Chapter Forty Four

"Ate will you go away again?" Leila asked me. nasa hospital kami eh. i persuaded Mama, i mean Tita Ana to go home and get some sleep. she's been crying and its bad for her.

"No, i wont be away from now on. maybe just a few months. maybe by then. nahanap ko na yung sarili ko." i said and smiled. tinuloy ko n yung pagbraid ng hair nya.

"you've been searching for your lost soul for two years Ate. baka naman di na babalik yun." i pouted with her answer.

"Youre making fun of me." tumawa lang sya.

"i'm not. when are you leaving?" she asked.

"pag okay na si Mommy." napabuntong hininga sya.

"i wish you never have to go." she said sadly.

"Baby. what did i tell you about this?" i asked softly.

"you have to do this for yourself. right. be back soon okay?" i smiled and touched her cheeks

"of course i will."

nagkwekwentuhan ulit kaming dalawa nung bumukas yung pinto.

unti unting nawala yung ngiti ko.

si Daddy yung pumasok. tumayo na ko.

"Come Leila. sa labas muna tayo." tumayo naman si Leila. palabas na kami nung hinawakan ni Daddy yung braso ko.

"Anak, Lets Talk." he said softly.

"wala naman tayong pag uusapan eh." i replied.

"please?" he said softly. napabuntong hininga nalang ako saka tumingin kay Leila.

"Baby. can you go to starbucks downstairs? i'll follow. dont go anywhere allright?" tumango naman sya saka lumabas.

binawi ko na yung braso ko saka naglakad papunta sa bintana.

"speak up Dad." i said softly.

"I'm sorry Anak, i've been to harsh on you when you went home few nights ago." he said softly. tinignan ko sya saka sumandal sa bintana.

"no need to apologize Dad. you've been harsh to me the moment i went away 8 years ago. i'm already used to it. wag nyo nang isipin yun. okay lang. now. is there anything else?" i asked.

"its not okay Venice. Look at you. you became so independent and so detached. you never want to be anywhere near us. kung hindi nagkasakit yang mommy mo. uuwi ka ba? babalik ka ba samin? No, kasi sinanay mo yung sarili mo na mag isa." napatingin ako sa kanya.

"Sinanay ko ba Dad? ako ba? you let me think i cant rely on anyone but myself. you never called me. you never checked me. when i left you forgot being my Dad and start being a Father. you left me all alone. instead of hugging me back, you pushed me away. i dont have anyone but myself. so i have to trust myself. you dont know how hard that is." i sobbed. tahimik lang sya. "trying so hard not to crawl back to your house coz i would rather choose hardship. i would rather choose working and cleaning another's house than to go back and hurt myself. you dont know how hard it is. you were so busy making billions and you forgot about me. you, of all people, was the last person i expected of hurting me. i thought you would rather hurt yourself than to hurt me. but i'm wrong. and instead of apologizing Dad." i paused

"you went almighty and tough with me." i bursted out. "you forgot that i dont even know how to wash my clothes or do the chores. you dont know how scared i am Dad." i cried. "but despite everything. i did not hate you, why? coz i'm trying to understand where you coming from. you noticed all my faults Dad but you never even said you were proud of what i had become on my own. inintindi ko pa rin. i tried making excuses for you. but that slap was the last straw." i sniffed. umiiyak na rin si Dad. but i'm too occupied. too hurt to even think of that.

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