Marlboro Man Part 1
Never she thought her love life could have ended this way.
The sea breeze blew onto her face, lifting her hair wildly in the air. Her eyes stared blindly into the open sea and pretty much on every other thing it had in it that day; flying seagulls, small fishing boats that docked right next to a miniature harbor, floating empty colorful plastic bottles and white carpet of bubbles that formed from the smashing waves, among other things. Everything seemed to be easily visible from where she was sitting - on a high sea wall at the end of the jetty that by then was already empty. In her hand she held her mobile phone. She took a look at it, at a message that had been showing for some time now.
"I am so sorry."
A teardrop flowed just as automatically as she finished reading the text message. The drop formed a shiny trail on her soft, lovely cheek. She wiped it off with an end of her gray cotton cardigan, and she lifted her head again looking at the setting sun at the sea horizon. She let out a small sigh. She tried to smile to the fact that this time she had again faced the same difficulties all over again, in the pursuit to find someone she could finally call a lover, but she found it a very hard thing to do. She tried to smile again, but she only ended up in a terrible breakdown. She put away her mobile phone and hugged around herself as if she was trying to warm herself up from the blowing cold wind, but one who observes very well could tell that she was crying herself out, simply by pointing to fact that her shoulder shook every time she sobbed.
And this is what a gentleman, not quite further away from her, was doing without her knowing.
For a total count of fourteen days, a complete fortnight.
* * *
She had been looking for long.
All around the places she went, she looked for someone she could not only fall in love with, but also to live her life with to an unsuspecting end sometime in the future. She met a lot of potential men, and actually had a number of them, but to no avail always she ended up being alone, back to square one. This had been going on for so many times that many of her friends, upon being asked, will tell in the most philosophical way that she had been going in circles, in what we usually refer to as a cycle. And they usually continue to say that, the rat race will never end, one part because she was a stubborn lady, and one part because she never really did learn her lessons. And this had caused her so much heartbreaks that it broke their hearts too just to look at her every time a guy left her behind for whatever reasons, never mind valid or completely ridiculous.
It had been months since she last attempted to love again. She gave up loving men some time before that, but she decided to give another one last try, the same thing she did every time her love journey ended in a complete catastrophe.
She found a man from which she could easily describe as the man she had been looking for all these time, topping all the other men whom she had dated and in the end left her astray. Not only he was good looking, he too had a successful career, stable income, and some property assets that could easily blow one's mind to a complete 'Whoa' every time they are looked at. He was indeed a gentleman as well, the sort of person who was soft-spoken, highly mannered, completely cultured and somewhat very intelligent as well. Witty, charming, lovely, among other characteristics. Upon knowing this, she went totally and completely head over heels, and so did he. For six months long, these two love birds flew around together.
It was the best love experience she had ever had so far. She had never been so happy. And it was easy for her to in the end concluded him as someone who has everything it takes to be a good husband. She was very looking forward to becoming his wife.
Little that she knew that this man who has everything, also has a wife.
* * *
She wiped her tears away with the end of her cardigan before she lifted her head to look at the person who had just greeted her. She stared at him for quite sometime before she recognized him.
"Oh isn't it you again," she said as she pulled back her head and fixed her messy hair.
"Well yep it is me again," he replied as he sat next to her. He put his cigarette pack and his lighter on her mobile phone. He swung his hanging legs back and forth quite happily. He looked at her as she tied her hair into a bun.
"Don't do that," she said. "Stop looking at me."
"Fine," he replied shortly. He tapped the ash off his cigarette using a finger, put on a smile and threw his looks at the open sea instead, now shining prettily in variation of golden colors from the setting sun.
She continued to tie her hair, and while she was at it she peeked at him. He was a dark-skinned man, unlike all the fair-skinned men she always had prefer. He wore what appeared to be an aged pair of glasses that has visible scratch marks on both lenses. He took a puff of his cigarette and let the smoke out slowly as if he was really enjoying its bitter, rich taste of burnt tobacco. She frowned and tried to blow the smoke away but failed miserably. She coughed a little.
He took a look at her. He noticed that her eyes were sored and red. Her tired eyes were surrounded with dark circles, and her skin looked pale this time around. Though her hair was tied to what appeared to be a bun, it was still as messy. Her lips were dry, she looked pretty much wasted. She did not notice this, since her eyes were both on the cigarette he was holding.
This reminded him to the first time she met her.
* * *
Waving coconut trees looked inviting.
It was all sunshine and mildly blowing wind at the southern part of this little island. She had just set her foot on the sandy beach, but little in mind she had the idea to even go for a dip in the ocean. She preferred to just sit down under one of the shady trees and put on her glasses, enjoying the view. Slowly her mind crept back into past memories.
She used to do this, looking at the open sea, with him - the man she thought will one day be her husband - only in the end to know that he was already one to someone else. Without a delay she started weeping again. She was always a crybaby, especially when it comes to love disappointments.
"Lost a lover, eh?"
She turned to her side where the voice was first heard but could not find anyone. She turned to the other side and still she could not find anybody. This scared her out a little, until she looked up and saw a man was sitting on one of the tree branches. How come she did not notice him up there all these while?
"Why do you care, stranger," she replied in her trembling voice, one reason because she was still weeping, and another because she was still surprised with his unsuspected appearance.
"Of course I do," he said as he swung his legs forward and jumped fashionably to the ground, only to find himself ended up in a completely failed landing attempt, resulted to him falling flat on his stomach with a part of his face slammed straight onto the soft layer of sand with quite a notable thud. He quickly stood up and cleaned himself up while she was still sitting, looking at him and wondered about what had just happened.
He put on his glasses and turned around to face her.
"Hello," he said.
"Hello," she replied back. She fixed her hair and her singlet.
"Cigarette?" he asked as he offered her his pack of Marlboro.
"No," she said. "I don't smoke. I have asthma."
"Uh huh," he replied as he lighted up a cigarette and sat three foot away from her. He took a long puff and let the smoke out. "So you lost a lover huh?"
"I don't want to talk about it." She fixed her glasses again. "Just leave me alone."
"Well why not? Come on." He took another long puff. She coughed a little.
"Because I don't want to," she said in such a tone that scares every little cat away. "Because it hurts me."
"Well does it now," he spoke in a lower voice and shook his head up and down slowly.
"It does." She started to lose her temper (one of her traits that usually go a little bit extreme at times other than being a cry-baby) and before she really did, she packed up her things and prepared to leave.
"Leaving already?" he asked. "Why so suddenly?"
"Because you annoy me, mister," she said without even looking at him. "Plus I don't even know you."
"Well don't you want to? I'm single you know." He made a grin.
She lifted her bag and turned around to look at him in disgust.
"I don't date smokers for they all stink of tobacco. I hate it," she paused for a while and continued, "and too bad you are one of them."
And then she left. Just like that.
He tapped the ash off the cigarette and buried it into the sand.
His lips formed a smile slowly.
* * *
Ever since that day, he had been following her around. To the restaurant, the beach, the hotel balcony - he was pretty much everywhere on the island. And like the way she did on the very first time she met him as well, she resisted his company and his annoying burning stick of Marlboro at all cost. She could not stand the smell of cigarette, and he being all around her smoking while trying to make a conversation killed her bit by bit. There had been several times she came back all dizzy from his cigarette smoke she unwillingly inhaled.
But today she did not resist him anymore. She gave up to. After all, it was already the last evening she will be spending in the island before returning back to the city the next day. So much for a two-week vacation. She thought that by going for one she will somehow forget about the man she has been loving so much. She was dead wrong.
She had been having trouble eating and sleeping since a few days back. Most of the food she ate, she threw them up. Every time she slept, nightmares came haunting. And this had been giving her causes just enough to break down. And she did. Until he came over and sat next to her. And she just did not have the energy to shoo him away one last time. So she decided to give it a try anyway.
"You," she said to him with her eyes still staring at his cigarette. "Could you get me a Coke?"
"Err," he said. "Alright. Stay here."
He stood up and ran all along the jetty, almost a quarter mile long, to a convenient store near the entrance to the jetty. She looked at the way he ran and smiled to herself. What a persistent guy. Well at least he tried to impress. And he tried hard.
When he came back not ten minutes later sweating wet like a fish with two chilled cans of Coke in his hands, he saw her lying unconscious on the jetty floor.
Next to her was a halfway done cigarette, still lighted.
It was a Marlboro.
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