Sometimes we see the things we don’t want to see in the most painful way. We finally realize it’s the reality and we can’t do a thing about it. The thing is, even when we realize and understand it, it’s still up to us if we do the right thing or if we ignore it because we know it will hurt us. Maybe even destroy us.
I snuggle closer to Kim, he’s warm and I’m so cold. I feel Kim pulling me closer to his warm body and I silently thank him, God knows I need the warmth he’s body’s giving me. It’s freezing. My body is feeling numb with the cold.
And I feel the cold is lulling me to deep sleep.
I mumble incoherently when Kim pulls away, he puts his hand on my forehead then my neck, “You’re burning.”
I try to open my eyes to tell him, I’m not hot, I’m cold but the coldness is making it hard for me to open my eyes.
Kim pulls me to him, holding me so tight I couldn’t breathe but I welcome it just because he really is warm. “Just wait.” He tells me and I could hear in his voice that he’s worried, why? I hear him dialing a number and I hear the voice on the other end of the line,
“911, what’s your emergency?”
Why is he calling 911? Is he sick?
“I need an ambulance. My girlfriend, she’s burning up and I think… I think it’s the pneumonia.” Kim says, “Can’t you fucking understand! She’s sick! She has HCM and I need a fucking ambulance!”
I don’t always hear Kim cursing and yelling. He’s very courteous to people but now he’s really scaring me, am I really sick. I try to touch his face and I succeed, “Ian, I’m so cold and I want to sleep, can you hold me?”
I feel him stiffen, “No baby, don’t go to sleep.” He tells me, “I think she’s dying. Please send an ambulance here so we could go to Lennox Hill and tell the emergency room to page Dr. Montenegro and Dr. Grey.” Then he speaks again, he tells our address and hangs up with a bashful of thank yous.
He cradles me and rocks me back and forth, “You’re gonna be okay.” And kisses me on my head.
And for him, I try to stay awake even when the coldness is lulling me back to sleep.
“Louie did you see it? Did you see me?” I ask Louie excitedly, I just served the tennis ball up in the air and it went straight to the country club’s restaurant’s window. I don't know why I’m so happy about it.
Louie laughs at me, “Ikaw lang talaga ang alam kong matutuwa na nakabasag ng bintana.” His eyes shining with amusement.
I bat my eyelashes at him, “Kasi ibig sabihin nun baka pwede na akong sumali sa baseball league mo!” I say, I’ve always want to try baseball, I mean it’s really cool. “I could hit, Lo!”
He laughs harder then, “Not gonna happen.”
“Why?” I whine, stomping my feet on the ground.
“Mer, you’re too…” he stops then walks towards me, he takes my hand and holds it. He sighs, “If I throw a ball at you right now, what would you do? What would you do? Duck or swing at it?”
I bit on my lower lip thinking of what he asked me, if I’m honest, I’d run as fast as I could. I mean even if I duck it might still fall on my head and let’s be honest, I’m too chicken to swing at it. But this is like a question of life and death, if I say what I’d do, then that would really justify why I can’t do baseball.
“You’d run, wouldn’t you?” he asks staring at me with those understanding eyes. Of course, he knows I’d run. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes.
I nod solemnly, “I could get injured.” I point out.
“And we don’t want that. I don’t want that.” he smiles at me, “Stick to tennis Mer.”
I shake my head, I don’t want to stick with tennis, I want to play baseball so I could be with him. “Ayoko.”
“Bakit?” he asks and I could see he is exasperated with me right now. “You can’t play baseball, god knows you’d either throw the bat and run or you’d freeze.”
“Because you don’t have time for me anymore! Lagi ka nalang nasa practice! Kaya naisip ko pag sumali ako sa team niyo edi lagi na tayong magkasama!” I tell him.
He grins at me, “Okay, ganito nalang, sasama nalang kita sa practice at pwede kang umupo sa may bleacher at manood o magbasa ka. Hihintayin mo ako tas pagkatapos ng practice, bonding tayong dalawa.”
“Paano pag na bored ako?”
“Eh kung mag quit nalang ako sa baseball tas tennis nalang din ang gawin ko sa ganun hindi ka mabo-bored at magkasama parin tayo.”
I think about it for a second then shake my head, I don’t want that. Louie is in his element when he’s playing baseball. I don’t want to take that away from him. “Hihintayin nalang kita. Hindi naman ako mabo-bored dahil nandun ka at ayos na yun basta’t magkasama tayo.”
He smiles so bright, he pulls me closer to him and I let him, “Talagang gusto mong lagi tayong magkasama ah.”
“Sympre naman! I want to be with you always! I want to be where you are. I don’t like being without you. You’re my other half and we can’t be separated for a long time! Don’t you agree?” I ask because I really don't want to be part with Louie.
“I do. We’re going to be together always, Mer.”
I beam at him and wrap my arms around his neck, “Of course. I’d follow you wherever you go and I’m sure you’d do the same.”
“I would even in death, I’d follow you.” he says seriously.
I just smile, “Me too.” Because I would. And I also know he would, I still remember that day when he didn’t tell me to stop what I was doing, he just sat beside me and said he’d follow me next. That life without me was something he couldn’t live with.
If one of us died, I know one of us would follow the other. That’s never really a question. Because death would be better than living a life without actually living it.
My body feels weak, my eyelids feel so heavy that I can’t seem to open them and my throat, God, it hurts so bad. I can’t move but I feel every movement around me, I hear every sound, the sound of every machines beeping, the sound of people rushing inside the room and everything else.
I feel everything but I can’t feel my own body.
I want to open my eyes, it’s just that I’m so tired. I can’t seem to let go of the fatigue even when I know I’ve been mostly asleep. It’s just still there.
Am I dying? Maybe I am. If that’s the case then death is welcome to take me anytime. Or not. I haven’t said my goodbyes with Kim. I need to see Kim. I need to say goodbye.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s a good thing I can’t. I don’t want to see his pained eyes before I go. I don’t want to hurt him and I know that if I wake up now, he’d hope I’m back when I’m not. I don’t want him to hope.
Just as I am about to go back to sleep, I hear Kim’s voice, it’s soft and pained but I hear it anyway.
"What a greedy man I've been. I thought that if I fought for the both of us then it would be enough. I thought if I kept holding on to you, you would do the same. But I've realized how wrong it was for me to ask you to hold on. I love you more than life itself and I want you to be happy, I thought you would be as long as you lived, I realized now however that your happiness isn't living at all, it's dying. Mary, my darling Mary, go to him now. Louie's waiting. Let go."
I feel his hands on mine and I feel something wet slides on my arm. I think he’s crying. And he’s letting me go. He’s giving up on me.
I don’t know whether to be happy or sad. I just know that Kim’s doing what he never wanted to do. He wants me to let go and die. He’s stopped fighting. It’s hurting him but he’s willing to do it because he wants me happy.
He finally understands and accepts it and it’s destroying him.
I force myself then to open my eyes because I need to. I need to look at his eyes and tell him how grateful I am for his love, that now he’s finally seeing the things my way I can finally go with peace.
But then I realize if I open my eyes, if I look at him I would really see him. How my selfishness destroyed him. How I placed that pain in his eyes. I’d see what my selfishness had done to him.
And as always, I am selfish so I don’t open my eyes, I make certain that he doesn't sense that I’m awake. As much as I want to look at him, I can’t. I’m too much of a coward to do so.
“I love you.” he says and kisses me on the head. “Please be happy.” His voice cracks.
Something inside me cracks too. Can I really leave him behind? Can I really be that selfish and die? And allow him to be a half man, an empty shell of the man he once been? If I leave now, even with his blessing, I’d still be destroying him. He’d still grieve.
Letting me give up life doesn’t mean he’s letting go of me. He’d become like me, stuck with the past. Stuck and never actually moving forward. I need more time. I need more time with Kim.
I need him to learn that he doesn’t need to be stuck when I die. That he needs to move forward. I want him to learn that when I die, he needs to let go and move on.
So I open my eyes and I could see the surprise in his eyes then he holds me so tight that even with the oxygen mask I can’t still breathe.
With a tube in my throat I can’t speak so I nod.
“Thank you.” I don’t know why he needs to thank me, I’m only living for a short time to teach him how to live a life without me. I’m only here because I don’t want to be the reason why the wonderful Kevin Ian would be a half man. I’m that selfish because even in death, I don’t want to be the reason why he’s hurting.
And even if Kim is finally giving up on me, I can’t give up on him. At least not yet.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Pride. There’s a reason why pride is one of the seven deadly sins, it’s because the more proud you become the more the distance you put between yourself and others until there’s a huge gap that you can never fill. And once you realize it, it’s too late.
I smile as I watch as Crystal roams her eyes over the field, I’m amazed with it too and quite frankly the instant my eyes landed the field, I fell even deeper in love with this university.
Crystal is my closest friend right now, she knows everything and when I say everything, I mean it. Well okay, not everything but you get my meaning. We’ve only been friends for over a few months I think. I met her in Wattpad—you know the site where you can read and write stories—yeah, we met there and we hit it off.
And now, she’s here with me and Kim in Yale University. We’ve been campus touring for a while now, we’ve been on five Ivy Leagues Universities. I guess when I told Kim that I wanted to continue my studies, it also meant to him that I wanted to live. So now, he’s dead set on leading this campus tour even when I told him Yale is my choice. It’s always been Yale for me.
I don’t know but since I was a little girl and my Uncle Aaron started telling me stories about his time in Yale, how beautiful Yale was and those amazing stories it helped me somehow. I didn’t get to have bedtime stories, my parents never saw fit to give me a little of their time to tell me bedtime stories so Uncle Aaron’s stories became my bedtime stories. I used to think to dab it as Uncle AA and his adventure at Yale.
Uncle Aaron gave me his Yale sweatshirt and told me that it keeps the monsters out. I wore it and sometimes, it did keep the monsters out but when it didn’t, I realized that maybe the powers of the sweatshirt didn't work that way, maybe I needed to get my own so I promised myself that I’d get my own sweatshirt. And I promised Uncle Aaron that I’d go to Yale just like him.
Uncle Aaron, he wasn’t like them. He wasn’t mean and cruel. He was my aunt’s husband and I never saw what I always saw in my aunt’s eyes with him. He just looked at me with those sweet eyes of his.
I guess since then, a part of me wonders why can a person not a blood relation to me can look at me and not see the bad my family seems to see every time they look at me. I would laugh at the irony, I mean my family whom I share a blood can never love me, can never accept when and then there’s this set of people who I don’t share a blood with that accept me for who I am.
“Oh my God, Mary. Just think when there’s a game this field will be full of hot guys. Jeez. It’s going to be hot! And oh wow, they will be on their uniform that really squeezes the ass!” Crystal exclaims still looking at the field with such excitement.
I chuckle, Crystal like others, is well boy-crazy. “I know.”
She turns to me, “We’re going to have so much fun here Mary!”
I turn away from her and I look straight ahead with a sad smile, I want to be here with Crystal too, I just know we’re really going to have so much fun here, so many happy memories but I’m still dying and I’m not even sad about the dying part.
I welcome it. And that’s just well… sad.
She places her hand over my arm and squeezes it, “Come on, let’s go back to Kim before he marches up here.” She says and we both walk away from the field. We go back to the building where we left Kim.
The last we left him, he was talking to a professor he met during one of those seminars and they were talking about boring stuffs. So Crystal and I left him alone with the professor.
I’m back at the hotel we’re staying at, I got tired with all the things we did and so I had Kim and Crystal drop me off back to the hotel. Kim wanted to stay with me but I told him to accompany Crystal, so he went reluctantly.
The chair I’m sitting right now feels so comfortable, it feels like it’s hugging me, so I snuggle closer to it and read. This is nice, sitting here curled up and just reading a good book. So peaceful.
I don’t know how long I’ve been asleep with the book still down in my lap, I close the book and then I startle when I see Kim sitting across me and watching me. I put my hands on my chest, “You startled me.” I accuse.
“Sorry.” He mumbles. He rises from the seat, steps closer to me, pulls me up, sits at my chair and then pulls me to his lap. He buries his head in my neck and somehow I feel that he needs me to hold him so I do.
I wrap my arms around him, “What’s wrong?”
He shakes his head, he then pulls away from me and stares at me with sadness in his eyes. What happened? “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” I ask nervously.
“I couldn’t convince them. Someone’s blocking your admission.”
I still, “Anong ibig sabihin nun?” I ask even when I know what it really means, it only means I will not be accepted in Yale. And I even guess who that someone is. There’s only one person who is an alumni and fast friends with the dean and hates me. I mean really loathes me. The kind of loathing that even I don’t understand.
“Yale is not going to accept you next year. I tried Mary, I really did. I used my name, I offered to donate but someone’s pulling some strings.”
I nod, I know he tried, Kim only wants what’s best for me. He wants me happy and he knows Yale could make me happy, might even make me try to live. His only purpose is to make me happy, to protect me. That’s how he is.
I hug him and close my eyes, “It’s okay. I can always be with you in Brown.” But still I feel sad. Yale has always been my dream, when I was a child I thought of Yale and I’d feel okay after a horrible day. I’d thought of Uncle Aaron’s stories and I’d feel okay and motivated.
Others think Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, for me however, it’s Yale. I think of Yale and I’d be happy.
“No. It’s not okay. Yale is your dream and I won’t let those bastards take that away from you.” He says, “I’ll go call mom, she’d help.”
I shake my head and smile sadly at him, “Aunt Sachi can’t do anything, Ian. The person who’s blocking my admission? She’s my Aunt Delores and she’s friends with the dean.”
Kim furrows his brows in confusion, I could see his head turning and he asks, “If she’s your aunt then why doesn’t she want you here in Yale?”
“Because she hates me. She never really liked me. Hindi ko nga alam kung bakit galit na galit siya sa akin. She wants me miserable, she knows I love Yale and she will trample. She’s that cruel.”
Aunt Delores, she was Uncle Aaron’s wife, she holds deep loathing with me. I don’t know why, while others in my family started hiding their hatred with me, she didn’t. She never hide it and my parents, they never did something to make her stop from torturing me.
“That’s why the assistant of the dean said they’d be willing to reconsider if you’d have dinner with her.” Kim says suddenly, he looks at me and nods, “Let’s go to that dinner. Let’s talk to your aunt.”
It is as if he didn’t hear me telling him that Aunt Delores hates me. “Ian.” I start, “I won’t go to dinner with her. I know what she wants. She wants to see me beg. And I won’t do it.”
“Mary, it’s Yale. Don’t let your pride step in the way to the one thing you’ve always dreamed of.”
I stand then, I glare at him, “You want me to beg her?” I ask incredulously, “Kahit kailan hindi ko gagawin yan.” I see the look he’s giving me so I snap, “Ou alam ko ma-pride ako. Alam ko yun!”
“Then for once in your life, step aside your pride and just go to that fucking dinner!” he stands facing me with his hard eyes.
“You don't know what you’re asking me, Kim. Hindi mo alam kung gaano kaimportante sa akin yung pride ko.”
“Why is it so damn important when you’re about to lose Yale?”
“Because that’s all I have Kim!” I yell, “Yung pride ko, hinding hindi nila makukuha sa akin yun, they can take everything away but they can’t take my dignity. Kim, lumaki ako na walang nagmamahal sa akin, lumaki ako na lagi nalang nasasaktan at yung pride ko lang yung meron ako. Wag mong hilingin na ibaba ko yun dahil Kim pag ginawa ko yun, ano pang matitira sa akin?” I tell him, his eyes soften but I can still see he doesn’t understand it fully.
“Stop it! You have more than pride!”
“Hindi mo kasi naiintidihan Kim. Sabagay lumaki kang masaya, lumaki ka sa isang pamilya na puno ng pagmamahal, kaya siguro hindi mo kayang maintindihan. You don't know how hard it is to keep on standing up every time they push you down. You don't know how painful it is to let them walk all over you. You don't know how hard and painful it is to hide my emotions, to cry silently in the middle of the night alone." I let the tears fall and I sit at the edge of the table, I look up to him, “You don't know how it is to be alone Kim.”
“You had Louie.”
“Louie wasn’t always there Kim. He can’t always protect me from them, God knows he tried but he couldn’t. And neither can you Ian. Don’t try because in the end, we will be the one who will get hurt. You haven’t seen the real side of my family, they hide it well but if you fight them, they will fight back and Kim they don’t fight fair.”
He kneels down, cups my face and says, “I just want you happy.”
“I know. But I don’t need Yale to be happy Ian.”
“Then what is it that can make you happy?” he asks.
I look away and shrug, “I think we both know what would.”
He is still trying to deny it, to deny that death would make me happy. He doesn’t want to admit it. Doesn’t want to acknowledge it but he knows. He knows it. He just can’t accept it.
“I wish I could give you want you truly want but I am a selfish man, Mary. I can’t lose you. I won’t lose you.”
He’s not selfish. He never is selfish. I am the selfish one here. Not him, never him. But always me.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Parents. They're supposed to love you unconditionally. They’re supposed to keep the monsters out. They’re supposed to be the saviors. They’re never supposed to be the villains. They’re never supposed to be the monsters that starred in your nightmare.
“What the hell were you thinking running away like that?” Kim asks angrily, his knuckles turn white as he closes his fists so tight fighting the anger off.
“I wasn’t thinking! I just wanted to run away from life!” I tell him, it’s the truth, the moment I learned about my mother’s lies, I wasn’t thinking of anything, except that I needed to go. And that was what I did.
“WELL YOU CAN’T!” he bellows.
“I know that!” I yell back, “Do you think I don’t know that? That’s why I’m so tired, Kim. Every time I try to run, life catches back with me. I know that. And for the last time Kim, I want to be happy before it catches me.”
Kim comes closer to me, “Let’s come back to Frankfurt. You need the transplant.” He pleads with me.
“I… I can’t Kim.” I tell him, “I’m tired of it all. I just want to…”
“Don’t you dare say it.” He warns, his eyes full of anger again.
“Die.” I finish off.
He steps back and then slams his fist to the table. I flinch. I stare at him as he tries to calm himself down. Then once he’s done, he looks back at me with sudden determination, “No. We will leave as soon as the jet refuels.”
“Ian, I said no.”
“NO!” he shouts, “I won’t let you die. I love you and I won’t watch you die. I just can’t.”
So I do what I always do when we hit a dead end. “Then leave.” I watch as his body stills but I continue, “I’m not asking you to stay. I don’t even want you to stay. You invaded my time with my friends so now leave.”
I shake my head and turn away from him, I don’t want to look at him anymore. The more I look at him, the more I see the pain I’ve caused him. And right now, he even looks like hell.
“Ian, please just leave.”
“I can’t. Please Mary, let’s go back.”
“I don’t want to Kim. Don’t make me go back there.” I tell him, I’m sure he heard the tremor in my voice and right now, I don’t care anymore. “Germany is full of lies. I can’t stand it. I can’t pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. I can’t look at my own mother past all the lies she told. Because Ian, I don’t want to hate them. I don’t want to die with me hating them. So don’t ask me to go back in Germany because I can’t.”
This is the first time that I didn’t lie to him. All I said is the truth. I don’t want to go back there because if I do, I’m sure I’d hate them again and I’m past hating them. I’m better than that now. Or at least, I like to think that I am.
Kim shakes his head in confusion, “Mary, I don’t understand.”
Of course, he doesn’t. He doesn't know about what I learned in Germany, damn it, he doesn’t even know my whole childhood life. I think it’s time to tell him part of it though. Even when I dread that he might leave when he finds out.
Well, it’s not like I’m going to tell him the whole of it. I’d be crazy if I tell him that.
“Do you want to know the truth about my parents?” I ask him even when I know the answer.
So I motion him to sit at the sofa, when he does, I walk towards him and sit beside him. I exhale and start my tale, “Dad cheated on my stepmother. My father is an unfaithful bastard, my mother is a selfish-heartless bitch and my stepmother is a cold unforgiving martyr.” I look at him and I see the denial but I nod my head as to tell him it’s the truth. “Dad was never going to leave mama even when Kuya was born. Yung sinasabi ko na hiwalay na si dad kay mama nung pinanganak si Kuya? Kasinungalingan yun. Sila pa ni mama nun. Walang plano si dad na i-annul yung kasal niya kay mama para pakasalan si mom.” I continue, “You see, my dad wanted the best of both worlds. Why choose one when he can have the two?” I say with bitterness, “But mom? Well, she wasn’t going to accept that. She didn’t want the world to know that Kuya is a bastard. So she seduced him again and again. Then I came along.” I start playing with my fingers just so I can concentrate on telling him this ugly truth, “Mom was already taking something then, she didn’t want to be pregnant again. But when she realized that she was pregnant, she stopped. She thought of a solution. She used me as an ultimatum. Tinakot niya si dad na pag hindi nito hiniwalayan si mama, ipapalaglag niya ako. Ininom pa nga niya sa harap ni dad yung pampalaglag na binili niya si Quiapo. And dad finally caved in.” I tighten my fists, telling everything I heard before is harder than I thought it would be. Telling him comes with the pain and right now I’m in so much pain. Just remembering it. But I continue because I need to, “You see, I was the means to an end. Mama hated mom and me so much because we took dad away from her. She could accept Kuya but never me because she would always see me as the reason why dad left her. She’s an unforgiving wretch. Do you know how many times I have to endure whatever hurtful things she said in my way? Do you know how much it hurts being hated by everyone in your family just because you ruined everything? I never did anything wrong except being born into this world and yet, they hated me so much.”
“That’s not true, you know that right? They adore you.” Kim says, he turns my face to him and brushes the tears. “They love you.”
I shake my head, “Stop looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. They hate me.” I say. “If you just look close enough, you’d see through all their acts. Everything is not true Ian. It’s all a lie.”
“How can that be Mary? It’s just not possible.” He shakes his head in disbelief.
“You weren’t there. You never grew up with them. Hindi mo naranasan yung mga naranasan ko nung bata palang ako. Hindi mo narinig yung mga narinig ko, yung mga bagay na hindi ko naman dapat marinig, narinig ko lahat yun. Mom tries to hide the fact that she doesn’t love me and sometimes, I applaud her for her great act. Ang galing kasi niyang umarte na minsan na kakalimutan ko na rin. God, I even bought her lies and thought she truly cared about me. But look what I found out. It was all a lie.” I close my eyes, shielding him with the pain in my eyes. “Dad hated me too because I took away his choice. But he had a choice. He could have let mom kill me and everything would be fine. At hindi ko mararanasan lahat ng sakit na dinulot nila sa akin. Si mama? She hated me so much and she never tried to hide it. Okay, she did but only when there’s an audience. Pero kahit anong pilit niyang tago pag may ibang tao, lumalabas at lumalabas parin yung galit niya sa akin. Kasi alam mo, kahit anong gawin ko, kahit anong mangyari hindi niya ako mapapatawad sa isang bagay na wala naman akong kontrol. Kasi kung kontrolado ko lang naman yung mga bagay, edi pinilit ko nalang mamatay sa loob ni mom. Kung alam ko lang na sobra sobrang sakit ang mararamdaman ko, dapat pinatay ko nalang yung sarili ko nung nasa loob palang ako ni mom. Kasi sobrang hirap at sakit Kim, wala naman akong ginawang mali pero nagbabayad parin ako sa isang bagay na wala akong kontrol. Kahit kailan hindi nila ako mapapatawad at magagawang mahalin. I will never be good enough for them to love me. I’m unlovable.” I give him a strained smile. “They don’t need me, they only need me to be alive because again I’m the means to their end. They need the fortune my grandmother left me and to gain that, they need me alive. And this time, Kim, I have control over things.”
He suddenly pulls me to his arms, he embraces me tightly and I let him because when he holds me like this, I feel I am not alone. Just for a second I feel I’m going to be okay. “Don’t do it Mary.” He says, he really knows me well that he knows what I’m going to do. “You don’t need to die to make a point.”
I pull away and cup his face, “I’m not just doing this because of that Kim. I’m doing this because right there on the other side is Louie. The only person who loved me and showed me that life isn’t that gray.”
“I’m here.” He chokes, “I love you.”
“And I wish that could be enough Ian. But it isn’t. Louie. He was the only one who tried to save me.”
“Then let me save you! I can do that! He’s not just the only one who can. If you let me, I will protect you.”
I smile at him, I trace his face with my fingers, “You’ve always protected me Kim. It’s just not enough to save me. You can’t save me, it’s a lost cause.” I tell him because it’s true. It is a lost cause. How can one fix an utterly broken and damaged girl? Answer is, he can’t.
He gazes in to my eyes, he’s searching for something, I try to look away for fear he might see something but he turns my head to face him again. He stills for a moment, I guess he found out what he was searching for, I just don’t know what he found. I fear though, it might be horrifying. “What did they do to you?” he whispers.
Ah… that question. There’s a million answers to his question. But I guess, when you sum it all up, it leads back to the thing that caused me to be this. A broken damaged girl.
“They put me on a psychiatric facility.”
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Birthdays, sometimes we make a big deal out of it. Why? Well, it signifies our growth not just physically, no, but well everything. We mature, it signifies the stages we hit in life. We evolve. That’s why people make a big deal out of birthdays because they want to celebrate the years they’ve embarked on this world. They want to celebrate to tell the world they’ve lived.
Well mine is different. I don’t celebrate my birthdays because I want to showcase to everyone that I’ve lived. No. I celebrate it because it reminds me that there was a time in my life that was hidden from the rest of the world. The time when no one even remembered I existed.
I sigh and stare longingly at the window, I wonder when will I be able to go out of the house. Mommy forgot my birthday and they left me alone. I will not cry mommy brings me back to Dr. Frank whenever I make her worry.
I don’t like Dr. Frank, he’s a bad man and he makes me do bad things too. He pricks needle in my arms. I cringe when I remember he used to lock me in my room, it was so dark and he told me there was a monster underneath my bed. I didn’t cry because I knew it would make him mad.
I squint my eyes when I see a figure sneaking in the garden, I scoot closely to the window glass and smile when the figure turns out to be Louie. He waves frantically and I wave back shyly. He mimes a door, turns the knob and points at my back.
I turn my head around and then back to Louie giving him a quizzical look. My door is always open, mommy forbids my door to be close, and she says it’s not safe. Louie knows that.
He sighs exasperated and mimes slamming the door and mouths bang.
“Oh.” I nod, jump of the window seat, run towards the door, peek the corridor and when I see no one, I quietly shut the door. As I walk back to the window, I see Louie dragging a lawn chair, I run quickly and shake my head frantically. He can’t do that, the staff will notice, they notice everything and when they know something’s up, they’re going to tell mommy and daddy, and Dr. Frank will come and take me away again.
He just shakes me off with his boyish laughter and stands over the chair, he taps my window and I smile and slide the window open, “Happy birthday.” He grins.
My smile widens, “You remember.”
He huffs, takes off his shoes and enters my room. I watch as he runs to my bed and grabs one of the teddy bear, he lays it down my bed and covers it with the blanket. He walks back to me and offers me his hand, I take his hand and he drags me to the door.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Shh..” he shushes me then slowly opens the door, he scans the corridor and he makes a run towards the front door with me trailing behind him. I smile once we’re outside, he opens the gate and we run out of the house.
I laugh as we run towards the playground.
When we reach the playground, I see four girls at the fountain, we walk towards them, the girl with a braided hair squeals and I hide behind Louie, “Louie.” I say cautiously.
He turns to me and squeezes my hand, “Relax, they’re my friends.” He steps aside and make introductions, “Girls, this is Mary. Mary, the girls.”
I look at the four girls, I know the girl with a cute headband, she’s always playing with Skye. “Hi.” I squeak and wave shyly.
The girl with the headband broadens her smile, “I’m Pat.” she introduces herself, “This is Lani, Elle and Cass.” She points to the other girls.
I smile at them as they smile back, I look at Louie and he just shrugs and smiles. He takes me to the swing and let me sit there.
He lets go of my hand , walks towards the bench and Lani comes over in front of me placing a headband made from the flowers on my head. Louie, then comes back with a cupcake with a single candle on top of it, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Mary, happy birthday to you.” he sings together with the other girls. “Make a wish, Mer.”
I close my eyes and wish that Louie and I were going to be together forever. I open it and blow the candle.
We play at the playground and I have a lot of fun, we laugh and they talk and I listen to them. “Come on, I’ll teach you how to dance.” Pat says and grabs my hand.
We dance laughing and I feel great. This is the first time, I play with other kids, it’s always been just Louie.
We stop dancing and I look at mommy and daddy running towards us, I hide behind Louie, afraid they are going to take me away from Louie. I feel scared, “Louie.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t let them take you there. I promise.”
Mommy and daddy along with the other maids and guards are in front of us, the girls stand beside Louie while I hide behind, “Mary sweetie, let’s go home.” Mommy says in a sweet voice, I only hear she uses with my brother.
“We have cake in the house for you.” daddy informs me.
I peek a little and look at them warily, “You won’t take me away?” I ask.
Mommy and daddy smile and it’s the first time I see them smile at me. “No sweetie. We just want you home. Your friends can come over for the cake.” Mommy says.
“It’s your birthday.”
Slowly, I leave Louie’s back and stand beside him, he takes my hand and squeezes it, nodding. I smile at him sweetly and turn to look at mommy and daddy, “They really can come and play with me?”
Daddy smiles, “Why, of course, they’re your friends. We want to see you laugh and dance too. Can you do dance with daddy today?”
I nod excitedly, daddy will dance with me? Daddy never talks to me, he always hangs out with my brother.
“Then let’s go home.”
I stare at the cupcake Lani bought. I suddenly remember my sixth birthday. It’s my first real birthday. It’s the first time, mom and dad acknowledged me. I think, they found it surprising that I was laughing and playing with other kids and also I was speaking.
Maybe if it hadn’t been that, they would have taken me back to Dr. Frank because I snuck out of the house but no, they bought me a birthday cake and celebrated my birthday with me and my friends.
I smile ruefully. I still remember that giddy feeling when mom and dad smiled at me, when dad danced with me and carried me.
How stupid of me to feel that way. Maybe it was because after six years of cold reception from them, they had finally looked at me differently.
“Bakit hindi mo sinabi sa amin Mary?” I turn and see Lani clutching her phone in her hand.
I shrug, turn my gaze back to the cupcake, “Pag Sinabi ko sayo, hindi ka papayag.”
“Sympre hindi ako papayag! Bakit ka umalis ng Germany?”
“Naalala mo pa nung una tayong magkakilala? Birthday ko yun diba? Ayun yung unang beses na ngumiti sa akin sila mom and dad. Nung na-realize ko na gusto nila akong nagsasalita at ngumingiti. Ginawa ko yun kasi akala ko pag ginawa ko yun mamahalin na nila ako.” I stare at the window, “Pero kahit anong gawin ko Lani, hinding hindi nila ako mamahalin.”
“Ano bang pinagsasabi mo Mary? Kung naglayas ka dahil gusto mo makuha yung atensyon nila, nagawa mo na.”
I look at her and smile wanly, “Umalis ako ng Germany, Lani kasi gusto ko na kung mamamatay man ako, kasama ko yung mga taong alam kong minahal ako. Kayo yun nila Cassie. I don’t want to waste my remaining days with all those liars.”
Lani comes in front of me quickly and hugs me, “What did they do now Mary?” she asks. I know she knows little about my childhood, it’s not really something the family wants to air out. She got the glimpse because of Louie. She knows they’re indifferent but she doesn’t know the whole of it, only Louie and their parents.
“She lied. Mom lied.” I break a sob. “Everything was a lie. And Lani, I can’t live on a lie anymore. I’m done so please, just please let me be.”
She pats my back soothing me, “Okay. Okay. Pero pag nappaagod ka na sabihin mo agad sa akin.”
“I miss him.”
She stills. She pulls away from me then gazes into my eyes as if she’s searching for something, “Is that why you want…” she couldn’t finish her thoughts, she starts pacing then glares at me, “Gusto mong mamatay para lang makasama si Louie?”
“Hindi ko kayang wala siya Lani. Pinipilit ko yung sarili kong maging okay pero sobrang hirap. I miss him so much it hurts. I just want the pain to go.”
“Mary. Hindi gugustuhin ni Louie na sumuko ka. Nung nalaman ni Louie na may sakit siya, hindi siya sumuko dahil ayaw ka niyang iwan.”
I give her a pitiful smile, “Pero wala na siya Lani. Wala na akong rason para mabuhay.”
“You have us!” she yells, “Nandito pa kami! Wag ka naman maging selfish! Nung namatay si Louie, sobrang hirap, sobrang sakit. Haggang ngayon nasasaktan parin ako. Pero masakit mamatayan. Alam kong nasasaktan ka pero hindi mo ba naisip na nasasaktan din kami na nagmamahal sayo?” she asks, she sinks to the couch, “Hindi ka naman nag-iisa eh. Nandito kami. Hindi lang si Louie yung nagmamamahal sayo.”
The tears fall and we stay like that, silently crying. I know I’m being selfish. I know that I’m hurting them but they don’t understand it. They don’t get me. I’m just so tired of it all and they don’t understand why.
But if you lived the life I have lived, you’d understand. For six years, I was rejected and unloved. Only when Louie came in to my life had I felt the unconditional love that I was never given.
And the following years, I’ve lived a lie. I don’t want that anymore.