• Leah's Real Life Stories

Jericho’s Story: CHAPTER FOUR


Limang araw pinaglamayan si mama at nailibing na siya’t lahat, wala ni anino ni papa ang dumating. I didn’t even know if he was aware na nagtagumpay siya sa matagal na niyang balak na kitilin ang buhay ng aking ina.


You could say it’s not his intention, maybe, but his actions tell it otherwise dahil unti unti niyang pinatay si mama.


Hindi ko alam kung ano ang gusto ko nun, kung matutuwa ba ako at buti naman at hindi siya nanggulo o kung mas magagalit dahil wala man siyang initiatibo na puntahan ang asawa niya na walang ibang ginawa kundi pagsilbihan siya, alagaan, pagtiisan siya, at sundin lahat ng gusto niya.


A part of me wants to never see him again, but a part also wants to look at him in the eyes and see any remorse or guilt sa ginawa niya. Gusto kong makita ‘yung nangingitim na niyang mata with visible eyebags dahil sa hindi na siya finally makatulog after ng mga pinaggagagawa niya.


Leah, gusto kong makita ‘yung lungkot, restlessness … basta any signs na unti unti siyang tinotorture ng konsensiya niya at ng mga alaala ng nakabibingi at masasakit na iyak ni mama kasama nung mga bruises na iniwan niya at ‘yung dugong dumadaloy mula sa ulo ni mama the night he hit her head with a bottle of wine.


Patawarin niyo ako pero gustong gusto ko siyang mag-suffer na kahit lumuhod siya at magmaakawa to end his agony, ay wala ni isang makikinig sa kanya at wala ni isang tutulong sa kanya.


I badly wanted to see how he’s going to pay for killing my mother.


After ngang mailibing ni si mama ay kinuha na ako ni tito Den sa bahay niya. Hinakot namin lahat ng gamit ko dahil hinding hindi na ako muli pang babalik sa bahay na iyon.


The first months without my mom was purely an emotional torture to me. Literal na hindi ako makakain dahil pag upo ko pa lang sa hapag kainan at makita ang naihandang pagkain, si mama kaagad ang naaalala ko. ‘Yung naka-apron siya ng pink na babatiin ako ng good morning every time I emerged in the kitchen with my sleepy eyes. ‘Yung way niya ng paglalagay ng pagkain sa plate ko at mostly papanuorin lang akong kakain.


Pagkaalala ko lang ng mga ito ay mabilis na akong tatakbo pabalik sa kwarto ko at doon muling magkukulong.


I was not functioning really well and in everything I dido, in every corner I looked at, lagi kong naaalala si mama. Lahat ng gagawin ko, my mind would always bring me to my memories, beautiful and amazing memories with my mom.


Leah, it was only then I realized that no matter how great the moments we had with a person but when they only turned to memories at hindi na muli pang mauulit, they will be converted into a pang of excruciating pain.


And these memories keeppt coming back and they do not have any intention of leaving you behind sooner. Leah, if there is something I am certain about in this world, you will never get over the death of a parent.

With the help and support of tito Den, I was able to get through high school. Magkapatid nga talaga Leah sina mama at tito Den dahil sa nananalaytay sa ugat nila ‘yung kabaitan.


Si tito talagang hindi niya ako pinabayaan at hinayaan akong mag-grieve. Never akong may narinig sa kanya na itigil ko na ang pag-iyak at pagmukmuk, ‘yun bang typical na sasabihan ka what to do na para bang ganun ganun lang lahat. Bagkus ay gaya ni mama, he would always give me a warm embrace.


‘Yung mga moment na hindi ako makakain, he would encourage me to at least eat kahit ilang kutsara lang sa tuwing dinadalhan niya ako ng pagkain. Inu-unti unti niya ako hanggang sa nagagawa ko na ring kumain.


Those sleepless nights, sasamahan niya ako at aayaing manuod kahit pa man ilang beses na siyang maghikab, he would still stay up with me until early morning. I had a very hard time sleeping and tito was always there to accompany me.


Kung saan saan din kami pumupunta upang mamasyal Leah, kung saan saan kami nakakarating.


I was really thankful for tito Den, for without his support, I wouldn’t have made it.


But just when I thought I was already recovering, a greater turmoil was waiting for me when I already entered college in a city where I was alone.


After graduating from high school, binigyan ako ng freedom ni tito to choose which university to study at sinamahan niya pa ako sa pagtetake ng entrance exam, page-enroll, paghahanap at pagse-settle sa bording house.


Halos 12 hours ang biyahe nun mula sa amin at sa university na napili ko. I enrolled IT kasi mahilig ako sa computer.


Leah, I never had a girlfriend, and in the university, there were ladies especially ‘yung mga higher years na nagi-imbita sa akin to hang out but I always politely declined.


Pero sa classroom, merong isang babae, si Clarisse, who had managed to be around me. Noon kasi Leah, I was withdrawn sa paligid ko, I was basically acting as an introvert or not acting kasi I was basically one.


Kaya noong unang araw ng klase, sa likod ako naupo at while my classmates were busying getting to know each other, I sat in silence and watch them do their thing.


Akala ko walang makakapansin sa akin sa gilid dahil nga sa busy ang lahat kaya naman laking gulat ko ng may isang long hair na babae ang umupo sa tabi ko and introduced herself as Clarisse.


Dahil nga Leah sa hindi ako marunong makipag-converse, the communication between us immediately died down and it should have made her leave me, instead ay kinuha niya ‘yung bag niya and asked me if she could occupy the seat beside mine.


And when I said it’s okay, from then, we became seatmates.


Leah, si Clarisse tahimik, mahinhin, pero masayahin. ‘Yung very light talaga ‘yung aura niya na parang ang bait bait ng mundo sa kanya at ni wala siyang hinanakit na dala dala kahit konte.


At siya nga ang naging instant best friend at buddy ko. Siya ay galing sa buong pamilya at gaya ko ay mag-isa lang din siyang anak. Halatang mayaman sila kahit hindi pa man niya aminin ay kitang kita.


‘Yung parents niya, as she described was working really hard to provide her needs and so she had to do well in her studies in return. I asked her kung hindi ba laging wala ang mga parents niya sa bahay nila and she answered me yes, and so I followed up kung ano ang nararamdaman niya na abalang abala sa trabaho ang mga magulang niya at wala silang time for her.


Ngumiti siya and she told me she doesn’t look at it that way dahil alam niya at naiintindihan niyang para naman sa kanya ‘yung ginagawa ng parents niya.


At doon ako bilib sa pagiging optimistic niya. ‘Yung bang lahat ng bagay ay sa good sides siya tumitingin at dine-disregard ‘yung bad at toxic na sides.


That was her secret kaya ganun kagaan ang aura niya dahil hindi niya ina-absorb ‘yung negative bagkus ay sa positive lang siya naka-focus.


And to be honest, her character helped me and if I were to be honest, that was the first thing that had me drawn to her.


Lagi kaming magkasama nun Leah na humantong kami sa point na inaasar na kami ng mga kaklase namin maging ang mga instructors at professors namin ay sumasama na rin sa pag-ship sa amin minsan.


Tumatawa tawa lang kami nun ni Clarisse Leah while we listen to them imagine and tell things they see from Clarisse and I.


Parang ‘let them think what they want’ attitude lang at binigay na namin sa kanila ‘yung opportunity na kiligin lalong lalo na ‘yung mga single para ma-experience rin naman nila kahit papaano.


Alam mo Leah kasi ‘yung talagang in every action Clarisse and I make, kahit pa man magkatabi lang kaming nakaupo ay makakarinig ka pa rin ng pang-aasar from them na kahit mahuli lang nila kaming magtinginan ay maghahampasan na ang mga yan sa kilig.


‘Yung parang Kathniel lang o JaDine o kahit anong loveteam lang ‘yung datingan namin nun sa mga kinikilig na reaction ng mga kaklase namin.


Hindi ko alam pero ni isa sa amin ay hindi nakaramdam ng pagkailang o awkwardness sa tuwing inaasar kami, though, neither of us made a move as well.


On the other hand Leah, I was determined to finish my studies and be an IT specialist dahil talagang mahilig ako sa computer.


So basically I didn’t plan any of the things that happened next to me while I was away from home.


Kasi all of a sudden, everything – the guilt, the anger, the disgust, the grief – all at once caught up with me one night. ‘Yung bang lumingon lingon ako sa paligid and I just felt this emptiness na mas lalong nakaka-frustrate.


I tossed and turn sa bed with the memories of what happened almost 4 years ago kept flashing at the back of my mind – the scream, the blood, my mom’s cold hand and lifeless body. I was really begging for them to leave me alone but they didn’t.


And the next thing, I found myself along the street with a bottle of beear. I just had a bottle of beear, that was the first time I downed an alcoholic beverage, liquor and when I went back to my apartment, it was surprisingly easier to drift off to sleep and that’s when my addiction and all started.

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