Chapter 43 – The Dreamer and Realist
Allen had tried to talk to me over the week. I ignored him all the way. There’s nothing left to say except the fact that even when he didn’t cheat on me and that I told him to let go, he told me himself that he would wait.
I guess a part of me hoped that he would remain faithful to me. Eto yung sinabi ko sa kanya dati, yung kinakatakutan ko, na may darating na bago sa buhay niya at makakalimutan na niya ako. I’d be happy for him if it wasn’t Nian or if it was really serious. It wasn’t and it’s Nian.
I’m not judging Nian’s lifestyle. But she’s a flirt and she will always be one. She likes the attention so much. Everyone in the district knows her. And I guess, it’s my pride that won’t let me talk to Allen. My pride is wounded.
I’m at my dad’s place, I didn’t have anything to do and I wanted to hang out with Karl, little did I know, he went out with his buddies. So here I am at my dad’s place and alone with dad and my step-mom.
I’m thinking of going over at Karl’s, it’s just two streets away and I’m sure Tita won’t mind if I go there, it’s just that I don’t really want to be here right now. I just can't take it.
“Dad pupunta ka ba sa Baccalaureate Mass?” I ask dad, the three of us eating dinner.
Dad turns to look at me and shakes his head. “May lakad ako. Sa graduation mo nalang.” He says.
But I know all too well. Hindi ko naman talaga ine-expect na pupunta siya eh, tinanong ko lang dahil ang tahimik at ang awkward ng dinner namin. Pero expected na hindi siya pupunta.
I don’t expect anything from my parents anyway, mom won’t go too. It’s how the world works. I’d be lucky if they both show up on graduation.
“I’m still rather disappointment. Wala kang makukuhang award.” Ma says, her words may seem nice but I know all too well that behind those words is malice.
Dad stands up and excuses himself for the bathroom.
“I couldn’t blame you, I’d blame your mother. She’s too lax with you and your brother. If you were under my roof, you’d be graduating with honors.” She continues.
I wipe my mouth with the table napkin, willing my hands not to shake with anger. I force myself to smile at her. “I don’t really like being an honor student. It’s too tiresome.” I say and stand up.
Dad comes back. “Saan ka pupunta?” he asks.
“Tapos na akong kumain dad. Punta na ako sa kwarto ko.” I say and walk out of the dining room and straight to my room.
Inside the confines of my room, I press my back on the door and close my eyes, my knees grow weak and I sink to the floor. I clutch my phone over my chest and try not to listen to the shouts downstairs.
“Ano na naman ang sinabi mo?” dad yells softly at ma.
“Ako na naman ang sisisihin mo? Is it always my fault? I just told her about her failures.”
“Failures? Anong mali na naman ang ginawa sayo ni Mary?”
“She failed as a valedictorian! Sinayang niya lahat!”
“Anong gustong mong gawin? May sakit yung bata! Gusto mo pagurin niya yung sarili niya para mag-aral? May sakit! Mamatay!”
I tune them all out. The screaming and yelling. They think that I don’t hear anything every time they fight but they’re wrong, my room is near the servant’s staircase so I could hear anything from upstairs.
They always fight about me and lately they’ve been fighting a lot because I’m sick, I guess.
“…you spoil them! Tas malalaman ko nalang na nag transfer ka ng pera sa nanay nila? Para saan yun? Hindi pa ba sapat yung bahay na tinitirhan nila?”
“Yung perang yun para kay Mary! Anong gusto mo, hayaan ko nalang na siya lang ang gumastos sa pagpapagamot sa anak ko? Anak ko yun! Ano na naman ang kinalaman ng bahay nila? Naiinggit ka ba dahil mansion yung bahay nila? Akin ba yun? Sa nanay nila yun! Pamana…”
I search my phone for my mom’s number and hit the call button “Mom.” I sniff.
“Mary?” mom answers. “What’s wrong?”
I will myself not to cry over the phone to mom, there’s nothing to gain from it anyway, just disappointments and I think I’ve reached my limit of disappointments today. “Pwede pasundo mo na ako?”
“Akala ko ba diyan ka haggang Monday.” Mom says.
“…hinayaan mo nga na kausapin yung physiatrist! Ano nababaliw na ba yung anak mo?”
I’m not sure if mom can hear it but mom doesn’t need to hear any of it. Everyone’s going to fight again.
“We had her tested!”
I break a sob and I know mom could hear it. “Mom please gusto ko ng umuwi.”
“Okay. Tatawagan ko na si yaya mo at papasundo na kita. Ayusin mo na yung gamit mo. Uwi mo lahat ng mga gamit mo diyan.” Mom says. I know for sure that she really heard it. She’s angry, I think even if my mom is indifferent to me sometimes, when it comes to questioning my sanity she gets really mad. She’d protect me from it.
And I’m content with that at least at some cases she can be a real mother to me, one who protects her child.
“Okay.” I hang up. I dial another number and breathe a sigh of relief when he answered so quickly. “Kim.” I sob.
I can’t tune out them arguing and I need to hear someone. I need to feel comfort and no one will give it to me except Kim.
“What’s wrong?” he asks. “Why are you crying?” he asks me, he really knows me so much that he knows with my voice that I’m crying.
I smile sadly. I wish he’s here, he’s my best friend and I need someone to hold me right now. “Nothing. I just needed to hear your voice.” I say. I can’t tell him about why I’m crying because he doesn’t understand, no one ever does.
Maybe Louie didn’t understand it too. He just knew about it but maybe he never understood, I don’t know, I may never know. But all I know is that whenever this happened Louie was always by my side holding me, comforting me the way no one ever did.
“You should have never decided against the physiatrists before.”
And that remark is the most painful I heard tonight. It’s okay if they all insult my intelligence, it’s okay if they show how unwanted I am because I learned to keep it in, I’m used to the insults but to remind the memories of the past, I never quite learned how to master not to feel hurt.
I curl in my stomach and cry with my phone still in my ears, I know Kim can hear me cry but he doesn’t speak, I hear him walk and seconds later I hear music playing through the phone.
I hear him play the piano, he’s playing the lullaby he wrote for me.
As he plays, I listen and cry. I smile because even when he’s not here to hold me right now, I feel as though he’s here holding me through his music. He’s comforting me the only way he knows how when he’s not around.
I forget the loud screams below and just listen to the music Kim’s playing for me. Minutes later, he stops but he doesn’t speak, he’s waiting for me. “Thank you.” I say because his music calms me down, helps me forget even for a second how hurt I am right now.
“What happened?” he asks.
I sit up straight and press my back on the back of the door. I close my eyes and smile sadly. “Nakwento ko na ba sayo kung paano ako pinanganak?” I ask him. I don’t remember if I ever told him this story, the story of how I was born.
“You never did.” He answers. Of course, I didn’t. The story was shameful. Shameful for my part. Why would I admit the story to anyone? It would wound my ever so wounded pride.
Why add salt to the wound right?
“I’m an unwanted child.” I admit. “I was the baby who wasn’t supposed to happen.” I tell him. It’s hard to admit it, I sometimes wish I never heard mom talking about it. I should have not woken up that fateful night and maybe I would still be blissful with the ignorance. “Nobody wanted me.”
“Mary…” Kim starts, he doesn’t know how to proceed, he doesn’t know how to comfort me now.
“It’s true. Mom was on medications when I was conceived. I wasn’t supposed to know about it I think. Pero alam mo kahit naman hindi nila ipaalam sa akin na unwanted ako, pinaramdam naman nila sa akin yun. Kahit hindi ko pa alam yun, ramdam ko na dati pa. And maybe that was why I was so different.” Why I was so broken.
“You know that’s not true right? You’re not different.” Kim says. “And your family loves you.”
I snort. This is why he would never understand, he’s still living his life through rose-colored glass. He grew up seeing life in that rose-colored glass. I sometimes wish I could see life the way he sees it because it seems simple but no, I am cynical.
“Maybe someday you’ll understand.” I tell him.
“Did something happen with your family? Did they… hurt you?” he asks uncertainly. He still probably believes that my family is just as normal as his is. And I don’t plan on correcting him right now.
He grew up with a family who loves him. I grew up with my family. I grew up being a realist. Kim grew up being a dreamer. He doesn’t need to know now his misconceptions about my family.
I think it would hurt him because he would know how much I’ve been hurting. And frankly, I don’t want to inflict him another pain. I think I’ve done enough.
“Nothing happened. I was just being sentimental. It’s probably the meds they gave me.” I lie.
“I asked Dr. Collins not to prescribe anti-depression meds.” He tells me. I smile ruefully, there’s still something I’m good at that Kim would never see. I’m still good at lying.
“I’m feeling better now. Thank you.”
“Mary, I’m here always. I’m just one phone call away. Just call me when you need me.” Kim says. “I’ll even fly back if you want me too.” He adds. And I know he means it.
I chuckle. “Maybe I will.” I say. Seconds pass and we don’t speak. “Ian.” I start. “Thank you for everything.”
“I just want you to be happy.” He says. “No matter how many times you push me away Mary, always remember I will never leave your side. Just call me and I’ll be there.”
I smile because I know he won’t. He won’t leave me. He’d stay, no matter how angry I make him, he’s going to be there for me.
“I know, you promised me remember?”
“Yes I did and you know me, I never once broken the promises I made with you.” he says and I can almost feel his smile.
And at that moment, I feel happy. I forget the reason I called him. I feel fine.
Little did I know, he’d be breaking the one promise that mattered the most in the future. And how I wish he’d never have to.