How to Love the Sun

Michelle Lee

(Runner-Up, Short Stories English Language Fiesta 2021)


Conflicting feels clashed within the enclosure of this room as the director skimmed through the papers, my lyrics to be exact. One moment there was a suffocating silence, the next was the glance of dissatisfaction. It began to become more unbearable the moment his face contorted into a frown.

            A deep exhale blew through his mouth followed by him giving me the side-eye. The intense atmosphere froze the little energy I had left. My fingers began to fiddle with each other as I noticed him done with the papers.

            “It’s trash,” he crumpled the papers before tossing them into the trash. I stayed silent, eyeing the papers that had a new home now.

            “I recruited you a year ago because of the song you wrote, Argani Jericho,” he reminded me with a special emphasis on my complete name. My heart sank at his words as his words flew like needles stabbing my heart. My troubled heart begged for a rebuttal but, deep down it recognized this issue was a persisting one recently.

            A year ago, I made a song about unrequited love and posted it on the media. I wasn’t exactly thinking that it would go viral but it did and here I was Jakarta Galaxy Entertainment Agency. I didn’t understand why back then, but now I realized that the reason the lyrics were relatable to the audience was that they were true to my heart. An honest expression of a human’s feeling if you will.

Recently, I found no creative juice flowed into my head. A writer’s block or could it be more of a matter of the heart? After all, a month ago I found the love of my life engaged to someone else. The one I sang in my previous song. I knew I was supposed to feel excited like her but I couldn’t. I found myself green with envy.

            Mentari Wijaya had always been a bright person just like her name. I guess that was how the sun lived its life. Admired for the warmth it gave to everyone yet, light-years away. I snapped out of my thought as the director’s footsteps drew near.

“If this continues—” he stood up, fixing his shirt before looking at me. “—then I have to cancel the contract,”

            My eyes widen at his words, looking at him in disbelief. He just shrugged before walking away, dismissing me. I turned around, wanting to complain but was welcomed with the door. My knees gave out as I slammed the floor, frustrated with myself. Questions showered my thought, making me doubtful of myself. The questions clouded my mind, almost consuming when my alarm pulled me back to reality.

            Remembering that I needed to go to my side gig at my buddy’s place, I stood up with the help of a nearby chair before walking away, my head throbbing.


            “Oh, you’re here,” Rizky the barista acknowledged me, giving me a side glance before beaming at the customer. I gave a small nod before heading toward the stage, my guitar hanging on my back. He must have noticed my swollen eyes as he gave me a questioning look from his expression.

            As I covered songs from artists, I ended up observing a couple sitting across from me. they looked excited and I could guess they just got engaged as the woman kept on showing her hand, proud that her fiancé had proposed. My mood was ruined enough but with them there, I just wanted to shout, knowing that she could be engaged too. And who am I to stop that? A nobody now. Just as I thought of that, the drum got louder out of a sudden, adding fuel to my burning heart. Before I realized it, my emotion had taken over as I yelled on top of my lungs, playing with the melodies as my fingers strummed the strings. I could hear people complaining but I was too into it, ignoring everything. It didn’t take long before they lowered the audio, apologizing for being too loud.

            Yet, I neglected it and continued with the song before it finally came to an end. I climbed down and took a seat at one of the tables, realizing what I just did. My face was a beet red as I covered it with my arms. But I did feel a bit relieved after all the melodies streamed out.

            “Here,” the barista handed me a cold coffee, putting it at my side as I glanced at the brown liquid. “What happened back there?”

            I stayed silent, accepting the cold brew. “Thanks, Rizky,” I smiled, trying to change the topic. He didn’t buy my excuse and still gave me a look, waiting for an explanation. Sighing, I took a sip, readying myself to explain when my phone rang, stopping me in place.

            ‘Mentari’ popped on my screen. I frowned at the name, my heart dropped as I was questioning the possibilities of her calling me. I mean, I knew we were childhood best friends, and I was the one who made the mistake of falling for her. She did nothing wrong, so why was I mad?

The question was answered with my thoughts. I was too confident, I thought she loved me too, that she wanted me more than a friend. I even imagined our future together but, I was wrong.  Risky gave me a look as I showed him my phone, he shrugged asking me to answer.

            “…Hello,” I responded. She requested the call into a video call as soon as I accepted it, forcing me to accept. I put down my phone at the table as I waved at her, showing Rizky too.

            We had been friends since fifteen years ago, inseparable if one asked. That was until three years ago when she was accepted to her dream college. With the intact memory of a promise we made when we were five, I had to let her go.

            “Promise me that we will achieve our dream no matter what?” she let out her pinkie finger for me to intertwine.




            Rizky nudged me, bringing me back to reality. I focus back on Mentari, forcing a smile. “What is it? It should be midnight there, no?”

            “Guess what?” she smiled, ignoring my question. I couldn’t help but smile looking at her excited face. Only for a moment, I wanted to enjoy her laugh. She whipped out her hand and showed me the silver wrapping her ring finger. “Yes! I’m engaged! I’m sorry I forgot to tell you my best friend earlier”

            My heart dropped as I noticed the diamond ring. “O-Oh, congrats! Haha, it’s fine,” truth be told, it was a white lie. I knew from her Instagram’s story. Who wouldn’t notice such a grand announcement especially from one’s unrequited love?

            All at once, all the memories I had with her flashed in front of my eyes, forcing me to think about her again. I wanted to be alone, their voice was echoing through my ears, deafening me. I abruptly ended the call and walked out of the café, running home as the feeling was getting out of hand.


            Putting on my earphones, I heard a raw melody I made a long time ago. It had been two days since I heard the news, drowning me in sorrow. But I knew that I have to continue with my life. It wasn’t like I never see it coming, I had always known that she would have her own life, especially after hearing her boy—no, fiancé treating her like a Disney princess.

            Two days of extreme contemplation was not in vain though as I realized something important. Could I make her happy like how he did? I guess we would never know, but one thing for certain was that she was happy with him. Not with me. So, I knew it was time to let her go. Because part of loving her was also letting go.

            I took out a paper together with the pen as I began to pour emotion into my writings. I had always tried to lock it away, but for now, I didn’t have to worry a thing. I just need to write true to my heart.


            “—a masterpiece that now everyone knows,” I had the mic close to my mouth, smiling. “I hope everybody won’t be a coward like me, sometimes I wonder maybe if I told her my feelings earlier, she would be mine.”

            “But now I realized, it was the memory of her that allowed me to fight into the top,” I looked at my guitar and began to pluck the first note. “She made me promise something that I had kept and finally achieved it.”

            “This song is called, ‘Goodbye, Sun’, enjoy,” the melodies began to pour out, drowning the entire crowd in tears. The perfect last goodbye to show my love for the sun.

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