"Oh yes, the past can hurt you. But you can either run from it, or learn from it."
-- Rafiki, Lion King
"Gel! Come here. You've got to see this." shouted the young Louis. He was wearing the checkered shorts and the white shirt I gave him as a gift and it was puddled.
Came running was the younger version of me. She was still the enthusiastic little girl that people adored. She leaned down to Louis to see what he had gotten but to her dismay, he daubed her face with mud. In a second, the smile on her face was washed away, and ran back to where she came.
Louis went behind her. Worry was all over his face. Before she could even get back to the house, he had grabbed her arm putting her into a stop. She turned around as tears ran down her innocent face.
Honest disbelief. That was what I saw on the young Louis which I didn't notice when I was at that age. He hugged her tight and grazed the back of her head.
"Sorry, Clo. Please stop crying."
But my little self didn't stop. I still remember the reason why. And I didn't know if that would still be the same right now. Not wanting him to let go, I kept on crying.
It was that dream again. Since Louis came, not just once did I dream of it. Every night I found it hard to fall asleep worried that it will come running on my mind again. For years, avoiding the memories had worked for me. No horrible past came rushing through my brain to make it hard for me to put myself into a peaceful slumber.
But then he came and I was back to square one.
It was only three in the morning but I could not get myself to go back to sleep. I got the jacket on my closet, wore it then grabbed the scarf hanging on the swivel chair and and put it around my neck. I thought of going out the front porch to breathe in some fresh air.
As slowly as I can, I rotated the door knob and pulled the door open. I didn't want to make any unecessary noise. My mom sleeps so light that even the slightest sound can wake her up.
As I was pulling the door close, I felt something moved. It was coming from downstairs. My nose wrinkled. There was no way mom would wake up at three am. I tip toed my way down the staircase to check on the noise I heard. I tried to not make any sound as I bridge the distance from the stairs to the kitchen. I thought the sound came from there.
I peeped my head on the door frame of the kitchen and saw a silhoutte leaning down on the refrigerator. Why was it looking at the fridge?
I inhaled deeply, and then exhaled. I needed to know who it was and I was so ceratin that it wasn't Louis since I heard him sleeping soundly in his room. I looked around the kitchen and tried not to make any sound then my eyes caught the rolling pin placed at the counter so I started towards it and got hold of it. Dad said, it was never better to go empty handed.
Silently taking steps, I raised the rolling pin and was about to hit the stranger when he faced me. The rolling pin dropped from my hands and rolled on the floor as I grasp the reality of who was in front of me. I blinked a couple times but the familiar figure was still in front of me.
How long had it been? Six months? Seven? I didn't know. But there was one thing clear to me. He was back home.
Like a bat out of hell, I bridged the remaining distance between us and hugged him tightly as I could. "Dad!" I squealed.
He wrapped his arms around me and grazed my back, "I missed you, honey. How are you?" He let go of me and rubbed my hair, "Why are you up this early?"
I answered him with a smile.
"A bad dream?" he guessed.
I nodded slowly. He knew what wakes me up in the most unexpected hour. He may always be far from home, but he knew me better than any one else—but not better than mom.
"When did you arrive? Does mom know you're here?" I inquired as I pick up the rolling pin I had dropped earlier—which rolled a little farther than I had expected.
He guided me to sit on the stool and sat next to me. "Yes, I was locked up in our room the whole day, actually. We plan to surprise you. Too bad you figured out before we could even do that." he smiled sheepishly.
My parents always failed at doing stuffs like surprises. Before they could even hold it, it was revealed. "You know what dad? You may not have done it. But I was still surprised." I said in between chuckles.