Baywalk Breeze (Short Story)

Picture not mine.

August 24, 2005, Ninoy Aquino International Airport

“Three years after, I thought I would be happy. It seems nothing changed after three years of living in the United States. Three years of busy monotonous life, “Adrian said to himself upon his arrival in Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Carrying his baggage full of his personal belongings and “pasalubongs” for his relatives Adrian Palacios, a twenty-six years old nurse was a picture of triumph and courage in his homecoming in the Philippines after his contract as a nurse in urban hospital in Texas for three years expired. With his favorite book entitled A Man Named Dave: A Story Of Triumph and Forgiveness by Dave Pelzer in his left hand, Adrian walked into the baggage area to get his things and walked through the lobby of the airport towards the gate. To the opposite the road where relatives of the passengers wait, Adrian's attention was diverted. He saw parents embracing their son who have just come to the Philippines after several years of working abroad. Some of the relatives in that area were very excited and happy upon seeing their relatives who worked to earn a living in foreign lands. But in his case, no one was there to meet him even his parents and siblings.

“Mama and Dada may be very busy now in the fields that they found no time to meet me. Well, it doesn't necessarily mean that Mama and Dada don't care about me just because they failed to meet me in the airport, “he sighed. “Well it’s okay! Mama and Dada are also practical because in the first place it’s a waste of money because I could still see them when I come back to Hinatuan.”

Even he consoled himself in saying those words to himself, his face still can't hide the disappointment he felt at that time. He just ignored the scenes opposite the road and called for a taxi.

Not so long a taxi approached him and there he went inside. While the taxi was traversing the busy streets of Metro Manila, Adrian’s eyes were overwhelmed by the various scenes he saw from the moving taxi.

“Mmmm..the Philippines before I left was still the Philippines now. There were no major improvement at all. Poverty still exist and because of that I can't blame myself why I worked abroad to earn dollars.” Yet upon his realization, he still can't hide from his eyes the sadness and longing he felt when he tried to reminisce what had happened in the past... three years ago. His words were ironic from what his heart was telling him to say.
“Manong, Baywalk!” “Yes, sir!” “ Baywalk... Three years ago..” He kept quiet. “Sir, Baywalk today is different from the Baywalk three years ago. Mayor of Manila made great improvements in infrastructures especially in tourist spots like Baywalk. Sir you would surely love the place!”the taxi driver said. “Is that so? Good!” He kept quiet and continued to look at the streets of Manila as if he is expecting to see someone in one of the streets they could pass by.

“ Three years ago.. the sunset.. I can still remember.. Oh Lenny!”

* * * * *

August 22, 2002, Baywalk, Manila

“Oh! please don't leave me. Why would you go to the United States and leave me yet you say you love me?”

“Lenny, please understand me. Let's grow up in our decisions! Dreams and love are not into different worlds they can go together but please understand I have to go to the United States to pursue my dreams for my family.”

“ How about our dreams! You said I am your everything.” “ Oh, Yes! You are my everything but tomorrow is uncertain we have to build it to overcome future hardships. I can't just sacrifice my family for you. I love you yet I have to leave you!” He kept quiet.

The sunset creates a gloomy atmosphere between Adrian and Lenny. The gap between them seems too far for them as the feeling of longing starts to separate them.

Lenny cries. “ I really can't understand why you want to leave me. Please don't leave me!” Lenny tries to hold Adrian's hands yet Adrian seems to very decided on that matter.

“ I love you Lenny but for now I'll leave you. When I come back, I hope you'll still there for me. I hope you would wait for me. After my contract expires three years from now-August 23, 2005, I will come back and we will be together again. I will be waiting in this place.”

“ Adrian, I can't promise you anything. Time changes everything. I can't promise I won't change yet forever a part of me is you. That will be permanent that even time can't change!”

“ I love you Lenny and that also permanent. I'll be loyal to you. The sun, the sea breeze and the birds here in Baywalk will stand as witnesses of our love. I love you and I hope you will wait for me!”
They kiss.

Adrian left. Lenny cries as she faces the decending light and the surrounding is filled with darkness. His heart was filled with gloom and uncertainty.

* * * * *

August 24, 2005, Baywalk, Manila

“Thank you Manong. Here's my fare!”
“ Oh, this is excessive!”
“ Keep the change Manong.”

Adrian looked at the new lights of Baywalk. The colorful lights, the various stalls, the busy merchants and the straddling tourists.

“Baywalk has really changed a lot like what Manong have said. This is much beautiful than what it has been three years ago.”

He marveled and was lured by the beauty of the new Baywalk. The breeze of Baywalk was still the same but unlike three years ago, the breeze now is towards Baywalk... his homecoming. Adrian sat in one of the benches in the Baywalk. Since he was very tired and hungry, he bought lumpia and a bottle of Coca Cola as his merreinda in one of the stalls. He really enjoyed his merrienda since it was three years ago his usual merrienda especially in most of his dates with Lenny.

“ Lumpia and Coca Cola... three years ago.. Lenny and I... my favorite!”

After his merrienda, he browsed the pages of his favorite book, A Man Named Dave: A Story Of Triumph and Forgiveness by Dave Pelzer. He enjoyed reading it. It was story of Dave who like Adrian who went a lot of difficulties in Texas as a registered nurse yet those trials made him even a better person.

“This book is so amazing. I don't know how Dave can forgive the abuse he suffered as a child. He had the spunk and determination to turn his life into good by helping others. In my eyes he is a hero,”Adrian commented.

After awhile, someone patted his shoulders. He was ofcourse very excited to know when someone was at his back. He suspected it to be Lenny. “Oh, Lenny! Its you!” However when he turned back he was disappointed when he saw a girl dressed in white bringing a bundle of red roses and leis of sampaguita.
“Sir, sampaguita.” “ Oh. Take this five hundred pesos I will take all roses and leis.”

“Thank you sir.”

“ I thought it was Lenny,” Adrian told himself.

After the sampaguita vendor left, he continued reading and brought out a pen from his pocket and wrote this words at the back of the book he is holding:

August 24, 2005

Adrian.. Adrian.. three years ago you left Lenny and prioritized your dreams and your family. You said Lenny she was your everything but what have you done. You arrived one day late from what you have promised and now you don't know where is Lenny. You don't even cared to call or write her for the past three years until you were then dubious on her love to you. Now the future is really uncertain.. you don’t know if she had changed like Baywalk or if she waited for you for the past three years like what you did.

After writing, Adrian was vey restless and was starting to be impatient yet he kept on waiting and waiting and waiting until midnight came. For several hours, he made himself busy to get rid of his impatience.

And finally, he became tired and hopeless. He decided to call for a taxi towards Manila Domestic Airport for Davao City to visit some of his friends in College before talking a long and difficult road towards the remote town og Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur where he studied his elementary and secondary studies.

He languidly took his steps towards the highway across Baywlk to call taxi. With each step he remembered the days when he and Lenny met as professional and registered nurses at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila. But since Adrian's family is not financially able to meet all their needs, he decided to work in Texas to earn more. Lenny objected his plan but Adrian saw the need to pursue his dreams for his family, he left Lenny. Adrian even tried to convince Lenny to go with him in the United States if they would get marry but Lenny objected since he don't want to build a family in foreign land believing that her children might forget the values of a Filipino which Lenny values a lot. Lenny since she came from a rich family doesn't need to go abroad to earn a living and that there is no reason at all that she would leave for abroad.

He still waiting foir Lenny to come. “I know she never forgot that after three years.. that was exactly August 23, 2002.. and now its August 24, 2005.. three years.”

Because Adrian knew that the Eastern hemisphere where the Philippines is located is ahead by one day from the Western hemisphere, he tried to depart Texas on August 22, 2005( United States time) so that would arrive in the Philippines on August 23, 2005, the date he promised Lenny. Unfortunately he got sick two days before his departure he was not able to get a plane ticket via Manila.. a mistake that he really regretted.

“ I am suppose to arrive August 23 but my stupid body thwarted me to do so. Now, lenny won't come. I broke my promise but how would she know I returned if I already hurt her by breaking my promise.”
Before he went near the highway to get for a taxi, he left the book he was holding since he arrived. It was given by Lenny before he went abroad on the day they said their promises to each other. In one of the benches, the book was left. The book for Adrian was a sign of his fidelity towards Lenny and that she returned to fulfill his promise to her. He hoped that even with a very little possibility, Lenny would be able to get the book and know that he returned.

Though hesitant, Adrian called a taxi. After a few minutes, a taxi nearing him. “Para!” The taxi stopped infront of him. He noticed that someone is inside the taxi. “It's a girl dressed in white.” He thought it was a prostitute he could not find any reason why a girl dressed in white would go to Baywalk on midnight. “ I was wrong. Baywalk is still a place for prostitutes,”he said.

For the second time he was wrong.. he saw a decent woman dressed in white... a white dress very familiar to her. “ Oh she's a nurse!... and what would a nurse do in Baywalk at midnight. Care for sick people!?” he laughed at himself.

Time was too fast that he never noiticed he was looking at the girl he wanted to see. The woman was still as beautiful three years ago. Nothing changed in her appearance. “ It is Lenny!” he exclaimed. With hair properly fixed and body still curved and face still radiant, Adrian could not deny to himself that he was still in love with Lenny after three long years.

There was a moment of silence between them.

“ Sir, are you still coming with me?” the taxi driver inquired to Adrian. “ No.. No.. thanks. Sorry manong! I made a mistake. I'm still not going.” The taxi left Lenny and Adrian. Adrian's eyes was fixed at Lenny's eyes.
Adrian could not come nearer towards Lenny. He seemed shy and uneasy since for three years, Adrian had no communication at all with Lenny. Adrian tried to come nearer towards Lenny but Lenny ran towards the benches. Adrian followed her. And when Adrian was able to hold Lenny's hands. Lenny tried to resist Adrian but Adrian embraced her. “ I missed you so much!” Lenny cried.

“Why are you crying Lenny? Isn't it we are suppose to be happy now?” “Wrong!? Don't you know that for the past three years you were to unfair... You kept silent for three years. You never called me neither you wrote to me to ask whether I am okay! I tried all means to communicate with you but you never made a response!”

“ Oh Lenny! I am sorry. Everytime you tried to call me, only God knows how difficult it is to ignore you. I am hurt for three years of being away from you. I missed you so much. Pain made me say nothing at all. I was mute for three years because if I still made a tie between us during those times, it seems I was hurting myself more. I believed that you deserve to be happy with someone else aside from me. I thought three years would be enough for you to find another man you will truly love and to gradually forget me. It's more unfair Lenny if I'll keep you on waiting... I tried to forget you but I failed, “Adrian explained.

“ How dare you question my fidelity! I was faithful for three years. I lived in your promises yet at the end you broke your promise. Yesterday I was waiting for you all day but you never came. You broke your promise!”
“No dear. I never broke my promise. I returned for you. It's not important anymore whether I returned on the 23rd or on the 24th. I returned because I love you. The love that was three years ago was just a parcel of the growing love I have now. I love you Lenny and that's what matters most.”

“Love.. how could you say you loved me. You left me. I waited for you!

“I also waited for you. You just don't know how I missed you. Everyday I kept of thinking of you. I thought you would try to forget me that's why I also tried to forget you. Three years it may enough for me to forget you but I can't,”Adrian said.

“You can't..?!” “ Yes I can't because I still love you.”

* * * * *
The night passed and that day ended for Adrian and Lenny with great memories. Since then, their love never faded...
* * * * *



Comments

  1. Paul, this is wonderful. I think if you trim this down, rewrite the dialogues to give them more tautness in packing and sound landing then the intention and heart of the story will surface out more clearly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mr. Julius Mendoza. I wrote this almost 9 years ago. I will try to rewrite this soon. Tusen takk from Norway.

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