Palms and Pockets
by Paul Diaz
by Paul Diaz
Chapter 9: Change
Four days have passed and Anne was raring to go home. “Dear you better keep still and wait for the doctor to arrive” Colleen told her. “What’s taking him so long? I want to see my face already” Anne said. A few seconds later the room door opened and Anne’s skin surgeon entered the room. The young woman quickly sat up on bed and asked for the mirror.
“Someone is in a hurry. Anne I must tell you that you might get disappointed” the doctor said. “What do you mean? You were not able to fix my face?” she asked. “Oh I did but let me tell you that it does not heal that fast. It will take time” the doctor replied. “A long time? Like how long?” she asked.
The doctor smiled and took a deep breath, “Here let me show you first” he said. Colleen and Gerard gathered around the bed as the doctor started to remove the gauze covering Anne’s face. “No infections whatsoever, I would say two weeks” he said and the young woman quickly faced the mirror.
It was not the result she was expecting, her left cheek was still dark but not like before when the scar was there. “It hasn’t changed” she uttered. “It actually did. It is still recovering and you should give it time to heal. The good thing is that there are no infections. You may go home now but you shall have to come back for check ups” the doctor told her as he started to place new coverings to her cheek.
The door room opened and Anne burst in laughter as he saw John. The young man’s face was also covered with gauze as he walked towards Anne holding his buttocks. “Why are you looking like that?” she asked. “Oh the doctor didn’t tell you? I donated the skin on my cheek but they said it was not compatible so they had to take skin off my butt” he said.
Everyone in the room laughed as the young man kept cracking jokes. “Hey doc you should tell her that if she feels the tendency of leaning her face on a chair, she should not panic since my butt is used to doing that” John said and the more Anne laughed. She tried to pinch him to stop but John just kept on. Two hours later Anne was home but everyone could see she was not that happy.
“Remember what happened to my eye?” John whispered. “What happened to your eye?” she asked. “Don’t you remember the fight? You saw what happened to my face that time right? It was all black and blue then but look at me now. Your scar is gone but your face is just bruised. You just have to trust what the doctor said” he told her.
“What if it doesn’t heal? What if I still get a scar?” Anne asked. “You don’t have to worry because like before I still wont see it” John said. The young woman smiled and bumped her hip against his. “I am mad at you” she told him. “For not being with you for three days?” John asked. “Oh so you know why, that makes me more mad then” she replied.
John took out his wallet and handed it to Anne. “The reason is inside” he said. The young woman quickly opened his wallet, she was surprised to see a picture of them together. “Not that picture” John said but Anne seemed frozen staring at the photo. “You should throw this away. We are going to take a new photo soon” she said.
“No, I actually like this picture” John said. “Its just going to remind me of my scar, we will take a new photo when my face is healed” Anne insisted. John took his wallet and looked at the picture, “This is still you, this was our first picture together. Even if your face has changed I still like this…its still you” he said softly.
The young man took out a card and handed it to Anne. “A driver’s license!!! You know how to drive? Since when?” the young woman asked. “Dad has been teaching me for a long time now. The past three days I took the written exam and practical exam so I could not come over to visit you” John told her. “Wow! Do you have your own car already?” Anne asked. “Not yet. I am still saving up for one. Dad wanted to buy me one but its better if I spent my own money” he explained.
Anne sat back and frowned but Colleen approached the two and handed John the keys to her car. “Be sure to come back in time for lunch” she said. Anne took the keys and quickly ran to the door. “Come on John!!!” she yelled. “Ah is it really okay?” he asked and Colleen smiled at him. “I have so much trust in you, so go on before my daughter gets cranky” she told him.
A minute later they were driving around the neighborhood and Anne had her eyes on John. “Why are you looking at me?” John asked as he kept his eyes on the road. “Hmmm you seem different when youre driving” Anne told him. “Different? I don’t understand” he said. “You look so cool and dependable” Anne said as she giggled.
“I really should have my dad bought me one then” John said as they both laughed. “I am not saying you are not dependable on other stuff, you actually are. But now watching you drive you really look so calm and cool. Whenever my mom or dad drives I get worried but I don’t know why I feel so relaxed now that its you driving” Anne told him.
“Hey I just started driving, you should be more worried now” John said. “I am not, never will. I just feel so comfortable with you around. I feel as if nothing bad will happen to me. But I am still mad at you. Three days without visiting me…don’t ever do that again John” Anne said as she moved closer to lean on him. “Im sorry Anne, I never will” he replied as he put his arm around her.
The new school year has started and Anne was so excited to enter campus. A year ago she could remember how she used to limp and bow her head but this time it was different. With heads up high, a smile on her face, she graciously enter the school ground with John beside her.
A lot of students looked at her, some stared and a lot did whisper. This time Anne could feel that they were not insults as lots of smiles went her way. “I feel so happy” she whispered and it was John’s turn to bow his head. “Welcome to your new world” he uttered.
“New world? What are you talking about?” she asked as the young woman could hear her name being whispered by others. “This is your world now, I feel happy for you. Last year I knew it was like hell but now I can feel a big change. Give me time to get used to your new world” John told her. “You sound weird today, I have not changed. This is still me and this is still our world John” she replied. The young man smiled but quickly looked away.
Lunch time at the cafeteria was still noisy but when Anne entered there was silence once again. “Holy cow is that Anne?” Kevin asked. “Damn she sure is pretty and it’s the first time Ive seen her wear a dress in school” Rick said. “Yeah and the first time I saw her with someone else besides John” Jeremy added.
Anne was with another guy as she entered the lunch area. The two parted ways and the young woman approached John and his friends. She sat beside John and took a bite off his sandwich. “Come on lets go get your food” John said. “No, I am on a diet. I beefed up last summer” she told him.
“Why did you part ways with the guy you were with?” John asked as his friends kept quiet. “Oh that was Greg, he is my classmate. It sucks that we are not in the same class. Geez there are four of you and not even one is my classmate” Anne said.
“You should eat. Come on lets go get you food” John said and Anne went with him. “He got jealous” Rick whispered. “Yup it was obvious” Kevin replied. “Well guys I think John is going to go through tough times” Jeremy told them and they all agreed even as they saw the two looking so sweet at the counter.
Once the two were back at their seats, the three guys suddenly swallowed their words. Anne was leaning on John and her right arm was wrapped around his left arm. There were other couples around the cafeteria but they were not as sweet as the two. “Hey, do you think they are together?” Rick whispered. “Do you even have to ask? Just look at them will you” Jeremy replied.
Several hours later John was heading towards Anne’s classroom to pick her up. The young man suddenly stopped to see her with a good looking guy. He took a deep breath and started to walk slowly as he was starting to feel something bad inside him. “John!!!” he heard her shout. He saw her smiling and running towards him so the pain he felt inside started to wither. “What took you so long?” Anne asked.
“Oh I am sorry the teacher asked me to erase the chalk board. So you are classmates with that guy” John said. “Who? Charles? Oh no he isn’t my classmate. He just came over to introduce himself. He is a funny guy” Anne replied. The pain started to trickle back inside John’s chest but as soon Anne walked beside him it suddenly stopped.
“Did you bring it?” Anne asked and John smiled at her. “Of course, will I get to be the one to ride this time?” he teased and Anne bumped his hips and giggled. “Not today” she replied. The scooter was out and Anne got on and immediately embraced him. “Run! Fast!” she instructed. “Are you sure?” John asked. “Run like the wind!” Anne replied and started to laugh.
With all his might the young man did what she him to do. With her face close to his and her arms embracing him tightly, John was happy. This day was a roller coaster ride for him, but he was alright with it for the ending was to his liking so he ran faster.
John was always seeing Anne with guys on campus but he was getting used to it. This was her new world and he had to adapt to it because she was happy. Being deprived of positive attention almost all her life, Anne was living her dream and he didn’t want to spoil it.
Friday arrived and John was briskly walking towards Anne’s classroom. He saw the young woman leaning on the wall all smiling holding a rose with two hands. John pretended not to notice the flower but as they walked Anne kept smelling it and there was a different smile on her face.
The scooter ride home was different, she wasn’t embracing him and she didn’t either ask him to go fast. “I thought you don’t like flowers” John said. “Hmmm I don’t” Anne replied. “So why don’t you throw that away then?” the young man asked.
“It smells good, flowers are not that bad” Anne said. John fell silent and took a deep breath as his chest was starting to get heavy. “Hmmm if a guy gives you flowers what does it really mean?” Anne asked but the young man didn’t bother to reply.
“Hey John I am asking you a question” she said. “What do you think?” he replied and Anne noticed something different in his voice. “You sound angry” she told him. “I am not angry” he replied.
“If a guy gives you flowers that means he likes you and he is courting you” John said and the more pain he felt as she saw his friend blush. “So, he likes me?” Charles likes me?” Anne asked. “Yeah, Charles likes you” John answered.
Once they reached Anne’s home the young woman got off the scooter and smelled the rose. John quickly turned around as he heard his friend giggle. “It’s the first time that someone likes me” she said. “First time, huh” John quipped as he got on his scooter and Anne looked at him.
“Oh good you two are here. Come inside quick I made some snacks” Colleen said. John scooted away as if he didn’t hear Anne’s mother call for them. “Did you two have a fight?” she asked her daughter. “Hmmm no, he has been acting weird since we left school” Anne replied.
“Oh did he give you that rose?” Colleen asked and her daughter hugged her and giggled. “No mom, Charles gave this to me and I think he likes me” she said. “Charles? Who is Charles?” Colleen asked. “Oh just a boy I met in school” Anne told her.
“Wait, does John know Charles gave you that rose?” her mother asked. “Yes I told him and he was the one who told me that when a guy gives a girl flowers that mean he likes her. So Charles likes me” Anne said smiling. Colleen sighed and shook her head and started feeling sorry for John.
“Is there something wrong mom?” Anne asked. “You tell me dear” her mother replied. “I don’t know. I am just happy because for the first time someone likes me” she happily replied. “First time? And what is John to you?” her mother asked.
“John is my friend, he is my best friend” Anne replied with a smile on her face.
Later that evening Linda noticed his son playing with his food. “Had a bad day in school?” she asked. “School is fine mom. May I be excused?” John replied. Bob looked at his wife and they knew something was wrong. “Oh sure go ahead. I can reheat the food when you get hungry” his mother said. John excused himself and went up to his room, “What do you think is wrong?” Bob asked.
“The last time he was like that was when he got dumped by Sarah” Linda said. “So are you saying Anne dumped him?” Bob asked. Linda exhaled and shook her head, “He knew this day would come and I didn’t listen to him” she said. “Its because he never told her his true feelings” her husband said.
“You think its easy?” John said and the couple was surprised to see their son standing nearby. “You think its easy for me to say I love her before? She would think that I am saying that because of pity. You think it was easy to say it after her operation? She would think I love her because of her new look. Do you think its easy?” he asked and his parents fell silent.
John took his bag from the couch and went back upstairs to his room. The phone rang and Linda quickly answered it. “Oh hello Colleen” she said. Linda looked at her husband and took a deep breath. “I really cant say he is fine but I know my son will be okay. You don’t have to apologize Colleen” Linda said.
“Oh Colleen don’t be like that. Our children are still young. Change happens to everyone and we still cannot say what the future holds. It would not be nice if we interfere, lets just let them cope up with the changes. I know if there is something special between them, lets just hope that it will prevail and if it doesn’t lets not be strangers” Linda told her friend as her husband nodded in agreement.
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