Sunday, March 14, 2010

Palms and Pockets Chapter 11: Happiness

Palms and Pockets

by Paul Diaz

Chapter 11: Happiness

Friday during lunch Anne could not eat and was just playing with her food. “Not hungry?” Kevin asked and the young lady sighed. “Where did he go? Why isn’t he with you?” she asked. Jeremy shrugged his shoulders as they all looked at Rick.

“Hmmm haven’t checked my pockets, he might be there” he replied and Anne frowned at him. “Hey I was just kidding. Maybe he didn’t feel like eating so he might be loitering around” Rick explained.

“Does this table have space for one more?” Charles asked and Anne was surprised to see him. The young man sat down where John used to seat so the three other guys were quite irked. “I guess you all know each other” Anne said and Charles smiled and nodded at the three. “Yep sorry we have to go early” Rick said as the three stood up. “Why so sudden?” Charles asked.

“Science project reasons” Kevin said and Anne looked at the three oddly. “You two enjoy lunch” Jeremy added as the three left. “I didn’t see John around, where is he?” the young man asked. “I don’t know” Anne replied as she pouted. “You don’t know? That’s new, you two are always together” Charles told her. “Maybe he is just busy with school stuff” she said.

“Do you really have to be that said when he is not around?” Charles asked. Anne slowly smiled at him and shook her head. “Sorry, I am just used to being with him during lunch” she explained. “So tomorrow when we go out will you be like that?” he asked. “Of course not!” Anne exclaimed. Charles breathed a sigh of relief and smiled, “Good because I cant imagine having our first date with you thinking about him” he told her.

“Me think of John? Why would you be jealous?” she asked and then laughed. “Well even if you say he is just your friend, everyone else thinks otherwise” he said. “And you think like the others?” she asked and Charles nodded. “Are we correct?” he asked and Anne took a deep breath. “If there was something beyond friendship going on between us do you think I would go on a date with you?” Anne softly said.

Charles was all smiles as he took a bite on his sandwich. “Tell me, if you were John and there was something between us, then you knew I was going on a date what would you do?” Anne asked. “Well I would try to stop you and persuade you not to go” he told her. “You don’t see him doing that right?” Anne asked and he nodded.

“Okay then I believe you. That situation was hard though. I just cant imagine a relationship going that way. I mean something going on between the two then the girl goes on a date with someone else. Wow that would be painful” Charles said. “What if you cant stop her?” Anne asked and the young man leaned back and exhaled.

“Well I think I have to change my previous answer” he told her. “Why?” she asked. “Look here, when I learn that she would be going on a date, that enough says a lot. That is one strong punch on my face I should say. I would really feel so low and I really don’t know what to do. Maybe I would just avoid her or I don’t know. Geez that’s a tough one, lets stop talking about it because thinking about it isn’t good” he explained as he began to laugh.

Anne laughed with him but deep inside she was beginning to have a clearer picture of what was happening. For two days John has been asking her if she wanted to go for a hike but she had to refuse because she had a date with Charles. Today he was nowhere to be found.

Outside the school building the three guys found their friend seated on the ground. Rick handed him a sandwich as they all sat down beside him. “Thanks” John said as he started eating. “She was looking for you” Kevin said but their friend just kept chewing. “She looked really sad” Jeremy added. “Why? She should be happy, she is going on her first date with Charles. She kept talking about it since Monday, what does she need me for? To shove it in deeper in my head?” John asked.

There was a moment of silence and the three looked at each other and shook their heads. “Anyway John we brought you something” Rick said as he took out two drumsticks from his backpack. “Hey I have not seen those for two years, why did you bring them?” John asked.

“Well you see we wanted to join the talent show competition. We are seniors and this is our last chance to shine” Rick explained and John laughed. “And you think the embarrassment we got two years ago was not enough?” he asked.

“Last summer you were not with us, we knew you were with Anne so we did not tell you that we started practicing” Kevin revealed. “We are better now but we need you to play the drums” Jeremy added. “Not interested” John said as he took another bite.

“Hey man come on, I promise you this time will be different. I know we will be able to rock the show” Rick said. “I think you will be able to find my replacement if you start looking. Sorry guys I am not in the mood for anything” John told them.

“So I guess we wont be joining after all” Kevin said. “I told you there are other people who can play the drums” John repeated. “Two years ago we started our band. Our band, meaning the four of us. We sucked that time but still we had fun” Rick said. “We know what you are going through but that does not mean you have to stop living. If the shoes you like does not feet you then look for another one that does” Kevin told him.

“If that shoe does not fit then I would rather walk barefooted” John countered. The three fell silent, Rick stood up and handed the drumsticks to his friend. “I told you I am not interested” John repeated. “Yeah I know, but this is yours. Its okay if you don’t want to play, we understand. I do hope when you look at them it would remind you of the embarrassment we had to go through” his friend said.

Hours later the school bell sounded and the grounds started to fill up with students heading towards the gate. John sat down at the back of the school building and his mind started to wander away. “I know a person with a problem when I see one” he heard a female voice say. John was surprised to see Sarah standing beside him. “Hey Sarah” he said.

“Hey John” she replied as she sat down beside him. The young man felt awkward for he has not spoken to her ever since she broke his heart. Sarah was a pretty girl with olive green eyes and dark hair. She has been John’s crush ever since they were in grade school.

“I know you don’t like seeing me. You have been avoiding me ever since that day, am I right?” she asked. John bowed his head and exhaled, “Yeah” he said. “Well it does not have to be that way you know. Arent we still friends? Or you consider me already an enemy?” Sarah asked.

John didn’t reply but he just shrugged his shoulders. “You never gave me the chance to explain. Barry had been courting me ever since, even before we became friends. That day…you caught me by surprise and I really didn’t know what to say or how to say properly that I already am with him. What makes things worse is the following day he decides we show everyone we were together, stupid me I should have waited a few more days. I am sorry John, it wasn’t about you” she explained.

“Its okay I knew I stood no chance anyway” John said. “Don’t say that. I barely knew you, well compared to Barry that is. You know what you are quite famous among the girls” Sarah said and John looked at her. “Me? Famous? For what?” he asked. “Well about you and her” she said.

“Her? She has a name you know, its Anne” John told her. “Yes I know her name. Most girls don’t call her name because they feel jealous” she explained and the young man started to laugh. “They just refer to her in the third person because they treat her as an enemy” she added and the more John laughed.

“Almost all girls want to be her” Sarah said. “Why would they want to be her?” he asked. “Well we have never seen someone as sweet as you” she explained and again the young man laughed. “The way you treat her, just like a princess. The way you defended her and got your face bloodied. We all know about the scooter and that made us really jealous. Funny thing is Barry even tried that once on me but I felt he was a copycat so I didn’t bother to get on” she revealed.

“Are you saying that you were following us or even watching us the whole time?” John asked and Sarah laughed. “Hmmm something like that. You two were like celebrities, lots of people were spying on you two. Well not on her but on what you were going to do. When this school year started we all got our hearts broken seeing her all fixed and so pretty” she again revealed and they both laughed.

“And now I guess they are happy” John said softly as he bowed his head. “I guess so, they are rooting for him” she replied. “And you?” he asked. “I already saw you hurt before so that is why I am her to tell you I am rooting for you” she said and John smiled at her.

“Its okay, I can see her happy with him” he said. “If she is happy then you are happy?” Sarah asked. “I am just following the saying most people say. Even if I think that is bullshit. How can people even say that line? Being happy because the one you love is happy? How come I cant feel happiness for her? All I feel is pain, so much pain” he explained.

“I am in no position to tell you this but I will say it. You have a choice, you can let her go be happy and get rid of the pain or you can hold on long enough until the pain eats you away” Sarah told him and the young man closed his eyes. “Eventually the pain would be so much that you just have to let go” she added and John shook his head.

“Life has to go on John. Think of the possibilities, what if you two were not meant to be? I am not saying you two aren’t but just think of it. If you hold on long enough, you might not be able to meet the one for you. If you plan to stay that way then that is your choice but I do hope you still open your mind for possibilities” Sarah told him.

“How about you? Do you think you and Barry were meant to be?” John asked and Sarah sighed. “At first that is what I thought, that is why I said yes to him. Then lately I realized that if I could have just waited a little longer…then I could not have let the right one slip away” she replied.

John looked at Sarah but the young woman stood up and turned around. “Its your choice John, she is waiting by the gate a while ago, she still might be there. I have to go now, it was nice talking you” Sarah said with a shaky voice.

John quickly stood up and caught up with Sarah, “What you said a while ago, the right one slipping away…” he uttered and the young woman started to blush so she looked away. “I wont ask who he is but I want to ask how do you keep staying with Barry then if you know the right one slipped away? Don’t you ever think about running after him?” he asked.

“Lately I actually have but he has someone else already and he is happy with her” Sarah replied as she looked at John. “So you are happy seeing him happy?” he asked. “Just like what you said, pain and very jealous” she answered. “Hmmm but I don’t see you sad like me” John said and Sarah showed him her hand. “No ring yet, there is still hope” she said and they both laughed.

“But Sarah, is that wrong? I mean you are still with Barry and you are thinking of mister right. Isnt that unfair to Barry?” he asked and she sighed. “I didn’t want it to happen this way. I do love Barry, but he started to change for the worse. I know we have to accept whatever change our loved ones has undergone but mister right showed his true colors. Then there was regret, call me selfish or evil but I do think I deserve mister right better. The sad part is that I let him slip away before he could even show me a glimpse of his true self. Is that wrong? Wanting something better? Wanting someone better than the one you have” she explained.

“Of course not” John replied and Sarah saw his face turn gloomy. “Wait did I say something wrong?” she asked. “No, you are right. Wanting something better is normal. We cant get contented with what we have if we know there is something better…or someone better” he told her. “Oh my God, John I didn’t mean it that way. You didn’t have to connect it with Anne choosing Charles” Sarah said as she realized what she had done.

“No need to be sorry Sarah. That is human nature” John said and Sarah shook her head. “Oh well that mister right of yours is one lucky guy. I can understand he had to move on, would it be a big surprise to him when he learns you like him too. Makes me envious. Anyway she is still there, thanks for the chat Sarah, see you around” he told her. The young woman pouted and smiled. “Stupid” she uttered. John turned around and looked at her, “What did you say?” he asked. “I said don’t make her wait any longer stupid. Run!” Sarah replied. John smiled and did as told, Sarah took a deep breath and looked at his back. “If I had just waited a little longer…for you” she whispered.

At the gate Anne smiled as he saw John approaching. “What took you so long?” she asked. “Well I had to do some stuff, sorry I was kinda busy the whole day” he replied as the two began walking out of campus.

Anne was happy seeing John back to his normal self. The walk home took longer since they exchanged stories from the events that happened this day. Once they reached Anne’s home, the young woman was cheerful and excited.

“Tomorrow, Charles asked me to accompany him for a rehearsal” she said. “For what?” John asked. “Well he can sing and he said he is going to join the talent show. And the song he is going to sing shall be dedicated to me” Anne explained. “Wow that’s so sweet of him” John said. “I know right?” she said and they smiled at each other.

“Hey Anne I have to do more stuff so I am going ahead” John said. “Oh…okay” Anne replied. As he walked away she missed the chance to ask him if he was avoiding her but they had a long talk and everything seemed to be normal again.

Inside his room, John opened his bag and took out his drum sticks. He stared at them for a long time then took his phone and started to dial.

“Hey Rick, youre right. Lets do it. Be there tomorrow at your place for practice”


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