Blown By The Wind – Kabanata 2

July 24, 2017 By In Blown By The Wind Comments Off on Blown By The Wind – Kabanata 2

Kabanata 2
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“Can I have a copy of it, Doc?” I quickly said to the old doctor in front of me.

Dinala ako sa isang bahay tapat lamang ng dalampasigang pinagdaungan ko. The old house decorated and styled in a very spanish way is surrounded by tall coconut trees and wild flowers and grasses.

Isang silid ang pinagamit sa akin para makapagbihis at maayos ang sarili. I immediately asked for a doctor and a means of communication.

Hindi na inisip ang totoong sitwasyon ngayon, I was too preoccupied with my own predicament to put everything in place. To be grateful for the help. Or to be simply happy that I am safe.

“You will have your own copy of it, Miss Saniel,” sabi ng doctor.

Tapos niya na akong inexamin. Mild bruises were reported. Gustuhin ko mang mas malalim pang examination ang gawin, alam ko rin sa sarili kong bukod sa panghihipo, wala nang ibang nangyari.

When I woke up, my underwears were intact. I feel normal with my private parts. Kahit na may takot sa akin, sigurado akong nagising ako sa tamang oras. Sigurado akong hindi ako naangkin.

“If you want a more thorough check up, I can invite you to the nearest hospital. It will be in Caticlan,” sabi ng doktor.
I nodded. Relieved.

Pumasok sa loob ang matandang babae na may dala na ngayong tray na may isang basong gatas. Nilapag niya iyon sa aking kama at ginawaran ako ng isang matalim na tingin bago bumaling sa doktor.

“Naghanda si Vincent ng merienda, Doc. Nasa baba sila kasama ang mga katrabaho.”
“Wanda, maraming salamat. Bababa ako upang makausap siya.”

Nag-iwas ako ng tingin. For sure, kasya na ang oras habang iniexamin ako ng doktor upang maikwento ang nangyari ilang taon na ang nakalilipas. One sentence could even be enough to describe it. And if these people were his relatives, I would understand if they’ll hand me a rope and hope I’d choose to hang myself.

I am not naturally morbid. In fact, I consider myself as an optimist. Ngunit nitong mga nakaraang buwan, nang sumabak ako sa industriya, may napagtanto ako.

“Thank you, Doc,” sabi ko nang ibinigay niya sa akin ang kopya. “I will pay immediately once I get a hold of my things.”
He waved his hand. “Architect Hidalgo has paid for this already, Miss.”

Sinipat ako ng matandang babae sa tabi ng doktor. Kita ko sa kanyang mga mata ang pagtataka na nahahalinhinan ng galit.

“Sasamahan na kita pababa. Cassandra,” tumango ang matanda sa mas batang babae sa gilid ng kama.
“Baba na rin po ako.”

Sinarado ni Cassandra ang pintuan pagkaalis ng matanda at ng doktor. Nilahad niya ang kamay sa tray na nasa tabi ng kama.

“Uminom ka muna ng mainit na gatas. Gusto mo bang magpahinga o ayos lang na dalhin ko rito ang iyong pagkain?” she asked.

Umiling ako. Although it is too much to ask again. Iyon lang ang tanging paraan na naisip ko ngayon.

“I want to borrow a phone or a laptop. I need to contact some people.”

Umawang ang bibig ni Cassandra. Her sunkissed high cheeks made her look like those international models. Her long black hair could pass for a shampoo commercial model and her slender body did not reflect her being a mother. I suddenly wonder if she is… Vincent’s wife?

“Sasabihin ko kay Vincent. I’m sure you can borrow both,” anito sabay tipid na ngiti sa akin.

Natahimik ako.

Nang dumating ako rito, marami silang naging tanong. All of which, I answered vaguely. WIth the nature of why I’m here and the history, I don’t want to be judged.

“Turista ka ba? Saan ka galing?”
“Mag-isa ka sa bangka?”
“Nawala ka ba?”
“Lumubog ba ang bangkang sinakyan ninyo?”

When the old woman, Wanda, told the men to go out, ‘tsaka lang natapos ang mga tanong. Ang tanging naroon sa silid ay ako at ang dalawang babae. Habang nag-aantay ng doktor.

And while they’re downstairs, I am very sure that they are now well acquainted about my background.

For the first time since what happened, I managed to give her a small smile. Lumabas si Cassandra at naupo na lamang ako sa isang malaking kama.

I am on a fine carved grecian bed. The whole room is filled with vintage furniture. It’s not even replicas. They are all real vintage na tingin ko’y nararapat lamang dahil sa labas pa lamang, alam kong antigo na rin ang bahay na ito. Not properly maintained but it is screaming of high social status of an ancient family that’s not anymore interested in keeping their heirloom.

Kumatok ang sigurado kong si Cassandra at pumasok na agad.

“Here is Vincent’s phone and laptop. You can contact whoever you want with that,” she explained.

Ang screen ng cellphone ay ang batang unang nakakita sa akin kanina sa bangka. Milo. And didn’t he call Cassandra his “Mommy”? Will that mean his Daddy is Vincent?

Isinantabi ko ang pag-iisip na iyon. The positivity of our history couldn’t even surface in my mind. Ang tanging naaalala ko ay ang mga hindi magaganda.

“Naghahanda si Wanda ng tanghalian. I hope by thirty minutes, you’ll be able to join us on the dining table. Nasa baba lang iyon at agad mong kita galing sa sala. Though… Vincent has filled us only about your background… as the daughter of Ephraim Saniel, we’re also wondering how you got here in a very weird way.”

Tumango ako. A bit comfortable. Iyon lang ba talaga ang sinabi niya? If these are his relatives, they should know by now. Kahit ‘di niya sinabi ang buong detalye.

“Pasensya na sa abala. I really appreciate the help without further questions and I think you all deserve to know how I got here. Bababa ako pagkatapos ng mga tawag na gagawin ko.”
She nodded curtly. “Thank you. We’ll be waiting downstairs.”

Huminga ako ng malalim pagkaalis ni Cassandra. Nilingon ko ang mga gadget na iniwan niya. The phone is in my hand and the laptop is on the table.

Hindi ko alam kung alin ang uunahin ko. I just know that I need to talk to my manager.

If I contact one of my sisters, the news will spread to my Mother and Father. The last thing I want to hear right now is their disappointment with me. Alam ko. Ilang taon na ako bilang anak nila at alam ko na ang natural na iisipin nila pag nalaman nila ang nangyari sa akin.

“I told you so…” I can already picture my mother telling me that.

It hurt a lot. It hurts that it sounds like they were praying for me to fail. Now that I did, they are so proud of themselves. Hindi ko kakayanin iyon.

I texted my manager’s number first before the call. Dahil alam kong ‘di niya sasagutin kung hindi naka rehistro ang numero sa kanyang cellphone.

Ako:
Tita, this is Eury. Can I call? I have an emergency.

The phone rang after a minute. Hindi na kailangan ng reply galing sa kanya. Siya na mismo ang tumawag doon.

“Oh, Eury…” she said huskily. Mukhang kagigising niya lang.
“Tita,” kung kanina ko siya tinawagan ay malamang nagwala na ako. Now, I’m a bit calm. “I have an emergency. I’m somewhere in Visayas.”
“Yes, I get that you’re in Romblon for two or three weeks for your shoots? What’s the emergency?”
“It’s Hubert and his team!” nanlamig ako. “Kagabi po, nahimatay ako habang nagsho-shoot kami. Instead of helping me, they tried to…”
“Tried to?” she said in a formal inquiry.
“Tried to violate me! Nahipuan po ako at kung hindi ako nagising, maaaring mas masama pa roon ang nangyari!”

She did not speak. Probably because of the horror?

“Nakatakas po ako. But I barely made it! I even thought I’m going to die!” nangayon ay umalon sa akin ang takot sa lahat.

I realized that no matter how safe I am, to recall what happened while I’m running fast down that hill, nangingilabot ako. Ni hindi ko alam kung paano ko nagawa ang lahat ng iyon.

“I seriously don’t know what to do! Hubert was so angry at me! Hinampas ko ang kasama niya ng bote at dumugo iyong ulo, Tita. Please, help me. I don’t know what to do! My things aren’t here…”
“Where are you?” tanong ni Tita sa kabilang linya.
“I… I don’t know. I have to talk to the people who’ve helped me first.”
“Eury, alam mo naman ang koneksyon ni Hubert sa media, hindi ba?” she said in a disappointed tone.
“I know but… it was his fault! I’m sure people will see the truth!”

She sighed in defeat and disappointment. Natigilan ako. Hindi nagugustuhan ang kanyang naging reaksyon. Do I sense indifference and blame? I’m not sure. That’s the problem with phone calls.

“I will talk to his grandfather, Eury. Pero alam mo namang paniguradong dapat kang manahimik sa isyung ito, hindi ba?”

What the hell?

“His grandfather is the current chairman of the station! And, let’s face it, Astra is still a rising group! Yes, you have a lot of fans! Yes, you have supporters but they will be nothing without the TV station’s support!”

Hindi ako nakahinga sa sinabi ng aking manager. Hindi ako makapaniwala. Hindi ba sapat na nagkaroon ng kasalanan ang mga taong iyon sa akin?

“They would understand! This is the twenty first century and women are empowered already! Are you telling me that I should just keep quiet about this?”
She sighed again in a lazy way. “Look, Eury. You are not yet half of whatever Zander is right now. You have fans but if Hubert’s relatives choose to destroy you, they can turn your fans into bashers. Not that you don’t have enough bashers right now. Some writers are already speculating about you and Zander! Kapag nilabas iyon ng management, edi kalahati ng fans mo, ibabash ka na! And we can only hope that that’s it? What about your family background? They can even create stories about you to destroy you!”

Naisip ko ang pinagdaanan ko. Naisip ko kung gaano ko naisip na maaaring ikamatay ko iyong byahe. Na matatanggap ko kung sakaling namatay ako sa byahe… ito pala ‘yon. Eto ‘yong ayaw kong harapin.

This is my life.

Nangilid ang mga luha ko nang napagtanto kung gaano ako ka powerless. As if this the first time I felt this. It had always been like this.

“Ano bang nangyari sa’yo? Hipo lang?”

Hipo lang? Fuck this!

Humikbi ako at pilit na siniksik sa sarili na tama siya dapat! Hipo lang ‘yon! I can get away!

“Barkada niya ang kasama? They’re all probably sons of big people in the industry! God, Eury! Tatawag na ang mga iyon! Mabuti na lang naunahan mo!”

Hindi parin ako nagsalita.

“Think about Flyn’s future. She’s good at singing. And with Astra down because of your issue, maraming madadamay. Even Zander? You think they’ll spare him?”

I know that this isn’t right. But people have always been shoving their own truths on my throat my whole life.

“Sana ay hindi ka na lang pumayag sa shoot na iyan. Alam mo namang kaya ka na diskubre ni Hubert dahil gusto niya ang tulad mo, hindi ba?”

My heart hurt a lot. Pinalis ko ang luha sa aking pisngi.

“As long as you’re not hurt, just let me deal with this one. I will talk to his grandfather. I’ll make sure Hubert and his friends apologizes to you. Titingnan ko rin kung anong masasabi nila tungkol dito. If you’re thinking about filing a case, dismiss that thought if you want better projects in the future. Tumawag ka na ba sa pamilya mo?”
“No…” sabi ko, nanghihina.
“Are you going to call them, then?”
“No…”
“Good. Ang maipapayo ko ngayon sa iyo ay mag-isip isip na muna. I care for your career. Informing your family about this will get you and your career in trouble. Pati sa kay Zander at sa kay Carrie at Flyn.”

Hindi na ako nagsalita. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. Why do I have to always be a slave of other people’s influence?

“Where exactly are you? Do you have your things with you?”
“No. I left it in Romblon.”
“Okay. I’ll call you again once I get a hold of your things. I will settle this issue.”
“Can you please send me my card number. I will book a flight immediately-”
“Eury, you should be gone for weeks! If the media sees you here, they’ll wonder what happened with the shoot.”
“Pero saan po ako, kung ganoon!?” Natataranta kong sinabi.

Is she asking me to hide? To pretend that nothing happened? To just make it appear that the shoot is still on going? Ganoon ba?

“Calm down, Eur. I will call again and I’ll try my best to talk it out to the people involved. I’ll also check if Hubert and his friends are here in Manila already o nasa Romblon pa.”

Nanlamig ako habang naiisip… paano kung hinahanap nila ako ngayon?

“If they’re here and are willing to talk it out with you, I’ll immediately advise you to come back to Manila. I’ll send your P.A. wherever you are.”

They are willing to talk it out with me? Ako dapat ang may pribilehiyong ganoon, hindi ba? Ako dapat ang tatanungin kung willing ba akong pag-usapan na lamang iyon imbes na magdemandahan?!

“What if I want to file a case then?”
She sighed violently at that. “I’ll call again soon, Eur. In the mean time, I suggest you stay where you are.”

I logged in to one of my social media accounts through the laptop. I tried messaging Zander through it lalo na’t nakita kong online siya.

Ako: Zander, I have an emergency. Something happened in Romblon.

Zander is big in the showbiz industry. My parents disliked showbiz but when they’ve heard about Zander’s interest on me, tila nagbago ang ihip ng hangin.

Maybe, they realized that it’s my future. I am not an achiever like my sisters. I contribute nothing to my Mom’s and Dad’s firms. They think that the only hope for me is to marry rich and Zander is their kind of hope. Successful in our field and interested with me.

Sa isang banda, akala ko tama na ang ginagawa ko sa buhay ko. Pleasing my parents means I’m in the right path. My relationship with Zander, tago man, inalagaan ko parin dahil sa wakas may tama na akong nagawa sa mga mata ng aking mga magulang.

Zander: What is it? I am busy with the tour.

Magtitipa na sana ako nang bigla kong nakita ang isang picture na kakaupload niya pa lang. It’s a picture of him and Blair watching the sunrise. It looks so sweet.

Guilt crept on me when I realized that I fell nothing for it, instead of feeling upset. I should be, right? When I’m supposed to be in love with him? Noon, iniisip kong siguro’y gusto ko nga siya at nasanay lang ako na may kaloveteam siya kaya hindi ako nagseselos, but who am I kidding?

I have perfectly been jealous before. And I cried so hard because of it. Kaya paanong wala akong maramdaman ngayon?

I logged out from my account. Didn’t bother to type my own reply. Scared of my own personal storm.

Nilapag ko ang cellphone at tiningnang muli ang picture ni Milo sa screen nito.

Ano nang gagawin ko ngayon?

If I go home, I will need money. I can… borrow from the people here but I have to consult my Manager first. Is my career that important to me? Na hindi ko kayang ipaglaban ang pansariling hustisya?

Huminga ako ng malalim at bumaba na sa antigong hagdanan ng bahay. Sa paanan ng hagdanan ay naamoy ko kaagad ang ulam sa buong bahay.

I heard the chattering from the left part of the house. The kid’s voice echoed across the room.

“Tatawagin ko na ba si Ate Ganda, Mommy?” tanong ng bata.

Mabilis akong humakbang patungo sa silid na iyon. Limang lalaki ang nasa hapag kasama ng matandang si Wanda, at ang mas batang si Cassandra. Ang bata ay nasa gitna ni Cassandra at ni Vincent.

“Nandito na siya, Milo…” sabi noong si Rod.

Agad nitong nilahad ang upuan sa gilid ni Vincent, tapat ng bata. Wanda’s look on me from the other end of the rectangular table remained cold and distant.

“Thank you,” sambit ko at naupo na sa hapag.

Sumulyap ako sa lalaking nasa tabi ko. The questions rained nonstop while I surveyed the man I knew inches away from me.

“Artista ka pala!” sambit noong isa.
“May taping ba o naging turista ka?”
“Sa Boracay ka ba galing?”
“May The Coast dito. Five star hotel? Perhaps you checked in there or something?”

Noon pa man, I find him very masculine. Far from the vanity and swag of the boys I know from school. The boys who’re usually adored by girls my age.

I find him very masculine not only because of his physical size, but also because of his attitude. His hard structure, authority, and the fluidness of his movements made him very male. Isang bagay na tila nawawala na sa mga lalaki ngayon.

His sleeves were rolled up to his forearms. His heavily lidded eyes are decorated with black lashes. His lean powerful frame is not very bulky and not very thin, just enough to send you so many indecent thoughts. Kung bakit hindi ko maintindihan iyon noon, alam ko na ngayon.

Paano kayang napadpad ako rito? Has the world gone mad? Hindi ba alam ng mundo na ilang taon na akong kinakarma at hindi parin nila ako tinitigilan? How come karma doesn’t come to people with bigger sins? I am not even Buddhist, why is Karma such a bitch to me?

“I… I just got lost,” simple kong sinabi nang napagtantong hindi ko na kailangan pa ng karagdagang komplikasyon.
“You got lost from where?” tanong ni Milo sa akin.

The boy resembled so much of Vincent’s eyes. There’s no doubt that it is his son. Hinaplos ni Cassandra ang braso ng bata. Ngumiti ako sa babae at winaksi ang pait na biglang naramdaman sa sistema.

“I was just sailing alone from an island near here.”
“Pwede bang magpapicture?” tanong ni Rod na agad siniko ng isa pang lalaki.
“Baka kapag nalaman ng fans mo, dumugin tayo rito. Huwag na, Rod,” si Cassandra.

Huminga ako ng malalim.

“Why are you covered in bruises then?” dagdag ng babae.

Damn! Napakurap-kurap ako. Vincent’s fluid movement distracted me. Inangat niya ang isang baso ng tubig at sumimsim siya roon. He sighed and then his gaze at me resumed. This time, full of sarcasm and scary amusement.

“It’s the shoot,” sabi ko. “Matalahib kasi.”
“Should we report this to the authorities? You may not be as popular as those who’re frequently seen on TV, kaya hindi ka namin agad nakilala, but you still have fans and staff who cares for you.”
Umiling ako. “I’m in a vacation, actually. I’ve reported it to my manager, already. Ayos na ang lahat. Hihintayin ko na lang ngayon ang P.A. ko. Paniguradong dadalhin niya ang mga naiwan kong gamit. I have to know where this is so I can tell them my address.”
“Do you want to borrow my phone? You can call whoever you want. I can tell you the address of this house, too,” sabi ni Rod sabay lahad sa akin ng kanyang cellphone.
“I let her borrow my laptop and my phone, Rod. She’s done with her calls,” Vincent said in his usual low drawl.

Napalunok ako at pinasadahan ng tingin ang mga nasa hapag na biglaang natahimik. Nakita ko pang nag-angat ng mga kilay ang dalawang nasa tabi ni Cassandra.

Tumikhim ako at bumaling sa matandang nasa kabilang dulo. I assume that I’m intruding her property that’s why she isn’t pleased.

“Uh, I cannot yet go back to where I’m from without my things. Mag-aantay pa ako sa aking P.A. na dumating… I’m wondering if this place accepts a bedspacer or there is a place like that somewhere here…” nilingon ko si Vincent na ngayon ay nanatiling sinusuri ako.

Suminghap ang matanda sa kabilang dulo ng lamesa dahilan kung bakit napabaling ako sa kanya.

“Mayroon sa bayan. Marami. Pagkatapos nating kumain, pupunta tayo roon.”
“How are you going to pay for the rent when you don’t have money? I can lend you, though?” ang isa pang lalaki sa tabi ni Cassandra ang nagsabi.

Ngumiti ako sa lalaki. Ayaw ko mang manamantala’y kailangan ko talaga ng tulong ngayon.

“You can stay here,” Vincent said in a very hard tone.

Isang kubyertos ang padarag na nahulog sa pinggan. Huminga ng malalim si Cassandra at binalingan ang lalaki. I saw how the spoon and fork of Milo, in front of me, danced.

“Where… Where will you stay? Pwedeng kay Mommy muna ako at doon ka sa kwarto ko, Ate Ganda!” the boy said.
“Paano iyon, Vincent? Isang buwan pa bago matapos ang proyekto ninyo rito? At wala nang kwarto,” ang matanda.

Bigla akong nakaramdam ng hiya. I know that Vincent is only offering, despite the history, because of “utang na loob”. Gaano ko man kagustong magkaroon agad ng matutuluyan, ayaw ko namang mang-abala kung talagang nakakaabala.

“Pwedeng sa iisang kwarto na lang muna kami ni Bodi, Vince,” si Rod ulit.
“May espasyo sa kwarto ko,” Vincent said in a formal tone.

Napasinghap ako sabay tingin kay Cassandra na hindi man lang nagulat sa offer ng asawa. Or am I mistaken? Damn it!

Isang hampas sa lamesa ang nagpabaling muli sa akin sa matanda.

“Hindi ka parin talaga nadadala, ano? Ikaw pa mismo ang nag-iimbita sa sarili mong kasiraan?”

Fuck!

They all fell silent. Yumuko si Cassandra sabay yakag sa anak.

“Milo, come here…” she said as she forcefully drag the child out of the dining table.
“Hindi ko makakalimutan na inakusahan kang nanggahasa ng babaeng ito, Vincent! Taon man ang lumipas!” the deafening scream of the old lady was heard by the whole house.

Hindi ako nakapagsalita. My heart hammered on my chest like crazy. Guilt and shame slapped me hard.

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