It was a friday afternoon. I woke up very late, around 2 pm. I have even set an alarm for that. Funny, I know. It was a friday. The day that a person called my mom planned that we should go to an event, it was actually more of a seminar or an orientation sort of thing. She hoped that it could be the vessel for a dream of mine – hers too – to come true. But just like the stubborn kid that I am, I did not want to go because first, it was too far. Second, I was apprehensive and scared. Of what? Maybe of the uncertainty, maybe I just didn’t have the strength to have made a false hope then be disappointed greatly. Nope. That was why I made an alibi that I have to go somewhere and that was why I was forced – more like I had no other choice – to go out.
So, it was a friday afternoon. I woke up at 2pm. I stood up, made my bed. Made my way to the bathroom, splashed some cold water in my face and attended to my bladder’s need of satisfaction. I went straight to the fridge, gulped down some cold water, brought out a plate and put on some food. That’s how robotic I felt that day. I ate. I cleaned up. I showered. I put on some jeans and shirt. I slapped on a little bit of make up in a hopeless attempt to make my disgusting face somewhat presentable.
It was a friday afternoon. It was very gloomy and it was raining. The weather reflects how I feel inside. Grey. Hollow. Melancholic. Cold. Confused – the rain didn’t know if it wanted to drizzle or to pour. I felt exactly the same. Put on my red Pro-keds sneakers, collected my coin purse, cellphone and a handky and put them all in my backpack. I snuck in a glance in the mirror and decided to put my hair in a half-up half-down do. I wore my pearl earrings and my favorite wrist watch which was gifted to me by my parents for my 18th birthday. I was all ready.
I told my mom I was leaving. I let myself out through the door and was greeted with a pouring rain with a cold breeze lashed out my face. I waited in the corner of our street. There were a lot jeepneys passed by but I couldn’t go as it was raining hard and I had no umbrella. Ten minutes passed. Fifteen. Then suddenly the rain started to ebbed down to a little more than just a drizzle. I braved the rain, hailed a jeep and rode to oblivion. Not really but it felt that way.
It was a cold and dreary friday afternoon. I arrived at the mall. I was aware of my mane that has gone wild and very frizzy. I couldn’t care less so I went inside. As soon as I stepped inside I was embraced by chilling, bone-cold air of the air conditioner. I shivered. Now, what am I going to do in here?, I said to myself.
So, I wandered.
For at least an hour. Not feeling anything but the constant shiver I did because of the cold temperature. My mind was busy, that I could tell. But with what? What was it thinking? Was I really thinking? Maybe the very mundane things. “Oh, that’s cute.” “That surely will look good on my brother.” “Mommy will definitely like that.” “I’d love me to have some of that too.” “I hope I can something like that to daddy.” “Oh that smells good. What is that?” I contemplated of going to my favorite bookstores but nope I didn’t. Not in the mood. I just did not have any energy and or any reasons to do it so I went to the food court and there I watched as I killed time.
All I saw were long lines for slushie, for takoyaki, for lemonade, for coffee, for Jollibee etcetera. What did I expect? It was a food court. It was loud in there. There was music. There was the sound of utensils clinking to the plates. There were voices of people talking to each other. There were sounds coming from games they were playing on the mobile phones. There was the mystical sound of the carousel from somewhere.
Two hours passed. I said I can go home. My mom wouldn’t suspect me. She didn’t know of course, that I just went to the mall instead of attending that freakin’ orientation or seminar or whatever you want to call it. I made my way out of the mall and to my great dismay, it was still pouring.
It was a dark, dingy, chilly and raining very hard kind of friday night. I let out a sigh and without thinking, I conquered the rain as if it wasn’t raining at all. I didn’t care if people were looking at me, pitied me, or whatever, I just walked. Climbed the too many steps of the foot bridge, crossed it and made my way down.
I was soaked.
I rounded this smaller mall to go to terminal of jeepneys that could take me closer to home but to my another dismay, it has long long long line. It looked like as if it was a gigantic snake, it curved many times. For a minute there, I didn’t know what to do. I certainly did not want to go back to the mall where I’ve been bypassed the way to the terminal of Fx which I was pretty sure would have a very long line too. Then it hit me, it was a Friday and it was the rush hour. Oh blimey!
It felt like I had no choice, I walked on a little ahead of the road under the pouring rain, was hoping that maybe I could catch a random jeepney which can still fit one passenger. But the few meters became longer and longer. I remember I kept on saying to myself, a little more, a little more. The distance added up. I have been walking for minutes now and all the jeepneys that passed by were full. I kept on walking. I skipped. I leaped. I jumped. Like a little kid playing in the rain but really it was me avoiding the puddles.
I kept on walking. I felt like a zombie. My mind said to stop and wait for a jeep but it seemed like my feet has grown a mind of its and kept on walking. I was seeing a stop light straight ahead but I was worried I may not stop at all as it felt like I have no authority or no control of my own feet. As I was approaching I just wished that it’d turn red I got there and to my subtle surprised it did. I crossed and I almost tripped for I had stepped on a little that threw my balance. I now noticed who seemed like a Korean guy in a hooded jacket and black backpack on my right and another man on my left. I remember I tried matching their steps so I felt I was as fast as them.
We were making our way to another stop light but I saw the two guys have already made a distance between us. I saw the Korean guy jumped over something, probably a rock and made a right. The other man just kept walking ahead, my way too. As I was crossing, I looked at my right but I couldn’t see the Korean guy anymore. I just found it a little weird that he wasn’t on sight anymore, I saw no house there, it was just a long lonely little road. I remember saying to myself, how fast of a walker he was that he already made it to the end causing him not to be seen anymore in such a very short time. As I was engrossed with the thought, I tripped again but acted natural and gained balance as soon as it happened.
I now saw that the other man has put on a lot of distance between us. He was wearing a khaki pants, red shirt and was holding a plastic bag in one hand and an umbrella in the other. I looked ahead of him and saw a gas station, “What? Here already?” I muttered to myself. That would only mean that I have made three quarters of the way to home. I kept on walking.
This time I almost slipped in front of a coffee shop because of the very slippery tiles they have. Again, I couldn’t care less and just kept on walking. I noticed I started panting, and I know was already soaked but I felt my body was hot and if I remember correctly I thought I was really sweating despite of the rain.
I just kept on walking and I believe by this time, my mind has gone empty. The only functioning part of my body was my feet and my eyes. I was gradually becoming aware of a need to chugged water. I was thirsty but I have no water. In a distance I could make out the fast food restaurant marking that I was halfway my journey to home. I thought I could stop there and catch a jeep because I knew for sure that more often than not the jeeps that pass there are lightly loaded with passengers.
When I got there, I could see two jeepneys on halt on the side of the road either letting on or letting out a passenger but I did not stop and climbed up. I remember walking wide-eyed, “What? What was that about?” STUPID. I told myself. Empty jeepneys and the ones with a few passengers just passed me by. I let them just passed me by. “What is going on here?” My mind said. I don’t know. The only answer I can give to myself then there was the sudden feeling of something like a pinch in my chest, then my eyes felt burning.
It was a dark pouring Friday night; I then knew I was crying. I was crying … but no one knew. No one noticed. The rain was a perfect camouflage. The side of the road that I was walking on was dark, seemed like I was making my way to an abandoned city. I felt another sting but this time on the back of my feet. Blisters. I must have been walking for too long for me to have a blister. STUPID. I didn’t what what hurts more, the pinch in my chest or the sting at the back of the feet.
I few more steps, I was confronted by this building which was still under construction and right beneath the name of the building, was the name of the company that resonated to me with the details I couldn’t elaborate more. STUPID. Another bout of tears came pouring of my eyes. I noticed I have slowed down. May it be because of the blisters? Or something else?
The sting of my blisters was becoming more noticeable. Still I kept walking. The right foot was more painful than the left. I had started to limp a little. I could also feel some pain at the back of knees. By the time I got to my alma matter, I was no longer crying. I felt numb. My mind was blank. Empty. I waited in the stop light to cross the street. I thought stopping and resting would help alleviate at least a little the exhaustion of my legs, knees and the sting of my blisters but those 22 seconds of rest just made it all worse.
I was walking slowly, not because I intended to but it was more like, that was all my body can afford to exert. I was limping more as my blisters increasing its size and severity but I forced myself for it not to be too obvious. I turned left, meaning I was just more or less ten minutes away from home. Suddenly the thought of coming home and laying in bed gave a little comfort to my hollowed-out self. I kept on walking. At the back of my mind I heard, “What are you doing to yourself? What are you doing with your life? Just what the heck are you doing?” My ego I guess.
The blisters on my feet were becoming annoying. I wished to be teleported to my room so I could dive under the blanket and sleep and forget everything that had happened today. I passed by the wet market. A little more. Just a little more and you’re home. I couldn’t hide the limping anymore, the blisters hurts so much it was unbearable. I’d like to stop walking but I could already see the corner to our home. Just a little more. The pinch on my chest came back. WHAT?
I made it to the corner, I turned right and there it was just a few steps away, HOME.
After an hour and a half of walking under the pouring rain in a Friday night, I made it home.
Until now, I still cannot fathom what happened to me that day. What has gotten over me? What have I gotten out it? Oh body pain, blisters and a crap load of confusion.