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Mar 23, 2009

The Other Side (Part 1)

Tomorrow Christan will die.

How is he? How critical? Make sure he gets all the treatment he needs. I want the best specialists, you hear me?

He just arrived from Shenzhen – a day before his death – after cutting his business trip short. As soon as he learned about the emergency, he cancelled his entire itinerary and took the first flight back to Manila. He ordered his driver to take the quickest route to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. It was a matter of life and death but the traffic along Zapote Road was indifferent. He could do no more than call the hospital and demand the best service his money could buy. He was forced to observe the congested city road, how it restricted life’s requirement for motion.

The third time he looked, his Cartier told him that it was already 2:15. The heat from the sun radiated through the rear window stinging his aging nape. Loosening his necktie, he moved to the shaded area in the backseat. He rolled down the window and stuck his head out. His eyes ran as far as it could, assessing how much longer he should bear to be in his leather seat. His fingers were playing with a gold crucifix that hung on his neck while wishing the traffic light to turn green. His mind, trying to escape his current predicament, took a trip to the past.

Do you really have to go? I don’t get why you have to expand your business overseas. You have more than enough. You have no idea how hard it is to wait.

Henry’s question has been circling his head. Christan gave logical, practical and even poetic answers the first few times Henry asked him – it was for their future; it was a financial adventure; it wasn’t expansion, it was diversification; you couldn’t rely on just one business alone; he wanted to tour the world with him when they retire, early; life, including money and business, is about growth, not stagnation. All his previous answers seemed irrational as the fear of arriving too late hit him. He suddenly felt he shouldn’t have gone.

***

Hang on, Henry. Please. I’m coming.

Christan pushed the ‘close’ button repeatedly not bothering to know if anyone would want to get in. Watching the electronic display count from 2 to 5 could have been the longest minute in his life. He jolted out between the half open sliding doors, not knowing whether to go left or right. He dashed under a lintel labeled “TO ICU”. He swerved trying to avoid a couple of nurses and wheelchairs. He couldn’t comprehend why everybody moved slowly as if there was no urgency to heal. He reached Henry's room which was open. What he saw struck him motionless. He found it difficult to grasp for air even after sprinting – from the car to stop for information at the concierge then travelling via the elevator, and finally to the room with an empty bed.

A cleaning lady was changing the sheets. He looked at her with jaw dropped, eyes wide in astonishment and close to tears. The question would not escape his mouth. The cleaning lady, guessing what the speechless observer wanted to say, told him that the patient was transferred to the operating room. He heard it – operating room, not morgue. He prayed he heard her right.

Sorry sir but visitors can only go up to here. This is a delicate procedure and could possibly last for 6 hours. By that time, the visiting hours are over. Only one family member is allowed to stay with the patient overnight. His sister already left. Is it your turn to watch over the patient? Are you a family member?

The visitor shook his head with hesitation. The man in white closed the door, leaving Christan at the other side.

(Click here for continuation.)

11 comments:

gentle said...

impressive. :) pang debut novel ang dating. :) hehehe.

the geek said...

have to agree with gentle....

am thinking why christian will die the next day...i have a hunch, though..hehehe

Herbs D. said...

naks. sosyal. gusto ko siya teh.

Niel Camhalla said...

@gentle, short story lang. I can't imagine writing a novel when I haven't finished this story. And I started last Thursday pa.

@the geek, Christan's death won't be the surprise so I decide to get it out of the way. :)

@Herbs D., sige baka bisitahin ka nya... awooooo...

gentle said...

will be looking forward to what happens. so nakaligpit muna sina puypuy sa cabinet mo? baka mag-alburuto yang mga yan. hehehe.

tagabukid said...

makabagbag damdamin at nakakapigid hininga ang mga tagpo a. galing. yung second installment na agad.

:: cb :: said...

wow.. i'm glad di ko muna binasa to kanina sa office. i needed to be at home in comfortable clothes para ma-absorb ko siya. ang galing niel! talentedo ka talaga!

kelan yung part 2? bukas? bukas ha! hehe demanding?

katcarneo said...

Ay, bitin! I enjoyed reading this very much, Niel.

[G] said...

mga jetsetters ang bida. ano ang sakit nya? abangan.

PUSANG-gala said...

is this a real life story? if it is----I donno what to say--I am still confused as to what is happening but it surely made me very curious----and anxious for the next part.......

Niel Camhalla said...

@gentle, ay wala si puypuy sa cabinet. nakasakay sa jeep sa ibabaw ng corner table. :)

@PUSANG-gala, the confusion was deliberate on my part.

@Everyone, Thanks guys! Medyo nahihirapan talaga ako ituloy. Dami kasi gumugulo sa isip ko lalo na ang work. Hehehe.

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