CHAPTER 32

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CHAPTER 32

Strangers

Lumabas ako ng sasakyan niya na pakiramdam ko ay kaunti na lang tutumba na ako dahil sa panghihina ng aking mga tuhod. Sunod-sunod ang pagtulo ng aking mga luha, para bang kasabay na rin nito ang unti-unting pagkakadurog ng puso ko.

I heard the engine of his car, hindi na ako lumingon at hinayaan ng makaalis ang sasakyan niya.

Ayoko ng lingunin ang pag alis niya.

As I walk towards our small gate, I saw my mother standing in front of me as she looks at me with those sad eyes.

She want me to stop seeing Eliot, she want me to end things with him.

Pero ngayon, hindi saya ang nakikita ko sa kaniyang mga mata kundi ang pagmamahal ng isang ina.

"Avery, anak..." she said and open her arms for me. Napakagat ako ng ibabang labi at unti-unting nagpatianod at sumugod para sa isang mahigpit na yakap.

"Mama," iyak ko habang nakapulupot ang kamay ko sa kaniya, tumutulo ang aking mga luha at nagawang isiksik na lang ang mukha sa kaniyang dibdib.

"He broke up with me, mom..." sa basag na boses ay nagawa ko pang sabihin iyon.

Hindi siya umimik ngunit hinigpitan niya ang pagkakayakap sa akin. Na para bang sa paraan na iyon ay gagaan ang nararamdaman ko ngunit hindi. I still feel so heavy that I don't know any more what will comfort me.

This situation is draining me; this is making me feel so worthless. Hindi ko alam gagawin, hindi alam ang dapat na maramdaman.

Para akong nauupos na kandila, patong-patong na ang nararamdaman ko at hindi na alam kung anong dapat unang pagtuunan.

"I'm sorry that you have to suffer for my own selfishness, anak." My mother whispered on my ears. I want to blame everything on her but I know that there's no one to really blame. I can't blame her for something that she doesn't have control.

Kasi katulad ko, nagmahal lang din naman siya. Sadyang mali lang siya ng taong minahal.

I woke up the next morning feeling heavy. Parang ayoko na ring pumasok, ayoko na lang tumayo. Gusto ko na lang mahiga sa kama magdamag at magmukmok. But I also know that I have to be responsible with my study.

I have dreams.

Pero guguho na ata ang mundo ko habang sinasabi sa akin ng professor ko na bumagsak ako para sa term na ito.

"May mga absences ka at nasakto pa iyon kapag mayroong long quizzes and activities. Mataas man ang mga grado mo sa exams pero malaki rin ang percentage ng quizzes." She explained to me as she shows me my first ever 5.00 grade.

I got 74 as my final grade to her subject, worse, it's my major subject.

"Ten percent din ang attendance at sunod-sunod ang naging pag absent mo," it's only for midterm at alam kong pwede ko pang mabawi iyon sa finals kung magsisipag lang ako.

Ang problema lang, I will be removed from the dean's list.

"I understand, ma'am..." I tried to smile at her kahit na pakiramdam ko nagmukha lang naman akong ewan.

"Hija, you're a very smart girl and we were really hoping for you to be the summa cum laude for your batch. But if you're acting like this then I don't think that will happen."

I just nodded my head and smiled at her.

Hindi ko naman kasi alam ang sasabihin.

Ayon din naman ang pangarap ko para sa sarili ko.

I went to the garden of this university where I usually go when I want some time alone.

Ever since I was young, my always goal is to be on the top. To be the valedictorian, the summa cum laude, to be the best... but right now I'm slowly failing.

I tried to study for my quiz later kahit na wala namang pumapasok sa isipan ko. I want to at least try and maybe I'll go back with my tracks.

"Ugh," I let out an exasperated sigh as I push away the papers in front of me na ginamit ko scratch para sa mga sinosolve ko.

Natigilan nga lang nang naalala iyong mga times na kasama ko si Eliot na nagr-review. I wonder if his grades are failing too. I hope not, he's aiming to be on top too. He got goals too.

Huminga ako ng malalim at iniling ang ulo. I really need to chill right now or I will fail another term.

I picked my phone and put on my earphone. I'm going to play BTS songs because they are my inspiration then, kailangan bumalik ako sa dati. Kailangan kong umayos.

Kahit papaano naman ay umayos ang pakiram ko at nakapag focus naman sa pagr-review.

It was time for my next subject when I decided to leave the garden and go back to the accounting department.

That afternoon went pretty well and I'm really glad that I wasn't that distracted. I perfect my quizzes and was graded the highest with our performance task.

I was doing just fine not until I bumped into Eliot.

He's holding some papers; I think it's for his plates.

Unlike me who looks like a mess, Eliot just looking alright, as if nothing happened last night or the past few days. He seems unaffected at all, parang wala lang talaga.

"I'm sorry," he said in a hoarse voice.

I don't know what his sorry all about. Is it because we bumped into each other or is it because he broke my heart?

But silly me, of course it's not because of the latter.

I tried to really do well today and avoid being distracted. But seeing him right now is just making me get drown with the thoughts that I want to talk to him again and maybe try to change his mind about breaking up with me.

"It's okay," I said and he just nodded. Nagsimula na siyang maglakad paalis. He's leaving just like that as if we're just some stranger to each other.

"Eliot, wait!" I called his name at nilungunan siya. He stopped from walking but he didn't look back at me.

"C-can we meet later?" sa mahinang boses ay sinabi ko iyon.

Umaasa na sana ay umu-o siya.

Hindi siya sumagot kaya nagpatuloy ako.

"I'll wait for you, sa café..." kinagat ko ang ibabang labi ko.

Hindi siya sumagot pero alam kong nakikinig siya.

"After class," Dagdag ko pa.

He just stood up there without saying anything, nang maramdaman niyang wala na akong sasabihin ay nagsimula na siyang maglakad ulit palayo.

I waited for him till 10PM but he didn't come, I tried sending him messages telling him that I'll wait again tomorrow, but then... hindi siya muli dumating.

"Can you pass this note to him?" I told Xanthe as I handed him the letter that I wrote for Eliot. Telling him that I'm going to wait for him again

"Avery, five days mo ng ginagawa 'yan," he looks worried as he looks at me.

I shook my head and smiled at him to assure him that I'm fine.

"Baka kasi nagiisip-isip pa siya," sabi ko para gumaan ang pakiramdam niya. "Una na ako, may exams pa ako." Then I waved my hand at him. Nagsimula na ako sa paglalakad para makahabol pa sa exam ko.

But then, later that night, wala ulit Eliot na dumating.

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