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Now she’s there. It could have been her all along if she hadn’t turn away. Yes, she was the one who turned away. He gave up because she pushed him to. That sight of his face cached miserably in tears remains too fresh in her memory. The heavy rains that poured that night was nothing compared to his torment.
“Ayaw mo na ba talaga?” he asked in an almost hushed tone. His knees failing him this time that he had to reach and settle to the couch nearest him.
With her two hands pressed strongly against her face, she brushed off the fallen tears looking very troubled herself. Forcing an averse nod, she made a few steps forward to come nearer to where he was and then started to speak, consciously bowing her head.
“Idan, hindi man ngayon pero sana dumating yun panahon na maintindihan mo ako, hindi pa tayo handa… Believe me things would be worse if we go into something as binding as a marriage nang hindi tayo handa.”, she sluggishly continued still avoiding her eyes to meet his.
He stood at once not wanting to stay there any longer.
“Sana hindi mo na lang ako pinaasa na may pupuntahan pa ito.”, he uttered curving up that rather sarcastic smile.
She lifted her head in disbelief of what she just heard, she wanted to retaliate but but something within her caught up and she just fell short of words to say. She helplessly stared at him biting her lower lip in disappointment.
He in turn, nodded his head acting as if everything had already sunk in. He slowly made his way to the door without saying a single word.
“Mahal kita…” she mumbled in a careless effort to stop him from leaving.
He just remained mum, he never imagined those two words could hurt as much as it do now. He was thinking maybe love wouldn’t be enough this time, that it would hurt even more if he decides to stay now so he just walked straight to the door without even taking a moment to look back.
Her thoughts came rushing back to the present as she remembers how the day turned out for her. A successful concert, an international career already within reach, a hurting throat thereafter, seeing him again after a couple of years that to her seemed like forever and then the biggest shock of finding out that he was now married. Wow— she thought to herself, she just opted to close her eyes not wanting any other distractions this time. she just curled up in bed burying her face under a pillow.
She stayed in there tossing and rolling like there’s no tomorrow.
“Pagod ako, pagod ako.” she repeatedly told herself desperately trying to fall asleep. But she just couldn’t. The word itself: Pagod, left both her eyes wide open, her mind harking back to lonely thoughts. Pagod. Napagod na siya. She tells herself. She covers herself up with blanket, not wanting to give in to the weight of her emotions.
“Ano ba Sarah! Hindi ka iiyak, wag kang umiyak!” she yet again warns herself. Actually, for the two years or so that he had gone away she had always managed to put up a brave front. Each time he would happen to cross her mind, she would just pause, close her eyes and remember the Kanto Boy Lloydie whom she long admired and not John Lloyd whom she broke to pieces on that fateful night, the same one who likewise hurt her to pieces in lengths unspeakable.
And she was fine. she did just fine. Life, for her after all was never a promised fairy tale. Work kept her moving and her family remained her pillar of strength.
She got off to bed with still an ill throat, and staying up too late last night did not do her any good. Tomorrow is demo day for her so she needs every bit of remedy to it. After having her breakfast, she headed to the Cedars-Sinai Hospital with her sister to have her throat checked.
While waiting for the results, she found herself a seat in one corner.
“Sarah, I’ll just go and find ourselves something to eat.” her sister said while stepping away.
She nodded and just shifted her attention to her phone.
“Sarah?” an unfamiliar voice called out making her look to see for herself who it was.
“Jenna!” she yelled in return. Some akward moments followed but she was polite enough to offer her to sit beside her.
“I’m sorry hindi na kami nakapag-paalam kagabi.” she uttered worriedly.
She let out an inadvertent smile before answering:
“Okay lang, no worries.”
As she gaze back at her, she took a sweet time to examine her. Jenna is a looker, she tells herself with all those nice Asian features. She may look a bit pale at the moment but she got nice long hair neatly held back.
“What brought you here?” she hesitantly asked Sarah.
“Pina-check ko lang yun throat ko medyo sumasakit ehh, wala nga akong masyadong boses oh.” she replied with her head bowed down no liking he oddness she was feeling having her around. Sarah is now wondering what is taking her sister too long as she needs her to be back by this time.
“Ikaw, checkup rin?” she asked back.
She just nodded without speaking any further causing some air of concern on Sarah’s part thinking if she has said anything wrong.
She gave her that curious look prompting Jenna to speak up.
“I have a heart condition Sarah. I had it since birth, the walls in between the upper chambers of my heart have holes.”, her voice losing life at this moment.
Stunned and all, she tried her best to look composed.
“Alam niya?” Sarah asked not even sure of what to say next.
She looked up as she tries to lighten up the situation.
“I never expected you to be this nice to me.” Jenna uttered smilingly.
Sarah, understanding what she meant smiled back. She didn’t want to appear indifferent before her.
She noticed Jenna is looking intently at her, so she raised an eyebrow as if questioning what that look is for.
“John Lloyd and I are not married. I’m not his wife at least not yet.”
A sudden heart pound for Sarah as she wonders why she’s been telling her that.
“I don’t even know what has gotten into him at pinakilala niya akong asawa daw niya. And ewan ko rin sa taong yun bakit yinayaya niya akong magpakasal.”
“Bakit mo sinasabi sa akin lahat ng ito?” Sarah asked making her discomfort obvious this time around.
“Dahil ayokong magpakasal sa kanya, It may be that I don’t want to burden him with the responsibility of taking care of me or maybe or more importantly kasi alam ko at nararamdaman ko na all this time ikaw pa rin…”
Sarah did not let her to finish her sentence as she interjected:
“Pero ikaw na yun nandyan sa buhay niya ngayon…”
“When he came here, he looked and acted every bit of a lost man, sabi niya sa akin sabay raw dapat kayo pupunta dito, sabay niyong tatalikuran yun mundo niyo sa Pilipinas …ilang buwan din siguro yun na he did hop from one bar to another, akala ko nga nun hindi na niya kakayanin until finally, one day he decided to start a new, he did invest in stocks in realty hanggang unti- unti naging okay na din siya, but I could tell that there wasn’t a single day that passed na hindi ka niya inisip… in denial lang yun pero ang totoo di ka nawala sa isip at puso niya… “
Sarah, who is now on the verge of tears just looked away. Jenna’s every word has pinched deep down into her soul. Whether she likes it or not, everything is coming back. As she mustered all sense of strength she could at the moment, she managed to say a line that she never thought she could.
“Jenna, whatever we had tapos na yun ikaw na yung nandiyan ngayon and do me a favor, pakasalan mo siya, do something that I regretted not doing a couple of years back: yun ay panindigan siya at di siya iwan.”
Their conversation was cut short when her sister arrived.
But even before they could both leave, Jenna calls once again from behind.
“Sarah, I could go anytime, please I’m begging you,please stay. Huwag mo na siyang iwan.”
On their way home, Jenna’s words kept repeating like a broken record in her head. He lied when he introduced her as his wife, she knew he had already built a life here without her in the picture and it would not be fair to him, or to her if she ever figure in his life again.
Thinking silently, she even could not even believe that he still have this much of an effect on her. Los Angeles may be a big city altogether, but could it be big enough for them to avoid each other?
On their way back to the hotel, their car happened to passed by a park and she was amused to see a group of seemingly Filipino kids gathered and circled around together. She instructed her sister to stop for the meantime as she wants a share of some fresh air to brush off her earlier thoughts.
She approached the bunch of kids and was startled to see who the kids were with.
“John Lloyd… sorry I shouldn’t have” she spoke while walking away.
Embarassed and all, she just walked on not realizing that the man she was running away from did follow her.
She just felt somebody grabbed her by the wrist.