I talked about Terry building emotional wall around himself in my previous post, but in fact, most of us have some kind of a fortress around our hearts to guard and protect ourselves from getting hurt or being too vulnerable. The same thing applies to Candy and Albert as well. While Candy used to treat Albert as her brother, her feelings for him changed over time. Among all the male characters in the manga, only to Albert did Candy pour her heart out and show her tears without reserve. He was her true friend, with whom she felt safe and secure. Deep inside her heart, she knew he was there for her whenever she was down.
Ever heard of this quote? “A true friend is very hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget.” ~ Unknown
That explains why Candy impulsively went to Rockstown just hoping to find Albert there after months of his disappearance; she said she longed to see his face again, and her action proved that too.
Likewise, Candy might be a kind nurse to Albert initially, someone who genuinely cared about his well-being, but his feelings for her had gone beyond friendship as time went by, which led to the famous sandwich sharing scene that I wrote months ago. How could he not feel anything after sharing his life with her day in and day out for so long? He wanted to make her happy (said so in his mind), and he must have loved her, or else he wouldn’t have asked her to share her sorrows with him from now on. He was ready to support her in any way he could for the rest of his life.
Unfortunately, with a heavy heart, he decided to leave her on a winter night. But when they shockingly reunited again in Lakewood on a warm spring day, I wonder why they didn’t embrace each other emotionally like they had always done so many times before as if they were both holding back their feelings. What baffles me more was why Candy had to leave Chicago and went back to Pony’s Home despite knowing that she would miss Albert. You see her pattern? Whenever she had lost a love interest, she would go back to Pony’s Home (after Anthony’s death and after Terry had left London), so is that why she returned to her ‘home’? That she thought Albert would not return her feelings? That she went back to a shelter for she was afraid to be hurt again?
Yet, one thing is indisputable. What Albert did at the end of the manga is a deliberate act of confession. First, he had to organize a welcoming party for Candy at Pony’s Home, gathering all her friends there ahead of time. Then he waited for Candy on Pony’s Hill. (By the way, how long had he waited and how did he know she would go there? 😛 )
Most of all, he knew full well what he was about to disclose was not something trivial to Candy. ‘Prince on the Hill’ was her first love, someone she could never forget even after all this time. I could imagine how Albert had weighed his options beforehand. He could have kept this secret from her forever, and revealing this important fact to her was a leap in the dark. By doing so he essentially confessed his true feelings to her. She might reject him if he was still merely a ‘brother’ to her. Then their friendship would be ruined, and there was no turning back.
Nonetheless, Albert took the plunge to test the waters. In other words, he let down his walls to step out of his comfort zone and possibly let in a new love (did he sense that her feelings for him had gone beyond platonic?).
In Candy Candy Final Story, Candy wrote to Albert afterwards (from spoilers),
I could hardly stop the tears but it was the tears of happiness.
At any rate, how could you, Prince!
I have showed you my treasured badge and told you many times about the “Prince on the Hill” when we lived in the House of Magnolia! If my memory is correct, someone called “Albert-san” was listening to me quietly …
From then on, she called him ‘Prince on the Hill’ or simply ‘Prince’, which implies that she accepted him. If she had no special feelings for him, that would have been weird or awkward don’t you think?
Many thanks to Nilva for giving me the ideas to write this post. She wrote about the song “Everything Has Changed?”, and that she liked “he had tall blue (sad) walls but took them down just for her”.
For your interest, this is another related post.