7. Ripened Youth

"She doesn't belong here. She's a freaking slut."

"Let's do something that will make her get out of here."

Alexandra Dorias didn't know her parents. She grew up in a shelter for abandoned children that was run by nuns. 

The shelter was said to be a school. The owner, Ramon Peridrino Sr., donated the building to the church in return he wanted it to be modified and made useful for the children who cannot afford to go to school. This was his will before he died. His family migrated to the States thereafter, and the building was taken care of by the nuns. 

The shelter was sort of a learning facility and a dormitory for the abandoned children. 

Children who are left in front of the church, who have negligent parents, who are orphaned, who are left alone in the trash, are all rescued and nurtured in the shelter. 

Alexandra didn't know where she belonged in the said categories. She has no idea of her birth and her parents.

It was not until she confronted Sister Helen, the nun very close to her.

Sister Helen was the one who nursed Alexandra since she was sent to the shelter. The girl was special, the nun had this belief when Alexandra just turned one year old, and she already knew some sign languages. When she was one and a half she would coo if she saw letters and would hum like she knows how to read them. Sister Helen witnessed the fast-paced development of Alexandra. The girl was gifted. When she was three, she already knew how to play the piano and the flute. 

Sister Helen was shocked when Alexandra asked her a question she was not prepared to answer that afternoon when they were practicing the piano. 

"Sister Helen, who was my mother? Why did she leave me? and where was I found before I was brought here?" 

The nun was very surprised with such a straight forward question of a five-year-old. 

"Uh... Alex, since when did you have the interest in getting to know your mother?" 

Young Alexandra had all eyes on the nun. She blinked twice, and let out a sigh. 

"You never knew the answer to my question." 

"Why did you say so, Alex?" 

"Because you answered my question with another question, Sister Helen. That just means either you don't know or you don't want me to know."

The nun sparked her eyes in delight. She was in awe of such cleverness of the kid. Alexandra never fails to amuse her. 

"Alex, I know about your mom. But yes you are right that I don't want you to know about it yet because I don't want you to get hurt sweetheart. You are so young to be asking these questions, and you are so young to process the answers you might get." 

Alexandra shook her head. 

" No Sister Helen, I am turning 4 years old next month. I am not that young anymore. And most importantly, I want to know Sister. There is something I need to know so I can stop thinking about where I came from."

Sister Helen felt a twitch in her heart. She was moved by the little girl. She wanted to know where she came from was very matured enough to give importance to her need for rootedness. 

"Okay cupcake, I will tell you. Just promise me that you will tell me everything that you felt after. You will be transparent with your emotions to me, okay? No hiding, no secrets, no concealed feelings okay?" 

Sister Helen is aware that she is talking to a five-year-old girl, and her use of words is a bit off the comprehension of the child. But, Alexandra was different. She would understand that, and she knew that she will be fair with her. 

The kid nodded, with lips pursed and hunger for the truth evident in her eyes. 

Sister Helen took a long and deep breath. She can feel her hands trembling, as well as her lips. She was afraid Alexandra would notice. So she let out a smile instead, with lips quite unsteady and with traces of restrained panic.

"Alex, y-your mother was very beautiful just li-ke you." 

She lightly pinched the cheeks of young Alex. 

"I'm not so certain of her age, but I suppose she is around 18 years old. She was very young when she gave birth to you Alex. She was..." 

Sister Helen paused and took a deep uneasy breath. She was hesitant to continue. There was sadness in her eyes, there was also regret, and above all there was guilt. 

"Sister would you like a glass of water?" 

Alexandra snapped the nun's attention back. 

"No, no cupcake I'm good."

She smiled. Though she was becoming more uneasy, she strived to continue.

She had presumed that Alexandra would ask this to her someday. It's about time she would tell the child what she knew, as planned. 

"Alex, your m-mother left you in the trash. You were w-wrapped in a white cloth together with the f-filth. An old lady, who happened to be collecting trash for a living, spotted you, and brought you here."

The nun examined the face of the little girl as she continued talking. The little girl's reaction remained bland. 

"At first, there were no signs of anyone related to you. Like you were literally abandoned. But I saw a young woman, who would sneak a peek by the gates of the shelter. I caught her every day at random times doing that, but I remained covert observing her. Until I confronted the young woman Alex. And she revealed to me that she was the mother of the baby in the trash. I was terrified by the truth she handed me, but she told me... She told me she is not capable of nurturing you. Because... having you w-was a... was a... "

The nun had her tears falling as she strived to deliver the last piece of the sentence. 

"... mistake, Alex. "

Her breathing was hard and heavy. Young Alexandra could tell that she had put the nun in a difficult situation. 

Sister Helen felt a touch of gentle and small hands holding her hand. She smiled when she saw the little girl comforting her. 

"I am so sorry Sister. I was the reason why you cried." 

"Don't be sorry, sweetheart. I'm okay, I just felt a little emotional. Speaking, how are you feeling?" 

The nun looked closely at the little girl's reaction. She is trying to read her face, but young Alexandra seemed to very good at concealing her emotions. Or was it because she had suppressed much of her emotions even before this revelation? The nun was nervous. 

"I felt... angry at my mother. But I'm thankful because she was honest enough to admit that she can't take good care of me. I'm angry now, Sister Helen but I know this will soon fade off. I don't want to talk about it anymore." 

The girl stood up and walked out of the music room. She was aware it was rude of her to do such, but she didn't want Sister Helen to see that she was hurt after knowing that her birth mother treated her like trash. She was feeling very angry, and that afternoon, young Alexandra promised that if she will soon meet her mother, she will make filth of her life like what she did to her. 

Since time immemorial, all of her childhood memories were founded by the shelter.

The shelter catered to both sexes: girls and boys ages 0 to 3 years old.

The girls are separated from the boys when they reach 4 years old. The shelter nuns believed and applied the theory of Dr. Sigmund Freud, which is the Psychosexual Theory of Development. 

The theory stated that if the child reaches 3 years old, he and she already reached the Phallic stage. It is at this stage when children aged 3 to 6 years old already know the dichotomy of being a man and a woman. It is a natural occurrence for them.

Their genitals become the leading erogenous zone. Children who belonged in this age bracket, most especially the males, are said to first discover self-stimulation onto themselves. They baptize themselves with a newfound pleasure that is not autoerotic, rather is gratified more with sexual manifestations, and therefore children now learn to masturbate because the presence of their opposite-sex arouses them. 

This theory was made to be one of the policies of how the shelter would thrive to pamper the children's needs in the physio-psychological aspect as well as social and spiritual aspects. 

When Alexandra just turned four, she was allocated in the all-girls building. Both schools and dormitories.

What separated the girl's building from the boys is a brick wall approximately 7 feet in length. The nuns had this barrier built for the purpose and compliance of their policy. Also for the safety of the shelter's reputation.

When Alexandra turned 15 years old, she was the most accelerated student in the shelter's academic ladder. She excelled as well in music, which made the teachers and the nuns very proud of her. 

This, as well attracted hate and loathe to her fellow shelterlings.

They hated Alexandra because everybody liked her. The nuns, the much younger children, the teacher, and especially the boys from the other building.

There are a lot of rumors of the young gentlemen on the other side having crushes on Alexandra. There are also times that Alexandra is invited to visit the boy's building for a piano recital.

There was once, a boy named Dimitri walked up to the stage while Alexandra was still in the middle of playing the piano.

He handed down a bouquet which wasn't really bought from the near flower shop. The bouquet contained all the flowers in the garden and each flower came from one young gentleman who had an affection for Alexandra. Dimitri was the one who walked up to give it to the young woman because he claimed to have no feelings for her. It was agreed by everyone in the boys' building because it would be fair enough for the rest who'd be dying to be just a meter close to Alexandra if someone in the group who didn't like her would give her the flowers.

But Dimitri was sly as a fox. He liked Alexandra, too. If denying his feelings would make him close to her, he would be willing to do it. 

He was standing a meter near the young woman. Alexandra was caught off guard for a moment, but she couldn't forgive herself if she would fail to play, even for a split second out of tune, Für Elise by the master himself, Ludwig van Beethoven.

Alexandra gathered herself together and continued playing, although she was distracted by the presence of this young man standing tall beside her.

"This flower is for you my lady. Every flower is from every man in the room."

Dimitri laid the bouquet on the piano surface and gathered up all his courage to continue his speech which he had been practicing for a lot of times already.

"But I don't have any flower for you in there. Rather, you would find an envelope somewhere in between the stems of the flowers. That came from me." 

Alexandra was stunned by what she heard coming from the gentleman. She was fighting to keep her hand motions still as to not press the wrong key because it might bring disgrace to her reputation. She kept her gaze down on the keyboard acting like she never paid attention to the young man. 

"Have a goodnight, my lady, thank you for playing us good music. "

Dimitri then walked down the stage. 

"What about your name..." 

Alexandra whispered to herself, so soft that it was barely audible. 

She stood up when she finished playing the symphony. The crowd stood up in applause. Alexandra throws a skimming gaze upon the crowd of men, surreptitiously searching for one guy in particular. But she failed, there were no traces of resemblance of that guy who handed her the flowers. 

Alexandra received admiring comments from the shelter heads and supervisors, and consistently she was praised as well by the nuns. 

She was escorted by Sister Helen to her room, who is throwing her mischievous teases regarding the gentleman who handed her the bouquet. Alexandra was just quiet, but she was affected, and she was literally blushing from all over her face. 

"You were looking for him, weren't you? I saw those eyes even with your spectacles on, they were wandering through the crowd." 

Sister smiled playfully. 

"Knock it off Sister Helen, please. You've been talking and insisting about that for a dozen times already." 

"You can't hide from me, Alex. I know you. He affected you with such a foreign feeling you've never felt before right?" 

Alexandra was looking through the nun's eyes. Her words appeared to be so transparent about her like she was talking about herself, that it came from her personal experience. 

"Yes, and you don't mean to tell me that you've experienced this before as well, Sister Helen."

"Well, yes, way back on my youth. Way back before I entered the convent and became a nun, sweetie." 

The nun smiled at the same time gulped hardly a made up saliva. Alexandra ascertained it as an indication of tension building up within the nun. Sister Helen is not that old, she is still looking youthful at her age. How old is she, by the way, she is still around thirty-three years old. Alexandra thought about it and decided to set it aside first because the thought of the gentleman weighed more.

"Goodnight Sister Helen." 

"Goodnight Alex." 

She smiled and kissed the cheek of the nun.

The moment she closed the door, she let out a silent scream and wailed a little. She was still holding the bouquet in her hand. She heard a soft thud that fell from it, and there was a white envelope lying flat on the floor. Alexandra remembers the last couple of words from the fine gentleman, this letter was from him. 

Alexandra held the letter with her free hand. She walked to her bedside table and placed the bouquet there. She sat carefully on her bed, not to disturb Amelia, her younger roommate.

Every junior sheltering, (that's how the children in the shelter were called) has a much younger sheltering under as roommate. Alexandra was 15 years old, and Amelia is 9 years old. 

Amelia is deep asleep. So Alexandra crawled herself to bed afraid to make a sound that might wake up little Amelia. 

She opened the envelope and there revealed a  letter in fine cursive handwriting. The paper used was scented, and there were fainted prints of flowers on the surface of the paper. The ink of the pen used was thin yet well texturized. It was really something well prepared for a young man in an all-boys building to have these kinds of romantic materials. 

Alexandra read with her eyes. 

Dearest Alexandra, 

All of the boys here admire you very much. I wrote this letter also on behalf of them, every good thing about you is passed and shared from each one of us here. 

I was the one who gave you the bouquet as you would remember. This letter was kept out of knowing from the rest of us here. They gave you flowers, and I gave you this. 

If you are reading this, I wanted you to know that I like you. I loved writing, especially if it is about you. I have written poems and prose way greater in number than these flowers in the bouquet has. I hope there will come a time that you could read some of them, soon.

Just for starters, I have written this haiku about you when I was still 7. I have this with me for ten years from now, and it is now time to share this with you. 

I'm a lonely house

Hoping for you to dwell in

From then I'll be home

Truly yours,


Alexandra could hear her own heartbeat. Loud thumping sounds of excitement and blush she hardly could contain. She didn't know if she could still sleep that night.

His name is Dimitri. She will carry that name in her subconscious, not just for anyone to notice but for her as well to not get easily distracted from her usual routines.

She kept the letter behind the picture frame on her bedside table. She didn't want anyone to know about it.

All she wanted was to keep everything to herself.

She had been keeping a lot to herself lately. Including the dismay and growing resentment to her fellow junior shelterlings.

Alexandra didn't know why they were acting so strangely when she is near. Every time she enters the room, they will grow quite all so sudden, like they are keeping a plan out of something away from her. She felt aloof from them. They didn't talk to her, and wouldn't share the same table with her during chow time.

She felt lonely, at the same time angry, as to why girls of her age would make her feel like she's being hated by them. Alexandra felt like she didn't belong in the group.

So she spends most of her time after class, playing and teaching piano with the younger shelterlings. One of them and closest to her is her roommate Amelia.

Amelia is very clingy. She treats Alexandra as her elder sister and more like her mother. According to Sister Helen, Amelia is an aborted child. The abortionist was the one who delivered Amelia to the shelter. Alexandra knew about this from the nun. But this truth was kept hidden from the little girl. It is too sensitive and critical for Amelia to bear that truth about her for such a young age.

That night, Amelia crawled to the bed beside Alexandra. Alexandra was woken up with the presence of the little girl beside her. 

"Amelia... What's wrong?"

"You should be careful tomorrow Ate Alex. I saw Eloisa and her group making funny imitations of you behind your back. Just today, I heard them. They are planning to make you a laughing stock in front of everyone."

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