“Your Weekly Popcorn” is a collection of short stories written by Jake Arasim, staff blogger at The Arbiter.
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I’ve lived in the city of Steel ever since I was a kid. After Mom passed, Dad and I have lived on our own, until I moved on to college and had my own place to stay. Throughout my years of living in the great city, I’ve experienced nothing but rain. At my job as a pilot, I’m more commonly known as the Rain Bird, because every time I fly, it would rain, rain, rain … rain.
One day, I was flying from sunny Southern California back to Steel and as I was approaching the city, I noticed it was not raining. What was this?! Once I landed the plane, and was leaving the airport, it was still sunny outside, resulting in a most puzzled state.
“Hey, Rain Bird!” shouted a co-worker of mine. “It ain’t so rainy today, huh? So, I guess we can all call you Bird. Hey, I got a hot dog today, it’s pretty good.” He came up beside me, as we walked through the Steel city airport.
“Dude, a hot dog?” I replied with a smile. “Hot dogs are rare, Randy. Anyway, yeah, how about this weather, huh?”
Randy wasn’t paying attention to me, as he was chowing down on his hot dog. Apparently this moment meant a lot to him. He swallowed a large portion of his wiener, turned towards me again, and simply said, “Huh?”
We were approaching the baggage claim area, which was near where we usually parked our cars, and Randy was going at his hot dog like a human piranha on Christmas morning. I couldn’t help but stare at a woman, a beautiful woman, because why else would I look at someone who is ugly? As honest as I can be about that, this woman was not only beautiful, but she was simply majestic. She might as well be the whole reason why it was so gorgeous outside. I had to ask her out; it didn’t matter if I knew her or not! I’m a pilot, I’m a stud, let’s do this, RAIN BIRD! Make it rain magic!
I took a deep breath and walked towards the woman, who happened to be standing at the baggage claim, waiting for her luggage, I guess.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” I announced, “may I say that you are mighty–” At that moment, before I could finish my sentence, I slipped and fell backward on the slick floor, recently mopped by the airport janitors. The wind was knocked out of me and I couldn’t speak, even when the woman stood over me and helped me get up. I couldn’t help but say, “Hello, I’m a pilot” because I was so awestruck by this woman’s beauty. What was more magnificent was her fantastic voice and her fantastic smile. I ended up taking her out to dinner a week later. Two years later, I proposed to Havalina, who I loved very much. Ever since I met her on that day, the city of Steel had a breaking record of the sunniest days within those past two years.
I loved Havalina, her name reminded me of “Heaven,” including her smile and her gorgeous eyes. She was goofy, entertaining, supportive, and was serious when it was needed. She was my first fiancé, my first love, my first dove, the first to actually knit me a glove…
One day, all of that changed, when she died, of course. Havalina always loved rock climbing and after one mistake, it was fatal, and she was gone. I was in the middle of a flight to New England when she perished. I got the phone call once I landed.
“Bro, I’m so sorry,” Randy said over the phone. He sounded like he was going to cry, to cry for his best friend, whose fiancé just lost her life during a rock-climbing accident.
I wasn’t really sure how I felt after Randy, my friend since grade school, told me this. If anyone were to die, who was so dear to me, especially Havalina, I would never expect my best friend to be giving me the groundbreaking news that almost drove me to complete sanity. Now that I think of it, I was completely driven.
“Wow,” I chuckled, with a tear rolling down my cheek. “Just like that?” Randy remained silent and I didn’t blame him. Who would know what to say, after telling such devastating news? I wanted to hold my Havalina and rock her back and forth, like a gentle baby. My baby. Oh, but, she was gone, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, for I was stuck in New England; Steel City now thousands of miles away. “So, no more Havalina, then? No more seeing her bright smile in the morning? No more holding hands? No wedding? No wife, no kids? Randy, just stop bullshitting me and tell me what really happened.”
I wanted Randy to tell me anything, anything other than her dying. I knew he was telling the truth, but I couldn’t bear it. Havalina dying was like the breakup of the century. Instead of running off with another man, she ran off into Heaven. Oh, Havalina in Heaven.
Randy stuttered. “Sh-she’s gone. Look, man, I—“
I hung up and screamed at the top of my lungs, in front of many people, inside the New England airport. Whether they were staring with complete concern or not, I didn’t care, I yelled as loud as I could until my voice was almost gone. After screaming in mental agony, my throat completely scratched and hoarse, I took my briefcase and threw it, side-arm, at a massive window. The brief-case left only but a group of cracks, not completely shattering it. I took my expensive phone and shattered it with the bottom of my heel. I started bawling like a baby, although my wailing was raspy and harsh. I had a hard time breathing, as I sobbed with complete sadness and anger. Havalina, my baby girl, off to your new adventure. I couldn’t stop crying. I cried and cried, surrounded by people who had no idea who I was. I decided to run off, but I slipped and fell forward on the slick floor, which was recently mopped. Ironic, isn’t it?
I went to the funeral, of course. I had to attend, even though I felt the need to not do so. I was so not in the mood to watch my fiancé get buried six feet under. Randy was there, also, and my father, as well. I’m very happy my old man showed up, for I had not seen him for some amount of time. The funeral was quiet and calm (did I forget to mention that it was raining when I flew back home from New England? Because it did. And once it did, it was the worst rainy day Steel City had ever seen). I was a bit skeptical about the weather being completely quiet and calm. It was as if Mother Nature was being generous for Havalina. Her family members were distraught and full of tears. I was distraught, as well, but I couldn’t cry, for I had my fair share of that in New England. Boy, was I dead wrong about that statement because once I heard the priest speaking over Havalina’s casket, I lost it. I was hoping to hear a priest, which would cue me to say “I do,” when Havalina and I would be getting married.
Instead of hearing the priest ask, “Will you take Havalina to be your wife, your partner in life and your one true love? Will you cherish her friendship and love her today, tomorrow and forever? Will you trust and honor her, laugh with her and cry with her? Will you be faithful through good times and bad, in sickness and in health as long as you both shall live?”
No, instead I heard the priest say, “Let us commend Havalina to the mercy of God,” and after a few prayers, with the casket lowering into Earth, “we therefore commit her body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.”
The funeral was over and I was the last one standing at Havalina’s gorgeous grave, which was completely surrounded by beautiful white roses. Those were her favorite. My father stood by my side, with one hand on my shoulder. He had been crying too and I’ve never felt so grateful to have him by my side. I turned around and gave him a hug, sobbing on his fancy tux. My father had raised me as his own, granting me the life I could never replace. At this time in need and sadness, my father was the only one who stayed with me that day of the funeral. The clouds were rolling over the city and it looked like it was about to rain. I looked in my dad’s eyes, which was almost like looking in my own, and wiped my tears. “Thanks, Dad. Thank you for everything.”
He smiled at me, and patted my shoulder. “No need to thank. I’m always here for you, bud. We’re best friends until the very end. I love you, Son.”
“I-I love you too, Dad,” I stuttered, for I couldn’t cry any more. At that moment, I noticed that the rain clouds had cleared, revealing the beautiful sun illuminating the cemetery.
“She’s up there, bud,” my dad said with certainty, “and she loves you very much.”
I smiled, with more tears coming down my cheeks. “Again, thanks Dad. So, want to go get a hot dog?”
My dad chuckled. He sounded perfectly healthy and full of happiness. If anyone else can light the sky, other than my beloved Havalina, it would be my dad. “Sure, why not? My treat.”