Sep 30, 2014

Speak Low, Love

There is this belief that runs in one’s family saying whenever you feel the wind in your ears as if it is tickling you, that means someone is sending you a message. That belief does not run in my family, for I have been an orphan for as long as I remember. But not having a family does not mean I can’t believe in it.

The elevator dings and opens just when a good looking man presses the up button in front of it. That man wears a black suit and holds a briefcase. He looks well prepared. My guess would be he is in for a very important meeting on the 27th floor. Everybody knows what happens on the 27th floor: chaos and disaster, people screaming and shouting. It’s the busiest floor in this whole building. One hell-like place I should never step my feet onto. That is one place where words of mouth fly faster than the Airbus. That is one place where the sad story begins. That is one place where the wind that tickled my ears came from.
The name was Pedro. Everyone knew him as the man with honor and prestige. All good things come after his name. People liked him for what he had struggled and fought for on his way to the top of his career. People admired him for what he had come through before he had all the glory. People even loved him for what he had been in what later will close the stage curtain. I’ve never had a chance to meet Pedro myself, for I was new in town. I got accepted to work as a clerk in this bookstore three weeks after Pedro moved out. That’s the first time I felt the wind tickled my ears.
Pedro was the editor in chief on the magazine named Hero, one of the most prestigious magazines in town. It is on the 27th floor and taking the whole floor as its office. Pedro was known to be the heart of the office. Whenever he came to the office, everybody would greet him, pat his back, and shake his hand as if he was the president of USA. Pedro was an orphan, just like me, but fate took him to a better place in the hand of a couple who took a good care of him. He was raised as a wealthy kid but there has never been a slight of arrogance in his way of living. That, so many people believed, was the key of his success: his attitude.
There was one thing Pedro lack of. A lover.
It was one of the busiest days at work, when people waited in front of the elevator with sweats falling from their foreheads though the air conditioner was working perfectly. When people from the 27th floor looked as if their mother was butchered in their sleep. When everyone in this building was running around like a thief being chased by police. That day, Pedro was sitting in his office when Benjamin, Pedro’s lawyer friend, knocked the door and asked the permission to enter the room. Pedro was known to be very fond of Benjamin, thinking of him as his brother for life, for he never had any sibling all his life.
“What is it, my friend?” Pedro tilted his head up from his computer once Benjamin sat before his desk.
“I’m in love.”
The words were blurry, just like the scene in a rearview mirror in the middle of a misty night, for no one really knew the details of how Benjamin fell in love with the lawyer girl from the 10th floor’s law firm. It is said that they had been sworn enemies, fighting over a case that ended up won by no one—another lawyer won the case. Other people assumed they had been friends, falling in love like friends should. What people knew was Pedro saying, “Calm down, my friend. If you really fall for her, I will help you. Say the name,” followed by Benjamin’s reply, “Beatrice.”
Then people knew exactly what happened. Pedro got into the elevator and went through the chaos of that busy day, trying to know who Beatrice was. Pedro’s reputation was like a key to an unopened chamber. Everyone on the 10th floor knew him and welcomed him. One of them even offered him coffee. Pedro refused politely and asked the man whether he knew a woman named Beatrice. Then the man pointed his finger to a closed door in the corner of that floor. The door is plain brown, decorated with a wreath from Christmas the year before. The color was already faded and unappealing, making it go unnoticed when people walked by.
After that the words got all mixed up. Some said Pedro was the one who knocked the door and approached Beatrice. Some other said Beatrice was on her way to the restroom when he saw Pedro was standing outside her office door. One thing was sure, Pedro’s eyes sparked different after that. They were seen together for so many times, having a talk in the coffee shop, shopping for books, here, in this bookstore, even walking home together. Benjamin was not a sight in this wonderful caricature of intimacy. People were sure Pedro had finally found his love.
Benjamin was pitied, but that’s all. For all I know, people said Benjamin was a player after all. He was the modern Casablanca. It would be easy for him to get another girl. But not Pedro. When it came to love, people said Pedro was hard. It would not be an easy task for him to fall in love. That’s why Pedro was loved, even for getting closer to Beatrice every day since they met. He was not, once, hated, for being in love with Benjamin’s girl. Beatrice was not officially Benjamin’s anyway. They were never together.
The words. How I hate them for not being precise, for being put in a jumbled order, for confusing people who heard them, for satisfying those who messed them. Few months after that, words came like a hurricane. Strong, sharp, hurting everyone. Benjamin was engaged! It had to be the girl from the 14th floor, people would gossip around this bookstore. No! It must be the girl from the 20th floor, other people would say. And then they started crying, pitying Pedro, for the girl Benjamin would marry turned to be Beatrice.
“How come?” I remember asking this question the first time I heard the story.
“Beatrice was always in love with Benjamin. She never thought of Pedro as someone more special than Benjamin.”
And that’s how the story ends. Pedro was not seen after that. He was not seen in Benjamin and Beatrice’s wedding. He was not seen in the office the day after the wedding. Benjamin and Beatrice moved out of town. They wanted to go to the suburb, raising their children in a big house with a big yard. Pedro was still not seen, even until now.

Every time I finish a story of him, the wind would blow. Every time I feel the fresh air in my ears, I believe Pedro is whispering his sad love story. I believe Pedro is telling me that his existence is not within his body, but within this story. And now the wind is tickling my ears again.

This story is based on William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. If you don't see the resemblance, I don't blame you.

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