Kate lends all of her ears to the three of us. She is listening eagerly and waiting for Unah to start speaking.
"In this country, most of the people hates the LGBT community," Unah started her explanation.
"LGBT? You mean lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender?" Kate asked even if it is obvious that it is the real meaning of it.
Kate's eyebrows met. "Why?"
I was shocked when Kate asked why. I mean, as a person who lives in this country, she must know that kind of law. Public execution as the punishment for the LGBT members is already circulating in this country for almost 50 years.
It seems like Unah noticed that Dhaile and I are shocked by Kate's question. She make a smal cough first to clear her throat before she continue on speaking.
"Dhaile, Casy," Unah called our name to caught our attention. "Kate raised in a different country so she doesn't have any idea about what's going on here in Felghana." she added.
Oh. So that's the reason.
"Where did you come from, Kate?" Dhaile asked.
"I'm from Altoga," Kate answered.
I think for a while to remember that country name, but even if I dig deep inside my brain, I can't see myself familiar with that.
"Uhm, where is the country?" I asked. "Actually, this is the first time I heard that country."
"Altoga is located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. It is also near the equator so the climate is not too cold and too hot," she answered.
"Are you sure you haven't heard anything about our country?" she asked.
Dhaile suddenly tapped my shoulder repeatedly. "Maybe Casy just forgot about it," Dhaile said.
"But seriously, I haven't heard that country in my entire life," I exclaimed.
"Now you've heard about it," Unah interfere in the conversation.
I opened my phone to search about the country where Kate came from. According to the internet, Altoga is a tropical country. It is well known because of its beaches and good food.
I also saw an article saying that Altoga is currently experiencing poverty in the entire nation. My eyebrows met and my eyes narrowed while reading the article. It said that the government officials in Altoga are corrupt that became the main reason while the whole country is in debt.
There are several articles in the internet, mostly editorial and column, stating that the President of their country must be impeached because of its lack of concern for his people. Some news are saying that the President of Altoga is being brainwashed by the his First Lady.
I am in the middle of reading the articles when someone slightly punch my upper arm.
"Ouch, " I overreacted.
"Wow, Casy. Did that hurt? My punch is so weak. Do you have an onion skin? Huh, Casy?" Dhaile exclaimed sarcastically.
"You're spacing out? Mind sharing to us what you are reading?" Unah said calmly.
"I'm sorry," I apologized when I realized that I am already not listening to them. My attention was focused on the articles I'm reading and I didn't notice that I spaced out.
"What are you reading then?" Kate asked.
"Uhm, I search your country, Altoga. I want to know your country but unfortunately, I get focused on the articles I'm reading," I answered before I turned off my phone.
"Can I ask what did the article say?" Kate asked.
I didn't answer her immediately for I don't want to offend her. I know that saying something bad about your hometown or country is an issue for some. Besides, I don't know if Kate is a sensitive person.
"Ah, don't get mad, but I saw several articles that are opposes the Altoga's government. Is that true?"
Kate bit some part of her pizza and drink her coke before speaking.
"Yup, that's true. For me, Altoga has the worst government," she answered. "No wonder why I chose to work here in Felghana."
"What's so wrong about your country? I mean, for us," Dhaile pointed me and Unah. "Felghana is the worst," she added but she low down her voice while saying the word "worst".
"That country sucks. I wish I didn't grew in that place. The government only cares about the rich ones, while those in the fringes of the society suffer," she said.
"I don't know if you know this, but eight years ago there is a war occured inside the country. It is between the terrorists from the east and the soldiers of Altoga that are protecting us. During the battle, the President announced that international flights are suspended until the war is over, but after some days, the media found out that most of the government officials flew away to the other countries. Normal citizens were left in Altoga," she explained.
"Woah, that's horrible," I reacted to her statement.
I can't imagine their situation. It is indeed that some officials can be corrupt, but leaving the people of your country for your own sake is a serious issue. I can't believe their President did such thing.
"What a shame," Unah said. I can feel from her voice that she is starting to dislike the Altoga's government.
I didn't imagine that there is a country that sucks more than ours. Well, since I was young, all that I can see is that Felghana government is too strict when it comes on genders and rights. But this country is not like Altoga. Our Minister ensures that everyone is safe from terrorism.
"Luckily, the soldiers managed to win the fight. The terrorists surrenders after three months of battle. The casualties aren't that big as expected. Most of the kills are from the terrorists while half of the Altoga's army were dead," Kate added.
"Then what happened? Did your President came back?" I asked.
"Yes. That President has the thickest face in the world for coming back in Altoga after running away like a coward. He even claimed that he is the one who made us won the battle," she answered while having a smirk on her face. "Disgusting," she added.
"I can't believe him," I said.
"Didn't they impeach the President and the other officials?" Dhaile asked.
"We tried to do that. The citizens even made several protests just to impeach those undeserving officials, but the Congress and Senate are joining force together to fight the people. In the end, we lose. We don't wabt to die so we keep our mouth shut," Kate answered.
"I feel sorry for those who suffered because of your President's wrongdoing," Unah spoke.
"Well, I don't care about it anymore. My family are already here in Felghana so I don't have anything to worry about," Kate said.
"Good thing that you managed to leave that country," I said to her.
Kate just smiled and nods at me.
"Bu the way, about what you said earlier. This country prohibits LGBT, right?" she asked.
"Yup. Mister Lacsa, the teacher that you substitute died because he was executed," Dhaile answered.
"How did such thing happened?" she asked.
I guess it's time for us to tell her the story of our country.
"This all started 50 years ago. Minister Kang is still the leader of the countru that time. During his term, LGBT members are free. There were no discrimination, no punishment for them. They were treated equally," Unah started the story.
"But in the middle of his term, a big news shocked the public. It is revealed that the Minister's wife is having affair with another woman. In short, his wife is a lesbian," Unah added.
"The Minister cannot hold his emotions when he found out the truth. Because of his anger towards his wife's unfaithfulness, he killed the two woman in the public but cutting their head off using the guillotine. That started the hatred of the people for the LGBT members," Dhaile continued the story.
"Woah, that's deep," Kate reacted.
"Indeed. After the execution, Minister Kang declared that all of the LGBT members must be killed, for they were disgusting creatures created by the demons. He also announced that everyone is free to kill or torture every LGBT members. After that, the bloody war started. Most of the LGBT members escape the country but only few of them succeeded," I explained.
"You mean, like a purge?" Kate asked.
"Yeah. But that didn't last long. Some people just killed anyone that they want even if they aren't really LGBT members. So Minister Kang made an order that the ones who can kill or execute those people are the Minister and the leader of the Capital's guards. With that way, the casualties are not that big and they can assure that those who were killed are really LGBT members," Unah stated.
"That's much better than letting the people do the killing," Kate said.
Dhaile was about to say something when I noticed that Madam Principal is walking towards us. I told them to shut up and just eat and to pretend that we are not talking about the execution.
"Good afternoon, teachers," Madam Principal greeted us.
"Good afternoon, Madam Principal," we greeted her back.
"Looks like your talking about something serious huh? Mind sharing it to me?" Madam Principal asked.
Kate is going to answered I kicked her toes and answered Madam Principal's question.
"We're talking about the First Quarter Exams, Madam," I answered. I looked at Kate whose eyes are widened. I just gave her a small smile.
"Good. I'll go now," Madam Principal said before walking away. When she is already away from us, we took a breathe of relief.
"Why did you lie to her?" Kate asked.
"We're doomed when we said the truth," Dhaile answered.
"It is prohibited to talk about the execution inside the school. The officials of FNHS supports that punishment so they are not letting anyone to talk about it, especially if they opposed," Unah explained.
"Be thankful that I answered Madam Principal's questions first, or else all of us will lose our job," I said.
"Maybe it's better if we'rr going to talk about it after class or during weekends, not today," Unah suggested.
"I prefer on weekends. I'm very busy until Friday," Dhaile said.
"Yup. Checking of requirements," I agreed to Dhaile's statement.
"So, on Saturday? Where?" Kate asked.
"On my house. It's comfortable there and I am alone in my house," Unah said.
"Sure," all of us agreed.
We get back on eating and tried not to talk about the same thing. We must wait for Saturday to come before we can talk about it safely.
Friday comes and this is the last school day of the week. All of the teachers are busy for the first quarter exam is coming. We only have two days before that event comes.Now, I have a big problem. Mister Cambri from Class - B isn't coming to school since last week. I'm worried about his grades on my subject and also to other subjects."I've gotta go," I said to Dhaile who's still typing something in her laptop.I'm now in Dhaile's office or the office of Music Teachers. I don't like to stay in my own office for I'll just get bored there. There are no any other people inside my office so I decided to join Dhaile here."Why? Do you have your next class?" she asked without looking at me for her sight is focused on the laptop's screen.<
"Ms. Fryxell? Are you going home already? It's still early," the school guard asked me when he saw me walking to the gate with my backback."Uhm, no. I'm going to my student's home. He's absent for a week and I need to check him," I answered."Oh, that's bad," he reacted. "By the way, ma'am. Will you come back immediately?" he asked before sipping in his coffee."Maybe I'll be here at three in the afternoon. This is included in my time, right? Or I have to have my time out now?""Yes ma'am. You're still on your duty so you don't have to check your time out. Just fill this up after you came back here," he explained."Good thing. I'll go now. I need to go back immediately," I replied
Mrs. Cambri and I rushed to the school. We need to talk to Madam Principal as soon as possible."Ms. Fryxell! You came back so fast!" the guard said while opening the gate of the school for us. "Who is she?" he asked when he saw the woman in my back."She is Mrs. Cambri, the mother of the student I'm saying to you. We're going to talk to Madam Principal," I answered."Okay," he looks at Mrs. Cambri while handling a ballpen. "Kindly fill up this form, ma'am. It is necessary because you are an outsider."Mrs. Cambri filled up the form and after that we walked to the Main Building where the Principal's Office is located."Ms. Fryxell, I don't know but I feel so nervous right now," Mrs
"Good afternoon," Mrs. Avena greeted the guard of General Cleofas' office."Good afternoon, ma'am. What can I do for you?" he asked."We want to talk to General Cleofas. May we?""I'm sorry, but those who are allowed to talk to the General are higher person only or those with permission from them."
There's no class today but I'm so stressed. The thing that just happened days ago is still circulating inside my mind.Mrs. Cambri's depressing face is what I can see right now. After General Cleofas sent us away, Mrs. Cambri cannot help but to cry. I want to tell her that we can still do something in order to save her son's life, but after the words of surrender came out from her mouth, I know that she already accepted her son's fate."Ugh! My head hurts!" I exclaimed while touching my head. I can't focus on what I'm doing. Instead of putting my attention on making my student's grades, I'm thinking about my student, Angelo Cambri.What will happem to him? Will they execute him also?I feel distraught just by thinking abo
"I agree to what Kate said," Unah stated. "Fighting back won't help. The people with powers and money are the superior, while the others are becoming slaves and victims of their cruelty," she added.I can't believe what I'm hearing from them. It looks like they already accepted that Felghana is a cruel country because of its government."Casy, don't mind the student. Never again. It's not your obligation. Besides, God is here. He knows what is the truth," Dhaile said as she stands up."Uhm, Unah, can I use your comfort room?" Dhaile asked."Oh yes. Just enter that way and you will see a blue door. That's the comfort room. The switch for the lights are inside," Unah answered."Thanks," Dh
"I don't know that you have that kind of past, Casy," Kate said."I just tell that story to the people close to me. Actually, Dhaile is the first one whom I told that story," I replied. "That's kinda terrifying, and also traumatic, but atleast I already overcome that," I added."That's sure traumatic. Imagine, a seven year old will witness that kind of scene. That will give fear to that child," Unah said."Let's just forgot about it," I said. "Do you have any more questions, Kate? We can help you as long as we know the answer," I told her."Well, let me see," she posed like she is thinking deeply about something. "Hmm, I can't think of any questions. What about telling me why other Ministers after Minister Kang didn't change the law about
"Hey, Kate. What's up?" I asked her when I finally get over my emotion. The feeling earlier stopped, maybe because I forced myself to do it so."Nothing special," she answered. "By the way, are you okay now?""Huh? Of course, I am. Why wouldn't I?" I asked her.It's too late before I realized that I sound so defensive. I almost shout when I answered her."Okay. I'll just agree with what you said even if I'm not convince," she said before letting out a sigh."Why did you call me, by the way?" I asked Kate to change the topic of our conversation.It's a bit unusual that Kate is calling me in the middle