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.