Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
TITLE: WHEN HE CALLS AT 3 A.M.
By Joanna Jayaprakash
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“I’ve been drinking…I hope you’re not in your night dress,” he says before hanging up. “I’ll get changed,” she replies, as she takes off her cooling sleeveless short dress, jumps into a pair of jeans, and squeezes into a baby-t. She walks out of the house and he invites her into his car. She is nervous, but he’s come this far. ”Just go for it,” she convinces herself.
“He’s under the influence of alcohol. I should have known better…if anything goes on, it’s going to be an ‘after-effect’ of drinking and I’d be just a game to play,” she warns herself. She can’t yield to what he wants. Just a kiss probably isn’t too much to ask for, but she is not used to this. She is afraid of where it may lead. As he advances closer, the reek of alcohol reaches her nostrils, reminding her that she will be a game.
She just can’t let herself flow with the emotions that are filling the air. He tells her to look into his eyes, but she just cannot do it. Flashbacks from the past come haunting into her mind; images of what shouldn’t have been, emotions she shouldn’t have felt, things she shouldn’t have seen – way beyond her time. She realizes she hasn’t fully let go of her past. And all those thoughts about right and wrong – morals and values – they hold her back. The only thing she can do is stare out the window.
He tells her to leave; he opens the door for her but she doesn’t want to go. She cherishes the time spent together and his company is all she asks for. Her hands reach for his, and she is touched that he allows it, even with all the anger that she has caused. As she gently fits her fingers in between his, she feels a ring around his finger. Yes, a ring – condemning her foolishness for treasuring that moment. What was she doing with someone who couldn’t belong? What is right or wrong to him? In his life, she is nothing but another passing thing. Fully aware of that painful fact, she still stays on, with her hands clasped in his. But why? She feels like crying, but she tells herself, “Just remember what is nice…this once is all you’ve got.”
More than one hour of undefined silent moments elapse. A still voice within her questions, “In the end, what really matters to you? – God.” She finally leaves. She calls him the next day to make sure he’s ok, and to console herself that that meeting at 3 a.m. did mean a little more. To know he answers and that he is still there, provides great solace.
As weeks pass, she somehow feels that she needs to straighten up her life. She knows he doesn’t want to hurt her. He is just being nice by still standing there. She somehow understands that. He can be blunt, but he is honest. In an inexplicable way, he has been a friend, slowly helping her get over her past. But she also knows that ‘friendship’ is the very thing that camouflaged whatever that was more. Subconsciously, he is like a rope that she hangs on to; a support that is stronger than herself. But she senses the time is coming for her to let go. She must walk the path alone.
Angelina realizes that she is the biggest joke of all time when he calls and tells her exactly what she needs to hear – the very words she is supposed to say. However, her heart is reluctant to execute what her mind knows to be right thing to do. Only distance can hide the emotions that run down her face. The charade has to end...It is not easy at all, but by God’s grace, it has.
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