Saturday, April 30, 2011

Confessions, Part 2

*This is a work of fiction. jdomawa © 2010* All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: All persons/events here are products of a writer's imagination. Any resemblance to a person, living or dead is purely coincidental.

"A promise is meant to be broken. A promise is meant to be kept. You laughed at me when i said those words once. You said I contradict myself. Well, there are two kinds of promises: a promise that is meant to be broken and a promise that is meant to be kept"

"私はあなたの笑顔欠場"


Part 2 of 7

              I closed my eyes. There are some things in this world that are meant to be savored. There is a building emotion inside me, a fear that if I continued to look, I’d lose the courage to look away. I heard her soft steps as she walked towards the door, heard the rustle of the robe as she put it on. If she saw my closed eyes, mercifully she kept silent. The ache in my heart grew.
              I heard her open the door and only then did I muster the courage to open my eyes. She was framed by the doorway, all five foot eight inches of her. She was barefooted with the robe daintily wrapped around her. Beyond the doorway, the bellboy was struck dumb, his mouth open and his eyes rooted at her. I couldn’t blame him. She was that kind of woman.
              After a few confused blabbering from the boy, she closed it on his flabbergasted face and wheeled the food cart in. She smiled at me, then crinkled her nose at the rich aroma of the freshly baked macaroons that topped the servings. I looked away.
              Kids would say that it is casual but I tell you now that there is no such thing casual about it. That’s why kids get drunk first or get high first to give themselves an excuse when the inevitable fallout happens. But for adults who get to realize how the world works, it is a complicated thing. Even if it’s simply the result of a mental exercise as in our case, there are changes that inevitably follow. And it is often a sad and painful thing.
              She sat down beside me. I could feel her warmth. The rich bouquet of her perfume wafted gently to engulf my soul. Wordlessly, she leaned back and placed her head on my bosom and gazed at the ceiling. I traced the silhouette of her face just before me, aware of the minute details of it. The small dimple hidden inside her right eyelid, the mole beside her lips, the moistness of her fading lipstick that tastes faintly of strawberries…
              I tore my gaze away. She sighed. I sighed.
              We stayed thus. How long, I don’t know. I couldn’t remember what I was thinking back then. It was both a blissful eternity and a torturous infinity. My hand came up lots of times in order to touch her, but every time, I withdrew them in hesitation. Somehow, I knew that the spell would be broken if I touched her.
              How I wish then that I could read her mind. What possessed her to choose me? What does it all mean? Do I take her for her words or must I read in between the lines? A part of me wonders if she is simply waiting for me to breach the boundary we’ve set but I fear that if I did, that it would be the wrong move that sends this whole illusion tumbling into oblivion.
              After all, I still don’t know what we are to each other. Or how I feel about her, or how she feels about me. Am I a mere tool to her, the means to an end or am I more? Do I love her? I don’t know.
              It’s unfair, this thing. With her head cradled in my stomach, she could hear the mad cadence of my confused heart but I couldn’t feel hers. I wonder what she makes of it. That she remains cradled there in contemplation complicates things. My mind is turning into a hopeless jumble of thoughts.
              People say that I am an expert in relationships. I’ve lost count of people who’ve come asking me for advice about their complicated lives. What they don’t know is that I am merely an observant student of life. I’ve never had a relationship with anyone where I could base my answers to but I see the things that happen around me and I form conclusions and opinions that often ring true. Wisdom, they say is gleaned when one truly uses all of one’s senses. Most people merely insist on their own understanding of the world that often gives them a narrow viewpoint, which blinds them. Since I see beyond their limitations, I can give advices which they consider meaningful, which for me are no more than logical conjectures based on what I see.
              Now, however, I am the one blind. All the wisdom I thought I had is gone. All I’m left are the confusing arguments that threaten to give me a splitting headache.
              No man can probably ever get to understand what goes on a woman’s head. There is madness there that could not be untangled. But if there ever was a time, I wanted to know what a woman was thinking of, it would be this time.


              “Are you free on Friday” she asked.
               This conversation was a week ago. The phone rang as I was about to go to sleep. I was probably half asleep then and I picked up the phone with a groggy mind. We rarely call each other as we both prefer the more detached communication of text messages. We both believe that voice conversations are better made during face to face interactions rather than thru the rather impersonal conduit of telecommunication lines.
              But she called.
              The school year was ending then. I had just finished polishing the exams I will administer the day after.
              “Yeah, I think I can.”
              We usually met for dinner during Saturdays as my budget for high priced meals are rather limited by my middle class salary.
              The dinner came about ever since we met. She works as a interior design consultant for some of the high end hotels in the city and the metro. She usually splits her week here and the lowlands. By her own words, it was hard to find an intellectual dinner partner that is not after her body. She wanted a break from the rat race of perverts and clueless jocks that populated her social life, so she made me keep an appointment to meet with her for three hours every Saturday. We spent it talking about various things, debating about social events, and sometimes just talking. I grew to love it. It was fun to find someone who was interested in conversations for conversations sake. We both felt the same way.
                 There was a pause at the other end of the line. She was breathing heavily which snapped me out of my drowsiness. A warning bell rang inside my mind but I didn’t know yet what it meant.
                  “You remember your promise?” She asked in even tones.
                  I felt like I swallowed a lump of stone that somehow lodged itself in my throat. My mouth felt dry.
                  The promise.
                  A week ago, she downed five Black Widows in one sitting the moment we sat down. She was obviously agitated then. It seemed that even before dinner, she had been drinking. I didn’t ask her why. One of the reasons we stayed friends is because we knew when it was time to ask and to keep silent.
                  We ate in silence and only after the Angus steak remnants have been cleared away did she speak.
                  “Remember when I said that I have no intention of getting married?” she asked with a bitter twist of her mouth.
                   I nodded. One of our conversations months before was about marriage. We had skewed the disadvantages of traditional marriage. It was then that I found out that she had the same view of marriage as myself: that is most marriages end up doing more harm than good.
                 “…and about kids?” she asked again, a bit on edge. I pulled her next glass away from her. She was drunk, the first time, I saw her so.
                 I nodded again. She was motioning for the waiter again. I mouthed no to the waiter. Thankfully he obeyed me. She smirked.
                 She wanted to mother a child. She was thirty years old now. It would seem that no matter the social status of women, the big 3 – 0 was a dreaded milestone. She confided in me once that despite her rather high social life, the allure of motherhood tugged at her every time. But she didn’t want to get hitched to attain it. It would seem that she knows much of men to know that most of my gender think with their little brains between their legs. From what she told me, she believed men to be either pigs, mama’s boys or immature kids playing grown up. There was no way, she said that she would get married with one of those. But she wanted a kid. If only to avoid the uncertainty of grappling with the issue when menopause comes. She wanted one while she was sure that she could.
                  I playfully suggested that her problem was easy. Look for a man suitable enough and have one. It was a woman’s advantage, I told her. It was said in jest, a mental suggestion not meant to be taken seriously. We even pondered on what kind of man she should chose if she was to go with it. We shared a lot of laughs analyzing the different types of men, breaking everything down to pros and cons.
                  “I thought a lot about it…” she grew pensive. Her eyes held a sparkle that was a disconcerting. It made me lower my gaze. She grabbed my arm and pulled me close which made me look at her soulful eyes.
                  “You also want a child, yes?” she stated. My heart started to hammer. I didn’t like where this conversation was going to.
                  “Yes?” she squeezed my arms.
                  I nodded.
                  “Even if you will not raise it, you want to know that a part of you remains when you disappear from this world….” She asked in earnest, holding my gaze in her.
                  What did I get myself into, I wondered. Its true, I said those words but they were theoretical statements, a psychological game with a little bit of truth. I do want a child. There is an emptiness in life when one looks at the solitary road that awaits me.        
                  Everyone wants to leave something of his life behind and that’s true for me. I may never get married, but it would be nice to leave a genetic offspring behind. It was a mental exercise.
                  I nodded, despite my misgivings.
                  “If someone asks you…” All traces of her being drunk seemed to disappear. There was the hint of tears in her eyes as she looked at me. “… would you do it?”
                   My body felt numb.
                   “Can you promise…” she continued, gripping me tighter. “…will you promise?”
                    Tears began to stream down her face. I felt some eyes on us. I felt embarrassed and tried to deflect her but she didn’t release her grip.
                    I didn’t know what possessed me then but I nodded.
                    She released her grip, a big smile on her face and quickly dabbed her eyes.
                    I felt as if I had just been doused with cold water.
                    The dinner ended as usual. I sent her to her hotel sharing light banter about the impending rainy season as if nothing happened. I surmised it had something to do with her state of mind then, though I was bothered by it for days to come.
                    And now this call.
                    I felt cold shivers on my spine again.
                    For a long moment, I kept silent. Only the sound of our breathing covered the phone receivers. As far as I can determine, she wasn’t drunk. Her voice was normal. She seemed serious. She is serious…
                    I was shaking. I couldn’t answer.
                    She really was serious.
                    “Mm…” Why I said that, I don’t know. What possessed me to say it, I probably won’t ever know. It would be one of the greatest mysteries of my life.
                     There was a long silence at the end of the line.
                     Then I heard a sob.
                     She was crying.
                     “I’ll call again…” she whispered between sobs. “Thanks…”
                      Then there was a click.
                      I spent the night staring into the murky darkness of my room, counting the number of cars that passed outside on the street. I had to open my call list every thirty minutes to prove that she indeed called. I drank half of my soju store in one sitting. I couldn't sleep.

To be continued...

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