The Haunted: Chapter 10 Ex-Center of His Universe

“So, ano talaga ang ipinunta mo sa Baguio?” tanong ni Rupert.

“Panagbenga.”

Napangiti si Rupert, yung ngiti na parang hindi naniniwala sa sinasabi ko.

“Okay, so bale pinapasyal ninyo ni Jim ang kids ninyo?” follow-up question niya. Nakatingin sya ng taimtim sa akin na parang pulis na nag-uusisa sa kawatan.

“No, I came here alone,” hindi ako tumingin sa kanya kaya hindi ko alam ang naging ekspresyon niya.

“There must be trouble in paradise?” seryosong tanong niya.

“Wala naman…” maagap kong sagot habang naglalakad ng kaunti papunta sa front door.

“I wouldn’t ask more questions about your family. Anyway, what’s your plan for today?” nakapamewang niyang tanong.

“Kukunin ko siguro ang TOR ko at diploma sa school,” ang naiilang kong sagot.

Nahalata kong medyo nagulat siya.

“Are you sure? Nawala ba ang transcript of records at diploma mo?”

“Hindi ko pa talaga nakuha. Noong umuwi ako pagkatapos ng graduation, hindi na ako bumalik pa. It took me almost 20 years to finally have the courage to come back,” seryoso kong sagot.

Hinawakan niya ako sa kamay, hindi ko alam pero hindi ko binawi ang pagkakahawak niya.

“Leona, don’t tell me hindi ka nag-pursue ng career na gusto mo after college?” naroon ang concern sa boses niya.

Nagtama ang mga mata namin, binabasa ng bawat isa sa amin ang nilalaman ng puso at isipan. Binawi ko ang paningin ko sa mga mata niyang nangungusap, iniingatan kong buksan anuman ang damdaming nakatago sa akin. Takot? Hiya? Pagkabahala? O baka naman may natutulog pa kaming damdamin para sa isa’t-isa?

“Hindi naman ako nagtatrabaho sa isang sikat at malaking kumpanya. Hindi nila ako hiningan ng mga bagay na iyan. Pinakita ko lang ang school ID ko and that was it,” nahihiya kong sagot.

“Oh, hindi pala natuloy ang Jessica o Korina dream mo?” pagtutukoy niya sa mga idolo kong sila Jessica Soho at Korina Sanchez.

“That’s life. It has full of surprises. Para namang bago ka nang bago,” sagot ko.

Bumitiw siya sa pagkakahawak sa akin at humalukipkip.

“Ano’ng oras ka ba pupunta ng SLU? Samahan na kita,” alok niya.

“Pagkakain ko ng breakfast.”

“Ooops, sorry. Nagpa-deliver lang ako kanina. I wasn’t expecting any visitor.”

“What about your wife?” ganti kong tanong.

Napangiti siya, yung ngiti na hindi malaman kung maiinis o matutuwa sa tanong ko.

“I’m a damaged man, kahit si Abigail na napakabait ay hindi talaga tatagal sa akin,” napapailing niyang sagot.

May kurot ang pangalang binanggit niya sa akin. May kaunti din akong pagsisisi kung bakit ko pa natanong.

“May breakfast namang inihanda si Dina. I should go now,” pagpapaalam ko.

“I’ll be there in 30 minutes. Antayin mo ako. Sasamahan na kita,” sabi niya habang binubuksan ang front gate.

“Hindi ba magagalit ang boss mo kung ma-late ka sa trabaho?”

Napangiti na naman siya na alanganing natutuwa at alanganing nagtataka sa tanong ko. Lalong lumulutang ang angkin niyang kagwapuhan sa facial expression niya.

“Sasabihin ko na lang na may old friend akong nagbabakasyon at gusto naming sulitin ang panahon. Sa palagay mo, pwede na bang dahilan yan?”

Napangiti ako at napatango. Habang nilalakad ko ang pauwi sa college house ay hindi ko maintindihan ang sarili ko kung bakit nasaktan ako sa salitang “old friend.” Hinahanap-hanap ng pandinig ko ang mga matatamis na kataga o taguri niya sa akin noong mga panahong kami pa.

Princess.

Ms. Universe.

One of a kind.

Love of my life.

Hayan ang mga tawag niya sa akin dati. At ngayon ay isa na lamang akong old friend. Nalulungkot ba ako dahil hindi na ako ang center of his universe o sadyang bad news lang talaga ako kahit kanino? Nagsisikip ang dibdib ko sa nagsisimulang bugso ng mga damdamin. Dinukot ko ang bulsa ko at hinanap ang isang bagay na makakapagpakalma sa akin.

Financial Status

I am financially stable. I can still save a little from my monthly salary. I can pay for my life insurance and indulge in some little girlie luxuries. My family turns to me in times of financial crisis. My daughter goes to a good private school. I can provide her most of her material whims if I can afford it.

My fiance’ is financially stable by his standards. He doesn’t pay for some health or life insurance. His family turns to him in times of financial crisis. He doesn’t have anyone to support financially. He buys things that he likes.

When we started dating, money was out of the issue. Now that we’re planning for our big day, I think that we both need to assess our financial standing.

He gave me his ATM for me to do the budgeting. I don’t think it’s too early to do that since I’ll be doing this role next year. I’m having a little hard time though. I realize that he has a penchant for good food while I indulge in beauty luxuries.

Nurse Miel

Like a mother, Miel nurtured me back to health from Saturday to Monday. He cooked delicious foods for me, did the laundry for me, pressed my clothes, cleaned the apartment and massaged me to sleep.

“Sakitin ka,” he said. Yes, I notice that my health is not that good this year. I always suffer from upper respiratory infecton and urinary tract infection. It must be my preference to eating sweet foods.

I’ve never been taken cared of by a lover in my whole life. I love you, Miel….. and thank you!

My First Time To Cook For Him

I was still at the middle of a meeting at 6PM yesterday when Miel informed me through a text message that he was at the market to buy something to cook for dinner. Going to the wet market is one of the things that I hate doing. Of course, if it’s a supermarket, I wouldn’t mind but the nearest supermarket is not that near. (I wonder if I could still shop at the supermarket after the wedding when our priority is to save as much for our future baby. If you’re keen on the budget, the wet market is still the best place to buy fresh yet less costly foods.)

When I arrived at my apartment, I fixed my bed. When I’m in a hurry, I usually leave my bed the way I slept on it. Miel arrived after a few minutes. He asked if I know how to cook sinigang. I said that I have an idea. Truth is, I was trying to have a recollection of how my mother cooks it. Miel took charge of cooking the rice; it’s something that I have yet to learn. We cook rice on the stove since a rice cooker is not practical to use considering that we’re only cooking a little rice just enough for the two of us. Besides, the cost of electricity is horrible!

To cut the story short, Miel appreciated the sinigang na hipon that I cooked for him. It was one of the best meals I ever had. We even had some seaweeds as side dish. We both love sea foods and it’s something that he has yet to know about me.

🙂

One Plate

Miel wants us to share a plate while eating. I feel so uncomfortable at the start. I am not used to sharing my plate with someone.

I know it’s symbolic and the reason why he wants us to practice it is to create a stronger bond as partners or perhaps, as future husband and wife.

🙂