Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Gerald returned home feeling horribly pathetic that evening.

The cat-faced clock above the kitchen sink meowed the hour the moment Gerald stepped into the house and locked the door behind him. Still feeling embarrassed by the events in the café, Gerald dropped his keys on the nearby table and headed straight to the refrigerator to find something to drink. Ignoring the paper carton of milk and the half-full jar of orange juice, Gerald took the recycled bottle filled with water and brought it to his lips. In a series of continuous gulps, he swallowed nearly half the contents before bringing it down to breathe. The cold water flushed down the bitter coffee after-taste that clung to his throat the same way his embarrassment still hung on his mind.

I’m never going back there, Gerald announced to himself while staring at the reflection of his own face cast upon the shiny surface of the table. Perhaps it was the embarrassment still rushing through him, or the sense of humiliation of having mouthed-off at the very woman he found interesting by mistake, something made everything that happened crystal clear in Gerald’s memory. His hands trembled in contained frustrated rage. He was always unlucky when it came to things like this. Well, when it came to women; and considering how rare it was that Gerald would actually have the guts to try and consider ways to actually gain the attention of a woman he found attractive, his batting average came to a pretty dismal total.

Gerald found himself reopening the refrigerator and searching for something to munch on before he realized that he had spend at least an hour not checking his cellular phone. And suddenly worried that Jenna had been sending him messages or even worse, calling, Gerald reached for his jeans pocket and fished out the phone. The small device, perhaps unwilling to be held by such a pathetic loser that Gerald felt he was, slipped from his fingers the moment he slid it from his pocket. It spun in the air like a cheerleader’s baton before striking Gerald’s own foot as it fell. Thinking the shoe had cushioned the cellular phone’s fall, Gerald was halfway sighing in relief when the phone that bounced off the shoe slid against the floor away from him until it noisily clanged against the bottom of the refrigerator.

”Oh come on,” Gerald exclaimed exasperatedly and quickly dropped to his knees to see if he could fish the thing out. But sadly, Gerald’s hand was a tad too chubby and his arms were not as limber as he hoped. He strained against the appliance, hoping somehow that some deific entity would suddenly zap him with some miraculous lighting bolt or envelope him in brilliant golden light and bestow upon him the strength of thirty men. Or even twenty. Ten. Just enough strength to lift the darn thing and reach the phone before it…


The cellular phone rang and Gerald cursed fecal matter as holy, the cellular phone’s imaginary mother as a whore and the whole situation as something that was sexually active and vertically aimed. And he did that all in four seconds.

The fact that Johann Pachelbel’s canon in D major in midi format was playing underneath the refrigerator from Gerald’s phone meant one thing alone, Jenna was calling. And Gerald knew how much Jenna hated it when her calls were not answered, even if the answer was a hastily delivered, “Call you back later!” Inhaling deeply, Gerald somehow hoped that by holding one’s breath in one’s gut before reaching for a phone trapped in a space too narrow for one’s hand, the act would suddenly some how become possible. Grunting and almost straining his own hand in the repeated attempts to reach the device, Gerald nearly screamed out in despair when the phone stopped playing canon in D major and started again after barely two seconds had passed. It was most likely a sign that she was calling again. And it was pretty much certain, if it was Jenna, she was definitely pissed off.

Gerald slid himself off the floor and tried to find another way to reach the phone. Positioning himself at the side of the refrigerator, Gerald clamped his hands on the door and the back of the appliance and leaned his weight against it as he attempted to slide it to one side. Maybe, he reasoned, if he slid it to the side enough, there would be enough space to get the phone. But now, it seemed, Gerald’s act of purchasing a second-hand refrigerator which did NOT come with a mobile base was now slapping him back on the face. The phone fell silent for the second time and Gerald found himself finding prayer and hoping beyond hope that Jenna would opt to wait for him to call her ba-

Canon in D Major was playing a third time.

“This cannot be happening,” Gerald gasped to himself and shook his now sweat-dotted brow. He walked away from the refrigerator and leaned against the kitchen table, as if every iota of energy was fading from his body. He could already visualize what was to come; Jenna would be furious to the point the veins on her forehead would begin to show. Her sharp teeth which he, strangely, liked staring at (thinking they made her unique) frighteningly clamped and opened as he tried to back away. He could see her eyes; dark orbs that bore into her soul and demanded she answer why! Why her and not me?


The phone abruptly stopped ringing.

Just before the landline began to ring.

Gerald stared at the phone hanging on the wall near the microwave and shook his head as if trying to double check if he was having a bad dream. Was Jenna actually calling his land line now? She wasn’t the type to do that, finding landlines embarrassingly inept in their function. “Why would anyone still be interested in getting a land line when you can have a cellular phone which you could bring anywhere with you and use anytime you want to?” Gerald wanted to answer, but it was more appropriate to just remain silent that time.

Unlike now.

The third cycle of ringing snapped Gerald back to reality. With a huffed frustrated sigh, Gerald grabbed the wall-phone, slid it to the space between his ears and impatiently asked aloud, “What?”

If it was Jenna, Gerald reasoned, she was absolutely going to mouth-off the very moment she realized it was Gerald on the phone. So what’s the harm in doing something you’d get beat up for if the beating is absolutely coming. What’s the harm in jumping the gu-

“Hi, Can I speak with Gerald Mapagtap… Magap… darn it,” came the voice at the other end of the line.

Gerald blinked his eyes as he tried to place the voice. He knew it. Somewhere the dark caverns of his brain, he knew that voice. And he knew there was a reason he could place it. A reason of some sort.

“This is.. Gerald,” Gerald answered when the voice suddenly snapped into place in his head. And sadly, that pretty much reminded Gerald why he could not connect the voice with a name.

But he clearly could imagine her face.

“Hi! Uh I know this is probably going to sound strange but, by any chance were you at the Coffebar Café earlier today?” the partly amused voice asked from the other side. Gerald grinned, feeling a surge of warmth dance on his nape. Cold nervous trails, however, ran down his spine.

“Today?” he asked, “Why?”

“Oh its nothing. I mean, its not you right?” she inquired. Gerald could almost see her pouting slightly again.

“I don’t think so.. It depends really?” Gerald kicked his own leg and shook his head. What am I saying? Am I this unused to these things? Just tell her something to make her laugh. If she laughes, then she may be interested.

“Depends on what?” she asked and Gerald could imagine how her eyebrows would crumble towards the center. And oh how her lips would probably be pouting by now. “What sort of thing?”

“Um.. depends on why you want to know,” Gerald snickered to himself and slid one hand through his hair as if he was worried that she’d notice how unkempt it was. He noticed perhaps it wasn’t that late to go out one more time. “And possibly where you have in mind.”

Gerald bit his lower lip in anticipation. He could imagine her weighing her needs against her-

“I’ll just call back when you’re feeling much more civil rather than smug,” Gerald heard her reply before the dial tone snapped back into the receiver. Yelling out a no, Gerald realized his attempts to smooth his way into knowing who called have backfired big time. And suddenly, with the force of a hand slapping Gerald’s face, he realized that if it was her, this was the second time he absolutely made a fool of himself in trying to catch her attention.

The silence of the phone no longer ringing was like an omen. It had the emotional burden akin to that to the Grim Reaper’s visit. Or the sighting of a horrible bean sidhe. The silence carried a finality could have made Gerald realize how change was in the air. If his life seemed strangely content in a detached sort of way, the series of events that had transpired could have made him realize how things were on the verge of becoming far more interesting very quickly.

But Gerald was focused on something far more important than that. And when the Canon in D Major played for a third time, Gerald knew his worst fears were but on the horizon.

Or where they?

Jenna once told Gerald that if at any time she were to be forced to call him more than twice in a single night, she would do the unthinkable. Anyone who had the gall to ignore a lover’s call thrice in a single night deserved to be alone, she reasoned. And Gerald, being himself, did not argue. He nodded, took his cellular phone and promised her that he would never let that happen.

And now, as the song played for the third time, Gerald found himself smiling. Sure, he fouled up the possibility of getting to know the attractive gal he bumped into and mistakenly annoyed enough to drop the phone on him. Sure, he most likely will have to find some other means to get his cellular phone back, or worse even buy a new one when his budget permits him. But neither were bad enough to bring his anticipation down when he realized the woman who made him feel alive again might actually become someone viable for him to be seeing… especially with Jenna definitely breaking up with him very soon.

Very, very soon.

So Gerald laid back, suddenly remembering how much he loved Pachelbel’s song, and rested his head against the cupboard. He closed his eyes, hummed along with the ring tone, and allowed himself to smile. After so long, things were looking up again for him.

He never noticed himself fall asleep on the kitchen floor. He was too darn happy.

Word Count = 1883
Previous Count = 3094
Total Count = 4977
of 50,000


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