Jericho’s Story: FINAL CHAPTER
When I was already in 2nd year college, few months na lang matatapos na ‘yung school year when all of a sudden I came face to face with a certain incident that triggered and activated a new wave of torment and pain but this time, it is way more uncontrollable and call me mahina or whatever you want, pero hindi ko nga kinaya.
Mga pasado alas sais na nun nang matapos ang klase namin ni Clarisse. Gaya ng dati ay sabay kaming maglalakad pauwi and along the way, kung may madaanan kami na gusto naming kainan ay hihintuan namin. Ganon nga ang nangyari that time.
Pauwi na kami nang makita namin itong bagong bukas na hangout place at saktong nagke-crave ako ng shake dahil nga sa mainit, we stopped by.
Clarisse ordered an ube shake, ewan ko kung bakit gustong gusto niya ang ube. I didn’t know if it’s her love for purple o sadyang favorite lang din niyang kainin kasi mapa-cake, ice cream o ano man yan, gusto niyang ube flavor. It’s not that I do not like ube, hindi ko lang maintindihan what’s with that flavor at gustong gusto niya.
Anyway, we stopped by at the place kung saan umorder nga kami and while waiting, we browsed their menu baka may magustuhan kaming balikan next time. But then, while Clarisse was busy scanning their list, biglang may nakaagaw sa attention ko from my peripheral vision and when I turned my head to look at it … my still broken heart shattered even more that I could feel the parts I thought were already healing being thorn apart once again.
It was a view of a mother and son who is a teenager, tantiya ko ay nasa 14 or 15 siya. They were dining at kitang kita kung gaano sila ka-close sa bawat tawa na pinapakawalan nila at sa naka-pay attention na kanilang mga mata kapag nagkwe-kwento ‘yun isa.
Kitang kita ko kung paano haplusin ng ina ‘yung ulo ng kanyang anak while he tells her about something. I watched them interact, completing giving them my 100% attention while Clarisse was telling a story.
Leah, it was a view which brought me back to the time kung saan I had the opportunity to do the same with my mother. My fist instantly curled when my mind went to the inevitable, ‘yung pananakit ni papa at kung paano niya kinitil ang buhay ng aking ina.
My fist clenched so hard my nails dig deeper into my palm and I was too far gone to care even if it’s going to bleed. I never curled my fingers like this, I tried many times but they didn’t last for seconds because there is always my mom who has the power to unclench them even without doing any effort.
But now that she’s no where to be found, I was finally eaten by a new generation of anger, new generation because it is uncontrollable and unbearable and that they merged with the loneliness that I feel every day, it is so intense that I became a ticking bomb, any moment I would explode and forget I was even in public.
And before I could, I rushed outside and went straight to my apartment. I ran and Clarisse wasn’t able to catch up hanggang sa ‘yung pagsigaw niya ng pangalan ko ay hindi ko na nga narinig dahil napakalayo ko na sa kanya.
The pain mixed with extreme anger made me punch the wall repeatedly once I was inside my apartment. Even my knuckles were already bleeding and the wall was already turning red with bloodstains, I didn’t stop. I just wanted to release all but no matter how I tried, they’re just there and they didn’t have any plan to leave any time sooner.
That night, I lied wide awake with my hands aching, but it’s the least of my concern. I tossed and turn, trying to at least just sleep everything off but these emotions were too stubborn to let me, rather they demanded to be felt.
I didn’t like it.
I didn’t like being lonely anymore. I didn’t like being angry. But no matter how I tried, no matter how I condition myself, no amount of effort that could make me forget.
I wanted to move on, to fulfil my mom’s wish and that was for me to enjoy life and to move forward. But I couldn’t just get used to the fact that even I rummage every corner of this world, even I hire the best man to do the job, I could never find her again.
I can’t get over Leah, I can’t look at the world without feeling so sad and so angry. My mom, my only parent, she’s my refuge, my strength, and my haven yet she was taken away from me.
I felt like God was not just so cruel to me, but also unfair. Why does He give everything to some, while let others suffer? Are we not His children? Am I not His child? Bakit napakalupit naman Niya sa akin.
Hinayaan Niyang maipanganak ako sa amang walang kwenta, hinayaan Niyang mag-suffer kaming mag-ina, at ang pinaka-masakit sa lahat ay ‘yung kinuha Niya pa ‘yung nag-iisang taong meron ako.
How could He love others and be so cruel to me?
That night nga Leah ay I went to a store kung saan bumili ako ng beer. I know that was not in the list of the things my mom would expect me to do, but I was too furious to care and so after grabbing and paying the beer, I started walking back to my apartment.
But then, remembering the empty space waiting for me, I stopped and just sit instead at the side of the road. It was around 11 in the evening at iilan na lang ang mga tao.
The surrounding that night was bright because apart from the streetlights ay full moon at nakalabas ang maraming stars. It was a perfect view for people who love stargazing and normally, either you love the stars or not, you would find it pleasing in the eye.
But with my state, I just stared at them blankly and bitterly, thinking that out there who knows, my father is looking at them as well. With the thought, I downed my beer as if it was not my first time to drink.
When the bottle was finally empty, given that my alcohol tolerance is low, the liquor instantly made me relax and as it seems like it unloaded a part of the emotion that told me not to go home because the next thing, I was already making my way back to my apartment.
Once inside, I lied directly to my bed and surprisingly, I was able to drift off to sleep.
At ‘yung isang bottle lang, nadagdagan nang nadagdagan hanggang sa I completely became dependent to alcohol in order to sleep. With this, everything was affected – my studies, my dreams, and even my friendship to the girl who never left my side since the moment we first met.
After the mother and son moment I witnessed at the hangout place Clarisse and I dropped by for a milkshake, I became colder and distant to everybody including Clarisse who has been so patient and understanding.
Noon ngang kinabukasan after akong tumakbo pauwi, Clarisse asked me what happened but instead of opening up to her which should have been the best option at the time, I shrugged her off at hindi siya kinausap.
She tried reaching out the following days and she even made those efforts such as covering up for me sa mga teachers namin, defending me sa mga kaklase na nasusungitan ko, and even making and answering the assignments for me.
She tried so hard Leah and she is a true example of a friend na kung hindi dahil sa kanya ay hindi ko nga matatapos ang semester na yon.
I should have stopped running away even just for her, I should have confided in her and told her that my pain and anger were too unbearable and that I have no idea how to process them. I should have at least given her the explanations she deserved after doing all those stuff for me.
I should have Leah, but instead, I lashed out at her one time. I know wala siyang ibang intention kundi ang intindihin at tulungan ako pero pinagsisigawan ko siya at kung ano anong mga masasakit na salita ang pinakawalan ko.
I told her to stop following me, to stop helping me and to just let me go. Wala siyang karapatang paki alaman ako. And the last word that had finally pushed her was when I told her, ‘Ano ba kita?’
And when I saw how hurt she was, it was already too late to take my words back and from then, I lost the person who did nothing but to take care of me.
Yes Leah, I lost the person whom I was already falling in love with.
Because of my alcohol problem, hindi ko na natapos ang pag-aaral sa university na ‘yon kasi si tito Ben, sinundo na ako at inuwi sa amin.
Tito Den was disappointed at talaga umiyak pa siya sa harapan ko and staring at his eyes, the eyes the same with my mom’s, I knew I did not just let him down but my mom as well kaya naman hindi ako pumalag sa desisyon ni tito na umuwi ako.
But before we left, I asked tito a favor which he immediately granted and even ‘supported’ kasi ang favor ko nun is bigyan niya ako ng time to go see someone even just for the last time. Iba ang ngiti ni tito nun dahil alam niyang babae ‘yung pupuntahan ko with the bouquet of sunflowers I bought.
Noon nga ay pinuntahan ko siya. Alam kong wala na akong mukhang ihaharap pa sa kanya Leah, after lahat lahat ng sinabi at ginawa ko, hindi na dapat pa akong magpakita sa kanya. But then I just needed to see her kahit pa man sa huling sandali.
At Leah, talagang napakabait ni Clarisse dahil pinapasok niya pa ako sa bahay nila at doon kami sa swimming pool nila nag-usap. Sa una, nahihiya kong inabot sa kanya ‘yung Sunflowers, that was the first time I gave her a flower and I had no idea kung ano ang gusto niya kaya sinunod ko na lang ‘yung instinct ko.
I thought she was going to decline but she gratefully accepted it even I was her least favorite person that time.
We were quiet for a minute hanggang sa nakuha ko na ‘yung lakas ng loob na magpaalam sa kanya. Kitang kita ko Leah ‘yung gulat sa mga mata niya nang sabihin kong aalis na ako at babalik sa amin.
I thanked her for everything she did for me at the same time, I apologized to her and told her a summary of the reasons why I was acting like that.
I waited for her response at laking gulat ko ng makita ko ang pagtulo ng luha sa kanyang mga mata kasabay ng pagtayo niya sa kanyang upuan to wrap her arms around my neck at sunod sunod na nag-sorry dahil hindi niya raw alam.
And for the first time Leah, I allowed myself to cry to a person who is not related to me by blood. That was the first time I showed her my vulnerability and we just cried together. Hindi namin inalintana ‘yung itsura namin nun, Clarisse was sitting on my lap, her arms wrapped around my neck and her head was buried to it at the same time. Ako naman, I was also hugging her back at ‘yung ulo ko nasa balikat niya.
We cried and held each other while I laid out all of the anger, pain, and grief I was feeling for the world to see while Clarisse listens to my sobs and held me tighter.
I went to a therapy for months Leah with tito Ben by my side. The process was long and really painful because you have to keep reliving the memories which are hurting you the most.
Pero unti unti Leah, unti unti ay masasabi kong nagagawa ko ng harapin ang mundo nang hindi nagpapatianod sa mga sugat na iniwan sa akin ng childhood ko at ng pagkawala ni mama. The pain was still there and I suspect will always be there kasi kahit kailan, you will never get over the death of your mom… you will just move forward.
That’s what I did at kahit nga nahinto ako ng isang taon ay nakapagtapos pa rin ako ng pag-aaral. Dahil gusto ko ring magturo ay kumuha ako ng education units and took the LET which I was able to pass. I applied at a school sa amin, where now I am an IT instructor.
Tito Ben is always here to guide and support me and to always stand as my parent and a representative of my late mom. Si papa naman, never ko pa siyang nakikita, though nabalitaan namin ni tito that he is far away and is suffering from an illness.
Hindi pa ako handa na makita siya pero dahil nga sa tulong ng therapy ko ay I realized that he is still a human being kaya naman ay nagpadala kami ni tito ng pera doon sa tao na nagbalita sa amin kung nasaan si papa para ibigay sa kanya.
And Leah, siguro nagtataka ka kung what about Clarisse? I mentioned that I was falling for her, yes I did but then when I saw her again during a conference kung saan mas lalo siyang gumanda at kung saan ready na sana ako to make a move… meron na palang engagement ring sa finger niya.
Yes Leah, ikakasal na siya and instead of taking our friendship to the next level ay hindi na pwede dahil huli na ako. Masakit, oo, pero it doesn’t mean I am not happy for her.
Siguro ganun lang talaga, merong isang lalaking mas better para sa kanya.
Anyway, thank you very much Leah for reading my letter which, I hope, inspires others to keep going no matter how hard your situation is, na kahit kwine-question niyo ang Maylikha kung bakit kayo nandiyan sa situation niyo. Laba lang and sooner or later, the sun will eventually come out after that raging storm.
Again, thank you Leah, more power to your Station.