Chapter Twelve: Moment Of Breathless Delight

In daytime, Gatsby's mansion was more captivating than I could have ever imagined. At night, lights twinkled throughout the window, but in the sunny afternoon, the rays of sunlight glowed in bright color and bounced off the surface creating prisms and illuminating the mansion so that it looked like a palace. Everything had a natural charm like a moment of breathless delight and endless expression with a bittersweet warmth. It felt so right and enternal, and it felt like time was moved by this single scene which it had no doubt seen before. I didn't care where else it could be replicated, it was the single moment that held my memory. It was something that I would always remember, Gatsby's mansion without the endless crowd that rampaged there, destroying its serenity. With guilt, I realized that I was part of that crowd. But I was different, maybe even unique to appreciate it during its silence. No, I wasn't.

Daisy had already skipped ahead to the fountain out of which waterdrops splashed back in after they flew in bursts, and I followed her. I spun around wildely, and nearly jumped. I spun faster and faster until I couldn't stop and I couldn't see anything. I loved, no, adored how the air was filled with purity and there was something that belonged to me, a special memory. I didn't care if Nick was watching. For that moment, Nick Carraway could hate me and k would be fine. It was just me and my feelings. How did I go through life without ever experiencing something like this? It was freeing to not be constricted by society's rigid and foolish stereotypes that advocated uniformity while limiting cultural development. What was I thinking? I really should stop. I was being way too carefree and stretching everyone's tolerance.

Suddenly, I really couldn't stop. It wasn't that I didn't want to. I really couldn't. I expected to spin for a while and come to a dizzying stop, but I didn't. The world just grew more and more distorted and everything blurred in nonsensical colors. I screamed, and felt the world grow even more confusing. I couldn't feel my legs rooted to the ground. Then, I felt an invisible force push me backwards and I was powerless against it, so I started falling. I didn't know in what position I was, but it was truly terrifying. I felt control slip away from me, and the marble circle around the fountain failed to stop me. I closed my eyes and flailed my arms trying to get up, and the next thing I knew, the tip of my hair was wet and one of my hands were already submerged inside the water.

Unexpectedly, someone caught my waist, and slowly pulled me back up to the surface. It must be Nick, I thought. I blushed madly, and turned to smile. As he pulled me up, I almost fainted with joy. Was he going to kiss me? No, he wouldn't. But I enjoyed every second of his arm around my waist, as if he could pull me into a tight embrace at any point. I completely shut my eyes and let my mind roam. Yet part of me was a little bothered by it. It was humiliating having someone, even if it was Nick, save me when everyone was watching. I would rather fall into the water than have someone think that I was vulnerable. Be grateful! I chided myself

I looked straight into the eyes of-

"Gatsby? I mean, thank you. A lot. Thanks very much. Thank you very much I mean." I stammered, caught off guard. He didn't reply, as he was gazing intently at Daisy, who was already at the door.

"You're welcome, Anna." He helped me up completely, then directed his attention to Daisy. He studied and observed her every move, and sighed at her laugh. His eyes followed her everywhere, and I wished that there was someone to look at me like that.

"Come on!" She beckoned, and turned back at Gatsby. I searched for Nick behind me, and sadly exhaled. He was staring with a dazed expression at Gatsby, and hardly noticed that I had almost fallen into the fountain. Like how Gatsby looked at Daisy, he was unaware of anything or anyone else. I blocked out Gatsby from my mind, and focused on Nick. Even though he was gazing at Gatsby, he looked perfect. Not perfect. Perfect in an imperfect way.

Nobody moved. And with horror, I realized that time had frozen again. Except this time, it was a moment of disappointment. I couldn't think like that forever. I had to stop obsessing over Nick. Or else, the moment of disappointment would be repeated.

"Nick?" I called out. I couldn't stop obsessing over him.

"Yes. Anna, are you okay? Are you hurt?" He must have noticed me somehow. Yet he didn't come to my aid.

"No, I'm fine. Gatsby caught me." I pronounced the name with a bit of contempt and scorn.

"I'm so sorry that I couldn't help. I was-"

"Don't make any excuses. It's fine." I turned away, and I didn't know if I was forgiving him or ending our friendship.

I quickly walked to where Daisy was, so Nick couldn't see the tear that slid down my cheek. I wiped it away as he approached, straightened my expression, and turned again to face him.

"Really, Nick. It's fine." I didn't want him to feel any regret. But there was part of me tempting the virtuous part of me. He deserves it! Show him that you're the one who's right for him. Make him regret everything until he comes rushing to your arms. I blocked out the voice, and managed a shaky smile.

"We'd better head inside, Anna. You look a little stirred." He took my hand again, but this time, I didn't feel a rush of jubilation. I was nonchalant, something that I regretted.

A single event couldn't end anything, depending on the importance of that event. Nick not catching me wasn't important. Yet it was hard not to feel at least a little animosity. I felt my secret slowly leaking out as I scratched further and further into my soul. The strange thing was, I didn't know my own secrets. I knew that I had some, but I didn't know precisely what they were. I just knew that I was wearing a fa├žade that I couldn't keep up any longer. I was afraid of what lay behind it.

"Yes. Let's head inside."