As the clock on his watch showed twelve-twelve, the scorching summer sun was high up in the air, radiating sunbeam to the land down under. Dan sat on the porch alone with a glass of iced tea and a photo album on his leg. Like any other Australians, Dan loved idling away his lazy summer days spending time at his porch.
Dan gently turned the front cover over and began to scan through each photo carefully, photos taken, collected and carefully kept over the years. As he ran his fingers gingerly through the photos, his perspiration and tears gradually fell down and hit the protective plastic layer on the photos again.
The photo album meant a lot to Dan. It was a priceless collection of photos of himself and his girlfriend, Daphne through the years. Vibrant and sporting spring outfits, sexy beach wears at the beaches during summer, casual and trendy autumn clothes to cozy and warm winter outfits, the photo album was a bank to where all the little moments of Dan and Daphne’s life were deposited. However, the bank offered no interest over the year. On the other hand, to Dan it returned him with hurtful feelings which he could never forget.
Spring brought about new hope. Dan and his college mates were all looking forward to the summer holidays despite they were still three months away. Dan was in the school library, putting his greatest effort to pass his semester in order not to be sent to summer school by his parents. As he was searching for Accounting revision books, he accidentally knocked into a blonde-hair with slender figure. All her books went all the way down.
Dan immediately picked up the books and as both their eyes met, Dan knew it was mutual attraction and the chemistry was reacting and sparks were igniting. Before his next breathe or before he could utter his apology, he knew she was the one.
“I am so sorry,” Dan apologised as he picked up the books that were scattered all around. “Heh I’m Dan, Dan Scott.”
“Oh hi. Daphne Roberts. People usually call me Daph. And don’t worry about the books. Are you ok? Are you hurt?” Daphne reached out her hand and felt Dan’s arm. The touch was definitely electrical. Dan lost his breathe and his heart beats skip an impulse.
“I’m.. alright. How about you?” Dan uttered the words. His face had definitely turned as red as the freshly picked tomatoes from the garden. Dan carried the books for Daphne and walked her to the library.
After the revision session, both of them started off well. They found both of them had a passion for accounting so much. Both Dan and Daphne shared the same big dream: going to Australia National University when they graduate from Year 12. And from ANU, they wanted to graduate as the nation’s leading and well-established accountants. Dan loved French food so much and by coincidence or rather fate, Daphne was taking up a French cuisine course at TAFE during weekends.
The incident in the library led the two to start dating. Dan was more than eager to meet Daphne everyday after class. Daphne could not wait to bring him to her house to sample her newly learnt French cuisine. Both of them walked to college and back home. Dan would surprise Daphne with a bouquet of pink roses on occasion and Daphne would be totally over the moon.
On one spring evening, Daphne brought Dan back to her house. Daphne passed Dan a can of beer and they both started talking away as the sunshine gave way to the darkness. Daphne laid herself on Dan’s chest as Dan slowly kissed her on her forehead for the first time. Daphne told him everything she knew about stars.
“When I was young, whenever I saw bright twinkling stars in the dark sky, I was so happy. And I reckon you must be wondering why,” Daphne said.
Dan just nodded as he brushed his fingers through Daphne’s straight blonde hair.
“My mum used to tell me that bright twinkling stars are like miracles. They can shine despite the darkness. And whenever I am feeling low, I will stare at the stars, telling myself miracles can and do happen,” Daphne closed her eyes and reminisced what her mother had told her.
Dan remained silent. As Dan stared upon the dark sky, he saw one particular star that was so bright that it caught his attention. He pointed on that star, and said, “Heh Daphne. Look at that star, that one, the extraordinary bright one.”
Daphne compelled herself to move away from Dan’s warm chest and sat beside him. She looked upon the direction where Dan was pointing his finger.
“I witnessed my miracle, and that miracle is you, Daphne. I love you, Daphne,” Dan whispered.
Daphne threw her arms around Dan’s neck. They both kissed passionately and during that instance, Dan did not want to let go and he wanted that moment to last forever. That humid spring evening, Dan gave his first time to Daphne. Eighteen-year-old Dan was anxious and excited then, but he had the whole evening to himself as he gently made love to Daphne. That night was an unforgettable night, a night both of them would never forget.
When Dan woke up the next morning, Daphne was still in Dan’s arms and she was sleeping so sweetly. As Dan watched her sleep, he saw the inner and outer beauty in her. She was so beautiful that Dan had inadequate of vocabulary to describe. First love was hard to forget, indeed when one truly put everything into it.
Some say first love never last.
Two years had elapsed. One summer day, Daphne left Dan without a word. A sudden fire killed the entire neighbourhood. No one was savaged. The inferno was beyond control and the firefighters failed their tasks although they tried their best. Daphne was gone, gone into thin air like ashes after a hazardous fire.
Twenty-nine now, Dan was still single. Ever since the incident, he had never been remotely interested in any other girls who stepped into his life. He still worked as a taxation accountant for he believed he wanted to realise their big dreams. He would never forget the dreams that Daphne and him talked about. During his leisure hour, he worked voluntarily as the community firefighter. Deep down inside, he never wanted the same unfortunate incident to happen on other people. He fought the fire valorously although he knew no matter how hard he tried, Daphne will never return.
As he turned the photo album back cover over, he knew and accepted the fact Daphne was dead. As he embraced the refreshing breeze that lapped onto his face, he knew his relationship with Daphne would always live on, as long as his heart still beats.
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