Apr 25, 2013

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter XXIX)

The morning sun greeted the city warmly.  James, who was still tucked under the tree, is slowly drinking a warm cup of taho he bought from a peddler passing by earlier.  He can’t remember the last time he ate.  He forced himself to buy a small cup hoping that it will be enough to sustain him for the entire day. 

He did not move out of the shade of the tree.  As the hours passed and as the shadows became shorter, he remained there.  By noon, the cold wind meeting the hot sun was enough to keep him comfortable under the tree. But his palms are now clammy and cold.  The hunger and lack of sleep is catching up with him.

He decided to sleep a little, leaning against the tree.  He closed his eyes and dreamt.

He was still sitting on the hill and the sun was setting down fast.  He was concentrating on waiting so much that he failed to notice a shadow approaching him slowly. The cold touch on his shoulder scared the life out of him.  He turned around so fast that he fell forward.

He was shocked when he saw her.  She was wearing her favourite blue t-shirt and faded jeans.  Her hair was pulled behind her head in a loose ponytail, allowing him to see her face completely. Her face was scrubbed free of make-up, like what she wants, but has that fresh and healthy radiance. There were no dark circles under her eyes, her cheeks no longer hollow.  She even gained weight.

“What took you so long,” it was the first words he said.  He was angry. “I was waiting here for days!”

She smiled.

“Everyone told me that you’re gone,” James accused her.

She continued to smile, although it was a sad smile.

“And now you’re smiling? You think that this is funny?” James’s voice starting to rise. 

“I know you’re scared,” Devon said calmly, taking a step towards him.  “Believe me, I was scared too.”

“You’re dead,” James softly admitted.

Devon took another step. “I know,” she sadly whispered.

“You are dead. You left me. You left me!” James shouted.

Devon took a step forward, and James took a step back.

“You promised me that we will be in this together, but you freaking left me!” James shouted angrily. 

“You know that this will happen,” Devon answered, taking another step and catching James’ hand.

“I can’t lose you,” James pleaded.

“You won’t,” Devon answered. She touched James’ chest, just on top of his heart.  “I will always be here.”

James held Devon’s hand and tears started to fall.  He cried. Devon took him in her arms and kissed his cheek before kissing his lips.

James slowly opened his eyes. A tear started to fall.  He tried to run away from the truth.  But now, regardless of how many miles he tried to run, the truth will wait for him in the finish line.

The sun was now slowly taking refuge behind the mountain peaks.  Once in a while, a small sliver of light will fly across the slowly darkening sky. Once in a while, a small boom will shatter the afternoon.

He was now sitting on one of the benches, quietly observing the slowly mounting excitement and activity in the city below him. 

In a few minutes, the sun will be completely hidden. In a few hours, the night sky will be ablaze. 

“She’s not coming, James,” a soft voice said behind him.

There’s no need for him to turn around to know who was speaking. After all, he has heard that voice all his life. 

A few minutes has passed, a distant boom of the canon shattered their silence. 

“James,” he heard it again.

“Please, Dad. Don’t tell me she won’t be coming,” his voice pleading. 

He has been holding on the last few strands of belief that she will come back tonight.  His nightmare was now becoming a reality.

“The fireworks begin tonight,” he reasoned, his voice quivering.  “She promised she will be back before fireworks.”

“She isn’t James,” his father once again told him.  He walked towards him and placed a camcorder on James’ lap. “She left this for you.”

James looked at the camcorder.

“We will wait for you at home,” his father stated before leaving.

His father has long left but still James was unable to open the video camera.  He took a deep breath and pushed the ON button. 

Devon’s image came into view.  He hit play and Devon’s smile started to appear on the screen.

“Is it on now,” Devon’s image asked the screen. 

A quiet yes was heard through the background. 

She was sitting on her bed in their apartment, wearing a pink shirt, her lower body covered by a blanket. 

“Hi James,” she started.  “I had this idea to make a video message for you, since Myla, my dear speech therapist, suggested that I start recording messages today.  So, why not record a video for you, baby!”

Devon’s placed a big smile and called Myla.

“Myla, show yourself,” Devon called.  Myla appeared and waved before disappearing again behind the camera.

“Okay,” Devon continued.  “Today is just two days after purchasing the speech machine, which is very awesome.  I just want to say that I loooooove you! And I think I just heard the gate closing, that’s probably you, so I will have to say goodbye and continue this tomorrow.”

The screen turned black briefly before opening to another scene. Now, Devon was wearing a big yellow shirt, still on her bed.   

“I am bit tired today so this won’t take that long,” Devon started. “I just remembered that day you drove to the park to meet me and asked me out on a date for the first time.  You were really sick that day but you still drove more than half an hour to see me.  And now, you’re taking care of me.  I feel somewhat guilty. It seems that you’re always making sacrifices for me.  I hope that someday, I will be able to make you happy as you made me happy.”

Coughs racked Devon’s body.  “I’m going to rest now, baby. Bye!”  The camera was able to catch Myla hooking Devon with the BiPap machine, before she approached it and eventually turned it off.

When the image came back, Devon was sitting upright on her bed, supported by her pillows.  She looked paler, the circles under her eyes were darker, her breathing shallow, she appeared more tired.

“I came prepared today, baby,” Devon slowly started, every word punctuated with a gasp of air. 

“Today, I made a list, rather I asked Myla to write a list of things I want to say to you so I won’t miss a thing,” Devon continued.  Her speech therapist was silently sitting beside her, holding a notebook with scribbles on it.  

“I know that we both feel that anytime it’s going to happen,” Devon said.  “We both know what it is. Everyday I feel a little bit weaker than the day before, I feel a little more tired, everything a little more painful.  Those little things make big things. So when that thing happens, I want you to remember these wishes I am going to ask from you.”

She looked at Myla and her therapist murmured something.

“I want you to start jogging again,” Devon began.  “Every morning, before sunrise, go out of the house and jog.  It will make you healthy, and it help you appreciate things that we often missed appreciating.”

“Dance more. I know you’re a great dancer and I haven’t seen you shake that hip and booty for a while,” Devon grinned sheepishly before becoming serious again.  “Play the music loud, baby, and dance. Lose yourself to the music.  ‘Cause when you lose yourself in dance, it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself again.”

Devon took a short break.  Myla offered her BiPap, but Devon shook her head.

“I wish that you will go back to making music,” Devon continued. “I know you love it and I wished that you did not stop strumming your guitar and singing.  Music will help you sort out your emotions. Sing about something that you want to remember.  Write about the things you love.  Sing about us.”

“Since we’re already at it,” Devon slowly started.  “I wish for you continue doing the things you love.  Things you have forgotten doing or you just simply stopped doing.  Follow you dreams sweetheart.”

Devon’s voice cracked a little. She leaned against the pillows and whispered “stop.”  The camera went black and immediately Devon’s face appeared again. 

“Sorry, baby,” Devon apologized.  “I had to stop recording the other day.  One of those damn attacks, I am not getting younger, you see.”

James noticed that this time Devon looked utterly sick.

“And recording my message has been extremely difficult, since you won’t leave my side. Where are we?” Devon asked. 

She briefly smiled before she continued.

“Now, about your dreams, I know that most of them were put on hold because of what’s going on in our lives right now. I know you want to start directing your own music videos, why don’t you go for it. I know you really want to write a book, why don’t you start doing it,” Devon encouraged. 

“James, I don’t have time but you do. And I want you to live your life,” Devon’s voice cracked a bit, because of the emotions.  “I have lived mine because of you.  You helped me get through things I would never have imagined getting through. I am forever grateful that I had you in my life.  Everyday, I thanked God for my wonderful family and friends.  Everyday, I thanked Him because I had you as my soulmate.”

James’ sight is now becoming blurry.

“The remaining days of my life were the best,” Devon continued.  “Not because I fulfilled the things that I wanted to do, but because I was with you.”

James was unable to continue watching the video.  His hands dropped the camcorder and he cried.  Tears were not even enough to show his grief.


Anonymous said...

it is really hard to believe and accept that you have just lost someone very special in your heart!!! i understand you james!!!huhu>>>


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