Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

            "Dad, for the millionth time, hindi ako interesado sa Law." sinabi ko ng madiin sa kanya, "May iba akong interests okay?"

            Mukha talaga siyang hindi masaya sa sinabi ko. Lagi na lang kami nag-a-argue tungkol doon sa gusto ko sa buhay ko. He expects me to become a lawyer katulad niya, pero hindi iyon ang gusto ko.

            Kung nandito lang sana si Mommy...

            "How can a 21-year-old lady like you only have aspirations to paint all day?"

            Tumayo naman na ako dahil sa sobrang galit ko sa kanya. I am not about to have this argument with him again. Nakakarindi na, paulit-ulit pa.

            Napansin niya kaagad yung pagtayo ko kaya nag-react naman siya kaagad sa akin, "Zoe Louise huwag kang bastos at maupo ka uli! Kinakausap pa kita!"

            "Dad, I'm not hungry anymore." Yun na lang ang sinabi ko sa kanya.

            Umakyat ako doon sa taas ng bahay namin papunta doon sa kwarto ko. I have this fascination with the Arts, kaya nga naging Fine Arts student ako. Kung may gusto pa ako na ibang gawin, I would have picked that as a major at hindi Fine Arts. I guess hindi niya talaga maintindihan yun. Ano bang magagawa ni Daddy kung gusto kong mag-sketch, gusto ko mag-paint, to sculpt...

            What is wrong with being in this field? "As if naman may mabebenta ka sa mga paintings mo..." I can hear him saying in my head. Yun lagi ang sinasabi niya sa akin. He thinks in the long run, being an artist will not really buy your family enough bread to live off of.

            Ako lang ang nag-iisang anak ng Daddy ko. Siguro kaya ganun na lang din ang atensiyon niya sa akin. I'm his little girl, sabi nga nila. Kaya lang minsan, nami-miss ko rin na may Mommy. I think if she was just here, may kakampi ako. At least kung nandito siya, baka nada-divert pa yung atensiyon ni Daddy. Hindi lang puro sa akin ang sama ng loob niya.

            My mom was an artist as well. She was a painter din, pero she was mainly more into her music than she was with visual arts. Apparently, kapag kumakanta siya noon, it was as if the angels were passing by daw. She had this angelic voice na gustung-gustong marinig ng mga tao. She was a Music teacher sa isang elementary school before she passed away.

            I was eight when that happened, pero for some reason, wala akong matandaan nung araw na iyon. All I remember seeing was that, there was a bright light, and after that... wala na. Siguro nga I have this capability of blocking painful memories, or at least ginusto kong kalimutan yung araw na iyon. Kaya ayun siguro, wala talaga akong matandaan.

            After nung death ng Mommy ko, my dad opted into moving and pretty much erasing anything that has to do with her—including selling yung collection of paintings niya doon sa lumang house namin. She loved to paint sceneries and angels. I remember her telling me nung bata pa ako na sceneries and angels make the best combination sa art. Sceneries create the mood, while angels make the best companion. I used to be fascinated with angels, pero when she passed away, I stopped believing in them. Kung may guardian nga daw tayo sinasabi nila, they wouldn't let my mom, who was obviously a good person, die just like that. Saan naman ang angels kung nangyari yun? They would have stopped her from dying 'di ba?

            That was also one of the reasons kaya hindi na rin ako naging religious.

            Ako naman, I draw anything and everything, mostly portraits ng mga tao. Mga bago kong kaibigan, nagtitinda sa kanto, teacher ko sa school.. kahit ano. I have this thing for human features. Something about looking at them dictates who they are as a person. Para bang kilala mo na sila your whole life. Every line sa mukha ng isang tao tells a story—it tells so much about their personality.

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