Twenty-Two by ardentHearts

They Sing It, You Write It – One Shot Story Making Contest: SEASON 1 – ROUND 2, THIRD PLACER, GRAND WINNER

 

The following story is inspired by the song Twenty-Two by Taylor Swift

 

Twenty-Two

by ardenthearts

 

“If another relationship ends, it only means that you are one step closer to the right one.”
 
At twenty-two years old, Yssabel Bennett used to be so carefree and lighthearted. Masaya siya sa buhay niya and very determined to reach her dreams. But later did she realize that being twenty-two doesn’t always mean happiness and achievements. For the first time, somebody broke her heart. Inaamin nyang nagkamali siya sa unang pagkakataon. Subalit muli itong naulit.
 
After almost five years, will she be able to find happiness again? O mananatili na lamang siya sa sakit na dulot ng nakaraan?

 

“Finally,” I whispered to myself with a sigh.

I took my luggage from the custom clearance area and walk my way out to the international arrival lounge where somebody would be waiting for me.

“Oh my gosh, Yssa!” sigaw ng isang babaeng nakasuot ng pulang mini dress at five inches na high heels, at halos tumatakbo na papunta sa direksyon ko.

“Lily?” I teasingly asked her habang pilit na pinapakunot ang noo ko; excitement were evident in my voice though.

Tinapik niya ang kaliwang braso ko. “Of course this is me, you bitch,” at pinandilatan niya ako.

“Oh, I can see how you’ve grown up to be such a slut.” Pagkatapos ay pinasadahan ko ng tingin ang kanyang kabuuan. Maya-maya ay sabay kaming humalakhak nang malakas. Parang mga baliw lang. Nagbeso kami at nagyakapan nang napakatagal.

“Gosh, I missed you so much, cuz,” at hinigpitan nya ang yakap sa ‘kin.

“I missed you more bitch,” sagot ko sa kanya habang pinipigilan kong maiyak.

Ganito talaga kami magbatian, minsan pa nga naghihilahan kami ng buhok. She’s my cousin slash bestfriend, and at the same time a sister I never had. Matanda lang siya sa akin ng ilang buwan.

Lilian talaga ang kanyang pangalan at hindi Lily, mahilig lang talaga kasi akong magbigay ng palayaw sa mga tao. Sabay kaming lumaki ni Lily at palaging partners in crime. Until one day my mom and dad decided to migrate in the US when I was ten years old.

Isang American national kasi ang daddy ko while my mom is a Filipino. They met online, fell in love and made a family. Iyon nga lang hindi na kinaya ng schedule ni daddy ang magpabalik-balik dito sa Pilipinas kaya napagkasunduan nila ng mommy ko na doon na lang talaga kami manirahan sa states.

Gayon paman hindi naputol ang kumunikasyon at pagkakaibigan namin ni Lily. Alam namin ang nangyayari sa buhay ng isat-isa.

At pagkatapos nyang makagraduate ng high school ay ipinadala sya ng parents nya sa US para doon mag-college. Syempre sa amin siya tumira at partners in crime ulit ang peg namin. Lalong-lalo na sa gimikan. Madalas pa nga kaming grounded dahil sa pumupuslit kami halos gabi-gabi para lang gumimik.

Lumabas kami ng airport building at dumiretso sa parking area kung saan nakaparada ang kanyang Elantra na kasing pula ng kanyang damit at lipstick.

“Slutty car,” sabi ko pagkalapit namin sa kotse.

“You know me,” she gave me that lopsided grin and winked.

Yes, I know her pretty well at ganoon parin siya mula nang huli kaming magkita five years ago.

Simula noong mag-college kami ay lalong dumami ang circle of friends namin. Palagi kaming nasa gimikan; shopping dito, out of town doon, bar-hopping sa mga boring na gabi at party halos every weekend. Ganoon ang naging buhay naming dalawa sa States, kahit na madalas kaming pagalitan nina mommy at daddy. But we never compromise our studies though, especially me. Ang kasalanan lang namin ay sinulit namin ng todo ang aming kabataan at nagpakasaya nang bongga. ‘Party like it’s the end of the world’ ika nga sa kanta.

“So, how’s New York?” she asked while concentrating on the steering wheel.

“I can’t believe you’re asking me that, again.” Inilingan ko siya at inabot ang iPod na nakakonekta sa speaker ng kotse niya. Namili ako ng mga kanta and after a while I started playing Taylor Swift’s song.

“Oh, sorry. Bitter ka pa rin ba?” tanong niya sabay tawa nang malakas. Nakakarindi ang tawa niya na sinasadya talaga para asarin ako.

“Bakit, ikaw hindi?” natigil siya sa pagtawa at oras na para ako naman ang humalakhak.

Inirapan niya ako, “Tumigil ka dyan kung ayaw mong bumaba at maiwan mag-isa sa gitna ng kalsada. Tandaan mo kotse ko tong sinasakyan mo.”

“You don’t mean that, do you?” sabi ko nang nakangisi sa kanya. Kilalang-kilala ko siya, pikon pero madaling paamuin.

That was five years ago back at the US when both of us cried over some guys who don’t even deserve our tears.

Noong sinabi kong nagpakasaya kami nang bongga, it was an understatement in Lily’s case. Masyado siyang naging wild and free. Pero kahit wala ang mga magulang niya sa States, hindi naman nagkulang sina mommy at daddy sa pangaral sa kanya.

But one night she came into my room crying. She hooked up with some guy she met during a party. They dated for several times at nabuntis siya nito. Ang masaklap ay noong nalaman ng lalake na buntis siya ay basta na lamang siyang iniwan at hindi na nagpakitang muli.

On that very same night I was also crying on my pillow. You see, I had this relationship for almost two years. We loved each other so much and we’ve been planning to build a family together. Then on one of our dates, he surprised me with a ring. Lumuhod siya sa harapan ko and asked, “Will you marry me?”

Nakatingin lahat ng mga restaurant guests sa amin pati na rin ang mga crew. But during that time I didn’t feel the urge to say ‘Yes’. Ang nasa isip ko ay napakabata ko pa para mag-asawa, para magkapamilya. Gusto ko pang mag-enjoy sa pagiging single ko at ni hindi ko pa nga natutupad ang pangarap kong maging isang sikat na fashion designer.

I said ‘No’ and explained to him. He said it’s okay and he’s willing to wait. Pero pagkatapos noon ay nagsimula nang maging malamig ang pakikitungo niya sa akin.

At isang araw nahuli ko na lang siya sa kanyang condo na may kasamang babae sa kanyang kama.

Yes, Lily and I cried our heart out during that night. Si Lily na walang ibang gusto kundi ang makabuo ng pamilya at magkaroon ng ama ang kanyang anak, ay iniwan at nilayasan ng walang kwentang lalaking nakabuntis sa kanya. At ako naman na shunga at engot, inalok ng kasal, tumanggi at labis na nagsisi at hindi sinunggaban ang oportunidad na maging maligaya.

“You know what cuz, everytime I remember that night natatawa na lang ako,” sabi ni Lily habang papasok ang kotse sa isang malaking gate na medyo may kalumaan na ang itsura. After almost three-hour drive from the airport ay sa wakas nakarating din kami sa beach house ng mommy at daddy ko.

“Oo nga eh, kung nakita mo lang ang itsura mo no’ng gabing yun para kang buntot ng butiki na naputol at napahiwalay sa kanyang katawan. Nagwawala at hindi mapakali,” sabay tawa ko ng malakas habang nakahawak sa tiyan ko.

“At ikaw naman para kang baboy na iniihaw.” Napuno ng malalakas na tawanan at tuksuhan ang buong kabahayan.

Both of us were just twenty-two when somebody broke our hearts for the very first time. And here we are now, making fun of those jerks. It relieves me seeing Lily laughing at those painful memories. It means that she totally moved on. But me, it was the other way around.

“Grabe, it’s been so many years since we left this house and yet it seemed like nothing has changed.” Iginala ko ang aking mga mata sa buong kabahayan. Nasa living room pa rin ang mga antique collections ni mommy, ang mga family pictures namin noong dito pa kami nakatira, pati na rin ang napakalaking wedding portrait nila ni daddy. I can see that the care taker really did a great job in maintaining everything.

Pumanhik kami ni Lily at dumeritso sa kwarto ko. Napangiti ako sa aming nadatnan. Naroon pa rin ang aking Hello Kitty collections, ang aking mga Barbie dolls at pati na rin ang aking pink bed sheets. Ang nabago lang ay ang puting pintura at ang sliding door na dati ay isa lamang maliit na bintana. I didn’t know na may binago pala sila sa structure ng bahay, in my room particularly since meron na namang balcony sa living room at sa masters bedroom.

“Wow this is breathtaking,” nasambit ko nang buksan ko ang sliding door at lumabas sa balcony. Sinalubong ako ng napakalamig na hangin na nagmula sa dagat at ng napakagandang tanawin ng papalubog na araw. Sumandal ako sa railings at hinayaang tangayin ng hangin ang aking kamalayan.

“Seriously Yssa, how are you?” tanong ni Lily na hindi ko namalayang nasa tabi ko na pala. I looked at her and saw her worried eyes.

“I would lie to you if I’d say I’m okay,” sabi ko nang nakingiti ng mapait. “All these years I… I really thought that Frank was already the one. That he’s gonna be that someone I would spend the rest of my life with. That he was way different from that guy I used to cry when I was twenty-two years old.”

Niyakap ako ni Lily at sa mga sandaling ito ay hindi ko na napigilang umiyak.

Yes, for the second time around I have been fooled by another guy. At ang masakit pa nito ay hindi babae ang ipinalit nya sa akin kundi kabaro din nya. Indeed, Frank was very different from the very first one who broke my heart. Very!

Nang malaman noon ng mga magulang ni Lily na buntis siya ay pinauwi agad sya ng Pilipinas kahit hindi pa kami nakapag-graduate ng college. At sa mga panahong iyon ay wala akong ibang ginawa kundi ang magluksa, magmukmok, matulog at kumain. I gain so much weight at napabayaan ko na ang aking sarili ng sobra. Mom and dad were so worried about me. And I realize na napakarami pang nagmamahal sa akin at hindi lang naman siya ang lalaki dito sa universe.

One year after kaming mag-break ng first boyfriend ko ay nakilala ko si Frank sa isang gym kung saan ako nagpa-member. He was my fitness instructor at the same time nutritionist. He made sure to bring back to life the Yssabel Bennett that everyone loves. And he succeeded. He won, even my trust and my heart. We dated for couple of months and been together for almost three years. Sa mahabang panahon na magkasama kami ay tinrato niya akong parang prinsesa. But I guess princes and princesses only exist in fairytales. And I am already too old for those damned fairytales.

Siguro nga napakatanga ko para mabilog ang ulo ko ng isang bakla. But one thing’s for sure, I’m a damn good lover. But I guess not good enough for him para mapatuwid ko ang kanyang balikong daan.

“Cuz, ang tanga ko dahil sa loob ng halos tatlong taon hindi ko man lang nahalata na bakla pala ang kumag na ‘yon. Kaya pala sa tuwing nagoopen-up ako sa kanya tungkol sa kasal at pamilya ay iniiba nya ang topic.” Ngayon ay humagulgol na ako sa halo-halong emosyong aking nararamdaman.

Noong nasa US pa ako ay hindi ko nagawang umiyak nang ganito. Siguro dahil ayaw kong ipakita sa mga tao na naging mahina na naman ako. At higit sa lahat ayaw kong ipakita sa kanila na labis na naman akong nagmahal at nabigong muli.

“Ang tanga-tanga ko Lily. Alam mo bang muntik ko nang isuko ang V-card ko sa kanya? Isang gabing magkasama kaming natulog, muntik ko na siyang gahasain para lang pakasalan niya ako. Ang buong akala ko niri-respeto lang niya ang pagkababae ko kaya ayaw niya akong, alam mo na. Yun pala ayaw niyang gawin kasi nandidiri siya sa akin. Hindi niya ako masikmura, kasi mas gusto niya ang tooot kesa sa tooot ko!” Habang humahagulgol ako sa balikat ni Lily ay narinig ko ang kaniyang pagtawa.

“Naks, mahaba-habang tagalog speech yun ah. Sira-ulo ka talaga kahit kelan. Sige lang iiyak mo ‘yan. Ganyang-ganyan din ako dati. Ibinigay ko sa kanya lahat dahil inakala ko na siya na talaga ang para sa akin,” sabi niya habang hinahaplos ang aking likuran.

“Pero hindi. Kasi meron ‘Siyang’ ibang plano para sa akin. At ganoon din sa’yo,” pagpapatuloy niya. “Huwag kang mag-alala cuz, malay mo wala pala sa States ang lalakeng inilaan ni Lord sa’yo diba? Baka naman kasi nandito lang sa tabi-tabi at matiyagang naghihintay sa pagdating mo.”

Kumalas na ako sa pagkakayakap ko sa kanya, “Saan ba ‘yang tabi-tabi na ‘yan at nang mahalughog ko na?” Sabay kaming natawa sa sinabi ko.

“Buti ka pa cuz, may Tommy ka na. You know what? If there’s someone who would ask me again that million dollar question, without a doubt I would really answer him with a big YES!” I said to her with determination while wiping my tears. It may sound like desperate or could be a joke but I really mean it.

“Be careful with what you ask for. Baka may nuno-sa-punso dito at marinig ka nila.”

I laughed at her answer, “Nyah! You know that I don’t believe in nuno-sa-punso-thingy. So if ever someone would really dare, it only means that he was sent from above.” I winked at her and she just simply put her hands up as a sign of her defeat.

After that conversation Lily and I had our dinner together. Just the two of us since out of town ang kanyang parents together with her son and won’t be home until tomorrow night. We talked about almost everything that we missed out for the past five years.

It was almost 10 o’clock ng gabi nang makauwi si Lily. I said she could just stay for the night but she insisted that she has to be at home and promised that she will make it up to me some other time.

Noong una medyo nagtampo ako kay Lily kasi nga kararating ko lang tapos iiwan nya agad ako. Pero napawi rin naman ‘yon nang sabihin nyang susunduin nya ako bukas para doon na muna magstay sa kanilang bahay. Well not for tonight kasi hindi naman talaga nya napaghandaan ang pagdating ko. Nalaman nalang nya na uuwi ako ng Pilipinas nang tumawag ako sa kanya na nasa Singapore na ang connecting flight na sinasakyan ko.

Anyway, I have my companions naman sa bahay, sina Yaya Tonya and Manong Isko. They’ve been with us since bata palang ako kaya naman I also feel secured.

Seemed like my body clock hasn’t adjusted yet kaya hindi parin ako dinadalaw ng antok kahit na alas onse na ng gabi. I went to the kitchen and find some beer. Nakasanayan ko na kasing gawing pampaantok ang beer kapag hindi ako makatulog noong nasa states pa ako. Much to my disappointment there’s nothing alcoholic in the fridge.

I decided na lumabas na lang ng bahay at pumunta sa pinakamalapit na convenient store na natatandaan kong nadaanan namin kanina ni Lily. Kahit malalim na ang gabi ay marami paring tao sa labas. Naisip kong huwag nalang sumakay since walking is a good exercise naman and at the same time ay mapapamilyar ko rin ang lugar.

Napansin kong marami na rin palang establishments sa kalapit ng beach house namin, pati na rin mga public and private resorts. Sa di kalayuan ng convenient store ay may nakita akong bar and restaurant.

“Oh well, guess it’s my lucky night,” I said to myself. I don’t have to buy beer in the convenient store. Parang na curious ako if what does this so called ‘Danz Bar & Restaurant’ has to offer.

Pagkapasok ko ay sumalubong sa akin ang isang authentic Filipino style dining yet the place were dim lighted to give justice to the bar itself. Chairs and tables were made of solid wood and bamboo and decors were made up of shells, rattan and other Filipino indigenous materials. It made me feel homey though just by looking at the entire place.

I went directly to the bar counter and settled myself in a bar high chair. I ordered one round of ladies drink at iginala ko ang aking mga mata sa buong paligid. They have more or less thirty tables at marami-rami rin silang customers. Local and foreign guests were enjoying themselves at the fine music that the DJ was playing.

This may not look like as exciting and loud as the bars we used to hang out with my friends in the states but I can see that everyone were really having fun at this place. Parang ako nga lang yata dito ang walang kasama eh. Poor me.

Maya-maya pa ay may lumapit sa aking isang waiter na may dalang seafood platter at inilagay nya ito sa harapan ko.

“Excuse me, I think you got the wrong table. Hindi kasi ako umorder ng food.”

“I did,” lumingon ako sa pinanggalingan ng boses. A man almost six feet tall who was wearing a denim jeans and a blue polo-shirt smiled at me.

“I’m sorry, do we know each other?” tanong ko sa kanya habang lumalapit ito at umupo sa katabi kong high chair.

“Grabe ka naman, Yssaw. Kinalimutan mo na ba talaga ako?” tanong ng lalake habang umiiling-iling pa ito.

Wait, what did he say? Did he just call me Yssaw? Pero isang tao lang ang kilala kong tumatawag sa akin ng nakakadiring pangalang ‘yon. Well nakakadiri yun para sa ‘kin pero sa taong ‘yon, the best in the whole world daw. Ehw!

“Dan? Dan-dan-dan…?” I said, I mean I sang.

“…da-lan-dan!” he finished the song with a mischievous smile. Indeed it was him, Daniel Zamora. I used to tease him with that name Dalandan while he calls me Yssaw, sounds like Isaw na street food.

“Oh my god, I can’t believe this. Is that really you?” tinitigan ko siya ng mabuti.

“Eherm! Bakit, hindi ka makapaniwalang ganito na ako ka-pogi ngayon, ha, Yssaw?”

Oo, hindi talaga ako makapaniwalang ang isang gusgusin at sipuning bata dati eh ganito na ka-hot ngayon, gosh! “Stop calling me that nakakadiring name. It’s YSSA okay?” I ignored his question dahil muntik ko nang maisatinig ang iniisip ko kanina. I don’t want to make him think that I am still that little girl who used to chase him around.

“Sus, ‘to naman, kj. Ayoko nga sa ‘Yssa’ masyadong totyal eh. Da best parin ang Yssaw.

“Grrr! Whatever,” I responded while flipping my hair. Wala e, dati pa namin yan pinagtatalonan at ang ending ako ang luhaan.

“O, kain ka na. Di ba paborito mo ang seafood?” he said pointing at the seafood platter that the waiter served to me a while ago. I thought that it was sweet on his part remembering my favorite food. So I started eating, but when I noticed that he was just staring at me I stopped at what I was doing.

“Bakit?” I asked him.

“Tsk. Hindi ka pa rin nagbabago, lamang dagat ka parin,” sabi niya habang umiiling at nakangisi ng abot tenga.

I should have known better. This guy will never change. Kahit pa naging matangkad at gwapo ito, siya parin ang hari ng mga pang-asar. Ang sarap batukan.

“At ikaw naman, lamang-lupa! Tikbaylang!” I said na medyo bulol pa. Sabay kaming natawa sa tinuran ko.

Muli naming sinariwa ang mga ala-ala naming noong bata pa kami. Kung paano kami nagaasaran dati and I ended up crying habang hinahabol siya. Pero kahit palagi nya akong inaasar, siya at si Lily lang ang itinuring kong mga kaibigan. Choosy ako dati eh.

Nagkamustahan kami sa mga naging buhay namin for the last sixteen years at nalaman kong isa pala siya sa may-ari ng resto bar na ‘to. One month ago pa lang nang binuksan ito and its booming so fast. Pero this week lang siya umuwi dito sa lugar namin. Nangibang bansa pala siya at ang kanyang kapatid na kasosyo rin nya sa negosyong ‘to ang pinagmanage nya while he was outside the country.

“This place is just amazing!” I exclaimed after sipping on my fourth glass of Cosmo. Tumingin ako sa mga customers na nagkukumpulan sa dance floor.

“You think so?” he asked me.

“Yeah. In fact I’d love to have a dance,” I said and grab him towards the limelight. Everyone was really having the time of their lives and I also did.

“So, anong ginawa mo noong makita mo ‘yong boyfriend mo with another woman in his bed?” he asked pagkatapos kong ikwento sa kanya ang mga nangyari sa love life ko sa states.

“I kicked his balls!” I simply answered and took another sip of my drink.

“Woah! Nakakatakot ka pala Yssaw, nang aano ka ng ano,” sabi nya bago uminom ng hawak nyang beer.

“Nuh-uh! Mas nakakatakot yung ginawa ko doon sa baklita kong ex-boyfriend,” tiningnan nya ako ng mataman. “I set a date with his new boyfriend, making sure that he was on the same place at the same time, and bam! I kissed his boyfriend right in front of his face with my reddest lipstick on. And oh I left my lipstick to him for a, you know, for his souvenir.”

“You’re a certified bad ass. Cheers,” he chuckled and raised his glass.

Sa sobrang saya niya kasama at sa dami ng napag-usapan namin ay hindi ko na namalayan ang oras. Madaling araw na pala at kami nalang ng mga crew niya ang tao sa bar. Baka ‘pag nalaman nina Yaya Tonya na wala ako sa bahay e, mag-alala ang mga ‘yon. Dan offered to drive me home.

I abruptly stood up and the world feels like spinning under my feet. Muntik na akong sumubsub sa bar counter pero nasalo agad ako ni Dan. Kanina pa niya ako sinasaway na baka malasing ako pero hindi ako nagpapigil dahil kaunti palang naman ang naiinum ko. I never thought na malalasing agad ako. Plus the thought of having fun with him were just overwhelming. Ang tagal ko nang hindi nakapag-enjoy ng ganito.

“Yan na nga bang sinasabi ko e. Ang tigas kasi ng ulo.” Inalalayan niya ako hanggang sa makarating kami sa kanyang sasakyan.

Pagdating namin sa beach house, imbes na pumasok ako ng bahay ay dumeretso agad ako sa tabing dagat.

“Hoy Yssaw, saan ka pupunta? Lasing ka na, kailangan mong magpahinga,” tawag ni Dan habang nakasunod sa akin.

“Hehe. Hindi pa ako lasing no,” sabi ko na medyo naduduwal pa. “Alam mo kasi, kung hindi mo naitatanong, winner ako lagi sa inuman. Talo ko pa nga ‘yong mga ex-boy-friends ko e. Bitawan mo nga ako. I just wanna have an extended party.” Kinuha ko ang iphone ko sa aking bulsa at nagpatugtog. Pasuray-suray ang lakad ko sa buhangin. “Yung mga ex ko puro gago!” patuloy pa rin ang paglalakad ko at hindi alintana ang lamig ng hangin. Nang nasa paanan ko na ang tubig ay hinila agad ako ni Dan sa bewang at inilayo sa tubig.

“Ano ba Yssabel? Magpapakamatay ka ba?!” bulyaw niya sa akin.

“Bitiwan mo nga ako Mr. Daniel Zamora. Ano ako, shunga? I’m not gonna kill myself for those jerks!” bulyaw ko pabalik sa kanya. “Why would I do that? Inaamin ko na medyo lasing ako, pero hindi pa ako baliw para kitlin ang sarili kong buhay para sa mga walang kwentang tao.”

Bumalik ako sa tabing dagat at tumitig sa madilim na karagatang tinatanglawan lang ng maliit na sinag ng buwan.

“Hoooyy! Mga shokoy kong ex, naririnig nyo ba ako ha?! Mga gago kayo! Minahal ko pa man din kayo! Sana bangungutin kayo sa pagtulog nyooo! O kaya naman ay magkaroon ng malaking pigsa yang mga pwet nyo nang hindi na kayo makakaupo kahit kalian! You big headed dirt ball bastards! Go to hell and f**k the devil you jerks!!!” sigaw ko na ubod ng lakas na pakiramdam ko ay mauubusan na ako ng hangin sa paghinga.

Hiningal ako kaya naman umupo ako sa dalampasigan. Pero for the first time in five years ngayon lang gumaan ang pakiramdam ko. Ito marahil ang sinasabi nilang nawalan ng tinik sa dibdib?

I heard a loud chuckle behind me.

“What are you laughing at?” I asked Dan as he walks closer.

“Ikaw. Nakakatawa ka Yssaw, binubulabog mo ang mahimbing na tulog ng mga shokoy at kapwa lamang dagat mo,” sabi nya na may malapad na ngiti. Umupo ito sa tabi ko.

“Manahimik ka dyan kung ayaw mong mailibing ng walang foundation.” Tumawa lalo ito sa sinabi ko.

“Anong pakiramdam mo ngayon?” tanong niya sa akin.

“I feel cold,” I answered. And to my surprise he embraces me and draws me closer to him.

“Are you taking advantage of me because I’m drunk?” I complained. “It could have been more romantic if you place your jacket or something on me, like those on movies.” But deep inside I’m actually enjoying the warmth of his body.

“Tss. Sorry naman po, wala akong dalang jacket e. Besides, mas romantic at mas gwapo pa ako doon sa mga bidang napapanood mo sa pelikula no,” sabi nya na umaapaw sa self-confidence. Pareho kaming natahimik habang pinakikiramdaman ang init na hatid ng magkadikit naming katawan.

Maya-maya ay muli itong nagsalita, “You know what Yssabel, if another wrong relationship ends, it only means that you are one step closer to the right one. Yung mga ex mong shokoy, parte lang sila ng paglalakbay mo na inilaan sa’yo ng tadhana. Sinaktan ka man nila but they exist in your story to teach you a lesson and make you become a better person. And look at you now, you’re successful and stronger than ever. Tingin ko nga sayo, mas malakas ka pang sumuntok kesa kay Manny Pacquiao e,” at tumawa siya sa sinabi niya.

Siniko ko yung tagiliran niya at napangiwi ito sa sakit. “Okay na sana yung speech mo e, umepal ka pa. Tsk! But on serious note, you were right and I should say my thanks sa mga shokoy na yun. Is this me letting go? Maybe yes, because for the longest time, the pain has always been with me. I may be successful in the career that I had chosen; tons of people appreciating my works and dozens of them love me; but the grudge in my heart had lingered for so very long that it’s already been part of my system.” At namayani ang katahimikan sa aming dalawa.

“Sandali nga, bakit ang dami mong alam? Bakit, naranasan mo na rin ba lahat ng pinagdaanan ko?” tanong ko sa kanya.

“Ano ka! Never pa akong nagka-boyfriend ng bakla ano?!” pabiro nyang sabi. Bahagya akong lumayo sa kanya at tiningnan ko sya nang matalim. “Di joke lang. Hehe. Bawat tao kasi ay may iba-ibang pinagdaraanan, mga pagsubok na hindi naman talaga natin maiiwasan. But at the end of the day, you will discover something, could be about yourself or the things around you. And you will end up remembering who you really are and what you were fighting for. ”

“Wow ha, ang lalim. But seriously, nasaktan ka na rin ba? Bakit nga pala hindi ka pa nag-aasawa?” Naghikab ako at pakiramadam ko umiikot na naman ang paligid ko. Idagdag pa ang napakalamig na hanging nanggagaling sa karagatan. He brought me closer to him and hugged me so tight. Sumandal ako sa kanyang balikat at pumikit.

“Many times… I thought she will be the person that I will be spending the rest of my life with and will become the mother of my children. Pero ang tadhana ay masyadong mapaglaro…even selfish, I thought…Pero baka hindi rin. I guess I always end up going back to the very first one…” Hindi na masyadong rumirehistro sa utak ko ang mga sinasabi nya. Ang totoo parang hindi ko na naririnig at naiintindi ang mga isinagot nya, dala narin siguro ng pagod at antok.

“Yssaw?”

“Hmmm?”

“Will you…?”

“YES! Yes, I will…” mahina kong tugon kahit na hindi ko pa narinig ang buong katanungan niya. Ano naman ngayon? I’m young and willing to take the risk, and eventually learn from it.

Yes, at twenty-two I have been hurt by my first love and after that I have been rejected again. But swear, Yssabel Bennett is yet to find her greatest love. And I think I already found him, a long time ago.

Because he has always been there with me; been part of me and will be with me for the rest of my journey.

Copyright. ardentHearts. All rights reserved.

___________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jean is a natural-born art disciple who grew up in the very beautiful, chic-y little island also known as ‘the queen city of the south’, Cebu. She is the youngest in the family with two sisters and two brothers, and has five dogs that always follow her around and one cat that she loves to cuddle all the time. Art is (and forever will be) her life. Reading is her most favorite hobby. Music is her refuge. And writing is her new found love. She refused to let everyone know her full name but was ecstatic of having a pen name based/almost similar to her real one. She doesn’t aim of becoming a famous writer but loves the idea of seeing her work/s in paperback someday. She’s also a nature lover who could just spend the whole day appreciating every little thing around and a movie geek who tends to outburst with excessive laughing or crying.

Be friends with her in the following sites:

Wattpad: @ardentHearts

Facebook: Heart-Jeanne

4 thoughts on “Twenty-Two by ardentHearts”

  1. congratulations!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: StorPpy

  3. “entry no. 9: Twenty-two

    Sa mga unang bahagi, kala ko simple lang ang story na ‘to. Habang tumatagal, parang inuman session, lalong (sumasarap?) gumaganda! haha. Gusto ko ang mga love story na simple pero malakas ang message, only kung alam mo yung totoong pinaparating ng author. Second chances, letting go of your past, friendship.. ang galing! 🙂 2 thumbs up!”

    That was my first review when I first read this story. Reading it again, napapangiti na lang ako kasi relate na relate lang! Keep it up po and more stories pa, ardentHearts! 🙂

    Like

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