In the fall of 2010, Lily was boarding a transit train heading to Paris. It had always been a dream of hers to go there, but she never thought in a million years that it would be so soon. As she was reading Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War, a man approached her and tapped her on the shoulder.
"Excuse me miss, is that seat taken?" he said.
His finger was pointed to the empty seat next to hers, blocking her view of the book. Annoyed, she answered with a hint of anger in her voice but did not look up as she did not want to take her eyes off the book.
"I said, is that seat taken?"
She looked up to the man and was left in a state of awe, as if she had never seen anybody like him before. Brown hair with a tint of auburn, green eyes that pierced through her skull when he stared at her and a smile that made Ryan Seacrest's grin resembled that of a two year old's undeveloped smile.
"Uh, no," was the only two words she could say. It was obvious that she was a little flustered by his presence beside her. As he made his way to the empty seat beside her, the camera that was hanging on his neck made unexpected contact with her forehead.
"Ow! Hey, watch it!" she yelled. The sharp pain to her forehead made her raise her voice at him.
"Oh my, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to. I guess my mum was right about me," he said in a sombre voice.
She was puzzled by his statement. With her hand touching her forehead, looking for any signs of swelling, she asked, "Right about what?"
"She said one day, I would be the reason a person has to be sent to the hospital," he explained.
She couldn't help but giggle at his response. Must be a mummy's boy, she thought. "Well, I'm Lily. Nice to meet you,"
"Hi, I'm Colin. Sorry I hit you in the head with my camera. Wasn't my intention, honest!"
He tried to explain himself, but there was no need for an apology, as she started to grow fond of him. He was of her too, but neither one of them made a move. Lily was a student from Malaysia and Colin was a backpacker from London. They both bonded on the train heading to Paris, as if they were old friends reunited. Since neither one of them knew anybody there, they decided to make it easier for the both of them and explore the city together. As they reached Paris, they got off the train and promised to meet again in the morning. They both got into their taxis and went to their respective hotels, anticipating the week they will spend together in the beautiful city.
Over the course of five days, they have explored the city through and through. It was as if they planned to travel to the 'City of Love' together as lovers, not random strangers who met on the same train. Colin couldn't help but question his feelings towards Lily; feelings that he never thought he had. He knew he had developed strong feelings for her, mainly because of her carefree and outgoing personality. It's as if she has no care in the world, he thought. Every time she laughed, he would smile and stare at her like she was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes on.
On the fifth night during a stroll around the city, they found themselves under the brightly lit Eiffel Tower standing tall above them. He knew this would be the right time to confess his feelings for her.
"Hey Lily, I know we've only known each other for a couple of days, but I can't help but think that you're the best person I've ever known, and I-- uhh,"
"You what?" She wondered, as she nudged his hand to quicken a response.
"I think I'm in love with you. Your eyes, your smile. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me. You make me feel as if I don't have to have a care in the world, as long as I'm with the one I love. I love you, Lily. There, I said it. And to think that I met you on a random train, "
She froze. Her face quickly changed. That was not the reaction he wanted to see from her.
"I can't fall in love with you. I'm so sorry to have led you on, Colin. I never wanted anybody to get hurt," she mumbled.
"Well, can I know why? At least give me closure, so I wouldn't beat myself up too much," he said.
He could see the tears in her eyes. Her eyes started to transform into two pools of water, and the glimmer started to crawl down her cheeks. She broke down.
"I'm not going to be here for much longer. I'm going, Colin. Going. Gone, into oblivion. I have only days, if I'm lucky, maybe months. That's why I'm here in Paris. At least before I die, I want the streets of Paris to be the last thing that I see. But then, you happened. And I-- what I'm trying to say is that I'm not going to live, and I know if you fall in love with me, I'm going to have to leave you soon. I don't want to leave you here hanging. I never planned for this. I never wanted for this to happen to me. To you, especially you. I'm so sorry, Colin. I really am," she cried.
"Hey, you know I'm never going to leave you. I love you so much. I don't care that I've only known you for a week, I promise you that the next few days we spend together will be the best moment you'll ever have. As long as you're still here, I'm not letting you go. I promise, Lily. I'm not letting you go,"
Although those words came out of his mouth, deep inside he felt lost to know that she will be gone soon. He knew the week he spent in Paris with her was the best thing that has ever happened to him, and he wanted her cancer to be the last thing she'll remembers when she's going. Over the next two days, they spent every waking moment with each other, knowing that they will never get that chance again. They were now lovers in the 'City of Love'.
On the last day of the trip, they made their way to the train station together and waited. Waited for the train that would part them. While waiting for the train, they gaze into each others eyes and had the same exact look in their eyes. They knew exactly what the other was thinking. They laughed, and their hands were now intertwined as one. They walked slowly towards the railway and laid down in each other's embrace. They knew that they couldn't possibly live without each other.
"To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die," she said, with a smile on her face.
They could now hear the sound of the train that was going to be their demise. It's coming. It's getting closer and closer. As the train was just seconds away from stealing their existence, they looked at each other and smiled meaningfully.