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      Save the Last walk


Saving the Last Walk

-kathleen jaranilla

It’s already midnight; Armith can’t help himself to sleep. He can’t puffed even a fake yawn, instead an old memories are flashing back in his mind as lightning did.

The moon shines brightly and the stars twinkling happily. The cold air kissing his wrinkled face and makes to wave his white gray hair as if it wants to refreshes those memories that must already be buried.

He is now eighty years old but still a strong man. His age is too old for sorrow, an age of must spending a time for happiness. an age of must forgetting all regrets, an age for giving his sweetest love to his wife, in short, a time for cherishing the last moments, but all this things are not happening on him yet, from the start he became a father and knows that there is no longer hope for his happiness as he did during of his twenties.

He’s living in states together with his wife Areanda, his four children and three grandchildren. They reside in there for almost fifty-five years.

From the start he resides in USA, he never been again in Philippines. Actually, he was planning to do, but he was pulled by his fears, controlled by his cowardice.

Upon sitting in his veranda during that time of driving back those sweetest memories, a shooting star falls. He smiles as if the stars greeted him.

“Shooting star”, he mutters.

Every time he sees shooting star, only one person comes back in his mind, and this is Fiona, a woman that every time they saw shooting stars, they are holding their hands and whispers their wishes.

Fiona is the woman he loved so much since he was a college. It’s his first love, first hug, first kiss and first woman of love making, in short his first lady of everything. He already sets his heart and his soul that they will be together for the rest of their lives.

Upon digging back the most treasury of his mind, and this is memories with Fiona, he goes outside of his veranda. For the reason that their house is near in the shore, he makes his way there.

It’s already one o’clock of the morning, a time of dreaming as his family did, but he acts as if he is stepping the place of time machine.

“Fiona… Fiona…. Fiona….” he mutters again with a deep sigh upon walking in the shore with his bare foot. “Oh, I miss you girl” he whispers it upon his hands are in his both pockets of his pants and looking up high in the millions of stars.

He faces the horizon and sits in the sand, touching it as if he draws back the sweet smile past fifty-five years. Afterwards he gives a deep sigh.

All days of him with Fiona are so special, but there are some things that every time he thinks about of, he smiles with himself.

It is a sickly woman. She’s an asthmatic.

So every time he notices that Fiona is breathing in a heavy way, he was so panicked. He doesn’t know what to do. He knows the medicine that is taking by her sweetheart, but it’s not enough to get her well suddenly. So, with mixed of love and pity, he’s offering his wide chest for Fiona’s pillow only to lighten up its breathing during sleeping. He sits for the whole night just Fiona could have a best place to lean on, and this is his chest. He knows that his love is the greatest medicine to cure her sweetheart’s illness.

They are already living in one roof for almost two years when there’s an unexpected call from his parents that he must stay in the United States.

Almost he doesn’t want to obey his parents’ dominion. He doesn’t want to left her sweetheart that actually, he treated it as his wife.

“I want to stay here” he says upon embracing her sweetheart near the seashore.

“Hey, stop crying my dear” Fiona’s whisper. “I will be faithful, there’s a lot of way for communication, what’s the matter with that?” she added.

“I can’t kiss the telephone dear” he answered in a humorous way.

“Oh, boy, buy a doll” Fiona’s ride in his joke.

“No way!” he retorts.

“Okay” he starts with a serious voice. “Before I leave, I want to leave you a promise. “ He says upon with an eye to eye.

“What is that?” Fiona’s ask.

“I don’t know when, but wait me here, in this place, I will come back, believe me.” He says it in Fiona’s face.

“I will keep that” Fiona’s replied.

Since then, it stills a promise. He never comes back. It is still a word and swears that everyone he’s still wishing in shooting stars to make it granted.

“It’s been fifty-five year..Fifty-five years… I am so liar..liar..Damn me..Damn!” he mumbles it with himself upon sitting along the beach.

“Fiona, where are you?”He talks on the stars, staring in the dark horizon and whispering in the blue.

“I hope we will meet again, I hope so..I did not forget my promise.”

He picks a little stones and throws it away and exhales noisily. “Why did it happen?” he asks himself.

He is not expecting that his childhood Areana Frenzy is waiting him and hoping that their friendship will go beyond.

In his only one week of staying in their house, he notices that this girl is so close in his family.

“Mom, dad you already know that I have a wife to be in Philippines.” He complained when his parents is pushing him to marry Areana.

“I don’t love her, neither likes her, there is someone who owns me, my heart,” he continued.

“We don’t like Fiona! “his mother exclaimed.

“I don’t care!” he answers then turned his back.

One day, he woke up that Aerana is in his bed, they are both naked. When he is about to confront his parents, suddenly his parents together with Aerana’s parents open the door.

He was so stun, the most is when Aerana’s father pointing a 45 caliber of gun and utters “Marry my daughter!”

Almost we want to end his life only not to marry his childhood friend. He doesn’t what to do, so he prefers not to communicate Fiona to make the thing not to go downhill.

“My love for you Fiona never fades, I will ask apology to you, before I will die.” His muttering, then he climbed up with his feet and removed the sand that sticks in his pants.

The next day, his family was so surprise when in the middle of mealtime; he says that he will go to Philippines alone.

Some of his children want to go with him, but he refuses.

“I will go there by myself no one could stop me either.” Then he stands from his seats and turns his back in the table.

He knew that he seemed not to be a good husband either a father in his family, especially in his wife. He knows that he’s not this kind of a man but he’s not a good pretender.

Despite that he dwells in a very cold place, he feels that he is living in the midst of hell.

Leading his way to Philippines, he feels a mix of emotions. There are a lot of things circulating in his head. He is so anxious. He does a lot of negative expectation when he is thinking about their meeting to be.

Only he puts his hand under his chin and peeks in the window where only he sees a thick clouds.

The airplane landed safe and sound. The sun shines strikingly so it emphasized his wrinkled face more. He can no longer bear the heat of the sun in Philippines so he hurriedly looks for a vehicle that will bring him way to hotel.

At last he is now checking-in in his chosen pad.

After resting for an hour, he immediately makes his way to his goal, the beach where he made his promise.

He can still remember the place. It never change so much. It’s still peaceful and indeed stills a very good spot for meditation. He was tempted to walk with bare footed so he removes his slippers. He walks along the place and not too far from him, he saw an old woman. He cannot figure out the image so much, only it wears a white clothes and facing sunset. With curiousness, he goes near with woman she saw and about to approach or something to greet but the woman greeted him first.

“It’s been fity-five years Armith, why you didn’t call.” said the old woman in a cold voice.

He was so surprise.

“Why do you know me?” actually he can feel it but only want to ensure.

“Armith, don’t act as if you don’t know me.” The old woman answered in a deep voice.

“I mean how you know it’s me, I now recognized who you are, because of your mole in your face, but may I know how do you know me?” he asks again.

“I already bought this beach, Armith. Despite you married Aerana, I am still holding your promise. “The old woman explained.

“uuuuhhhhhh……Thank… you …for keeping my promise, I do not deserve for that, but of course, I am not only the one who can go in this beach, how do you notice me and how do you know my story?” asking surprisingly.

“Have you notice anyone is walking here aside from me?” the old woman asks sarcastically.

“As I notice, none” he answered.

“It’s because, only your name is the only person aside from my family that I allowed to enter here. I never change the place for it is not a business purpose, instead it’s for memories.” The old woman tells it in his face. “As your story,” Fiona’s continuing. “I was at the back of the seats during the ceremony of your wedding. I came in USA because your cousins, informed me before your wedding. Just to confront you and make an enclosure as well, but I can’t bear, especially when you said the word “I do”.”

He lowers his face and wiped his tears. “I am so sorry”.. He is about to kneel when thunder comes.

“It’s going to be rain” Fiona’s says.”

“Let me guide you in your walking, I will wholeheartedly giving my care.” He insists.

“No, “said Fiona adamantly. “I can manage.” She refuses.

“I insist my dear” he still persisted.

“Don’t ever call me dear, you are not the man I loved. You are a great man but your cowardice is greater than you! It doesn’t mean that I am here still waiting for you because I still believe on you. I am keeping your promise because I want to say that you are the biggest liar I ever met.” Then she turns her back without asking any help though she walks already so slow.

“Fiona, I.. miss you, I want to hug you..” explained by him and hoping that Fiona will stop walking and facing him again.

He succeeded to make Fiona turns her back, but he was failed to hear the words he is craving for, the forgiveness, instead he heard another abrasion words.

“My love for you Armith is the same as my love when you left me. “ Fiona tells when she stops. “But you know, the moment you said the “I do” in the ceremony of your wedding makes my heart to shuts the door for love. I hate you… I hate you..I prefer to die, why you come back?” then she steps away.

“I want to have a last walk for you..” He yielded.

But he never heard any response.

Armith done nothing, instead he told to himself that no one could stop him, even Fiona will hit him.

Then all of a sudden, there was a lady coming beside him and call his name.

“Mr. Armith?” asks by a lady.

She extends her hand showing of making friend in a sitting along the beach.

“Yeah, sure I am, how do you know me?” he asks.

“I am Fiona’s niece, my name is Mary, and she told me about you. I already know all. You are only the stranger man who can pass here.” She explains.

“Oh, yeah”, he says upon climbing his feet on the sand and responding the extended hand. “She told here lately before you come here, I was with her, oh, she changed, and she’s not that sweet, well what I am expecting?” he says it upon smiling.

The girl curled her head, showing that she almost can’t believe.

“Oh, you are not believing!” he asks the lady when he notices the face of the talking person is in doubt.

“No, I mean, yes, I believe in you but…. Tita is in her room for almost a year. She is in comatose. Yes, I know she always waits you here, but it’s impossible for now..” the girls explained. “I was from her room before I came here..” She added.

“That’s madness, don’t tell me that I talk with a ghost!” he exclaimed. “But she’s wearing white long clothes when I am talking with her.” He says.

“That’s her clothes in her last come here. Anyway, to make you believe, go with me.” The girl invites.

Along the way, he can’t still believe. There so much thing spinning in his head.

As he steps the door of Fiona, there he proofs that her niece never lied. It has a lot of apparatuses aiding to extend her life. Immediately, he goes and embraces Fiona, not so tight but full of passion, full of love.

“Oh, Fiona, I am so sorry, I didn’t mean.. I didn’t” he cries so much. “ I wish I am the man besides you when you are suffering, I am your slave, couldn’t you remember our jokes before?” he’s talking to the woman that is in a very deep sleep.

He is holding her sweethearts hand when the door creaks.

“Oh, It’s you Mary, anyway, if you don’t mind, where is her husband right now?” asking of curiosity.

“Oh! Sir.” The girl smiles upon approaching toward him and holding the tray of coffee. “She has no husband”.

“But why is she has a son in that portray?” pointing out the picture that was framed in a silver lined glassy frame.

“Oh yeah, that boy is indeed her son, but he has no husband. Her actually husband was married to another woman. You know whom am I pointing, isn’t it? That man named Armith, he’s your son.” Mary’s revelations

“Oh, God” He whispers.

He almost can’t believe what he had heard, but the aura of the man in the portray proving their similarity. After awhile the door opens.

“Who’s that man?”Ask by an approaching man to Mary upon leading Fiona’s bed.

The man is Fifties at age with a height of almost 6’. It still has a good body built despite of a numbered white hair.

“He’s Mr. Armith Smith” acknowledged by Mary.

“Oh!,” said by the newly coming man. “A man of where my name derived from.” He told it upon staring at Mr. Armith directly.

“You’re my father; even you are still not introducing yourself. Anyway, I am too old to act the way I must acting, but I am only a human. I was hurt. I will ask you so many things, but not here in my mother’s front. Time will come..time will come. Anyway I’m glad to meet you, sir.” Then he extends shaking his hand with the man that he knew it was his father. “If you don’t mind, I will be away.” Then he exits.

He was left in a frozen feet. He don’t know how to act, how to approach or how to interact. The only thing in his mind now is it’s his son.

Upon standing near the bed of the woman he loved. There is an unexpected happening.

He heard a voice coming from the laid woman.

“Uhhhhhhhm” moaned by Fiona.

All is so surprise. They all feel the same, a feeling that they thought they are only dreaming.

It moans again.

From then, they proof that it’s true.

Fiona is coming back!

Immediately, they give their response. Mary calls the doctor and he suddenly embraces the newly awake woman.

“You came back! You come back my dear,” he told it so passionately. He is holding Fiona’s hand when his son goes back again.

“Ma,” he immediately approaches. “Welcome back!” and also holding the other hand of her mother putting near in his face.

“Oh, my Armiths’” Fiona told as she opens her eyes.

After one week, Armiths’ successfully to gains back the strength of their Fiona.

Actually, the two Armiths are not yet have a good relationship but for the sake of their Fiona, they act so well. As if there is no hurt aches to be recall.

He stays at Fiona’s place to spend his last moment.

One day, after a month. Fiona asks to goes back again along the beach and it was agreed by him.

They are holding their hands upon walking along the white beach.

“Fiona.. Dear…I am so sorry,” his starting of apology.

“Oh… “Fiona’s responded. “I already did. “Her wrinkles face smiles.

He looks at Fiona in a skeptical way. “But how?” he wonders.

“In my dream, I already forgive you in my dream.” Fiona’s answered.

He remembers the day he met Fiona in this place.

“It’s not a dream, Fiona… its true, I believe in my heart.” He says.

“I know,” she answered, “Thanks for having a walk with me together in my last days.” Fiona tells in a soft voice.

“I know this is too short, I could still remember our promise dear.” He says it but still continuing to walk with their bare foot.

“Let’s forget that Armith, I know I will not live too long, I am cherishing happiness dear, anyway, how about you family there in United States?” Fiona asks.

“Forget them, they steal my happiness so did I, I love you so much Fiona..” he tells it in a sweet voice of a common old.

“Oh, dear, I craved for that to hear from you for almost fifty-five years. “She softly answers and stares to his old lover. “Armith you’re my all.”

“Oh, anyway” interrupted by him. “I want to give you something” then he get some kind of a little box from his pocket. “This is supposed to be the ring that I must give it to you when I get back here” he response upon holding the wrinkled hand of Fiona.

“Oh!” Fiona gasps. “You are so sweet, we’re just like a teenager, “ she added.

“Only our appearance gets old but our hearts never” he says. “You kid me, it’s so beautiful, but it’s supposed to be in your wife, isn’t it?” asking by Fiona.

“Oh, my parents provided that, they are the one who like that woman so they must the one who do something special in her, anyway I keep that diamond ring for almost half century, it’s an antique” he diverst the story.

“Oh. I see” Fiona replied. “I love you Armith….”

“Oh, can I hug my lady?” he asks.

“Of course, maybe it’s not a lady, but granny either”

“No!” he refuses. “You are my everlasting Fiona… I love you so much...”

They embrace each other, as if they went back past fifty-five years.

Their footprint along the beach reveals that the unfinished love has already a happy ending.

-The end_


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