Sunday, March 11, 2012

Her Stilettos Did Not Save Her

[Part 3 of the "Sketches of Kitsch" series]

MELISSA WAILED at the sight of Vinci — or what used to be Vinci, a two-month old Shitzu now reduced into splattered internal organs and bloodied fur — on the street in front of the university chapel. Pedestrians and onlookers watched her sulk in agony, strangers who were no more than terrified at the dead brute. She cried as if she was now a widow who was destined to inherit nothing more than a little dog soon in rigor mortis and the vaccination papers whose sole function now is to remind her that a puppy named Vinci once came into her hands as easily as David swiped his credit card, which was an extension of his mother’s VISA. Melissa did not know what to do with a fifteen-thousand peso dog lying dead on warm concrete, so she decided to call David and inform him of the sad spectacle.

“Speak mortal,” he said on the other end of the line, “or forever keep your silence.” She could hear him catch his breath. It somehow annoyed her for a while.

“Vinci is dead,” gasped Melissa, her voice partly hoarse. “He’s been run over. Poor Vinci, my poor little dog.” She burst into tears. Again.

Melissa waited for his voice and the words that will soothe her, calm her, like balm on badly wounded flesh. Nothing else was said at the other end, only panting, a sequence of heavy breathing, the occasional chatter of students going their way, and the crunch of heavy footsteps on gravel and dry leaves.

“Get me a new one, David,” Melissa intoned, “I can’t stand not having another puppy. It’s tearing my heart to bits.” She tried to sob to drive her point.

A stranger who took pity on Vinci, dead as a rock, tried to approach Melissa. In an effort to console her, the stranger attempted to strike a conversation while Melissa sought David’s sympathy over the phone. Melissa noticed the stranger, but she instinctively turned her back before the other person could open her mouth.

“You know how the girls will treat me,” Melissa continued, her tears now starting to dry up. “Without a puppy of my own, God David, you know it’s like so nakakahiya for me.”

The stranger suddenly exploded in a fit of laughter and started to walk away. Melissa turned to face the stranger and confront her for the disrespect, the misplaced comedy, the insult she thought she does not deserve, the palm of her free hand ready to land on the stranger’s cheek, but Melissa saw she was now all by herself, alone on the side of the road with a dead dog and clueless as to where she is supposed to go. She thought of iced coffee, of all things, and her mind could almost taste the sweet blend pushing down her throat.

“Fine. If you won’t say anything, let’s meet later na lang instead. I’ll have to go na and buy some Starbucks to comfort me.” And so without bidding David adieu, Melissa hailed a taxi that wheeled over Vinci’s cracked little skull before it stopped in front of her. Inside the cab, she wiped the sweat around her neck with a tissue and asked the driver to turn the air-conditioning one level higher, for outside the heat grew more intense, the early afternoon breeze nowhere to brush through the leaves and twigs. The taxi swerved to the left until it passed the southern gate, immediately pressing through the highway traffic that has begun to turn moderately heavy, all the vehicles caught in smoke and heat and the occasional wayward pedestrian jaywalking wherever the road provided enough opening to hurry through.

Melissa tried to recall what happened. To her, it was just another ordinary walk with Vinci in tow, his leash tugging him back, holding him in safe distance, keeping him from straying away where she could see neither him nor his furry white ears. She held the leash as tight as she could, and her grip could not have been any stronger, what with her skinny limbs touted to rule the world of anorexic socialites where everything is spoken in the language of largesse. But the intersection proved to be fateful. Her grip could not have possible prevented the leash from slipping off her hand when a man on a bike suddenly, unexpectedly hit her wrist. The bicycle was moving too fast down the slope that leveled at the crossroad. The force of the contact was hard enough to cause her to inadvertently let go of Vinci’s leash. In a split second, the little Shitzu scampered away, leaving Melissa running after the dog even if her red stilettos slowed and weighed her down.

The man did not even stop to apologize, she mused to herself.

“Nandito na po tayo, ma’am,” the taxi driver quipped, his baritone voice stirring Melissa back to life. She paid the fare and stepped out of the cab like a regal actress about to strut down the red carpet. As she walked toward the coffee shop, there were no cameras, no media personnel to capture her presence on tape and interview her for the rest of the hour. In fact, there was no one else around her. The shop was closed, its only door for entry and exit bolted thrice. Even the nearby stores seemed to vigil in complete silence.

Melissa looked around, her pouted lips trying to find someone to point at, to blame at the unannounced desertion of those who were supposed to comfort her in times like this. She walked further, farther, fuming mad and uncontrollably sweating amidst the hellish and sweltering inconvenience she was now in.

She thought she heard a gunshot, but she dismissed the idea. And then she thought she heard another shot, and then another, and then six or seven more. She stopped and tried to walk back, afraid of what was beyond the bend in the highway.

That was when she saw it. She fainted on the street, dropping knees first. Her stilettos did not save her.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like what I said before, your writing is remarkable. It brings vivid images to my thoughts, but really, I found this one quite disturbing. I don't mean that to be offensive at all, haha! I'm just really in love with dogs and reading this was rather painful. This is actually making me feel paranoid, haha.

Thank you for your suggestions, btw! I'll be searching them up :)