyuuga

I didn't know what actually happened, all I know was that I am the one to blame. We were fine a few months back. Our relationship was steady, it was okay. We were both happy.

Or so I thought.

We've known each other since we were kids that you'd think that it was puppy love or love at first sight, but it's not.

Trust me, I hated her at first.

I really hated her.

The first time we met, it was hate at first sight.

The girl always had her hair up in pigtails and I swear that was signature look until high school. She was loud. Her voice annoyed the hell out of me. She rarely stopped talking and would always greet the class a good morning whenever she entered the room. It made me wonder how the hell was it even possible for a person to have that amount of happiness.

We were ten years old then.

If you want to know how I became friends with her then I'll let you know right now… I don't have the slightest idea.

All I know that it happened when we were fourteen.

Through out middle school I distanced myself from her. She was everyone's friend or at least that's what it seemed. It wasn't like she wanted the attention. That was just the way she is. She's not herself if she doesn't act the way that she does. She wasn't like any of those try-hards in the Academy.

She wasn't fake and everyone knew that.

I would never forget that one afternoon when I was walking to the usual Sakura Tree I hang out in whenever I felt like skipping class and realizing that someone already beat me to it. And there was only one other person who knew that that particular tree was my favorite spot in school.

An insult was about to fly out of my mouth when I heard it.

A sob.

Followed by another.

And another.

I stood rooted on the ground, weighing down my options. I could leave and ignore her or I could ask her what was wrong.

Trust me, my next decision that day changed everything.

Just be a good person for once and walk up to her, Hyuuga. She's no stranger.

I took a step forward. Towards the tree. Towards the girl whose cheerful voice I couldn't stand.

"Aren't you supposed to be in class?" I found myself asking her.

She jumped when she heard me. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand and gave a fake laugh, "I should be asking you that."

"I always cut class," I said, still standing a few steps away from her but not far enough to notice how red her eyes have gotten.

How long has she been crying?

"Right. The famous Natsume Hyuuga who even though always cuts class gets the highest scores during finals."

She looked up to me with her big brown eyes then stared at the ground and smiled.

You'd have to know how this girl worked, how she spoke, how she constantly worries about her friends, everything. From how the tone of her voice changed when she's lying or how she avoided eye contact and would smile when she's faking that smile.

And I'd know how she worked because no matter how much I tried to distance myself from her, there was always something that tugged me back to her. Stolen glances in class, a slight nod whenever we pass by the hallways, a few seconds of eye contact during lunch, just the little details. But those little details were the ones that mattered.

And believe me, she clearly avoided eye contact when she smiled a while ago.

"Why are you changing the subject, Polka?" I asked.

She hugged her knees tightly, still avoiding my gaze. "I have a name, you know."

"The print of your underwear is a much better nickname."

"It's not. You're such a pervert." She hissed and her eyes finally met mine. "And plus, I don't even wear those prints anymore. We were ten, God. Get over it."

"Why are you changing the subject, Polka?" I repeated.

She sighed, "I don't know why you have name problems, Natsume."

"And I don't know why you're acting like you weren't crying just a few minutes ago," I retorted.

Wrong move. That was a dick move.

I thought that she would run off or yell at me for being rude to her but she just had to surprise me.

"Just don't forget. My name's Mikan. Mikan Sakura." She shrugged, stood up and fixed her skirt. "C'mon let's go to class. The others might be wondering where we are already."

I stared at her, "You're not really going to tell me why you were crying?"

She bit her lower lip and sighed, "It's a family thing."

Before I could say anything else she took my hand as if she's done it a million times before, "Let's not talk about it, okay? C'mon, we really have to go to class."

Then I let her drag me, her hand holding mine.

That was when I realized that I might actually like this girl.

After that, we always talked. Well, she talked while I listened. She told me everything, from how her day started and how it ended. I'd find her seated under the shade of my favorite Sakura tree during lunch and for another hour after classes were done for the day. Sometimes I'd get there early and I'd be the one waiting for her. It instantly became a tradition.

"Remember three years ago?" she asked the summer when we were fifteen.

"What about it?"

"When we were asked to tell something about our parents, our family." She continued.

I didn't say anything. Of course I remember that day.

"They were teasing me that I was weird and a loser 'cause I was an orphan, that I don't even have parents so I might as well not participate in the activity. And that I leave with a distant relative and all that."

It was hard for her talking about it, her parents died before she was enrolled in the Academy and I heard that she was living with her uncle or something.

She tucked her hair behind her ear. "I just wanted to thank you for what you did."

"I only told them to fuck off. It's no big deal."

She laughed, "Well, it wasn't everyday that a twelve year old would say 'fuck off', right?"

I shrugged, not knowing what to say.

I learned to love her voice when we talked. When she told a story I really listened. I was captivated by it. And to think that all those years ago, the sound of her voice pissed me off so much. It's ironic.

Want to know the cool part?

It was when three years after this very conversation, when I finally had the guts to tell her what I really feel, when I told her that I loved her, she replied, "Me too. I love you too."

God, you should've heard her voice when she said those words.

We were eighteen then.

There were just some things in life that just happen, this was one of them. Things that were never planned and when it does it goes on smoothly, and you'd think that everything's perfect as perfect as it can be but when you do, that's when things start to fall apart.

We were supposed to watch a movie but my mom was sick. I called her to tell her that I might be late and that I have to go to my mom's place, but being the person that she was she said that I should just stay with my mom.

"It's okay, really," she persisted. "You have to take care of your mom. I understand that."


"No buts, Natsume."

"Mikan." I said.

"Now he calls me by my name." I heard her sigh, "I mean it. I'm totally cool with this. I won't cry over this because it's our seventh anniversary. I'm not like the other girls. You know better than that."

It was stupid to even agree with her. Because if only I knew…if only I knew that that would be our last conversation, I would have gone with her to the movies. If only mom wasn't sick that day, probably, I would have prevented the events that happened afterwards.

I was in the hospital before the sun even rose the next day.

It was so obvious. The signs were there but I overlooked them. Back when we were twelve and when I saw her crying when we were fourteen.

Her uncle was drunk that night, the neighbors told me. He was always like that but he'd never hurt Mikan. Not since last night. She was waiting for her uncle as usual; he was staying at her place now. Mikan thought that it was her turn to take care of him, when he barged in the house all angry and drunk because he lost a bet. Mikan tried to calm him down but it only made things worse next thing she knew, Mikan's uncle had his hands around her neck.

The neighbors found her body a little while after and they called an ambulance.

She was rushed to the hospital on time. Thank, God.

But when she woke up the day after…

Her voice box was damaged.

No. Not damaged. It was broken. The doctors said that she'd be like that from now on. There was nothing more that they could do.

I fought back tears when I heard the doctor's words. I could blame Mikan's uncle but in some ways, I could also blame myself. In some ways, this was also my fault.

At the end of the room her best friend said, "She's looking for you."

She was at her hospital bed with a pen and paper on hand. I sat down at the chair right next to the table and she gave me the note with a smile on her face.

I couldn't help but smile.

Gone was the girl with the pigtails.

Gone was the girl with the high and annoying voice.

Gone was the girl with the voice that had so many stories to tell.

But here is the girl who never gives up. Here is the girl whom I'll always be with no matter what happens. Here is the girl who just found out that she'll never speak again but is looking at me as if she still can. Things did change, but some things still stayed the same.

I read the note once more,

I don't need words to tell you how much I love you.

Now, I'll be the one talking while she'll be the one listening.

We were twenty five then.


Author's notes: We talked about mute people, individuals who couldn't or can't talk, over dinner the other day, (I have nothing but the utmost respect for them) when this plot suddenly popped inside my head. And I just had to write this.

Thank you for reading.

-VCL 7/24/2011 2:17 AM