Why I said "NO"

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This traffic and weather makes me reflect on the life that I had. What’s next after 25 years of surviving the challenges of humanity? Getting a home and a car? Put up a business? Promotion? Getting married and having kids? When I was 15 I told myself that at the age of 25 I think I am married, but here I am, driving in the middle of the road holding hands with my stirring wheels. At least I got wheels to cancel this out of the list of “to have”.

Submitted: October 11, 2016

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Submitted: October 11, 2016

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Intro

A rainy day Tuesday, it's 7pm. While everybody was heading home I am here just about to start my day. The rain adds heaviness for this traffic, and it brings back old memories. What's with the rain that makes us recall old memories and people...

(Flash back)

The class was suspended today, even for college students, but I am here at a small space on our village park waiting for each other. I was thinking of going home, 5 minutes had passed but they are still not coming. Will they ever come? Then here he walks in with his red umbrella and in his white jacket. With a smile on his face he said,

"The rain is not really bad, but the wind can bend an umbrella, so where are they?"

Smirking, " I don't know, no one even texted me, I think we must cancel this gathering."

With hope in his eyes, “Let’s wait for another minute and start on ourselves if they did not come after all Jesus said two or three gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them."

Then that was the day I started to put a little space on my heart for this man. I will not bother waiting for him cause who can find a godly man? -Plop!--

 

(Reality)

Three years had passed since I last saw those eyes. But still I can remember the day that I started to see beauty in him. And by the way, what is the reason of this heavy traffic?

Putting my window down, "Hi Sir! Is there an accident in front road?" I hope he can still hear me with his loud sound inside his vehicle.

 "No there's none! Just take the other road on the next street, your car is too low it cannot get into that deep water." and he move forward,

"Thank you!" I hope he heard that as well.

The usual problem and I took his advice and turn to the next street and find myself into the national highway. Thank God for that kind man, I cannot afford to get my engine soaked in water, I haven't paid this car in full yet. When I was a student I thought life would be easy because finally I will be able to have all my time and dreams are nearer. But I was wrong; life is not easy when you get your diploma. It is just the start of the race, race to success and dreams, pressure of gaining and stress of losing. Most of all there are bills to pay.

This traffic and weather makes me reflect on the life that I had. What’s next after 25 years of surviving the challenges of humanity? Getting a home and a car? Put up a business? Promotion? Getting married and having kids? When I was 15 I told myself that at the age of 25 I think I am married, but here I am, driving in the middle of the road holding hands with my stirring wheels. At least I got wheels to cancel this out of the list of “to have”.

At last after 45 minutes of driving I finally got here.

 

Chapter 1 – Ms. Independent

It is 8 in the evening, the cloud is still crying and people are all running to get themselves into our building. In the middle of the rushing people there she walks in, as usual, rain or shine she still manage to walk with those heels. I am wondering how she was able to drive with those high shoes. But it fits her perfectly. I know I am not the only one who turns head every time she walks inside our area. How can woman like her bear to work with bunch of male co-worker, late in the evening and still manage to get prettier each day? She’s really one of a kind.

I’ve been working in this industry for almost 5 years and believe me; we seldom have a female co-worker. Since our job starts at 8pm till morning, by the way we are working as Production designer of a various telecommunication companies.

And NO. The woman I am telling you is not really a designer or part of my team. But she is our team finance support leader for creative production. In short, she’s a finance person. And I am the head of the production or creative team. She is the one who do a lot of cutting on expenses and rejecting reimbursements…. Gee so how I cannot notice her. I am always waiting for her to enter her room and hear her favorite phrase “this project is too expensive Gel! Have it change”. She sounded like my mom every time she sees our bills. I wonder what kind of wife she could be. And maybe the reason why she is still single is because she always asks about the price of everything hahaha, Nah! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really hate her; I just hate her when she rejects my budget proposal.

She’s a though lady for this type of job and time zone. There are days that when I looked at her I could see a girl who wants to play with everybody. But there are a lot of days when I see her as a woman who devour a lot of man who tries to get into her zone. Hahaha too harsh of me.

The phone ring... “Yes Ms. A?”

“Please come inside Gel, we have a lot of things to discuss”, and she hang up.

With that flat tone, I guess I know what are those “a lot of things” then I see my men eyes toward me. Though I cannot hear them I know they are thinking the same thing, so I pick myself up and said…

“C’mon guys, let’s pray the adjustment won’t be too far from our proposal.” And I winked at them. And step inside her beautiful lonely space.

“Good morning A, have you got trouble getting here today? I heard it’s not just a rain but a typhoon.” She’s still busy looking at her laptop.

“Why do you need to fly your entire team to Tokyo? It’s very expensive, is 3 people not enough to set the whole place up?” and finally she lift her head and there I can see her lips with pink paint on it, it looks like cherry I wonder if it tastes the same.

 “Angelo? Do you like my lipstick?”, with sarcastic laugh.

“Yes I think it fits you better, it makes you look younger A, and about my team… Yes I need them all.” And I grab a chair and sit “Would you mind if I sit? This will be a long talk.”

I cannot let her strike me with her words this time, so I sit confidently, placing my hands on her table. “I had a conversation with the boss and they told me that they have a huge budget for this project. So I guess they can cover all of those expenses.”

“Ow you mean, you are taking advantage of our client to get a free tour?” with sharp eyes looking straight to me.

“That is absurd! It’s not taking advantage A,” how can she insult my team this way.

“Then what is it? Being creative?” and she turn her back on me facing the window. How can she be so rude to me?

“A, how much cost will you save by taking out three men and working 7days? Against seven men working for three days only? “ with my voice getting higher.

 “Ms. A, you’ve seen our work, if you’re not satisfy with our work then I am giving you the right to question my proposal. We are not flying to Tokyo for vacation; we are there to work 24/7. If you will cut off budget by taking out my men, I am declining this project. Please communicate with our customer and tell them to find another team to work for them” and I stood up and about to leave. She’s really not moving, such a cold a woman.

“Is there really a typhoon?” as she turns her chair facing me again. Is she pretending not to hear all the words that I’ve said? In return, I looked into her brown eyes and gave her silence for three seconds.

And she finally stand up fixing her white dress and start to walk towards me, Tapping my shoulder she said, “ I trust your team and I’ve seen your work. But I am hired to monitor the budget. You don’t need to raise your voice Angelo, I can hear you clearly. I will give you an update for your proposal before this day end.” And she grabs the door and our hands meet, she has a warm soft hand. For a second my heart beat so loud, breaking the silence she says “Let me open the door for you.” Then she opened it and speechlessly I walked out of her room.

How can she turn the table this fast? For a second I was lost until I hear a whisper on my ears “Hey Sir? What happen?” turning my head.  I am now face to face with my man. In surprise I slapped him “What the! Are you trying to kiss me?!”

Laughter burst and all my nerves are back again.

“Hey Sir Gel! Did she hit you on your face? You looked like a busted man while walking out of her room” while touching his face where I slapped him.

Trying to compose myself back I sit straight and said “We got this guys, I think she will not cut off budget this time.”  To stop them from questioning me again I grab the phone and dial her number.

“Hi A, yes there is a typhoon; you must bring bigger umbrella and slippers in case your heels fail you.” And I hang up.

I am very positive that we got this. I recall what happen a while ago, why did my heart do that? She’s really something, even my heart sees it.

 

Chapter 2- Rainy meal

What was that call all about? What did he say? Slippers? Failing heels? Ha! First he was looking at my lipstick, and then now he cares about my heels. Poor man, he must be very confused now. Maybe I should share him my kits and let him try my shoes as well. I cannot blame him, he was working with a lot of half-naked man during their projects, and he must have come to his senses of who he really is now.

Half day had passed, but the rain still pouring out, it’s like every drops are racing to touch the ground. It’s hard to keep awake during this season specially us who work on evening. The cold weather adds weight on our eyes and the sound of the rain was like lullabies.

I’ve been working here for quite sometimes, inside this room where I made a lot of changes. Looking at my name engraved at the top of my table, I am wondering how long will I be sitting here all alone in this room? Is this where I really want to be?

Breaking my day dream, my phone rings, “Hey A, let’s eat and grab some hot soup outside” it’s my dear friend from the marketing department.

“Okay, I was about to call you for that. You really know me.” And I hang up and grab my coat. Passing the creative team, without looking into them I could sense that they want to ask me if I finally made up my mind. Then there I saw their team lead, with his favorite navy bluejacket matched with his rugged shoes. His clean hair cut makes him still looking neat, and our eyes meet and he flashed his confident smile and wave his hand, “Hi Ms. A! Eating lunch?”

And I stopped in front of him and smile back, “Yep, why don’t you guys join us?” without any intention of inviting them at all. But oh boy! I think these men are all hungry cause upon hearing my last word all their head turn and said “Are you paying for our meal Ms. A?” what else to do? I had made my invitation.

“Sure grab your feet and let’s get some hot meal to keep us going till morning” , then they started to lock their laptop and walk straight to me. But Angelo is not moving an inch so I knocked on his table, “Hey Angelo, your team is coming with me, how about you?”

Seriously? Did she really say she will buy us food? She must be too happy or rather sad today. I remember the first time she treats the whole team out. When she got a promotion and when her entire family migrated to Canada, leaving her alone. “Are you sure you will pay? I will not bring any money” and she wink back and so I follow them way out.

At the lobby, I finally saw my friends waiting, Jean on her green feathered coat, Mark her boyfriend and Jimmy with his strict face as usual. I know what he was thinking, and seeing me with these men makes him feel irritated. “Hi guys, sorry for keeping you waiting, I have here the creative team. They will join us”

Jimmy with this blank face “You had invited your troupe again. Let’s go. Our time is running”, grabbing my hand, I nod my head, to slightly tell them to move with us.

Gladly there are a lot of place to eat here even if it’s already 1 in the morning. Since its raining, noodles are the best food for all of us, with a lot of grilled dishes. Finally we were able to get a sit to fit the 11 of us. I could smell tension between the boys so I grab the menu and offer it to Angelo.

She did not tell us that we are eating with these people. If I only knew I should have not come. I have nothing against Jean and Mark they are nice but not this man in front of me. Did you see how he grabs her hand? It looks like telling us that he owns her. Who owns who? No one can own that Independent woman anyway, I am not mad at him because of A, don’t get me wrong. The reason why I don’t like him is because he is the head of the marketing team. Few weeks ago, our project has ended. Though it went out perfect, our inner selves were not in good term. I had a huge gap with Jimmy. How can a blunt man be the head of a supposed to be free spirit and happy marketing people? This man had rejected our design not once but 12 times, making us work overtime for 3 months. And on 12th revision he finally agreed with our 3rd design. I think he has no taste on art or even fashion. He must not be the head of that team. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. No wonder why they are friends, they share common trait they love “rejecting people”.

“Sir! Would you like us to make the order instead?” my colleague Ian, grabbing the side of the menu in my hand.

“Yes Ian, please order as you like, I will go with whatever it is.” And I hand him the entire menu and grab my phone and pretend to browse the files to avoid idle moment that could force me to talk to Jimmy. I could see at the side of my eyes that A is smiling.

I can see Angelo is not in himself tonight and so is Jimmy, so to break the awkward air inside I stand up and said, “Order as much as you want guys, don’t worry about the bill” and they all say “Yeah!”

Jean pinching on my side, “What’s with today? Were you promoted again?” in her small voice.

“No, I just feel like paying for a meal” and I wink at her.

The lunch went well and we are now heading back to the office. Jimmy was always as protective like a brother to me. Though many may misunderstood him as a cold man, I know that he is not. Before we separate ways back to each other’s working area, he lead me in the corner and kissed my forehead and whisper “I don’t like you being with those men but I can see that you like them. I’m sorry for being harsh to them. See you tomorrow.” And he walks back to his place.

“Is he your boyfriend?” an innocent question from one of creative staff, I look back to him and said, “No, he is my brother.” And we all went back to our places and I could still hear them saying “thank you”. I close my door and sit on my lovely red chair.

Here I am again to finish my second half of the day. Let’s work.

 

Chapter 3 – Revision

The meal was great, she always love noodles. No wonder why she got that slim body. Everyone on the area thinks she was dating the marketing guy, some say they are good together cause they have a lot in common. But I know the truth. I’ve witness with my two keen eyes.

A year ago, I saw Jimmy walking straight at the restaurant. That was the last time that I saw him wearing that bright joy all over him. He was holding a bouquet of red roses. I don’t have any intention of hearing or seeing him that day, it just happen that the seat that he reserved was near me.

I was wondering what kind of woman this guy is dating. This time I intentionally waited for his date to come. From distant I could clearly see her, walking with those heels and wearing a simple but full of elegance red dress. Her sweet red lips matched off her dress. And she sat down with Jimmy.

Again without any intention of listening to their talk, I had read her lips as she says I’m sorry. Then she walks out. Leaving Jimmy and his flower alone, there I’ve witness the death of Jimmy’s joy.

I don’t know what to say then nor should I say any. Thus I simply came near him and give him a back rub. Bad moves! This is my regret; I should have not rubbed his back. I think he didn’t even know that I was there, but because I did that, his embarrassment was worsened. Maybe that’s the reason why he hated me every time he sees me hahaha.  He could remember that scene every time he sees me.

The phone rings, “Hello, A?”

“I’ve send you a mail please response ASAP on those bulleted queries, then I will get back to you for your budget proposal” and she hang up.

I love noodles, it makes me feel relax and happy every time I eat it. Psychology says if you are stress think about your happy food, this is my happy food indeed. What makes me stress? A lot, including this budget proposal from Angelo’s team.

And Jimmy, I am thinking about him. Every day. He is a good man, and I am hurt to see him hardening his heart because of all his hidden pain.

We’ve been friends for six years; he was introduced to me by Jean. He is always protective to me and sweet in his own way. Since he was the only child he has all the luxury in life. What he wants he gets, that is one of his problem. I saw him date and love woman.

Until our friendship turns into something deeper to him, his gesture towards me changes. I started to feel worried and yes, afraid. I didn’t want him to get hurt. I know myself. I love him, but as a brother, more than that I cannot offer any. But he insisted and he asks me for a chance to show me his love.

We started dating, for six months. But I am a woman who is not yet ready to be owned by a man. I can’t submit myself to anyone yet.

Who ever said that it’s easy to break a heart? I know the effort that every man gives when they are pursuing a woman. But honestly what is really the sense of wooing someone? Isn’t supposed to be knowing if you guys are fitted together before you get yourself into a serious relationship? The phone rings again, interrupting my recall… “Yes Angelo?” even if I cannot see him I know he is trying to hide his laugher and he says,

 “Well, I have read the email trail, and thank you for considering all my arguments a while ago, I had responded to your query. I hope we can close this deal so we can both sleep well today.”

He is as arrogant as ever, and I answered “Okay, give me a minute” and I hang up. What I love about this job is that I was able to be at least nearer to the field where I dream to be with. I never dream of being a finance person, I don’t hate math when I was young, but I love art more than anything else. I love colors and the beauty of all art from scratch. But why did I end up here? When I was choosing my course to pursue, my father told me to take up business related course. He said art is just a hobby not a source of income. Therefore I took his advice.

Ten minutes before my shift end I send him the mail, and shut down my laptop. Another day has ended, and the rain gets heavier. I took my coat and went out, seeing all their happy faces.

“Miss A!” a call from Ian, then I turn my head seeing him waiving his hand “Thank you for the mal again and for the budget! We are going to Tokyo!” and they all clap their hands. They are all excited for that news, enjoying their funny reaction I did not notice him on my side. Clearing his throat, “Thank you for cutting a little bit of expense and sending all my man.”  Without looking into his face I tap his shoulder and walk straight to the door.

Its Wednesday, another day of survival.

Chapter 4- Recall

Here I am staring as she pulls her car out of the parking lot. Sometimes I hope her car won’t start so that she’ll call me for a ride or even just to help her change a tire. But for three years she never did ask for my help. I wonder why I like her this much. No I didn’t just like her, I love her this far, that I can bear to do this every day waiting for her to get out of the lot safely.

They said that woman mature faster than a man. Does it mean we are at the same maturity now since I am 5 years older than her?

What I want I get, that is what I used to tell everybody. But guess I am wrong, because the only woman I want to marry doesn’t even like me. And even if I try harder I know I can never have her stay in my life.

No matter how nice she presents those words to me. It all sounded the same. “Thank you for loving me, but I cannot love you the way you wanted to be loved. I’m sorry.”

When did I ever start loving this woman? I met her during those times that I was invited to attend my friend’s charity event. She was there playing with paints and brush. In her jeans and loose white or rather multi painted shirt and her hair tucked high on her head with sweats running all over her face. Jean introduces her to me.

“Hey Aisha! This is my brother Jimmy. He’s here to help us”

She stops painting for a while and said “Hi Jimmy,” flashing her white teeth, “sorry I cannot shake hands with you, I am too dirty today” and laugh. “Unless you are willing to get dirty as well”

 It’s not really too hard to get closer to her since she is very inviting and entertaining. Very opposite when she’s wearing her makeup and heels at the office. She enjoy every stoke she makes and laughing with young people whom she’s working with. In curiosity I asked, “What were you guys painting?” joyfully she answer,

“Just wait and see” and winked.

I did not say a word again because I am afraid to get a wrong interpretation with what they are doing. I stayed near them and watched her put colors on the wall. I would like to offer her something to wipe her sweats off but I am too shy to do that after all she just met me a few minutes ago. So I asked Jean instead to offer her a face towel. From distance I heard her say “It’s okay Jean, I love sweating”.

After a few hours they were able to finish their work, with a huge smile on their faces I finally see what they are doing. It’s a picture of a happy family hand in hand walking, in very bright candy like colors. With their hand print shaped as flowers and grass. Though it’s a whole day work the kids doesn’t look exhausted and still have energy to throw paint to each other. When I said kids they are literally young, the youngest is 5 and the oldest is 12 and her of course. I watched them running and laughing until I felt a cold thing touching my cheek, when I wiped it I saw blue paint all over my hand. And from distant I saw a little girl trying to hide her laughter. “I’m sorry Mr. I will just wipe it out..” tiptoeing and trying to reach me. This cute little one reminds me of my dream of having a little sister.

“I’m fine my dear” and I lean down and hold her hand and place it to my face. She seem enjoying that, because she wipe it all throughout my face while giggling in a sweet innocent voice.

“It’s nice to see you guys are having fun.” Even without looking I know that warm nearly manly voice came from her. “Hey guys, let’s all wash our hands and who wants to get some ice cream?” and that last words caught everyone’s attention and they started to shout in excitement of that cold food.

Even with kids, she always loves to invite everyone to eat. Then our history as a friend continues. Or rather it continues for her but it stop for me the day that I woke up loving her and wanting to marry her.

It’s Sunday, it’s not my first time to date a woman. But this day is very different from the past dates that I had. After a month of asking her she finally agreed to go out with me in a formal date. Today I will finally ask her to take our relationship to different level. I understand that she never been into any relationship before. That’s the reason why she has a lot of fear maybe.

 I got into the place hour earlier, I feel like my lungs are losing air and my stomach were in knot. Whew, relax, trying to fix my hair and the roses beside me. The door chimes sounded and I saw her walking in her red elegant dress paired with 3 inches red shoes.

The dinner went fine, and we share smiles and recalling the day we met. As I looked into a right timing I could hear my own heart beat like a racing horses. In nervousness I held her hand and said “A, I love you.” Looking straight in her eyes, I could see the shift of her emotion, and she said “Thank you”. Puzzled by her answer, I cleared my throat and say “Let’s be more than this, I love you and I am willing to marry you.” She slowly took back her hand “I’m sorry Jimmy… I’m not ready for this.”

I know she is trying to be nice on turning me down, but as I said there’s no nice way on breaking someone’s heart. I watched her leave the place taking with her my heart and joy.

That was a year ago, and here I am, looking at the distant as she pull her car out of the parking lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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