The sunflowers only ever faced the sun. What did they see in it? Why didn’t they look away or shield themselves from its blinding light? The sun had nothing to do with their growth. They just bloomed one day, saw the sun smiling down at them like a majestic king, and well, they fell in love. The phenomenon can’t be explained. Just like this, if you ever ask me why I fell for you; I would have no other answer than you are the sun and I’m your peasant sunflower.

Harry used to say poetic things like that to Celine and mostly used to live in his own made world which revolved around fantasy stories. They didn’t make sense to her most of the time, but they were beautiful. It was the way he always delivered those lines that fascinated her. The way he would bend down, rest his arms on his knees and tilt his head sideways to gaze at her, and that smile when he was done talking and scanned her face for her reaction. She would probably blush in a silly way and hide her smile by facing away.

After school, the two of them would walk home together; him dragging his bicycle and his fantasy story books with him, both their bags placed in its basket. They strolled through the sunflower fields to prolong their walks. She would point out the most bizarre unnoticeable things around them and make them look beautiful; the little pebbles by their feet, the soft crunching of their shoes, the swishing of the soft breeze through the field, the bees buzzing on the flowers. When they reached her place, Harry would return her bag, deliberately brushing her fingers.

Celine had said she always looked forward to walking with him after school. But sometimes, he felt as if she was distant, lost in her world, and her smile faded. She couldn’t tell him it was overwhelming; being with him all the time, the way he took her breaths away. She didn’t know if loving him this much was beautiful or scary. She felt like nothing in her life was her own anymore. She had lost her sense of identity because wherever she went, she saw him. All the little things in her life were somehow attached to him, so much that everything reminded her of him. She wanted to find a piece of herself in something; something undiscovered by him, something that would make her feel like herself again.

She didn’t have many people in her life, so she created fantasy stories in her head. She started hoarding books and found comfort with fictional characters. She finally had some friends, friends she couldn’t see but could talk to. She never mentioned things about Harry to them.

She had built a fortress around herself, letting nobody in that personal space. They were the only thing that made her feel connected to herself. But Harry was a different kind of happiness. She still got as excited to see him after school as before, and it felt like he grabbed her hand and pulled her into a different world. This was the world that was her oxygen. The fictional world was just the food.

Meanwhile, Harry found peace in spending more time with his family in his own created romance manga. He’d often hold special dinner parties because he enjoyed listening to the chatter and the laughter alongside the clattering of utensils. He would invite Celine to dinner with the family once a week and enjoy watching them all throw playful glances at them mid-conversation. He knew these people would never leave him alone and support him through thick and thin.

Harry’s Celine taught herself to find herself in dark days. And Harry found peace in the close people around him and in working for their happiness as it was true romance to him. They found happiness within each other. But, in the end, what was important for them was that they were able to find happiness within themselves before searching for it in others.

The End