Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Walk With Caileen (Chapter 2)

Chapter 2: Dinner with the Caveman

The following morning Caileen gets up and takes a peek out her window, she sees the man jogging around the mini park so she quickly gets changed. A few minutes later she catches up with the man who notices her running alongside him. He ups his pace but Caileen quickly matches his speed so the man suddenly stops and takes a deep breath. “What now?” he asked her. “A little good morning would be nice” she answers. “What’s good in the morning if you are the first person I get to see?” the man snaps and walks away from her. “So early in the morning and you are being rude, but its okay, I understand why you are rude to me. It’s because you are lonely” she tells him and the man looks at her and starts to laugh. “And who told you I am lonely?” he asked. “My mom, she is a psychologist, she told me that what you played on your violin last night was the sound of loneliness” she states and the man kept on laughing.

“So we decided to invite you to dinner later” she said and the man shook his head. “No thanks, I know how to cook my own food” he told her. “I was not saying you don’t know how to cook but we just wanted to invite you to dinner, you know to get to know you better and you get to know us too. Its what new neighbors do” she said. “Yeah right, so when I come over to your house it gives you the right to come over to my house. I know what you are planning to do, better ask your parents to build your own pool” he told her. “It’s not about the pool! We just want to invite you to dinner that’s all” she reiterates and the man turns around and walks towards his house. “So are you coming?” she asked him. “No, thank you for the offer” he said and continued to walk away. Caileen was frustrated and but somehow she didn’t want to give up.

An hour later loud banging could be heard on the man’s gate, he was irritated and quickly ran to open to make the noise stop. “What the hell do you want now?” he yelled but he was surprised to see someone older in front of his gate. “Good morning, I am Karen Peterson, Caileen’s mom” she told him. “Oh sorry about the yelling, yes what can I do for you?” he said. “Well Caileen might have told you already but she said you declined, would you please reconsider our offer, and we just wanted to get to know our neighbor better if that’s alright with you?” she said. The man took a deep breath and smiled, “Okay, what should I bring over?” he asked. “Oh nothing, just be in time for dinner, around 7 that is if it’s okay with you” she told him. “Okay, seven it is” he answered. “And yes you forgot to tell me your name” she said. “P…Anthony…it’s Anthony” he said and she looked at him for a second then smiled and walked away.

Anthony took a peek outside and he saw Caileen grinning at him. “See you later Anthony” she teased him and playfully walked towards her house slowly. “I am coming because your mother asked, remember that” Anthony said and Caileen turned her head and smiled, “I don’t care as long as your coming, for sure you are not coming looking like a caveman” she spat back. “Oh yeah? Do you want to bet on it?” Anthony dared her. “Oh come on, you are coming over to someone else’s house, I know your decent enough to groom yourself” she added. “How about if I show up as a caveman you don’t bother me anymore, and if I don’t then you can come inside anytime you want?” Anthony wagers and Caileen nods her head and laughs, “Okay, if you show up as a caveman then I will never come close to you or ever talk to you again, as if you could do it. See you later An-tho-ny!” she said cheerfully and left.

Later that evening there was a knock on the door and Caileen rushed to open it. As she opened the door she stood frozen in disbelief because Anthony made good his promise. Anthony was wearing Leopard skin shorts, he was barefooted and holding a box. “I brought dessert” he said and Caileen started laughing out loud. She could not stop laughing and she sat on the floor almost in tears and she kept pointing at Anthony who was just staring at her. A few seconds later she took a deep breath but still giggled, “I can’t believe you actually came as a caveman” she told him. “Well, about our deal, I am serious about it” he told her and she suddenly paused and slowly stood up. Caileen was not laughing anymore and she saw a bag on the porch, “Did you bring normal clothes? If you did you can wear them now, its okay I lost” she said. Anthony handed the box to her and changed his clothes.

Five minutes later Caileen went to check on Anthony and she saw him well dressed, if not for all those excess hair on his head and face she would have called him decent. “Come on the food is ready” she said to him and he followed her inside. Caileen’s parents were already seated in front of the table but the stood up to greet Anthony. “George, this is our neighbor Anthony. Anthony this is my husband George” Karen said. “A pleasure to meet you Anthony, it’s my first time to meet a real caveman” George said and Caileen and her mother was surprised. “No it’s my pleasure to meet civilized people, I should get out more often” Anthony replied and the two men had started laughing. Once they were seated Karen served the food and she noticed Caileen with a sad face. “What’s the matter sweety, it’s not polite to pout in front of the table” Karen told her daughter. “It’s nothing mom” Caileen responded as she passed the bread basket to Anthony.

“So Anthony, when did you move in to the house next door?” George asked. “Oh I have been here for a long time now, it just happened that when you moved in I was away, so I should ask you when did you move in here?” Anthony said and they started laughing again. “Gone on business?” George asked. “Yeah, I found a buyer for my dinosaur meat, I tried selling it on E-bay and luckily I found a carnivore so I had to deliver it to him” Anthony joked and Caileen started giggling. Anthony was about to take a bite on the chicken when he saw Karen staring at him. “I’m sorry, am I eating this chicken the wrong way?” he asked and Karen smiled and shook her head. “You look familiar, I was trying to figure out what you would look like without that beard and long hair” she said. “Well in that case you would start calling me Cancer Boy or Mister Monk when that happens, worst comes to worst you might even call me Mister Clean” Anthony quipped and everyone started laughing. “I didn’t know you were a funny guy” Caileen interrupted and Anthony did not respond to her.

“You know what you really do look familiar” Karen repeated and Anthony stared at her. “No, you must be mistaken, I don’t recognize you at all unless you too had a beard on your face a long time ago” he told her and George erupted in laughter. “You know what I like you, you make me laugh so much” George said. “Wooah, easy now cowboy, I don’t go hiking or camping or even sharing tents with the same gender” Anthony said and then everyone laughed even harder.

As everyone was finished eating Karen served the ice cream cake that Anthony brought. Caileen was so delighted since it was exactly her favorite. “How did you know I like mangoes?” Caileen asked and Anthony looked away and said, “Well it just happens I love mangoes too.” She smiled at him even though he wasn’t looking but Karen still kept staring at Anthony. “Do you know that Caileen loves reading books” Karen told him and Anthony suddenly fell silent and bowed his head and slowly took a chunk of his dessert. “But she stopped reading two years ago just because she could not get a copy of one specific book. I downloaded a copy from the Internet just to make her happy but she wont read it and said she wants the real book” Karen narrated. “Why don’t you buy her the real book then?” he asked. “Well you see they stopped publishing this book two years ago and at the same time the author disappeared from public” she added and Anthony’s body jerked and he looked at Karen.

“What’s so special with that book anyway?” Anthony asked her and Karen grinned at him, “I don’t know why don’t you tell me?” she said and Caileen suddenly butted in. “Mom why would Anthony know about that book when obviously he doesn’t know how to read” she said and they all laughed. “Do you read books Anthony?” Karen asked him and stared him again in the eyes. Anthony looked away and smiled, “I can read but I don’t like reading books” he said softly. “See mom I told you, cavemen don’t like reading books, they either start fires with stones or chase after dinosaurs” Caileen joked. “And they write too” Karen added and Anthony looked at her, “You know those weird symbols on stones” she added and Anthony just nodded his head.

“That PA Kevins is sure dumb, if he let his book remained published then for sure he would have made millions more. A lot of people are talking about his books and a lot are angry since they didn’t get a copy of his last book. We have his first two books but what’s the point in reading it when you don’t have the third one, right?” Caileen exclaimed and her father just shook her head. “Well why don’t you just read the first two books then read the copy your mother got for you” George told her. “No! I want the real book and not just a pirated copy” Caileen insisted and Karen stood up. “Let me help you with the dishes” Anthony offered, “Oh no, you are our guest so please go with George to the living room” Karen said. Anthony looked her in the eyes and said “Please, I insist” so Karen agreed.

Karen and Anthony were in the kitchen sorting out the dishes, “I don’t know what the P stands for but I am sure the A is for Anthony” Karen blurted out and Anthony kept silent. “So tell me Mister Kevins, why did you disappear and stop your book from being published?” Karen asked. Anthony took a deep breath and looked at her, “I am thirty years old and your daughter says I look older than her father, you are a psychologist so you tell me why” he answered and Karen just looked at him. “I would appreciate it if we kept this between us, please” he begged and she nodded. “Thank you for dinner, I have to go now” he told her and she wiped her hands and escorted him to the front door. “George! Anthony is leaving!” Karen yelled but there was no reply. “Oh I think he is at his study, but its okay I will just tell him later” she said. Karen opened the door and saw Caileen seated on the porch steps, “Honey, Anthony will be going now” she said but Caileen just sat their gazing at the stars.

Karen went back in and Anthony stood beside Caileen, “Thank you for inviting me to dinner, it’s been a long time since I enjoyed the company of people” he told her. “Hey, will you stop it already with those caveman jokes. Okay I am sorry for calling you a caveman and I take it back” she said and angrily looked at him. Anthony looked up at the sky and sighed, “I am not joking this time, I have not eaten a meal with people for a long time. It has been always me alone. So I enjoyed dinner today and thank you for inviting me” he softly said and Caileen was saddened as she could feel the truth in his words. “About the deal we had” Caileen was about to say but Anthony looked at her, “You lost” he said and slowly walked away from the house. Caileen pouted and admitted defeat; she stood up and walked towards the door. “Hey, you have a cell phone right?” he heard him say so she turned around and looked at him. “Yes I do” she answered. “Good, I left a card on the table beside the door, when you come over instead of banging on the gate send me a text message” he said and Caileen quickly went inside and found the card. As she went back out Anthony was already far away.