home ; prologue

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years ago...

"No! Kasalanan mo 'to! Kung hindi dahil sa'yo, hindi masisira ang tiwala ng mga magulang ko sa akin!"

"Bakit ako?! Kung hindi ka naman lumapit sa akin, edi hindi rin 'to mangyayari!"

Tears came streaming down my face as I watched my parents fight. Ever since I was young, my family has never  been complete, and home hasn't been home. Nagpapakita lang si Papa sa tuwing mag-aaway sila ni Mama, dahil hindi lang kami ang pamilya niya at hindi pa sila kasal. I even have a sister, but we only meet at school dahil hindi kami ipinakilala sa isa't isa. We found it out ourselves.

Madilim sa kitchen at nakaharap sina Mama at Papa, bakas din sa kanilang mga mukha ang galit sa isa't isa. Ano nanaman kaya 'to?

"Umalis ka na at wag na wag ka nang magpapakita sa amin ni Freya. Trese pa lang ang anak natin pero ganyan na agad ang iniaasta mo!" Sigaw ni Mama.

"Manahimik ka!" Sigaw ni Papa sa kabya pabalik, at nanlaki ang mga mata ko sa nakita.

Nagsituluan ang mga luha ko nang kumuha si Papa ng kutsilyo at akmang sasaksakin pa si Mama.

"Pa! Wag!" Sigaw ko, at napatigil si Papa at Mama. Nanlaki din ang mga mata kong nang maalala na hindi nila alam na nandito ako. "Anong sasabihin ni Marione sa Papa niya kapag nalaman niya to?"

Tumalikod si Papa at naglakad ng mabilis patungo sa akin. Dahan dahan akong napaatras ngunit itinutok niya ang kutsilyo sa akin. Natatakot ako ngunit hindi ko ipinahalata dahil hindi ko alam ang magiging epekto nito kay Papa at Mama.

"How did you know about Marione?! Simula ngayon wag na wag kayong magkikita! Or else I will kill you. And your mom. Don't influence sweet Marione with this filthy lady's blood!" Sigaw ni Papa, at umiyak na ako.

He choked me at pinigilan siya ni Mama pero walang nagawa iyon. Hindi siya mapigilan.

"P-Pa, I love you, but please don't do this," sabi ko, habang umiiling at nagsisituluan ang mga luha. Bakit pati ako nadadamay? Bakit kailangan niyang gawin lahat ng to?

Umalis ang pagkakahawak ni Papa sa akin at binato niya ang kutsilyo sa bintana causing it to shatter.

Home. What is home? Home, it's never called that if it's a place.

present...

"That would be ₩15000, sir," sabi ko, as I gave the guy his food and drinks.

He had a short stature, but he looked tough and someone who you shouldn't mess with because of the vibe he was giving off. His aura was of a professional's, as if he held the world. That's strange. He's my last customer for my midnight shift, anyway.

"Here, thank you," he said, giving me the money so I took it and he smiled at me. Oh. He seems familiar.

"Thank you, sir," sabi ko, as I gave him his receipt.

Pumasok ako sa may back room, and then changed into fresh clothes. I still have to go somewhere else bago ako umuwi sa bahay.

Pagkalabas na pagkalabas ko naman, I furrowed my brows. Bakit nandito pa yung lalaking yun? What is his business here? And why is he looking at me? Yung kasunod ko sa shift, nasa counter naman na.

I started walking paalis but he spoke before I could do so causing me to halt.

"Miss Freya?" Ye asked, and I furrowed my brows. So he read my nametag earlier, eh?

"Sir, my shift is finished here. Please go to the counter kung may kailangan ka pa," I replied, at nagsigh naman siya.

Naglakad siya sa harapan ko at binigyan din ako ng ngiti na sa pagkakaalam ko ay rare lang niyang ipakita. Yung totoong ngiti.

"Wanna go for a walk?" He asked, "I have a lot in my mind and I'm sure you do, too. I see your eyes. They seem sad. Don't worry, I don't bite." He continued, and I widened my eyes.

"How do you know that? You just met me today at the counter," I said, and he chuckled.

"I'm a regular customer here, and mostly ikaw ang naaabutan ko. If it makes you feel better, you can also tell me your problems and worries if I will. I'll tell mine and you can also tell me yours," sabi niya, and I was surprised that he looked sincere. Ilang tao pa ba ang ganito?

No one really cared like what he is doing now. I guess, what's there to lose? Hindi ko naman kailangan na iattach ang sarili ko sa kanya. It's just a one time thing.

"Fine, I guess,"

"Lee Woozi,"

"Freya Santillan,"

"Santillan?"

"Yeah, why?"

"My best friend. Her last name is also Santillan. Anyway, shall we?"

"I guess."


Never did I think I could feel what home really feels like.

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