Jean O'Leonhart, is a writer, a poet and a visionary. He loves to write, the feelings he hide and the thoughts he wanted others to see.
The searing sound of the little talking device wakes me up from a deep slumber. The sweet scent of the Monday morning filled the cold breeze. I raise from my master’s cradle remembering that there is something missing. I scan the entire room and all I can see is the rugged floral curtain suspended freely by a light breeze. The dishes were still on the sink and the crouch seems to look like ages. The filthy floor really needs a map and cobwebs are dominating in each corner. This place demands an all-out renovation. Where is her? I already look from side to side but there are still no signs of life. As I was sitting beside my bed, planning where will I start to untie when a bang on the old wooden door echoed on the entire room. I look perplexed observing the direction of the door hoping that it is not Mrs. Charlotte. I have still three months overdue on the house rent and until today, I don’t have enough amount to compensate my bills. A sudden wind of relief wrapped my body when I saw the outline of the person I am looking for. She looks tired, weary and weak yet she still works as a young woman beneath the old outline. She didn’t mind her situation and still act as a responsible wife after all. She is carrying a small pail with a certain amount of water. Despite her silver age she still has the mighty strength like a young warrior. She is still gorgeous in my eyes. She’s a reigning beauty queen in my vision until these autumn days. What made her more attractive to me is the way she loves, so pure and innocent. I see my mom in her eyes or maybe that’s just how a woman shows love. When they find the missing piece of their puzzle, they pour all of their love to that lucky man and I consider myself one. Back those years, winning her heart is more than a win of a million dollar or a win of a free trip around the world. We’ve been together for years but my love is still like the first day I fell in love with her. A sudden sweet aged voice penetrated on my ears allowing me to recover my conscious.
“I am glad that you are awake, Don.”
I nailed my vision to the owner of the voice and discover that it was my wife talking while catching her breath because of the thing that she carried. I instantly stand on my feet to extend my help to her but even me feel so much exhaustion. My joints were cracking like an old door and I too, feel weak and slow. I missed the energetic and active me in my younger years. I missed those days that I can still run fast competing for the speed of a bicycle where she rides. It is difficult for me to do it these days. I take my pace slowly in her direction. Even walking a distance of meters takes too long. I take the pail and went straight away to the bathroom while she went to the kitchen and prepares our breakfast. Eating together with her is the most precious time on my days in the sun. While eating, she broke the silence.
“Don, Can I ask something?”, she asked.
“Go on, what is it?”, I said.
“I was thinking if I can have a new comb for my hair.”, she replied.
I look at her for a moment gazing on her grayish black hair. It was too long but not as long as Rapunzel. She hasn’t cut it for years because she loves it so much. There was a time when I accidentally shear the tip of her hair which made her weep for days that resulted on our almost break-up. I can’t afford to lose her, not for now. I return my gaze to her innocent eyes. The eyes that never fade to fuel my heart on fire. I wanted to but I can’t. I drop my gaze on the timeworn plate resuming my meal. She stares at me in seconds but then commenced eating.
Looking sorry on the old mat in the ancient table where we dine, my food seems to choke on my throat. It is hard, just like chewing a stone that can’t pulverize. Knowing that you can’t provide the need of someone seems so hard. I only have nothing but an empty pocket and a few pesos to pay a ride on my way to work. It is hard that I can’t afford to buy even a simple comb which only cost a few dimes. I finish my food looking at her and uttered, “I’m sorry, my dear. I just really don’t have enough money at this time. I haven’t even brought a new watch to replace this broken one. Maybe after I get paid from painting Mr. Anderson’s fence I can buy you one.”
“No, it’s okay. I understand.”, she replied beaming at me.
I stand on my feet offering her a helping hand fixing the plates. I feel sorry for her but despite this sad feeling I endure, a part of me is drowned in glee thinking how lucky I was off having her. She is so adorable not only outside but also in heart.
I walk towards my closet in a sluggish manner and started to fix myself. I have work to do. I’m pretty sure Mr. Anderson is waiting for me to instruct what fence I am going to paint on this day. Mr. Anderson’s ranch is located miles from here and the only way to reach it other than walking is to ride a jeepney. Immediately after I fix myself, I grab my straw-hat and headed towards the door. Before I step outside of this beloved home, I look at my beloved wife. We stared together and I can tell through her eyes the gloomy feeling she has right now. I smiled. She did too and a wave my goodbye.
Walking on the street towards the terminal of jeeps, I passed by a small stall beside the road. It displays various kinds of stuff like wallets, earrings, necklace, and many more. What catches my eyes are the harmonic outline of teeth of a comb. My gaze nailed on the comb. I can’t stop myself walking towards the vendor and asked for the price.
“Is this the cheapest price?”, I asked again.
“I am sorry but it is.”, the vendor replied.
I resumed my pace towards the terminal thinking how to earn 15 pesos. Maybe I could ask Mr. Anderson to advance cash for me to buy that comb. On the way to the terminal, something comes up on my mind and then changed my track. I arrived at half past nine on Mr. Anderson’s house and I didn’t like the outline of his face. I can tell that he’s in rage but just hiding it trying to be calm because I am older than he was. I listen to his instruction and commenced what I am supposed to do.
The fence is longer than I expected and in a whole day, I only covered two-thirds of my task. He always adds side duties every time I am almost done. Maybe it is his revenge in an indirect way. I was preparing my things and starts to pack up. It is almost sunset and my stomach rumbles in hunger. Maybe she’s already preparing for our dinner. I must hurry.
As I am walking on down the street crossing the bustling city of lights watching every car passing by, I saw a store that would address all of my questions. Though it is not an enormous one, it is just a small stall beside the sidewalk where the crowd walks. I disregarded its filthy design and its odd calligraphy adorned on its stall’s side planks. My gaze nailed on the words it outlined. “We buy a defective watch.”
I look at my broken watch on my wrist trying to think another way to earn such money. I think to find another side jobs but at my age, I don’t think I will get hired. I ran out of ideas and decided to take my pace towards the small stall.
“Ten pesos”, said the man after I sell my broken watch.
“Only ten? My friend brought this at thirty pesos before, it can’t be sold at only ten”, I argued.
“It was before old man, in your time. There are lots of new watches being launch on these days. That expensive watch in your time doesn’t even cost too much today.”, the man said, “so if you won’t accept it at ten pesos, I doubt if it will still be sold at ten tomorrow.”
I look startled a moment staring the hairs formed on the top of my watch barely seeing the dials inside. I don’t have any choice but to accept it. I took the ten pesos and gave my watch to the horologist. I resumed my pace taking the track towards my home. I am almost metering away from the terminal and a few more steps beyond it is already my home. I already have five pesos that supposed to be my fare on a ride towards Mr. Anderson’s house which I didn’t take and in addition with the ten pesos because of the watch I sold. I already have fifteen in total. A sudden gladness rushed through my veins making me energized even though I am completely tired. I can now buy the comb that my wife desired. I don’t care if I have nothing as long as a can see that wonderful curve on her face, I am already the wealthiest person on earth. I passed through the terminal looking to the vendor but I didn’t saw her at the place where she was before. I scan everywhere but I can’t barely saw her outline. The blissful feeling, I endure slowly fades thinking that I failed my wife. I feel very sorry. It was when I was about to walk when I saw the vendor right beside the entrance of the terminal fixing her items. I jump in joy and adrenaline penetrates in every part of me. I walk as fast as I could towards the vendor and bought the last comb she was selling.
I couldn’t explain the ecstatic feeling today holding the surprise to my wife. I know this would make her satisfied and delighted. I returned to my track towards my house. I know she’s waiting and I can’t wait to see her reaction when she receives my surprise. Without knocking, I went straight directly towards the dining table where I saw a familiar woman with an unfamiliar outline. I was perplexed. Everything on the surrounding halted as if the time froze. Even the candle, the only light that illuminates the surrounding stops like a hologram. The dinner was all set and the scent of the dried fish contained the air. I was supposed to surprise her but what I witness made me surprised first. She smiled at me beautifully making my jaw-dropped in a million feet.
“Hi”, she said breaking the silence.
“What happened to your hair?”, I asked.
“I sold it.”, she replied
“Wh-what? You sold your hair?”, I asked perplexedly, “Why?”
“To brought you this.” She handed me a box covered with an old newspaper. I accept the box and uttered in return, “I was also supposed to give you this.”
I handed her the comb I brought earlier and opened the box. What I saw made my tears fall down unconsciously. I can’t explain the euphoria deep inside my heart as if my brain stops working making my heart controls everything. I look at her and she’s also the same. Her wetted check because of the uncontrollable tears was visible. I sold my broken watch to brought her a comb which she desired most while she sold her hair just to buy a watch that would replace my broken one. No words came out to our mouth just letting our heart talk. My tears my tears were racing down towards my cheek not because of the futility of our actions but for the reciprocity of our love. I stand taking my pace towards her location and gave her the warmest and tightest hug I could give thinking how lucky I am to have her in my life. Our heart beats as one and nothing could interfere that. It will last until the day I die and beyond. Then I open my eyes. I found myself cuddling my pillow watching the dim light of the skies. The sun almost rises. I am already late for school.
© 2019 Jean O'Leonhart