Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lola Jocelyn stood alone amidst the silence remains of what was once a happy home. The brilliant display of lights and winds had long ended. What was once the center of an amazing moment of psychic power had been reduced now to what it truly was; an empty receptacle of what could have once been the heart of a thriving and living family. Lola Jocelyn walked past the debris and the dust and made her way slowly and carefully to the higher rooms where the now deteriorated remains of what was once a beautifully decorated bedroom existed. The walls, that once were covered in intricately designed wall paper and plaster were now peeling darkened things that resembled the disintegrating ribbons of bandage that covered an Egyptian mummy. The floor, once a sleek brown expanse of carefully cut and fitted boards of wood and shavings, was now a sad shadow of its former splendor. The floor boards were warped and have long lost their varnish. Some had even been peeled from their nails, perhaps by vagrants or perhaps by the most uncaring yet consistent thief of all: time.

Walking past the door that no longer hung upon its hinges, Lola Jocelyn took tentative steps into the room and slowly turned her head to gaze at its corners. She felt her heart expand within her chest as the memories that made this skeleton of a chamber have meaning rose to the surface of her thoughts. She remembered the beautiful brown shades that the wooden floor boards once shone. The pink, white and red wall paper that was plastered over the walls and in some places were loose enough for Jocelyn, then barely ten years old, would hide secretly scribbled messages of joy and fear and admiration… and eventually, when she reached the early years of her womanhood, love and lust.

Lola Jocelyn still saw, though the room no longer contained them, the intricate brass work lamp that at once time was her constant companion and protector of the frighteningly dark coming of night. She could still remember the marble-topped three toed table that carried the lamp, with its three drawers whose handles were brass rings that had a pearl in the center. She remembered how the top drawer was always reserved for the Holy Bible. And her rosary. While the second one was stuffed with her secret journal and the letters that she had received from numerous suitors. The third drawer was always locked. It was locked when she first was permitted to own the table. And it was still locked very many years later, when Lola Jocelyn was now old enough to have grandchildren, even if neither Juanito nor Carlito ever had given her any.

The bed. Lola Jocelyn remembered the huge bed with its brass work design, its thick white and peach cushions that on some occasions would tear and require some patching up and stitching after its stuffing was forced back inside. She remembered the large white sheets that covered the bed; all four of them with the top most one having the shells and flowers pattern embroidered upon its edge. And the velvety black and red final bed sheet covering that served as her blanket when the nights were cold. Lola Jocelyn remembered her pillows; her parents had wanted her to never feel alone. They had given her five to use. Four were nearly as huge as she was when she was ten. She used to even play pretend with them, setting them up on the bed like crouched companions as she served imaginary tea and biscuits. The fifth was a much more normally sized one, though it had the shell and flowery design embroidered on its fringes to match the bed covering. This pillow tended to be the one left on top of the bed.
Lola Jocelyn walked to the nearby window and stopped at its threshold. She brought her hands to her face and stared at them against the street lights from the distance. She looked at the numerous lines and markings that gave her hands so much more character and life. A smile slowly crept upon her wizened face as her eyes focused on something far more distant than the edge of the horizon where the city continued past yet could no longer be seen. She heard the soft chimes of the church bell ringing in the distance, or rather remembered how the bells would sound as they tolled the hour back then. She could perceive the heavy white curtains whose tails were decorated with the same shell and floral embroidery. And then the square slides of glass panels that made up the window, a design that was evidently expensive for its time.

For its time.

Which was a time that had long past but brought back to life by the memories of a tired dead woman.

Lola Jocelyn found herself staring at the glass and seeing her reflection; a shapely and comely young adult who loved to wear her hair with chopsticks rather than a ribbon or pin. A ravishing beauty who had very many suitors yet entertained only one at the window of her very own room.

Jocelyn noticed a few creases on the hem line of her dress and quickly bent one leg to reach down and smoothen it. The church bell was nearly done ringing and any moment, Jocelyn knew her parents would knock upon her door to remind her it was time for Church. But today was the fourth Sunday of the month, and Jocelyn knew today was the day she had to find some reason to let her stay. She had tried many other excuses in the past: feeling slightly feverish last January, an urge to vomit on February, there was the stomach trouble that supposedly afflicted her last March, and this April she knew he had to come up with something sufficiently different enough yet just as convincing.

Knock, knock

Just as she had expected, the knocks came. They were followed by the kindly concerned voice of her mother. “Lynn?” her mother loved to shorten her name. Her father, on the other hand, felt that shortening Jocelyn was inappropriate and seemed to suggest their daughter lacked formal breeding. “We are just about ready for Church. The bell has run. Are you ready?”

Jocelyn decided to give a delay before responding was bound to help make her excuse sound more convincing. Only, she did not really have an excuse yet in mind to use.

“Lynn?” she asked again and Jocelyn turned to face the door and felt a sudden burst of inspiration. Perhaps she could lie in bed, under the sheets, then cough a few times and invite her mother in. Play sick. Pretend she was developing a cough. She remembered hearing about an Uncle who died from a cough before. If she pretended to have a cough, her parents would surely demand that she rest today. It would cost a few pesos in indulgences to ask the Lord forgiveness for letting her stay in, but it was surely much safer than to let a child, or rather, a young woman with cough out into a cold night?

Jocelyn gathered her dress in one hand, then slid the top most bed sheet off with the other, and was about to leap in when she realized that to lie on the bed was certain to cause more creases upon her dress. And that would not do at all. Not with him coming by while her parents were out at Church.

His name was Edsel San Lucino. And he had been courting Jocelyn for the past four months. Ever since they first bumped into each other at the end of the previous year’s Christmas mass, Edsel San Lucino had been finding ways to get to know Jocelyn more. Edsel San Lucino lived in the town further down the river from where Jocelyn lived at; and at that time for one to live nearly a full two hours walk from his destination was a place considered to be indeed very far. While Jocelyn and her family were thankfully blessed with enough resources and familiar ties to own a furnished home, a large patch of farm land and a few horses, Edsel San Lucino was the only son of a farmer who worked in one of the fields owned by one of Jocelyn’s neighbors. Edsel himself worked on the farm land, though his skills and experience gave him the duty of caring for the horses rather than the land itself. Jocelyn knew Edsel was a charmingly handsome fellow who evidently was from a more modest family; she had seen him after all by the entrance of the Church wearing his off-white shirt, ragged brown pants and slippers. But still, such a difference in social class did not matter. As strange as it would have, the two discovered something had been born in their hearts from that brief moment of seeing one another. So while Jocelyn’s parents were busy giving hellos and displaying the expected familiarity and sincerity with the other well-off strangers who had attended mass that day, the young woman saw the opportunity to see if she could get to know him more.

As Jocelyn pulled the bed sheet back in place, she found her thoughts fluttering back to when she had first met the suitor who had captured her heart even before introducing himself. Her thoughts leapt back to that fateful night, after church, as she walked away from her parents and approached one of the tired old women who sat by the Church entrance. The old woman sold flowers and candles to those who cared to buy. In the corner of her eye, Jocelyn saw the man approach her and bring his straw hat down from his head. She feigned ignorance of his presence of course, and motioned to the old woman to buy some flowers. Sadly, Jocelyn had no way to know that the old woman was half-deaf.

“Ate, may I buy some of those flowers you have for sale?”

The old woman did not respond.


Edsel San Lucino looked at the old woman, and then back at Jocelyn to see what was transpiring. Recognizing who the old woman was, Edsel decided to stay back and let Jocelyn try her best to get noticed.
“Ate, may I buy some of your flowers?” Jocelyn asked a second time, only this time she tried waving her hand towards the old woman’s face. The sudden motion of something close to her face startled the old woman, and she fell backwards, nearly hitting the floor. Edsel quickly stepped up behind the old woman and caught her with his sturdy hands.

“Ay ‘sus maryosep,” the old woman exclaimed, ironically using the Lord’s name, Mother Mary’s and Saint Joseph’s name in vain in front of a Church, “What was that?”

“I am so sorry,” Jocelyn apologized but the old woman did not hear a single word.

“Something flew at me? Something moved past my face?”

“Relax, Lola Vera, it was just-“ Edsel soothed the old woman but her agitation was not yet completely removed.

“Is it on my face? My back? Oh, this woman… she wants to buy something?” Lola Vera looked up at Jocelyn and offered a nearly toothless smile. Though old and tired and dressed in clothes that seemed to have more dust than color on them, Lola Vera smiled an honest and huge grin. Jocelyn found herself envying her happiness. And reminded herself not to look towards Edsel no matter what. “Do you want candles? Flowers? What did you want to buy? I have change.”

Jocelyn smiled, seeing how Lola Vera was now responding to what she thought was her earlier statement, “I would like to buy those flowers, please.”

“What do you want?”

“Flowers. Those flowers?”

“How about flowers? These flowers?” Lola Vera lifted the bunch of white daisies that had been gently nipped from what ever bush they had grown from, tied into a small clutch and wrapped in thin green cloth to keep the uneven stems from hurting the holder’s fingers.

“Yes those would do-“ Jocelyn answered only to see Lola Vera bring the daisies down and lift up the bunch of red roses as well as a second bunch that contained red santan blooms, “How about these? Roses. You like roses? All women like roses. Or these santan. They are lovely. You can grow these. Just stab them to the earth-”

“No no… I only wanted the daisies,” Jocelyn replied not realizing the only thing she said loud enough for Lola Vera was the word ‘No.’

“You do not want flowers? Candles then? For Church? For offering? I have many candles. They are not candles made from other people’s candles. These are real candles. New candles,” Lola Vera brought the flowers down and lifted some candles. A few were long and waxy. Two were inside red glass containers that had a spiky exterior like those you’d find in Church offering racks. One was a round candle with a small metal flap that pinned the wick to the wax.

“No, I wanted the daisies,” Jocelyn was getting flabbergasted. She huffed and reached for the daisies only to have Lola Vera suddenly slap her hand. Shocked, Jocelyn pulled her hand back and stared at the old woman in confusion.

The old woman shook her head, still trying to be helpful even if she failed to realize how wrong she was coming off on the girl, “Not these. No. Not candles. You want candles. These. These candles.”

“I do not want candles. I want daisies!” Jocelyn gasped and once again uttered the word Candles loud enough for Lola Vera to hear. The rest of the words faded away, failing to pierce her deafness.

“Candles, yes. Here,” Lola Vera handed Jocelyn two of the long stemmed ones. Jocelyn dropped them, unprepared to receive long yellow wax candles from an old woman, and shook her head, sighing audibly. Lola Vera mistook her reaction to mean she wanted a different kind of candle. She dug into her basket and began laying out on the ground in front of Jocelyn the other candles that she sold. There were short ones, stout ones, white ones, yellow ones. There was even one with the image of the Blessed Virgin upon it. And another that was decorated with pink and blue ribbons. Lola Vera gave another heartfelt smile; she was proud of the variety that she offered.

“No..” Jocelyn sighed and noticed the man was still there. She turned to face him and saw him looking at her as if he had seen something unexpected. She realized for the first time, as she turned to look at him now, how incredibly entrancing his eyes were. She liked how his eyelashes reminded her of her own. His were naturally shaped, curving just at the right moment to add more depth to the eyes. She remembered how on some mornings she would spend nearly an hour tugging on her lashes, hoping for them to grow more and curve just a tad better. She noticed the tight nose that he had; very unlike the fat and flat noses most men had. His mouth seemed a small touch off-center, which added a roguish level of charm to the man.

“Mind if I help?” he asked her, not once did his eyes leave hers.

”Please,” she replied, then took a heavy gulp before speaking again, “I would like that.”

He smiled and Jocelyn felt her heart flutter around her chest. She felt shy and sheepish. She felt her cheeks flush and tried to find some place to hide for a moment and let it subside. But she was also staring right at him and realized she did not want to risk looking away and lose sight of him. She was not even sure why she felt that way that moment.

“Lola Vera,” Edsel whispered to her ear. Lola Vera turned towards him and smiled, bringing one of her arms to his cheek and squeezed the skin. “Lola Vera… this kind woman here wants to purchase one of your flowers.”

“Flowers?” Lola Vera complained and shook her head. Just before she began to rattle about how Jocelyn was not making any sense, Edsel stepped back from the old woman, looked at Jocelyn and hand signed her to tell her Lola Vera was partly deaf. Jocelyn finally realized what was going on earlier.

“Is she deaf?” Jocelyn asked Edsel. Edsel nodded and pointed at one of Lola Vera’s ears.

“Try talking towards this ear,” he shared the information with her, “She hears better on this ear.”

Jocelyn smiled back at Edsel then ducked down to Lola Vera’s eye level and handed her a few coins to pay for the flowers. She leaned forwards, bringing herself closer to the preferred ear which Edsel showed her. “You do not have to give me change for the flowers,” she declared in a much louder voice then offered a friendly smile.

The old woman nodded her head. She looked up at the young woman’s eyes and found the true message she wanted to deliver to her. The words came clearer now even though there was no sign board or sign language interpreter that would have clarified what Jocelyn had just said. Lola Vera took the coins gladly and took from her bunch a single red rose among the other flowers. She handed this flower to Jocelyn and told her, “For you. Since you are such a nice young lady.”

Jocelyn blushed, having not expected to receive such a compliment. She took the rose and pressed it gently against her nose. She inhaled deeply and took the scent in, smiling as she found the beautiful floral smell still rich and yet soft.

“Thank you,” she told him as she rose back to her full height. In the distance, Jocelyn’s parents were done giving every one they knew a hello and a short chit chat. Jocelyn knew any moment now the two were to be looking for her. She approached Edsel, reached out her hand to him, and once again said, “Thank you.”

Edsel took her hand, gently kissed it, and introduced himself, “Edsel san Lucino, Ma’am. I would like to see you again.”

“So would I,” Jocelyn replied but before she could say more, the shrill call of her mother reached her ears. Pulling her hand away, Jocelyn smiled at Edsel one more time before turning away and walking towards her parents. Edsel brought his hand to his face and realized the soft floral scent from Jocelyn’s hand lingered on his fingers. He watched as Jocelyn was briefly reprimanded by her parents for straying too far, then made to walk with them as they moved to leave.

“If she found me interesting,” Edsel mumbled to himself, “She would look back.”

Jocelyn did.

It took Jocelyn a moment to realize her mother was still knocking on the door. She let go of the bed covers, deciding it would not do to pretend to be ill and end up with her dress in a mess. That would simply be counter-productive to what she wanted to accomplish. Quickly, Jocelyn made her way to the large dresser and opened them wide. She considered changing first into something simpler, then changing back into the dress once her parents were gone. But then she realized she did not have the luxury of time to do so.

“Lynn,” her mother asked for a third time and now worried, called down the hall for one of the manservants, “Bebie, Aldwin, the key to Jocelyn’s room. Please bring it here. Quickly.”

Jocelyn knew that if she missed this month’s chance to meet with Edsel, she would not be able to see him again for another full month. Or worse, he might think she no longer wanted to see him and choose to never return. Edsel came from a less prestigious family, and to travel the distance, Edsel had to embrace huge sacrifices be it financial or physical. A single journey to see Jocelyn consumed two full days for Edsel due to traveling and exhaustion alone, which in turn meant two days that would be docked from his pay. Though his parents repeatedly told him of the unlikelihood of Jocelyn ever choosing him over her most likely many other suitors, Edsel stayed firm and promised to visit every last Sunday of the month.

“Bebie, the key, quickly!”

Jocelyn moved to the window, slid it open, and considered jumping out. She found herself imagining what would happen if she landed on the grass outside, ran down the fields and into Edsel’s arms, and eloped. What if they were to find a future away from her family. Away from their constricting embrace.

“Eto na po, Ate,” the househelper named Bebie handed Jocelyn’s mother the key.

Jocelyn turned her back towards the window and watched as the door to her room clattered as the key was slid inside, then opened as her mother rushed inside. “Jocelyn!” she called out, nearly tripping over herself, then froze upon seeing her at the window, “What happened to you? Why were you now answering?” Jocelyn’s mother stepped closer but remained around ten feet away from her daughter. Perhaps she was too afraid that any sudden movements would cause her daughter to do something unexpected. Seeing the window open was already something that none of them expected to see. Forcing herself to be calmer, Jocelyn’s mother raised both hands towards her daughter and asked, “What is it? Lynn, what is bothering you?”

Bebie and Aldwin stared from the door. Bebie, realizing that the master of the house would most likely want to know what was going on, backed away from the door and quickly ran down the corridor to look for him. Aldwin looked around the room, as if to check if anything else would give some clue to what was going on.

“Lynn, what is going on?” Jocelyn’s mother repeated her inquiry and tried to stay calm.

Jocelyn felt her heart pounding in her chest. She felt the sudden guilt and pain of hiding the truth from her mother. She sighed and looked out the window and saw in the distance Edsel, still hiding among the trees and waiting to see the carriage which Jocelyn’s parents would have taken to Church leave the premises. She liked him. She was proud of him. But she knew her parents would never approve. Never let her allow a man of less class and stature court her. Even if she did not care about class and social status. Even if she did not care about wealth or inheritance.

But was she already willing to risk all that for a person she simply liked?

“Mother,” Jocelyn stepped forward and reached her hands out towards her mother. She felt the tears escape and fall like small diamonds, sparkling before shattering into tiny broken shards of water upon hitting the floor. Jocelyn and her mother held each other for a long time, ignoring even the questions Jocelyn’s father would ask as he walked up to the doorway. Jocelyn felt her mother’s heart beating so fast, and she realized her mother was crying too.

“What is going on here? Jocelyn?” Jocelyn’s father asked, his voice rising and almost angry.

Jocelyn’s mother held her still. She whispered to her daughter, “In the end, it is up to you to choose,” and with those words, everything fell into place. Jocelyn suddenly knew that her mother too lived much like her, and sought just as much as she did a sense of freedom from all that was expected and forced upon her. And that at one point in her life, her mother perhaps was at such a threshold, to choose the path her life was to take, and made none. Her mother chose not to make a decision. And so one was made for her.

Her mother had never married the man she wanted.

Lola Jocelyn realized she was crying again, even if she was long dead and ethereal. She wiped away the ghostly tears and turned to find Patricia standing at the door way, looking at her with worried and nervous eyes. It was almost as if history was repeating itself.

“Lola Jocelyn?” Patricia asked and found Lola Jocelyn walking towards her. The ghostly grandmother whom Patricia had long been spending time with, speaking with and at times praying over, brought her arms around Patricia and held her close in a tight embrace. Patricia, a bit caught by surprise by all this, looked around at first, hoping to see anything in the ruins of the room that would explain Lola Jocelyn’s sudden sentimentality.

“Lola Jocelyn, what is going on?” Patricia tried asking again.

“It is your choice,” the old ghost admitted to Patricia and loosened her hug a bit. She brought both hands to Patricia’s cheeks and gently guided Patricia’s face to look at the broken window behind her. Patricia stared at the open space and saw tiny trails of ectoplasmic light dancing at the fringes of the window. “It is ultimately your choice,” Lola Jocelyn reminded Patricia and gently let go of Patricia’s face to walk with her towards the window. The light had become a ring that followed the shape of the window. In its center, ripples began to dance, like the surface of the sea under a full moon. Silver trails dances and shifted until slowly the window became a true window to another part of the city. Patricia gasped as she saw the image of Gerald inside the portal, still in a bus on his way home.

“Who do you see,” Lola Jocelyn asked, “Inside this window, who do you see?”

Patricia gasped, uncertain how to answer and watched as she saw Gerald rising from his seat to offer it to a woman who just rode the bus and found it full. Patricia found herself smiling even if she was still confused as to what Lola Jocelyn was focused on.

“What is going on, Lola?”

“Tell me what do you see in this window. Who?”

“Are you feeling strange? Sentimental?” Patricia offered to help Lola Jocelyn answer but the old spirit would not be deterred.

“Who do you see?”

Patricia turned to Lola Jocelyn and smiled, “I see a good friend. A kind friend.”

“And this friend, he is important to you?”

“He-“ Patricia turned to Lola Jocelyn and peered at her with suddenly suspicious eyes that were half-hidden beneath nearly closed eyelids, “You can see what is inside this window?”

“No,” Lola Jocelyn admitted, “But I suspect it is very similar to what I used to see when I looked outside this window.”

“What did you see, Lola Jocelyn?” Patricia asked, turning back to face the window. Inside, she saw Gerald holding on to one of the hand rails above to keep his balance. He was singing, it seemed, and smiling to himself. He looked oblivious to the world around him.

“I used to look out this window and see a man whom I barely knew. A man whom I wanted to know so much more. And yet, even if we embraced the precious little time we would have for one another, it would never feel like it was enough. I used to look out this window and see a man whom I always told myself… always convinced myself was someone whom I wanted to have as a friend,” Lola Jocelyn explained, staring into the window now as well, though all see saw was the empty street outside.

“What happened, Lola Jocelyn, between you and this man?” Patricia asked her.

“What happened between me and him is the past now,” Lola Jocelyn explained very gently to Patricia, “And the past is the past. What matters now is you, Patricia. Is your future. The man you see in the window. What has happened to him?”

“He’s on a bus. He’s heading home. I guess he lived further away than I did from where we had dinner.”

“No, I meant in the greater scheme of things,” Lola Jocelyn turned to Patricia as if to see if she understood. “What has happened between you two?”

“He’s a good friend,” Patricia admitted, “He’s a very kind man. He’s nice. He’s funny.”

“But?” Lola Jocelyn asked, sensing the hesitation in Patricia’s voice.

“But I don’t really know him yet. It has barely been a enough time. I don’t really know what he wants. I don’t even know if he can be trusted,” Patricia admitted, “I don’t want to make the same mistakes I did before of trusting someone else too quickly. Or too blindly.”

“You have a gift,” Lola Jocelyn reminded Patricia, “And you have not chosen to use this gift to know more about him. Or to know what you want to know for certain about him. Why?”

“I don’t know,” Patricia admitted, shrugging as she spoke.

”No, there is a reason,” Lola Jocelyn prodded her more. Patricia thought for a moment and raised both eyebrows as she replied. Part of her did not even feel like it was truly the reason. “Maybe I want to try to find out the normal way. To discover the truth the proper way.”

“And in many ways, that is what makes it very different for you two,” Lola Jocelyn replied, “More so when you try to compare it to what you have gotten used to.”

Patricia looked at her, uncertain what she meant. As she turned her head back to the window and saw Gerald give the bus driver a signal that he was getting down at that point, Patricia heard Lola Jocelyn continue.

“Most couples, when they meet, they struggle to find that magical moment. They struggle to find that perfect minute when things seem to just work. Or to find that single moment they believe that they’d look into each other’s eyes and find themselves falling in love. Maybe it was because of the movies they have seen. Or the books they have read. Or maybe even the stories they have heard from others. But ultimately, they all find themselves meeting people then searching for the same thing: the magic. They find themselves wanting to see the magic that love brings into it. The magic that makes them realize, ‘yes, this is love.’

“But few of them ever really find it. Most of the time, couples find themselves losing interest after a few more dates. Or a few more weeks. Their reasons betray their real feelings at times. They claim to have lost the love for the other. Or speak of not feeling content. But never have they realized such feelings were not because love failed them. They were the failings of having struggled to find the magic of love in their relationship by ignoring its more obvious and less romanticized signs.

Lola Jocelyn stroked her hand against Patricia’s hair, combing it back with her fingers even as Patricia continued to watch the images that she saw in the window. Gerald had stepped down from the bus, then walked down the small curved road between a Church and a school, and reached a park that was still alive with many children playing and people hanging about.

“With you two, the magic is there. In more ways than you both expected it to be. And in many ways, it was frightening. Frightening to see how it all seemed to make sense. Or how it all seemed to fit into place,” Lola Jocelyn stopped for a moment, as if to see if Patricia was to contradict her. Patricia merely smiled, watching as Gerald walked past the park and went further down the street to stop at a light greenish gray gate. He fumbled with his pockets to find his keys. It was dark. And he had too many keys.

“What more do you need to see as signs?” Lola Jocelyn asked Patricia. Patricia watched as suddenly, a street light lit up, giving Gerald just enough light to find the right key. He shook his head in disbelief, slid the key in, and opened the door. The light shut back down just as Gerald stepped through. “Do you need to see him in your dreams? Do you need to hear suddenly confessing his feelings for you in the radio? Or his name suddenly appearing on walls and billboards as you make your way to work?”

Patricia turned to look at Lola Jocelyn and realized she was starting to glow. Small trails of light began to dance on her body.

“Lola Jocelyn?” she asked her, motioning to the small comet light trails that appeared then faded away. “Something is happening to you.”

“It was the same for Juanito and Carlito,” she explained, remembering that Patricia was not aware of the two’s transcendence from death, “They finally resolved their final conflicts. And now, I believe, I am resolving mine.”

Patricia looked at Lola Jocelyn, suddenly worried, “You are…. You’re going away?”

“No,” Lola Jocelyn told her gently, “I am going ahead. To where we are meant to go when our time here is done. We will see each other again, after all.”

Patricia suddenly pulled away from the window and turned to face Lola Jocelyn, “You can’t leave yet. Not yet. Not when I need your advice. Not when I need to hear your view on things?”

“There is nothing that you cannot decide for yourself, Patricia dearest. Among the two of us, you are the one who truly knows and understands what you are going through. This is not like you coming of age and going through puberty with me having gone through it before being armed with the precise information of what you should know. This is a matter of the heart. Of the head. And of your decision. When it concerns such matters, it is always different. No two such moments are ever the same,” Lola Jocelyn saw the lights that surrounded her body begin to glow even more vibrant and radiant. Patricia was starting to find it harder to see Lola Jocelyn. The light was just too strong.

“But how do I know what I should do,” she asked Lola Jocelyn, worried. “I… I am not good with this… I am not good with romance.”

Lola Jocelyn found herself remembering the words of her very own mother said so many years ago in this very room.

“It is your choice,” she told Patricia and felt the pull of the source of the lights beckon her to let go. To move on. To bid this world farewell, “It is ultimately your choice, Patricia.”

The light flared into a brilliant burst of starlight and fading moon glow. Patricia brought her arms down from her face to see that Lola Jocelyn was gone with only now fading small fireflies of light as a hint of her ghost having been there just seconds ago. Patricia, crying both joyful and sad tears for Lola Jocelyn’s farewell, found her gaze moving towards the floor area near the window. Almost covered by the debris and dust was an old picture frame. Leaning down to pick it up, Patricia found inside an old family photo of Lola Jocelyn with her two children and a handsome looking man. At the bottom of the photograph, engraved on the frame were the words; Jocelyn, Edsel with Juan and Carlo.

Patricia decided to keep the picture frame, to remember her old friends, and made her way home.

Word Count = 5,928
Previous Count = 35,386
Total Count = 41,314 of 50,000


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