Night finally settled and Calvin could almost hear the crickets chirp. Yet he knew it as impossible since there were no crickets around where he lived. Perhaps it was just a sense of homesickness. Possibly because Joanne was around. She was someone from his hometown after all. Seeing her must have triggered that part of him. The part that rather stayed close to home than come all this way for something he called a sense of accomplishment. He shook his head slightly, trying hard to focus on his work again. Rubbing his forehead slowly, he returned to the drawing in front of him. It was harder to work in his own room than the workroom he’d been used to all these years. He knew it was all in his mind yet he couldn’t seem to focus.
“Ah Ru, what do you want to eat tonight?” Joanne’s voice called from the door.
Why didn’t Chun and Jiro stay longer? He knew it wasn’t their fault. They had work tomorrow, just like him. He placed his pencil down and walked to the door. He opened it to see Joanne smiling at him. “Anything is fine. In fact, you don’t have to worry about me. I’ll get something myself when I’m done with this.”
“It’s all right, I’ll prepare some for you too,” Joanne said in her cheerful tone.
“If you want,” Calvin said, closing the door right in her face – though he did not mean for it to be that way – not exactly.
“I’ll call you when the food’s ready,” Joanne delivered her last words before he heard footsteps fading away and possibly heading toward the kitchen – which was located on the other side of the living room.
He sighed out and went back to his drawing again. Scratching his chin with the tip of his eraser, he began to formulate a plan in his mind. His eyes passed the seashell wind chime, causing him to let out another sigh. It was not working. Would it work if he moved the desk to the other side and away from the disturbing objects? No, he did not want to be making anymore noise than he should be at this time of the night.
An hour or so later, he heard Joanne knocking on his door. He gave up completely on his concentration and joined her for dinner. He admitted that he was being polite at first but he soon realized her culinary skills were something else. For some reason, they were eating in silence but he felt they had already said a lot of things through the foods being placed in each other’s rice bowl or the gestures made at various points of the meal. Having a girl around wasn’t that bad after all.
“Do you think he’ll survive tonight?” Jiro asked, tossing his towel on the sofa.
“What do you mean?” Chun asked, taking the towel and placing it on a rack by the window.
“How long would it take before he tosses her out?”
“I don’t think it’ll be that bad. She’s not that loud like she used to be.”
“Or so you think.”
“Would you quit being Drama King for two seconds?”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you guys, but that girl is not here for a friendly visit.”
“We knew that since yesterday. In fact, the day before even. She’s going to stay here for a while. So what? Let’s treat her like a little sister and take good care of her for Auntie Zeng.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“Let’s get some food in us and go to sleep. Stop being paranoid, man. We still have work tomorrow.”
Jiro got up from his seat and followed Chun to the kitchen. “You’re always around here, what’s the big deal?”
“My editor is coming over tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day.”
“Change the editor so you can do whatever you want.”
“He’s great at spotting mistakes.”
“He’s so good that he changes every other sentence that you write.”
“Look who’s exaggerating again.”
“Forget it. If you want to be tortured, then fine with me.”
Chun shook his head, knowing Jiro too well. They reheated some leftovers and added in some new dishes to the meal. Jiro rattled off some more of his issues with Chun’s editor throughout the rest of the meal. After dinner, Jiro – so unlike himself – volunteered to do the dishes so Chun could go write his next novel. Chun did not question Jiro’s motive but accepted Jiro’s gesture by heading straight to his room. He stretched and swung his chair back and forth as he waited for his computer to load up. He loaded the usual programs until it was at the last spot where he left off. He stopped to think for a few seconds before positioning his hands onto the keyboard.
“Night finally came. They settled down at the table to have their first dinner together. The spacious, luxurious house was cold and lonely. But somehow, that night, Calvin felt all warm inside. A feeling he had never experienced before. What was it? A sense of overwhelming happiness? Was that the feeling of having a family? He was not sure since he knew they were far from family. They were mere acquaintances even. He was just living up to a promise by letting her stay with him. How could he allow those thoughts to enter his mind? Startled by her movement, he looked up to see her smiling at him. He then knew his answer. It was that sweet smile that captured his heart a long time ago. A time that he thought he had already forgotten. He returned a smile of his own before placing a piece of her favorite delicacy into her rice bowl. Somehow, they both knew it was that moment. That moment was their beginning.”
© Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Posted: Saturday, October 9th, 2010