Chapter Three: Tong's Dream of Nightmare
Tong was glad that he had been waking up this early for the last several months. Waking up this early gave him time to do his work out at the gym and still allowed him to do the everyday thing.
Tong went to take a shower and afterwards, as he was drying himself, he was looking at himself in this full-body sized mirror. He could see the bulging muscles on him and he wondered if he should compete in the local bodybuilding contests, as his friends had been relentlessly, teasingly suggested to him to enter such a competition.
Tong wondered if he should thank his … ex-lover … instead of having this unpleasant memory of him and the rough time he had afterwards.
After that Christmas' eve, Tong had attempted to contact his childhood friend many times. He sent him text messages, called him several times, and even went to the guy's house few times. He had even sat on the lawn chair in front of the guy's house, waited for several hours, yet the guy never came home.
Tong wondered if the guy saw him sitting there, decided to go to his friend's place, and stayed there.
Tong had given up trying.
Still, Tong had a rough time in the following months. Tong had gone into a zombie-like state. He couldn't concentrate on his school work. He couldn't get himself to enjoy the things that he used to. He was as lifeless as a zombie. He could hardly eat as well.
Sometimes at night he would wake up with sweats suddenly and he would feel horribly, devastatingly sad. There would be such a tremendous, painful ache that only his … friend from childhood …. could soothe it away.
Even his friends started to avoid him, not because of Tong's revelation of him being gay, but because no matter what and how often they tried, Tong was just not responding. His friends meant well. They tried to cheer him up, even forced him to go out with them to many festive gatherings, but there was no use. Tong just wasn't in the mood. Gradually, his friends had stayed away.
Tong got deeper into his depression, so much so that even his father, who was still battling his own alcoholism problem, had attempted to cheer him up.
Tong had become withdrawn even more.
Finally, his mom had enough, scrounged up some money and put Tong through a therapy.
At first, Tong had resisted, but eventually after countless sessions with the therapist, Tong slowly came out of his gloominess.
Tong had even taken up the therapist's suggestion of working out. Tong joined the neighbourhood gym. At first, he was intimidated by the long time members, but gradually, Tong became somewhat of a bodybuilder. He was quite adaptable in pushing those big heavy weights. Or that he had so much energy that he had no trouble in doing multiple sets of incredibly heavy weight exercises.
Even the personal trainers around the gym were quite impressed with Tong's muscle growth. From time to time they would ask if he was taking steroids.
Even Tong's mom and the therapist were concerned about Tong's dramatic increase of muscle growth. The therapist had suggested to Tong's mom that she should take Tong to a doctor and test for steroid use. Of course, the result came back negative.
Tong simply had an incredible amount of emotional stress that he wanted to relieve. And by pushing those heavy weights often, Tong was able to balance his mentality. Tong found working out with weights unbelievably therapeutic.
So here he was on this early morning looking at himself, and feeling his massive, bulky, muscular body. Adding that to his cute, handsome face, Tong wondered if he could win the bodybuilding contest with ease.
After several more moments, Tong got into his riding clothes and packed his gym gear. As he was about to ride out with his recently-bought 21 speed bicycle, his mom quickly came out and yelled, "Don't forget to pick up the package from the postal office!"
Tong shouted back, "Don't worry. I'll get it on the way back."
Apparently, a mailman came by to deliver a package on the previous day, but because no one was at home, the mailman left a delivery notice. Tong's mom was working at the university and Tong's father was on a business trip.
As Tong riding toward the gym, Tong felt like he's on top of the world. His grade had dramatically improved - So much so that his school was considering him to be the next valedictorian. He was also more socially active. He and his friends were doing things, eating out, seeing movies, playing various sports.
Then Tong thought about his one time lover. Even the mentioning of his name gave Tong such a strong, emotional surge that he wouldn't dare to say his name - even after all this time.
"NO! I can not think about him. I am not going to put myself down again. I will not!" Tong shouted as he stopped himself on the side street.
Tong put on his earphone and turned on his MP3 player.
Natasha Bedingfield's Stonebridge radio remix Pocketful of Sunshine came blaring through.
I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love, and I know that it's all mine.
Do what you want, but you're never gonna break me.
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me.
Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.
Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A higher place…
The sun is on my side.
Take me for a ride.
I smile up to the sky.
Tong no longer listened to the local stations. Nowadays, he listened to the English station where his ex lover's music would not be played. Apparently, the August band had become more famous and Tong's friends were saying that the songs were quite catchy, introspective and soulful.
Tong would have none of that. He didn't want anything to remind him of his … lost love.
Tong finally arrived at the gym, entered the front lobby, and greeted the personal trainer behind the counter.
"Want me to spot you today?"
"Nahh…that's okay. But wanna go for a coffee afterwards?" Tong responded.
"Sure! I'll be off in a couple of hours anyhow."
Tong then headed straight to the changing room. Tong had resolved that though he was still not ready to fall in love again, it really didn't mean that he couldn't become friends with potentials.
Tong got to his locker, quickly changed into his gym gear, and headed toward the weights area.
He went directly to the bench press. He proceeded to put four 45 lbs weights on to each side of the bar. Just as he was about to push the bar from its sockets, he heard his cell phone rang.
He put the bar back and answered his cell: "Hello?"
"Hello? Is this Tong? Am I speaking to Tong?"
"Tong here. Who is this?"
"This is Ying. I've been trying to contact you for the last two days. Called your home all day yesterday and finally this morning, your mom answered. She then gave me your cell. At first, she wasn't going to give your cell to me, but after a lot of convincing, she finally relented."
"Err…I see. What can I do for you?"
"Mew got into a horrible accident early yesterday morning and he wanted to see you."
"Ummm…I don't think that's a good idea. I have moved on and I am really not ready to see him."
"How can you say that? After all the songs he had written especially for you, begging you to see him again? Haven't you heard his songs?"
Tong had taken aback.
"My childhood love wrote more songs for me? He was begging me to come back?" Tong whispered to himself.
How could this be?
"Hello? Tong? Hello? Are you still there?"
Tong hesitated. "I am still here, but I don't understand. After the Christmas night, I had called him. I even went to his house. I did not receive any of his responses."
"I don't know what had happened. All I know is that few days afterwards, he had an emotional breakdown. He was hospitalized for a couple of weeks. He had gotten better just few months ago. He did attempt to call you, but by that time, I guess your number has changed, so he wrote songs to ask you to see him again."
"Tong, you need to come to the hospital now. The doctor had said he might not make it."
Against all the things he was taught and painfully learned, he told Ying that he will be at the hospital. Ying had given Tong the address information and she would meet him in the emergency's waiting area.
Tong quickly gathered his stuff from the changing room and headed out.
"What about our coffee, Tong?" The personal trainer came after Tong.
"Len, I have to go. My friend is in the hospital."
"Okay. Next time then."
Once Tong got outside, Tong waved down a taxi.
As the taxi drove toward the hospital, Tong began to form many questions. One outstanding question that he had was, "How do we get to this stage?"
Tong met up with Ying in the Emergency's waiting area.
"Some witnesses were saying that Mew had walked into the busy traffic."
Ying took Tong to Mew's room. On the way, he saw Mew's band mates. Some of them were wet with tears.
Ying knocked on the door to Mew's room and Mew's mother came to answer. Ying said few things to her. The mother replied that she and her husband were about to go out for a quick dinner.
After the parents left, Ying and Tong went into the room. Ying went up to Mew, patted Mew's arm gently and whispered, "Mew, Tong is here to see you."
Tong went up to Mew's bed.
Mew slowly opened his eyes and saw Tong, then smiled, "Tong…I am…so…happy…to see you."
Tong saw that angelic smile and almost immediately, Tong melt. All the love that Tong had for Mew had returned with a full, incredible force. Tong felt as if nothing had changed. He was still deeply, profoundly in love with Mew.
"And I to you, Mew. What happened?"
"Tong…I am … very much in … love … with you. I don't …know if I could … live … without you. I guess … I was thinking … of you … so much that … I didn't … realize I … was walking into … the traffic."
"Mew, you could have called or … " Tong's tears started to form. By this time, Tong was holding Mew's hands and leaning on Mew's side. His face was very much close to Mew's.
"Tong…I am … just glad … that you are here…"
"Mew, Mew, I thought you didn't care. I thought you no longer love me…"
"Tong…I could … never do that … Believe me … or not … you are always … my love … my only love."
"Mew, Mew…" Tong was sobbing now.
"Don't…cry…Tong. I want you … to be happy…When I get…well...we can…do things…"
"Mew, we will…when you get better, we'll do things."
Mew smiled and Tong felt as if they were back in their childhood again, Mew and his angelic smile. So soothing, so bright, so endearing…
Tong felt Mew's hand loosening…and Tong then looked at Mew's face more closely. Mew's eyes were closed. And he realized that … Mew was gone.
Tong cried outloud, "Noooo! No! Mew, you can't leave me! Not again!"
"Noooo! Nooo! Nooo!"
"Wake up! Tong! Wake up, son!"
"Whaa…t happened, mom?" Tong woke up suddenly.
"You were screaming, crying in your sleep. I came in and you were thrashing about."
Tong was sweating and was rubbing his eyes, "What's today's date?"
"December 25. Merry Christmas, son."