Love Comes in Unexpected Moment

Inspired by the song, ‘Cheerleader’ by OMI and Felix Jaehn remix.

Author’s note: Sometimes, there’s an event in our life that needs an explanation — and yet it doesn’t need one. It is enough that something — or someone — happens to us. Love is not expected to come even if we’re expecting it.

Love Creates Havoc

“Shooot! C’mon, Marvin, shoot that ball!” The coach was shouting hoarsely.

Marvin, sweating profusely, was not hearing anything. His mind played the break-up scene of last night.

“I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me.” Londra pulled off his ring.

Cheerleader

“Count your many blessings, name them one by one.” – Johnson Oatman, Jr. / Edwin Excell

Marvin looked at her for full five seconds. He couldn’t understand.

“W-what–?”

Londra put the ring on the table then shrugged. “I’m breaking up with you. Nothing is working.”

“Londra, sweetheart, don’t joke about us.” He knew he sounded broken but he couldn’t help it. The break-up was a complete shock.

“Marvin, this is no joke. I need to be free. You need someone who’ll follow you with your games. I’m not that kind of girl.” She stood up, ignoring the food being placed by the waiter.

“Wait, let’s talk. Don’t leave like this!” He was distressed. He tried stopping her by the arm but she was fast.

She sidestepped and confronted him at a distance. “Marvin, don’t make a scene! I said I’ve had enough and that’s it!”

Dazedly, Marvin watched her walk away. At the entrance of the restaurant, he saw her stop gracefully in front of Charlie.

Charlie Chavez was a fourth year law student, balding and yet driving a red sports car.

He couldn’t believe his own eyes when she stooped to kiss Charlie’s shiny forehead and then, hooked her hand to his arm. Without a backward glance, they walked away.

“What’s happened?”

The ball flew from his hands listlessly. The crowd booed.

“What is happening with you, Marvin?” His coach berated him angrily.

“I—” He shook his head very slowly. “I’m sorry. I want to go home.”

“No! You can’t leave your team! You’re the captain ball!” Coach Dan developed a beet-red face. It was laughable but Marvin was not in the mood for anything but howling at the privacy of his condo.

“Make Kyle the new captain ball. I quit.”

“Mar, what’s come into you!” Kyle’s voice tried to stop him.

The referee’s summoning whistle reverberated around the court. The game must go on.

Marvin walked away freely. But he didn’t feel freed. Now, that he could go anywhere he liked, he stood very still outside the building.

It was eerily quiet after the noise inside. The air was heavy. He looked above and saw stars. Just stars without the moon.

“Do you love her that much?”

“Huh? Who’s there?”

“My friends call me ‘Gayle’, Marvin.”

Her face was pale but interesting. Her almond-shaped eyes seemed too large and her lips were red.

“You know me… are you a basketball fan?”

“No…”

She came nearer. She was wearing a white gown with sleeves.

“Would you go with me? I have something to show you.”

Marvin thought, ‘What the heck? I’ve nowhere to go. And I don’t want to be alone.’ He had forgotten his desire to be in his condo.

Gayle seemed to float away. Marvin moved quickly. He walked and walked.

“Where are we going?” he asked, panting.

“Oh. You’re tired already. I’m sorry.” Gayle stopped at once. She didn’t seem breathing fast.

“What is it you want to show me?”

Gayle flopped onto the grass. She didn’t mind the dew or the grassy stains.

“This.” Her hand indicated the surrounding. Or what could be seen as surrounding.

“This?” He was disbelieving.

They seemed surrounded by darkness, only a small circle consisting of him and her illuminated by a dim glow.

“Have you tried counting your blessings?” Her head with the flowing black hair cocked at him.

Marvin could feel an itch to comb his fingers into her hair. It wasn’t appropriate so he pocketed his hands.

“You are healthy and athletic. You’re six feet tall and a varsity player,” she gushed. Gayle was clearly impressed by his height. “Won’t you sit down?”

He accepted the invitation. The sense of intimacy persisted.

“I loved…” He broke off. Londra had mascara to thicken her eyelashes. Her eyes could be any color she desired when she woke up in the morning: gray, blue and green. Her lips were thin and short when lack of cosmetics.

He liked her height and her long hair. That’s all.

“I thought I loved her.” Marvin looked at Gayle.

He looked, and drowned, in her almond-shaped eyes. She had small pointy nose and cherry red lips but her cheeks were pale. Her small hands, which were the only limbs visible, look as white as her clothes.

“Talk to me. How long have you known her? Where did you meet?”

“I met her last year, at a party of a friend.” His brows knitted as he tried to remember Londra in those days. Shoulder length hair and a lot less make up. Somewhere along the way, she had evolved into a stranger. She didn’t wear skimpy clothes back then.

“You fell in love with her,” Gayle sighed enviously.

“I fell in love with the old her,” Marvin sighed in return. He felt old suddenly. “The girl I knew was gone forever.”

“Was she your first serious girlfriend?”

“Yes… and no. My first serious was not my girlfriend. She belonged to my best friend in high school.”

Gayle was a good listener. Marvin found himself talking his heart out. She spoke whenever he became pensive.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said when there was a short silence.

When his invitation was met with nothing, Marvin looked at the girl. Or at the spot where he last saw her.

Now, only the swirling mist met his eyes.

“Gayle?” He stood up so fast he felt dizzy. “Gayle, where are you?” He turned around.

He could see the trees but they seemed surreal as they started to crowd over him. He blinked and blinked. The trees became people that surrounded him.

“Marvin! Thank God, you’re conscious!” Kyle exclaimed with relief.

“Kyle, you have to save the game now that Marvin’s conscious!” Coach Dan reminded anxiously.

Marvin pushed himself from the stretcher. “I’m okay now. Go get ‘em, tiger,” he joked weakly.

“Are you sure?”

“I’ll be watching.” Someone put several backpacks so he could rest his back even while seated. Somebody put a bottle of water on his hand. He drank thirstily to show energy starting to come back.

Kyle grinned happily. “Welcome back, Captain!”

He smiled with bravado. His eyes went to the scoreboard. There was a very thin hope of victory but a miracle seemed possible.

His experience with Gayle was bewildering. He would think about it later.

His eyes wander around the court when a time out was called. His attention was arrested when he saw a very familiar face.

Gayle!

“Hey, slow down.” A hand restrained his sudden movement. It was the team’s physician. “You’re suffering from severe hang-over.”

Hang-over?

“Drinking yourself to death, and then without sleep, you attempted to play. Tsk! Tsk! Your body had more sense collapsing!” The older man gently reproved while taking his blood pressure. “You need more water, young man.”

Marvin meekly drank the second bottle of water. He looked again at the girl with large eyes and red lips. She was not looking at him but she was smiling secretively.

“How long was I unconscious?” he asked curiously.

“About fifteen minutes. You gave us a fright. No pulse. No heartbeat for a minute or two. Don’t do that to us again, especially to young Kyle.” Dr. Concepcion stuck a thermometer inside his mouth.

He could not speak but his eyes move to Gayle once again. Yes, her lips were naturally red. Her cheeks were unnaturally pale but, at least, no cosmetics.

She was wearing a white dress with sleeves. No surprise there.

Marvin managed to catch her eyes. No recognition, but hers widened a bit when he stared hard at her.

He didn’t know what happened during his near-death encounter but meeting Gayle would not require an explanation. For him, knowing her was enough.

When his team managed to score back, he cheered loudly. He naturally looked at Gayle and found that she was cheering their team.

It lightened his heart. It seemed important that Gayle was a fan.

After a lively game where the ball was brought back and forth vigorously, the other team won. It was a close call. Their team had a high because it was a good game.

“We made them ran for their money!” Coach Dan announced triumphantly. “The next time, we will go for victory!”

The whole team agreed with much vigor.

“How are you feeling, Mar?” Kyle supported him to get on his feet.

“Alive and kicking,” Marvin smiled fondly at the other man. “Can I ask a favor?”

“Anything,” was the eager answer.

“I want to meet someone. Could you give me hand?”

“Sure.”

Kyle was surprised when he saw where they were going.

“You knew my cousin, Gayle?”

“Your cousin–?” Marvin shook his head as though in shock.

“Oh, you brought him! Kyle, I owe you.” Gayle smiled at them shyly. “Marvin, it’s an honor to meet you,” she said gushingly.

“Well… I must leave you.” Kyle was clearly confused but decided to leave. “Marvin, have a seat beside Gayle.”

He sat without taking his eyes off her.

“Why are you staring?”

Marvin blinked. “Uh, sorry… I felt I knew you.”

“The feeling’s mutual. I felt we’ve met somewhere.”

He gave a secret smile. “Is this your first time here.”

“Yes… and you can bet that it shan’t be the last!”

He gave a delighted laugh. “I hope it’s okay to ask your number.”

“Um… what about your girlfriend?” Her smile dimmed.

“I don’t have any. What about you?” His smile became formal.

Gayle’s eyes were radiant. “Here’s my number.”

The strange dream Marvin had during his collapse started the rare friendship that he and Gayle shared. She was suffering from anemia and grief due to her parents’ early demise. Between Kyle and Marvin, they managed to get her to start living again.

She cheered every game they had. She was always there even on practice time.

One year after, Marvin mentioned their surreal first meeting.

“You said I should count my blessings.”

“Did I?” Gayle’s eyes widened with surprise. “So that’s why you kept on repeating that to me.”

“Yes. I consider you as one of my blessings.” Marvin fell silent as he waited for her answer.

He didn’t wait long.

“Oh, Marvin! You are one of my blessings, too!”

Lyrics:

Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn remix)”

When I need motivation
My one solution is my queen
‘Cause she stays strong
Yeah, yeah
She is always in my corner
Right there when I want her
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say

Do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
I’m like no, not really ’cause

Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her
Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

She walks like a model
She grants my wishes
Like a genie in a bottle
Yeah, yeah
‘Cause I’m the wizard of love
And I got the magic wand
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say

Do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
I’m like no, not really ’cause

Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her
Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

She gives me love and affection
Baby, did I mention
You’re the only girl for me
No, I don’t need a next one
Mama loves you too
She thinks I made the right selection
Now all that’s left to do
Is just for me to pop the question

Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her
Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

(Courtesy: azlyrics.com)

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