A Blissful Grief
A Blissful Grief
Author: Suescritor
Kabanata 1

Mula sa bintana ng aking kuwarto rito sa mansiyon ng mga Dilema, pinagmasdan ko ang pagsikat ng araw. I'm blessed to see another day and I will be forever grateful. Bawat segundo ay mahalaga dahil hindi natin alam kung kailan tayo mawawala. 

Footsteps slowly creaked on every step of the stairs. I heard the bedroom door handle turns slowly as he entered. Naramdaman ko ang mga mabibigat niyang hakbang papalapit sa puwesto ko. I tried to hold back the smile on my face when I felt his arms wrapped around me from the back but I failed. 

“Hey!” asik ko.

He chuckled softly, “You okay?”

“Of course!”

I tilted my head when he placed his chin on my shoulder. “Uhuh. How about jet lag?”

Umiling lang ako. I'm just fine. I'm feeling better after the flight yesterday. Hindi naman gano'n katagal bago ako nakarating dito sa Pilipinas.

I heard him sighed. Sabay naming pinagmasdan ang pagsikat ng araw. I know he's worried but I'm totally fine. Alam kong mas sasaya ako rito kaysa sa ibang bansa.

“Let's go downstairs, brat,” aniya matapos ang sandaling katahimikan. 

Humiwalay siya sa pagkakayap at pinagmasdan ako dahilan para mapanguso ako.

Napasuklay ako sa buhok bago siya sinamaan ng tingin. 

“Stop that stare, Chance Lucky!”

“You looked great, huh? Puwede nang pag tiyagaan.”

“Seriously?” I glared at him. 

He smirked. “Practice your glare first para naman magmukhang nakakatakot.” Tumawa siya. “Kidding.”

Napa-halukipkip ako at ngumisi. “Kaya walang nagkakagusto sa'yo eh. You're mean and... boring,” pang-aasar ko.

His face became serious. Salubong ang makakapal na kilay at tumiim ang perpekto niyang panga. Nabura ang ngisi ko sa labi at napaiwas nang tingin.

Patay. Ginalit ko yata.

“I already have someone here to babysit, not a girlfriend to chase.”

My cheeks heated. He always loves teasing me. Kahit seryoso ang mukha niya nakakaya niya pa ring magbiro. 

I pouted. “You're mean.”

“And you're a brat.” He pinched my cheeks. “Let's go.”

He put his hands on my shoulders as we walk towards the dining area. He always has this attitude kapag magkasama kami. He's clingy and I love it because I always felt safe with his actions.

The sound of laughter coming from the dining area was slightly deafening. Hindi ko alam kung ano pinag-uusapan nila but it seems that they are enjoying it as of the moment.

The smile on their faces disappears the moment we entered. Napatingin sila sa amin, probably...sa akin. 

“Goodmorning po!” I greeted, happily. 

Wala akong nakuhang sagot na ipinagkibit-balikat ko nalang dahil sanay na ako. 

Sumulyap ako kay tita Loren. “Welcome home po, Tita!”

She smiled, “Likewise.”

They are sitting at the long dining table. Nandito 'yong mga tita ko ngayon. Maybe they will be going to talk about an important matter. Am I belong? 

I kissed Granny's cheek before sitting beside her. Kumuha na ako ng pagkain at nilagay sa plato ko. Nana Rina immediately pours juice on my glass. Napatingin ako sa kaniya, nangunot ang noo nang mapagtantong matanda na pala siya pero nandito pa rin para magtrabaho. 

Napansin kong nanginginig ang kamay niya kaya hinawakan ko iyon at napapitlag siya dahilan para matapon ang sinasalin niyang juice sa damit ko. Nagulat ako dahil sa lamig na tumama.

“Pasensya na, Señorita. H-Hindi ko sinasadya,” she stammered, pinunasan niya ang damit ko gamit ang kamay niya.

“No. It's okay po.” I flashed a gentle smile. “No need to worr--”

My words got cut by Aunt Vicky's sudden talk.

“Ano ba 'yan! Better fire her, Mamà. Matanda na rin naman kaya dapat namamahinga na siya. Baka makaperwisyo pa 'yan dito,” she said, irritatedly.

Nakaramdam ako nang awa kay Nana dahil sa inasal ni Tita. Is that right to insult her? I face the maid who's on the verge of crying.

“Okay lang po 'yon, Nana. I'm fine oh, look. Juice lang 'to kaya keri lang hehe. You should go now and fix yourself too.”

Tumango lang ito bago dahan-dahang naglakad patungo sa kusina.

I looked at tita Vicky's side and she just leered at me. Napanguso ako sa ginawa niya. 

“We're just starting but you already ruined our moment, Fortunate. What a bad luck,” Tita Eunice said in a disappointed manner. Not knowing that she's hurting me with her words.

It hurts knowing that they see me as bad luck. Alam kong ayaw nila sa akin. Minsan kailangan nating magising sa katotohanang hindi lahat ng tao magugustuhan ka. 

“That's enough,” kuya Lucky said, sternly.

His forehead wrinkled while looking down on his plate. I sighed.

“Why are we here, Mamà? Ano ba ang pag-uusapan?”

Malumanay na tanong ni tita Loren. Siya 'yong pinaka kalmado sa kanilang magkakapatid. Hindi niya ako kailanman inapi katulad ng mga kapatid niya.

Granny wipes her lips before speaking. She looks strict as always.

“From now on, dito na titira si Fortunate. Your kuya Rio sent her here because he's too busy with their business. So all of you, be nice to her,” she warned. 

Napatigil sila sa pagsubo at napataas ang kilay ng iba. I glanced at kuya Lucky and he's quiet. 

“What?” Hindi makapaniwalang tumawa si tita Vicky. “Mamà naman! Ang tanda na niyan para asikasuhin ng magulang o ng kahit sino rito sa pamilya. How old is she? 21? 22?”

“20 palang po, tita,” pagtatama ko.

Nasa tamang edad na ako pero kung makapagsalita si Granny parang 12 years old palang ako.  

“See? She's already 20 years old, Mamà. My daughter at that age could stand alone. Dapat gano'n ka rin, Fortunate. Act your age. Hindi ka na bata para maging pabigat,” singit ni tita Eunice. 

There... she said it. Nasabi niya rin ang nais iparating. Heto na naman siya sa pagkukumpara sa akin sa anak niya, sa ibang tao. Nakakasawang mabuhay na naayon sa gusto nila. Na dapat ganito ka, kailangan mong gawin 'to, kailangan mong magaling sa lahat ng bagay!   

Lagi silang ganito sa akin. I don't know why. I couldn't remember I did something wrong to them. 

Napatingin si kuya Lucky sa kaniya. His jaw clenched.

“Stop it, mom,” kuya said. “Please. Anak siya ng kapatid mo pero kung ituring mo siya parang hindi mo kadugo. What's wrong with you? Titira lang siya rito at hindi naman siguro siya makakaabala sa inyong lahat. You are all mean,” salubong ang kilay na sabi ni kuya Lucky.

I saw his fist clenched tightly over the table. 

Nanlaki ang mata ni tita Vicky sa sinabi ng anak niya. Shock and disappointment were written all over her face.

“So you have the guts to disrespect me now because of that woman, huh? I am your mother baka makakalimutan mo, Chance Lucky!”

“Mom, sinasabi ko lang na wag naman kayong ganiyan sa pinsan ko. She's also your niece kaya sana naman wag niyo siyang pag-initan,” kalmadong turan niya.

Her forehead wrinkled. “At sinong nagbigay sa'yo ng karapatan para pagsabihan ako kung anong dapat gawin? Anak lang kita--”

Isang malakas na hampas mula kay Granny ang nagpatigil kay tita Vicky. I flinched a bit because of that.

Napatingin ako sa baba. Nangingilid ang luha ko but I remained strong. I convinced myself that tita didn't mean to say those words. Napatingin ako sa pagkain sa harap. Hindi ko pa pala nababawasan ang kinuha ko kanina. Nawalan na ako nang gana. Napabuntong hininga ako at nanlamya. 

“My decision is final whether you like it or not. Kung hindi kayo sumasang-ayon, umalis kayo sa harap ko ngayon din,” Granny said with finality.

Wala silang nagawang lahat. Napailing nalang si tita Loren. Tita Vicky and tita Eunice give me a death glare. I looked away from them and stared at my plate. 

“Anyway, how're your studies, Fortunate? What's your plan?” Granny asked.

Napaangat ako nang tingin. I sigh before answering her. 

“I- I'm planning to take upon BS in tourism management po, Granny,” I said, nervously. 

Nanlamig ang mga kamay ko. I know they are all professional now at parang napakababaw at napakadali lang ng akin kompara sa kurso nila on where they are successful at.

“Really? How can you be successful with that unacceptable course, Agony?” Tita Vicky interfered. I frown at her.

Unacceptable course? 

“I mean what's your reason for pursuing that? Specifically,” she explains while rising a brow.

“I- I want to be a FA po.”

“Flight Attendant? Is that your dream hija?” Granny asked. 

I'm about to say yes but tita Eunice interrupts.

“Oh come, Agony. Hindi ka naman siguro ganiyan kababaw. There are so many different courses you can pursue. Dream high, dear. Being a flight attendant is not that good. Anyone can have that since it was easy and boring. You can be a lawyer, like me.”

Boring? Is that how shallow they are? Nakakadismaya man ang pamilyang meron ako, pero iyon ang totoo.

“Or you can be a doctor too. Aim to have a professional degree, dear. This family was known for being powerful and successful. You will be a shame on us so please don't you dare oppose,” Tita Vicky uttered.

“P-Pero iyon po ang pangarap mo simula pa noon. Being a flight attendant is not a shame po.” I sighed. “Nasubukan niyo na po ba ang lahat ng kurso kung makapagsalita kayo ng ganiyan? Sabihin na po nating mahirap at mataas ang naabot niyong lahat pero hindi po iyon dahilan para maliitin niyo ang pangarap at kakayahan ng iba. Hindi niyo po naranasan ang paghihirap ng mga taong minamaliit niyo. I will do what I want as long as it will not affect badly on someone's life. Wala naman pong mali ro'n,” I said with conviction.

My heart ached with so much hope and desire. 

Minsan hindi natin kailangan sumigaw para manalo o may patunayan sa isang argumento, supalpalin mo lang sila ng mga salitang tatatak sa isip nila... with calmness and respect. 

I saw her gritted her teeth. What's wrong with her? Nagsasabi lang naman ako.

Napatingin si tita Loren sa kapatid. “She's right, ate. Just let her pursue-” 

“No! You are just proving to us that you're not deserving to be part of this family!“ she said while pointing a finger at me. 

Mapapansin ang pagkapahiya sa kaniyang kilos at mukha. 

“Marunong ka na ring sumagot-sagot. What a disrespectful brat. I can't believe this!” 

She rudely gets up on her seat and leaves the dining area. Tita Eunice leered at me before following her.

Si tita Loren nalang ang natira sa magkakapatid. She shook her head in disappointment. Lumapit siya sa akin at tinapik ang balikat ko.

“You were right. I believe in you. Break a leg, Fortunate,” she mumbled, before going away.

Tears rolled down my cheeks unexpectedly. At least someone believed in me. That gives me hope and strength to keep going. I wiped my tears.

I stood up from my seat. Nakita ko ang paninitig ni Nana Rina. I saw pity in her eyes. I smiled at her weakly. 

I looked at granny. Her eyes were soft. 

“Don't mind them, apo. You can rest for a while. Be ready for your college application. Your kuya Lucky will accompany you. I'll go ahead.” 

Tumayo siya at lumapit sa'kin. Hinalikan niya muna ako sa noo bago umalis. 

Kuya Lucky also walked towards me. Worries filled his eyes.

“Are you okay, brat?”

Tumango ako at yumakap sa kaniya. He hugged me back tightly. He kissed my head bago kumalas sa pagkakayakap sa'kin. 

“I have something to show you. Is that okay?”

“Ano 'yon, kuya?” I weakly asked. Umaga palang pero nakakapagod na. 

“Interested huh? I won't tell you. Come on, Fortunate. We're going somewhere.”

He walks towards the garage of the mansion. Nakanguso akong sumunod sa kaniya at makupad na naglakad. I saw him leaning with the limited edition Bugatti Veyron. He looks bored while waiting for me. 

“You're so mabagal. Pagong ka ba?” he teased.

Napairap nalang ako nang palihim at 'di pinansin ang sinabi niya.

“Oh! Nice car, huh. Where did you steal this?” I teased him back.

“Shut up.”

Sungit.

I laughed at his reaction. He ignored me and open the door in the front seat.

”Tsk. Pasok.”

“This is kidnapping sir.”

Napailing lang siya sa sinabi ko. Mukhang nawawalan na nang pasensya.

“Seatbelt.” Lumapit siya at isinuot iyon sa'kin. Napangiti ako at hinalikan siya pisngi. “Thank you!”

Kuya Lucky started driving bound to nowhere. Hindi ko alam kung saan kami pupunta. Nakalimutan ko na rin ang pagod at lungkot mula sa pangyayari kanina. Thanks to this man.

Sitting comfortably, I crossed my legs and stared outside the car's window. I saw some homeless people asking for money and food outside from the people passing by. May mga nagbigay, merong hindi at ang iba hindi namansin.

Just by witnessing that scene, I realized how lucky and blessed I am for having this kind of life. Nakakakain nang tatlong beses or higit pa sa isang araw, at may magandang tirahan.

I looked away from them and closed my eyes tightly. Maybe, my problems are too shallow compared to them. My heart throbbed with pain and a tear escaped from my eye. I immediately wiped it. My tears won't help at all. Pero babalikan ko sila balang araw, tutulungan ko sila.

Napamulat ako nang tumigil ang sasakyan.

“We're here.”

Kuya Lucky went outside the car and open the door for me. I stepped outside and noticed the condominium building.

“Ano gagawin natin dito, Kuya? Wag mong sabihin na may binabahay ka na rito nang 'di namin alam?”

His eyes narrowed. Nagbabanta. I laughed awkwardly. 

“Kidding! Tara na excited na akong makita 'yong sinasabi mo.”

Nauna na akong maglakad sa kaniya kahit 'di ko alam kung saan kami pupunta. He's annoyed with me. Baka iwan niya nalang ako bigla rito. 

Huminto rin ako at hinintay nalang siya. He stopped on the elevator's side and I followed him. 

Pumasok kami roon. May nakasabay kaming dalawang babae. Napatingin sila kay kuya Lucky. Napakunot-noo ako dahil doon. Nandito rin naman ako pero kay kuya lang nakatingin itong mga 'to. 

Kuya Lucky put his hands on my shoulders. Napatingin sila sa'kin but I ignored them.

I heard them whispered.

“May jowa, be. Sayang.”

“Maghihiwalay din 'yan. Magloloko ang lalaki at makakahanap ng iba. Ganiyan naman sila 'di ba? Sa una lang magaling.” 

I mentally laughed and pouted. Bitterness filled the surrounding, huh.

Huminto kami sa fifth floor. He guides me towards the door.

“Ano gagawin natin dito?” I asked with curiosity. Parang kanina pa ako tanong nang tanong. 

“Just open the door and you will know.” Sabay abot ng key card. 

Napatingin naman ako roon bago lumapit. I swiped the key card at dahan-dahang pumasok. Gusto kong tumalon-talon sa tuwa dahil sa nakita.

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