The Final Chapter I

4 Apr

we became instant celebrities.

at least thats how i felt.

i know i’ve been ranting for days about the situation with our helper.

but this event marked the end.

this one was the last straw.

yesterday was the worse Black Saturday ever.

Our helper seemed better. she was doing the laundry, cooking meals, eating without force or cajoles. she was already having decent conversations with my cousin and me.

there was only one problem left – she had the knack of going out of our gate and leaving the house without telling us.

for the past 3 days, she has stopped from trying to physically hurt herself.

she has resorted to leaving the house instead. but she would never leave the house unless she knows that someone would go after her.

yep. her attention seeking self again.

so there i was in my mom’s room, suffering from the unfortunate pangs of menstrual cramps.

first attempt was when i asked her to make hot compress for me. my cousin asked me if she can go visit my auntie, thinking that dai2 was better, i permitted her.

after she left, i badly needed to go to the cr. as soon as i went out, dai2 was no longer inside the house anymore.

i checked to see outside our gate if she was there again. and as expected, she was.

i asked her to go back inside the house. she obediently did with no resistance or whatsoever. she even told me, “naa ra imong hot compress sa lamisa she“.

i told her that if she wanted to leave the house, she had to take a bath. (seriously, it’s been like 4 days since she last took a bath)

she seemed lucid and normal as she walked towards her bathroom, so i left her. anxious to relieve my painful abdomen, i dived into bed armed with my hot compress.

i was watching a movie on tv (it was an old film about some adventurer named Quartermain. didn’t really know the title). i was also playing Belle’s Beauty Boutique; transferring music from my itunes to my cellphone. and i was also talking to my mommy on the phone.

yes. i was multi-tasking. i usually do that. especially when im home.

the next series of events happened very fast. i’ll try to narrate every event as clearly as i can remember.

someone was ringing the doorbell very loudly. i was even a bit irritated thinking it was my sister. when i checked out who it was, it was some guy who was blubbering about dai2 being on the streets already. (it turned out that he was one of our neighbors. i dont really know our neighbors. i only know those who are my mother’s close friends)

for a few seconds, i hesitated. (and i am forever guilty for that moment of hesitation) i had no key. and i didn’t want to leave the house unattended.

but i knew that i really had to get her because she was my responsibility. (you have to understand that at this time, i only thought that she was JUST walking around) so i rushed back inside the house. i grabbed my room keys, my cellphones and my coin purse. locked my mom’s room. rushed out of the house. locked the gate and hopped on the guys’ motorcycle.

while we were speeding down the road, i noticed that almost all of our neighbors were outside of their houses. there was something seriously wrong. they were all looking at me and pointing at somewhere. they were all saying, “naa xa didto uo. naa naxa sa kalsada!

i was confused. why all the fuss? wasn’t dai2 just wandering around? why all these people? i could not understand.

we were already outside the village. (to those who are familiar with our place, we were near Opao’s store – in front of the San Roque Chapel. this is the road from punta to Quiot) it seemed like she was going to Quiot Pardo, probably going to my auntie’s house. i don’t really know.

when i saw her, the first thing i saw was pubic hair. i could not believe it at first. i was checking my eyes (since im near sighted) if it were really true. and there she was, my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

that was why the entire village was roused.

that was why everyone was panicking.

yes.

she was naked.

completely naked.

naked as a baby.

for everyone to see.

on a Black Saturday.

I felt..i felt..i couldn’t even begin to describe how i felt. just that moment, i wanted to cover her with something. save her from the shame she has subjected herself into.

our resident chismosaiest neighbor (to my utter horror) was the one forcing her to ride the tricycle. i quickly hopped off the motorcycle i was riding and rushed across the street to help her. i gently prodded her to go inside the tricycle. when she saw me, she calmed down a bit and allowed herself to be ushered inside the vehicle.

i was light headed. i still could not fully comprehend what was happening. the sight of her naked body beside me inside the tricycle – it was crazy.

she was crazy.

i could not give the driver correct directions. i was too surprised. i was in shock. but finally, we arrived in front of our gate. i realized i couldn’t get inside anymore because i locked the gate.

i felt the eyes around me. they were accusing. people were whispering. and i hated every single minute of it.

i jumped off the tricycle. ran to tita alice’s house and at the same time shakily trying to call my cousin cause i needed her home.

i was already crying. all the shock and surprise and anger and sadness were washing over me. i told them i needed clothes or anything to cover dai2 (who was still left inside the tricycle – the driver was kind enough to avert his eyes away from her all the while she was inside his bike)

tita lynel ran to get her some clothes. i was talking to my auntie on the phone, asking her to tell my cousin that i needed her home. everyone was outside there houses by this time. i did not recognize the people who were approaching me. offering their help, some were  genuinely concerned, others were just there for the chismis.

i hated that. i hated that they were enjoying this sad situation. i hated the eyes. i hated the whispers. i hated the fact that some were enjoying this. i hated that they were talking about dai2. about us. about our house. i felt like they were blaming my family for leaving her in the house alone. i hated myself even for not being able to help her. all i wanted to do was cry.

i quickly dressed dai2. one of our guy neighbors climbed inside the other side of our gate to open it. after a few minutes, i gently led dai2 inside our house.

i was crying really bad. i didn’t care that almost half the village followed me inside our home.

i didn’t know most of them. im not exactly a friendly neighbor. but i could see that a good number of them were concerned.

i didn’t really care. i was kneeling in front of dai2 (after i seated her in one of our living room chairs).

i was crying really bad. begging her to tell me why she did that – why she went outside of our house naked as she was. i wanted to know what made her do that. what happened to her why she was acting this way.

i was begging for her to make me understand. i wanted to help her. but i felt so helpless because i didn’t know anything. she gave me nothing.

she was just sitting there. looking at me. expressionless. blank.

now that i think back. i look at the entire scene from our neighbors’ point of view. it was a horrible telenovela scene. there i was, crying my heart out. facing an emotionless thin girl. my hair was disheveled (from rolling around the bed earlier because of my menstrual cramps and running across the street to get her and from rushing to my neighbors looking for clothes), i was wearing my brother’s baggy shorts (i wanted to keep my shorts lose since i was having my period), and my sister’s gigantic green drum corp t-shirt.

it must have been quite a sight. something my neighbors would talk about behind covered hands for a while. we would be subject to speculations and judgement.

i wanted to not care. i wasn’t embarrassed. no i wasn’t. i was hurt. very hurt. and really sad.

my cousin finally arrived. (the neighbors took the liberty of opening the gate for her since i was still doing my crying scene inside the house) my cousin rushed to dai2 and started asking her the same questions i asked earlier – but still the same blank response.

tita lynel (she’s a doctor) finally advised me to bring her to Vicente Sotto hospital since we could not control her anymore. she gave me some medications if in case dai2 would resist or get violent.

as soon as my sister arrived, we drove to the psychiatric ward with our other guy cousin and his girlfriend.

when we got there, the doctor asked us to relate the entire story – the whole story. so it took us about an hour to narrate everything.

now the doctor and the nurses there were really not very helpful. they didn’t even help us do the pregnancy test. we had to do it ourselves! well i should have expected this from a government hospital. tsk.

after suffering from the painful pangs of hunger from our grumbling stomachs (we didn’t have dinner), my sister and me finally decided to leave dai2 to the doctors’ care. we were both crying when we said our goodbyes to dai2. she seemed lucid and she answered the doctors’ questions. and she was eating. so we felt it was okay to leave her already.

after having dinner at cheaverz talamban, we felt better and we drove home, tired and worn out.

i ended the night talking to my parents. it felt good hearing their voices. all the hurt and the frustrations and the sadness i was able to share with them. other people would never understand the pain we felt. talking to them was a real comfort for me.

i know i wanted the nightmare to end. but now that it had its finale, i felt even more sad.

the not understanding is killing me. i would blame myself for not being here with her, for not having the time to talk to her even longer than i usually do. i felt guilty for the things i did not do for her. i felt sad i was never able to thank her for all the things she did for my family and me. i felt helpless because i did not know how to help her.

i have grown to love her.

and even if she has been the root and cause of my one week nightmare.

i still choose to believe that she will get better.

and as long as we can, my family will help her. until she safely gets back home in Surigao with her parents.

———————–

pardon the typographical errors. product of heightened emotions.

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