No Tears Left To Cry
No Tears Left To Cry
Author: heyskawn
CHAPTER 00

It is quarter to four in the afternoon when I arrived on LaGuardia's waiting area for Hendricks' arrival. Tumawag siya sa akin kaninang madaling araw para sabihin na dalawang oras na na-delay ang flight niya.

Kaya't nakapunta pa ako sa gallery at naipa-deliver ang painting ko na binili ni Mrs. Harrington. I can't miss Wretched being delivered to Mrs. Harrington. She already have 6 of my pieces and paid a hefty amount of money to acquire it.

Since Hendricks' supposed arrival at 4 o'clock is pushed back to 6 o'clock. It'll be quite a traffic later when rush hour strike and I'm by the Brooklyn area so I decided to come earlier instead. Besides I don't want to be stuck in the New York traffic later on.

I'll save the traffic as to when Hendricks is driving. 

Besides waiting is nothing. Two hours of waiting is not even enough for what Hedricks has done for me, I can't thank him enough when he saved me from the heartbreak I dealt with almost 4 years ago.

I was in deep pain, I was so hurt that I almost died of heartbreak. To think na nilaan ko ang oras ko sa pagsuporta sa kanya sa malayo at nang nakalapit na ako, abot kamay ko na at saka bigla akong hinatak pababa.

Hindi lang naman kasi ako hinatak pababa, ginising rin ako sa katotohanan na imposibleng bumaba ang langit sa lupa.

I shook my head, dismissing the memory that was trying to resurface yet again. I have less than two more hours to kill kaya't nagdesisyon ako na aliwin na lang ang sarili sa pagguhit ng mga taong nasa paligid. Just to let my mind ease for a brief moment from that haunting memory. 

Baka matutunan ko pa ang human anatomy dahil medyo mahina ako roon. Tanging mukha hanggang dibdib lamang ang kaya ko sa tagal ng aking experience sa pagguhit.

Hindi ko na nga namalayan kung gaano katagal na akong nagguguhit, kung 'di lamang sumakit ang aking batok sa tagal na nakatutop ang ulo. Napa-bumuga ako ng hangin nang mapagod na ako kakatingin sa mga taong masaya na sinasalubong ang kanilang mga bagong dating.

Kaya't naisipan kong magbasa. I reached for my Kindle to read a few pages of a self-help book I started reading awhile back. I thought I need it before thinking of ever coming back home to the Philippines (which my mom would always ask whenever she got the chance).

Ang akin lang naman ay ayokong umuwi na marami pang baong issue na dinala ko na rito noong dumating ako sa banyagang bansa na 'to. I need to leave the issues I have brought here. It's too much if I'll bring what I have brought here back home. Baka hindi ko na kayanin at ang ending ay mapunta ako mental hospital.

Nasa gitna pa lang ako ng pahina nang atakihin ako ng antok. Hindi man lang ako nakalayo nang magsimula akong antukin! Wala man lang akong napulot doon. Itinago ko na lang ulit ang Kindle ko sa sling bag at kinuha naman ang iPad Mini at ikinonek iyon sa Wi-Fi network ng airporr para sana i-check ang aking social media accounts.

I immediately regretted it, there's not much to see. I browsed I*******m of some art making videos of some art-related I*******m users I followed and some calligraphy writing then I got bored again.

I switched to Twitter, scroll on some toxic shitty tweets and some tweet rants from my friends. As F******k wasn't much help either, offline si Mama at iba ko pang kaanak na puwede ko sanang i-chat sa Messenger.

I even went on to check my Snapchat but as the other social media platforms, I had nothing to do with it. Napabuga na lang ako ng hangin. Sa huli ay kinuha ko na lang ang earphones mula sa bulsa ng aking sling bag upang makapakinig na lang ng tugtog sa Spotify ng iPad. 

I started listening to Ariana Grande's playlist made by Spotify and closed my eyes to feel 7 Rings' beat. I didn't know how long was I listening to the shuffled songs pero nasa kalagitnaan ng NASA nang manginig ang phone ko mula sa bulsa ng aking pantalon. Nakatanggap ako ng isang mensahe mula kay Hendricks sa kanyang Philippine based number, was the two hours up already?

Hendricks:

Phia, I'm here. Where are you? Can't find you in the crowd. Hindi ka pa rin ba tumatangkad? Lol. But seriously, where are you?

I immediately locked my phone, not minding whether to reply to his text or not, because I decided not to and half-jogged my way to the airport's arrival gate para salubungin na ang naghihintay na si Hendricks doon.

Hinihingal na ako nang marating ko ang arrival gate and there I immediately spotted Hendricks looking around the crowd without his usual paparazzi, and he's in his casual but flashy clothes and his expensive aviators from Calvin Klein (the only brand he wants).

It's the usual Hendricks Smythe get up!

I stopped to take a break because I'm already panting. Pinagmasdan ko siyang panay ang lingon. Bakit kaya hindi na lang ako nagkagusto kay Hendricks? After all, he's so friendly to me, he's equally handsome, fairly tall, and a better choice – which I just found out later on.

Kung siya na lang ang ginusto ko noon edi sana hindi ako nagtatago rito sa New York. I won't be far from home. I wouldn't be broken like this.

I shook my head at the thought as I readied my usual smile for Hendricks. I raised my hand and called him out of the open, "Hendricks!" he immediately shot a glance my way.

Halos matawa pa ako sa reaksyon niya dahil halata sa likod ng kanyang aviators ay nanlalaki na ang mga mata niyan. Halata na rin kasi sa pamumula ng kanyang pinsgi, tenga maging ng kanyang leeg.

Natatawang naglakad ako palapit sa kanya at maging siya rin ay naglalakad palapit sa akin, hatak-hatak ang kanyang maleta. Nang makalapit ay inabot ko ang maleta na dala niya ngunit inilayo niya iyon sa akin, "Let's go, Sophia, where's your car?" tanong niya sa akin habang palinga-linga sa mga tao.

I pointed on to the direction of the airport's parking even though he wasn't looking to where I was pointing at. He reached for my free hand and guided me out of the terminal's crowd, which really caught me off guard.

Habang binabagtas namin ang daan palabas ng terminal ay pinagmamasdan ko ang kamay niyang mahigpit ang hawak sa kamay ko. Ang nasa isip ko lang ay 'yung pakiramdam noong hawak niya ang kamay ko.

Hindi mabilis ang tibok ng puso ko, walang lumilipad na paru-paro sa aking tiyan, wala iyong kilig noong siya ang may hawak ng kamay ko. All I can think about was just shivers telling me that it's not him.

Binawi ko ang kamay kong hawak niya nang makalabas kami ng airport. I smiled awkwardly at Hendricks bago nagpatiuna patungo kung saan ko ipinarada ang kotse ko.

We walked the neatly, and perfectly aligned yet maze-like parking lot of LaGuardia. We stopped right in front of the obsidian black metallic Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet.

"What the fuck, Sophia!" he exclaimed as he remove his aviators when he saw my Benz in the row of the equally expensive parked cars, it was the latest launched model of Mercedes Benz that I bought just last week. I laughed at his reaction.

Nilingon niya ako, "You should come back to the Philippines now! You're a fucking millionaire here already, and low-key famous!" I just laughed at what Hendricks just said. 

Tinawanan ko lang siya kahit alam ko na seryoso siya sa sinabi niyang bumalik na ako ng Pilipinas. I know that he's serious pero inisip ko na lang na biro iyon because I still don't want to go home despite missing my family.

Ang alam kasi nila Mama, Papa at ng buong pamilya ay nag-aral ako rito ng additional course na patungkol sa Art para mapalawak pa ang kaalaman ko tungkol doon.

What they didn't know is that I'm here in New York because I wanted to get away from him as far as possible. The furthest distance away from him the better!

I just need to be far from him. I need to heal and piece myself back together and I'll be able to do that when he's far from me. 

"Where's the key?" he excitedly asked which revert me back to reality. I fished out the key from inside my pocket and showed him the key on my palm.

Hendricks immediately snatched the keys out of my hand and lift the alarm first before he opened the trunk to place his luggage inside. I told him to drive since I want take a nap.

Alam na rin naman niya kung saan ako nakatira. My place was just by Astoria in Ditmars Blvd. It's 2 minutes away from the airport but with the clogged streets of New York, it's going to be 15-30 minutes max.

Palabas pa lang kami ng parking ng airport when he quickly shot a glance my way, "Don't fucking dare to call me on a crowd like that again!" he hissed at me, I just shrugged and laughed at him whining like a kid.

I always make Hendricks lose his cool and go bonkers when he visits me every after 3 to 4 months. He's the one who help me get where I am today.

I was transferred as Hendricks' assistant after my contract with him ended. I was working as his PA for three months before I runaway from the hellhole with his help.

I still remembered everything like it was just yesterday, tatlong buwan na akong nagta-trabaho bilang personal assistant ni Hendricks noong sinampal sa akin ang katotohanan ni Malcolm at nang Zamantha na ‘yon na kahit kailan ay hindi na ako tataas pa bilang taga-bitbit ng mga gamit ng mga sikat.

With Hendricks' resources and his family, I got settled here. Noon ay nakatira pa ako kasama ng pamilya niya, they're nice and really friendly, pero matapos akong makaipon ng pang-renta ay nagpaalam akong aalis na sa pangangalaga nila. 

I was always struggling with my rent that I have to juggle three to four jobs to hustle for my basic expenses and rent monthly.

I was always thankful whenever Hendricks would loan me money for my studies, then he would visit me regularly for the past four years. Minsan pa ay kasama niya ang magulang ko sa pagbisita niya. 

We're friends but there's always high and thick walls between us – which I built for myself. Ayoko na masaktan ako ulit at masaktan ko siya. I can feel that he's holding something back but I was more focus on my healing and trying to fix my broken self, I don't want to hurt people in the time I'm mending.

I have said that his family helped me but Hendricks, himself, helped me took a scholarship in NYU to study more on Arts and just 2 years ago I finished the 2 year course and had my very first exhibit a month later which earned me my first million dollars because Mrs. Harrington bought it for that amount. 

Hindi ko alam na possible pala iyon. Mrs. Helena Harrington made my life better, which is why I'm thankful for her.

Tuwing maglo-launch ako ng exhibit ay palaging andoon si Mrs. Harrington. Palagi ay bumibili siya ng aking artwork. She would pay for a million dollars and nothing less. It actually helped not just me but my family back home as well, and since then my family had lived a comfortable life.

For almost 4 years that I spent my days here in the Big Apple it actually expedite earning my green card - of course with the help of Hendricks' family again, and with hard work I've quite established so much for myself in a city with a high cost of living.

I become a known artist for my heavy emotional painting and sculpted heavily damaged men or women – iyon kasi ang nararamdaman ko at sobrang nakakagulat na maraming tao ang nakakaunawa sa mga iyon. 

I sighed and glaced over to Hendricks, who's seriously driving, "Okay Dricks, I won't do it again," I told him and played with my seat's belt. "But I just wanted to get your attention faster and it did, right?" I sarcastically said and watched him drive.

He then sarcastically laughed, "Yeah! and you didn't think that maybe someone is out there or whatnot knows about who I am and they'll share it on their social media that I'm here in New York." he quickly glanced at me and went back looking at the road.

I silently thought about that. It never occurred to me the scenario such as that. "I'm sorry," I whispered as I look out of the window. 

"Sophia, I'm trying so hard not to get noticed, paalis man o pauwi ng Pilipinas, he's getting all suspicious of my trips, I have a hunch that he had me followed. Ayoko rin naman na mahanap ka niya, because you made me promise right?" I turned back at Hendricks and stared at him.

Who's getting suspicious? Was it him? For what reason? Eh siya nga ang dahilan bakit ako nandito ngayon sa New York! Siya nga ang dahilan bakit hindi ako makauwi ng Pilipinas at hindi ko makasama ang pamilya ko.

I reached for Hendricks' hand on the steering wheel, nagulat pa siya nang hinawakan ko ang kamay niya roon, "Thank you so much, Dricks! You don't know how much I'm thankful for what you've done for me," sinserong sabi ko, "Ayoko at hindi pa ako handa para bumalik ng Pilipinas kaya please lang ‘wag mo akong pilitin." dagdag ko bago ko ibinalik ang tingin sa kalsadang dinaraanan ni Hendricks patungo sa bahay ko. Without Hendricks' permission I took a nap. 

We arrived at my house within I don't know how long, all I know is that Hendricks skilfully parked my car inside the garage. Ginising na lang niya ako para bumaba na kami ng sasakyan at para tulungan ko na siyang ibaba ang mga gamit niya sa trunk para ipasok na sa loob ng bahay.

Mabuti na lang ay hindi niya ako pinatulong sa kanyang luggage kanina dahil sobrang bigat pala niyon. It must've been embarrassing if I tried lifting it earlier. 

"You didn't grow an inch, Phia..." komento ni Hendricks nang makalabas kami ng garahe at papunta na kaming entrance ng bahay ko. "New York has a bad reputation, with all the robbing and real heinous crimes... you're not safe here, it's better-"

"To go back home in the Philippines?" I cut him off. I smiled and shook my head, "Still, No."

I am five foot two inches by height, and I'm aware that I'm quite small for a twenty five coming twenty six years old lady living alone in New York. But my security is top-notch since I had hired people to have it made.

I know the dangers of living alone. I have watched news and read articles about it. May pepper spray ako, taser, rape whistle and many protection that can help me.

"Welcome back to my humble abode!" sabi ko nang binuksan ko ang pinto.

Hendricks admired my place, "You renovated the place!" he noticed. I smiled. I got every inch of this apartment renovated when I paid my last mortgage. Pagkatapos ay ako na ang nag-disenyo ng bawat sulok ng bahay na 'to.

"Contemporarily chic, huh?" pagmamayabang ko. 

"Yeah," he answered absentmindedly. "How much have you paid for this place again?" he asked when we're both settled on the couch.

Tinignan ko siya, "Just the house or over all?" tanong ko, "You know, with all the renovation, security and furniture?"

His jaw dropped, "What?" he asked again, surprised.

Minata ko lang si Hendricks, he sighed, "Just the house." he said.

I glanced at him, "$1.4M" I told him and smiled.

"Seriously?" he exclaimed, then he slapped my hand.

I snickered, "Yes, Hendricks, seriously." then I slapped his arm back and laughed at his reaction. "I have all this because Mrs. Harrington paid ridiculously high for my six paintings." 

"What the actual fuck!" he exclaimed and gave me another slap on my arm. "Well, you have to thank that Mrs. Harrington, then..." nilibot niya pa ng tingin ang bahay ko.

Tumayo naman ako upang hubarin ang jacket ko at isinampay iyon sa coat rack.

"You like the place?" I asked him.

"Yes, very much."

Napangisi ako at dumiretso sa kusina upang uminom ng tubig. Hindi ko namalayan na sumunod pala siya sa akin.

"Sophia." he called.

I jolted, "What the-"

"Why don't you go back now?" Hendricks asked, "You've finally got a say in life now, you can go back and face what you left back home for the last years." I stared at him. 

Umiling ako, "I don't know, Dricks." I hesitated, I feared. "I don't know kung kaya ko bang bumalik. I'm afraid to go back to where my young heart died." I voiced my fears.

"That's the very reason I want you to go back to the Philippines." Hendricks said, "It's time for you to face Malcolm Hinge Humphries. You can finally move on and put your past behind you..." I swallowed at what he just stated.

Napailing-iling na lang ako. I don't want to go back. I don't want to meet him again. I don't want to see Malcolm Hinge Humphries ever again.

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