Chapter 01 - Hurting (June 26, 2020)

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Date posted: June 26, 2020

Chapter 01 - Hurting

The day's the nicest today. The chirping of the birds from the distant trees. The warm sun rays streaming from the leaves, paired with the cool breeze of the Amihan. It's like even the weather has agreed to make everything perfect for the three people sitting in the al fresco lunch today.

A beautiful couple— a husband and a pregnant wife— sits in front of a reticent man petting a snow white cat on his lap.

"Is that your neighbor's cat?" Tanong ni Perci sa nakatatandang kapatid niyang si Odyssey.

"Yes. But actually, she's mine now." Odyssey replied as he continued petting Lily— that's the cat's name.

"Oh really?" Perci said rhetorically. It wasn't even a question because he knew how close his brother has become with the cat. Especially with its name, it actually felt like fate. Lily? Ang ipinagtataka lang ni Mark Perseus ay kung paanong isinuko ito ng unang may-ari. But he didn't ask for more, especially after Odyssey remained silent.

"Ikaw pala 'yun talaga 'yun ha..." Ani Perci with a bitter smile on his face. He looks poignantly at the cat. He suddenly wanted to pet it but he restrained himself.

"Ang alin?" Tanong ng babae sa tabi niya, his wife Lourdes.

"H-ha? Wala. I mean... siya pala 'yung pusa na makulit at pumapasok sa bahay dati. 'Di ba kuya?"

"Yepp." Odyssey answered with a pop on his lips— clearly entertained with the cat.

Lourdes wanted to ask for more, pero biglang nagsalita muli si Odyssey.

"How far are you due, Lulu?" He said before carefully placing Lily on the empty chair beside him. She just curled into a ball and slept, like a calm kind cat, just like her master.

The couple suddenly exchanged knowing glances, not because of the pregnancy question— not because of the cat, but because of the name Odyssey mentioned.


Concern is palpable in Perci's eyes. But Lourdes just smiled. She just wanted to wave it because it might be just a slip. Katunog din kasi. Because actually, Lulu is not even her nickname, but somebody else's.

To everyone, including her husband Perci, she was Lourdes. Or just Lou. Nakakalito man, but the very name that Odyssey mentioned belongs to Perci's first wife, Luntian. She was the Lulu that everyone loved to hate. Including Perci. And maybe even Odyssey when he found out what happened between her and his brother.

Maybe it was an honest mistake in Odyssey's part. Maybe it was just a slip. Or perhaps that's just what Lourdes wanted to think. Because Odi was a careful man.

But at this point, she can't be bothered. She's Perci's wife now. That's the place she has always wanted to be. Everything is just a thing in the past. Especially now, as Perci kept the firm grasp on her little hand a wee bit tighter, as if reassuring that her place in his life can't be moved with just a minor slip from his brother. Lourdes felt the safest.

"7 months na, kuya." Lourdes answered as she fondles her bulging stomach. Naisip niya, they're old enough not to mind these kind of honest mistakes. She, too, knew that Lulu can easily be switched up with Lou. Ipinawalang-bahala niya na lang.

Seriously, she thought. This family has a thing with names. Even with Simon Odyssey— his wife has a name the same as their family name. Talaga sigurong nakakalito lang ang mga pangalan.

Lourdes smiled again.

"Just a little over a couple of months pala, makikita ko na pamangkin ko?" There is so much brightness in Odi's eyes. Lourdes knows his brother-in-law will never have a kid in this lifetime. He has accepted this the moment he knew of his wife's condition. Kahit nga si Lourdes, alam niya through Perci and a lot of retelling from friends, that before his wife died, and even before he got married to his late wife, he had a vasectomy— not for selfish reasons.

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