23 August 2012


Had Dana Lee heard Eli’s side of the story in person, had she seen with her eyes his true distress, and observed his dismay, her emotion couldn’t have been greater than it was from just reading his letter. Back at home, in the privacy of her bedroom, at home, before her writing desk, Dana Lee took out Eli’s letter from her Chanel purse to study for the fifth time. She still couldn’t quite believe how one handwritten letter, two sheets of mere paper (blue), scribbled untidily, could change her life.
This is what Eli wrote:
“I’m sorry Dana, I’m very, very sorry. It was very foolish and stupid of me, to be so manipulated by Bella. I see how this must be hurting you. When I recall the look of pain that night of the ball, it hurts me too. Deeply. I’m not making excuses, but let me explain my actions and maybe it will go a little way in making you feel better. This is what happened that day: Bella insisted on flying me back from Manila, just for The Ice Ball. I tried my best to reason with her about my work and everything, but she played the pity card. She said it would be damaging to her reputation and her career not to have a suitable date on so important an occasion, and that I probably won’t take her because she was nobody but a driver’s daughter.
Bella knows just how to punch my pity buttons. She has practiced for 20 years! Tired as I was, I agreed finally. But I insisted that I would have to fly back to Manila immediately after the ball. My album is the most important thing to me right now. For the first time in my life, I have some personal achievement, a serious career goal to work towards, and I wasn’t about to let my schedule be messed up just because she needed a date for a party. Please forgive me for the hurt I have caused you. I can only say that it stems from my ignorance, and my sad lack of confidence.
My older brother never gave me an active role in my family’s business, and I didn’t have any real ambition in that area any way. All my life, I’d nothing serious to engage my time, nothing to take me away from Bella; And surely she wouldn’t have thought herself attached to me had I been more distant to her, but we were close. I can’t deny that. Being my mother’s favourite, I never had much to do, and not much to occupy my time, except my music. I was indulged as the youngest son, and was allowed whatever I liked, which meant that I was at home a lot and saw Bella more than I saw anyone.
“But you see, Bella is like a sister to me. I’m certainly not in love with Bella, nor ever been, not even slightly. She was brought up, when her mother died in our family’s service, like the little girl that my mother had wanted after giving birth to us two boys. It was always joked that Bella would marry one of us brothers so that she would become a ‘daughter’ of the family – but I don’t think anyone ever took this very seriously – except, evidently, Bella herself. It’s probably cruel to say such things to children, even in jest, to raise any vain hope, but that’s all there was to it.
“Her mother was our nanny, her dad our family chauffeur, and she’s my childhood friend. That’s all her relationship is to me.
“I don’t have many friends, and my brother is too busy for me. I’m shy, so it was natural for me to be close to Bella. She and I spent our teens together, until she went to work at Glossy, for you. She always appeared nice, and she was always smart, smarter than me. Considering everything, I hope, unforgivable as my behaviour has been in every way, you can understand where I’m coming from. Please wait for me until I return from Bangkok next week; The last leg of my tour will end there, and then I will see you, and I will explain everything else to your satisfaction.
“I love you. Eli.”
The change in mood which this letter wrought in the mind and heart of Dana Lee was so great that it promised yet another sleepless night. And after Dana happily told her mother the contents of Eli’s letter, Mrs Tina Lee, went to bed with a box of candied ginger. She got more and more comfortable with visions of Eli Kee as a new member of her family, someone new to fuss over and gossip about. 

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