Sep 27, 2010

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?


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