David’s Sling (Part 1)
First it was Emily, then came Janice. They didn’t know but they did hurt me. Not directly though. The way they did it was through David.
Now it’s Kate. And the pain has become so unbearable that I hope to God I can still save some face when I have the gut to save my heart first.
I know it’s not David’s fault. He’s been an angel since Day 1. That was when he moved in to my apartment–as a co-tenant, of course. He has done his share, even in choosing the rainbow tafetta-like curtains. And oh, how he can cook with the Curtis Stone skill and charm!
Charm? How can I think of his charm when right now, he’s been talking about Kate! And that hurts. A lot.
Emily and Janice were David’s first and second heart-breakers whom I know. There may have been others, but as David puts it, they’re his pasts. Now his heart is for Kate and he’ll be proposing soon.
I can’t help but wonder if the proposal would be no different when he proposed to Emily and Jane.
I could only wonder.
I could only breath, sigh and cry.
I consider Emily, Janice and Kate as David’s Angels. They came like angels flying towards David, changing his life from next to the other.
With Emily, David became modish with clothes and gadgets. He also turned vain, which to a point became annoying. You see, we share the same apartment. With just one full bathroom. So when he stays inside longer than I, which was most often as always, I was furious … and well, less of a woman. I would conjure images of David applying triple conditioners on his wavy brown hair, pampering his olive-toned skin with mint-scented body wash and…
One time, after an hour-long aggravating wait, I pounded on the door and roared, “David, goodness, I also have rights here! Bath rights! What in the hell are you doing that’s taking you so looonnggg!”
“Sorry, Sarah. I can’t let you in…” was David’s muffled reply.
“Of course you can’t! You’re still there!” I hollered.
Fifteen minutes later, David came out. I was so mad he could have dropped dead if there’s a radiation frequency for anger. But his after-bath after-shave scent subdued me in one millisecond.
Of course, I didn’t want him to know that.
Then, one day, he came home sober. Gone was the skittish smile which was then a prelude to Emily-and-I-went-to-this-and-that-and-met-this-and-that-and-talked-about-this-and-that talks where my oohs and aahs came in perfect timing as he filled me in about Cover Girl Emily Stories.
“Emily walked out,” he said in an almost defeated whisper.
~ oOo ~
“What’s new?” I asked without a trace of wonder.
I could have said, “C’mon, David. You and Emily had had more than just a few petty quarrels. A ledger won’t be enough for the time when Emily cursed you for being “baduy” and I could make a list for the hours I spent wheedling that you look “a-ok”.
“So, what’s new?” I asked again.
David just stood there. An empty gaze towards the image of an embattled butterfly (although it looks more of a cocoon to me) sent me to a wistful sigh. Yes, David, stare at it. That’s the very epitome of your darling Emily.. Sickening.
“She walked out on me when I told her I want to marry her.”
And it was my turn to give the frame a look. It reminded me of Emily. Complicatedly puzzling. But at that instant, I thank her. She saved David from a world that he is not ready to be a part of.
And I stared at David staring at the complicated painting of the buttercocoon.
“So, you’re free.”
Three words. I could have said it simply in two… “Thank God!” but I kept my mouth shut.
He smiled. Bitterly. Then he went straight to his room.
In a whisper, I cursed myself for being harsh. I should have comforted him. I should have told him Emily doesn’t deserve him.
But I was numbed both with pain and awe.
Pain, because I couldn’t stand seeing David with a hurt look on his face.
Awe, because I couldn’t quite explicate how happy I was that David was hurt.
I know, I’m harsh.
But then, Janice came.
And again, David mutated.
~ oOo ~
“What’s your schedule tomorrow?” he asked without even looking up from the newspaper he’s reading.
“Nothing specific. Why?” I asked too.
David then put the paper down and with a mischievous smile on his lips said, “Janice is coming over for dinner. I’m cooking.”
I stared at David long and hard. I let out a deep breath. “That’s my cue. All right, I’ll spend the night over at wherever. I hope you’ll have a great time with her.”
“No! I want you to be here for dinner, too. So you’ll meet Janice. Come home early.”
“David, I know Janice back and bones. I can even write a book of your love story. Of how Janice opened your eyes and made you commune and appreciate nature. And from the pictures you’ve been showing me, I can also point her out from a crowd if ever I saw just her head.”
“But I’ll be cooking again!” David half shouted the last word.
“And I’m happy for you,” I said. To my surprise, I was sincere saying it.
McDonald’s became my best buddy, and Starbucks my wish grantor for almost 6 months because David hasn’t been cooking since he and Emily parted ways. He also became a private property of his room. And tonight, the backpack-sporting adventure-seeking cave-and-mountain-exploring lean and tan Janice had brought back David’s flavors and spices.
“I’ll try to change my mind. Thanks for the invite anyway.”
“I need you to be there, Sarah. I miss the way you criticize my dish after your third serving.”
A slow smile spread across David’s eager face and I was mesmerized all over again. And the “zing!” was back. I could feel a sweet tingling down my spine as he earnestly said, “I miss you most of all.”
~ oOo ~
I miss you most of all.
These words of David’s echoed in my mind making my emotions more battered than ever. The sentence should have filled me to the brim, yet I felt hallow as ever.
I was still fighting back tears when an impatient horn blast from a car behind me drowned out the rest of self-pity. It put me back right where I am. Behind the wheel.
The light had changed. For the next few minutes I drove without sense of where I was really going. Feeling stupid again. Being David-stupid made me missed my turn. I pulled over the curb and just sat there with the motor running.
No, I can’t do this. How in the world would I sit there and watch while David asks Janice to be his wife?
For sure, my jaw and cheeks would ache from all the pretense of smiling and laughing. The real ache then would come when Janice accepts David’s proposal. And that, that would be monumental pain.
No, I can’t do this!
Dizzyingly, I fished my cellphone from my handbag and dialled David’s number.
He answered it in no time. There was smile in his voice. It became tinged with regret when he heard I couldn’t stand witness to his “special moment” with Janice.
“So your boss is squeezing every last minute’s worth of your time tonight before he takes a week leave…” was David’s summation of my alibi.
“Yeah, he is,” I replied.
My thoughts wandered at the neatly piled files on my table and list of to-do’s which my boss had dictated earlier that afternoon. He could have been happily packing for all I know.
“You know what?” David suddenly brightened up. “You deserve a vacation, too. You’ve been working too hard.”
“Since you mentioned that, I guess I’ll have one.”
“And where would you want to go?”
David’s question tickled my fancy which abruptly evaporated when David blurted, “There’s someone at the door. Janice is here! I should go. You take care, Sarah. Bye!”
And there, behind the wheel, I uttered my answer to David’s question.
As long as there is sun…
Slowly, I felt hot tears trickled down my face.
As long as there is sun.
(To be continued)