CENTER was walking on the street with his hands tucked inside his jeans. The city's smell and the vehicles' smoke blended together as Center breathed them behind his black mask. He usually wears mask when going out, not for a disguise but for health protection. He enjoyed walking while watching the children play on the streets like the free birds on the sky. He never experienced that. He only remembered being inside a room full of musical intruments, alone. He sometimes remembered the boy he used to laugh with at the music house, he remembered Ethan. He sniffed and disregarded the thought as he continued walking.
Inside a teddy shop, an old man greeted the children with a smile.
"Hello little ones! Which one do you like the most?" the old thin man asked the beautiful twins who were staring at the giant care bears on the display stand.
"I want that huggy, mommy!" The girl in pink dress said while pulling her mother's skirt softly. Just as how kids looked when they were asking for candies, the old man smiled. He looked at the silent girl who was staring at the same teddy.
"You like this too pretty girl?" the old man asked the shy girl.
"Not really mister. I like buying those things instead" the silent girl said and pointed the bicycle across the street. The old man saw the toy store across their shop and chuckled.
"Then why do you keep staring at it?" he asked the shy girl as he heard the noisy one still demanding for the teddy.
"My twin likes it and everybody think we have the same taste. I always let my parents buy what my sister likes. That makes them happy seeing us both" The girl whispered and looked at her sister as if she was telling her greatest secret towards the old man. The old man thought, 'I've never met someone as considerate at a very young age like her other than my son before' The twin's parents bought two teddies and left the shop. The little girl remembered what the old man said.
"Being considerate is a good thing. But remember you have to follow what your heart desires, that's the only key to make you happy."
The little girl smiled back at the old man as she dragged her mother's skirt towards the toy store. That made her mother clueless yet they went inside the store. The little girl decided to follow her heart. She demanded for a bicycle.
Center went inside the shop and looked around.
"How can I help you, young man? For your girlfriend?" the old man asked with a bright and a familiar smile. Ethan's face flashed through Center's mind as he heard the word 'girlfriend'. His face turned light pink as he let out a forced cough. He tried to get rid of the idea but he failed.
"No, just looking around. Bye" Center answered awkwardly which made the old man smiled. He thought that young man was inlove.
"Hey young guy, can I have a favor?" the old man said loudly when Center was about to leave the shop. His hand was already holding the door handle when he turned his head back to see the smiling face of the old man.
"Yes sure, how can I help you?" Center said with a smiling face. The old man looked hesitant but he decided to speak.
"Could you get that poster across the street for me?" the old man said and jutted his chin towards the poster being posted on the public bulletin board.
"The black and yellow boarded one, please" the old man added. Center saw what the old man said.
"Yeah sure" Center replied and immediately crossed the street to get the poster. He didn't look at the picture and hurriedly returned to the shop and handed it to the old man.
"Here. Anything else, sir?" Center asked the old man. The old man smiled and looked at the picture.
"One last thing" the old man said and Center nodded, he was panting a little bit so he decided to remove his mask. The old man saw the handsome feature of Center and thought, 'His appearance matched his attitude well'
"What does it says?" the old man asked Center shyly. There was a moment of silence before Center realized what the old man said. The man was illiterate, he couldn't recognize letters nor he can write. Center felt awkward when a sudden part ached inside his chest.
"Uhmm..." Center stuttered and looked at the poster, his eyes widened as he realized what the poster was.
"What? Don't tell me you can't read too, young man?" the old man chuckled. He knew how to make an awkward encounter like this turn into a variety. Center smiled and read the text out loud.
The poster says:
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN PLAYING MUSIC? OUR BAND IS IN NEED OF STAFFS. WE NEED A VOCALIST! EITHER YOU CAN PLAY GUITAR OR NOT! AS LONG AS YOU CAN SING LIKE BRUNO, YOU ARE QUALIFIED! JUST GO TO **** CLUB AND LOOK FOR ****. WE WILL BE WAITING FOR YOU!
The old man nodded his head and smiled at Center. He kept the poster and folded it into four and put the paper inside his pocket.
"Thank you young man, my son really loves joining in a band but he stopped doing it lately, I will give this to him when I come home. Maybe he will try to join." the old man said as he handed Center something from his drawer.
"Here, as a thank you" the old man said. Center looked at the small teddy bear with a guitar keychain attached on it.
"You can give it to you girlfriend" the old man said and smiled at Center. Center's face blushed again.
"Come again sometimes and bring her with you next time" he added. Center exhaled heavily as he faked a playful smile towards the old man.
"Yeah sure" Center said and left the shop. He put his mask on again and stared at the cute stuff in his hand. He remembered what the little Ethan said before.
"Does it sound wierd if I tell you I like teddy bears?"
Center put the thing inside his pocket as he continued walking. Lucky that there was a mask covering his face or else people would think he was crazy. He couldn't stop smiling and he finally decided.
He better tell him before it's too late.
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