Book 1: Teaser | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 I 20, 21, 22: Final Chapter | Epilogue
Teasers: Dimitri | Riza/Jonah | Corina/Jun | Gio | Gab | PM/Arthur
Book 2, Part 1: Chapter 1
Part 1: "Sorpresa"
“I believe if dreams wouldn't come true, well at least nightmares should fade away...” -Jonah Realoso
“Sige po ma'am. Kasi iyong budget niyo nasa accounting na. Pakikuha na lang nun. Tapos po, hinihingi na ni Dean Jonah iyong books at records ng dorm for last sem. Icocompute niya na raw po. Tapos po kung magpapabalanse kayo kay Dean, paki-set na lang po ng nacanvass niyo. Kailangan iyan para maproject ni Dean iyong eksaktong budget na hindi nasasagi iyong quality ng food.”
“Sabi ko po,” matigas na tono ni Riza habang palapit ng palapit sa kinauupuan ni Dean Jonah, “sino si PM Realoso?” Mangiyak-ngiyak na ang mga mata ni Riza habang diretso ang tingin kay Dean Jonah. Bumibigat ang bawat ihip ng ginhawa ni Riza habang nakikipag-espadahan ng titig kay Dean Jonah. Tinignan niya ang mga mata ni Riza habang dahan-dahang hinablot ang kanyang eyeglasses mula sa pagkakapatong sa kanyang mga tenga.
“Ewan ko hija, baka kapareho ko lang ng apilyid-”
“SINUNGALING!” Sumigaw si Riza at damang-dama ng buong silid ang galit at frustration na nananalaytay sa kanyang boses. “Sinungaling kayo ma'am! Sagutin niyo nga ako, kayo ba ang dahilan kung bakit wala si Angelo?!” Bumakho si Riza upang sumandal sa mesang nasa harap ni Dean Jonah upang mas mapansin ni Dean Jonah ang kanyang mga salitang puno ng pangungulila at puno ng pagkamiss sa taong minsa'y naging bahagi sa puso ng abogada.
“Riza...” mahinahon ha panimula ng matanda, “patay na si Angelo. Matagal na. Nilibing na siya, at nasa libing ka pa nga di ba? Umiiyak ka pa nga noon hija...” Nerbyosong ngumiti ang matanda kay Riza habang matapang pa rin ang mukha ni Riza – halatang hindi ayos sa eksplenasyon ng matanda.
“Punyeta naman oh...” Pagmura ni Riza habang nagsimula ng humikbi. Sinuklay niya ang kanyang nakalugay na buhok gamit ang kanyang mga daliri habang bumaling ng tingin sa bintana upang ayusin ang kanyang buhok na medyo nagkagulo gulo na. “Pati ba naman ako dean lolokohin mo pa? Aaminin ko... hindi ko alam kung patay na ba si Angelo o hindi, pero alam kung di siya ang nasa loob ng kabaong.” Tumulo na ang kanyang luha at pinahid niya ito saka tumingin ulit sa matanda. “Kaya ngayon ma'am, sa putang inang paghingi ko ng lecheng awa niyo, sagutin niyo ako... SI PM BA SI ANGELO?!”
Tumayo ang matanda at hinagis ang mga papeles na nasa kanyang hita papunta sa kanyang mesa. “Riza, you and I know that Angelo died and we all know na katawan niya ang nasa kabaong. His face was even badly deformed, we barely recognized hi-”
“Well that's bullshit!” Hinampas ni Riza ang mesa at namewang sa harap ni Dean Jonah. “You can't fool me, dean. I'm a lawyer for almost three years now, and I work as a legal counsel, so I know how a criminal works. If I were a criminal, and I am very knowledgeable that I can just run away from the eyes of law that should be prosecuting me for the very heinous crime that I once did, there's no reason for me to hide what I have done by deforming the face of my victim. I know if I can just scoot away, they'll have a difficult time figuring out which part of the world the victim's killer is in. So beating the face of my victim would be the last thing I would do if the person is dead anyway. Now, stop lying to me ma'am, just this once, spare me from all the bullshit I have heard for the past eight years. Where is he?” Tulo ng tulo ang luha ni Riza habang dinig na dinig sa silid ang kanyang bawat iyak.
Ilang sandaling tumingin si Dean Jonah sa kanya. Maya-maya ay umupo ito muli sa mini-sofa, tinakpan ang mukha at lumindol ang kanyang balikat. Nagulat si Riza sa iyak ng matanda, alam niyang sensitibo si Dean Jonah at ang mga taong katulad ni Dean Jonah ay di dapat sinisigawan dahil sa angking-kabaitan nito.
“PUTANG INA!!!!!!!!!!!” Sinipa ni Riza ang upuan na nasa gilid ng mesa ni dean dahilan ng pagkatumba nito. Sigaw-iyak si Riza sa galit habang si dean naman ay hikbi ng hikbi.
“ANG TAGAL KO NA SIYANG HINAHANAP, TINATAGO MO LANG PALA?! AKALA KO NAWALA LANG SIYA AT NAPADPAD SA TAIWAN O SA VIETNAM O SA PALAWAN O KAHIT SAAN PA, YOU ARE THE LAST PERSON I WOULD EXPECT TO STOP ME FROM SEEING ANGELO AGAIN. WHAT'S THE DEAL?! ANO BA?! BAKIT NIYO AKO PINAGMUMUKHANG TANGA?! TANGINA, ANO BA ANG KASALANAN KO SA INYO?! ANO BANG KAPUNYETAHAN ITO AT BAKIT NIYO AKO GINAGAWANG UTO-UTO?! PAGOD NA PAGOD NA AKO, PERO DI AKO TUMIGIL SA PAGHAHANAP, AT NASA SA'YO LANG PALA SIYA??? DEAN NAMAN, BAKIT GANITO?!” Dumadagundong ang boses ni Riza sa sunod-sunod na pagsigaw niya dahil sa galit at pangungulila.
“I'm sorry Riza, please patawarin mo ako. Para din naman to sa ikabubuti ni Angelo eh. Para to sa kaligtasan niya. Di ko siya tinago mula sa'yo dahil gusto ko siyang sarilihin. May dahilan hija, meron. Di ako gumagawa ng hakbang nang walang rason, at alam mo yan! Bilang isang taong nagsilbing mahalagang tao kay Angelo, I can't afford to lose him! Alam ko wala ako sa posisyon na mag-ina-inahan, pero I just want to let you know that my concern for him is more than yours. Di ko naman siya itatago eh... Ilalabas ko rin siya sa'yo sa tamang panahon. May kailangan pang managot sa mga kasalanan, at saka...” Pinunasan ng matanda ang kanyang mukha upang makita ni Riza ang lungkot sa kanyang mata. Medyo malabo na ang paningin ng matanda, at dahil sa kanyang edad ay medyo nahihirapan na siya itaas ang boses.
Humihingal ang matanda habang humihikbi.
“AT SAKA ANO MA'AM?! NAKIKINIG AKO.” Matigas na tono ni Riza.
“He's not psychologically fit to come home, marami lang ang masasaktan. Pero kung gugustuhin niyang umuwi, which is malapit na, pagbibigyan ko siya kahit hindi pa pwede.” Humahagulgol ang matanda sabay takip sa kanyang mukha.
Tumigil naman sa pag-iyak si Riza habang dahan-dahan lumalapit sa mesa ni dean. Pinulot niya ang natumbang upuan na kanyang sinipa, plinastar ito, at umupo.
“Marami akong dapat malaman. Simulan mo na dean.” May otoridad na boses ni Riza habang nililinis ang mukha galing sa pag-iyak.
Pinulot ni Dean Jonah ang eyeglasses na kanina'y pinupunasan niya at nilagay sa kanyang mukha. Nakatingin siya sa malayo habang inaayos ang kanyang gamit na nasa taas ng kanyang mesa habang si Riza naman ay nakatitig lang dito.
“Please ma'am, gusto ko lang malaman ang kwento niya. Please...” Tahimik na tumulo ang luha ni Riza.
Nagbuntong-hininga si Dean Jonah at nagsimula nang magsalita.
“Ma'am, sabi po ng dorm manager hindi na po nagduduty si Angelo Montemayor ng ilang araw na.” Pag-uulat ni Grace kay Dean Jonah habang kumakain ang matanda sa loob ng opisina niya.
“Hindi maaari yan. May volunteer work pa siya ngayon, alam ko dahil kakakausap ko lang sa moderator ng org nila. Grace, tawagan mo ng paulit-ulit ang linya niya at ipasa mo sa akin. Kailangan kong makausap iyang batang iyan. Nasa delikado siyang lagay. Alam mo naman siguro Grace kung bakit ganyan iyang batang iyan? Palagi na nating naririnig ang mga sabi-sabi ng mga kabataan sa tabi-tabi.”
“Ma'am, pero di po natin siya kaano-ano-”
“Wala akong pakialam Grace. Sundin mo ang utos ko. Kung ipapahanap ko siya, ipapahanap ko siya. Ngayon din.” Patuloy sa paghigop ng sabaw si Dean Jonah. Nang ilang saglit, palakad takbo si Grace na pumasok ulit sa opisina niya.
“Ma'am! I have him on the phone!” Naghihingalo si Grace habang hinahabol ang kanyang hininga.
“Okay, transfer, dali!” Utos ni Dean Jonah at agad-agad na tinaas ang receiver ng telepono upang bantayan ang transfer ni Grace. Nang makuha na niya sa linya si Angelo, narinig niya ang boses ni Angelo na halatang galing iyak.”
“Hello?” Mahinang bati ni Angelo na halatang pinipigilan at tinatago ang bakas ng pag-iyak.
“Angelo. This is Dean Jonah. Are you alright?” Tanong ng matanda habang nagkatinginan sila ng kanyang sekretarya na si Grace.
“Where are you?”
“Nasa pier po, sa may simbahan, malapit sa school. Wala na pong tao sa mga oras na ito dito.”
“Okay I'll call you again. Nag-aalala lang ako sa'yo. I haven't seen you this week. Pabalik-balik ako sa dorm mo and all I see is my old student.”
“I'm just worried. Nag-aalala ako sa'yo baka magsuicide ka or what.”
“OA mo naman ma'am. So ano na po?” Patawang tono ni Angelo.
“I need to see you. I'll text you where we have to meet. Kung hindi ka darating dito, ako ang maghahanap sa'yo diyan.”
“Yes ma'am. In 30 minutes, I'll be there. Bye.”
Binaba ni Angelo ang telepono at ganon na din si Dean Jonah.
“Grace,” pagtawag ni Dean Jonah sa kanya. “ihanda mo ang kotse at pupunta tayo sa pier. Andun malapit si Angelo.” Sabay bato ng cell phone niya kay Grace. “Text mo na rin si Angelo na pupunta tayo doon. Importante to.” Tumayo ang matanda at sinuot ang blazer na nasa dingding.
“Ma'am, teka lang.” Pag-awat ni Grace saglit sa matanda. Natigilan naman ang matanda at lumingon kay Grace na nagtataka ang mukha.
“Bakit po ba masyado natin siyang tinutulungan? Marami naman po ang problemado diyan ma'am ha... Bakit siya pa?”
Lumapit si Dean Jonah kay Grace at ngumiti: “Because I will always pick him up. Dali na. 30 minutes lang.” Mabilis na umalis ng opisina si Dean Jonah at si Grace. Dumiretso sa sasakyan si Grace at minamaneho ito kasama si Dean Jonah. Nasa kahabaan sila ng kalye at nasa malapit na sa pier nang mapansin nilang lampas 30 minutos na ang nakaraan simula nang mag-usap sila ni Angelo. Natataranta na ang matanda dahil kailanman hindi pa marunong mahuli sa usapan itong si Angelo. Isa ito sa mga katangian ni Angelo na lubos na kinahanga ng matanda.
“Grace. Tinext mo ba talaga si Angelo?” Pag-aalinlangan ng matanda habang pasilip silip mula sa loob para mahanap si Angelo. Nasa daungan na sila ng barko at nasa loob sila ng sasakyan. Tinignan ni Grace ang cellphone ng matanda at sinigurong nakasend ba ang message na tinext niya kanina lang.
“Opo, nakasend naman-”
“Itext mo ulit. Dali!” Pagdadali-dali ng matanda kay Grace. Ni-resend uli ni Grace ang text niya kanina kay Angelo at nang mapansin na nakasend na ito, lumingon ulit sa matanda: “Tapos na po.”
“Tsk. Ano ba yan. Saan na ba kasi yung batang iyon.” Dismayadong mukha ni Dean Jonah. Inip na inip na siyang makita si Angelo. Nang mapuno na siya, kaagad siyang lumabas ng sasakyan at naglakad palayo.
Napansin ito ni Grace kaya tumayo na rin siya para i-lock ang sasakyan.
“Dean! Saan na naman ba kayo pupunta?!” Sigaw ni Grace habang hinahabol ang matanda.
“Hahanapin ko siya Grace. Diyan ka na lang sa sasakyan. Akin na yang phone ko para sakali matawagan kita.” Sabay hablot sa cellphone niya na nasa bulsa ni Grace.
“Madam naman eh... San niyo po ba siya hahanapin dito eh di nga natin ala-”
“Sa may simbahan, sa tapat ng SEAU. Saan ba yun?”
Nagbuntong-hininga na lang si Grace at umiling. “Ma'am, doon po sa kabilang direksyon iyong simbahan dito sa pier.” Sabay hila sa matanda sa kabilang direksyon.
“Salamat Grace ha. Kailangan ko mahanap ang batang ito. Diyan ka na. Tatawagan na lang kita okay? Kailangan dito ka lang kung sakali mangangailangan ka ng tulong maraming tutulong sa'yo. Tatawagan na lang kita.”
Mabilis na naglakad ang matanda sa direksyon na tinuro ni Riza.
Nilabas niya ang kanyang telepono at tinawagan ang linya ni Angelo, ngunit hindi na ito sumasagot at “cannot be reached” na raw. Naging balisa si Dean Jonah at kung saan saan na siya naglalakad sa paligid ng simbahan upang hanapin si Angelo.
Matapos ang ilang minutong paghahanap, hindi niya nahanap si Angelo.
Napagod ang matanda at mistulang sumuko. Umupo siya sa tabi ng pantalan at pinapanood ang hampas ng tubig. Sunod na namalayan ni Dean Jonah ay nilalaro-laro na ng kanyang mga paa ang bawat wave na sumalubong sa pantalan may footbridge na ginawa na mejo may kababaan para sa mga turista o mga mangingisda na pumapalaot. Ang footbridge ay naka-extend ng mga ilang metro mula sa pantalan. Nandoon sa dulo ang matanda, kaharap na niya ay ang laot. Sa mga panahong iyon, wala nang pumapalaot pa.
Walang laman ang kanyang isip. Bigo siyang mahanap si Angelo. Hahabulin na niya ulit ito kinabukasan. Iniisip na niya naman kung paano mahuhuli ang batang iyon para masiguradong ligtas ito.
Tinawagan niya si Grace sa telepono: “Grace, puntahan mo na ako rito. Wala siya. Bilisan mo at uuwi na tayo.” Binaba kaagad ng matanda ang telepono at di na hinintay na makasagot ang kanyang assistant.
Tutulo na sana ang kanyang luha nang may sumagi sa kanyang paa habang nilalaro niya ang tubig dagat. Isang makulay na ID sling ito na naglalaman ng ID. Kinuha ito ng matanda at inayos ang kanyang salamin. Nagulat siya nang makita ang ID at kanino ito nakapangalan: ANGELO MONTEMAYOR.
Napatayo ang matanda at napasuot sa kanyang sapatos. Kaagad niyang pinaandar ang flashlight sa kanyang cellphone at inisa-isa ang bawat sulok ng laot na pwedeng maabot ng flashlight ng cellphone.
“ANGELOOOO! ANGELOOOOO!” Sigaw ng matanda. Maya-maya ay may papalapit na yapak na narinig ang matanda. Nakita niya si Grace at takang-taka ang mukha.
“Ma'am, nahanap niyo na po?” Tanong ni Grace kay Dean Jonah. Hindi na nagsalita ang matanda at kaagad na binigay ang ID sling na sumagi sa kanyang paa. Dinampot ito ni Grace at pati siya nagulat sa nakita.
“Ma'am...” Pagtawag ni Grace, “hindi kaya wala na-”
“Hindi maaari!” Sigaw ng matanda. “hahanapin natin siya. Andito lang siya at malamang buhay pa siya. Tulungan mo ako dali!” Kaagad na nagtatatakbo si Riza, at bumalik siyang may dala-dalang higanteng flashlight na mas malakas pa kaysa sa hawak ni Dean Jonah. Kaagad na pinasilawan nila ang buong karagatan na maaabot nila at nagulat na lang sila sa palutang-lutang na katawan na nasa sampung metro mula sa dulo ng footbridge ng pantalan.
“Ayun!!!” Sigaw ni Dean Jonah. “Grace, kunin mo yung balsa at dalhin mo si Angelo rito, dali! Buhay pa siya!” Sabay hila kay Grace na namumutla.
“Ma'am, takot kasi ako sa tubig eh... At hindi ako marunong lumangoy-”
“E di salamat sa tulong mo ngayong araw. Makakaalis ka na.” Kaagad na sumakay ang matanda sa pinakamalapit na balsa at kumuha ng sagwan.
“Ma'am! Ma'am naman eh!” Lumuluha si Grace na sumakay sa balsa kasama si Dean Jonah. Kahit na nagsasagwan ang matanda ay dahan-dahan na ring pinulot ni Grace ang sagwan at tinulungan si dean na umusad.
Palapit na palapit na sila sa katawan ni Angelo hanggang sa naabot nila ito.
“Ma'am, pakihawakan po ako nang maabot natin si Angelo. Kung mahuhulog ako patay tayong dalawa.” Umiling na lang si Grace habang tumayo at pinapalo palapit sa kanila ang katawan ni Angelo. Nang makuha na nila ito, pinagtutulungan ng dalawa na mapasok sa balsa si Angelo. Nang pabalik sa footbridge, si Grace na ang nagsasagwan habang hinahanap ni Dean Jonah ang mali sa katawan ni Angelo. Walang sugat itong nakita, ngunit di rin naman ito humihinga.
“Grace bilisan mo at bigyan mo ng first aid si Angelo. Please parang awa mo na...” Umiiyak na si Dean Jonah habang pressure na pressure nang nagsasagwan si Grace. Nang makaabot na sa footbridge, nilatag nila ang katawan ni Angelo at binigyan ni Grace ng CPR si Angelo. Nang umubo si Angelo at lumuwa ng tubig, nagkatinginan si Dean at si Grace.
“Pero Grace... bakit namumutla pa rin siya?” Takang-takang tanong ni Dean Jonah.
“Dapat kasi ma'am bumabalik na iyong blood circulation niya eh... Tapos po nagkakapulso naman siya. Hmmm.” Sinuri ni Grace ang katawan ni Angelo. Nang pinadapa nila ang katawan ni Angelo, dun nagulat si Grace.
Nakita niya pa ang pocket knife na bahagyang nakabaon sa likod ni Angelo. “Ma'am, hindi po ako nurse pero alam ko po na kailangan na nating humingi ng tulong sa mga tao para ipadala siya sa ospital.”
Napansin din ni Dean Jonah ang pocket knife at aktong tatanggalin na niya sana ito mula sa likod ni Angelo nang pinigilan siya ni Grace. “Wag po! Mas lalong mauubusan ng dugo si Angelo. Ang mga doktor na po ang bahalang magtanggal nyan nang sa ganon di siya maubusan ng dugo.” Tumayo si Grace at sumigaw: “TULONG! TULON-”
“Wag kang humingi ng tulong.” May banta na tono ni Dean Jonah.
“Bakit po?” Takang-taka na tanong ni Grace.
“Hindi mo ba napapansin? Malamang attempted murder ito! At the least homicide!” Sabay turo ni Dean Jonah sa pocket knife na nakabaon sa likod ni Angelo.
“Yun na nga po, kailangan maipadala siya kaagad-”
“Hindi. Mali. Dapat walang makaalam. Alam mo kung bakit? Kung meron man, at kung nalaman ng salarin ni Angelo na buhay pa siya bago pa man natin natukoy kung sino ang suspek ng muntikan nang pagkamatay ni Angelo, tiyak papatayin at papatayin niya si Angelo. Hindi natin kilala!”
“Yun na nga ma'am eh! Makikilala naman natin pag magigising na si Angelo.”
“Malamang paggising ni Angelo, wala siyang sasabihin dahil natrauma pa siya. Pag naunang nalaman ng salarin ni Angelo ito, bago pa man tayo makasampa ng kaso, e patay na ang biktima. Nagegets mo? Kailangan natin itago si Angelo at tukuyin kung sino ang kanyang salarin. Dapat walang makakaalam. Sa ating dalawa lang ito. Kaya isakay na natin siya sa van, at ideretso sa ospital. Suutan mo ng T-shirt na to ang mukha niya para walang makakaalam. Tatawagan ko ang kaibigan kong doktor na oopera kay Angelo. Doktor man siya sa paggagamot, tiyak akong madodoktor din niya ang files ni Angelo sa ospital.”
“Ma'am mali iyon.”
“Kailangan natin siyang protektahan, Grace. Mali kung mali. Pero kailangan natin siyang itago mula sa kanyang salarin. Ngayon tulungan mo ako at magdrive na tayo.” Nagtulungan ang dalawang babae na maisakay si Angelo sa van at makahinga ito kahit may nakausli na pocket knife sa likod.
Mabilis na iniwan ng dalawa ang pantalan at kaagad na nagdrive patungo sa ospital ng kaibigan ni Dean Jonah. Nang maibaba, pinahiga ito sa isa sa mga kama na pwedeng igalaw.
“Kay Dr. Chavez po iyan. Pakibilisan niyo na po please!”
“Ma'am, kailangan niyo pa pong mag-fill out ng forms.”
“Si Dr. Chavez na sabi eh! Kita mo oh!” Lumabas ng sasakyan si Dean Jonah at tinuro ang sugat sa likod ni Angelo.
“O-Opo. Naiintindihan po namin.” Tatanggalin na sana ng nurse ang T-shirt na nakatabon sa mukha ni Angelo nang hawiin ito ni Grace.
“Alam po namin na mahihirapan siyang huminga. Pero si Dr. Chavez na lang po ang bahala.” Mahinahon na hiling ni Grace. Walang nagawa ang dalawang nurse at ipasok kaagad si Angelo sa operating room kung saan hinanda na ng kaibigan ni Dean Jonah ang operasyon na kakailanganin pasukin ni Angelo.
Nakaupo sa labas ng Operating Room si Dean Jonah at si Grace. Kampay-kampay ni Dean Jonah ang sariling mga bisig at pumipikit na para bang nagdadasal na magiging ayos lang lahat. Tinignan lang ni Grace ang pag-aalala ni Dean Jonah. Napangiti si Grace at niyakap ang matanda.
“Magiging maayos po lahat ma'am. Tiwala lang. Susundin po natin ang gusto niyo. Mabuti naman at walang tao nang mahanap natin si Angelo.” Hinihimas ni Grace ang ulo ng matanda. Nag-angat ng tingin si Dean Jonah at pumatak ang kanyang luha.
“Hala ka nga rito Jonah...” Sabay hablot sa matanda. Lumingon-lingon muna sa paligid ang doktor at nilapit ang mukha kay Dean Jonah.
“Ano ba itong ginagawa mo ate?! Alam mo ba na sa pag-oopera sa kanya na wala pang papers, pwede na ako maboljak dito sa ospital?!” Mariin ngunit mahinang tinig ng doktor. Sa puntong iyon, kapatid pala ni Dean Jonah ang doktor na sinasabi niyang oopera kay Angelo.
“Sorry... Ikaw lang ang alam kong pwede kong mahingan ng tulong.” Pahid ng matanda sa kanyang luha.
“At ano pa to, ipapabago mo pa ang pangalan niya? Ate, nahihibang ka na ba?! Pwede ako mawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pinaggagagawa mo!”
“Sorry... Ganito kasi iyon-”
“Mamaya na iyan. Sa ngayon ayos na ang pasyente. Hindi natamaan ang kahit anong vital organs dahil kahit nakabaon ang patalim, hindi ito nakaapekto at hindi malalim ang tama nito. Kaya sa awa ng Diyos, wala na tayong poproblemahin at tumigil ka na kakaiyak diyan.” Pakutyang sabi ng nakakabatang kapatid na babae ni Dean Jonah.
“I'll be sending the patient to an ICU na malapit sa office ko. God, ate. This is the first time you're doing this! I need to have a valid explanation before I can do any more bullshit for you. Pahinga ka muna. Pwede niyong bantayan ang pasyente. Hopefully bukas magkakamalay na siya. Now, let's take a break, and I am so wasted, thanks to you. I'll see you tomorrow. Ipapaayos ko muna and I'll keep the patient's name confidential sa records namin. I'll say this is something criminal, that's why. Let's all rest.” Galit na galit na tono ng nakababatang kapatid ni Dean Jonah. Nanliit si Dean Jonah sa paninigaw ng kapatid niya sa kanya.
Nakatayo lang sa likod si Grace. Nagkatitigan si Dean Jonah at si Dr. Chavez. Halata ang dismaya sa mukha nito. Maya-maya ay tumalikod na ang doktor at dumiretsong naglakada patungo sa kanyang opisina.
Nilapitan ni Grace si Dean Jonah at niyakap ito mula sa likod ng matanda.
“Eto na Grace... Natatakot na ako.” Haplos ng matanda sa mga braso na nakapulupot sa paligid ng kanyang balikat.
“Magpahinga na po tayo madam.” Pinatalikod ni Grace si Jonah at inalalayan patungong elevator. Balak nilang tanungin kung saang silid ililipat si Angelo.
Nasa loob na sila ng ICU, isang silid na ang nasa gitna ay ang kama ni Angelo, at nandoon si Angelo.
Kaso, pagkusot ng matanda sa kanyang mata, kita niya na nagkakagulo ang mga tao tao. Nakita niya si Angelo na pilit hinahawakan ng tatlong nurse habang ang isang nurse ay pilit na kinukuha ang isang tinidor na nasa kanyang kanang kamay na pilit ba binabaon sa kanyang kaliwang wrist – mistulang tinatangkang magpakamatay.
At si Angelo, habang pinipigilan ng mga nurse, tumutulo ang luha pero walang emosyon ang mukha. Tila ba'y wala na siyang malisya sa nangyayari sa paligid niya. Habang tinutusok niya ang tinidor sa kanyang kaliwang wrist, ang mata niya ang blangkong nakatingin dito. Ngunit ang kanyang maalab na mga mata ang nagdala ng kasagutan sa kanyang pag-iyak. Panay tulo ang luha na tila ba walang katapusan.
Maya-maya, naagaw ng mga nurse ang tinidor, at natihimik si Grace mula sa pagsisigaw. Kalaunan, tumigil din si Angelo at diretsong humiga sa kanyang kama... na wala pa ring emosyon ang mukha ngunit tuloy pa rin ang luha.
“Ay salamat naman. Salamat mga langit, Birheng Maria, Diyos Panginoon, Birhen ng Regla, St. Michael, at lahat ng mga santos at anghel, salamat!” Dasal-dasal ni Grace habang nagsa-sign of the cross.
Kaagad na bumukas ang pinto at niluwa nito si Dr. Chavez, ang nakababatang kapatid ni Dean Jonah na babae na ikinasal sa isang doktor na nagmamay-ari sa ospital na kinalalagyan ni Angelo.
“Anong nangyari dito?” Cool na tanong ng doktor.
“Doc, nagserve po kami ng lunch sa patient nang kinuha niya yung tinidor at nagsimulang saksakin ang sarili gamit nito.” Pagsumbong ng nurse.
Nanlaki ang mga mata ni Dr. Chavez sa narinig. Bumaling ang tingin niya kay Dean Jonah na pilit inisa-isa ang mga pangyayari sa kanyang paggising.
“Ate, mag-usap tayo. To my office.” Seryosong sabi ni Dr. Chavez. Kaagad na tumayo si Dean Jonah at lumabas ng pinto. Nagkasabay ang matanda at ang kanyang kapatid at tahimik lang silang naglalakad sa katabing kwarto ng ICU na opisina ng kapatid ni Dean Jonah.
Nang nakapasok na ang dalawa sa opisina ni Dr. Chavez, kaagad na sinara ito ni Dean Jonah.
“Siya na ba iyong sinasabi mong aampunin mo?!” Sigaw ni Dr. Chavez habang mala-tigre ang mata kay Dean Jonah. Napaatras si Dean Jonah sa bagsik ng kanyang kapatid at di niya alam ang sasabihin.
“SAGUTIN MO AKO ATE! ITO NA BA ANG SINASABI MONG TUTULUNGAN MO?!” Pag-follow up ni Dr. Chavez sabay hampas sa mesa.
Nanlamig ang lalamunan ni Dean Jonah. Dahil totoo naman na ito ang kanyang gustong alagaan, at totoo naman na napamahal na rin siya kay Angelo kahit papaano.
“ATE! ANG GUSTO MONG AMPUNIN AY ISANG TAONG UNDER TRAUMA! ATE, NAWALA ANG KANYANG KAPATID, NALUSAW ANG KANYANG INAY SA HARAP NG KANYANG MGA MATA AT SA KANYANG MGA BISIG, ILANG BESES SIYA INABUSO NG MGA TAO, ILANG BESES SIYANG SINAKTAN, AT EWAN KO KUNG TOTOO ANG SINASABI MONG INABUSO PA SIYA SA SINGAPORE?! ATE, TAKING CARE OF THAT GUY IS NOT A JOKE WE TELL TO EACH OTHER WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. THAT GUY IS TRAUMATIZED, AND KAHIT HINDI AKO PSYCHIATRIST, I CAN SAY HE IS ON THE TIP OF DYING. THAT GUY IS EMOTIONALLY BATTERED, AND TO TELL YOU HONESTLY, HE IS SUICIDAL!”
Nakatingin lang si Dean Jonah sa kanyang kapatid na sinisigawan siya. Humingang malalim si Dean Jonah at nagtaas ng noo.
“So?” Blangkong sagot na tanong ni Dean Jonah. Pinapakita niyang di siya apektado sa paninigaw ng kanyang kapatid.
Napasinghag si Dr. Chavez sa sagot ni Dean Jonah. “'SO?!' ANONG 'SO?!' ATE, KONTING TULAK NA LANG SA BATANG IYAN, HE CAN END UP SIX FEET BELOW THE GROUND OR INSIDE AN ASYLUM! HINDI BIRO ANG MAGPALAKI NG MGA BATA-”
“Well diretsuhin mo ako bunso.” diretsong sagot ni Dean Jonah. “I am definitely going to take responsibility for him. If you have any issues about, I choosing to adopt him, I'm sorry break it up for you, but that's none of your business. You're out. You can't tell me why and why wouldn't I choose to adopt him. This is my choice, and you have nothing to do with it!”
“Excuse me?” Sagot-tanong ng kapatid ni Dean Jonah. Napasinghag ito at namewang sabay kagat-labi. “You know what ate, siguro tama ka it's not my choice and siguro tama ka I have nothing to do with it. Pero you are sending yourself to prison! You are going to adopt this guy, who by the way is a criminal victim of a crime that needs to be solved, that in itself is an offense to the law! And not just that, gusto mong baguhin ang pangalan niya, and gusto mong maglagay ako ng identity niya sa isang dummy name. I tell you ate ha, my profession is at stake right here. Lagot ako sa asawa ko kapag nalaman niya ito, and more importantly, I'll be losing my job.”
“I know.” Mahinahon na sagot ni Dean Jonah na pinapakita niya na alam niya ang mga nangyayari. “I know what I'm doing, and I have thought about this last night. Ang sa akin lang, tutulungan mo ba ako? Dahil kung hindi, lalapit ako sa ibang kaibigan ko na doctor para tulungan ako, sa ayaw at sa gusto mo.” Matigas na usal ni Dean Jonah.
Natahimik ang kanyang kapatid at napayuko.
Maya-maya, umangat ng tingin ang kanyang kapatid at umiling.
“Fine! Tutulungan kita ate, hindi dahil sa sinusuportahan kita, hindi dahil sa kinokonsenti kita, hindi dahil sa tinatama ko ang ginagawa mo. Tutulungan kita dahil mas makikita ko ang kagagahan mo kesa sa ibang doktor ka pa lumapit na pwede ka ilaglag kahit anong oras. Ate... kontra lang naman ako rito dahil mahal kita ate at masyadong risky ang gagawin mo. Sana naman kung gusto mong magkaanak o magkapamilya man lang, wag mo namang kalabanin ang batas ate.” Malungkot na sumimangot si Dr. Chavez habang naiiyak.
Napangiti si Dean Jonah.
“Salamat. Maraming salamat. Kahit kakalabanin ko ang batas, gagawin ko para tulungan siya. Napamahal na siya sa akin, at masyado nang malayo ang aking nilakbay para umatras pa ako. Alam mo, di naman kailangan kalabanin iyong batas eh. Legal na naman ngayon baguhin ang pangalan ng tao lalo na kung may pending criminal case. Kaya confident ako na mapapabilis ito.”
Nagbuntong-hininga si Dr. Chavez.
“O pagkatapos? Saan kayo pupunta? Saan mo siya itatago? Sa tingin mo ba, sa pagtatago ng katauhan niya mula sa mga kakilala niya rito sa Pilipinas, tatantanan siya ng nagtangkang pumatay sa kanya? Paano kung nalaman ng salarin niya na ikaw ang kumupkop sa kanya? Ate... kinakabahan ako para sa'yo.”
“Ayos lang ako. Hanggang dito lang ang hinihingi kong tulong para hindi masuri ninuman na buhay pa si Angelo. Ang kailangan mo lang gawin ay baguhin ang pangalan niya sa kanyang records dito.”
“Anong pangalan ba ang ilalagay ko?”
Lumingon si Dean Jonah at sinalubong ang mga titig ni Dr. Chavez.
“PM...” panimula ni Dean Jonah, “Paul Montez Realoso.”
“Sabi niya gagawin na raw niya ang mga papeles rito sa bagong pangalan na binigay ko sa kanya.” Payak na salita ni Dean Jonah habang kumakain ng fresh salad.
“Pero ma'am... di ba yan po ang pinangalan niyo sa-”
“Stop! Hindi. Kalimutan na natin iyon.” Umiling si Dean Jonah habang tinuturo ang mukha ni Grace na tila ba nambabanta.
“Ma'am. Ayaw niyo pong kalimutan si Paul Monte... alam niyo kung bakit? Dahil binubuhay mo siya sa katauhan ni Angelo. Kung nais niyo talagang makalimot, sana sa simula pa lang hindi Paul Monte ang ipiningalan niyo sa kanya.”
Nakatitig sa malayo si Dean Jonah, maya-maya ay tumulo ang kanyang luha.
“Hindi ko naman kasalanan iyon Grace eh. Mahal na mahal na mahal ko ang batang iyon kahit hindi ko pa siya nailuwal. Alam mo, 22 years old pa ako, excited na ako magkaanak, pangarap ko rin ang pangarap ng bawat babae na nagmamahal na magkapamilya kaagad. Kaso... kagaya ni Angelo, nahulog din ako sa pag-ibig.
Buntis ako nun sa unang anak ko, ngunit nagulat ako na hindi pa rin ako inaalok ng kasal ng nobyo ko sa mga panahon na iyon. At dahil seaman siya Grace, hindi kami masyadong nagkikita. Ngunit alam ko, na mahal ko siya. Siya ang ama ni Paul, at nasa sinapupunan ko pa nun si Paul. Ang saya-saya ko nung nalaman kong magkakaanak kami, ngunit dahil nga sa tawag ng trabaho niya, hindi niya nalaman kaagad hangga't sa lumaki ng 6 months ang nasa sinapupunan ko. Pagbalik ng nobyo ko, gusto ko siya sorpresahin, ngunit sa halip na siya ang masorpresa, ako ang nasorpresa.
May asawa't anak na pala siya. At sa mall pa talaga kami nagkita ng buong niyang pamilya. Akala ko nga noong una ang asawa niya ang kabit... Pero may tatlong taon gulang na anak na sila, at ang sa akin ay anim na buwan pa lang.
Ako ang naging kabit.
Di ko ginusto iyon Grace. At sabi ko sa sarili ko, itatago ko si Paul kahit anong mangyari, palalakihin ko siya kahit wala siyang ama. Ngunit kinagabihan noong araw na nagkita kami, nakipagkita siya sa akin. Tinatanong kung sa kanya ba araw ang bata na dinadala ko. Umamin ako na sa kanya.
Akala ko paninindigan niya ako. Ngunit sa halip na panindigan niya ako, sinimulan niyang bugbugin ang tiyan ko.
Pinapatay niya ang anak ko. Sigaw pa niya 'Hindi ka maaaring mabuntis at hindi ako maaari ang ama ng batang iyan.' Sa madaling salita, ayaw niyang magkaanak sa akin at ayaw niyang malaman ng pamilya niya dahil tiyak malaking iskandalo ito para sa kanya. Pilit ko iniwasan ang bawat suntok na kanyang ginawad sa tiyan ko. Ngunit dahil sa kanyang lakas...
Hindi kumapit si Paul.
Iyak ako ng iyak. Ang sakit pala nang mawalan ka ng anak ano? Feeling ko nun Grace, galit ang mundo sa akin. Hindi ko naman hiniling na kunin niya sa akin ang anak ko?! At mas lalo nang hindi ko hiniling na panindigan niya kami! Handa naman akong palakihin mag-isa ang anak ko!!” Nagsisimula nang umiyak si Dean Jonah habang sinasalaysay ang dahilan ng pagpangalan niya kay Angelo ng Paul Monte. Nakikinig lang si Grace at hinihimas ang balikat ng matanda para umayos ang pakiramdam nito.
“Kaya dahil doon Grace, nagdesisyon na akong huwag magkapamilya kahit kailan. Kaya ngayon na matanda na ako, hindi na ako nag-asawa pa, at di na ako nagkanobyo pagkatapos ng mawala si Paul. Ayaw ko na maulit pa muli ang pangyayaring iyon. Sabi ko sa sarili, baka pwede ako umampon. Pero wala akong nararamdaman na koneksyon sa bawat bata na pwede kong ampunin. Wala.
Hanggang sa dumating si Angelo. Alam ko masama ang magtake advantage na ampunin siya dahil wala na ang kanyang inay, ngunit masasabi ko na rin na swerte ako at namatay ang nanay niya. Baka siguro nga, pareho kaming nawalan kaya baka siya na talaga ang nakatadhanang maging anak ko. Pareho kami ng kwento, naloko, nawalan. Kaya handa akong itaguyod siya sa kahit anong paraan. Nakikita ko ang sarili ko sa kanya, kaya hindi ako magdadalawang-isip na kupkupin siya.” Ngumiti si Dean Jonah, tumingala, at pinahid ang tumutulong mga luha.
Walang nasabi si Grace kundi ang suklian ng ngiti ang matanda at yakapin ito.
“Naiintindihan ko po.”
Sa sumunod na araw, nagpatawag na ng pulis si Dean Jonah para ipa-imbestigahan ang nangyari kay Angelo.
“Sir, pasok kayo.” Pag-imbita ni Dean Jonah.
“Magandang araw po ma'am. Ako nga pala po ang pinadala ng confidential unit upang imbestigahan ang kaso ng biktima.” Matikas na sabi ng pulis habang umupo sa tabi ni Dean Jonah.
“Maraming salamat po sa pagdating. Kung mararapatin niyo po, aantayin na lang natin iyong psychologist na tutulong sa inyong imbestigahan ang tungkol sa kaso ni Angelo. Dahil sa lagay po ngayon ni Angelo, mahirap pong kumuha ng impormasyon dahil traumatized pa po siya.”
“Ayos lang po. Pero para po sa ikabubuti ng pasyente, wag po natin siyang biglain. Mas mainam na dahan-dahanin natin at kahit ang kwento niya lang po ang kukunin natin nang sa gayon makapagsimula kami sa aming trabaho maghanap ng ebidensiya.”
Tumango lang si Dean Jonah at di na sumagot pa. Maya-maya dumating na ang kaibigan ni Dean Jonah na psychologist na tutulong sa pagpapalabas ng kwento mula kay Angelo. Gising na rin si Angelo ngunit nakatulala pa rin ito sa malayo.
“Magandang araw po sa pagdating niyo sir,” tingin ni Dean Jonah sa pulis, “at ma'am,” tingin niya sa kaibigan niyang psychologist. “Sana po ay itago natin itong confidential, para na po sa proteksyon ni Ange-” Natahimik si Dean Jonah kasi hindi dapat malaman ng iba na buhay pa si Angelo.
“n-ni.. PM.” Yumuko si Dean Jonah at natahimik.
“Ahhh, hijo. Ako nga pala ang iyong kaibigang pulis.” Friendly na panimula ng pulis kay Angelo. Hindi siya tinignan ni Angelo at nakatingin pa rin ito sa malayo.
“Maaari mo bang isalaysay sa akin ang mga nangyari noong muntikan ka ng malunod? Sino ang nanakit sayo hijo?” Tanong ng pulis sa kanya.
“Ayos lang iyan PM. Sagot ka lang kung kailan ka kumportable. Kaibigan mo ako.” Hagod ng psychologist sa likod ni Angelo para pakalmahin ito deep down upang masabi ang mga pangyayari sa gabing iyon.
“PM.. para ito sa ikabubuti mo hijo...” Pang-eenganyo ng pulis. “Sino iyong sumaksak sa iyo noong gabing nasa pier ka hijo?”
Nanlaki ang mga mata ni Angelo sa narinig. Kaagad niyang sinuntok ang sarili at nagsimula na siyang umiiyak. Hinahampas na niya ang kanyang mukha at sinasabunutan ang sarili.
Bumibigat ang iyak ni Angelo habang sunod-sunod ang kanyang mga suntok na ginagawa sa sarili. “PAKAGAGO KO! HUHUHU. PAKABOBO KO!! HUHUHU!! BAKIT DI KO NAPANSIN NA SILA PALA ANG MAY KAGAGAWAN NG LAHAT?! AKO ANG MANLOLOKO... AKO ANG MANLOLOKO!!!!!!!” Iyak ni Angelo habang inaalo siya ng psychologist.
“PM... sino ba iyong sinasabi mong 'sila'?” Tanong ng psychologist.
“Si... Jun Salviejo ang bruha! Huhuhuhu!” Nagulat lahat ng tao sa loob ng silid na iyon. Hindi na estranghero ang katauhan ni Jun Salviejo kaya gulat na gulat silang lahat. Napalingon si Jonah kay Grace at ang psychologist naman ay napalingon na takang-taka ang mukha dun sa pulis.
“PM... Yung sinasabi mong Jun Salviejo, iyong ba iyong tanyag na mag-uulat?”
Dinig na dinig sa buong silid ang kanyang pag-iiyak. Tumango siya sa tanong ng pulis. Nasa likod si Dean Jonah at pinapanood si Angelo na ilabas ang buong kwento. Naantig ang kanyang puso sas nakitang paglalahad ni Angelo, paglalahad ng isang inosenteng bata na nilamon ng trauma.
“Opo!! Mahal na mahal ko po iyong anak niya.. Mahal na mahal ko si Dimitri! Huhuhu. Pero, pero, p-pero, sinaktan niya lang po ako. Tapos nung gabi na pinasunog po ng tatay niya iyong bahay namin, g-g-ginahasa po nila ako, sila ng bestfriend ko. Ilang ulit na po nila akong inaabuso po. Pero dalawa po sila noong araw na iyon kaya di ako nakapanlaban po. Ilang pulgada na lang po palabas ng bahay, maliligtas ko na po iyong nanay ko mula sa sunog. Pero hindi po..... Hindi ko po siya naligtas!!!!! PAKATANGA KO TALAGA!! SANA INIWASAN KO NA LANG SILA!!!” Sampal-sampal ni Angelo ang sarili habang pinipigilan siya ng psychologist.
Walang salita na makakalabas sa bibig ni Dean Jonah. Gulat na gulat sila ni Grace sa mga rebelasyon.
“PM... wag mo sisihin ang sarili mo.” Sabi ng psychologist.
“Kasabwat ba si Dimitri sa pananaksak sa'yo?”
“E di... sino 'sila'?”
“Iyong... Iy-... Iyong pinagpalit po ni Dimitri sa akin... Si Corina p-po. Pinagtutulungan nila ako... Ang tanga ko talaga para di maniwala... Si Corina po ang nananakit sa akin sa paaralan.. Pinapahiya niya po ako sa harap ng maraming tao po... Ng-Ngunit si Jun Salviejo p-po ang kumidnap sa kapatid ko... Sabi niya po n-nung g-gabing iyon... binenta niya raw po ang kapatid ko at pinakuhanan ng lamang loob.” Lumakas ang sigaw ni Angelo.
“Ang sakit po na bilang kuya, wala akong nagawa para sa kanya!!!” Sumigaw si Angelo para ilabas lahat sama ng loob.
“Tapos p-po... Lumapit si Jun sa akin at sinaksak ako sa likod... Naramdaman ko ang mga kamay ni Corina sa likod ko, ang pwersa ng tulak pababa ng laot.. Nanghina po ako...”
Humihikbi si Angelo at inaalog ang kanyang ulo. Inaalo naman siya ng psychologist upang huwag masaktan ang sarili.
Tumalikod na ang pulis at ngumiti kay Dean Jonah.
“Nakakalungkot po ang kwento niya pero... sa tingin ko po okay na itong pagsimulan ng imbestigasyon. Samahan niyo na lang po ako pababa.” Panunuyo ng pulis kay Dean Jonah. Tumayo si Dean Jonah at lumabas siya ng silid kasama ang pulis inspector.
Naglakad na sila sa hallway nang nagsalita si Dean Jonah sa pulis.
“Normally ma'am nasa isa hanggang tatlong buwan talaga iyan eh. Pero... 18 na po ang biktima, so rereduce po ang period ng mga dalawang linggo na lang. Pero dahil may kapit po ako, under the table kumbaga, madadala po ng isang araw.”
Nanlamig ang lalamunan ni Dean Jonah sa narinig.
“For how much?”
“40 k po para sa operations at fees. Para sa judge na mag-aapprove kaagad at iba pang cuts, dagdag na lang po ng mga 40 k. Tas para sa akin po na fi-fix dito, mga 20 k lang po okay na ako. Hindi po ito illegal, sadyang hindi lang talaga ako nakasunod sa usual operations.”
“Pera lang naman pala.” Umiling si Dean Jonah. “Okay, pero may kilala po ba kayong makakapagpabilis po sa travel niya? Gusto ko na po siyang ilayo rito sa lalong madaling panahon.”
“HA!” Tumawa ang pulis, “siyempre naman po. Pwede ko pong galawin lahat ng papeles niyo. Pero ibang bayad na rin po yan. Ganito talaga ang sistema natin ma'am eh. At saka, di naman kami palaging ganito. Sadyang inaalok ko lang talaga ang under-the-table sa inyo po dahil naaawa ako sa bata.”
“Maraming salamat po sir. So pwede niyo bang galawin lahat ng travel niya sa loob ng isang linggo? Sana po kasi gagraduate siya ng kolehiyo in less than two weeks. Kaso, ayoko po na makita siya ng mga tao sa graduation. So please lang po, baka pwede?”
“Opo, kahit dalawang araw para sa lahat, sa travel niya, sa legality niya, kayang kaya! Marami akong kapit ma'am. Pero... separate 150 k po para sa travel. 100 po ang para sa mga galamay na aatupag diyan sa travel niyo, 50 k po sa akin. Bale 250 k po lahat na ibibigay niyo kasama noong 100 k na legality, at sa 250 k na iyan, 70 k ang mapupunta sa akin. Pera lang naman po talaga ang makakapabilis ng batas.”
“Kaya ko po iyang bayaran. At baka pwede pong wag niyo na lang ipagsabi ang tungkol kay PM?”
“Opo ma'am. Pero sa graduation na lang sana ng bata iyong pera para diyan. 'Extra-confidential-fee' po kumbaga. Garantisado, wala nang ibang makakabayad pa sa akin kung babayaran niyo ako.”
“Kung pwede po ipangalan niyo na lang sa asawa ko? Mahirap po kasi dahil sa gobyerno ako nagtatrabaho, lagot ako sa SALN nito. Mercedita Gontianco po pangalan ng asawa ko.”
Tinuloy ni Dean Jonah ang pagsusulat at nang matapos, binigay ang cheke sa pulis. Inalok ni Dean Jonah ang kanyang kamay, “I trust you in this one sir. Don't fail me. You got yourself a deal.” Nagkamayan sila.
Diretsong naglakad papaalis ng ospital ang pulis. Nakatulala lang si Dean Jonah sa kawalan habang dahan-dahan nawawala ang pulis sa kanyang paningin.
“Everything for PM.” Sabi ni Jonah sa sarili.
[End of flashback]
“So lokohan na lang tayo dean? Magtataguan na lang tayo?” Mapait ang mukha ni Riza habang tumutulo ang kanyang luha.
"Dead na po. Bangkay na lang ang hinahanap namin. May lead naman po kami, tatawagan ka na lang namin kung may update na." Matigas na tugon ng pulis habang hindi makatingin kay Riza.
"Sige po. Thank you chief. Alam niyo naman po siguro ang gagawin ninyo. Natawagan ko na ang punerarya."
"Walang anuman po, tatawag na lang ako mamaya." At ngumisi ang pulis kay Dean. Tumango si Dean at di na sumagot pa. Tumalikod na siya at naglakad palabas ng police station. Nang makalabas, nakita niya si Riza na nagyoyosi habang pinupunasan ang mga luha.
Nang makarating na sila sa SEAU, kaagad na pinuntahan ni Dean Jonah ang kanyang opisina. May nakita siyang envelope na naglalaman ng mga papeles. Kinuha niya ang laman ng envelop at may note pa ito sa gilid.
Ayos na po lahat. Natanggap ko na rin po ang perang pinadala niyo sa account ng asawa ko para sa plane ticket niyo po. Mamayang alas-otso ng gabi po ang flight niyo. Attached na rin dito ang plane ticket niyo pa New York. Sa John F. Kennedy International Airport po kayo lalapag. Connecting flights po iyan, bale Manila to Singapore, Singapore to London stopover sa Riyadh, tapos London pa New York. From there, kayo na pong bahala. Iyong Visa tsaka passport niyo po, legal na po yan. Kaya minungkahi ko na ito sa authority, so sunod na lang po kayo sa policy ng ibang bansa para iwas aberya. Andito na rin po ang mga kakailangan niyong extra document na maaring hanapin nila mula sa inyo pagdating ninyo sa kanya-kanyang stopover.
At saka po, legal na pong pangalan ni Angelo ang PM Realoso. Full legal name na po iyan, kaya di na rin kayo magkakaaberya. Pati birth cerificate niya at iba pang documento ni PM, andiyan na po lahat. Legal na po yan lahat duly noted by the court.
Wala na po kayong problema. Maraming salamat po sa tip na humigit kumulang 100 k na natanggap ko po. Sa totoo lang po, malaking tulong na to sa pamilya ko. Alam ko po mejo nawalan na kayo ng tiwala sa mga pulis dahil nababayaran lang pala, pero hindi po kami lahat ganon. At higit sa lahat, hindi po lahat ng mga pulis na nababayaran ay nagpapabayad na lang palagi. Takot din po kami sa batas.
Sana isipin niyong tulong ko po ito para sa inyo.
Ingat po kayo!”
Nakahinga ng maayos si Dean Jonah. Kaagad niyang pinunit ang note upang walang ibang makabasa. Tinago niya sa bag niya ang envelope. Maya-maya tinawagan ni Dean Jonah si Grace para kamustahin ang paghahanda paalis ng Pilipinas.
“Grace? Nakuha ko na ang ticket. Nasa hotel na ba kayo?”
“Opo. Andito kami ni Angelo ngayon sa hotel na katabi lang ng airport. Para wala pong makakita sa amin kagaya ng sinabi niyo. Nabilhan ko na po ng mga bagong gamit si Angelo. Hindi ko po kasi pwedeng magalaw yung mga gamit niya sa dorm, kasi nga po baka malaman nila na buhay pa si Angelo at pagagalitan niyo ako. Hehe, biro lang po. Pero handa na po si Angelo rito. Dito na rin iyong mga gamit niyo pa-New York. Handa na po lahat.”
“Magaling. Sige, andiyan na ako pagkatapos ng graduation. Maraming salamat Grace.”
“Walang anuman po dean. Nadawit na po ako rito kaya di na ako aalis pa. Kayo talaga dean... Mahal na mahal niyo ba si PM dahil siya si Angelo, o dahil namimiss niyo lang si Paul Montez, o dahil gusto niyo lang magkapamilya dahil, in no offense po, tumatanda na kayo?” Diretsong tanong ni Grace.
Natahimik si Dean Jonah sa tanong ni Grace. Di niya pa binaba iyong tawag, lumabas na siya ng opisina at nilock ang dean's office.
“Lahat Grace. Lahat. Mahal na mahal ko si Angelo bilang anak, at namimiss ko si Paul, at kailangan ko siya the same way na kailangan niya ako. Sige na, dito muna ako.”
“Teka dean! Yung cover up po, paano niyo po itatago na buhay pa si Angelo?”
“Don't worry. Napag-usapan na namin ng pulis kanina iyan. Tatawagan niya ako mamaya. O anong ginagawa ni PM diyan?”
Nagulat si Dean Jonah sa narinig.
“Saw? Yung brutal?”
“Opo. Natatakot nga po ako eh kasi walang emosyon siyang nakatingin lang sa telebisyon. Ako iyong kinakabahan. Baka kasi gayahin niya iyong nakikita niya.”
“Ano pa Grace?”
“At ang nakakakilabot po... Galit siyang nanonood habang namamatay iyong mga tao sa pelikula.”
“Pinalitan mo na ba iyong channel?”
“Ayaw niya po eh. Kaya iniwan ko na lang. Binabantayan ko na lang ng maigi.”
“Sige Grace, saglit lang to. After nito, alis na kami.”
“Sige po. Ingat!”
Binaba ni Dean Jonah ang tawag at nagbuntong-hininga. Saw? Di kaya... dahan-dahan na siyang nagiging brutal? Di kaya... sana hindi. Sana huwag... Sabi ni Dean Jonah sa sarili.
Nakatulala lang si Dean Jonah. Hindi niya maaaring sabihin kahit kanino na niligtas niya si Angelo.
[End of flashback]
“Mwah!” Nakagising si PM dahil sa tunog ng halik na naramdaman niya sa kanyang pisngi. Binuksan niya ang kanyang mga mata at nag-stretch ng katawan.
Nasa tabi niya si Arthur, naka-t-shirt at boxers, may dala dalang bacon, egg, bread and jam, at saka coffee. Ang malawak na panga ni Arthur ay nagbibigay diin sa kanyang magagandang ngipin, dagdag pa ang laki ng katawan na parang inukit ng Panginoon.
“Good morning PM!” Maligayang bati ni Arthur habang buhat-buhat ang tray ng breakfast.
Ngunit hindi tumalab ang pagpapa-cute ni Arthur kay PM. Umupo lang ito sa kama, at nakatingin sa kanya na may halong pagtataka.
“What's this about?” Sabay abot ng tray na dala ni Arthur. Hindi man lang niya pinaramdam kay Arthur na inaappreciate niya ang mga ginagawa nito para sa kanya. Sa bagay, inaappreciate niya ba?
“Nothing. I just decided to make breakfast for you. It's a weekend so I figured out you might want to stay home and take some rest. And I want to start your day right... so there you go.” Nahihiyang sagot ni Arthur na para bang isang high school na kaharap ang kanyang crush.
“Alright. You going somewhere today?” Tanong ni PM habang nguya nguya ang niluto na breakfast ni Arthur para sa kanya.
“Yeah. I gotta go to a boutique and fetch the coat that I ordered up.” Kumuha ng tuwalya si Arthur at pinulupot ito sa kanyang leeg.
Natigilan kumain si PM at nagtaka: “Mhm, what's the occasion?”
Hinawakan ni Arthur ang door knob at nagsalita bago pumasok sa bathroom. “Just a friend's wedding.”
“Oh.” Sabi ni PM habang pagpatuloy sa pagkain. “Do I know your friend who's locking himself to fake undying commitment?” Sabay inom ng kape.
Isasara na sana ni Arthur ang pintuan nang maalala niya na minsan na palang nakilala ni PM ang kaibigan niyang ikakasal. At natatakot siyang magkikita silang muli.
“N-No. No, I guess you don't.” Sabay sarado ng pinto.
Phewww. Pagbuntong-hininga ni Arthur nang makapasok na siya sa loob ng bathroom. Kaagad niyang hinubad ang kanyang puting T-shirt at kanyang boxers. Tinapat ang sarili sa shower at pinaandar ito. Nararamdaman niya ang bawat butil ng tubig na dumadaloy sa kanyang balat.
[Flashback + Dialogue]
Eight years... Time passes so fast that meeting this guy in college was so long ago...
My name is Arthur Boyd. 33 years old. I have three failed marriages, and one of which I've made a daughter. She's already ten years old. I made her with my last wife. Eleven years ago, we were so happy that my last wife's pregnant, and I'm going to be a father. Until time came, my daughter's big enough to walk around and do basic child things, I was having weird feelings toward guys like me.
My marriage with my last wife ended because I am gay. I confessed to my wife I was part of the rainbow movement. She cried, she cried a lot. Everything was falling into pieces when I was with my last marriage, I got a big break in the film industry, I got the chance to sign up with the biggest film production company in the Hollywood, I got to supervise really great films, I got the chance to make some noise in creating films, in my first three years of working after graduating from college, I got nominated under the first few films I've made.
I would say that was my peak, not because of the success I've savored during my early career, but because despite all these achievements, I got the two ladies which would make my life complete... or so I thought.
I have to be honest with my wife. I got to tell her that I'm not happy with the marriage anymore. It's not her fault, it's just that I realized a part of me doesn't belong in the place and the people I've run into. She begged for me to stay in the marriage, and be a father of my beautiful daughter. But I didn't. I couldn't stay in a marriage that I would never be happy in. I couldn't fake that I'm really enjoying every moment of trying to prove my commitment just because I signed a contract that I got obliged to. And besides, my wife was too young to lock herself in a marriage with a gay, lying man. She shouldn't sell her future to me.
We filed a divorce right away. And after a few weeks, we're legally separated. I thought of getting the child's custody, but on the second thought, breaking up with my ex-wife had been a big blow to her in the head. At least she got to keep the child and be happy with it.
And besides, there's no point in fighting for my daughter's custody. She's going to fight for it as well. And it would take a very long time to decide on. So we compromised.
At last, I am free. Free from the chains of deception, from guilt, from secrecy. I'm gay, and that's what it's all about. After my divorce, the news flew everywhere, from teen magazines, from news reports, from hollywood insiders. I was a feast for paparazzis. I have to lay down creating films and just maybe hide myself in the production side instead. I never liked the camera anyway.
In the auditorium, he was always the silent, mysterious type of guy. He was poorly dressed, and would love to stare at the windows for a whole day. I wouldn't say he was the most gorgeous in my class, but I would say he's the one who caught my attention the most.
After one of my classes with him, I went from college to college to know what his name is, how old is he, and things like that. I just wanted to know more about the mysterious guy from my class.
I went to the college records department, and manually flicked each freshman film major. I knew he was a freshman, I teach the preparatory film course, so he must be a freshman.
And I got it.
PM Realoso. 18 years old. Filipino Citizen, soon to be a Naturalized US Citizen. He was so mysterious, he doesn't even smile in his records photo, like the usual PM I see everytime I see him in my class. Plus, I would say he's the one any professor would notice, this kid never even looked at me to show me he was listening nor he was interested in my class. I thought this kid's wasting his time staring past outside, not even bothering to listen to me.
I hate that.
So one day, another day of professor duties, I talked all day about film history. All my students were jotting down notes about what came out from me, except for this guy, PM. At the end of my lecture, I announced: “Tomorrow, please submit a report about my lecture for today. Better if you provide few examples and also, create a research about any era.”
I felt the class was surprised with my announcement, but he wasn't. He was just sitting his ass off at the back of the class, just staring at the windows. Is that even part of his daily routine?
The following day, all their reports are due. Obviously, I doubt PM would even show up. What would he put in his report? He wasn't even giving a shit on my class.
Five minutes before the class starts, my class's almost complete, yet no PM showed up. My class sched is about to start, and he didn't come to my class.
No guy from the back.
Until the door opened wide with him showing up. He has this really weird 'not-interested-in-anything' face, and a really messy hairstyle, with a really shitty fashion sense. Does this guy even know he looks weird with his everyday clothes?
He approached his favorite spot. Surely, this guy would never be able to show me any output for today.
“Thank you for coming class. Kindly submit your reports.” I said. I was expecting for everybody to walk up to the front and hand over their reports, except for PM staying and leaning back and relax. I was planning of humiliating him in front of the class for not being able to submit the assignment I left them. He's just getting in my nerves.
But the outcome was different.
Nobody moved a muscle. In a class of 83, all they did was to stare at me. Clearly, no one did what they were supposed to do.
“Nobody even created a single report?!” I yelled. I felt the thrill crawling up everyone's veins. Well, I would like to concede. What I asked them to do was no joke. I asked them to create a report of a topic as thick as 399 pages book. How would anybody be able to make a report and a research in less than a day?
Or I was just setting the standards high because I thought PM's not going to make me any result.
But I was shocked. What happened was completely opposite. He stood up, wearing his white plain T-shirt, and a really torn and faded jeans, walked up to the front and handed me almost half an inch thick of set of papers.
He was the only one who submitted a report and a research.
My eyes opened wide. My hands were shaking as I was trying to reach for his report.
“Are you going to take this or what?” An arrogant line he uttered. I don't know. I was supposed to get annoyed with how he sounded... but I noticed his facial features.
He's handsome. And with all honesty, if he would just have a make over, he would look hot.
I traveled my eyes from his head down to his shoes. He had this chubby look, but not overweight. This guy simply proved me wrong about him.
As soon as I got hold of his report, he walked up, back to his favorite spot and I don't know what's with the window why he always stick his eyes on it. I looked better than the window!! I'm hotter than the window!! All the guys and girls want me to fuck them, why couldn't he look at me and tell me to fuck him?!
From that day on, I always ask questions to the class, hoping he would voluntarily answer them. But he wouldn't. I ended up calling his name to answer the question I'm raising... and he would most of the time get them right.
This guy's smart, gorgeous, and mysterious. I'm interested in him. I saw him as this strong, silent guy, until one day I saw him within the dark streets of New York City..
“Hold him up, man. We better move before somebody sees us.” One guy was holding PM from moving, and one guy was trying to frisk him in search for money I guess. I stopped the car, and looked at them. I bothered checking on the time, and it's half an hour past two in the morning. I didn't know what to do. Soon after, when the guy didn't find anything from PM, they started punching him, destroying his face in every second they could. Pushing him around like a rag doll, and kicking him in every muscle they could.
“That guy's useless man. Come on!” They ran away like coward cats as one of them dropped a knife they might have used to freak PM out.
PM's eyes followed the movement of the fallen knife. When it hit the ground, he gradually approached the knife and started pushing it down his wrist.
At that point, I quit watching. I immediately ran toward him and pulled the knife away from his grip.
“What the fuck do you actually think you're doing?!” I yelled at him. And there his uninterested face again, showing and telling me he doesn't give a fuck about anything.
As the knife flew off several feet away from him, he crawled his way to the knife. I pushed him to deviate his way from the sharp steel that he's been trying to get to kill himself.
“What is wrong with you PM?!” I yelled at him. He looked at me. At last! He looked at my face. Shortly, his eyes twinkled... he's about to cry. Until few drops of tears escaped from his shiny eyes, crawling down his cheeks.
“I want to die! Why am I living in this cruel world?!” He stood up and started banging his head to one of the concrete walls.
Involuntarily, my hands pulled his head away and held him on both shoulders. I looked at his face looking at me. His tears fell down as his eyes meet mine. He dropped his sight and looked at the ground.
My heart was crushed to pieces.
And little did I know, I was already giving him a hug. Feeling his entirety, touching every inch of the skin of my arms. Caressed his head over my chest, and at that point, I saw PM was never tough...
He's broken. I don't know why, but he is.
I felt his tears penetrating the fabric of my clothing. Every time my pores feel the liquid coming out from his eyes, I felt sadness. I felt undying frustration. From then on, I thought I was struck by the heavens to meet and take care of this guy.
Were I too attached already?
“I'll take you home...” These words escaped my mouth as I wiped off the tears from his eyes. I remembered the address registered on his records, so it wasn't really hard for me to take him home. I lifted him up, put him onto my arms, and made my way to my car. As I set him down for me to sit beside him and start the travel, his eyes were full of sadness, sadness from events which I was nowhere to be found.
I sat down and started the engine. Before I could even start driving, I took a chance to look at him.
And he's doing his usual habit of staring silently at the window. But this time, tears are flowing out from his soul.
I adjusted my GPS to instruct me the easiest way to PM's home. I started stepping on the gas pedal, maneuvered the steering wheel, and made my way as the GPS showed. Few minutes passed and light came out shining from his pocket. As I looked at him, he was sleeping. He might be tired of too many things he's been doing for today.
I reached for his phone and took the call myself.
“Hello.” My gentle regards.
“Who are you? What are you doing to PM?!” An old woman's voice splattered out from the phone.
“Oh. No, ma'am. You can trust me. My name is Arthur Boyd, I am one of PM's professor. I saw him being held up by two guys, and good thing's he's safe. I'm actually driving him to you at the moment.”
“What?! Tsk. That kid. Sir, I am sorry for any trouble this might have brought you. I was trying to call him but he wasn't even answering. Thank you very much.” The old woman calmed down and sighed.
“No problem ma'am. So... I have to hang up. Might get caught. Driving while on mobile phone.” I gently laughed.
“Oh, sorry sir. Please be safe. Please take him home safe.”
“Will do ma'am. Mhm, bye-bye.” I hung up.
Few more minutes passed, I was able to get to their home safely. They live in the suburbs, far away from the city's noise. I parked my car beside the road where I saw the house number registered on PM's records.
And there the old woman I believed I was on the phone with. She looked rather beautiful, but aside from that, she looked worried and scared.
I recessed the car engine and got off. The old woman approached me with a face of relief.
“Thank you sir. Thank you! How can I return the favor?” She started shaking hands with me which I gladly did the same thing to her.
“You're welcome ma'am. A nice, hot beverage would do, please.” I smiled.
“Alright. Just give me a moment to take care of my son right here.” She moved to PM's side and opened the car door.
“I would probably need some help, please?” She kindly asked me. I hurriedly ran up to her and carried PM in my arms as I did moments ago. I could feel the tenderness and vulnerability residing embedded in him. Just not sure who did, and why.
While carrying PM around, the old woman helped me opening the door and settling PM down to his bed.
His bedroom is pretty simple. Walls, ceiling, and floor in white, a soft wide bed, a study area with a pile of books arraying adjacent to the wall. Full of political books, sciences, arts, sociology, logic, and more. I assumed this kid is a wide reader.
As I was checking on his books, the old woman went straight to the door and looked at me. “Sir, please do help yourself for now. I'll get back to you as soon as I'm done helping PM change.” She smiled and went outside.
I stuck my attention to his study table. Nothing on top of it but a pen and paper. No picture frames, no memorabilias, nothing else. Usually, when someone just came in from another place, family picture would be displayed on areas where activities are mostly done. But PM's different, no trace of anything from his past.
That's what I'm interested in.
The old woman came in with a basin full of water and a clean towel. She soaked the towel, and crumpled it as hardly as she can to drip the water off from the towel.
“This kid must be so tired.” She opened up.
“I bet he is.” I answered. She removed PM's shirt and his body volume came up to me. He wasn't very ripped, but he wasn't really that fat either. I also noticed the scar from his arm. It was a really bad scar, might be caused from a slice of something I don't know. It seems like a set of scars arrayed altogether.
As the old woman was helping PM change to a plain red shirt, I wasn't able to stop myself.
“What's that mark on his arm?” I asked. The old woman stopped moving, seemed like scared about what to say next?
“W-Well,” she started talking, “childhood ventures. You know... kids.” Her voice was rather unsure and scared. Even though I wasn't satisfied with her answer, I didn't push any longer.
“You don't mind me changing his underwear and his jeans, do you?” She asked, followed by an awkward giggle.
“Oh, I don't, really. I would be, umm, turning my back so you would know I'm not looking.” I defensively said. I heard flaps of garters and fabric. Probably the garter from the boxers, or whatever.
“Done. Come on sir, let's go out and have some hot cocoa.” She invited as she walked past through me. She walked ahead of me, carrying the basin she was sending in and the used clothes PM wore all day.
I took a quick look at that innocent face... such beauty.
“Sir?” She called my attention and shook her head, giving me a signal to walk out from the room. I did and gently closed the door to avoid waking him up.
She led me to a fancy dining area, and in one of the seats I helped myself while she proceeded to the bar and dispensed couple of cups of hot cocoa. She walked to the dining table, sat in front of me, and offered me one of the cup of cocoa she made.
“Thanks.” I smiled, felt the heat coming out from the cup.
“It was so nice of you to take him home, sir. I'm Jonah. PM's mom.” She offered her hand for a hand shake, which we shared a while ago, but shook hands out of respect anyway.
“Arthur, Arthur Boyd. Film professor.” I sincerely smiled. Our hands parted and proceeded to our respective cups of cocoa.
“Yeah, you're pretty high profile.”
“Yeah. Because of the nature of my passion. Because of what I do. Because of what paparazzi painted me to be on-screen. Because of my sexual orientation.” I sipped from the cup.
The old woman mockingly laughed. I kind of felt uneasy with that.
“No,” her laugh died down. “You shouldn't be ashamed of your sexual orientation. My son is one of you guys, and there's completely nothing wrong about it.” PM's gay?! The first question that popped out from my mind. I was left dumb-founded as my mouth opened wide, giving a skeptic look to Jonah.
“Easy right there. I know you're shocked, but yes he is.” She smiled and took a sip from her cup as well.
“O-Oh.” I stuttered. “I have a question, by the way.”I inserted.
“What happened to you guys when you were settling way back home? I didn't see any old stuff in PM's room. Usually, when foreigners settle in a new environment, they would bring things that would remind them home. But PM's different. Were you guys in a hurry flight all the way here? Or... are there things PM wants not to be reminded of?”
She froze. Not even a muscle moved. I felt the liquid pushing itself down to her throat, and a big 'GULP' from her. She put her cup down and wiped off cocoa remains at the side of her mouth.
“W-Well...” She said. “There are just things we choose not to be remembered of. And sometimes, these things bring us pain, losing our hope to live, and crushing our dreams to its very veins. We don't want pain, we don't want to lose hope, and we don't want crushed dreams. That's the point of life, to avoid being hurt and to move on if ever we were once hurt.” She sincerely said as I saw the shine on her eyes – she's about to cry.
She turned around and read the clock behind her.
“Woops, it's already past three in the morning. We should get some sleep. Do you mind if you can sleep inside PM's room? He would love to have some company.”
I was shocked. She's comfortable with me. And I'm happy about that.
I gladly accepted. Without words, I stood up and went straight to PM's room.
“Good night Arthur.” Jonah smiled as she went upstairs.
Before I opened the door to PM's room, I took a moment on savoring their house. It was big. They are an obvious big shot. They must be big people way back from the Philippines. Even PM's room is in the third floor. I can afford something like this, but not every foreigner like them could.
I went inside and stacked my body beside PM's. I was also very tired. PM moved his arms, crawling them to my body. I felt weird, but satisfied. I am attracted to this guy. I wasn't sure exactly why, but I just felt like caring for him.
Because of his arms around me, it became easier for me to fall asleep.
“PM, WAG!!!” I woke up from Jonah's voice, yelling at PM. I immediately rose up and saw him climbing out his window. Though I failed to understand what Jonah was talking about, or what the words really meant, but I understood it was sort of stopping him from jumping out.
“Arthur please help me pull him back inside.” She struggled pulling PM. As I ran to them, I held PM's hand holding on the window frame.
“Pabayaan niyo na ako... Please gusto ko na mamatay... Wala nang kwenta ang buhay ko!” He uttered as tears fell from his eyes. I didn't get that but I don't want him dead.
I exerted all the force I have in me to remove his grip from the frame. Eventually he loose grip and we fell to the ground. He was crying, really, really hard. I never expected this sadness from a guy who seemed to be strong, tough, and uninterested.
As I went out of the room, few more crying I heard from him. How I wish I could understand their language.
“PM, tulungan mo naman ako please. Si mama to o? Lumabas na tayo dito, bibihisan na kita at kakain na tayo. May pasok ka pa ngayon.” Her voice was soft and tender. It sounded like she was trying to calm PM down and to have himself helped by him. Door slammed, and more soft favors came out from Jonah.
She was obviously having a hard time.
Later on, both of them climb down the stairs, proceeding to the table where I was at. PM was wearing a plain loose shirt, and a pants that's badly torn. His everyday fashion sense always makes a statement on him.
Things were getting awkward as the minutes pass by. By the time we were done eating, PM sat down by the stairs outside their house.
I was staring at him and his usual habit is showing up again, staring randomly at things.
“Sir, can you, um, take care of him while he's at school? I understand, but I'm already old, and I can't even watch over him while he's at school. I ask of you Arthur, please?” Jonah whispered as I took a look at her sincerity.
Yup, I will help her. Anyway, I don't have anybody to take care of.
“Would sure do.” I smiled and gave her a big hug.
“Thanks. But if ever you feel this is too much, kindly tell me right away so I can act on it and look for someone who can do it for me. Okay?”
“You don't need anyone to do it for you Jonah.”
Our bodies parted and we walked right pass through the lawn. PM, with his blank stare, and face with no emotion, sat down beside me as I was preparing to drive all the way to school.
I started the engine and slightly pressed on the gas pedal. “See you guys later!!” Jonah waved at us as we gradually took off.
While we were on the road, PM's looking at the window again. Why is he doing that all the time?
“PM. Are you alright?” I asked.
Instead of getting a response from him, I only got a blank stare. Then he looked away. I somehow felt bad about his unresponsiveness. So I let that slide, maybe he just wanted a time for himself and to adjust on the environment he's in.
We arrived at the university. No conversation with PM. He slowly opened the door and got off the car. He never even waved at me or bade me goodbye. So I didn't bother giving him one. Confused about this guy, and it's even almost half the semester, I decided not to make things really complicated. I walked straight to my office, took a shower, changed clothes, and appeared to my class.
In the afternoon, I'll have to meet with PM's class. Oh well, things are getting more tiresome as I got to know him better. Time passed by so fast I didn't even notice I had other class aside from PM's. I don't know, I just got hooked by him and him only.
Time came for our class to start, the class where PM is in, but he didn't come in early. Unusual. So I thought, he might appear in a minute or so. But ten minutes pass the time when we were supposed to start the class, but he was nowhere in my class.
Alas, the door opened. Instead of guy in red shirt and tattered pants should appear, it's the college nurse that came running to me.
“Mr. Boyd? You got to proceed to the infirmary right now.” Infirmary? Why, what's wrong?
“W-Why?” My hands grew numb and I couldn't even feel my hands. Everything just got cold, and my lungs felt compressed.
“Mr. Realoso is in danger... and we thought you should know because we just saw you taking him to school this morning.” The nurse was hysterical. It must be something serious.
But for me, everything is serious when it involves PM.
I quickly ran, getting out the building, ran through the college of medicine, made my way to the infirmary, and the nurse lead me to where PM was in.
“What happened?” I asked. My heart's beating fast and my nerve's eating me inside out. Did he get to his suicidal tendencies again?
“Well, ummm.” The physician said as she handed me a bottle of diluted toilet bowl cleaner. I almost lost consciousness seeing the bottle container in my hand.
“He didn't go to class today and was crying in the bathroom all morning. Before noon struck, he drank half of this and was having convulsions. The cleaning aide saw him and took him here. We are trying to revive him but there's no specialist who can take care of this for now. There's one we contact, but he's over a hundred miles away. So we suggest to take him to the nearest NYC hospital. Anyway, service is better over there so we won't have any problem. We already informed his mom about this and she's meeting PM at NYC hospital. Please help us take him there.” The physician said. Involuntarily, I took PM's moving hospital bed and urged the physician to come with me to the ambulance elevator.
“Then let's have him checked right away.” We were in the elevator as the nurse and the physician carrying around his medical records which was new and crisp. We hopped into the ambulance and made sure he's positioned really good inside.
I was so worried that I didn't even realize we were already at the state hospital. PM was taken to the emergency room and nurses took his bed and carried him to one of the operating rooms.
I filled out few papers, trying my best to remember the things about PM that were being asked by the information sheet. As soon as I was done, the nurse and the physician took off to the university. I was alone. I was fighting for him alone.
He's suicidal, why can't I do something for him? Why is he even suicidal to start with? This is just so sad.
All I can do is wait and pray nothing bad's going to happen to him.
“WHAT HAPPENED?!” Jonah came in with a really worried face.
“Well, I was having my class when I realized he's not in. I waited for him to come over, but he didn't. When suddenly, the nurse came running telling me to proceed to the infirmary, which I did, and I was devastated. He drank half of the toilet bowl cleaner. Says witnesses saw him crying inside the bathroom until he drank this shit around the time when my class started.” I presented her a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner.
She broke down to sadness.
“His life, is really, really sad. His past is just so unbearable. As a frustrated mother, I want to take care of him. Why can't I do something something good for him?! Are all my effort flying him all the way to New York, to give him a new life, not good enough?!” Jonah cried on my shoulder.
So something was really up. They were trying to get rid of some kind of memory. I would like to ask what were these memories, but I thought for now, it wouldn't help saving PM.
He's critical as of the moment.
I kept my mouth shut and listened to Jonah's cries. Poor woman she is.
And poor kid she has.
“Hi. Are you Realoso's family?” The doctor asked.
“Alright. Where do you want me to start? With the good news or the bad news?” The doctor took away his eye glasses and let it hung his side pocket.
“Good news?” Jonah skeptically answered with an unsure tone.
“Okay. Good news is, he's far from any internal damage. What he drank was a heavily diluted toilet bowl cleaner, 2% pure chemicals so you don't have to worry about his physical health. No internal organs were heavily affected. He might experience constipation, diarrhea and the likes, but it would run off for a few days. A day or two, and after that, that's it. For the bad news...” The doctor kept silent and sighed.
“You guys need a psychologist for this. He is not unhealthy physically, but he is, emotionally. I advise you guys go look for a specialist who can treat behaviors. It's not that I'm telling you the kid is crazy, but I got to tell you, if you're not going to have his personality treated, you might end up looking at him inside a casket, being hoisted down a hole, 6-feet below the ground. You know what I'm saying?”
Jonah looked at me, and so I did.
“He's suicidal. What kind of emotionally healthy person would drink a toilet bowl cleaner, crying his eyes off for hours? Now, I don't exactly know what the reason is, or who exactly made him feel that way, or how they might have burned PM to depression, but his case is really serious. I don't want to see his face in this hospital ever again. Do something about this.” The doctor sarcastically meant to give PM immediate care.
Jonah cried a lot than she did a while ago. She was hysteric. She covered her face with her palms, and cried some more as people watch us.
“Don't worry Jonah. We will do something about this.”
After a few days, PM got out from the hospital. He was given some prescription, which Jonah and I, are having trouble letting him take them. Nonetheless, I found myself thrusting into his life, which I shouldn't be. But I couldn't help it. Everyday of my life, I always think about him.
At school, I make sure that I have him followed. Every lunch, I make sure that the lunch lady has her eyes on him. I also escalated to the university execomm to remove cleaning materials from obvious places. They sure did, hopefully PM can't lay his hands in one of those poisons.
When Jonah can take PM to a psychologist, I went together with her and PM, to be a part of a life-changing process.
I never expected how life-changing it could get.
We got off my car, and entered a sophisticated clinic. Everything was really eye-pleasing, the furniture, everything! It was rather late when we got there, so we might be the last patient this psychologist could have.
“Hello, can I do anything for you?” A woman in her 30's appeared, in white medical coat, enjoying a hot cup of coffee.
“Yeah... We just want my kid to be checked. You might do us a very big favor if you can help us.” Jonah answered.
“Sure, would do my best.” The psychologist put her cup down and reached for stapled papers. Forms.
“Kindly fill this out as we talk. Tell me something about it.” The psychologist sat down as she handed Jonah few pieces of paper. Jonah reached for the papers and looked at PM with a scared look. The psychologist was rather confused why the look from Jonah, soon she realized PM was the patient and PM might want not to hear anything.
“Ohh.” She exclaimed. “Umm, cute boy, can you take him to my observation room? I'll be there in a minute.” The psychologist told me to take PM to an observation room, which I did. I looked at PM as I led him to the room, no emotion, no anything. Does he even feel what's happening around him?
I reached for the door knob and twisted it, pushed the door gently, and it opened. In the room, there was a table, and a chair, and 4 walls around us. Where one is certainly a one way glass.
I made him sit to one of the chairs and hugged him tightly. “PM. You stay here for a while, okay? You'll be fine now.” I smiled. But all I got is a blank stare from him.
I'm kinda getting used to it.
He looked away, and I walked out from the room. I heard Jonah started talking about PM.
“Well ughhh..” Said Jonah, thinking about the things she had to say to the psychologist. “PM isn't actually that kid that he is right now. Four years ago, he was strong, tough, a fighter, but a person with respect. He still might get afraid of other people, but he has a strong will. Not to mention he's smart, and witty, and also honest and sweet. He had a family, a mom and an adopted kid, which happened to be her 'little sister'. He never saw his dad. They were poor, his mom carried them all way through, so you see, the attachment is just so strong. The family tie is unbreakable. But he had to move out from their home because he got a scholarship, an opportunity to study in a quality school together with his best friend who's also smart. He met this girl, eventually he fell in love with, but she happened to only use PM as a sorority test. He was broken, and was physically bullied by his roommate, a guy. Soon after, they were being linked to each other. They fell in love-”
“They're gays?!” The psychologist cuts off.
“It doesn't matter. They fe-, I mean he fell in love with this guy. This guy happened to be his roommate. After a few years of cats and dogs, chase and turns, they were dating, and next thing we knew, they were in a relationship. But things got messy when his best friend, spaced out from him because he was gay. One night, something bad happened. They accidentally got too sensational with each other, PM and his best friend. Because of this, his best friend ditched him, treated him like a pile of shit. Then, he got tangled up in a sex scandal, which he claimed he was raped and drugged out. Nobody believed in him, except for me and few friends. He was humiliated by the whole school he was studying in. Not just that, he was humiliated by his own best friend, and his own boyfriend, so you see how that hurts. At that time, their relationship was, well, let's call it 'on-the-rocks'. PM, tried to win their trust again, because these two guys in his life was ditching him because of a thing he didn't even want to do in the first place. But he was thrown away like a stray cat. Soon after, when he went back home, his adopted sister was lost, and was never found and presumed dead. His mom, at first was physiologically incapacitated via gun shot. Because of the scandal, this kid was stripped off his allowance provided for by the school. He had to work extra hard to find means to supply and maintain his mom's meds. Sadly, their house in the province was burned. He tried saving his mom, but she died in front of his very eyes. He failed to revive his mom. During these sad family events, he was also asking for forgiveness from his best friend and his ex-boyfriend, which was pushing him away and raping him, and abusing him, and not looking at him like a human being in every single way. PM got nothing. But still, he chose to do volunteer works, and because of this volunteer works, he was attempted to be murdered. But he lived, I saved him. Those who attempted to kill him were the main reason why he lost his family. I made everything legal, and made a travel all the way here, where I believe if dreams wouldn't come true, well at least nightmares should fade away. But... the problem is, PM is suicidal. He's masochistic in nature, and depressed, and frustrated, and very, very suicidal.” I couldn't open my mouth from hearing PM's back story.
So that was why every class time, he's always looking out the window. Was he contemplating, reliving all the sad memories he went through? Was he missing his biological family?
This answers my question. That was why there was nothing about his past displayed in his room. Because all of those memories were bitter, and sad.
He's just in a really sad state now.
“Mhm, all right. Thanks for giving me his history. Now, I would just like to inquire, what were these masochistic tendencies? Are they somehow suicidal?” The doctor asked as she was jotting down notes.
“Yes. Very. When he was really romantically depressed, he made cuts on his biceps. He was heavily bleeding. He would bang his head on concrete walls. Sometimes, would look for a knife and starts cutting his wrists. He even hammered his finger once. Sometimes, he would escaped and jump off from the roof. And just lately, he drank a toilet bowl cleaner. All of these happened while he was crying and heavily emotional.”
“Mhm, I think I can do something about this.” The psychologist said. “Follow me.” She instructed Jonah and went inside a room beside the observation room where PM was in. So I followed them and closed the door.
We all saw PM through a one way glass. He was staring at one side and just not moving a muscle. The psychologist called in one of her assistant to get in the observation room and facilitate the test.
“What's that?” Jonah asked as she saw a big balloon that bounces back when hit.
“That's a test balloon. Today, I'm going to perform a social learning theory test. In social learning theory, an action done by the model will be replicated by the learner. But, here's the punch line, one wouldn't replicate an action if nothing is propelling him to do so. I'm gauging his violence level. If he's not as violence as I'm expecting him to be, well, he's just satisfied with the violence he's inflicting on. If he's as violent as I'm picturing out, or more, then the anger that's in him is pushing him to inflict harm.” The psychologist say. “Okay, ready?” She talks to her mic that enables her and the assistant to communicate. The assistant from the adjacent room signals a positive feedback. She then plays a video of a man, viciously attacking another man in a brawl fight. One man gets down on his back, and starts to receive couple of punches from another guy.
“Alright that's enough.” The psychologist instructs. The assistant turns the television off.
“The best friend?”
“The lost child?”
“Those who attempted to kill him?”
“Jun, and Corina.”
“Okay. Good.” She turned away and positioned the mic over her mouth, “Before you leave, call PM's attention.” The assistant walked up to the door and called PM. PM slightly turned his head to the assistant.
“Good~ Now say this: 'Dimitri cheated on you. Dimitri never loved you. And Gio? He doesn't want you anymore. And your mom? She was useless. Jun set your mom on fire. Corina wants you dead. Nobody wants you alive. You are alone. Dimitri and Gio don't want you. They pushed you away. And Jun killed your mom, Corina threw you away. Angela will always be lost. You are on your own.” Which the assistant also mimicked.
As soon as the assistant left the room, PM was clinching his fist, a sign of grave anger. He then approached the life-sized balloon that bounces back when you hit it. He took a very good look at the balloon, then he shifted attention to the television where he saw a violent brawl.
What happened next shocked all of us.
He started punching and kicking the balloon the same way as what we saw on the television. Releasing every bit of anger that's inside him.
“Perfect.” The psychologist smirked. “Okay, take him out of there.” She said to her assistant. Two men in white uniform came running and stopping PM from punching and kicking the balloon. But PM was just so strong. He pinned down one of the nurse, and started punching him in the face. Tears fell down from his cheeks as he continuously blew the nurse's face.
“Die. Die. Die!” PM chanted. Releasing every word for every punch he made.
Luckily, one of the guys stopped him by injecting him tranquilizer. PM grew weaker and eventually fell asleep.
“Isn't that illegal?” I asked while turning my head on the psychologist.
“I know. But what's more of a loss is if my personnel dies. Can your legality save that?” The psychologist talked back as I stared at her.
“Alright, you two, gather around.” The psychologist called us in a table.
“The experiment was perfect. I triggered his anger, and he bit my bait. I was figuring out his anger button. Jonah, one thing is for sure. Your kid is naturally violent. Meaning, he's inherently capable of inflicting harm, but for now, for whatever reasons there might be, he only chooses to inflict harm to himself. Violence is all about him. Anger triggers violence. Now, the question would be, how are we going to keep him alive? Simple, by making him not angry to himself, so he won't be violent to himself. In a way, I can call this masochism. Anything that may be 'not unsatisfactory' is still 'satisfactory'. Meaning, even if PM doesn't feel satisfaction from inflicting harm, but as long as he keeps repeating the same action toward himself, and as long as he doesn't feel uneasy, and wouldn't stop hurting himself, that can still be masochism. Because he's craving for pain. And he knows, he's going to get it. This is something that we must 're-program' if we want him to be alive. This is actually the reason why he's suicidal, because he tends to blame himself for everything that's happening to his life.
For now, I can say he's a relatively kind person. Because his level of violence to others is none to minimal. But it's not keeping him alive. He's suicidal because he's 'kind'. He's afraid to hurt other people. This is what's going to happen next, the options for cure are simple. One, we keep him in a mental hospital to cure his violent tendencies and at the same time making him believe that's nothing's wrong with him, but that would take a very long time. In my projection, he'll be fine in as short as when he gets to 60. Very young.” The psychologist sarcastically remarked.
“But,” she continued. "There's another option. I call this the 're-channeling program'. You see, as demonstrated a while ago, that was pure violence triggered by anger which he chooses to inflict to himself. The solution is simple, we use that anger resulting to violence and channeling it away from him.”
“So that means...” Jonah lifted her head and turned to me.
“Yes. We'll be turning him to a monster. A violent, sadistic, narcissistic, and outrageous monster.”
“But I can't deal with that!” Jonah yelled.
“Or you'll never deal with him at all. It's either you see his depressed aura in a rusty mental hospital until he gets at least 60 which by the way you won't gonna be alive half of that, or you see him strong, tough, and unbreakable. You choose?” The psychologist answered with poise. I watched as the tension was rising up.
“There must be any other way!”
“There might be. Go seek any other opinion. They'll bag more money out of you.”
Jonah started crying as I sat beside her and caressed her back for compassion.
“This is the only way to sway him away from self-depression, to channel violence away toward him. If you want him to be sure alive, I will help you with that. You just have to sign this.” The psychologist provided a waiver form for medication.
Jonah pulled the form to her and looked at me. I slightly nodded.
“We can still save him. We just have to 're-program' him. We just have to let him gradually think that it's not all his fault. We 'reform' his depression.” The psychologist slowly whispered.
Jonah closed her eyes, opened them, and scanned through the form as her eyes get wet. Tears are about to escape. With her right hand shaking, she slightly reached for the pen as the psychologist and I looked at her about to sign the waiver.
She took a deep breath. And the next thing we heard is the friction between the pen and paper.
PM's going to be someone else.
“Alright.” The psychologist opened her palm to signal Jonah to return the waiver. “You just have to say goodbye to Angelo from here onwards.” The psychologist went out with the form, and Jonah started breaking down.
“So... this is it?” I asked her. She only had to nod as she couldn't do anything at the moment besides from crying.
“You want PM to be happy, don't you? Then let's give him the vindication he deserves to get.” I remarked. Jonah raised her head and I saw a face of sorrow and blue.
“I guess...” Jonah whispered to the air.
“PM, do what I instruct you to do, alright? If you're not going to follow what I say, I will not beat up Dimitri. Alright?!” The psychologist is in the same room as PM's as Jonah and I observed from the one way glass.
PM simply looked at the psychologist with an pair of eyes full of blazing anger.
“Imagine that balloon is Jun, setting fire on your home, enraging Martil to flames. Answer me, how do you feel?”
“I am angry.”
“Why?” The psychologist giggled.
“Because it's my fault leaving them alone.”
“But wouldn't they die anyway even if you were with them? Your house's gonna burn to ashes even if you were with or away from them. Do you think it's your fault?”
PM stopped wandering his eyes around. He turned to the psychologist with a confused look on his face.
“I-It's not my fault?” PM innocently asked.
“Did you create the fire?”
PM shook his head as 'No'
“Then it's not your fault. So who are you angry with now?” The psychologist repeated her question. PM took a little while looking at her. Then he answered...
“What are you going to do about that then? Your mom has already died, we can never bring her back again, all because of Jun.”
“I will do the same to him. I will make him regret of the things he's done to me.” PM banged the table with his fists. He flipped the table from its side, the force was just overwhelming. The table fell to the ground. He started shouting and punching on the balloon yelling, crying, and cursing on Jun's name.
“GOOD! GOOD! YOU DID NOTHING WRONG! GIVE THAT BALLOON A BIG BLOW! THINK ABOUT DIMITRI CHEATING ON YOU, OR GIO GETTING ON YOUR ASS!! YOU THINK YOU MESSED THEM UP?!” The psychologist shouted to encourage PM's violent behavior.
“NO!!!!!!!! NOOOOO!!!! ALL I DID WAS LOVING DIMITRI!!! BUT HE TREATED ME LIKE SHIT!!!!!!! GIO?! I WILL BEAT HIS ASS, CUT A TREE, AND SHOVE IT DOWN HIS ASS!!!!! LET'S SEE WHO'S THE BOSS NOW?! HAA????” PM responded to the psychologist's chant while continuously attacking on the big bouncy balloon.
The sight of a mad person, being abused so many times from the past, trying to release all the inhibitions that makes him suicidal, is just so sad. Imagine a kid having tantrums since mom wasn't able to buy some candies? It's like that, but more.
“Do you think that'll make him happy?” Jonah turned to me with a worried face.
“Nope,” I answered, “but at least that will make him feel better... and will keep him alive.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“I am not sure of what's going to happen to a violent PM, but I hope there's a way to contain his emotions without him, getting violent.” I looked away from Jonah and looked at PM, beating every inch the balloon had.
“Well you don't have to worry about that.” A voice became audible from behind me. I turned around to see who's in, and I saw the psychologist already in the same room as Jonah and I were.
“We can, by inculcating positive emotions. If the anger is the negative emotion triggering a violent behavior, anger must have come from a failed emotion... which is love. The lost of his mom, ex-lover cheating on him, ex-best friend standing up against him, in my professional opinion, these are frustrated love. The ultimate reason why he's angry right now. You, Jonah, can make that happen. Let's go along his violent behavior, but make sure you can control that. You can, I believe you can. Be the generous, but the strict mom. You are still in command.” The psychologist raised her eyebrow with a grin on her face. She stepped outside the door and went back to the behavior treatment.
Few weeks passed, I became an immediate guardian of PM. This is to ensure that every move PM makes, I got the authority to know. So far, no problem. The session with the psychologist had been continuous for a few weeks already. PM, in my observation, is gradually evolving from a boring kid, to a competitive college dude. He is now also talking more, which is very different and very absent the first time I saw him.
One day, when I had a class with them...
“Tell me what's wrong with this shot.” I played a video to help them assess the clarity of film and its focus, the message it sends, et cetera.
As the video stopped, one student of raised his right hand and talked. “Sir Boyd, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the clip. It's perfectly fine, and the message of a compressed society portrayed by the congestion of the mob, is the whole impact. Like, that's the whole group we try to show.
“Well.” A loud voice came up and all of the students looked at the back part of the room. “That's a pretty bullshit observation for a film student like you.” PM, at the back, with both his legs raised. All my students were shocked with his tone since this is the first time PM has talked back and insulted another person.
“You see, the whole message of the clip was supposed to be the lady alone, but she is part of the mob. Therefore, the focus should be on her only. What happened with the clip was, there was a vague observation of 'oneness' of a mob, that's why we failed to take a look at the lady. But that's not it, because the viewers must also be graphically informed that producers are trying to focus on the person she's looking at, which is around a couple of meters away from her. That was the purpose of the panning. What could have been done was, focusing on the girl, and the girl alone as the camera zoomed up as she tries to reach on the guy she's looking at, we go right back zooming in to her arms, following the thrust of it until we reach her fingers and a perfect focus on the guy she's looking at. Story being told.” An arrogant tone finished his whole solution. Everyone was looking at each other and nodded, showing their agreement to what PM has said.
But my concern is, PM is now different. He might get a fight with his bitch tone anytime soon.
I just stood right at the center, in front of everyone else, dumb-founded with the 180 degrees image change I see in PM.
The therapy worked.
I was driving my way back to my apartment when I saw a bunch of students from the university I'm working at, ganging up on a single kid which I couldn't see the face clearly.
As I approached near them, I noticed they were my students. PM was the guy being ganged on, and the leader of the gang was the guy whom he insulted in my class, with a girl being held up by one of those guys ganging up on PM.
I couldn't move. I didn't know what to do.
“I don't think your girl's happy with you forcing your way to kiss her, in a public place.”
“Well, she's my girlfriend?!” The guy exclaimed. PM just hissed and giggled. He seemed like unafraid of the things these guys might be doing to him.
“Exactly,” PM said, “you're just a boyfriend. Learn some respect, man.”
“It's not my fault dude if you failed to be smarter than I am. Bet yo momma's crying for the dumb shit she created.” PM laughed.
At one second, the guy threw a punch on PM's face. PM froze, facing right, absorbing the impact of the blow he received.
“You boys take her out of here.” the 'leader' instructed his 'disciples', they ran away lifting the girl, whom I believe was the leader's girlfriend.
PM gradually looked at him and snapped his neck. “Are you done?” he said with a grin on his face.
Before the guy could even answer, PM started throwing punches on his opponent's face. The blow was twice as hard as the guy threw on PM. The guy fell down on his butt, PM immediately sat on his abdomen, throwing more punches to make the guy unable to move. From this moment, I got alarmed. I got off my car and ran toward the battlefield both boys are in. A cop followed and we stopped the physical commotion that was happening.
For short, PM was temporarily detained because of his violent behavior.
“Officer” I said while the investigating officer was creating a report about the incident. “We can like hasten things up? My name's Arthur Boyd, and let's make things fast and easy.” I said. The officer stopped filling out his forms and raised his head to take a loot at me. I pulled up a clean check to show him and to encourage him to stop the long shit.
“I know you're an officer, and I know you guys want the long and 'clean' process, but we are actually on a hurry right here? I'm one of the witnesses, I saw the whole thing, we ran together toward them to stop the fight, and I saw the whole thing. PM was attacked first. It's a self-defense. Even though you put this in a long pedestal, it's going to come down to PM leaving this place. So you might want to reconsider.” I begged.
The cop turned his head around the area to see if someone's looking. He got one of his notebooks, covered the checked I presented to him. He then quickly inserted the check in his notebook, and put it back to the drawer where he took it from.
“I'm just in need of money to pay rent today boy, got that? Wait outside.” He commanded. I did. Few minutes later, PM appeared in his usual, plain top and torn pants attire. His long, and untidy hair is taking his gorgeous face away and is destroying the cool aura he has.
“Let's go.” I said as I shook off the 'gorgeous' thought I've been thinking about PM. He nodded and we proceeded to my ride.
We were driving downtown when a burger shop caught his attention.
“Stop the car. You got your credit card on you?” He asked me.
“Yeah. Do you want to eat?”
“Mhm, I'm hungry.” He smiled. I, right away, parked the car, and we entered the burger shop. This guy's just so hungry for today...
After he filled up his body with junk foods, we were walking downtown to take a look at the shops selling new set of clothes.
“Arthur, come on buy me that one.” He pulled my shirt and pointed to a cool cream polo we just passed by.
“Well... It's getting la-”
“I'm going to pay you anyway, mom's going to pay you. Pleaseeeeee...” PM begged.
I looked at his shirt down to his shoes, and I see he does need a makeover. Shortly, he grabbed my collar and showed his fist straight to my face.
“ARE YOU GONNA BUY ME THAT OR WHAT?!” He yelled. He lost temper easily. I, caring for him, immediately nodded and said: “Y-Yupp, yeah! We're going in.”
And I conceded as we entered the boutique shop. He was testing a lot of designer shirts and shorts and boat shoes. And finally after an hour, he decided to buy 5 pairs of shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, and 2 pairs of boat shoes, which made me spend over $ 500. Anyway, he looked stunning with every apparel he choose, so as soon as we paid, we went out and walked some more.
“PM. You should get a hair cut. Your hair's too long already, and you look better with a clean cut.” I suggested. He just looked at me, carrying the things he bought, and shrugged his shoulders.
“Whatever. Alright.” Then we entered a hair salon.
Another half an hour, and another great look from PM. Now, I couldn't get why a person would cheat on this gorgeous guy.
“I choose this hairstyle, do you like it?” He brushed his hair with his fingers.
I was lost of words. He was just too handsome.
“Come on now, stop fantasizing about me.” He punched my shoulder and he laughed.
Now I see him smiling. A unique smile. Cool.
We drove to his home and we got there past eleven in the evening.
“You look good with that son!” Jonah praised the cool hair PM got. “Did you get into trouble today?” Jonah asked as PM kissed him on the cheeks. I was getting off my car and walk near them.
“Yeah. I beat up one of the guys I am in class with. Such an asshole, kissing his girlfriend and all. He was sent to a hospital because his nose broke, and I got jailed. Arthur bailed me out, I bought some new clothes and shoes, and got some haircut, so can you pay Arthur back the money I owed him?” PM asked.
“Well, young man, you got into trouble.” Jonah shook her head to show dismay to PM.
“Did you think about Dimitri as you punched the guy back there?” These words escaped my mouth. PM stopped walking, dropped the things of we bought, turned around and attacked me. He rode on to me and started punching me in the face. Jonah tried her best to pull PM away from me which she successfully did.
That was intense. I felt every punch he gave me. My face hurt.
“PM! Don't!” Jonah exclaimed at PM. PM looked at me and spat on the ground.
“Tell that douchebag not to talk about 'him' in any way. He's just a part of my memory, and I wouldn't want to remember any fragment about my past anymore.” His eyes twinkled, tears are about to fall. He turned around and walked into their house as I was left lying on the ground.
Why did I even bring up Dimitri's name anyway?
I don't know.
“Get up, Art. Tsk. It's okay now, son. You go home, and help yourself up. Just see PM tomorrow at class, okay? I'm sorry.” Jonah gave me a warm hug, which I gladly returned. We parted, and I got in my car and drove home.
For the past months I have known PM, he's really different now.
This is how his first year ended. He learned to be independent. He took care of himself, and he's better now. He wasn't suicidal as he was before. Because of this, Jonah didn't have a hard time going back to the Philippines as PM continued his studies here in New York.
He got to second year, he wrote a script and submitted it to Hollywood Folks Inc., few of the production companies I own which I currently am not managing. His plot was bought and he got revenue. The movie became a big hit, famous Hollywood actors played the characters he wrote. While he was studying, he organized a movie. Quite a lot for a sophomore kid.
I believed this should be his big break, and I should be recommending him (because of my background as a famous director) but I chose not to intervene. I wanted his success to be only his own.
One thing I could say to this kid: genius. Plot twists are great, and everything else's just mind-blowing.
He made his way to Hollywood Folks Inc., without my help. He got into the company which I own, without me, helping him. When he got to junior level, he participated in audio and editing skills. He co-managed the audio and editing department as early as 20 years old. I made my way when I was 23, he did in 20. This kid is definitely gods' perfection.
I became his mentor, by virtue of him, working in part-time in my company, and I taught him few stuff which I don't usually teach on school. By the time he was looking for an internship program, he didn't have to. He was absorbed, and I put up the most meticulous quality assurance officer I have in my company to watch over him...
After the internship, PM impressed the officer I assigned.
By the time he graduated, he started working at my company. We moved out to California so I can fully manage the business I am in. With no jokes, he's one of the craziest and the best directors I have encountered with. He was creating 5 films in a year, how crazier could that get?
And each movie he creates... becomes an international wave. Giving me more money in my company.
I guess this is few effects of the 'sadistic' PM, to be really competent? I say it has few perks on its own.
Aside from his success in career, he also changed physically. He grew 4 more inches, reaching him to 5'11” to 6'. His body, from a chubby white guy, transformed to a tan super model. He's hitting the gym.. and guess what's his favorite equipment?
The punching bag.
I would say he's a lot better than me in terms of connections, he connects with people in a really intimidating manner, but he's still getting them anyway. He's drawing more investors to the company by letting them know how good Hollywood Folks Inc., is and what's up for deficit if they wouldn't invest.
PM's like me, we hate the same things, most especially the camera. Few people know who PM Realoso is, and what he does, but fewer people know what PM looks like.
We're low profile in terms of showing our faces to the camera. When people see us, all they see is a pair of hot guys. Lol.
He's just a scary, business person. Whatever he wants, should happen. He's definitely going to get you.
And until now, everything's going good for him... I understand it's good to be tough and all, but I hope one day, when emotions subside, he might want to take a look at me. I just love him too much.
[End of Flashback + Dialogue]
Natapos nang maligo si Arthur at nakalabas na siya mula sa banyo. Kaagad siyang nagbihis ng simpleng damit at shorts habang si PM ay natulog muli sa kanilang kama. Simula nang nagtapos si PM, dahil sa kita niya sa pagtatrabaho sa Hollywood Folks Inc., naisipan niyang bumili ng bahay kahati si Arthur.
Malaki ang bahay. Tabi sila sa kama. At siguro mga anak na lang ang kulang. Kaso... hindi sila magsing-irog kahit sinusubukan na ni Arthur na iparamdam kay Angelo na mahal niya ito. Hindi ito pinapansin ni Angelo.
Nang matapos na siyang magbihis, kaagad siyang nagdrive pa-downtown upang kunin ang pinatahi niyang suit. May dadaluhan siyang kasal ng isang kaibigan, na tinatago niya mula kay PM. Ang hindi niya alam, kahit si PM ay nagtataka bakit hindi niya kayang sabihin dito kung sinong ikakasal.
Matapos ang isang oras at kalahati na paghihintay, nakuha na ni Arthur ang kanyang suit at dumiretso na siya sa isang restaurant kung saan napag-usapan nila ng kaibigan niyang ikakasal na magkita sila.
Matapos ang kalahating oras, nakarating na si Arthur at naghahanap siya ng sasalubong sa kanya. Nakatayo lang siya sa waiting area ng restaurant nang may lumapit na lalaki, halatang bakla, at kumakaway kay Arthur.
“Heyyy Arthur~” sigaw ng bakla sabay ngiti kay Arthur. Tumayo si Arthur mula sa pagkakaupo at gumanti ng kaway.
“Where's PM? I haven't seen him yet...” sabi ng bakla sabay kamay kay Arthur.
“He's sort of dozing off so, I didn't want to disturb him.” Sabi ni Arthur. Palusot niya lang iyon dahil ang totoo, may dahilan kung ayaw niyang isama si PM sa lakad niya ngayong araw.
Tumunog ang pintuan, bumukas pala ito at bumati ang table assistant: “Table for?”
“One.” Sagot ng bagong dating.
“Your name please?”
“PM Realoso.” sagot ni PM sa table assistant. Natigilan si Arthur sa narinig niya kaya tumalikod ito at nilingon ang bagong dating sa restaurant... si PM nga!
Nagulat si Arthur, nanigas ang kanyang katawan at nanunuyo ang kanyang lalamunan.
Maya-maya nagtama ang tingin nila ni PM.
“What are you doing here?” Nagulat si PM nang nakita niya si Arthur. Sinalubong niya ito ng mapanuring titig.
“O-Oh, we-well, h-hi PM...” Utal-utal na sagot ni Arthur.
“Oh, PM's here?” Tumalikod ang baklang kausap lang kanina ni Arthur para lingunin kung sino ang binabati ni Arthur.
Nang lumingon siya upang alamin... nagulat siya sa kanyang nakita.
“Kuya Angelo?!” Gulat na sigaw ng bakla. Narinig ni PM ang kanyang dating pangalan na tinawag ng bakla, nang tingnan niya ito pabalik, nakita niyang kasama ito ni Arthur at muling nag-flashback ang isang bahagi ng kanyang ala-ala.
"Ellis, pagkasabi kong takbo ka, takbo ka, okay?"
"Ellis! Bilisan mo ang lakad mo. In 20 seconds, kung nasa maraming tao na tayo, tumakbo ka. Nakakatunog na ako, grabe na iyan. At dalawa pa sila."
"Ellis, takbo ka lang! Kailangan natin makaabot sa maraming tao. Huwag dito, walang tao dito. Walang nakakita sa atin."
"Takbo ka lang Ellis. Please. Delikado to! Mamaya na biro please."
[End of Flashback]
“You guys know each other?” Nagtatakang tanong ni Arthur kay Ellis at PM.
“No. YOU guys know each other?” Binalik ni PM ang tanong kay Arthur. Si Arthur at Ellis ay parehong kinakabahan, ramdam na ramdam nila ang kabog ng dibdib, ang lakas ng tibok ng mga puso nila. Dahan-dahan silang kinakain ng kanilang takot at pag-aalala.
Nakatulala lang si Arthur kay PM habang sinusuri ni PM ang dala niyang paper bag. Nag-iisip pa ng sagot si Arthur kung magtatanong si PM kung may tinatago ba siya.
“So I see, you have your coat right there. So you must be getting married, Ellis, am I right?” Casual na pakikitungo ni PM. Napako si Ellis sa kanyang kinatatayuan at di alam ang isasagot.
“Y-Yeah...” Parang tinakasan ng dugo sa mukha si Ellis habang sumasagot kay PM.
Tinignan ni PM ang mukha ni Arthur at Ellis na tila ba natatakot na makita siya. Natawa si PM at umiling: “Why are you guys looking at me like I'm some kind of an apparition? Let's calm down, and eat our lunch.” Naunang lumakad si PM patungo sa isang messa na may nakalagay na bag, na malamang pagmamay-ari ni Ellis. Dahan-dahan namang naglakad si Arthur at Ellis patungo sa mesa na kinauupuan ni PM at hindi makatingin ang dalawa sa mga mata ni PM. Si Arthur ay nasa tabi ni PM, si Ellis sa harapan.
“Buhay ka pala kuya?” Biglang tanong ni Ellis kay PM.
Tumawa lang si PM.
“Hindi lahat ng nawawala, namamatay.” Ngumisi lang si PM habang tumitingin sa menu.
“P-Paano?” Nauutal na tanong ni Ellis. Hindi na tumingin si PM kay Ellis at pabiro na sumagot: “It's for you to find out.”
“Soooo, Ellis, since you're getting married, where's your groom-to-be?” Tanong ni PM. Napayuko lang si Arthur samantalang si Ellis ay di naman makatingin sa mata ni PM.
Ilang minuto ng katahimikan.
“What's happening with you guys?! Speak up! The fuck. Come on, where's the guy, Ellis? I wanna see him. You're getting married, you must be so excited.” Tanong ni PM dahil sa hindi pagsagot ni Ellis sa kanya kanina.
“Hi Ellis. I missed you baby.” isang boses ang sumulpot sa likod ni PM. Kaagad na nanlaki ang mga mata ni Ellis na tumitingin sa likuran ni PM. Napansin ito ni PM. Nagtaka siya kung bakit hindi masaya ang expression ni Ellis kanina pa. Dahil excited na rin siyang makita ang mapapangasawa ni Ellis, lumingon siya sa kanyang likod at nakita ang taong di niya inakalang makikilala niyang muli.
Alam na niya ngayon kung bakit takot na takot ang mukha ni Ellis:
"Hi baby. Are you ready?" Sabay hubad sa mga saplot nito.
"Wa...it.. Wha...t are you.. do..ing?" Matamlay na sabi ni Angelo.
"Oh baby, we will be fucking hard tonight. I'm gonna make you cry." At hinalikan ng amerikano si Angelo. Nang mapansin ni Angelo, wala na rin pala siyang saplot. Nanlaban siya, iniwasan niya ang bawat halik ng Amerikano. Ayaw niyang magtaksil kay Dimitri. Sunod niyang naramdaman ay nahilo siya, at hindi niya maigalaw ang katawan niya. Para siyang lantang gulay, at kitang-kita niya ang paglalapastangan ng amerikano sa kanyang katawan.
"No... p.lease..... what... did... you do to me.." Sabay tulo ng luha ni Angelo.
Nasa 5:02 mark nang nagtanong ang amerikano.
"Do you love it baby? Wanna be my bitch?" Tanong ng amerikano habang dinodog style si Angelo.
"Yes! Ah! Shit! Fuck, fuck. More! Deposit your cum on me, I'm your cum bank! Deeper, ahhh!" Ungol ni Angelo.
"What? Can't hear you."
"Fuck me what?"
"Okay. I'm cumming you little bitch. Wanna have an american baby? You want to take care of my cum?"
"YES! AHH AHH I WANT YOU, I WANT YOUR BABY. OH SHIT!!" At naghalikan sila ng amerikano.
[End of Flashback]
“Woah,” ani ng lalake na tantiya ni PM ay ang ikakasal kay Ellis. “It's nice meeting you again!” At maduming ngumiti ang lalake kay PM.
SPLAAAAAAAK! Isang malakas na suntok ang ginawad ni PM sa mukha ng lalake. Natumba ang lalake sa sahig, sinunggaban ito ni PM ng upo sa tiyan, at sunod-sunod na pinagsusuntok ang mukha. Di pa nakuntento, tumayo si PM at inabot ang isang wooden chair sa restaurant, hinagis niya ito sa katawan ng lalake dahilan na napaigtad sa sakit ng katawan ang lalake.
“It's indeed nice seeing you again. After 8 years you raped me, and looking like whore to everyone else from the place where I'm from? Yeah, it's nice seeing you again!” Galit na galit na sinipa ni PM ang tadyang ng lalake.
“ORLAND! KUYA TIGIL NA!” Sigaw ni Ellis habang tinulak niya si PM para malayo ni Arthur si PM. Nakasarado ang kamao ni PM sa galit, at bakas na bakas sa kanyang mukha ang paghihiganti at pighati. Bahagyang tumutulo ang kanyang luha. Awang-awa si Arthur sa mukhang nakikita kay PM.
Samantalang si Orland, duguan ang mukha mula sa sunod-sunod na suntok na ginawad ni PM sa kanya.
Pero hindi nagpaawat si PM, kumalas si PM sa pagkakakapit ni Arthur sa kanya, tsaka tinulak si Arthur para hindi siya makasunod at makapagpigil kay PM. Hinawakan ni PM si Ellis sa buhok at kinaladkad ito patungo sa bathroom ng restaurant.
Nang makapasok si PM sa bathroom, hinagis niya si Ellis sa isa sa mga dingding. Mistulang talon kung dumaloy ang mga luha ni Ellis.
Ni-lock ni PM ang pinto ng bathroom at kwinelyuhan si Ellis na tumayo.
“Tangina mo, sagutin mo ako. Bakit ka magpapakasal sa kanya?!” Tanong ni PM kay Ellis habang hawak-hawak niya ito sa kwelyo.
Mala-tigre ang tingin ni PM kay Ellis at hindi magkamayaw si Ellis sa kaiiyak.
SPLAK! Isang sampal ang naramdaman ni Ellis sa kanyang mukha. Nagmarka sa kanyang kaliwang pisngi ang kanang kamay ni PM.
“Kaya ba di mo ako magawang tingnan kanina dahil siya pala ang ikakasal sa'yo ha?! Putangina ka?! Bakla kang pakantot ka, HA?!” Sabay sampal ulit sa mukha ni Ellis.
“Paano kayo nagkakilala, ha?! Binenta mo ba ako noon, Ellis?! Kaya ba di mo ako magawang tulungan noon sa Singapore nang humingi ako sa'yo ng tulong para maipablotter ko ang nanggahasa sa akin, kasi kasabwat ka?! Kaya ba sinadya mong tumakbo ng napakahinhin para mahuli nila ako, at maipagahasa ako ni Jun, ganon?! Para saan?! Anong sa'yo sa pananabwat mo para magahasa ako?! SAGOT!” Sabay sampal sa ulit sa mukha ni Ellis.
“Kuya, uhuhm, uhuhm!” Umubo si Ellis. “Ibaba mo muna ako, please...” Iyak ni Ellis. Napahiga siya sa lababo ng bathroom at napadura ng dugo dahil sa sunod sunod na sampal na natanggap niya kay PM.
“Sumagot ka~ Tangina ka!” Si PM sabay hawi sa sentido ni Ellis. Iyak ng iyak si PM at hindi magkamayaw na tumulo ang kanyang mga luha.
“Kuya Angelo... I'm sorry. I'm sorry kung nakipagsabwatan ako kay Corina para mapagahasa ka. I'm sorry kung nakipagtulungan ako kina Tito Jun. I'm sorry... Huhuhuhu” Binaon ni Ellis ang kanyang mukha sa kanyang mga palad.
Galit na galit na narinig ito ni PM. Pinagsisipa niya ang dingding, pinagsusuntok ang hand dryer, pinagtutumba ang trash bin dahil sa galit at frustration na kanyang narinig mula kay Ellis. Kanina na rin iyak ng iyak si PM dahil sa kanyang mga nalaman.
“AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!” Sabay suntok sa tiyan ni Ellis.
Napaigtad si Ellis sa sakit ng pagkakasuntok ni PM at napahiga siya sa sahig.
“Kuya, I'm really, really sorry....” Pinilit umupo ni Ellis mula sa pagkakahiga. Tinabunan niya ang kanyang mukha dahil sa mga luha na kay lakas lakas kung dumaloy. May mga bakas na rin ng dugo sa kanyang baba na mula sa kanyang bibig.
“At anong nakuha mo Ellis?” Pinilit itigil ni PM ang pag-iiyak at mahinahon na nagtanong habang matalas ang titig kay Ellis.
“Kailangan ko gawin iyon kuya... Dahil pinalalayas na ako sa amin. Kailangan ko ng matitirhan. Alam nila na tayo ang magkasama pag bumabiyahe tayo. Inalok ako ni Corina ng dorm malapit sa SEAU, aayaw pa ba ako? Sorry talaga kuya, kailangan ko lang mabuhay-”
“AT MY EXPENSE?! TANGINA MO ELLIS, KAILANGAN KONG MASAWI PARA IKAW ANG MABUHAY?! GANON?! BINENTA MO AKO, PUTANGINA KA! PINAGKATIWALAAN KITA, TAPOS IYON LANG ANG IGAGANTI MO SA AKIN?! WALANG KWENTA KA ELLIS! NGAYON, ANONG NAGAWA NG DORM MO SA BUHAY KO?! MAIBABALIK BA NG KINGINANG DORM NA YAN ANG MGA NASIRA SA AKIN?! ANG KATAUHAN KO NOON?! HA?! MAG-ISIP KA NAMAN!” Sabay suntok sa ulo ni Ellis para madausdos ang kanyang mukha sa sahig.
“Tandaan mo Ellis ha, tandaan mo. Wag na wag ka nang magpapakita sa akin, o iyong asawa mong rapist. Sa sandaling makita ko ang kahit isa sa inyo, pupugutan ko kayo ng ulo. And trust me,” gigil na gigil ang tono ni PM. Kumikinang ang galit sa bawat salitang lumalabas sa kanyang bibig. Nilapit niya ang kanyang bibig sa tenga ni Ellis, “hindi ako takot makulong, o mamatay.” Sabay batok sa kanyang ulo.
Tumayo si PM at inayos ang sarili. Hinarap niya ang salamin, at pinunasan ang mga luha na nasa kanyang mukha.
“And oh, by the way Ellis,” mapanuksong tono ni PM habang patuloy sa pag-aayos ng buhok, “was his name Orland? Yeah, Orland, he's cheating on you. I might not have seen his face clearly yesterday nung nagbar ako, pero I can remember Arthur yelling his name as we were about to have sex. Kaya siguro uncomfortable si Arthur today kasi nag-aalala siyang baka isumbong ko ang kagaguhan ni Orland sa'yo. Magkaibigan si Arthur at Orland, and ayaw masira ni Arthur ang kasal ng kaibigan.” Ngumiti si PM sa salamin at pinakita ang ngipin.
“Well, I just did.” Nagsquat uli si PM habang nakaupo sa sahig ng bathroom si Ellis habang nakasandal sa dingding, “Orland doesn't love you. He's cheating on you. And I don't think you'd love to be cheated on for the rest of your life.” Ngumisi si PM at tumayo. Naglakad palapit sa pintuan at bahagyang binuksan ito.
“Hindi iyan totoo!” Sigaw ni Ellis, “mahal ako ni Orland, mahal na mahal niya ako!” Nilingon ni PM si Ellis at tinawanan ito.
“Darling, I met him at the bar, we were about to have sex, at iyan pa rin ang sasabihin mo? Ano yun, ako ang nasa kama, ikaw ang nasa kamay? Wag kang loko-loko Ellis. Paniwalain mo man ang sarili mo, hindi ka niya mahal. Dahil kung mahal ka pa niya, i-rereserve niya ang titi niya para sa'yo. Pero ginamit ko na nga walong taon ang nakalipas, gagamitin ko pa sana kagabi. Let's face it Ellis, niloloko ka niya. Manloloko siya. Kagaya mo, niloko mo ako noon, binenta, pinagmukhang tanga. Walong taon ngang late si karma, lakas naman ng tama sa inyo.” Tumawa si PM at lumabas ng pintuan.
“Have fun sa 'happy' ever after niyo..... woohoo! 'Just marrieddddddddddd~'” Sarkastikong sumigaw si PM upang tuksuhin si Ellis.
Iniwan niya sa loob ng bathroom si Ellis habang naglakad siya upang kunin si Arthur para makaalis na sila. Nang nakalabas siya, nakita niya si Orland na binigyan ng ice pack sa kanyang mukha at hinilot-hilot ang kanyang tiyan.
Ngumisi lang si PM sa ideyang ang hina-hina pala ni Orland.
“Arthur let's go.” Ma-otoridad na tono ni PM habang kinalabit niya si Arthur. Si Arthur naman, walang nagawa kundi ang sundan si PM palabas ng restaurant.
Nang dadaanan na ni PM si Orland na tumatanggap ng first aid umakto itong susuntukin niya si Orland ulit. Nataranta si Orland at nabitiwan ang ice pack na hawak-hawak niya para sa kanyang mukha.
“Hahahahaha, dwerb!” Sigaw ni PM kay Orland para mapahiya ito.
Nang makalabas na ang dalawa sa restaurant, sumakay kaagad si PM sa sasakyan ni Arthur at hindi sila nag-uusap. Nag-iisip si PM kung itutuloy na niya ba ang planong paghihiganti na matagal na niyang pinagplanuhan kasama si Mommy Jonah, o later na.
May nakakakilala na sa akin. Wala na, this is the time na dapat maghiganti na ako. One down, more to go. Ngayon na ang panahon. Magsisimula na ako. Sa isip ni PM.
Nang makauwi na sila sa bahay na tinitirhan nina PM at Arthur, kaagad na naghubad ng damit si PM at Arthur. Maya-maya ay humiga na si PM sa kama para matulog.
Hindi kinausap ni Arthur si PM dahil alam niyang bad trip pa ito. Kaya tumabi na lang siya kay PM pagkatapos niyang maghubad at nakitulog na lang ito.
(?) + (?) = Felicilda, Liza, Martil, Susan.
1. Felicilda (address unknown) + Eugenio
Child: (Child x, identity unknown)
Gapangin mo ako. Saktan mo ako. 2