Sep 19, 2010

Chances (Chapter 1)

I.  Tragedy in Seconds

A tall and handsome man was weaving through the throngs of people who are impatiently waiting for their luggage in the airport.  He is excited to go home. He went to Australia for two weeks to visit his sister and brothers and they were as excited as him to go back in the Philippines. 

He thought that his one and a half weeks of stay in Australia was the longest vacation, ever.  His sister, Laura, was shaking her head whenever she would notice him fidgeting with his phone even if he just finished making an overseas call to talk to her. 

“If you really miss her that much,” Lauren said exasperatedly.  “Why don’t you just go home?”

He looked at his sister tentatively.  He doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. The last thing that he wanted was to make his sister think that he does not love or like being around with her.  Laura laughed when she saw his expression, “It’s not as if I’m driving you away.  I know you wanted to see her. So why don’t you just go back to the Philippines.  We’ll be there in a few months, too.”

He hugged her tightly and immediately made two phone calls.  One, to the airline customer rep to have his ticket changed into an earlier flight and second, to the girl he wants to see so much. 

He smiled silently when he remembered how his sister was laughing so hard when he was packing his things.  You’re like a kid who’s going to meet Santa, she joked.  He threw a pillow at her.  But what she said was true.  He was so excited to go back to the Philippines.

Once he spotted his bags, he grabbed it and walked towards the door.  He immediately grabbed his phone from his back pocket and started to dial a familiar number.  It rang twice before a sweet voice answered the phone.

“Hey, I’m in the airport now,” he said excitedly. “I’ll be at your apartment in a few minutes.”

He heard a squeal of laughter and then a touch of panic in her voice, “I haven’t cooked anything yet. I just finished cleaning the apartment.  I have to take a bath first. I stink.”

He could not stop laughing with what she said.  She always make him smile. “You always smell nice,” he assured her.

He heard her laughing and saying, “You’re saying that cause you want me to give you a  massage you later. Why don’t you go home first.  I’m sure you’re father is waiting.”

He was walking in the parking lot, trying to figure out where he left his car.  He would always leave his car in the airport parking services especially if he was just staying abroad for a couple of weeks.  He does not want to bother his father, who is too busy with his business. 

“I already called him and told him that I’ll be meeting you first,” he said as he spotted his parked vehicle.  He stopped in his tracks and asked her, “Why is it that you don’t want me to go there? Are you hiding something from me.”

Instead of feeling insulted or angry, she burst into another fits of laughter. “There’s nobody here, you jerk.  I’ll be waiting for you.  I miss you.”

His heart melted in her last words.  He fumbled in entering his car keys into the door.  He smiled and said, “I miss you more.”

“No, I miss you more,” she answered.

He laughed and said goodbye, “Okay, I’ll see you later baby. I love you.”

“I love you, too baby,” the voice on the end of the line sweetly answered. 

He slipped into the car and could not help himself from smiling.  He’s going to see her.  After almost two weeks of not holding her, he would be able to hug and kiss her again.  He carefully drove his car out of the parking lot and into the wild streets of Manila. 

The traffic was moderately heavy.  He switched the radio on and smiled when he caught the chorus of the song.  They were playing the song “Angel” by Jack Johnson.  It was already an old song, and he was unaware that it is still getting some airtime.  He could not resist singing along.  He glanced at his cellphone and saw his picture with his girlfriend.  They were sharing a tight hug and making faces at the same time.

His mind was on driving and getting home fast, that he did not notice a big truck a few blocks behind.  The truck behind was swerving, as if driver lost control.  

The  driver did lost control. He honked his horn, trying to warn the cars ahead of him.

He heard the horn and looked at the rear mirror.  He is a careful driver and very proud of his no accident nor violation record since he started driving.  He started to go the right, but a pedicab driver was stuck in a shallow hole on the road.  He honked his horn trying to get the attention of the pedicab driver.

One.  The truck at the back was getting near.

Two.  His car was not going anywhere.

Three. The truck was getting nearer. The pedicab driver got off the bike and lifted the wheel out of the hole.

Four.  He started to manoeuvre to the right.

Five.  Wham!

The truck hit the back of his car and he was thrown forward.  The airbag did  not work and his head hit the windshield.  He heard screams, he was pretty sure it was not his.  He was seeing black and white.  He could not focus.  Then he saw a blurry vision of a  man looking at him through the broken glass, asking if he was okay.  He could only murmur.  He felt something warm gushing on his head, he lift his hand and touched it. It was red.  And that was the last thing he saw.


She was pacing around the apartment.  Something’s not right.  It’s an hour after he called and he is still not there.  Traffic was not that heavy, if he decided to drop by at his father’s house first, he would definitely call.

Something’s not right and she could not put her finger on it.  She went back to the table and reset it.  She could not remember how many times she moved the fork and spoon.  Then she heard her cellphone ringing.  She quickly answered it thinking it was him, but a different voice was at the other end of the line.

“Hello, is this Devon Serrano?” asked the unfamiliar voice.

“Yes,” she answered.  Her heart was hammering in her chest. 

“Do you know a man named James Peid?” he asked.

Devon held on the nearest chair for support.  She doesn’t like where the questions are leading.  “Yes, I do.”

“We saw two numbers listed in his wallet for numbers to call, yours and Mr. Matthew Peid.”

“That’s James’s father,” Devon explained.

“We cannot contact Mr. Matthew Peid’s number,”  explained the unfamiliar voice. “We have bad news Ms. Serrano,” he continued.  “Mr. James Peid, was in a car accident.  He is currently here in Makati Medical Center.”

The man was telling her how the accident happened.  But she could not comprehend anything he’s saying.  All she remembered was telling the man she would be there immediately and that she would call James’s father. 

When she ended the call, that’s when it hit her. James in an accident, wounded and in a hospital.  She fell into the nearest chair and held to her cellphone as if it was a lifesaver.  Devon started to wish that there would be another phone call, telling her that there was a mistake.  It was not James who was in the accident. It’s not James who’s unconscious in a hospital bed.  But no call came, her phone did not ring again.  She rocked herself and cried.


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