I was not sure when to start this story or where to begin. But it has to start from somewhere. So many things have changed since. My memory is not clear as it used to be or perhaps I don’t want to remember it anymore. But whether you like it or not, some things will stick with you forever.
It was early morning when I heard my phone started ringing.
‘Jerome, why the hell you are calling me this early’ I screamed.
‘What morning…do you know the time now..it’s almost noon Randi’ he was laughing at the other end.
‘Okay, okay, so what’s up now’ I lowered my tone.
‘Do you want to go Colombo 2000 tonight.. I got the tickets?’ he said.
‘Are you nuts..I am still half drunk from what I had last night..anyway I will call you in the evening..i need to sleep bit more’ I hanged the line.
Last night we had a party to celebrate my 21st birthday at a night club. I don’t really remember how I got my bed after the party. I get drunk quickly even with a small quantity of alcohol. Jerome must have called a taxi. He on the other hand can easily finish few bottles and remain sober. I usually don’t get into trouble for getting drunk as long as I don’t drive. However I am already feeling the changes happening in my life and the responsibilities ahead of me. Jerome lives few houses down the road and he is my childhood friend. We went to same school and grew up together. Between us, there are no secrets and we have seen, done almost everything together, so far. Because of the window curtains, my room is dark and I had no way of knowing the time past. I got up from the bed and went to washroom. By the time I came to dining table it was noon time. Mamma was reading the Sunday news papers.
‘Randika, drink that Kolakenda on the table. It must be getting cold now’ she said.
I started checking messages on the phone while taking sips.
‘Do you have any plans in the evening’ she asked.
‘Not sure, why is that?’ I replied while thinking about Jerome’s invitation.
‘Today is the anniversary of “Loku Aiyya and Akka’ ..So I was thinking of going to Bellanwila to offer almsgiving’ she said.
“Loku Aiyya and Akka’ she referring is my father (Ranjan Molligoda) and mother(Seetha Amarasooriya). They remained a just a shadow in my memory. I was just a toddler, when they died. Mamma is my father’s only sister and she is the one who took care of me as far as I remember. My father is from Kandy and mother from Weligama-Matara. They got married against the wished from both sides. Mamma said she was the only relative that was there to witness my parent’s marriage. Soon after their marriage, father left his job and started a business. Within a short time, they were into multiple business ventures. I heard it was father’s luck and mom’s intelligence that bought them quick success. It was strange that they had transferred them to my name even I was just a baby at that time. It seems like they were expecting something bad to happen to them. Once I asked Mamma how my parents died and all she said was they loved me so dearly. That was the first and last time I asked that question. Thanks to my parents, I had comfortable life so far and the businesses they started had grown over the years. For some reason, I never felt the need to take an active role in any of them. That evening we went Bellanwila. I was never a much of a religious person but had to join Mamma for this time. It was 9.30pm when we came home.
I got a text from Hasini. Hasini is Mamma’s own daughter. She and her brother (Sajith) is studying in Australia. They text me whenever they wanted to Skype with Mamma. This is the daily news exchange between Melbourne and Colombo. Their topics cover everything from local politics and hot gossips coming out of relatives. “Mahappa”, that is Momma’s husband died 5 years ago. When I was growing up, I realized it was my parent’s money that paid cousins education. I dint bother me as such. Last week, Mamma said whenever I am ready, she wants to hand in all business dealings to me and become “Dasa-Sil”. I cannot let that happened. Then who is going to wash my clothes and prepare favorite dishes? She was the only mother I knew and I owed her that much.
While Mamma was on the computer, Jerome came in. His mood was different though. Gone are the usual sparkling grey eyes. Jerome came from mix Burgher-Dutch family. He has a light copper skin and matching hair. Most of all, he had an intoxicating smile that draws almost anyone’s attention.
‘You look troubled..what is wrong’ I asked.
He didn’t say anything. Instead he pulled me into my room. My room is my fortress. No one (that include Mamma too) comes to my room unless I called them.
‘I wanted to tell you something and I was waiting for a good time’ he said
Now that makes me wonder.
‘Go on, I am listening' I said.
‘I had some kind of rash between my legs..this started few days ago and now I have mild fever..i am afraid this could be STD’ Jerome replied.
That almost broke me into laugh but I decided to put up a serious face. I know Jerome go out with lot of guys and girls..but he knows all of them and they are friends..so how could he gets STD. Anyways, he is my best friend and he needs an assurance and support this time.
‘Well I am no Clark Kent.. so I cannot see through your clothes’ I told.
Before I go further, he pulled down his pants. Unlike me, Jerome didn’t do active sports. Despite that he has an immaculate body. I guess it has something to do with his genes. I looked around the infected area and it seems like a just a skin rash. I felt his body arise, when I touched the sensitive area. I pretended not to noticed it.
‘Are you inspecting something else too’ when i looked up,he was smiling at me.
I pinched his bum.
‘You know what we should do..how about we pay a visit to Asitha tomorrow’ I suggested.
Asitha is our batch-mate who went to Medical College. Even though he is still studying, we call him whenever we need medical advice. In most cases it has something to do with getting drunk and passing out. It seems my suggestion did some help to calm him down.
‘You can sleep here tonight..Just let your boss know that you won’t be coming to the office tomorrow’ I told him.
Jerome often sleeps at our place as I do at his place. This happens especially when we watch a late night movie. That night we had dinner together. Mamma and Jerome got busy chatting about local politics. Thanks god they supported the same party. When I came to the bed, they were still talking. It seems I still have some hangover from last night. When Jerome came to bed, I must have fallen into half-asleep. He hugged me from behind and I felt his heartbeat and warm breath. Sweet, I thought.
‘Are you going to infect me as well?’ I said jokingly.
In a split second, he pulled himself to the corner of the bed. Bad joke at a bad time. I cursed myself.
'Hey, it was just a joke, you know i don't care about these things' I said apologetically.
'But it is true' he almost cried.
I grabbed him and pulled towards me. That is when i realized he wasn't wearing pants.
Part 2 next...
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