Sep 29, 2010

Chances (Chapter Nine)

IX.  Road Trip

Still two years ago...

Devon and James were both asleep when the bus suddenly halted.  James woke up and saw then bus conductor and driver getting off the bus. The bus has stopped several times already after it left Manila. It was almost  lunch time, but they were just a few towns away from Tarlac City.

Aside from the fact that a turtle is faster than the bus, the traffic was heavy.  But James was not worried. The bus stopped three times already and it still continued with the trip. Devon was sleeping soundly beside him. They had the greatest conversation earlier.  And decided to get some shut-eye since both of them were unable to get some  good sleep last night.

James noticed the conductor getting back on the bus and loudly announcing.  “We can’t continue anymore. We would be transferring you to the next bus going to Baguio.”

There was a loud buzz among the passengers.  The conductor continued to explain the situation to the passengers.  The dismayed passengers are now angry. James grunted.  Talk about comfortable ride to Bagiuo, well the good thing is that I have company.  

James looked at Devon. She looked great when asleep. Well she looked great even when awake, thought James. She shook Devon awake and told her, “We will be transferring to another bus.”

“For real?” Devon asked.  She wearily stood up and picked her things. They got off the bus.  She saw hoardes of passengers sitting on the side of the road, patiently waiting for the next bus going to Baguio.

It was almost noon and the sun is high and hot. Devon took out her umbrella and pulled James under it. 

The first bus passed, but it was too full and only a few of the passengers were able to get in. Both James and Devon decided to let the older passengers get into the second bus.  

James looked at his watch, it was already past one o’ clock, we were supposed to be somewhere near Baguio now, he thought.

Devon saw him looking at his watch, “I think you should call her.”  James looked at Devon, puzzled.   “Your girlfriend!”

James was surprised with what Devon said. They have been on the road the entire morning and they are standing here for almost two hours already and he hasn’t thought of calling Allie. 

He guiltily got his phone and dialled Allie’s number. She answered on the first ring. “Where are you,” Allie greeted.

“I’m still in Tarlac. We will be transferring to another bus,” James explained. 

“What,” Allie said.  “That’s why I wanted you to take the plane instead or use your car to get here.”

James shook his head. “I’m alright. I’ll call you again later.” He got off the phone and looked at Devon. “Satisfied?”

“I didn’t say anything,”  Devon reacted.

“Let’s eat,” James suggested and started to cross the road.

But Devon went against it. “The next bus would be here soon. We don’t want to miss it.”

“I’m hungry and I’m eating. Are you coming with me or not,” James said hotly.

Devon looked so undecided.  She finally raised her arms and dragged her bag behind her.  “You got me. Food is my biggest weakness. Let’s make it quick.”

James laughed at grabbed Devon’s bag. He carried it with him until they reached a small carinderia on the other side of the road.


Like what Devon predicted, they missed the bus. They were the only passengers left on the side of the road.  Their original bus was already towed away. And it was almost three in the afternoon.

“Argh James,” Devon said angrily.  She was trying to keep herself from strangling the  guy standing beside her. “I told you, we’re gonna miss it.”

“Well, it’s not my fault,” James said defensively. “You ordered another cup of rice.”

“What?” Devon reacted loudly.  “You’re the one who insisted on eating. You just have to have another bowl of sinigang, even when you already ate your first bowl.  And it is not an extra cup of rice, it’s only half of a cup!”

“What’s the difference,” James answered laughing so hard.  “We missed the bus. The next one is taking forever.”

Devon got her phone and started replying to the messages sent by her officemates. They are all worried, Devon furiously thought.  And it is because I agreed with this idiot beside me. Well, a good looking idiot.

“That’s it,” said James. He was looking at the sky and saw the dark clouds gathering. “We are not staying here until it rains. We should go back to Manila.”

“I’m hitch-hiking,” said Devon.

“What?” James asked loudly. “That’s dangerous. You don’t know who’s gonna pick you up,” argued James loudly.

“Don’t shout at me,” Devon snapped.  “I need to be in that conference.  I will be making the company presentation tomorrow night. I have to be there.”  Devon looked at James’s angry face.  “You don’t have to come with me.”

“Oh, I’m coming with you. Somebody needs to keep an eye on you,” James retorted. Devon waved her hand on the first car that passed them.  “Are we really gonna hitch-hike? There can be robbers out there.”

“Not everybody would steal your wallet, Mr. Peid,” exclaimed Devon.

Devon raised her hand and a battered van stopped in front of them. “Need a ride?” asked a clean looking man inside the van.

“Yes we do. We need to get to Baguio but everywhere with a bus station would be fine,” said Devon.

The man motioned them to get into the van beside him. James was not comfortable with this idea, but Devon has already got into the van, and he has no choice but to follow.  Immediately, after getting into the car, the rains started to pelt the van.

Devon started to talk with the driver, but the driver was very quiet.  After an hour of driving, James felt something was wrong. The man turned left, James thought, I thought the way to Baguio was straight until you reach La Union. And this is  definitely not La Union.

“Uhm, where exactly are you going again?” asked James.

“To Baguio,” said the driver shortly.

“But why do you to make a turn. Isn’t the way to Baguio supposed to be a straight one, until reaching La Union,” said James.

The driver pulled the van on a stop on the side of the road in a middle of heavy rain. He took something behind his back and Devon shouted when she saw it was a gun.

“I am so sorry,” the man said while pointing the gun at them. “My daughter is sick and in the hospital right now.”  He pointed the gun at the two and collected their wallets, cellphones, everything valuable in their bag,  and even James’s watch and Devon’s necklace and earrings.

James was thinking of ways on how to get the gun from the driver, but he was pointing it so close to Devon that he does not know how to manoeuvre. After collecting their valuables, the man continued to drive and dropped them off at small vegetable and fruit stand at the side of the road.

It was still raining they were standing lost on the side of the road. James shouted at Devon, “I told you, there are robbers out there!”

Devon defended herself, “Well he looked nice. You did not even thought he would rob us.”

James raised his arms and looked at the heavens, “Why do I find this woman so impossible!”

Devon slapped James back and started to walk towards the small fruit stand.  She started to talk to the woman standing behind the stall.

“Can you please help us?” asked Devon slowly. “We got robbed and we don’t have anything on our pockets.  We need to get to Baguio tomorrow.”

The old lady looked at Devon and then at James. “Well, there’s a jeep that goes to Baguio every morning.  It leaves at four in the morning.”

“Tomorrow?” asked James. “We don’t have any place to stay.”

The old woman looked at James. “Are you married?” James looked at Devon and was taken aback by the question.  “Cause if you are, you can stay here tonight. I don’t like an unmarried couple staying on my stall.”

Devon shook her head immediately, “Yes, we’re married. The robber took our wedding rings.”

The old woman looked at James, she looked a bit doubtful with what Devon said.  James nodded and placed an arm around Devon. “We’re newly weds,” added James.

“I’ll let you sleep on the other room,” the old lady started to get into the small hut behind the stall. “Wait, I have my eyes on you,” she reminded Devon and James.

Chances (Chapter Eight)

VIII. Mountain’s Call

Two years ago…

Devon was patiently waiting for the bus to leave the station.  She was comfortably seated near the window on a bus going to Baguio.  She’s going to attend a company seminar in the nation’s Summer Capital.  Actually, she was supposed to be travelling with officemates and arriving there yesterday. But something came up at home and needs to take care of her Tita first.

Her Tita has been taking care of her since the first day she set foot on Manila, seven years ago. Devon could not leave her aunt with a high fever for a conference. So, she called her officemates and told them that she would just take the bus to Baguio the next day. After all, it’s a three day conference and she would just miss the first day. 

She sighed and remembered how hard she worked to be in this place.  When the family they were working for decided to move to another house, she was devastated.  The house was too far away from her school, she had to transfer.  Luck is with her side.  The family they were working recommended her to another school with a good scholarship program. She passed and continued to study there.

Her four years in college was tough, but it was great.  She was able to finish her course with flying colors and was immediately hired in one of the top consulting firms in the country.  After college, Devon left the family she was serving with a heavy heart. But the family was very supportive of her. Her Tita remained with the family, until she was forced to retire last year because of her bad back.

Nowadays, her Tita is living with a cousin and his family.  Although, they were taking care of her aunt very well, she just feels responsible whenever something happened to her. Which is why, when her cousin Chaz called her telling that her Tita Aiz has flu, she immediately postponed going to the seminar. Devon even volunteered not to attend and send another officemate in replacement, but her boss was adamant.

Now, it’s already six o’clock in the morning. If everything goes well, she will be in Baguio a few hours after lunch.  Devon closed her eyes and listened to the music coming from her headphones. She rested her head on the window and tried to catch some sleep. She had a restless sleep night because of her Tita’s sickness.

She felt somebody occupying the seat beside her.  She tried to moved towards the window closer. She could hear the man’s voice.  He was probably talking to somebody on the phone. I hope he wouldn’t be talking on the phone the entire trip, thought Devon.  The last thing she needs is a noisy seatmate.

Devon could hear what the man was saying clearly through her earphones.

“I told you. I’m already on the bus,” he said. There was a pause and then an exasperated sigh. 

“I am not taking the plane and I am not driving either. You already have your car there, why should I bring mine? I need to rest and a comfortable bus ride would be good enough for me,” he explained.

Apparently, the man was talking to a very stubborn person. He kept repeating what he said. Until he cut the conversation, “I’m gonna go now.  I’ll call you later. I love you, honey.”

Devon could not help but look at the man sitting beside him, after hearing him say goodbye.  She was surprised when he saw a familiar face.  She immediately turned her face towards the window. I know him, Devon thought. He probably doesn’t remember me anymore. She was so flustered that she did not notice her phone slipping from her pocket.

The man noticed it and handed the phone to her,  “Hey miss, your phone slipped.”

Devon turned and smiled, “Thanks.” She immediately turned her face again until she heard a sudden exclamation..

“Devon,” the man asked.  “You’re going to Baguio, too?”

Devon faced the man and greeted him. “Hi, James.  I thought you won’t remember me.”

“That’s impossible. Totally impossible to forget that smile,” James exclaimed.

Devon blushed and tried to disregard what he said. 

“When did we last saw each other?” James asked.

Devon shrugged and smiled. “I don’t know. I think it was seven years ago.  I was still a freshman in college then.”

“I know,” James said in disbelief.  “I’ve been working for three years now.”

“Me, too,” Devon said. 

They both shook their head  and said at the same time, “I can’t believe it’s you.”

They laughed.  Some things never change, thought James. She still has that vibrant and contagious smile and laughter.  

“So why are you going to Baguio?” asked James.

Devon smiled and pointed to the folders on her lap. “Work, I have to attend this seminar.”

James nodded.  “How about you,” Devon asked.

James was about to explain when his phone suddenly rang. He looked at the phone calling and sighed. He excused himself from Devon and answered the call. “Yes, honey. I told you, I won’t change my mind. I already paid for the ticket. I’ll see you in Baguio, okay.”   He immediately ended the call and turned off his phone.

James looked at Devon and explained, “My fiancée, Allie. We’re getting married in Baguio in a few months. She insisted in checking on the place, reception area, and all that wedding stuff.”

Devon smiled. So he’s getting married, she thought. She felt something sharp in her heart but she ignored it. You couldn’t be jealous, Devon, she said to herself. You barely know the guy.

“Sometimes, I wished I did not propose,” James said jokingly.

Devon slapped James’s arm. “Hey, don’t say that. You’re mean.”

James rubbed his arm. “Argh,” James winced. “I forgot how hard your slap is.  Do you go around slapping people you haven’t seen for a long time?”

“Uy, I’m sorry,” Devon said and rubbed James’s arm which is now turning into red.

James looked at Devon and let her rub his arm. “Do you have this feeling that we have known each other for a long time?”

Devon looked at James’s eyes and smiled. “Yes, I do. I feel that we have been friends forever.”

“Even during the first time we met,” James asked. Devon nodded and pulled her hand away from James’s arm.

“It’s great that I am on this seven-hour trip with you,” James said thankfully.

Devon answered, “I know.  I feel the same way.”

Sep 27, 2010

Chances (Chapter Seven)

VII.  Sacrifices

It was a stifling Monday afternoon, James got off a car and instructed the chauffeur to wait for him. He slowly walked towards the restaurant where he and Allie are supposed to meet. Will she come, James wondered.  When he got into the restaurant, he saw a familiar silhouette sitting near the window. He walked nervously towards the girl and saw that it was indeed Allie.

James sat in front of Allie and smiled at her. She’s the girl that I know, said James to himself. 

Allie smiled and asked, “How are you?”

James chuckled and showed the gash in his head. “I guess I’m fine.”

“Let’s eat first before we talk,” Allie suggested and started to look at the menu.

She hasn’t changed a bit, James thought.  Well, based on what I can remember.  Once the order arrived, they started to eat but nobody started to talk yet.  Finally James decided to break the silence.

“I have retrograde amnesia,” James started.  “There are things that I don’t remember.  But there are things and people, like you, that I could remember.”

Allie stopped eating and looked at James. “Is this the reason why you wanted to talk to me? You want to know about the things you can’t remember?”

“Yes and no,” James answered. “There are things that I hope you could explain. Like, why did I broke the engagement off. I don’t remember why I called the wedding off.  And I really want to see you”

Allie was surprised with what James said. “You mean you have no idea what happened with the wedding?”
James shook his head. Allie gave a nervous laugh, “Well, don’t talk to me about it. Talk to your girlfriend.  She knows.”

James went quiet and looked outside the window. “But I don’t know her. I know you.”

Allie was caught off guard. She promised herself she would be on guard and would not let her defenses down. But he said he remembered me, not her. But me, Allie thought.

“Allie, you have to help me,” said James.  “My memory is telling me that it is you I’m supposed to be with. Not Devon.”

Allie placed her fork down and looked at James. “You’re just confused. Why don’t you just talk to Devon and get it over with.”

James placed his hand firmly on the table. “I need you,” James said and held Allie’s hand.


Devon was restlessly pacing in her cubicle. James and Allie are probably tucked in a quiet restaurant and talking. What they are talking is what making her nerves unsettled.  Devon trusts James, with all of her life. But the current James is making her worried.  She tried calling him, but all he got was a voicemail. He probably turned his phone off or left it at home.

After work, she immediately jumped into a taxi and asked her to bring to James’s house. In the middle of the ride, she decided against it.  James would not like it, Devon thought. He would think that I don’t respect his privacy, so she asked the driver to turn around and bring her home instead.

Freya and Yen were already home when she arrived. They immediately sensed that there is something wrong with Devon.

“Is something wrong,” asked Yen.

Devon flopped on the chair and looked at her phone.  She told her friend about James and Allie’s date. 

Freya shook her head in disbelief, “So what are your plans?”

Devon shook her head.  “I don’t know.  The last time I tried  help him remember, remember the sinigang? He thought of Allie.”

Freya and Yen looked at Devon. “Are you just letting things go their way?”

“What if they get back together?” Yen asked.

Devon looked at her friend and she stood up. “I have to do something,” Devon said to herself.

She took the phone receiver and dialled James’s home. She was not expecting him to be there and she was completely surprised when he heard him answer the phone.

“Hi,” greeted Devon. She heard James sighed, it is as if he is waiting for another caller, not me.

“How was your afternoon meeting with Allie went,” asked Devon.

James took a while to answer. He does not feel like talking. “It was alright. We did a little bit of catching up.”

“Are you planning to meet again?” asked Devon.

“You know what, Devon,” James started.  “Let’s just keep our options open. With this memory problem happening, I cannot commit to anything right now.”

Devon was speechless.  Is he trying to end what we have, Devon thought.

“Devon, I know this is hard,” James slowly said. “But I don’t think I can marry you this way.”

Devon closed her eyes. Why does he has to sound so cold? So casual? How could he throw everything away so easily?  I have to do something, thought Devon.

“Could you take a trip with me?” Devon asked.

James went silent on the other end of the line. It took a few seconds before he asked, “What trip?”

“I need to bring you somewhere, perhaps you will remember things clearer,” suggested Devon. Please, asked Devon silently to all the angels who are probably to busy to hear her, please, let him come with me.

“Just one or two days,” asked Devon.

I owe her this, told James to himself. “Okay, tomorrow. We’ll go tomorrow and be back on Wednesday. I don’t want to make things difficult for us, Devon.”

“I know,” Devon said.  She was about to say something else when she heard the phone clicked.  He has already placed the phone down. I never get to tell him that I love him,  Devon sadly said to herself. Despite everything, I still love him.

Chances (Chapter Six)

VI. When  Time Flies

Nine years ago...

Seventeen year old Devon was walking the along the sidewalks of the post village where she and her tita are working.  She was hear for more than a month, but has no friends.  It looks like there are nobody with the same age as me, thought Devon. Or maybe, it was because she rarely goes out.  After school, she would help with the chores and when she’s done she will pour over her books.

The only time she goes out of the house is when she would do grocery shopping or go to the market, just like now. She does not feel bad about not going out more often, she’s very happy just to stay at home and read. She has enough friends in college and thinks that the time she spent with these friends at school is enough socialization. 

Devon just loves taking a walk in the morning. She was taking in all the crisp air, she didn’t notice that the plastic bag with the vegetables were starting to rip.  She exclaimed when a tomato hit her feet and saw the other vegetables rolling on the side street.  She quickly placed the other plastics down and started to go after the pieces of vegetables rolling in the road.

She was surprised when a pair of hands started to help her.  Devon was stunned to see a handsome teen-ager who was picking the onions.  She does not know or remember if he ever met him, but he sure was drop-dead gorgeous.  She snapped out of her reverie when the good looking creature, I think he is a Greek God, Devon thought, asked her a question.

“Is there anything else missing?”  the guy asked.

Devon looked at the vegetables sitting on the pavement and shook her head.  Snap out if Devon, it’s not the first time you saw a good looking man.  You’ve seen Piolo Pascual in a mal tour before, Devon thought about and could not help but smile.

James was about to walk away, after helping the petite girl when he saw her smile. I bet that smile could send rockets to space, he thought.  He has seen the girl before, the day he arrived from the airport more than a month ago.  He has seen her again when she was walking home, one evening. It was already dark and he saw this figure who was slowly walking down the streets.  The girl is crazy, she could’ve been robbed, thought James.

“I’m James,” James extended his hand and introduced himself. 

Devon looked at his hand and shook it. She felt as if electricity was running through her fingers. If James felt it, he didn’t show anything.  “Devon,” she said and quickly pulled her hand away.

James hid his hand behind his back, he felt burned.  The simple handshake felt so hot it could melt glaciers.  “That’s a nice name,” James said. “I had a teacher named Divine.”  James want to hit himself.  Is that the best thing you could say, James whispered to himself angrily.

Devon glanced and smiled at James. Darn, it’s that frigging smile again, James thought.

Devon was trying not to look at James. But she could feel the warmth of his stare at her back.  She was trembling when trying to fit the vegetables into another plastic bag. She sat down at the pavement, cause she feels her knees would be buckling any minute.

James decided to sit down too, and help her.  They were busy trying to figure out how to fit everything inside the plastic bags when James raised his hands as if he is surrendering.

“It won’t fit,” James said. “I’ll help you carry them home.”

“Thanks,” Devon answered. “But I could carry. Why don’t you just go and jog.”

James smiled, “Nah, the sun’s getting too hot anyway. Do you jog?”

Devon was captivated with James’ smile that it took a lot of effort to draw her gaze away from his face. “No, I just walk. I love walking during mornings.”

“I think you also love walking at night,” James volunteered.  Devon looked at him questioningly.  “Well, I saw you walking at night.  I just live a few blocks away from you. Once and it was almost ten o’clock in the evening and you we’re walking alone.  That’s dangerous.”

Devon looked at the stranger who was giving her advice and could not help laughing. James looked at the girl beside her who was laughing hard.  He did not say anything funny, but she was laughing.  And it was music to his ears. He could not help himself but laugh aloud, too.

“You have no idea how weird it is to be listening about the dangers in the streets when I’m actually talking to a stranger,” explained Devon while wiping her eyes.

“That’s really ironic,” James shook his head. “But I’m not a stranger, you know my name. That’s my house,” he pointed.  “And that’s yours.”

Devon looked at both houses, they were actually close to each other.  But Devon needs to come clean, she never denied her family background and her status in life.  “No I don’t live there. My aunt and I are working for the family who lives there.”

James looked at Devon, waiting for a punchline. But she was not joking. “You’re working, there?”

“Yes, until I finish my college degree. My family can’t afford to send me to a decent college, so when a scholarship and a chance to earn while studying came up. I just couldn’t pass it,” Devon smiled. She was looking at the houses.

James could not help but smile.  This girl is more than just smiles and laughter, she’s a tough cookie. “Wow. You made me feel guilty.”

Devon was surprised, “Why? I did no say anything.”

“Well, I don’t like to study.  I just want to stay at home, sleep and watch anime,”  James laughed.

Devon asked James what anime he liked.  A full minute later they were engrossed in a conversation about Bleach and Naruto.  They were talking about their favourite characters and episodes.  They did not notice that the pavement was getting hotter, the sun starting to crawl in the middle of the sky, and that cars are passing by them frequently. 

They sat there in the sidewalk talking as if they have known each other for the longest time. They felt the same way, they also did not notice how often James would say that “I feel that I’ve known you before.”  They also don’t notice how Devon would hit James whenever she finds something he said, was funny.  They did not notice, cause it felt like they have been doing these conversations before.

Devon heard a ringing sound and felt her pocket vibrate.  She quickly pulled out her cellphone and answered her tita’s call.

“Where are you,” Tita asked nervously.  “You’ve been gone for almost three hours.”

Devon was surprised, and assured her that she just met a friend in the village. After ending the call, she immediately stood up and looked at James.

“That was my Tita,” Devon explained, she was grabbing her packages quickly. “I have to go home. We’ve been sitting here talking for two hours already.”

James was surprised and looked at his watch. D a m n, he said. He was supposed to be somewhere an hour ago, but he completely forgot.  “I didn’t notice the time,” James said apologetically.

“No, it’s okay,” Devon smiled at him. “It was really great talking to you,” Devon offered her hand. 

James shook it, and Devon quickly let his hand go. She started to walk away quickly.  But before she ran, she turned to him and waved.  James smiled and started to walk towards his house.


The present…

James and Devon were sitting on the sidewalk where they talked nine years ago.  James was looking at the pavement and asked, “Is that how we became close?”

Devon shook her head, “No. We didn’t talk again after that. We just met a couple times, but you have friends with you and I have my Tita with me. So all we do is just wave at each other.”

James was looking at Devon, “You must be joking.”  James said. “We never saw each other again?”

Devon smiled.  “The family that we were working for decided to move into another house. So there was never a second time after that.”

“But how,” James asked.

“That’s for another story,” Devon shared. 

James was about to ask for the other story when his phone rang.  He answered his cellphone and heard Allie’s voice in the end of the line.

“I’ll be free on Monday afternoon.  Can we meet on that day?” Allie asked.

“Of course,” James answered.  He glanced at Devon who was trying not to pay attention.  “Where and exactly what time?”  A few minutes later, James slid the phone back into his pocket.

“Was it Allie,” Devon asked

“Yes.”  There is no point in lying to her, James thought.  “We’ll be meeting on Monday afternoon.”

James felt guilty when he saw the pain in Devon’s eyes. “Please, you have to understand that I don’t remember you. But I remember her.”

Devon held James’s hand and looked away. “I know.  Perhaps she could help you remember your past.”  She squeezed James hand before standing up.  “I’m going home now, you also need to get inside the house and rest.”

James watched the slim figure walk away.  Why does it feel that he has let something very important slip between his fingers?

Sep 22, 2010

Chances (Chapter Five)

V.  Longing

It was the middle of the day and James was still lying in bed and bored.  His father just left the house for some errands. His phone beeped, somebody texted him.  He grabbed the cellphone and saw a text message from Devon.

“I’m on my way. Will cook lunch for you. See you!”

James threw the cellphone and slipped out of the bed. He has to make himself decent since  his “fiancée” visiting.  He was looking for a change of clothes when he saw a stack of photo albums in his cabinet.  He took one and started to look at the pictures. They were baby pictures of him and his sister, Laura.  He grabbed another photo album and saw high school classmates in Australia.   He grabbed another album and saw pictures of Bren and Ryan. He was laughing so hard at Ryan’s pictures, he did not hear Devon coming in.

“Hi,” greeted Devon. “Having fun?”

James was smiling at Devon, “Yeah, Ryan is a crazy guy. Why does he have to wear his shorts the other way around?”

For a moment, Devon felt she was talking to the old James.  The one who remembered. He was smiling at her and gesturing her to come closer and look at the pictures with him.  Devon felt as if there was no accident that erased her from the guy he loved most.

Devon was watching James, when she noticed that he was no longer laughing. He was  looking intently at a group photo and he gently touched it. 

“I remember her,” James thought aloud. “That’s Allie.”

Devon felt she was doused with cold water upon hearing that name.  Allie, Devon thought as she looked at the chinita beauty who was smiling at the photo along with James, Bren and Ryan.

“I know her,” James said intently. 

He was not talking to Devon but rather to himself. He closed his eyes and he remembered Allie’s smile, both of them going to college, going to Tagaytay.  Images flashed in his mind, he saw both of them in a fancy restaurant talking about their future.  He saw his own hand holding a ring and Allie exclaiming in delight.

He opened his eyes and looked at Devon incredulously.  Was Devon lying to her all the time, he thought.  Devon felt cold when she saw James looking at her. 

“We were engaged.  Allie and I were engaged,” James said in disbelief.  “How could you say that I am engaged to you, when it was me and Allie who was supposed to get married?”

Devon opened her mouth.  He remembered her, Devon thought in panic.  She was unable to answer and she felt her heart skipped a beat. James got unto his feet and threw the photo album on the bed. He was pacing around the room angrily.  D a m n this, d a m n this, James said angrily.

“You lied,” James accused Devon.

Devon stood up and faced James. “No, I didn’t.”

James looked at her and saw that she was on the verge of tears but courageously fighting them.

Devon continued, “Yes, it’s true, you were going to get married. But you didn’t. You called the wedding off.”

James’s mouth opened in disbelief.  “How could I possibly do that to her?” James exclaimed.  “She’s a great girl. I lo--, ” James did not finish what he has to say and instead looked at Devon

Devon doesn’t know where to start. It was so difficult to explain.  But what hurt her was James telling her how great Allie is. 

“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you after eating,” Devon said and turned around.  She went downstairs in the kitchen and started to cook.  She needs time to get things together.  She needs time to fix herself.

James was still restless even after Devon left the room. I need to talk to her, James thought.  I need to hear what she has to say. James grabbed the cordless phone in his room and looked at his drawers for old organizers.  He was able to find one and looked at the list of numbers written there. He found what he was looking for and quickly dialled.

It took four rings before somebody answered the other line.  

”Hello,” answered a familiar female voice on the end of the line.

“Is this you, Allie?” James asked.

There was a long pause, he thought that she was no longer there. “Yes, James. It’s me.”

James smiled and said, “I need to talk to you. I need to see you.”

“Why, James? I heard about the accident. I seriously want to visit you, but my hands are full right now,” Allie explained.

“I’m confused right now, I know you could help me,” James pleaded. “Please, can we meet?”

James was looking at the picture he saw earlier.  He was hoping that she would agree. Nobody was speaking on the other end until Allie answered, “Okay.”  James smiled and said thanks.  “I’ll call you when we can meet. I have to make some arrangements with my schedule,” Allie answered.

James said yes and goodbye to her. He placed the phone down and sat on the bed.  He did not notice the girl who was listening the entire time outside his room.

Devon heard everything.  They are planning to meet, Devon whispered to herself.  She touched her chest and closed her eyes.  She was about to check on James and remind him of his medicine when she overheard his call.  She could not take her feet of the place. She wanted to run away and towards him at the same time. Instead, she was glued on her spot.

She went down the stairs and into the kitchen.  Numb and hurt.  Devon cooked sinigang, James’s favourite, with the hope of helping James remember the numerous times she cooked the dish for him.  She stirred the broth and thought that it was the smoke from the pot which was making her eyes misty. Silly, Devon said to herself. You’re crying.

The house help went inside the kitchen and asked if she would call James for lunch. Devon wiped her tears and nodded.

“Tell him, we’re having lunch already,”  Devon said quietly.  Everything will be alright, he’s just confused¸ Devon comforted herself.

She was setting the table when James finally arrived in the dining room. Devon could not help notice his smile when he saw the sinigang.  See, Devon thought. Look how happy he is, maybe he’ll remember.

James sat down on the table and started sipping on the broth. He smiled and looked at Devon, “Thank you for cooking this.”

“It’s your favourite,” Devon answered.   She noticed the intense look in James face while eating.  “It doesn’t taste good?”

“No, just a bit salty,” James said casually. “But it’s good.  I remember when Allie and I ate at this Filipino restaurant, the sinigang there is really nice.”

Devon looked at James.  He was wolfing down his food, he did not notice the last statement he said.  He referred to Allie. Devon looked down on her plate.  He remembered her, not me, Devon thought sadly.  She wanted to ask James, why her? Do you still love her, all this time you said you love me. Was it still her?  I thought he would remember me. I guess Bren was wrong.

James saw Devon looking so sad, “No it’s okay. It tastes just fine. What did you use anyway? Salt or fish sauce? Oh never mind.”  

My tears, Devon wanted to answer back.

Chances (Chapter Four)

IV. Still Home

The present…

James was in a taxi on his way home.  After almost a week in the hospital, the doctor finally allowed him to go home, under strict instructions that he must not participate in physical activities.  His father was supposed to take him home, but unfortunately, he has an emergency in his restaurant and has to go to attend to his business.

James glanced at the pretty girl sitting beside him inside the taxi. Her name is Devon, she told him.  She was his fiancés, well that was what she and the others told him.  But no matter how much he tried to remember her, he could not.  How can you possibly forget somebody you’re in love with, James asked himself.  Well, that could happen scientifically, just like what happened to him

Darn this amnesia, James though angrily.  The whole week was a complete torture to him. Workmates from the advertising company where he is a department head, visited him.  But not everybody is a familiar face.  He was clenching his fist tightly because of the frustration and Devon noticed it.

She touched his fist and asked, “Is there something wrong?”

James drew his hand away from hers and shook his head.  He looked outside the window again and refusing to talk to her.

Devon sighed.  The week was a difficult for her.  She was patient with James trying to feed him with information everyday, like their anniversary, how they celebrated the last one, their last movie date and their last conversation.  But James was hesitant.  She feels that he does not trust her.   She has been fighting the tears the entire week.  It was difficult for her. But she knew that it is far more difficult for him.  She must be patient. 

The taxi stopped in front of the white big house.  Devon assisted James in getting off the taxi, while the househelp carried his bags inside the house.  James shook Devon’s hand from his arm and said softly, “I can manage.  I know my way around this house.”

Devon smiled and let James walk towards the gate.  At least, with him at home, the memories can come back soon.  She saw James stop in the middle of the gate and touched the metal rails.

“What’s the matter,” Devon asked.

“This gate used to be in wood.” James closed his eyes and continued, “But the last typhoon caused some damage and Dad has to change it. Right?”

Devon smiled and nodded. “Yes, it just happened a couple of months ago.”  She tried to contain her excitement, he just remembered something from the recent events.  She saw James close his eyes, as if he is trying to recall something. 

After concentrating, James opened his eyes again and whispered angrily, “I can’t remember anything anymore.”

Devon touched his arm and assured him, “The doctor said it will take time. Don’t pressure yourself  too much.” James showed no emotions or any sign of appreciating Devon’s kind words.  He just walked inside the house.


Devon was inside the apartment she shared with Freya and Yen.  The three of them started as housemates during college and they remained friends ever since.  She left James’s home a few minutes ago and she is not feeling well.

After settling in the house and making James comfortable.  He casually dismissed her, telling her that she could go home.  Devon tried to argue saying that she could stay until his father arrives.  But James was insistent, telling her that she should rest and that he also wants to rest. 

Devon could not do anything. One thing that amnesia didn’t change is James’s stubbornness and being insistent.  She left his home with the promise of returning the next day. 

It was stressful, her one week work leave has ended and she has to balance work and taking care of a fiancé who cannot remember her.  A glass of ice cold tea was placed in front of her by Bren.  She smiled and thanked James’s friend. 

Devon was not the only one who became happy when James and her got together. He friend Freya met Bren, and they were going steady for almost a year.  Tonight, Bren visited to check on the girls and listen to Devon’s problems.

“How is he?” Bren asked.  Freya sat beside him and listened.

“He’s fine,” Devon said after taking a sip.  “He remembered something. He remembered that there used to be a front wooden gate at his house.” 

Bren chuckled. Freya slapped his hand and threw him a look, “It’s not something to laugh about.”

Bren looked apologetically at Devon but Devon just shrugged it off. “It’s okay. I’m looking at the positive side, he remembered something which happened more than two months ago. It won’t be long before he remembers about us, right?”

Freya sat beside her friend and assured her, “Of course, we know how much that jerk loves you.  After all, you’ve been through, he’s bound to remember something.”

“I think I’ve read or watched something about this,” Bren suggested. “To help a person remember something, the family or the wife would usually bring him to places that’s significant to him or bring items which he could associate to something.”

Devon listened to Bren carefully.  “So you think I should bring him to our memorable places so he could remember us?”

“Why not,” Bren answered.  “At least, give it a try.”

Devon pondered on Bren’s suggestion. There’s nothing to lose.  With James’s memory gone, could there be anything worse than that?
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