Binuksan ni Rachel ang isa pang pinto na adjacent sa mismong silid na inuukopa ni Rafael. Nang sumilip sila ay merong kausap si Rafael na lalaki and she does not actually have to ask who he was because he looked so much like Rafael.
She looked at Rafael, there were bruises on his face…may ilan ding gasgas at namamaga pa rin ang isang mata nito. May bandage sa kanan nitong braso pati na rin sa kanan nitong paa.
Nakaramdam sya ng habag.
“Mia!” tawag ni Rafael na mukhang sumaya nang makita sya.
Nilingon sila ng ama nito.
Tumuloy sila at ipinakilala sya ni Rafael sa ama.
“Dad…si Mia, and Mia my Dad…Rafael Salcedo the first.” sabi ni Rafael.
Isang ngiti ang pinawalan ni Mr. Salcedo.
“So this little angel is Mia…” anito at inilahad ang kamay.
Kinuha naman nya ‘yun at nagmano rito.
“Pleasure to meet you po Mr. Salcedo…” sabi niya.
“Mabuti naman, nice to meet you hija. Alam mo ba anak na miss na miss ko na rin ang may nagmamano sa akin?” anito at nakangiting tinapik sya. “O sya…kayo na muna rito at aasikasuhin ko ang results at billings…” saka lumabas na.
Naiwan silang tatlo roon. And the air seemed to have become very heavy.
“Kuya Zack…thanks for coming.” sabi ni Rafael.
Tumango lang si Zack dito. “Be sure to get up fast, Raf” anito.
Ngumiti si Rafael.
“I will…” anito at nilingon sya. “Come here Mia…” tawag nito sa kanya. Lumapit naman sya dito. “Upo ka naman…para namang paaalisin kita agad.” sabi nito.
She gave him an assuring smile na she will just be here. When she sat mabilis na hinawakan ni Rafael ang kanyang isang kamay at pinisil yun.
“Pangit ko na ano?” tanong nito.
“Ano ka ba, kahit mabungi ka pa hindi ka naman papangit…” pagpapagaan nya sa loob nito. He smiled. “Hindi mo naman sinabi na the second ka lang pala…” biro nya.
He laughed when he got what she meant.
“Dyahe nga eh, buti na lang hindi junior ano? At baka naging Junjun pa ang nick name ko.”
Natawa na rin sya at ngumuso, “Ganun na rin ‘yun…”
“I suppose you two still have something to talk about…dito lang ako sa labas.” sabi ni Zack.
She wanted to stop him pero alangan namang sabihin nyang dito lang ito? She failed to see his face before he went out. Napayuko sya.
“Mia…” tawag ni Rafael at pinisil ang kanyang kamay.
She smiled at him.
Pero nakakunot ito sa kanya. He was giving her a very deep stare na para bang pati nasa isip nya ay nakikita nito sa mukha nya.
“Bakit?” she asked.
“You know what I liked about you the most? Is your smile…” anito at hinawakan ang kanyang pisngi. “You smile with your eyes…and it’s contagious…”
“Talaga? Sige nga ngiti ka rin…” sabi nya at nginitian ito.
“But that smile is fake…” pansin nito.
Para syang napahiya sa harap nito.
“Ngayon mo na sabihin Raf…what about Charlize?” tanong nya.
Humugot ito ng isang napakalalim na buntong hininga.
“After we talked the other night…I tried contacting her.”
“I successfully did,” nakakita sya ng kalungkutan sa mga mata nito. It’s like she was seeing this very emotional side of Rafael, and she felt lucky to see this. Not that she felt lucky he was like this, but because for men like him who try to portray a strong personality…they could kill you if you see them looking like how he looks right now. Misty eyed and very hurt, “Pinalaglag nya ang baby namin, Mia…and it was all my fault.” sabi nito. Ipinikit nito ang mga mata nito trying to stop his tears from falling.
She cried for him too.
“Because of my indecisiveness and wrong decisions I lost our baby. I hated her for committing such a crime but I hated myself ten times for pushing her to do it.” nahihirapan na sabi nito.
“Have you told her how you felt now? How sorry you are, Rafael?” tanong nya.
Umiling ito, “She wouldn’t wanna hear it, she already erased me and my existence in her life.”
Nalungkot sya sa narinig, alam nya na mahal din ni Rafael si Charlize at siguro dahil sa pareho pang hindi talagang mature ang mga pag-iisip nila ay nangyari ito.
Bagaman twenty-four na si Rafael, he still does not want to give up being single. He was in the peak of his manhood where he is enjoying too much and this happened! It was unexpected and it blew things out of proportion for Rafael’s way of living. Kaya natakot ito sa obligasyon.
“Just when I was ready, it ended too soon, Mia.” sabi nito.
Niyakap nya ito, feeling really sorry for him.
“This accident? I guess I deserved this…I think I even deserved more than this…” sambit nito.
“’Wag mo naman sabihin yan Rafael…alam mo mahal ka ni Charlize and she was just hurt, alam ko na hindi rin nya ginusto na maaksidente ka.” sabi nya rito.
“Don’t be too nice Mia…stop thinking na lahat ng mga tao ay mabubuti…lalo na ako. I did terrible things because I was only thinking about my self…at dahil sa sobrang pabaya ako I killed our baby and I almost killed you.”
Lumayo sya dito at aktong susundutin ang mga mata nito.
“Gusto mo sundutin ko yang mga mata mo?” pinandilatan pa nya ito.
“Eh ano naman ang gusto mong gawin ko, Mia?” nabulalas nito feeling so confused.
“Alam kong alam mo naman ang sagot d’yan Rafael…I know you have the answer with you all along…Make up your decision right now…and do it like a real man because I know you are.” nagkanda haba-haba ang ngusong sabi nya rito.
And then Rafael let out a laugh. He remembered someone told him the same thing before. But unlike before, he just neglected it.
This time, parang galing na talaga sa puso nito ang tawa nito and she was happy about it.
“’Yan ang nagustuhan ko sa’yo eh…kaya naman muntik na akong ma-in-love sa’yo…” sabi nito sa kanya na ikina-nganga nya. “Oh! Itikom mo nga yang bibig mo…baka mahalikan pa kita d’yan.”
Tinapik nya ang braso nito at napahiyaw naman ito.
“Naku, sorry sorry sorry!”
Rafael smiled at her and then touched her head, his one act na gusting-gusto nya…dahil for her…he was the ‘Kuya’ that she never had.
“I almost fell for you, you know that, Mia? You made me feel that I did not have to feel like a victim. You understood me, I’ve never felt so fully appreciated, you looked at me na para bang wala akong kasalanan sa mundo…you made me look at you in the eye and I saw a very clean me…and it just made me more guilty that it led me to a realization. Then in a split second the good feeling went away…I realized that someone like you does not deserve someone like me.”
She rolled her eyes. She already heard that from Zack before.
There goes those words again…when will I ever know what it really meant?
“What do you exactly mean by someone like you and someone like me?”
“Alam mo may sagot d’yan si Kuya Zack…sa kanya ka na lang magtanong ‘Little Sis’…” sabi nito.
She smiled at him sa tinawag nito sa kanya.
Pinaalis na sya nito.
“Kala ko ba hindi mo ako papaalisin!” Sukmat nya dito.
“Tapos na ako sa’yo eh…” biro nito at kinindatan sya. “Sige na…Baka matulad ka sa akin sige ka…”
And then she went out.
RAFAEL watched Mia leave…he has decided not to push through with his confession. He knew before that he is in a competition with Zack for Mia. He thought he had a chance.
But seeing them come together here… knowing Mia was in Sta. Monica… and seeing how Mia looks at Zack compared to how she looks at him. He knew he doesn’t stand a chance against Zack. And even if it’s difficult, he has to step aside…
HINAHANAP ng paningin nya si Zack.
“Si Zack?” tanong nya kay Rachel. Lumingon-lingon din ito.
“Nandito lang ‘yun kanina eh…baka lumabas…gusto mo tawagin ko, Mia?” tanong nito.
“Hindi-hindi na Chel…ako na lang. Sige…” yumukod sya sa lahat at lumabas na.
But she couldn’t find him. Where is he?
NAKATITIG si Mia ngayon kanyang repleksyon sa salamin. Tumaas ang isa nyang kilay at napailing.
Wala naman ah…I still look the same…
Exaggerated naman kung maka-describe itong si Lucy kay Rafael nang mangamusta ito sa kanya nu’ng magkita draw ang mga ito sa isang event na pinuntahan nina Lucy at Van.
Sabihan ba naman si Rafael na she looks like hell!
I look nothing like hell…In fact, I look perfectly fine!
Nagsuklay sya ng buhok nyang halos isang lingo yata nyang hindi nasuklayan, napangiwi pa sya dahil sa kulang na lang ay masira ang suklay sa tigas ng buhok nya. Pagkatapos kasi nyang maligo ay hindi na sya nag-aabala pang magsuklay pa dahil hindi din naman nya kailangang lumabas ng kuwarto.
Saan pa sya pupunta eh tinanggal na sya sa kanyang trabaho dahil isang linggo syang absent at hindi man lang nagpaalam.
The first two days of her absence was because she was kidnapped by a stranger. And then the next days was because she felt like she had to isolate herself.
‘Pag tinatanong sya ni Lucy kung bakit, ay sinasabi na lang nya na nagka-virus sya at kailangan nyang mag-self-quarantine.
And when they all have already left ay kumukuha sya ng shot glass at nagpapatulo ng luha saka pag napuno ay ililipat yun sa isang mas malaki pang water container.
‘Pag napuno ‘yun ay saka lang sya lalabas para maghanap ng contest na paramihan ng luha at ipe-present nya ‘yun. ‘Pag nanalo sya ay gagamitin nya ang pera para bumili ng ticket at umuwi sa kanilang probinsya.
It feels really nice to be doing some crazy stuff sometimes though. Pakiramdam nya when you’re crazy, it makes everything simple and changes your perspective.
Ngayon lang nya na-appreciate ang mga baliw. They have their good points. At the very least, they have a wicked sense of humor.
She wondered how it felt to be one of them…sabi nila they don’t feel pain anymore…
And plus they have a simple way of thinking.
Siguro if she had those qualities ay hindi na nya kailangan na alalahanin pa kung bakit parang sobrang na-damage ang kanyang puso.
Kung bakit pakiramdam nya ay hindi na ‘yun titibok pang muli…and the only thing that keeps her alive right now is her extra heart…and it was found inside her skull.
Her extra heart kept telling her to live on when hindi rin naman nya naiisip na magpakamatay! She is not in a suicidal state okay!
It was just really heavy for her…something happened that led her to look at life and love in a negative perspective.
The only thing she could remember was giving her virginity to a fly-by-night ass.
Hindi nya kilala kung sino ‘yun…basta all that remained in her memory was that she had a one night stand with a stranger!
Argh! What a total shame…
But she had an impression of that person, she noticed that he was a good-for-nothing retard, a suspicious moron and an ungrateful little bumblebee that leaves one poor little flower right after he just aspirated out her ambrosia!
Mangali-ngali na naman nyang isuntok ang sariling kamao sa dingding ng kanilang cr.
She never felt like she could be this violent in her whole life!
She never knew this urge to hurt herself existed inside of her!
She never knew that she could ever feel this capacity to hate somebody as she was feeling right now.
May kumatok sa pinto ng kanilang silid ni Lucy.
Napapikit sya at humugot ng isang napakalalim na hininga na halos madala na ang mga nakalagay na shampoo bottles at ilang mga gamit na nakapatong sa lababo.
She tried to modulate her voice…‘coz if she won’t do that, baka ay masigawan lang nya ang kumakatok dahil she was still having her self-therapy session.
Oh and another thing she just got from that awful experience is that she had developed a temper!
She felt like just shouting all the time! Just like now!
“Yes?” sagot nya. And then she tried to make a breathing exercise.
“Mia, may bisita ka…” tawag ni Lucy sa kanya.
She wondered why Lucy is here gayong meron naman itong trabaho ngayon.
She was deeply touched upon how Lucy was so concerned about her.
Surprisingly she knows a bit of what happened and more shocking was that she also knew a bit of how she feels!
Para silang kambal na dating magkadikit ang mga pusod na kahit magpahanggang ngayon, alam ng isa’t-isa ang nararamdaman ng isa even without any words spoken.
When she was ready ay lumabas na sya.
“Lucy naman eh…pumasok ka na kasi at baka ikaw naman ang matanggal nyan.” anya rito.
“Oo nag-excuse lang ako kasi may sinamahan lang ako rito. Babalik din ako…” Lucy said and then she reached for her hand.
“Owkay…” at napatingin sya sa kamay na hawak nito. “And what is this drama, sis?”
“Oh God, maganda ka naman sis pero ayoko yang ngiti mong ganyan.” umasim ang mukha nya.
“May bisita ka.” ulit nito sa sinabi nito kanina habang nasa loob sya ng cr.
Naniningkit ang mga mata na pinipilit nyang basahin ang kaibigan. And she couldn’t believe just what she was reading.
“Lucy, I’m still sick okay? Nagse-self quarantine nga ako ‘di ba? And I’m not accepting visitors…kahit presidente pa yan ng Banana Republic!” At tinalikuran nya ito saka pumatong sa kanyang kama at nagtalukbong ng kumot.
Umupo sa gilid ng kama nya ang kaibigan at hinapuhap ang likod nya.
“Itong visitor mo makakatulong ng malaki sa recovery mo.” sabi nito.
“I’m already sleeping…” anya rito.
Hindi alam ni Lucy kung matatawa o maaawa sa kaibigan nya.