Epilogue

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Yoseff Earl

Nine years ago..

"Aila! bilis! Takbo nandiyan na sila Carmina!"

"Aila, andyan na sila bilis!" 

"Huminto na si Taba!"

Napapikit ako nang mariin nang marinig ko ang maingay na tinig ng mga batang naglalaro sa labas. I pinched the bridge of my nose. My afternoon nap is already ruined.

Padabog akong lumabas sa aking kwarto. Handa na sana akong bumaba sa hagdanan nang makita kong may lumabas na babae mula sa kwarto ni Kuya.

Napailing na lamang ako. Iba't-iba ang girlfriend ni Kuya every week. Mabilis akong bumaba ng hagdan at lumabas ng aming gate.

"Anong nangyayari dito?" 

Natigilan sila. Carmina looks surprised.

"Ah- eh, w-wala." Carmina answered.

I doubt that. I knew that she's a bully.

"Sinungaling kang babaita ka! Kinuha mo ang chinese garter ni Aila!" Inis na sagot ni Eina.

I switched my gaze to Aila. There's tears stains on her cheeks. I felt a hollow in my chest. Napailing ako at napabuntong hininga. Lumapit ako kay Carmina.

I snatched the chinese garter away from her. Nilapitan ko si Aila at tinulungan siyang tumayo.

"S-salamat." She blushed.

I nodded and gave it to her. I saw her smile. Sa kung ano mang kadahilanan ay gusto ko siyang protektahan. 

Sa kung ano mang kadahilanan ayoko siyang makitang umiiyak. Natutuwa ako kapag ngumingiti siya kahit ang ingay ingay niya...ayoko sa maingay, pero bakit gusto kong marinig ang mga tawa niya? O bakit hinahanap ko ang boses niya kapag pumupunta ang pamilya niya sa bahay namin?

"Sa susunod 'wag kang mang-aagaw ng bagay na 'di sa'yo, Carmina. Alis na, bago pa kita isumbong sa Mama mo." I warned her.

Mabilis itong tumango.

"Kayo din, Lychee at Megan. 'Pag nakita ko ulit kayong inaaway niyo sila Aila at nang kaibigan niya, lagot kayo sa akin."

"Salamat, Yoseff!" Masayang sabi ni Eina

I nodded at her. I looked at Aislin Laurel. She's just seven and small. She's so cute.

"Ayos ka lang?" 

Tumango siya. May luha pa din sa kanyang pisngi. Tinaas ko ang kamay ko at pinunasan iyon. Hindi ko napigilan ang sarili kong ngumiti. I know another way to make her happy. I took out a cherry flavored lollipop from my pocket. 

"Kakainin ko sana pero sa'yo na lang, baka sakaling gumaan ang pakiramdam mo."

Nakaawang kanyang mga labi. Ang cute niya talaga. I bit my inner cheek. 

Hindi pa niya iyon kinukuha kaya inilagay ko iyon sa palad niya at bahagyang tinapik ko ang taas ng buhok niya bago ako pumasok ulit sa gate ng aming bahay.

I smiled to myself. She's really cute.

------

Aislin Laurel

Five years ago, I lost the love of my life, my childhood and highschool sweetheart...my Mr. Sungit. Life took him away when we're on the verge of something real. Life took him away right before he even got a chance to make his dreams come true or build a family.

It's downright unfair but I guess life is like that. It took me some time to accept and process everything. He was wrong...even though he hurted me and decided to not tell me the truth...he's still one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Loving him was one of the best things that I did.

It took me a year to fully understand why he did what he did. He made me happy at some point of my life that will forever engrave in my heart. We made a lot of good and fun memories that I will forever cherish and take with me. 

I forgave him and I don't hate him. Sana ay masaya siya at nasa mapayapa siyang lugar. He deserves it. It took me a year to finally accept that he's gone. It took me a year to finally shut off the 'what if's' in my head. It took me a year to realize that there was nothing that I could ever do to bring him back. Kahit gaano kadalas pa akong umiyak o magmakaawa man ako sa tadhana ay hindi na siya babalik.

The best thing that I could do is move on and just hope that I would see him in the next lifetime.

Nakatayo ako sa parehong pwesto kung saan ako nakatayo noong nilibing namin siya...the difference is, I already let him go...I already moved on. I kept his letter and the necklace. Those two things are one of the most important possessions that I will ever have. As I go on with my life, dala-dala ko ang mga ala-ala namin ni Yoseff na hinding-hindi ko malilimutan.

It was hard for me to leave this place because all my life I've been here and my best and worst memories are here. The people I love are here but leaving was the best for me. 

Umupo ako sa damuhan at tumitig sa kanyang gravestone. After a year of grieving. I did what he asked,  I lived my life, I pulled myself up and faced the world. Nag-aral ulit ako. Naka-graduate ako ng senior high school with high honors. 

Mama continued her career while I studied...nasa second year na ako ng kolehiyo at pinaplano kong pumasok ng medical school. Samantalang si Eina ay nandito sa Pilipinas. She's studying to be a chemical engineer. Mamaya ay magkikita kami to catch things up..tuwing summer ay pinupuntahan nila ako sa Canada. Kaya hindi rin ako masyadong nalungkot.

Five years ago, my parents divorced. It hit me too, of course who wouldn't? But my Mom is there always for me...she's already happy and she's in a long term relationship with an awesome surgeon. I forgave my father even though I don't talk to him anymore.

When I found forgiveness, I found peace and I moved on with my life.

It's been five years there's a lot that happened but no matter where I go, I won't forget Yoseff, he will always have that special place in my heart. 

Tears welled in my eyes.

"Thank you for everything, Yoseff...." My eyes watered. ."Sana masaya ka kung nasaan ka man...because I'm happy and I achieved a lot, I bet you're p-proud of me...See you next lifetime, baby..." 

I closed my eyes when the wind blew for a moment.

I placed the flowers on his grave and said my goodbye. Tumayo  na ako at naglakad patungo sa sasakyan. There, Cedric is waiting for me.  He's been so patient and supportive. He moved to Ontario with me noong nag-graduate siya ng highschool. He got a basketball scholarship in the University.

Three years ago, I opened my heart..again. I gave him a chance and he didn't wasted it.

Cedric put his arms around my shoulder and kissed my temple.

"Are you ready to go, my love?" 

I nodded and smiled.

Seducing Mr. SungitTahanan ng mga kuwento. Tumuklas ngayon