In Exile : Part 1


I hoisted up my sparkling water in the air. Everybody looked so glamurous and the room smelled like roses. I hated being the one who dressed up in a large button-down checkered shirt, tanktop and cargo shorts. I was not even wearing heels and sprayed my body with fragrances either. I hate being the one who look differently, in spite of being the one who had been keeping everybody waiting.

It was our first wedding anniversary and my adman cum husband, Glenn, has invited everyone, although I did not see familiar faces. He had transformed the evening, the way he liked it. Like Gatsby. Grand and youthful, with top 40-music blaring from the stereo, whirling pool, cocktail bar--even though I do not drink. I did not get the clue when my supervisor, Randy, called me up from the field and asked me to check my house, because, "something had happened." I grabbed my car key, started the engine and drove mad. As an investigative journalist with a spouse whose life story had been exposed a lot, I worried. I worried that armed somebody with personal grudge breached and broke into our house. We were aware that we had irritating professions, that's what made us such special couple, like no one else. It turned out that my worriness was a surprise party.

I worried that I smell like sunburnt when I held my hand high for a toast. I looked far and short. I found Glenn amongst the crowd. With his striking green eyes and black leather jacket. I could use him for a slowdance. I knew many of his colleagues, ad men and women, thought that I was not deserving of him. Maybe they thought I was, had been, less appealing as a spouse. They were right. I loved only wearing compact powder that match my complexion and smeared some lipbalm before I left house and nothing else.

I think I had held the drink for too long. "Cheers for my lovely husband, Glenn. I cannot wait to age, because I want to grow old with you."

He blew me a kiss.

Later that night, when everyone had left us with reckless party abandon, he kissed me passionately on the top of the cocktail bar. I tasted every bit of him. My skin brittles when he leaned his shaved facial hair against me. He lifted my body on his arm and walked me into bed without his lips not leaving mine. Cold wind blew across my bare skin and his muscles pounded against my body. I could not ask for more. I used him for more than a slowdance. We both had such a good time. 

That night, he buried and slept under my neck while I was wide awake. Watching the ripple of the pool that reflected from our window door. Something had been missing.

It was two o'clock in the morning, and I stood by the doorframe of the office, surprising Randy genuinely.
"Jesus Christ, what are you doing here?"
I walked closer towards the part of the newsroom where Randy stood. He stood before a random photo collage over a board of map.
"Working." I answered short.
He winced. "Are you mad? I didn't call you. Go home. Glenn is looking for you. Isn't it tonight your anniversary?"
"Yes," I answered again, while tracing the lovemarks under my turtleneck with my finger. "Boring party, wasn't it?"
"Boring?! It was the best party. You served great cocktail."
"I didn't. Glenn served you... and the caterer too."
Unknowingly, Randy was glancing at me. "Do you have something you want to talk about?" He walked pass me to the pantry and brought back two cold bottle of lager. I normally liked to refuse an offer of alcoholic beverage but I made an excuse.
"I am in a doubt, Ran." I said without hesitation, and Randy chugged himself.
"What do you mean?"
"I do not know what I meant. I could not even define it. But, when I am in doubt. I always travel or go somewhere else that is foreign to me. Relying on Mother Earth to answer my self-doubt." then I stopped, "Do you have any assignment abroad?"
Glenn said, "You sound like a college student. Talking about travel."
I cackled bitterly and made a long, deep chug to the bottom of the bottle. Then only Randy said, "You know what? I have something for you."
I set my eyes and ears to him and he grinned at me. "But please, do not stay in here any longer. I do not want Glenn to think wrongly of me."
"I promise," I put down my beer bottle.
He answered me in two words, "Project Beirut."


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