Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Half of Me: Chapter 2

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 2: 87th Day

The morning sunlight hit the face of Adam and so he slowly opened his eyes. He turned his body to the usual morning kiss he gives Aimee but this time she was not there beside him. Adam sat up wiping his eyes and looked around the room, he wanted to shout out Aimee’s name but the smell of bacon and pancakes quickly cheered him up. Adam quickly got out of bed, did some stretching and looked at the calendar. It was the 86th day of the year and tomorrow would be his special day.

Adam went to the kitchen but did not find Aimee; instead he saw a note posted at the refrigerator. “Good Morning my love, I made you breakfast. Sorry I didn’t want you to stop me so I snuck out while you were asleep. Tomorrow is your birthday and this time I wanted to get you something. Don’t worry I will be back sooner than you think. I love you, Aimee” the note said.

Adam took a deep breath and looked at the dining table, there was only one plate so he brought out another one and set it on the table. He was about to eat when the doorbell rang so he quickly ran towards the door and smiled. “Wow you came back fast” he said only to find out it was not Aimee, instead it was Darlene standing outside. “Oh good morning Darlene, you are early” Adam said. “Early? It’s already nine in the morning, why aren’t you dressed yet? The gallery will be opening by eleven” she said as they both entered the house.

Adam sat down in front of the dining table and began eating; Darlene sat down too and noticed the extra plate. “I am starving, may I?” she asked and Adam glared at her. “Don’t sit there, that is where Aimee sits, go get your own plate” he told her and Darlene was surprised. “She isn’t here you know” she countered. “Physically she may not be, but in my heart she is. So move to another seat and get your own plate” Adam told her and Darlene laughed. “You two are so much alike, I remember a week ago when you were not here. I sat there and now I understand why she felt so uneasy” she recalled.

Darlene sat down seats away from Adam and started to eat, “Hey Darlene, you have been with me from the start of my career, are you happy?” Adam suddenly asked. “Of course I am. I am happy for you. Why do you ask?” Darlene replied. “I am asking if you are happy? Don’t you get sick of me, and now you have to manage Aimee too. Are we paying you well? You know stuff like that” Adam explained and the woman laughed. “To be honest you do pay me well, I had more problems before you met Aimee” Darlene said and they both laughed.

“Yeah, sorry about that” Adam said. “I thank God you met Aimee, she definitely tamed you. Two years ago I thought you were going to end up like those big headed stars, so I said if you did I would definitely leave” Darlene stated. “So I was that bad?” the young man asked. “Hmmm it was understandable because you were young and had fame and fortune. The biggest surprise I had was that day you asked me to enroll you in an art school. Forgive me but I and Henry did really have a good laugh. A wild child suddenly opting for art school, oh boy we would watch you and Henry really laugh out loud at the hallways” Darlene recounted.

“Yeah, but that is where I first saw her. April 21, that was the exact date. I intended to enroll for publicity but after that first day I just wanted to keep on entering class just to see her. And here we are now, our first gallery. I don’t know if we do paint that well, maybe its just the hype because of our status but that gallery shows how far we have gone together” Adam said as he smiled.

“Honestly you two make good paintings. There is so much talent in the both of you” Darlene stated. “Nah, maybe it’s just the hype. I don’t know we shall see later on. Oh by the way who arranged the gallery?” he asked and Darlene grinned. “Your number one fan of course, Kristine” she said and Adam shook his head and laughed. “So did she burn down Aimee’s paintings?” he asked and Darlene started laughing too.

“She couldn’t find a single painting of Aimee since you both worked together on all of them. But if there was a painting where Aimee worked alone then I am sure there would be no traces of it” Darlene said as they laughed louder. “You know she likes you” she suddenly said and Adam pouted. “Did you have doubts on your mind? Did you ever think that there would be complications?” he asked.

“Yes, but you proved me wrong. I thought you were just like those youngsters who would fall for the prettier girl, no offense by the way” Darlene admitted. “Kristine is indeed prettier, but she isn’t beautiful. She is kind, thoughtful but she isn’t beautiful. To me only Aimee is beautiful and I do hope Kristine understands that. When I say beautiful I do hope you understand what I am talking about right?” Adam asked and Darlene smiled and nodded. “Oh come on get changed, let me handle the dishes” she offered. “No, Aimee cooks, and I do the dishes. So why don’t you go relax in the living room. Don’t worry I have mastered dish washing” Adam said and again they both laughed.

Eleven o’ clock on the dot Adam and Darlene arrived at the art gallery. Hundreds of elegantly clad men and women filled the adjacent room all standing and clapping for his arrival. Adam walked towards the podium at the center where he was greeted by Kristine. “Is everything set?” he asked. “Of course, all you have to do is open the doors” she replied. Adam took the podium and smiled at everyone; he positioned the microphone and tapped it twice.

“Good morning to everyone. I am sorry if my fiancée is not with me. Well tomorrow is my birthday so she said she went to get me a gift. But I am here, and she is here with me” Adam said pointing to his heart and drew applauses from everyone except for the young woman standing a few steps away from him.

“Years ago this place was just an art school. This is where I and Aimee met; this is where our love for each other started to bloom. It really saddened us learning that the school had to close due to recession. We could not let that happen so me and my fiancée decided to sell our paintings. Half of the profit would keep the school open, but I don’t want to put pressure on all of you” Adam said and the crowd burst in laughter.

“The paintings that you will be seeing are done by me and Aimee. You see we there was one day I left a painting half done, the next day I was surprised to see it complete. Aimee completed the painting for me, she was a better painter so I took courage to do the same for a painting she left half done. From that moment on we decided to paint together, I know it sounds weird since two contradicting minds working on the same thing. But we were both amazed since we painted something beautiful, a painting that was better than our solo works”

“Our strokes complimented each other, even though she had a different perspective and so did I, but we made something we were proud of. As I would be good in the form and structure, she would add her fine detailing skills so the painting would seem more realistic. From that day on I could not lift a paint brush without her lifting hers” Adam recalled.

“So I do hope you see beyond the images that you see. In every painting there is a hidden story we want to tell everyone. We all do not have the same set of eyes to appreciate the art but I know everyone has a heart, look with your eyes and understand with your heart. It may have been our hands that did the art but it was our hearts that dictated every stroke. Thank you, I do hope you all enjoy” Adam said in parting as he walked down the podium and opened the gallery doors.

A lot of people entered the doors, most of them teary eyed. Darlene stood beside Adam who welcomed the guests as they entered. “You overdid your speech” she whispered as she wiped the tears on her eyes. “I was just being real, I told everyone our real story” Adam responded. “Yeah I know but it would have been more dramatic if Aimee was here” Darlene said and Adam sighed. “Could you try and give her a call? I know I should trust her but I am worried” Adam said. “Okay, now come on go around and entertain the guests” Darlene told him as she took out her mobile phone.

Two hours later Adam was starting to get uneasy, Darlene has been trying to get in touch with Aimee to no avail. The young man walked around the gallery flashing a fake smile, trying to hide what he is really feeling. Even if majority of the paintings already had red tags to indicate they have been sold could not brighten up Adam’s mood.

Exactly six in the evening the gallery was silent, Darlene’s cell phone battery ran out since she has been trying to contact Aimee the whole day. Adam was standing in one corner looking at all the red tags in all paintings. “I have not looked at the accounting but I am sure we made lots of money today” said a young pretty woman who stood beside him. “Let’s go grab dinner, my treat since I sold one of my paintings too. I hope you don’t mind I included some of my art work?” Kristine told him but Adam even how close did not hear any word she said.

Henry entered the gallery huffing and puffing, Adam smiled for a second but that smile soon faded when his driver started shaking his head. “So she isn’t home yet?” Adam asked. “It seems so, I tried knocking for ten minutes before I used the key you gave me. I checked the whole house she isn’t there yet” Henry said and Adam bowed his head.

“Henry could you go back to the house and stay there until she arrives? Could you call me up as soon she does?” Adam asked. “Sure thing sir” Henry replied. “No, wait, you have to eat dinner first. Darlene kindly treat them out for dinner and may I borrow your car?” Adam asked. “Sure but you have to eat too, why don’t we all go eat first?” Darlene replied. “No I am not hungry. I can eat when she gets back” he said as he took the keys.

“Adam where are you going?” Kristine asked. “To the police station” he answered as he walked towards the exit. “Let me go with you” the young woman said as she grabbed her purse and ran after Adam. “Okay I think its best we settle for fast food then, you two go ahead and I will bring your food” Darlene said but it fell to deaf ears as Adam and Kristine had already left.

Down at the police station Adam and Kristine immediately proceeded to the front desk. A burly old cop was busy writing on a log sheet, he momentarily looked at the two but continued writing. “What is it?” the cop asked. “Sir I would like to file a missing person report” Adam said and the cop looked at him. “How are you related to the missing person?” the police man asked. “She is my fiancée” Adam replied.

“Since when has she been missing?” the cop asked as he began to type on the keyboard. “Since this morning” Adam said and the burly man stopped. “Oh you can only file a missing person report if the person has been missing for forty eight hours. Did you have a fight?” the cop said. “Of course not! She left a note saying she went to get me a gift” Adam angrily said. “Well there it is, maybe you just have to wait for her to return then” the cop argued. “But she never leaves her phone unattended and she has not been gone away from me for this long. It’s been almost twelve hours!” Adam stated.

“Then you wait for another thirty six more” the cop said and Adam was furious and he clenched his fists. “This is Adam Bowfield, maybe you don’t recognize him” Kristine butted in but Adam took her arm and walked away. “Adam Bowfield as in the singer? Hey wait! Come back!” the cop said but the two were already out of the station. “We already got his attention!” Kristine said. “Never do that again! I am Adam Bowfield but that does not mean I have to be given special treatment. He is right we just have to wait; maybe she is on her way back. I just have to wait” Adam told her.

“So are you going home?” Kristine asked as the both entered the car. “No, I will bring you to your place then I am coming back here to wait” Adam said as he started the engine. “What?! You are going to wait here in the car for thirty six hours? Are you kidding me?” Kristine asked. “I am going to wait right here, fasten your seatbelt” Adam told her. “No! If you are going to wait here then I will accompany you” the woman replied. “You don’t have to do that, I will take you home” he insisted.

“What are you two fighting about?” Darlene said as she knocked on the window. Kristine turned off the engine and took the keys. “I am staying here whether you like it or not” she said. Darlene went inside the car and offered them some burgers and fries. “So it’s just like a camp out then, okay I too will wait with you two” she said. Adam breathed heavily and stared at the food; he took a look at his watch then turned to Darlene. “Yeah I know don’t worry I got some extra batteries, just let me finish my food” Darlene said.

It was exactly midnight; the two ladies were asleep while Adam was pacing around the car trying to contact Aimee through the phone. Two more hours of pacing and he grew tired so he went inside the car and ate his burger. “Get some sleep Adam” Kristine whispered as she barely could open her eyes. “I will sleep when she is with me. Go back to sleep Kristine” he told her. She wanted to comfort him but could not, ever since she got news of their engagement it tore her heart apart. She wanted to hold his hand just this once to let him know he is not alone but as soon as her hand reached for his, Adam looked at her. “I am okay” he whispered so just closed took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

The sun peeked along the horizon; Adam quickly entered the police station only to be greeted by the same policeman at the front desk. “Good Morning mister Bowfield” the cop greeted him. “Can I file the report now? Even if I am twenty hours short” Adam asked and the policeman quickly typed at the keyboard. As Adam was giving details for the report a man stood beside him and listened in.

“Adam, I told you if you have problems you call me” said the man so Adam quickly turned and recognized his friend. “David! You just don’t know how glad I am to see you” Adam said as they shook hands. “So whats the problem? Why didn’t you call me?” David said. “Sorry, I just could not think straight anymore. You see Aimee is missing since yesterday. We could not even reach her, we have been trying all night but her phone seems to be turned off” Adam told him.

“Charlie have you filed the report?” David asked the cop at the front desk. “Just a minute ago Detective even though its been only twenty four hours” replied the old man. “A minute ago?” the detective asked with raised eyebrows. “Hey hey David, he is just doing his job. I too have to abide by the rules. So its okay” Adam said. “Don’t worry let me handle this Adam, I will work on this. So you can go home and get some sleep will you? You look like you haven’t slept in days” David said.

“Sir, do you have a recent picture of Aimee so I could place it in the report” Charlie asked. “Geez just Google it will ya? Now Adam go home and get some rest. I will report to you constantly. Relax my friend; this time let me help you okay?” David said and Adam just bowed his head. The policeman at the front desk took out his mobile phone and tapped Adam’s shoulder, “Ah may I take a photograph of you and me? My wife is a big fan. Sorry if I didn’t recognize you last night” he whispered and Adam smiled at him.

“Seriously Charlie?” David asked as the burly old man stood beside Adam. “Oh its okay David, why don’t you take the picture for us?” Adam said as Charlie handed him the phone. David could not do anything but took several pictures of the two since Adam’s funny side suddenly came out. “Come on ride my back” Charlie suggested. “Seriously?!” David again asked and Adam laughed. “What the heck, your wife is not going to believe this but as long as she is happy why not?” Adam replied as he got on the burly man’s back. David shook his head as he took several more pictures of them.

“Now, do you have kids?” Adam asked Charlie. “Yeah, we have two boys” the burly cop replied. “Do they like concerts like ours or they prefer the rock genre?” the crooner asked. “Oh they are more into the hip hop music” Charlie answered. “Here take this card, its my assistant’s card, give her a call soon and tell her I told you to call. I will give you tickets to our next concert for you and your wife. As for your kids I will get them something to their liking but you have to go with them” Adam said and the man was surprised.

“Oh that’s too much mister Bowfield. My wife will go nuts if she hears this” Charlie said in delight. “It’s the least I can do for your help” Adam told the man but the burly cop suddenly was full of guilt. “I am sorry I had to follow protocol” he whispered but Adam tapped his arm. “It’s okay, I know you were just doing your job” Adam told him. “Don’t worry mister Bowfield I will make sure the detective here doesn’t forget. Sorry I can’t do much since I am behind the desk” Charlie replied as David scratched his head.

David walked Adam out of the station and as soon as the stepped out the detective put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Adam go home and rest. Relax, leave this to me okay? Get some sleep my friend” David told him. Adam barely could smile so he just nodded as he walked towards the car.

Adam got in the car and sighed, the two ladies were awake and noticed his food was not finished. “Oh Adam, lets just go home. I am sure she will be back today. Its your birthday. And look, she said she went to get you a gift. Whatever that gift is, I am sure it’s a big one” Darlene said. “Happy birthday Adam. Sorry we were too busy and I could not get you a gift” Kristine told him.

“Me too. So cheer up Adam. Now tell me what do you like for your birthday? We have to celebrate it you know” Darlene added from the back seat. Adam rested his head at looked at the mirror, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “You two being here with me is already enough. But if you insist on giving me a gift…”

“…find her for me and bring her back…please”