As this day goes to an end, I followed a girl with curly locks who looks just like me. She goes with a friend who has long strands of hair, perfectly swaying in the middle of her back. She must’ve not noticed me since they just kept on walking in the street. They seem to be in a hurry so I dared not to get in the way of their path.
Just when we reached the building with the tall green gates did we stop. A lot of students are making their exit at the said building. Probably making their way home.
So they entered. We went through this hallway. Narrow but wide enough to let two people slip in. They turned right and kept walking. They stopped to see a group of people huddled in their positions as if they are going to dance. I just found out that they really are going to practice for a performance. Where? I don’t know. When? Thursday, their leader said.
In the midst of their practice, she began to feel the pressure. She isn’t just there to know the dance steps, she’s also there to sing. Now I know why she seems so nervous a while ago. I felt her hesitation that she repeatedly brushed off while we were walking all the way here. Probably kept thinking, “No. I can do this. I chose this and I’m not turning back.”
She danced. She sang. She showed signs that she is interested with everything. She tried. But I know her so well. She can’t even lie to herself.
Was she jolly? I guess so. She has to be. Was she doing well? Yes. For a beginner. Were they tired of her? Yes. I was very certain with this.
She wants to scream when she felt that she’s the only one who was doing everything wrong. “I keep wasting everybody’s time”, I hear her whisper to herself. I, on the other hand, felt pity and remorse.
“Why do I even bother?”, she asks herself as she tries to do everything that they were told to do. I suggested that we go home at this part. She didn’t recognize me, though.
After painfully trying and barely succeeding, she picked up her bag and helped her friends clean up. Mustering all the courage she has to stop one teardrop from falling, she stacked up the chairs and grabbed small pieces of paper that were cut and left scattered on the floor. She went to her friend, the one with the beautiful hair and together, they went to their respective dormitories.
This time, while walking, she stayed quiet. Laughed when she was needed to and talked when she was spoken to. She felt the asphalt beneath the soles of her rubber shoes. She looked at the distant, dim lit houses and road. She thought, “I’ve never seen this street so empty before”. I thought, “I’ve never felt such emptiness from forcing yourself to do something that you don’t even love before”. And at that very moment, she wished something would hit her. She wished one tricycle to stop from overspeeding and just scrape her knee. She doesn’t even care now. She’s not happy anymore.
Once she got on her dorm, she laid on her bed. Turned on the fan and grabbed her phone.
While she was checking her messages, I saw her face lit up. After that, she called her mom.
She found it funny to hear the worry behind her mom’s gentle voice. She thought, “Ah, mothers. They always seem to worry even if there’s nothing to be worried about”. I’ve never heard one individual lie to themselves for so many times.
Just when the call was going to end, her mom suddenly asked her, “Kumusta?” and that’s when the tears started falling.
She wanted to say, “Ma. Hindi ko na kaya. Hindi na ako masaya sa pinaggagawa ko. Hindi ko na alam bakit sumali pa ako dito. Gusto ko nang sumuko”. I was expecting her to say that but instead, she said, “Okay lang”. Another teardrop slowly rolled down to her cheek.
“Nakakain ka na?”, her mom asked.
“Opo”, she said. I’ve never heard her be this thrifty again with her words.
“Nagpapahinga ka na?”
“Opo”, another teardrop.
“Oh sige na. Nililinisan ko pa si KC. Baba ko na.”
“Sige po. Thanks. Bye.”
And just like that, her night slowly went to an end.
She prepared to face an exhausting week ahead. Cuddling a soft, smooth pillow, she desperately wrote a short story with how her day went.