I don't know how I met him. I don't remember. Somewhere hidden in my mind, I have a faintest memory like I helped him up at the seaside as he accidentally fell over a rock. I treated him like my own brother. And then, he just followed me ever since.
Although he was approaching his teenage, he had a look of a child about seven or eight years old. His family wasn't a good one. His parents always quarreled and usually either the father or the mother would leave the house for at least three days for that. After that, the quarrel resumed. They never paid any attention to their kid. I pitied him. Every time I asked him what was he doing when they were quarreling, he would force out a smile and said, 'What can I do? Only sleep will make me deaf temporarily.'
I know he lied.
He was weird. He sometimes stared into blankness and said nothing, and he sometimes talked a lot with me. He loved to write letters, but his letters would never reach to the postman. He wanted to send the letter to the sea as he claimed that the sea would carry his burden to the edge of the world.
I didn't like him throwing the bottles. It's just that every time he threw it, he became exceptionally quiet. You couldn't nudge him, shout at him or call his name. He just wouldn't answer at all. He was trapping himself into his wild but sad imagination.
He would gaze at the sea and see how the waves rolled by. Or sometimes he would look at his bottle drifted on the sea. And sometimes, he would let out a long sigh.
I waited till he was fine and I asked him what did he wrote in the letter. He shrugged and said, 'My pitiful life.' I was surprised. He was still a child, how come he had any pitiful life? Maybe it was the family quarrels and stuffs. No matter, that wasn't his only answer. Sometimes he gave the answers like 'Sad', 'Hurt' or 'Pain'. There was never even once I heard was a positive remark.
Nonetheless, he loved talking to me. He said, talking to me could help him out from misery.
I thought: Really? If talking to me can help you from misery, why are you still writing letters for the sea? Why don't you just tell me what's your problem?
But I know, this was his hobby. He did this maybe for some other reasons that I had never come to know.
One day, he asked me out to accompany him. He wanted to throw another bottle that day. But that day, the winds were strong and the waves were fierce, even the sky showed no mercy. I was surprised about his decision to cast a letter at this day.
'Strong winds and wavy waves will help me send my letter to much farther out, that would make sure my letters won't turn back,' he claimed.
I was like wondering how important was that letter till he needed a strong wind and waves to carry its message. He, again, fell back into his shell of quietness. He stared out into the sea and sighed again. He raised his bottle, seeing it for one last time, shook his head with a bitter smile and cast it as far as he could.
The green bottle flickered the golden sun ray and plopped into the sea like a comet. After the splash, it started to be carried away by the waves, carrying the glitter of the sun like a star in the sea.
I could only hear the howling winds and crashing waves. I wished to hear what the voices in his heart was saying.
'Goodbye,' he blurted.
'Excuse me?' I really couldn't hear what he said in this stormy weather.
'I said goodbye. I thought you were asking what I wrote in the letter, so I said it's goodbye,' he said softly. His head was tilted down. He was nudging the sands with his broken slippers.
'Why goodbye?' I asked.
'My parents don't want me anymore. They don't want me to be in a terrible family. They are going to send me to a distant relative but they promised they would visit me once in a month,' he said, still not looking up. Suddenly, as if a beast in him as woken, he kicked a pile of dirt. 'I don't want to leave them! I really don't!'
I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what should I say. But in the end, I placed my hand on his shoulder. 'Since your parents had already made up their minds, you have to listen anyway. Maybe they thought this works the best for you,' I said. I swore I didn't know what I was saying. I didn't even know what I said was right, but at least I said something.
He fell silent. He turned away and left, leaving me watching him walking away. I didn't know whether I was having a hard time swallowing or I was sobbing. Something had caught in my throat. I felt breathless. I tried to call him, but there was no voice. And he stil didn't look back...
Over a few days, I felt uncomfortable. I felt like I have lost a best friend. It was like what people had told me about the philosophy of air: It is everywhere around us, but we don't appreciate it, till the day we lost air, we then know how important air is to us.'
I was missing him, I realised. But I couldn't contact him. I didn't know where he had gone to. I didn't have his phone number or address...
Then I had an idea.
This day, was my first day of casting bottle.
I stepped on the warm sand rain and gazed at the wide blue sea. This time, it wasn't stormy. But my heart was heavy. I could feel the turbulence in it. I let out a sigh, inadvertently. I gripped on the blue bottle with a white parchment in it. And I threw it hard.
It flickered blue light and dropped into the sea. There came a wave to engulf it, but it still popped up, floating. Drifting. Never to sink.
I stood there in silence, seeing how the bottle drift further and further away till it lost sight. I didn't know why I smiled.
In my heart, I know, I don't care where or when the bottle is going to land. I only knows it in one of the corner of my heart, he would receive it.
What did I wrote in the message in the bottle?
'I miss you.'