"Grandpa, can you tell me the story of the hornbill Lovers?"
"That again? Aren't you tired of hearing that every night?"
The young Mateo shook its head. He was always happy to hear about Avery. The main protagonist of the story. Who loved Mateo, his hornbill lover.
"Once upon a time, in a beautiful forest. There lived an unusual hornbill lover's named Mateo and Avery." his Grandpa Apollo started telling the story to him. "Unusual, because they're both male birds. Regardless, they have loved and cherished each other.
Until one day, Mateo left to look for food. Avery stayed at the tree where they usually take shelter. But then, Mateo never came back. It took Avery many days of waiting that led him to being weak. He neither ate or moved from where he sat.
That's when the Goddess of nature took pity on him. And told him of what happened with his lover.
Avery cried non-stop. And asked for the Goddess to take his life as well. So that he can be together with Mateo in the afterlife.
But the Goddess refused and instead, it gave him hope that Mateo would soon be reborn again as human.
And for them to be together again. He needs to get Mateo to fall in love with him. If he succeeds, he will remain as human. And be with Mateo forever. But if he fails to have his heart. He will comeback to being an ordinary hornbill. Longing for his lover until the day he dies.
Avery didn't need to think twice, and accepted the Godesse's offer.
"Up until now, the devoted lover searches for Mateo that was at the moment, born into a human family. And have grown into a kind and handsome kid." Apollo stared at him with fondness in it's eyes.
"Will Avery find Mateo soon, Grandpa?"
"I guess," it said while thinking. "He will have to wait a few more years. But I assure you, it won't be long before they can be together again."
That was always how the story ended. As what his Grandfather told him.
And upon growing up, that story became his inspiration to be a photographer and a writer. With his fascination in birds. Hornbill's in particular.
Mateo was so fascinated with the nature that surrounded him that he lost track of time.
He was further away from his group as he continued taking pictures here and there.
He focused his camera at a tree near the falls. That's when he caught sight of a lone hornbill. He lowered his camera to look at it with his own eyes. It had a sad aura surrounding it. He waited for it's pair to come, but it took him almost an hour waiting for nothing.
Could it be that it's pair had died like in his grandpa's story?
After all, he still had the urge to take a shot of the lone hornbill. That's when he heard a voice call his name.
The hornbill was already looking his way. Like it was the one that called him.
He was confused for a while. Until he heard his colleague actually call his name from afar.
No. It's probably his mind that's playing him.
He went on his way leaving the place and the hornbill behind.
For if he had stayed longer. He might get to see the hornbill turn into its human form. Which is Avery in the story that his Grandfather always told him as a child.
It had a sad expression on it's beautiful face. As it stared at Mateo's back, walking far away from him.
The Goddess of nature appeared from behind him.
"Why did you just let him leave? Weren't you waiting for him for a very long time?"
"Very long indeed," tears wet it's eyes. "But I can't afford to scare him away."
The Goddess touched his back from behind.
"Let me help you."
He forced a smile. And turned his glance back to where Mateo had left.
"What's that?" Jake asked Mateo. Who was looking blankly at a picture he had taken the other day. Which was the lone hornbill he had found sitting alone in a tree.
Could his guts be telling him the truth? Has it's pair already died? And that the lone hornbill is deemed to wait until the day it perishes?
"If that was a girl in the picture, I'd really think that you had fallen at first sight."
"What?" it's like he just woke up from a daydream.
"Forget it. What is the deal with this bird anyway?"
"He's not just a bird. It's a hornbill."
"And you know it's a 'he' by?-"
He was surprised with himself as well. How did he even thought of knowing that it was a male, rather than a female hornbill? Just by looking at it once.
"Just a guess." he made an excuse. "By the way, have you ever heard the Legend of the hornbill lover's?"
"What Legend? That's the first time I've heard of it."
"Yeah, I've never heard of it."
Why does it seem that he's the only person that knows about the legend? Even in some occasions at school. When a student has to present a story, they would all laugh at him. Saying that there is no such thing. But now, that he's grown up. It's becoming more clear that his Grandpa had tricked him all along.
Though the story depicted the true nature of a hornbill. Only Avery and Mateo was clearly made up.
His eyes were drawn outside. The skies are forming dark patches of clouds.
"It looks like it's about to rain." Jake predicted.
"It should be there right now waiting for the rain to come."he said out of nowhere.
"Who?" Jake said looking puzzled.
"That lone hornbill."
Jake can't help but scratch it's head. Leaving him alone while shaking it.
He stared at the clouds with sad lonely eyes. Would it be better if the hornbill never found it's pair? Would it help lessen the pain of waiting for someone that would never return?