Chapter III. Zephyr
Eyes open. Eyes close. Eyes immediately opens again. Where in the world am I? What is this place? Did I sleep here?
The moment I open my eyes, I realize I am in someone else’s garden or backyard full of flowers of varying colors. On my left is a small, roofless, half basketball court that was probably built a decade ago. The court’s marks are evident of the time it withstood still against all sorts of weather conditions. On my right is a white but rusty gate. I haven’t seen this gate before. Have I been here?
On my front is probably the house of the owner of this garden. The sky is full of clouds and the sun is shining as bright as it can be. It seems like there is no more tomorrow for the sun, that’s probably why it seems like it will give all its remaining energy to the Earth.
The birds are everywhere, singing and dancing to the tune of nature’s music.
Crack. Screech. Swing. Screech. The sound of metal colliding against another one with the sound of rust making the screeching noise. The sound repeats at a periodic pattern – probably every after one and a half second. The sound seems to be coming from a very near source, but how come I can’t find it?
“I’ll go check the other side of this garden, beyond this house.”
Then, I saw a girl sitting in the swing comfortably and she seems to be waiting for someone. She is alone.
Wait! I think I know her! Is she the one I saw yesterday at school? Who are you? I’ll finally get to see you now.
Tap. Tap. A voice.
“Eric, why aren’t you up yet? You’re gonna be late again for the second straight day! Get your act together and go to school already. It’s 20 minutes past six.”, that is the voice of none other than my mother’s.
Another dream. I wonder when is the last night I haven’t had a dream? Is reality better than dreams? How come I don’t see utopia here? I wish I can live in my dreams. But damn, who is she?
I tried to open my weary eyes and saw the sun. The rain is finally gone. The weather outside is great. Yawn. Pray. I think I’ll fix my bed today for a change. Stairs. Breakfast. Bath. Rush rush rush. Clothes. Good. Nothing unusual so far. I’m off. Oh wait, my homework. Commute. There. I’m ready for the day ahead.
School gate. Show my ID. Walk a couple of steps. The population of the school – I can almost feel the number of people present here. Do I like this place? A couple of moments I’ve hated it, but will I eventually learn to like this place? To love this place?
Room 103. As soon as I enter the room, I was immediately greeted by Patty.
“Hi Eric. Nice to see you with a smile”, she greeted also with a smile. Wait, am I smiling?
“Oh. Thanks last night.” I never say hi.
“The conversations we had with Ivan. It was fun. Let’s chat again sometime.”
“Sure. I’d love to”, she told me. She’d love to talk again sometime. She’d love to. She would love… Okay then, I’ll be expecting that call later.
But something still bothers me. It’s deep inside me, I can feel it. But I really don’t have a clue what it is. Every day my heart was squeezed tighter by an invisible hand grappling it. Why do this to me? Am I a fraud? Are these all but just a deception?
“Patty I have to tell you something. Could you help me with this? You see, I have a…”
“Yes Eric I know. I can see in your eyes that you feel so uneasy and yet you don’t have the means to cure that pain. Let’s meet at the vacant nipa hut beside this building after class. We’ll talk there. Don’t worry, I’ll help”, she convincingly told me. I’m amazed at how she delivered those lines. She was looking straigth at my eyes with both her hands at my right hand. This is like a scene from a drama movie. But whatever it is, I’ll go to the place she told me. If it means resolving this complication of mine, then I have no other choice.
10 past five in the afternoon. Patty brought me in this little shack. This place is quite isolated from the whole school. There are a couple of clay pots around, some with flowers planted in it. There are sacks of soil everywhere. Inside, it seems that the hut will collapse, but she said it’s okay to sit inside. It’s quite small, probably enough for just five to fit inside – but that’s okay, there’s only two of us. As I sit, I can see the clear, orange sky because of the huge window. The lake behind our school can also be seen together with a vast area of land with basically nothing in it. It was a desolate place which when seen at first, seems like there are no living organisms in that vicinity.
She sat beside me as we pressed our back against the wall facing the window. We sat there for about three minutes without talking and we just stared at the wonderful setting sun. Then,
“One cold winter evening, a mouse was trapped inside a can. It was snowing and the mouse can no longer stand the cold. It could even cause the mouse’s death. But he couldn’t jump outside the tin can because its hind legs are hurt. The mouse stayed there for so long until it almost can’t breathe no more. Finally, the mouse decided to leap despite the condition or he’ll die there. As the mouse leapt, it reached the land outside and as he landed, he shouted and cried because of so much pain in his legs. And to his surprise, his father was outside. His father told him that if he wants to achieve something and he wants to go and look outside, he should do whatever it takes. The risks can be really demanding, but the stakes are great. You see Eric, just don’t be afraid to open your senses. What you’re looking for might just be around you. You just don’t know…”
Without me saying a word she stood up and went for the door.
“See you tomorrow Eric”, she bid farewell. And she turns away from me, I thought I saw her smile again. That warm smile.
I stayed at that little shack for another 20 minutes. If not for the security guard at the school which forbids everyone at the school premises beyond school hours, I would’ve been there until six in the evening. So I just calmly step out of the hut so I could go home. On my way to the school gate, I saw someone near the parking space. Could it be… Oh my! She’s the girl from my dream. I need to see her.
I hurried and ran towards her. But as she turns the corner, I was amazed at the number of people in that area near the parking lot. She disappeared just like that. Damn. Is that a ghost or something? Is she haunting me? Who is she? Have I met her before? I have a feeling this will be a problem for a very long time, not if I meet her face to face. But why? This is ridiculous.
I decided I’ll just walk my way home as I reminisce that very moment I saw that girl. She was facing her back, probably 5-foot, 2-inches in height, whitish skin, and a straight, black, long hair. That’s the same physical characteristics on that swing in the garden this morning. Don’t worry mystery person, I’ll definitely search for you. Oh Mother Nature, please help me straigthen things up. I believe there is a way to control my fate. I will figure that out.
Home. Dinner. TV. Ring. Ring. I answered the phone.
“Oh Patty, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing really. How are you, feeling much better now?”
It took us 2 hours chatting on the phone. It was equally fun like yesterday night. We shared more experiences in the past and because of this I got to know her better. Naturally, she got to know me better too, but it was her who did the talking more. I enjoyed listening to someone else’s stories, especially my friend’s. Her voice on the phone is beautiful. It sounded nice and it’s like music to my ear. Her voice is angelic.
In the end, she’s also the one who ended the call. It was almost 11 – yes, it’s that late. She said we should go to sleep because we might not wake up early. Thank you Patty for staying with me all these times.
I went to the rooftop to stare at the nightsky once more. As I get there, the sky did not disappoint me. There are no stars again. Since when did I last saw an ocean of stars?
Open my senses huh? Wonder what that means. Is there really something that my eyes can’t see? I’m even seeing things I don’t want to see, and yet, there are those which I cannot see. Or even feel? She said senses right? Are emotions a part of the senses? I feel a little lighter now, but not the way it used to be. The invisible hand is still grappling my heart…
Pillow. Mokona doll. Yawn. Pray. As I sleep, I wait for the usual rain to come.
Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twelve minutes and there, the rain welcomes me once more. Oh namida, I know you couldn’t stop.