by Adonis Zambrano Hornoz
He smiled at me. A wicked grin from the outdoor alley in front of our house. He was holding a pencil then and that’s what peeves me most. I hate it, I hate him. I’m full of disgust, remorseful. I’m helpless. I’ve been held up with a threat if I blow bubbles. Nobody listens to me.
We are five in the family, three siblings and I as the youngest. Kuya Jose has his own family and the second, Ate Loling is working as a pharmacist in the city. She seldom comes home. Arnel is a sib before me. He, as a senior and I am taking my second year at East District High School. My mother who is a fish vendor in the public market raised us alone. She was always busy that I have forgotten her presence inside the house. My father on the other hand started to feed another family when I turned six. I don’t exactly know the reason behind it but what exactly hurts me was when I saw him leaving without any words. It is clear to me though that during the night before he left, my mom was basting him in tears. Kuya Jose who was high school that time went out of the house to not witness the situation I am innocent of, while Ate Loling is crying in the kitchen. From that on, he never came back to our house. I always waited for him every night supposing that he had just gone from his out-of-town business but my mom would always say he’s not coming back. I always ask where he was until I ended up losing my cherished memories with him. That’s the time I started to hate him.
This night is cold but hefty heat penetrates my nerves. I want to burst out from this hell feeling, I want to have the best sleep for this night for I will have the most tiring morning ahead. I look over to the window to catch a glimpse. Stars glowing but some forget to blink. These stars are telling me something. I always love to watch them at night from the old capiz widows of my room. They remind me of what I think, the only happiness I’d let myself to experience only to end up cursing them for always reminding me that the image of happiness I dreamed for myself to experience is blurred and impossible. But I can’t just help it. Now, these stars are blinking again to remind me of the man whom I have endeared.
I love him. He’s the only one who knows what I want and knows what I feel. He is Marcos. I’ve met him at the internet café two blocks from the school. It was a raining afternoon when his troupes had just finished playing DOTA which as they say is an addictive online game. He smiled at me as I caught a sight of his demeanor and I don’t exactly know how to react. His face is not familiar to me though later I have found out that we are on the same school. He is on his third year now. We have formally known each other after that one school event where every year level has to compete with each other in different competitions from academics to sports. It was during reader’s theatre event when he went to where I am sitting and got to say “hi”, name himself and talk about something like school, year, favorites, what I do every free time, until we reached on talking about my favorite cartoon series which he knows too – Magic Knight Rayearth. Later days we’ve been seeing each day at the campus.
“Look at me”, he smiled near my sight one time. His eyes widening with its brownish color. His slashed-burgundy hair covers the smallness of his ears as if it lacks the touch of water.
I feel scared at a moment. The tightness of his hands in mine reminds me of some appalling memories. And his hands – they’re sweating. I was dumbfounded with his smile. I couldn’t move a single eye. My eye on his.
“I like you”, he whispered. “Would you give a chance for this feeling, Lelia?” he added with his eyes I perceived to be like a child asking his mom seriously to let him have the robot in a toy store.
I feel happy. I feel sad. My mind was in constant perplexity. This was the first time I received admiration from a man. Ignorant of the feeling, I hurried to the alley towards the school gate and went home without even answering him, without even uttering a single word. Scared….silent….worried….happy.
Days passed and I decided to give myself a chance although I am not sure. I became intimate with Marcos. He shows how much he cares. He loves me. He—- loves me. One day, he asked if he could have me. I want to make him happy. I’m desperate but there is something that bothers me. I am afraid. My spines are breaking my nerves as I thought and regret the life I’ve been through. I’m helpless. I felt deep pity I couldn’t give what he wanted. I’m afraid of what he may pin after. Will he leave me or curse me to death and shame?
I tried to ignore and forget Marcos without him telling my reasons. He thought he violated and got me offended to what he’d said that’s why he was always telling his sorries and asked for time to talk with me. I know it’s wrong and I do not have other resorts. I left it that way, if only he knew I would give everything for him. But the problem is in me.
I believe that my own fantasy has always been a dream. And looking back at it remembering Marcos is my distress. I cannot blame myself for feeling this toward Marcos. I have never felt a special presence of love from a man. This pain I guess is not just rooted from how people define and even see love as intimate as it is, but with Marcos, it is something beyond my innocence and experience to have a boyfriend at early age. I’d felt a companion, confidant and a brother to him.
Much with these sentiments. The clock fingers are pointing on 1:05. I’m too tired and my eyes are now blurry. I guess this signals me to finally take a deep rest. As I was about to close my eyes, I heard a sound outside my room. It’s like silent footsteps walking closer and closer. Meanwhile, the door opened slowly and I felt aghast as I see a figure walking towards me. My body, exhausted and ready to rest is now awakened. The tiny silhouette from the slit of my curtains gave me clue of who this demon is. His shadow growing bigger is as dark as the soul of its owner. His apparition was clear – tall, skinny man, smiling in an ewe-neck. He’s here again, for so long. I wanted to shout but these goose bumps stop me from moving. He’s here again with his baneful intention. This man, he reclined in me. Smell like a rotten tobacco. His hands are moving on my lips, to my neck, hips until they reached my thighs. His lips now is running around my core. I want to repel but these arms are strong enough and these legs are that of a hungry viper twining around my body to gulp all my energy.
“Demon!” I keep on reiterating in my mind as tears fell down my eyes. Helpless. I’m with hate and intense remorse. He has stolen everything from me. My being, my youth, my happiness, myself.
“Bitch!” the man said as he went away after his wants. Leaving me in pain and disgust, nauseated.
Tonight, I’ll be awake for so long and I’ll wake up a century older. Not yet ready, worried. Too much yet to do, too much everyday living. Too much left unsaid, unimagined.