WITH an unusual atmosphere, the father and son ate silently.
"Ethan, I have something to show you." Ethan's father said as he handed the folded poster to Ethan. It was the poster he asked for Center before. Ethan looked at the poster with a poker face.
"I cannot read what was written on it. I just saw that the drawing was about the band since it was a picture of a group with musical instruments. Center read the captions for me. I told him before that my son used to love playing in a band." Ethan's father said happily.
"Why don't you give it a try and join the audition-"
"Stop. Father, how long will keep insisting your dreams on me? You knew it from the start, I am not that passionate when it comes to music." Ethan said, honestly.
"I only loved playing music when I was a kid because I was just curious and envious of the instruments. Also, I only continued enjoying it when Center was still around. You knew I stopped playing when we transferred to another place." Ethan said as he dropped his spoon on his plate.
"Why won't you accept it?! I never dreamed of being in a band playing in front of many people! I never had a dream like you used to have. I know you were not able to play with your band in front of a large crowd before- but I cannot continue your dreams, father. I cannot stand on stage for you to cheer me up in the future." Ethan said as he walked towards his room. He felt exhausted and tired. He just wanted to sleep.
"I never meant it that way." Ethan's father said sadly. The old man didn't finished his meal and decided to keep them for tomorrow morning.
With a heavy heart, Ethan's father folded the poster and kept it inside the drawer. He cleaned the table and decided to go to bed early. He still needed to open the shop the next day.
ETHAN left the house earlier than usual and went to another place. He never planned on going to school today. He turned his phone off and went to a park. He never planned on going home early either. He wanted to cool himself down. He wanted to be happy for a day.
Center on the other hand was able to get dismissed. The doctor said he could go to school since it was just a minor injury. Charles insisted to let Center rest for a day but Center went to school anyway.
Center was on his way towards the school gate when someone called him.
"Center! Thank goodness I found you!" it was Ethan's father. Center's eyes widened as he didn't know what to do.
Ethan's father was holding a small handbag as he smiled at Center, motioning the spoiled brat to come over him.
"Can you give this to Ethan?" the old man said while smiling and handed the bag to Center.
"He left early and forgot to bring his lunch. I added extra rice because I think he didn't eat his breakfast. Thank you!" the old man said and left immediately. Center was not able to refuse because of the old man's friendly favor.
Center sighed heavily and asked Rei who just happened to arrive at the gate.
"Hey! Rei!" Center called Rei as the psycho guy glared at him.
"What? I thought you were dead." Rei said bitterly. Center hissed and threw the bag lightly to Rei.
"Give it to Ethan, his father brought it for him." Center said bitterly as he was about to leave.
"Ethan's not coming to school today. He texted me that he has a cold. Stop using his father's name for your lousy excuses. If you're that worried, you should go visit him!" Rei said and threw the bag back to Center. The psycho guy left Center being confused.
'Then, where is Ethan right now?' Center thought as he stared at the bag in his hands.
Ethan didn't really went to school and Center ended up eating his lunch since he got hungry. Center only thought about Ethan's whereabouts for the whole period.
The classes ended and Center secretly passed near the shop while riding his motorbike. Center was shocked because the shop was closed. Center went near the shop and looked around to confirm.
"Uhm, excuse me." Center asked the vendor next to the teddy shop about the old man.
"Why is the shop closed early today?" Center asked the vendor politely. The vendor looked troubled as she said, "The owner of the shop was rushed to the hospital. I heard he had a heart attack during noon. We cannot contact his son either."
Center's heart pounded so heavily that he instinctively dialed Ethan's number. He memorized Ethan's number but he was trembling.
*...the number cannot be reached...*
After many attempts of call, Center gave up.
"Do you know what hospital the owner was brought to?" Center asked calmly. But inside, he was panicking seriously.
"Yes" the vendor answered.
CENTER rode his motorbike and went towards the said hospital immediately. He didn't know what to do. Many questions began to fill his brain as he made his way to the reception area.
"Dead on arrival."
"Dead on arrival."
"Dead on arrival."
The words played repeatedly through Center's head like a broken piece of song.
Ethan's father died from heart attack. The old man was having a hard time early in the morning after he arrived from Ethan's school. He fainted inside the living room and no one was able to help him immediately. Luckily, one of their neighbors went inside to ask for a pack of flower seeds and saw the poor old man.
Center went back to Ethan's house and waited for the president to come home. He knew that Ethan might ignore his presence but he must bear it. He needed to tell Ethan about what happened to his father.
The sky went darker as Center looked at his watch that read 9pm.
"I'm home" Center immediately raised his head as he heard Ethan's mumbling voice. Ethan was a little drunk and he looked like a mess. Center's tear fell on his cheek as he pulled Ethan for a tight hug as he whispered, "Your father's dead. I'm so sorry, Ethan."
Ethan felt as if everything he drank rushed towards his brain. He felt as if he wanted to vomit all the alcohol he just took inside his stomach. He realized that Center was hugging him so he immediately pushed the crying man away.
"Say that again." Ethan stated with a tear escaping from his eye.
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