"Don't you think we should wait, Tita? Hahayaan natin siyang tanggapin na lang basta-basta si Renzo? The bastard is wrecking her."
"Wendy has been holding herself back for five years already, Julius. Ano pang kailangan nating hintayin bago natin siya hayaan? Yes, she's hurt. But this is our fault for letting her leave. She had no one for five years and now that she's back, the man she's in love with is finally seeing her worth. She waited so many years for this to happen, why can't we just let her?"
They argued in front of me as I stared at the bright sky outside the window. They're talking as if I wasn't here so I pretended that I don't hear anything.
Dad interrupted. "She can never be at ease because of his past mistakes. Should we let her endure it all her life just because she loves the man?"
"Then how dare we call it love if it cannot endure?" My mom's question made me glance at her. How dare we call it love if it cannot endure?
Lumingon din siya sa akin at tipid na ngumiti bago bumaling kay Dad. "Wendy is free to do anything she wants. Whether she forgives or hate Renzo, is up to her. If we would want her to date someone else.. who is loyal and never cheated before.. sooner or later, may makikita rin siyang mali sa bagong lalaking makikilala dahil wala namang perpektong lalaki! If she will leave Renzo because of his mistakes, then she will just leave other men because they can make mistakes too. Being in a relationship is just a matter of who you want to share the pain with and if that's the case, then might as well share it with the one you love, isn't it?"
The way my mother looked at my dad. I know she said those things out of her experience. How frightening it must be to love someone as horrible as Dad. But my mother endured it all because she loves him and if the time comes where my father is finally going to pay for his sins.. Mom will stay with him no matter what.. and they will share the pain together. That.. is love.
I sighed and looked away. I can't see my mom as annoyed as this.. talking to Julius and my Dad like she's teaching these bad kids their lesson.
Sa gilid ko'y si Gigi na tahimik lamang. Nang magkatinginan kami'y inalok niya sa akin ang mansanas na nasa kaniyang platito pero umiling na lamang ako habang nakangiti.
"Dapat hinayaan na natin si Renzo noong sinundan niya si Wendy sa US." Mom is frustrated as hell. Her furrowed brows and piercing eyes proved how she's angered by the situation.
Dad shook his head as he stared at the television. "Hindi tayo sigurado kung mahal niya si Wendy. I can't risk it."
"May I remind you, Henry. He forgave you. He forgave you because you're Wendy's father. What else should you call it? Infatuation? Huh, who are you kidding?"
I tiredly rolled my eyes and darted my eyes at her. "Mom, calm down." She exhaled violently and leaned on the couch just beside my dad. I looked at all of them.. Julius was sitting on the couch on the other side of the room with Gigi.
"I know you're all worried.." Julius adjusted the television's volume just so they could hear me well. I sighed. "What happened last night.. maybe because I suppressed my emotions for so many years already that it just came out bursting in one night.. But I'm fine now. Whether should I forget about Renzo's mistake or not.. I cannot decide about that yet. I know you all wanted to help me but I am doing my best. You cannot judge me because you are not in my situation.. and the mere fact that you are not me.. you cannot tell me what to feel. I value your opinion so much because you are important to me, but whatever decision I make, I hope you can just support me. I already suffered enough, give me a break."
Nanatiling tahimik ang silid hanggang sa muling lakasan ni Julius ang volum ng TV. Ang kanta sa isang music channel ay umalingawngaw sa buong kwarto.
But I don't care what they say
I'm in love with you
They try to pull me away, but they don't know the truth
"Turn it off." I said as I covered myself with the blanket and forced myself to sleep.
Hapon na nang payagan akong ma-discharge. "Ang team? Nakauwi na ba?"
Tumango si Gigi. "Oo, nauna na sila sa Manila. Bumisita rito si Direk Mikey kanina pero dahil tulog ka, hindi ka na inabala pa. Nagpaalam lang siya ng personal kila Tito Henry bago umalis kasama ang team."
I nodded. We went out of the hospital and boarded the van that took us to the airport. Nakatulog na ako sa ospital kaya sa biyahe ay hindi ako dinadalaw ng antok. I slid my hands inside my pullover's pocket and felt something. I immediately took it out, it was a piece of paper. I unfolded the paper and read what is says..
They wouldn't let me get close to you. Please be safe. I love you.
I crumpled the paper and slid it back on my pocket. My heart ached but I endured it. Just endure it a little longer, Wendy. It will be over soon.
"Magpahinga ka, ha? At huwag mo munang masyadong i-stress ang sarili mo." Gigi hugged me and whispered.. "I really thought Renzo was married.. I'm sorry." I smiled and shook my head. "Married or not.. it's really not easy to be with him." She patted my back. "Kung ano man ang desisyon mo, susuportahan kita."
When she pulled herself away, Julius inched closer and patted my shoulder. "You nearly gave me a heart attack." I smiled with guilt.. "I'm sorry." Ginulo niya ang aking buhok bago ako niyakap. "You should take a rest if you're tired. Don't you dare exhaust yourself." I nodded and patted his back.
We waited for them to board their cars and leave the airport before turning to our own car. Just when I was about to hop in, my gaze caught a familiar figure. Renzo was standing a few meters away. He's staring at me with both concern and sadness.
Imbes na sumakay ay sinara ko ang pintuan ng sasakyan nang hindi pumapasok. Dahan-dahan akong nagtungo palapit sa kaniya. I saw him stood straight as he waited for me to get close. The eagerness in his eyes is undeniable. He smiled and his hand immediately caressed my elbow with so much gentleness. "How are you?"
My eyes darted on his wounded forehead. The white bandage on his forehead is the very reason why I went to him. "What happened?"
He smiled weakly and shook his head. "I'm fine.." My eyes remained on his lips.. it's very dry and pale.. He doesn't look so well but since he can't tell me, then I wouldn't force him. I nodded and started walking away but before I could even reach half of the distance from the car.. He hugged me from behind.. his toned arms embraced me gently. "No matter how hard this could get, I'll fight for us.."
My heart ached as its veins felt like snapping all at once. I freed myself from his embrace and faced him. "You can't give up seeking justice for your mother just because of me. Why did you forgive my father just like that?"
He sighed and looked at me seriously. "It's you.. who taught me to forgive."
Saglit akong napatitig sa kaniya nang hindi makapaniwala. Never I have imagined he would tell those words. It's me.. who taught him to forgive. It sounded nice but the guilt didn't fade away. I walked towards the car without saying another word.