Feb 21, 2011

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter V)

Chapter V

“I can’t understand why you have to help me out like this,” Devon complained. “I could walk all by myself.”

James has his arms around Devon, supporting her while walking. Less than a week after being released from the hospital, Dr. Alvarez has been asking them to return to take additional tests and monitor Devon’s improvement.

“I don’t want you to trip,” James feebly explained. 

“I am fine, baby,” Devon defended.  She removed James’s hand from her shoulders.  “I am fine.” She smiled and gingerly walked to the house.

I think you’re making a mistake, James remembered Dr. Alvarez saying.  James pleaded the good doctor not to tell Devon her condition yet.  She has to know, Dr. Alvarez told him.

I know, James answered. I just want to be the one to tell her.

Dr. Alvarez did not agree, but James insisted and promised to tell her immediately.  James decided to tell Devon’s parents the truth, asking them not to tell their daughter her disease. Nanay Linda cried, while Devon’s father Tatay Tony tried to control his emotions, but was miserably failing.

They have been spending their time with Devon while James works in the office.  As much as he wants to take care of Devon, he can’t.  Monthly bills won’t go away just because a person is sick.

James followed Devon inside the house.  She was already seated on her desk, opening her laptop. James walked and closed the laptop immediately.  He knew that Devon would be checking her e-mail, and check her students’ papers and exams. 

“No working,” he explained. 

Devon stared at James, with an incredulous look in her face.  “I told you James, I am feeling fine and great.”

“It is better to be on the safe side,” James weakly answered.  He climbed the stairs to their room. Devon hotly followed him.  James could sense Devon’s frustrations these past few days.  He knows that she is bound to ask him why he is being so protective of her.

“I want to go back to work,” Devon said sharply.  She followed James inside the bedroom and was leaning on the doorframe.

James sighed. How much longer could I keep it from her, James thought.

“Not yet,” James said. “Besides you haven’t filed for any vacation leaves yet, this would be the perfect time to use them.”

“I can’t just file for a vacation.  It’s the middle of the semester.  I just can’t drop my students like that,” Devon explained angrily.

“I just want you to stay home and rest,” James answered back, trying to control his composure.  I don’t want to lose you, James wanted to scream.

“I had enough rest already,” Devon defended. “I don’t know what you are so scared of.”

I am scared that the next time you get off a jeep, you would fall and the next car won’t be able to stop on time. I am scared that the next time you leave the house, you won’t be able to make it back¸ James wanted to scream.  James wanted to question all the forces in the universe, why this thing happened to both of them.

“I just wanted the best for you,” James was trying so hard to control his emotions.

“What’s best for me physically, emotionally and mentally right now, is to go back to work and just live normally,” Devon replied. “It is as if I have a virus or communicable disease!”

You have an incurable disease, James was already distraught. 

“Devon, let’s stop this,” James said. He was standing in front of Devon, with his hands both on Devon’s shoulders.  “I just wanted you to be safe, I want you to remain healthy and you need to rest.”

Devon brushed James’s hands. “I am going back to work tomorrow and you cannot stop me.”

That’s when James felt all the frustrations starting to spill. “Why can’t you make this small sacrifice for me?” James almost shouted.

“This is not a small…” Devon countered.

“I have sacrificed everything for you,” James cut what Devon was trying to say.

Devon’s mouth opened wide in shock. “Are you trying to blame me for whatever it is that you have lost?”

James raked his fingers through his hair, angrily. “That’s not what I mean. You know that. I am telling you, begging you, to do this for me. And you’re not listening. Why can’t you understand that this is for both of us?”  James passed Devon and went down the stairs.

“For both of us, or just for you? Aren’t you becoming selfish?” Devon pried again, walking behind James.

James turned around, raising his voice. “Is it selfish of me to think that I wanted to have you around longer? Is it selfishness if I wanted you to stay by my side for more than 2 to 5 years?”

“What are you talking about?” Devon countered.

James shook his head and started to climb down the stairs.

“Where are you going?” Devon asked, running after James.

“Out,” James answered.

****

James has been walking aimlessly for half an hour already. He was unmindful of people behind him who are becoming impatient with his slow walk.  He took no notice of the cars that were almost brushing the sides of his elbow.  He took the phone out of his pocket and called Sam.

“Sam, are you home?” James asked.

“Yeah,” Sam answered back.

“I am coming over,” James said and ended the call abruptly.  He walked towards James condo unit which happens to be a few meters away. He could’ve taken the taxi, but walking calmed him.

Upon reaching Sam’s condo, he knocked on the door and waited for his friend to open it.  When Sam opened the door, he immediately noticed how distraught James was.

“You look like hell,” Sam commented and opened the door wider.

James walked in and plopped down on the sofa.

“Beer?” Sam asked.

James nodded and tried to sink into the sofa more. 

“What’s going on?” Sam asked when he approached James and gave him the can of beer. He sat there waiting for James to start.  Before James could open his mouth, there was another knock.

Sam walked towards the door and opened it. He was taken aback when he saw Aleli standing outside.

“Brought some beer,” Aleli said and walked inside Sam’s apartment, straight to the kitchen.

James, upon hearing Aleli’s voice, looked at the direction of the kitchen.  “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I called Sam and he kinda mentioned that you’ll be here,” Aleli smiled.  “I brought beer. Just like the old times.”

Sam shrugged, when he saw James giving him a questioning look.  “She asked me about for today. I told her I am staying at home since you’ll be dropping by.”

“Oh, come on guys,” Aleli complained and walked towards the sofa and sat beside James.  “Are you telling me, I am not supposed to be here? The last time I checked, I was still in your friends list.”

James did not pay attention.  He leaned back with the sweating can of beer on his hands.  Where to begin, he asked himself.  He opened his mouth and voiced out the things that he has been trying so hard to shove out of his mind in the past few days. 

“Devon is sick.  It’s called ALS, there is no cure. The doctor said that those who have ALS have an average of 2 to 5 years to live. Very few lied longer than that,” he started.  Sam raised his head, he almost dropped the can of beer.  While, Aleli remained unmoving besides James.

“Are you sure, there is no cure?” Sam asked.  He placed the can of beer on the table and started to wring his hands together.  “I have aunts and uncles that could take a look at her.”

“Doctor Alvarez is already handling her case,”  James mumbled  Sam shut his mouth.  He knew that Dr. Alvarez’s reputation is spotless, he is one of the best neurologists in the country. He has been awarded and recognized internationally for his contribution in his field  Sam would not disagree with James that Devon is better off to another doctor.

Sam stood up and walked towards the kitchen.  He was obviously affected with the news that he heard.

“Where are you going,” Aleli asked the restless Sam.

“I am going to call her,” Sam replied.  “She must have been really scared by all of this.”  He gave James an angry look. “I can’t believe you left her alone.”

“She doesn’t know yet,” James answered back.

Sam placed the handset back on its rack. “What do you mean by she doesn’t know yet? She’s supposed to know.”

“Well, not yet. She’s gonna freak out,” James explained. “She’s not yet ready to know about it.”

Sam was about to argue more, when Aleli raised her hand and cautioned Sam. 

“How about taking her to medical centers outside the country?” Aleli asked.

James rubbed his forehead.  “As much as I want to, I can’t.  We don’t have enough money in the bank yet.”

“Why don’t you ask for your father’s help,” Aleli suggested. 

James pulled himself up from slouching on the sofa.  “Never.”

“This is for Devon’s good,” Sam tried to explain.  “He may have contacts abroad, he could easily pay for your fare.”

James eyed Sam. “You know what he told me when I left the house?”

Sam and Aleli shook their head.

James took a deep breath and stared ahead.  “He said that, ‘one day you’ll be crawling back to me, asking for my help.’ I swore on that day, that I would never live or use any of his help, ever again.”

“So are you telling me, you’ll choose pride, over your wife?” Sam asked angrily. 

James was unable to answer.  He bowed his head and felt that he has already lost a battle which hasn’t even begun.  Sam shook his head, and walked out of the living room. 

4 comments:

jak said...

next chap pls,,hehehe

erra caballero said...

nxt chap na plzz....

SHERYL MAY said...

lola bite, sana po may kasunod na to. ang tagal ko na kasing inaabangan ang mga next scene.

s.m.c.

it'sJUSTme said...

ay ako din po! abangers.. ano po twitter account nyu? para araw araw ako mag-tweet sa inyu.. hahha.. panggulo lang.. :))

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