First and Last Favor
Leila will always refer to his smile as the Mint Chocolate Chip Baskin Robbins ice cream of her heart. Seeing him smile, like he does now, sends shivers up her spine making her hands and feet cold, yet her heart warm all over. She can’t explain why every time Ned smiles, she starts to feel as if nothing else matters but his cherubic face, and the stubborn “zing!” in her heart.
And there is also his pair of eyes that become slits under his dark eyebrows whenever he laughs. There it is again! His face looks like the perfect portrait of a face all aglow with sheer happiness.
No, Ned’s smile isn’t for Leila. She doesn’t even know who it is for. All she knows is that Ned is now laughing while carelessly clutching the phone to his ear.
The hell she cares who he is talking to!
Hell, she cares. A lot. In fact, there’s nothing on her mind but Ned and his smile, Ned and his laugh, Ned and his cherubic face, Ned and the sound of his voice, Ned and everything that makes the “zing” on her heart sounds like Bach, or maybe Beethoven, or Skid Row.
Yes, she cares. She has a fancy word for how she’s feeling now. Love at first day at work.
But Ned doesn’t. Try with all her might, Ned will never see her as special as the one whom he is talking to over the phone. He doesn’t even know her name and her table is just next his, and it’s her first day—
“Leila? Leila, right?” Ned covered the mouthpiece and turned to Leila.
“Yep, and you’re Ned, right?” Leila said while trying to sound casual, although she felt herself choke.
Ned winked and carelessly shuffled through the papers on his table, the phone now cradled by his shoulder to his ear. Then he turned to Leila and in the most gentle voice said, “Heard you were the fastest typist ever recruited by Butter Fly Limited—will you please help me with this?” and handed Leila a paper with marks and comments on the margin.
Leila took it, read it, “What help do you need? I mean, this is uh—”
“I don’t want to type it myself, can you please, please?” implored Ned as if all that matters to him is Leila’s help.
Leila smiled, half-heartedly. She turned her computer on and waited for Ned to tell her he was just joking.
But Ned wasn’t joking. He now put down the phone and turned to Leila again.
“Thanks, really. The truth is, I can’t make myself do it. I like it here, you know, but sometimes one has to leave things that he likes to be with things and people he loves,” explained Ned.
Well, then, good luck,” is all Leila could say. She could have asked him what he meant but she couldn’t make herself do it. There was a gargantuan lump in her throat, and she was trying so hard to fight back the tears.
Leila ran the word processor and clicked the new blank document icon. She blinked at the paper lying alone on her clean table.
This is Ned’s first, and well, last favor. It gripped her heart with a wrench of unimaginable hurt and regret. She couldn’t still believe as she read the letter in front of her, Ned’s letter. Though harder she stared, words didn’t mutate into a memorandum. The first sentence still reads, “This is to tender my irrevocable resignation effective immediately.”