#384: Missed deadline - 2015-10-13
Time to leave. Some of the kids were sadder than others, some were relieved and others were disappointed. There were many emotions during that time, when the teacher reminded them of the announced time.
During the morning, the radio played songs by Chilean bands such as Lucybell and Los Tres, and Argentine bands like Soda Stereo and Los Enanitos Verdes. Around noon, La Pozze Latina and Los Tetas were joined by English-speaking bands such as The Beastie Boys, Kris Kross, Cypress Hill and Dr. Dre. Now the radio played songs by bands such as Nirvana, Collective Soul, Candlebox and Pearl Jam.
At the billiards room, Rodolfo Hahn and Li Xiaoshang aimed towards a tie-breaker. Marcela Kahn and José Vásquez had already given up, and Lucio Gómez was already back to the swimming pool, after losing a chess match against Rafael Jiménez.
Rafael was in the middle of a winning streak. Emilia Riquelme, Soledad Álvarez and Fulvio del Valle were already defeated. Without more challengers, he stood up in order to look for the Chinese girl in order to decide who was the best of them all. Rosa was watching the matches from the distance.
- “ Up for a match, Rosa? ” - Rafael offered a chance to Rosa, though he already knew her answer:
- “ Uh... no, I'm really bad at this kind of games. I'm sorry. ”
- “ That's bad. ” - said Rafael, with an emotionless expression in his face, and continued his way towards the billiards room.
Rosa submerged herself in the pool... and was about to beat her head on its wall, which was avoided by the water resistance. She felt stupid, useless, unable to break the ice. Until seventh grade, Rosa was one of the best students of the class; this year she was almost held back a year. Was it that important for Rafael to be with a smart girl? And what happened to herself that she was no longer worthy?
Rafael returned from the billiards room, together with Marcela and José. The others already started another math. They were way too stuck in the game to think of something else. Rosa saw Rafael getting close to the pool right as she put her head out of the water.
- “ I can teach you, if you wish. ” - Rafael said to her.
But what would Rosa be able to learn in the half of an hour that remained before taking the bus back home? Hugo, Eliana and Pedro already made futile attempts at getting Rosa closer to the wonderful world of chess. Rosa only knew how to move the pieces... but what she lacked wasn't quite teachable.
They tried it anyway. Rafael explained to Rosa a few things that he saw during the last games, and together they studied some classic openings. Later, they started... but it makes no sense to even tell you about their game. Rosa didn't understand Rafael's moves until it was too late. At Chesss, Rosa against Rafael was like Rafael against Eliana or Eliana against Iván Morovic, the Chilean chess champion. Simplily, she was no match for him.
Rafael stood up, and returned to the billiards table, leaving Rosa alone, staring to the chess pieces like a five years old kid trying to read the Official Journal of Chile.
Then the teacher appeared, bringing with him a strange-looking machine. It was an instant photo camera, coupled with an automatic feeding mechanism.
- “ With this, kids, ” - the teacher explained - “ I can take one instant photo of the same scene for everyone. This way, I won't have to send it to make copies. ”
22 copies of the only group photo, plus many photographs with a smaller amount of copies. Only the teacher knew how much money did it took him to take so many photographs, as it was a surprise that was beyond the trip's budget. With this, the kids said good-byte to the so-called “estate”, or “estancia” in Spanish, and boarded the bus back home.
Hours later, Rosa stayed with Rafael at the bus terminal, while they waited for the bus that would bring him to Talca. Rosa still couldn't break the ice.
- “ It's already late, Rosa, and my bus is late too. Why don't you just go back home? ”
Rosa was about to give up and leave, but she wouldn't allow it to herself yet.
- “ Rafael... I just wanted to stay with you a bit more. ”
- “ Whatever... but honestly I don't understand why. We've been together for quite a long time... Also, what else can I say to you? In the end, despite of everything, you're still my best friend, and that's not going to change just because I'm going to Talca. You shouldn't worry that much, don't you think so?
- “ Yeah, a friend... ” - Rosa grumbled.
- “ ... Well, you were the one who said that we were too young to think about dating and other things. Also, we're just getting out of Primary School, we don't need to hurry things up. ”
- “ Yeah, I remember when I said that, and I haven't changed my mind. ”
- “ Then you shouldn't attach yourself so much to me, Rosa. Mainly because we won't be able to see each other so often, as we're going to different schools next year, and we won't see each other in quite a while. ”
- “ Yes, but I'll still miss you, Rafael. ”
- “ I know. But think about your studies. You have a great challenge ahead. I know it's going to be difficult for you, because you barely could get a passing grade at Math, and because I won't be around to support you. ”
- “ That's right. I'll have to study much harder. ”
- “ Oh, look... that's my bus! Bye! ”
Rafael kissed Rosa in her cheek... a quick kiss before rushing to the bus. Rosa became paralyzed during several minutes... and only recovered right as she saw the bus leaving.
Then Rosa stood up, ran towards the bus and yelled: " RAFAEEELLL!!! "
But Rafael won't listen to her, as he wore headphones. The bus left the terminal, and Rosa was left alone. It was over 10 in the night. The only thing left to do was to go back home and sleep.
Left behind were the dreams and illusions about what Rosa had planned in her mind for that day. Reality wasn't like Rosa expected, and Rosa blamed herself for it. She cried all night long, angry with herself...
But Rosa had nothing to blame herself for, at least not for lack of trying. There was, indeed, something Rosa was unable to realize. Rafael had already made that decision, and it was impossible for Rosa to make him change his mind.
- “ I never told it to you. ” - Rafael said to himself while he was at the bus - ” - Maybe it was for the best. I don't know if you'd want to know my secret... but there's else that you once told me. If I tell you what it was... if I ever tell you what made me lose interest... I swear that you'll never want to be my friend anymore. ”
Rafael sighed and blasted up the volumen of his radio, in order to shut up the feelings of guilt that, deep within, overwhelmed him.
- “ Oh, Rosa... if you weren't just a child...! But no, you're not like me! ”