Apr 10, 2013

When the Fireworks Begin (Chapter XIX)


Devon looked around her, she warned herself not to look down but the temptation was so great.  She decided to look around and saw green canopies.  Though, slightly afraid of heights, in a few moments, she will be zipping across the longest zipline in Asia, found in Davao. 

She looked at James who was also getting into his harness.  The trek was quite long.  Longer since they have to stop and rest every once in a while.  The guides were very understanding of their situation, finding them a shady place to rest for a while, offering them their water.  And finally they were able to reach the take-off point. 

The crew were at first hesitant to let her jump. She looked so frail and thin, but she assured them that her body can take the thrill. She avoided telling them it was only three months ago when she was released from the hospital.  She squeezed James’ hand while talking to the crew, signalling him to just follow her lead. She wanted to this so bad, that James cannot persuade her to do something else.

Now standing on the zipline ledge, Devon felt her insides gnawing. Maybe I should back-out, she thought tentatively. But decided against it. They did not cross that river and climb that hill for nothing.  She took a breath and signalled the crew that she’s prepared.

Devon and James will be ziplining in a the superman position. One kilometre will only take one minute. She looked at James, the man who has been with her all throughout this ordeal. She would not be able to accomplish anything without him.  James sensing her gaze, looked at her and gave her a thumbs-up sign.  She laughed and blew him a kiss.

Signalling the crew both of them zipped across the lake, the green forest, with the cold air slapping their faces.  Devon started to scream.

She felt lightweight, as if all her troubles left her.  She felt she was flying over the treetops, and that her worries about and fears were all being taken away. She felt that she was being stripped to the core.
The feeling of exhilaration lasted until they were back in the hotel.  James and Devon cannot get over with the fact that they just ziplined the longest zipline in Asia. 

“That was so cool!” Devon said excitedly.  “I want to do it again, but I am so tired from all the trek. All I want to do is rest.”

James smiled and looked at the contented Devon.  She has become more energetic since her release from the hospital, three months ago.  Although still dangerously thin, she has been eating a lot better and sleeping more soundly.  James is now starting to think that everything seems to be getting better.

“We can do it again tomorrow,” James offered.

“We can?” Devon immediately blurted.  “Can we go again tomorrow?”

James laughed. His wife is so fearless.  Besides her, he feels that he’s now the wimp.  “Yes we can.”

Devon looked appreciatively at his husband.  He has been pulling a lot of strings during their entire bucket list trip. He has been asking friends for free use of their apartments or rentals so that they could significantly cut down their expenses.  The zipline was free, since James’s old roommate was one of the owners.

There were questions, but he politely refused to give them a definitive answer.  He refuses to share that there is a possibility of him losing his wife.

“Thank you,” Devon said, walking towards James and hugging him from behind.

James softly touched Devon’s hands.  A lot of people were against this trip, after her hospitalization three months ago, they thought that he’s going to stop. But he can’t.  James sees something that these people never saw.  He saw Devon’s old self, the lively, happy, and brave girl who stood up for their relationship. He cannot disappoint her now.  She has gone through so much for him, it is his turn to make her happy.

He turned around to touch his wife’s face. “What for?”

“For doing this with me,” Devon whispered, hugging James tighter, resting her check on James warm shoulder. 

“I will go anywhere and do everything for you, baby” James whispered back, caressing her hair.

“And I will do the same for you,” Devon softly answered, her fingers gently rubbing James’s back. 

“I just hope that we are doing the right thing,” James opened up.

“I am doing things I dream of with the man I love,” Devon answered simply. “What can be so wrong about that?”

James slightly pulled away from Devon to kiss her.  The kiss was slow and tantalizing, waking up every nerve in their bodies.  He regretfully dragged his lips away from the full lips of his wife, and started kissing the corner of her mouth, her cheek, her neck, her shoulder. 

She squirmed against him, pushing her hand beneath his shirt, rising against him, challenging his exploration with her own.  James slowly inched his lips back to reclaim Devon’s lips.  The room was airconditioned, but the heat between their bodies can never be cooled down.  They continued kissing each other senseless, until both of them cannot hold back anymore. 

James slowly lowered his wife on their bed, gently removing her clothes, acting as if she was a fragile figurine.  Her petite body seemed smaller than before, but this is still her little spitfire. Devon started tugging at his clothes, signalling it was time to shed his own clothing.

They kissed once again. The kisses deepening, the ache between them has become overpowering. Unable to tolerate any longer, he lowered himself into her, with her accepting him fully.  They moved together, surged, and created their own miracle.


The trip back to Cebu was uneventful. Thank God, James whispered.  Devon has been sleeping throughout the trip, perhaps exhausted.  He gave in to Devon’s request to zip twice, despite his worries about her health.  He has been praying really hard to make sure that this trip won’t be physically challenging for Devon.  The last thing they need is another trip to the hospital.

But is seems like Devon is holding herself up to the challenge.  She seems bent on making sure that her health won’t get the best of her.

“We’re home!”  James rejoiced upon entering their apartment.

Aling Linda and Mang Tony, together with Devon’s sisters were already there.  They have been watching the place while they were away.   Aling Linda immediately rushed toward her daughter and enveloped her in a tight hug. 

“You look so good,” Aling Linda commended, recognizing Devon’s bright eyes.

“James is the best,” Devon answered. “And I just zipped through the longest zipline in Asia. Not once, but twice!” Devon said, with her best imitation of Susan Roces.

Devon’s sisters rapidly fired questions and they were engaged in fast-tracked narration of their activities in Davao.  James smiled as he looked at his wife, Aling Linda and the sisters watch the animated Devon describing every detail of the zipline.

After putting down their luggage, Mang Tony approached James.

“Somebody brought this today,” Mang Tony silently said, giving him a thin white envelope. “I think it was from your father. I didn’t tell your Inay about it because I don’t want to upset her. But I think it is about time that you talk to him, James.”

James looked at the white envelope. If there’s anybody he felt comfortable talking about what happened between his father and him, it was Mang Tony.  Devon’s father is the most understanding man he has ever known. 

“I will think about it,” James politely answered.

Mang Tony patted James’s back and decided to join the Devon’s animated story.  James slowly went outside to check the white envelope.   Once outside, he opened the sealed envelope and saw a check inside.  He looked at the check and realized that it was definitely a large amount of money.  It would easily cover Devon’s medical expenses for two years.

The check was signed no other than Edwin Rocafort. Inside was a small slip of paper with his handwriting.

          “Use this son, you and Devon will need all the help you can get.
          Just let me know if you need anything else.”

Son,  James looked at the word.  He winced, and eventually crumpled the piece of paper.  He put the check inside the white envelope and tucked it behind his back pocket.  He went inside to get his car keys.

“Itay,” James called out to Mang Tony. “I will be out for a while, I just need to return something.”

Mang Tony did not ask anymore, he knew where James will be going.


Though it was a Sunday, James knows that his father is working. The only time he’s not in the office are during holidays, event of natural calamities, and perhaps on the end of the world.  His mother has gotten used to his father’s erratic work schedules during the course of their marriage that she has already accepted the fact that she will be forever a second priority to her husband’s career.

James strode into the building with purpose.  The guards and the receptionist were taken aback by the appearance of the Rocafort heir.   He took no notice of the ogling eyes, as he passed the work stations.  He went straight into the President’s Office. Even, his father’s secretary was unable to say anything.  She looked frozen on her seat.

James opened the door to his father’s office, and went in.  Taking no notice of the two suited men hovering on his father’s desk, he approached the table and slammed the white envelope on the table.

James turned around to leave, when he heard his name.

“James,” Mr. Rocafort called. “You need this.” He has the envelope in his hand, trying to give it back to James.

James looked at his father.  “I don’t need your help.”

Mr. Rocafort signed the two men to leave his office. He waited until the door was firmly closed behind them when he spoke. “James, this is no time to let that pride of yours...”

“My pride,” James said.  “Now we’re talking about my pride?”

Mr. Rocafort sighed heavily. “James, can we put everything behind us?”

James gave sarcastic laugh. “What you have done in the past has led to this. We can’t just forget it.”

Mr. Rocafort averted his eyes and took a deep breath.  “I have always thought that being a good father means providing for his family.  A good father makes sure that his children won’t wake up with nothing. But I was wrong.  Being a good father is more than bringing a six-digit paycheck home every month. And I realized I was not really a good father after all.”

“Well, good for you,” James responded hurtfully.

“I am sorry, James,”  Mr. Rocafort carefully whispered.  His apologies were barely audible.

James stared at his father for a long time, trying to figure out if this was all just one of his great ploys. Unable to read anything from his father’s sincere expression, he wished that what he heard was true. He wished that the great Edwin Rocafort was finally able to admit that he made a mistake and was sorry for it. But it was too good to be true.  A shark will always be a shark.  He turned around and left without saying anything.

Mr. Rocafort did not try to go after him.  He knows that he has brought all of this to himself. He caused his son’s pain, when his selfishness and greed got the best of him two years ago.


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