I felt so empty these past few days, I couldn't function just right. Everything doesn't feel right anymore. It feels like I'm living with lies and only lies. Everyday, I can feel that my body's failing at me already. It feels so numb and my body just aches sometimes. That's why umuwi muna ako sa condo namin ni Ate Camille because I don't wanna show the team them how weak I am.
"Ching, breakfast is ready." Mom knocked on my door. I'm wide awake since 2 am. I actually slept early dahil sa pagod pero nagising ako at hindi na nakatulog muli. My thoughts are back at it again. Minsan napapaisip pa din ako; How the heck did I get in this kind of situation? Masyado ba akong makasalanan nung past life ko kaya ganito ang punishment sa akin?
"You're awake yet you're not answering any of my calls outside," Mom sat on my bed. I gently rub off my eyes and yawn for a second, "I cooked your favorite breakfast, go downstairs okay? We'll wait for you." Mom said and I nodded.
I was 13 years old when I was diagnosed with leukemia, I did some tests and even went abroad just to cure my illness. Everything worked out at hindi na delikado ang cancer ko sabi nila noong pagbalik ko dito sa Pilipinas. I was homeschooled when I was in Elementary because of my sudden illness, I didn't experienced going out just to play with my friends, I am the kind of girl who prefers to sneak out in the middle of the night. That's how crazy I am.
Lucky me, nung nagbalik kami sa doctor for a check-up they said that my family don't need to worry anymore dahil lumiliit na ang chance na ma-ggrow back ang cancer cells ko. When he said that, I started to try all the things that I haven't tried before when I was a kid but my mom wouldn't allow me dahil mas gusto niya at ang safety ko. My family's protective as hell when it comes to me. Even Mico, my younger brother is watching over me sometimes.
I studied in a normal school and that's when I met my friends. And it is also the opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone completely. I became part of our volleyball team, I even joined NCAA in my high school days, passed in the prestigious universities here in Manila. And I couldn't be proud of myself.
Not until when I collapsed while having a training few months ago...
That's when I knew that I am not gonna be normal like the others.
I was diagnosed with leukemia again. but this time? It's worst than ever.
My family did all their best just to cure my ill but at this moment, walang makitang chance para mapatay ang cancer cells ko. Everything shattered into pieces noong nalaman ko 'yon, that's when I think that I need to leave Joshua as early as possible dahil ayaw ko siyang masaktan. I don't want to be selfish, hindi ko kayang makita siyang nasasaktan dahil sa akin. Hindi niya deserve iyon at mas lalong hindi niya ako deserve.
He doesn't deserve a weak girl like me.
Hindi ko pa sinasabi sa teammates ko about sa condition ko, I don't want to hurt them as well. Hindi ko kakayanin ang makita silang umiiyak dahil sa walang kwentang tao katulad ko. I'm such a coward.
Even Bettina doesn't even know a single shit about me and my condition.
"Ate, you're crying again?" napatingin ako sa kapatid ko. My innocent baby brother sat beside me, pinunasan niya ang mga luha na dumadaloy sa pisngi ko. I felt a pang in my chest dahil ma-mimiss ko siya ng sobra kapag nawala ako. Nakakaiyak lang dahil baka hindi ko mababantayan ang pagiging binata niya, magiging mabait kaya siya na boyfriend in the near future? I hope so...
Niyakap ko ng mahigpit si Mico at mas Lalo akong naiyak, "A-ate loves you so much... M-mico..." I whispered in his ears. "I love you too Ate. Stop crying na, look oh... You don't have eyes na." He pouted at tumawa naman ako. "Kahit naman hindi magcry si Ate wala na talaga siyang eyes." pagbibiro ko sa kanya. Mico's just five years old at mukhang naiintindihan na niya ang ibang mga bagay so I'll take this small opportunity to have a heart to heart talk with him.
"Mico... Always remember na love ka ni Ate ha?" I said to him while ruffling his hair. "Kahit hindi pa sure na gagaling ang sakit ni Ate, tatandaan mo na I am always here for you. No matter what happens." I smiled.
"But if Papa God will fetch me already, I want you to accept it. Don't cry when the time has come, I want you to be brave. Don't be like me who's coward enough to accept those kind of things. I know from the very start that you're a fighter and a strong boy, Mico. Ikaw na bahala kila Mommy, Daddy and Ate Camille if ever ha?"
"You're not going to die pa naman diba, Ate?"
"We don't know, Mico. It depends on Him."
"Death is inevitable, baby." I added.
"But I know you can block death, Ate. You're a fighter din kaya. Nakaka-block ka nga minsan sa volleyball eh." He chuckles. Sabi ko nga, hindi niya pa maiintindihan ito. But I know that, tatak naman sa isipan niya lahat ng sinabi ko. Si Mico pa ba? Naalala niya nga kung ilang piraso 'yung cookies niya sa ref.
"Let's go down na baby. They're waiting for us," I said and we both went down to the kitchen to eat our breakfast.
"Natagalan kayo ah," Daddy smiled. Lumapit ako sa kanya at hinug siya. Its been awhile since the last time I hugged him, lagi kasi silang busy ni mommy sa work kaya minsan ko lang siya malambing ng ganito. Today is our free day and they decided to take a break sa work and we will spend our day with family. Nakakatuwa lang, you will really know who will be there for you in tough times. and it's your family as always.
"Kelan ka aalis, Ching?" Mommy asked.
"Sa Sunday po," I answered while taking a bite from my Bacon sandwich. "Mag-iingat ka doon ah. Alam mo na ang do's and dont's you're not a kid anymore. Laging aalahanin ang meds pati ang time, don't you ever skip any meal tapos..." I cutted mom off.
I chuckled, "Mommy chill po... Save all your reminders on Saturday night." sabi ko sa kanya at umiling naman siya, "Sige if you say so... Basta expect mo na mas madaming reminders on Saturday night, Monique." Mom smirked and I couldn't help but to smile. Overprotective talaga as ever.
After eating, we did our household chores. Dapat hindi nila ako papayagan tumulong kaso nga makulit ako at mapalit. In the end, I was sweeping all of the dust in our picture frames. Yun lang naman ang naitulong ko sa kanila dahil the rest? Ayaw na nila ako payagan. So I ended up watching the television with Mico. Pagkatapos nun, nagprepare na din ako maligo dahil aalis kami for lunch and pupunta daw kami sa mall para magbonding. I prefer watching tv shows or movie marathon but then, sabi ni mommy kailangan daw naming maglakad lakad para may exercise pa 'din. I think I should bring them to the gym para legit ang exercise, haha joke.
"Ayaw mo ba I-invite si Joshua, Michelle?" Daddy asked. Napatingin naman si Mommy sa akin, "Oo nga. Matgal ko na 'din hindi nakikita 'yung batang 'yun," Mom added. Ate Camille looked at me; alam na niya kasi ang tungkol sa gagawin ko kay Josh. He's not in favor of it pero naka-depende naman daw sa akin lahat. She will just support me along the way.
"Umm, may sarili kaming date on Friday before I left for Cotabato, daddy." sabi ko. "Atsaka, sinabi ko 'din po na family day natin ngayon."
"He's a member of our family naman, diba?"
My breathing hitched for a second at napa-pikit ako sa sakit na naramdaman ko. Magsisinungaling na naman ako.
"Yes, but this was different." I tried to calm myself at huminga ng malalim.
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