Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Walk With Caileen (Chapter 7)

Chapter 7: Portraits

It was a beautiful day and Anthony was sitting under the shade scribbling notes on his pad. Panther suddenly ran out of the cabin and barked aloud prompting Anthony to turn around. There was Caileen who was sneaking behind him, he quickly hid his pad and greeted her. “And why are you silently sneaking behind me?” he asked and she immediately scolded Panther, “If not for your bark I would have seen what he was writing, bad dog!” she said. “You have a pad paper too, are you imitating me?” he asked. “Oh did mom let you write things too? I mean she told me writing down things can help me get over depression, but I am not depressed. Are you undergoing that therapy?” she asked as she took a sit beside him. “Maybe, but let’s not talk about that, how are you coping up?” he asked her. “Coping up with what? Timothy? Like you said he isn’t worth it, so past is past I have to move on” she replied.

“Oh, don’t the memories haunt you? Memories like your first kiss with him, how you hold hands and so on” he said. “We never kissed! Held hands maybe twice but we never kissed, almost but it never happened” she said. Anthony slouched and looked at the sky; Caileen stared at him and started sketching on her pad. Anthony closed his eyes and fell asleep while Caileen continued sketching. A few minutes later Anthony opened his eyes and looked at Caileen, “What are you writing about?” he asked and Caileen stopped and shook her head. “Let me read it” he asked her and she sat on her pad and shook her head violently. “Oh my Panther jumped on the pool!” Anthony shouted and Caileen immediately stood up and looked at the pool. Anthony grabbed the pad and laughed, Caileen noticed she was fooled and begged for him not to open it. “Tell me why I should not open it, if your answer is valid then I will not open it” he told her. “Please don’t, it’s not finished yet, I promise to show you when it’s done” she said. “Sorry invalid response, let me see” he said and he opened the pad and he saw a sketch portrait of man he recognizes.

Anthony stared at the sketch and he looked at Caileen, “This is me but without the long hair and beard, how did you do this?” he asked. “I just looked at you and omitted to draw the excess hair, sorry it messy” she said. “No, you are really good in drawing, how come you never told me?” he asked and Caileen blushed. “Can I have this?” he asked her and she shyly nodded. Anthony stood up and ran to his cabin, he returned holding the key to the house and her sketch pad. “Come with me I want to show you something” he said and they went inside the house. They proceeded to the second floor and Anthony unlocked the room he never showed her and he went inside. She followed him and saw a wide room with large windows. There were no curtains and the room was very bright, there was an easel on each corner of the room and one on the center where there was a boarded canvas but it was covered with a read cloth. On the walls of the room were sketches and paintings similar to those she saw in the living room.

“This was supposed to be her art room” Anthony said and he tore the page of the pad and was about to place Caileen’s sketch inside a fitting frame. “Will you sign it for me?” he asked and he handed her a pen. Caileen was surprised and she started laughing, “I am not good, that’s just a sketch” she said but Anthony was just staring at her. She took the pen and signed her name at the bottom, Anthony fitted the sketch in the frame and he took it to his room. Caileen was about to remove the red cloth but Anthony returned in time to stop her, “Please don’t” he begged and she nodded and walked out of the room.

“For a change would you like to spend time with me inside this house?” he suddenly asked her and Caileen shook her head. “She can draw so can I, you must be thinking of her again because of me” she whispered and he laughed at her. “No, I just want to make new memories in this house, happy memories…with you” he said and she looked at her and her faced turned red. “Happy memories…like kissing?” she asked and Anthony was surprised. “I said happy memories not erotic, you are showing your perverted side again Caileen, are you sure you didn’t kiss Timothy?” he joked her and she laughed. “I was just kidding you, and what if I did kiss him?” she said. Anthony paused and bowed his head, “then I would be really jealous” he softly said. Caileen was caught off guard, she did like what he just said but she could not react. He lips trembled and her heart beat faster, she wanted to smile but she could not do so. “So that’s how you would react, I am only kidding you. Come on downstairs let’s play some pool” he said Caileen felt embarrassed and she ran after Anthony and rode on his back.

The two played like children running around the house and teasing each other. After an hour they became exhausted, Anthony ran outside and Caileen chased after him. He lay lifelessly on the grass facing the sky and Caileen lay beside him as she tried to catch her breath. “I’m too old to be running around like that but it was fun” he told her. “Now I know what I am missing, how I wished I had a brother or sister” she replied. “Someday how many children would you like to have?” he asked and Caileen thought hard and laughed. “I would like to have two children, one boy and one girl” she said. “Yeah, me too, but the boy has to come first” Anthony said. “Yeah, and we will name them Anthony and Caileen just the same” Caileen said and she laughed but Anthony did not and he looked at her. “Why is there something wrong?” she asked. Anthony smiled and shook his head, “No but you said we, we would name them Anthony and Caileen” he repeated and she suddenly realized what she had done.

Caileen felt so embarrassed and she looked away and remained silent. “I think Peter and Cathleen would sound better, don’t you think?” Anthony said and Caileen looked at him. “I beg your pardon?” she said and Anthony smiled. “I said we should name them Peter and Cathleen” he repeated and she smiled for a moment as he gazed into his eyes. “Tell me the truth, would have been jealous if I kissed Timothy?” she softly whispered and Anthony took a deep breath and stared at her eyes. “Very…very jealous” he said. Those were the exact words she wanted to hear, her body started moving closer to him, it felt like something was pulling them closer together. Their lips so close touching each other, this was going to be her first kiss, she closed her eyes and her body trembled.

“Caileen, I have to be gone for a while” he heard him say. She opened her eyes and she saw him seated looking away. “Where are you going?” she asked as she sat up beside him. “I have to attend to something important, something that I have to do” he said. “How long will you be gone?” she asked. “I don’t know yet but for sure more than one month” he answered. “But it’s my birthday next month; you won’t be here on my birthday? Are you kidding me? You are joking me again right?” she said. Anthony shook his head and said “I am not joking this time, there is something I have to do. It’s going to take some time and I am leaving tonight” he told her. “Take me with you” Caileen suddenly said and Anthony looked at her and pinched her cheek. “I can’t do that, you have to go to school, and I need to ask a favor” he told her.

“I want to be with you, take me with you” she repeated. “I really can’t, could you please take care of Panther while I am gone? I am leaving you the key to the gate and the house, you can use the pool, game room, and you can even live here if you want” he told her. Caileen fell silent and she looked away. “I am not sure if I can return on your birthday but I will do my best to come home. Just in case I can’t what gift would you like and I will have it sent to you?” he asked. Caileen looked at him and angrily said “You! I want you! You have to show up on my birthday, promise me that! I will let you go but promise me you have to come back on my birthday!” she yelled and started to cry. Anthony bowed his head since he was unsure, he could not make a promise that he could not keep. Caileen stood up and took Panther, “If you can’t come back on that day then don’t ever show your face to me ever again!” she said and she ran away.

The following morning Caileen went to Anthony’s house to check if he was there. She wished that he was just joking but he was nowhere to be found. The whole day she waited for him still denying that he went away, but night time came and she had to go home. There were thirty days before her birthday and she wished she could just close her eyes and time would move faster.

School started and Caileen was still depressed, her days seemed longer and sleepless nights hounded her. Her parents tried to cheer her up but she opted to spend her free time in Anthony’s house. Sometimes she invited friends on weekends but still she could not smile naturally.

The morning of her birthday arrived, thirty days has passed and even though her parents greeted her she was still lonely. To make things worse it was a school day, the only consolation was it was Friday so many of her friends would be able to attend her party in the evening. After school she rushed home and immediately went to Anthony’s home but he was not still there. The short walk back home seemed longer, this was her special day but the one she wanted to spend it with was nowhere to be found.

The party went on as planned and Caileen managed to put on her jolly face even though she was hurting inside. She kept on glancing at the door but her mother was there shaking her head. It was getting late and one by one her friends were leaving and heading home. After all her friends have left she sits on the sofa and her mother brings out two gifts, she notices something hanging on their wall covered by a red clothe so she stood up and went closer. “Caileen, this came for you this morning and I forgot to give this to you a while ago” Karen said. “Who is it from mom?” she asked as she stared at the red clothe, the same clothe she saw in Anthony’s home. “It’s from Anthony” Karen said and Caileen looked at her mother and she took a deep breath. “So he isn’t coming after all” she said and she walked back to the couch and she started crying. Caileen plunged her face on a pillow, her heart was heavy, and the wish she made before she blew her candles did not come true.

She felt someone sit beside her and pat her shoulder gently, “Leave me alone mom! Please I want to be alone right now!” she said as she could not stop crying. “Oh good they arrived here, I thought they would get lost along the way” she heard the person beside her say. It was not her mom but it was the voice of the person she was wishing to be with. She did not even look at him but she immediately hugged him, Anthony embraced her back and patted her gently. “Oh stop crying young lady; of course I would not miss this day. Come on let me look at you” he told her but she would not let go. Karen and George joined them in the living room and they were laughing at their daughter. “Karen I don’t remember you crying for me like that” George said and Caileen moved away from Anthony and wiped her face. “Thirty days have passed and you look prettier, I should be gone longer then it seems” Anthony joked and Caileen managed to smile. “You still look like a caveman” she told him. “Come on Caileen its time to open your presents” Karen said and the first presents she grabbed were from Anthony.

“I wonder what’s inside this box?” she joyfully said and everyone was surprised on how she could recover quickly. “A while ago you were crying then in an instant you joyful as hell” Anthony quipped and she leaned on his chest as she opened her first gift. “An i-phone! Wow this is the newest model, I thought they have not released this yet?” she exclaimed and Anthony grinned at her. “Well it just happens I know some people and those people know other people” he told her. “It’s useless since you don’t even send me text messages and you don’t even call me!” she said. “Oh yeah I lost my phone, and I didn’t memorize your number, sorry about that, this time I am not losing my phone, open the next one” he told her. Caileen quickly opened the other gift and Karen looked intently. Caileen was surprised and she quickly showed her mother. “Mom look! Portraits of Happiness, the book that I have always wanted! Wow this is the best gift…wait second best gift” she happily said. “So whats the first best gift then?” Anthony asked her and she blushed and shyly looked away.
Caileen opened the first book and she was more surprised to see a dedication, “To Caileen, I hope you start reading again. Take care P.A. Kevins” it read and she could not believe it. “The author signed it, oh my God, this can’t be happening! Am I dreaming?” she said and Karen looked at Anthony who smiled at her. “You know the author? You let him sign it? Tell me!” she told Anthony, “Of course he knows the author” Karen said and Anthony twitched his eyes. “He knows a lot of people” Karen added.

“How about the third gift? You should open it too” Anthony told her and Caileen rummaged through all the gifts but she could not find the third one. “Where is it?” she asked and her father stood up and walked towards the wall. “I think it’s this one dear” he said and he held the end of the clothe and started to pull. The clothe fell to the ground and what was left hanging on the wall was a painting of Caileen. Everyone was mesmerized by the new art work hanging on their wall, it was Caileen smiling on the park with the sun rising behind her. “Its beautiful” George said and Karen looked at her daughter. “I don’t remember you having a picture like that” she said. Caileen looked at Anthony who smiled at her, “It’s the first day we met, I went for a jog and I got tired so I sat down and closed my eyes. When I opened them again an angel was standing before me” he related. Caileen was teary eyed so as her mother, George kept staring at the painting and said “I knew this wall was missing something, now the living room is perfect” and everyone laughed.

“There’s a fourth one” Anthony reveals and everyone looked at him. “Give me ten minutes, I will go get it” he said and Caileen sat beside her mother and she hugged her. “So was your wish granted?” Karen asked and Caileen nodded. George could not get his eyes off the painting and just kept staring at it. “If we sell this how much do you think we could get for it?” he joked and Caileen ran to her father and embraced him. “Millions and millions of gold bars dad” she said and they all looked at the art work. “Can you believe he made that out of his imagination, I never knew he could paint, I thought it was his ex-girlfriend that was the artistic one” Caileen said. “And you thought he was just autistic?” her father again joked and Caileen pinched him.

As the three of them were enjoying a laugh they suddenly stopped when they heard the violin play. They all looked towards the door and there was Anthony with eyes closed playing the wonderful instrument. Caileen sat down beside her mother and again they were both teary eyed. Anthony played something they never heard before, it wasn’t not a lullaby and it wasn’t a sad song. Whatever that tune was it surely caught their attention and they felt so relaxed listening to it. As the tune ended Anthony bowed as Karen and Caileen wiped their tears. “Oh my now you made me cry” George said as everyone looked at him and indeed there were tears flowing down his cheeks. Karen started laughing but Caileen could not take her eye off Anthony.
“Oh Anthony we were thinking of selling this painting because you made me cry” George said and Anthony laughed. “The Healer” Anthony said and everyone looked at him. “Yes, the title of that Painting is The Healer” he repeated and Karen nodded her head and smiled at him. “And how about the tune you played, what was the title of that song and who sang it?” Caileen asked and he looked at her. “It’s your song, I composed it for you, so decide what title you want” he told her. Again tears gathered into Caileen’s eyes and her father again interrupted, “You made my cry again, please don’t name it George Cry Baby” he said and Karen and Anthony laughed at him. “You composed that tune for me?” Caileen suddenly asked and Anthony nodded. “While I was away whenever I remembered you I started to put some tunes together, each day it got longer and longer until three days ago it was finally complete” he revealed.

Caileen looked at the painting for a moment and then stared into Anthony’s eyes, she thought deep and suddenly said