Call My Love Pain is a short story by Reiu Somao-I and shared with The Ugly Writers under the theme Through My Eyes for the month of March
Call My Love Pain
“Let’s break up, Gail.”
“Okay.” I replied shortly.
He looked at me with disdain. The man who adored and loved me for three years suddenly turned into a stranger.
“Won’t you even ask me the reason why I’m breaking up with you?”
Pain. It was slowly crawling inside me but I needed to stay calm. “I know it already. Evidence is in your collar, Sieg.”
He became flustered as he took a glimpse at his collar. There was a red lipstick tint on it.
“It’s your fault! You’ve become boring and you suddenly turned into a villainess who hurts innocent people.”
Pain. I was on the verge of breaking down.
“Did I? I hope that you’ll be well and happy.”
I turned my back and walked away. I could no longer bear the pain not only because my heart was breaking but because my body won’t even cooperate.
I drove to the nearest clinic where I frequently visit. The doctor there knew me well. Despite the excruciating pain I’m feeling, I managed to arrive safely in the clinic but collapsed as soon as I stepped in while my dress was already stained with blood.
“Are you crazy? Why would you push yourself to your limit again? Do you really want to die now?” I immediately heard the doctor yell at me as soon as he saw me opened my eyes.
“Brat! You are making me angry. Take a rest. I’ll give you a pain reliever.”
“Will that help me mend my broken heart too?”
“What do you mean?”
I told him what happened and he just listened to me quietly. Afterwards, he heaved a deep sigh. “Why won’t you cry then?”
I looked at him and smiled. “It would bring me more pain if I did. You told me not to be too emotional right?”
“But don’t let it all bottled up, that would result in stress.”
“I’m good. I can take care of it by myself.”
“You always did. How can I even forget that?”
I met Dr. Smith when I was just eight years old. I was an illegitimate child of a well-known family in the capital city, the family of Henderson.
I grew up with a very dramatic life that one would often read in a novel or see in a movie. I never received proper treatment nor affection from my biological father. I was mistreated by the madam of the house, my stepmother and my half-siblings. In short, I was unwelcomed. They don’t even expect anything from me.
One incident led to another which made me run to save my pitiful self. I was accused of stealing an enormous amount of jewellery from the madam. I obviously didn’t do it but as expected, no one believed me. They were planning to sell me off or send me to prison for the crime I have not committed. I ran away and they finally put pot money on my head.
My life suddenly turned into a thriller. I was constantly running away whenever people would recognize me because they would eventually sell me off to the authorities.
I ran desperately everytime. I survived by scavenging the dumpsters and garbage cans of some restaurants. In the end, I decided to hide my identity and use the name Gail Pittman and throw my real name Evengail Henderson.
One time, I collapsed due to severe bleeding because I was stabbed by the thugs whom I was working with. When we were done with the job, they wanted to take my share but I was clever enough to not trust them and immediately ran away. Unfortunately, one of them caught me and was able to stab me in my stomach. I thought it was my end but I luckily collapsed in front of Dr. Smith’s clinic.
From then on, I became a regular in his clinic. He was kind enough to treat me whenever I was in trouble. I started to work to earn money even if it’s just menial jobs. Dr. Smith recommended me to work under a certain person he knew and I got accepted.
It was not easy because just like before, I was treated like a slave but as soon as they saw my sincerity, they started to trust me, especially my boss, Mrs. Ginny Allendale. She’s a middle-aged woman operating a large scale manufacturing company of different products.
I worked hard day and night and finally, she was convinced that I was a reliable person.
“Can you handle it? I’m giving you the Mortel District.” She offered it to me.
With eagerness, I accepted the task and became the person assigned to the Mortel District operation. It changed my life.
“Why don’t you take my advice and retire already? Have the surgery.” Dr. Smith stated.
“For what? That’s just a waste. Let me bother you until the end.”
I found out a few months ago that I have stomach cancer. I can still get through it if I agreed to undergo medication but I didn’t pay attention to it.
My ex boyfriend said I became a villainess and boring. He was the only man I’ve had an interest in. He didn’t even know the nature of my job but he accepted me. Yet, it didn’t even cross my mind that he would turn his back on me just like how my family betrayed me.
“I thought you were going to marry that man?” Dr. Smith asked.
“I thought so too. Guess I’m just not suited to it. I need to go back now.”
Returning to an empty house, it was a natural thing and it served as my own sanctuary, a resting place. I was already satisfied with what I have achieved so far and I couldn’t ask for more. But, if I would have a chance to build my own family, I would like to have that. Unfortunately, my time is running out.
Back to business, I went on inspection again with a few of my men in Mortel District. People would greet me with a smile and would offer me some of the products they are selling. Overall,the territory is doing well.
Suddenly a call from the boss came and told me to report to her place. I immediately heeded her call and went to the main mansion where my boss was residing.
“Gail Pittman, reporting in.”
“Goodness. When are you going to drop that formality? Take a seat.” Mrs. Ginny said.
I did as I was told. Sitting in a large and long rectangular table together with the other executives means there’s going to be a big announcement from her.
“I’m glad that everyone is here. As you all know, our group has successfully expanded our territory and ventures. However, to become more stable we needed to have strong connections within the region.”
“Are we talking about the Graysons?” Melvin, one of the executives, asked.
“Indeed. We need their support but the biggest problem is their next head in line, Cairo Grayson.”
I heard grunts, sighs and other expressions of annoyance the moment Mrs. Ginny mentioned the young head of the Graysons.
“He’s hard to please. That jerk is the coldest, surpassing Antarctica. He’s the guy who can’t be moved.” Evans, another executive commented.
Mrs. Ginny chuckled. While the others looked so stressed, I, on the other hand, reacted differently. I didn’t know the guy personally. I just heard things about him but that’s all. I also had no chance to meet him since my rank was the lowest among the executives, actually, I could not even call myself an executive yet, maybe a trainee.
“Then, since all of you are now aware of our situation, please make sure to get the attention of Cairo and be on good terms with the Graysons. That is all, dismissed. Gail, stay please.”
After all the executives left, Mrs. Ginny and I only remained.
“How is Mortel, Gail?”
“Good. It’s lively as usual.”
“That’s good. I’ll get to the point now. Gail, the reason I asked you to stay is because I got news that Cairo was actually doing incognito in Mortel. Please look for him.”
I felt pressured all of a sudden but I could only agree and affirm Mrs. Ginny, I’ll do my best.
Returning to Mortel, I stroll around to just observe. I saw some men trying to extort something from a fruit stall along the street. I immediately interfered because no one could mess in my territory.
“What’s happening here?” I asked.
The tall and big man holding the collar of the poor fruit seller looked at me. “Who the hell are you? Scram little lady.”
He was about to hit the fruit seller after ignoring me but I swiftly hit him with my cane making his head bled.
“What the??!!” He shouted furiously. His men surrounded me. “Get her!!”
They tried to catch me but I moved faster than them. Compared to me who has been trying to survive in the streets all my life, they are just a bunch of thugs with big bellies. I hit them in their vital spots with my cane, enough to make them unable to move.
I looked at the big man with unmerciful eyes. “Don’t make a mess in my territory. Which group are you associated with? Leave Mortel and I won’t hunt you down.”
“Who are you to threaten us?!”
“Gail Pittman.” I answered.
“Fox feet?!” He whispered as his lips trembled.
I gave him a smirk and finally some of my men arrived then dragged those thugs to put them in place.
“Thank you, Gail.” The fruit seller said.
“It’s nothing. How much are your grapes? Let me buy some.” I smiled at him.
On my way home, I like walking around Mortel so that I could ensure that there were no shady people lurking around. Also, I might get a chance to see Cairo.
However as I walked alone on the sidewalk, I saw my ex-boyfriend holding hands with a beautiful girl.
Pain. I could feel it building up again inside me. I sat up on the bench on the sidewalk. My eyes followed them as they entered a hotel. I took some grapes from the plastic bag which I bought earlier and ate a few of them as I gathered my thoughts.
“It’s your fault! You’ve become boring and you suddenly turned into a villainess who hurts innocent people.”
I recalled his words when he broke up with me.
I am boring. Sure, because I was busy managing Mortel, I might have neglected him.
I am a villainess. Of course, I needed to get rid of those women trying to approach him because they were spies from other groups.
I am hurting innocent people. They were not innocent at all because they wanted to use you to keep me cornered. All of those innocent people he said were enemies.
He doesn’t know it.
“It hurts.” I whispered.
“What hurts?” I heard a voice asking me.
“Everything. Is protecting my ex boyfriend wrong? I played the villainess role only to be called boring.”
“Really? Then that man is a jerk.”
This time, I realised that someone was actually answering me. I turned around and saw a man sitting behind me.
“You?” I exclaimed.
“Hello, lady.” The man smiled slightly at me.
“You were alive?”
“Oh, did I die? I didn’t know that.”
“But you were badly injured that night in the clinic…and…well, glad you are still alive.”
He smiled again. “Are you getting better now too?”
I shook my head. “I’m dying.” I replied and laughed.
“Why are you laughing? Are you not scared? You should heed the advice of that doctor.”
“I am scared but I have nothing left to regret. I don’t even have people who would cry for me if I die.”
“Then, let me be that one to cry if you die. Can’t you make that your reason to undergo medication?”
I tilted my head then laughed out loud. “What? That’s hilarious. We only met once. That time when we were both badly wounded that we almost thought we would die. Thanks to Dr. Smith here we are.”
“I promise to be here with you until you are cured. How about that?”
My heart felt relieved. A smile draws up in my lips. I’m glad that there’s still someone who wants to stay with me.
A week has passed since then. I got summoned by Mrs. Ginny again.
“Not hearing anything from you means that you still haven’t found Cairo. Am I correct?”
I felt nervous all of a sudden. I know she was trying to scold me. “I…I’m sorry.”
“Mortel is doing great and has improved a lot. I heard from the Graysons that they are willing to support us but only if we would give them Mortel.”
“Uhmm, excuse me?” My throat got dried.
“Cairo. He directly contacted me and it seems like he really wants to have Mortel.”
“Why Mortel? We have more places that are worth keeping than the small Mortel.” My attachment to Mortel seems stronger than I think. It was a place full of memories for me but if we need to give it up then that means I am no longer needed there.
“He didn’t tell the specifics but he said he wanted to give it to someone.”
I felt my heart crushed into pieces. I lost the man I loved, then I will lose Mortel soon.
Pain. It’s there again. I tried to keep it in and pretended I’m still alright.
“If that would make our group more stable, then, I’ll leave the decision to you boss.”
“Gail, you know what this means. You’ll lose Mortel. I’ll just reassign you to another area…oh…Gail!!!”
I heard Mrs. Ginny shouted like she was panicking. She was running towards me. I couldn’t understand why. I just coughed for a little, then I felt my knees getting weak and my eyes slowly closed. The last thing I saw was Mrs. Ginny’s worried face and I heard her calling people for help.
I woke up staring at a white ceiling. I know this place. Hospital.
“Why?” I whispered.
“I told you to get well, not worse.” The man I was talking to on the sidewalk of Mortel was there.
“You? Why are you here?”
“I told you that I’ll be by your side. Let me get some water for you.”
He went out of the room and just after a few seconds, Mrs. Ginny came with her close aid.
“Oh no, don’t get up. Just lie down and rest.”
I did as I was told. I know that this would probably be the last time I will serve under her. I was ready for this.
“Why didn’t you tell me your health condition?”
“Boss, I’m still alive. I don’t want this to become a hindrance to doing my job but I guess my time is up.”
“What do you mean?” Her eyebrows furrowed.
I was about to reply but we heard a loud bang in the door while someone was shouting my name.
Suddenly, a handsome man looking exhausted rushed inside my room. His face was painted with worries.
“What are you doing here?” My eyes glared at him.
Pain. I felt my stomach crumbling as if my insides were being twisted.
“Ga…Gail, please listen to me first.”
“Get out! I don’t want to see you.” I could feel my body weakening just using a small amount of energy.
“Gail, what is going on? Are you two acquainted?” Mrs. Ginny interrupted.
“Yes. I’m sorry boss. That’s my ex-boyfriend.” I answered. Then, I looked back at the man who’s looking at me with overwhelming emotions in his eyes. “I don’t need you here.”
“Gail, please. I’ll explain. Just…let me help you. I can’t bear to see you like this.”
“Wait, do you mean, the two of you were in a relationship before? But…Gail, you said you haven’t found Cairo yet.” Mrs. Ginny spoke again.
“Yes that’s…correct.” I gasped upon realising the identity of the man I loved. “You…you are Cairo Grayson?”
He looked at me with defeated eyes. “Yes. I’m sorry for hiding the truth. I swear, I didn’t know that you’re part of Allendale. Please, I have my reasons, listen to me babe.”
I raised my index finger and put it in my lips. “Shhh. So I was fooled?” I laughed hilariously like a mad woman then I vomited with blood spilling all over my hospital bed.
The room suddenly became silent after my outburst.
“Boss. Please accept my resignation. I, Gail Pittman was truly in debt to you and your generosity that extended my life a little longer.”
I looked at the man I love until now, I still have feelings for him. “You can have Mortel now, Mr. Grayson. It’s mine but I’m giving it to you. You’ve got the rest of me. I lost. My body, my mind, my heart and even Mortel. It was all yours but…you know what hurts the most? It’s not the fact that you have fooled me nor the reason for you breaking up with me saying I’m boring and a villainess. It’s actually the fact that I have loved a man that’s really impossible for me.” I smiled and I lost my consciousness.
I woke up after twelve hours of sleep. The room was dim because there’s only a lamp shade that was lit up.
“You’re finally awake.”
“I came here as soon as I heard you collapsed and vomited a lot of blood. I told the hospital I am your doctor in charge.”
“Am I gonna die now?”
“Stupid brat. No, you’re not yet on that stage. Get treated properly and you’ll live longer.”
“But not that long.”
He kept silent. I knew Dr. Smith wouldn’t want to give me false hope and I am always grateful to him for extending my life even a little.
“I already retired.”
“Yes, I heard from your boss.”
“I saw him again.”
“Your ex? So how did it go?”
“I still love him.”
“I know that since you told me he broke up with you.”
“I discovered his real identity and he’s way out of my league. Did he even love me?”
“He still does.”
My eyes widened. I looked at Dr. Smith as if I was trying to make him spill the tea.
“Aishh. I saw him outside your room. He’s still there by the way. He never left since you collapsed again. I just chatted with him a little. Why don’t you listen to his story? You know the other side of the story you didn’t know.”
“I don’t want to talk to him right now. I’d rather have Evan here with me.”
This time, it’s Dr. Smith who was wearing that shocked expression.
“Are you still seeing Evans?”
“Yes. He was just here also when I first opened my eyes. He said he would give me a drink but he didn’t come back. That jerk.”
“Ermm… Gail, there’s something I must tell you.”
“What is it?”
Dr. Smith looked really serious. “Evan, he’s not real.”
My eyebrows furrowed. “What are you saying? You even treated him that night too.”
Dr. Smith slightly shook his head. “It was only you. Evan…I think he’s your imaginary friend.”
“Are you telling me I am crazy? I am seeing and hearing things that others don’t? Really? Am I really broken to this point?”
He didn’t answer me. I scoffed because I couldn’t believe everything I just heard since yesterday. I laid down and showed my back to the doctor.
“Good night, Dr. Smith.”
I heard the footsteps of Dr. Smith getting out of the room.
“Is this even the life I deserve?” I questioned myself.
I didn’t even have the heart to deny Dr. Smith’s words because apparently, I’ve been living in a lie my entire life. My name, my job, my love, my friend, everything is a lie.
Pain. Can I just get through it?
If love is pain, then why do people want it?
If living is pain, then what am I struggling for?
Can I just rest?
My sleep was interrupted when I felt a hand stroking my hair. I knew who it was because he’s the only one who does it like a habit whenever I’m sleeping. He thought that I don’t know it but I am overly sensitive even when I’m sleeping, maybe because of the life I lived.
“I didn’t know. I just want to protect you the way I know. I’m sorry I lied to you. You were never boring. Being with you is making my life full of colours.
You were not a villainess, you just never showed how kind you were. Those women deserve hell for treating you badly. I knew they meant harm but I wanted to catch them. You were just too fast getting rid of them as soon as they got involved with me. That’s how much you love me.
I never wanted to break up with you. I just need some time to make you safe. So I wanted to have Mortel because I knew it was under the Allendale. I didn’t know it was you who handled it.
I should’ve known you were in pain.
I should’ve noticed it. I’m stupid to say I’ll protect you when the one that’s hurting you is already inside your body.
I’ll do anything. Just don’t leave me like this. Gail…please. You don’t know how much I miss you.
Tears fell down on the right side of my eye where he couldn’t see it. I heard it all. His side in this story but I’ll keep it for now.
Two years have passed. I had treatment both for my stomach cancer and paranoia. The psychiatrist told me that due to excessive trauma since childhood, the feeling of rejection, abuse and life threatening experiences, I have created a friend inside my head who was going to stay by my side until I got better.
Maybe that’s true because the moment I decided to change and get treatment, I rarely saw Evan until one day, he just stopped being there.
My stomach cancer got better due to surgery and chemotherapy. Dr. Smith acted as my guardian and Mrs. Ginny helped me with the treatment
Cairo is still trying to win me back. He got the Mortel and was staying there for good. He was the one taking care of me although I told him he didn’t need to, he still insisted.
“Aren’t you going to get back together with him now? He is almost living here in the clinic because of you.” Dr. Smith asked.
After having surgery and undergoing chemotherapy, I decided to help Dr. Smith in his clinic while my health is being monitored by him. As a helper in his clinic, I would often entertain patients or run errands.
Cairo would visit me everyday in the clinic and give me food that’s recommended for me. He would carefully choose the food based on Dr. Smith suggestions and guidance. He’ll leave after he sees me finish my food.
“He deserves better than a dying woman like me.”
I got a hit by Dr. Smith on my shoulder. I exclaimed in pain
“Ouch! Why are you getting violent?”
“You asked before, if love is pain, why do people want it? Then, your answer is right in front of your eyes. Cairo is still there waiting for you even if he doesn’t know if that time will come when you will accept him again. That is painful yet, he still does it because of you. That is love, it is painful but it is willing to endure pain or sacrifice just to make that love worth it.”
Read more from Ms. Reiu Somao-I by reading her previous entries at The Ugly Writers: