smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Mino

Linda

I suppose everyone thought it was a judgment; that Mino developed … his condition. When I walked along our street, people would point and stare. “She’s the one,” would be the least painful thing I would hear but it still felt like someone had thrown a bucket of paint at me so that everyone would know who to avoid.

Mike

I’ve been driving around forever. I should have been home hours ago, but everytime I hit that last intersection, I turn left instead of right. I don’t know what to do. 

Linda

Mino’s crying again. Oh God. What is he crying about? Today started out so well. I even thought I saw a glimmer of recognition in his eyes when I propped up Mr. Berber on the floor across from him. Why isn’t Mike home yet? His phone just keeps ringing and ringing. 

Mike

Linda’s calling again. What the hell does she want me to say? I can’t do this. I can’t do this.

Mike

“Joan?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m five minutes away. Is this a good time?”

“It’s always a good time, baby.”

“Don’t you have prelims tomorrow?”

“I can study at the law office tomorrow.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

Linda

Mino mino mino mino mino. Please stop crying baby. Please. Mommy’s heart is broken already. Please baby. Just go to sleep, baby. Please …

Joan

His heart wasn’t in it. How long is this going to go on? Why doesn’t he just leave his wife? When he comes out of the bathroom, he’s gonna be all dressed and ready to leave. Again. I love you Mike. Can’t you understand that?

Mike

She’s waiting for me to come out. She always pretends to be asleep but she never is. You’re a lucky man, Mike. To have a girl like her. At least she knows that this is as far as it goes with us. I really need to get her something, a watch or something. 

Linda

2 am? I’m not even going to ask him where he’s been. How many late night meetings can a mid-level manager have anyway? He thinks I’m an idiot. Besides, he doesn’t even ask about Mino anymore.

Mike

I want to ask, but if I do, we’ll end up fighting and crying about this til the morning. Its not worth it. 

“Linda. I know you’re awake. I left some papers on the table. If you sign it, we can enroll Mino at this great place for … y’know. For kids like him. They have dormitories and 24 hour nursing support. It’ll be expensive but I think it’ll be worth it.”

“G’night.”

Linda

No. 

 

Linda left Mike the following day, taking two-year old Mino with her. She started a tutorial service in the suburbs that let her spend more time with Mino than she could when she worked for a business in Makati. She’s met someone new. They have dinner with Mino everynight.

Joan left Mike about a week later.  She quit the law firm, working now only for a bachelor of laws degree. Her teachers all feel she has a shot at placing in the Bar, especially considering how she avoids romantic entanglements. They all think it’s about focus. 

Mike eventually went to Dubai to work as an engineer. He blogs about the son he lost.

Mino is now four years old and responding well to therapy and love. He no longer cries at night.


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