Chapter 3

“Dude, did you see the nurse from the emergency room? She’s hot. Totally my type,” Wayne said dreamily. I raised my brow and playfully bumped his shoulder.

“Pull yourself together, fucker. Your old man might catch you drooling over a nurse.” Wayne chuckled and bumped my shoulder too.

“Loser.”

Just when we’re about to reach the exit of the emergency room, we were signaled by the nurse to step aside. Agad naman kaming tumabi. Ilang sandali pa’y may pumasok na paramedics, isang lalaking duguan ang kamay ang nakahiga sa taas ng stretcher. Napasinghap kami ni Wayne sa nasaksihan.

Others might think na bakit naman magiging ganoon ang reaksyon namin gayong medical student naman kami. You see, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners like us are humans too. Ang mga kilalang doctor at ibang mga personalidad sa medical realm ay minsan ring dumaan sa pagkabigla at takot tuwing nakakakita ng mga pasyenteng nasa bingit ng kamatayan.

Just like everyone else, binabangungot din kami. We’re not built different at all. Hindi kami Diyos. Aaminin kong hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay nagagawa naming tulungan ang lahat. Tao lang rin kami. Hindi naming kontrolado ang buhay ng mga pasyente namin. If it’s your time, it’s your time.

Naiintindihan ko rin naman ang pamilya ng pasyenteng pumanaw. I know where they’re coming from. But I just thought that it’s a bit too much if they’ll put the blame to us. Ginawa pa rin namin ang lahat ng aming makakaya para iligtas ‘yong pasyente. I guess that’s just how life plays. Some will remain, some will go.

This is why I chose to take this path too. See, my profession requires me to meet people in the most distressing state of their lives. Being able to save them from the verge of dying feels so rewarding. Ang makita silang humihinga sa tulong ko ay isa nang malaking karangalan para sa ‘kin.

Gustuhin man naming tingnan ang lalaki, alam kong hindi ‘yon maaari dahil intern pa lamang kami. Lutang kaming lumabas ng emergency room. Papunta na kami sa fifth floor para ipagpatuloy namin ang treatment sa isang pasyente roon nang makasalubong namin si Dr. Lazaro sa elevator.

“Hi dad, I mean, doc.” Bati ni Wayne kay Dr. Lazaro. He nodded in response saka nagmamadaling tinahak ang daan papuntang emergency room. Nagkatinginan kami ni Wayne.

“Busy siguro.” Wayne shrugged and hop inside the elevator. Tumango na rin ako saka sumunod sa kanya. This will be our last treatment today. Pareho kaming 2 p.m. ang out ngayon so we decided to do all the treatments today para mamaya’y paglilinis na lamang ng equipment ang gagawin namin.

Nang nasa harap na kami ng room 504, I signaled Wayne to knock on the door for us. Una siyang pumasok pagkatapos ay ako. Mag-isa lamang ng pasyente roon. He’s maybe around the 60s or late 50s, I don’t know. “Good noon sir, ano po ang pangalan nila?” mahinahong tanong ni Wayne.

Ngumiti ang pasyente sa ‘min, “Ariel Aquino.” Ngumiti rin kami saka siya nilapitan habang bitbit ang nebulizer machine.

“Good noon, sir Ariel. Magnenebulize lang po tayo ngayon.”

“Anong gamot ‘yan?”

“Fluimucil po, sir, para po lumambot ‘yong plema niyo.” Paliwanag ko. Hindi naman siya nagtanong pa kaya sinimulan na namin ang pagnenebulize.

After the treatment, we went back to the Pulmonary Department again for our lunch. Ibinagsak ko ang sarili sa couch. Wala naman doon ang mga head staff namin kaya okay lang. Maybe they’re out for lunch. Mag-aala una na rin kasi kaya siguro nakaramdam na rin ako ng gutom.

“Tara na pare, I’m freaking famished!” Reklamo ni Wayne saka umupo sa kabilang couch.

“Famished mo mukha mo, linisan mo muna ‘yong mga equipment,” sambit ko.

He raised his middle finger and groaned. Tumawa ako saka siya binato ng throw pillow. “Dali na, Lazaro. Gutom na rin ako.”

Wala siyang ibang nagawa kundi ang bumangon. Ako kasi kahapon ang naghugas ng mga ginamit naming equipment. We agreed na salitan kami sa paglilinis ng equipment. Malas niya nga lang dahil hindi lang nebulizer machine ang ginamit namin ngayon.

Matapos niyang maglinis, inaya ko na siyang maglunch sa isang malapit na fastfood. We were already in the hospital’s lobby when Wayne whispered something, “Dude, look at the girl on my right. She’s looking at me.”

Tiningnan ko naman ang bandang kanan niya and saw a familiar face. It’s Addy again. “Bro, she’s cute. Lapitan nga natin. Might as well shoot my shot, kanina pa rin naman siya nakitingin sa ‘kin.”

Gago. Hindi sayo, sa ‘kin.

Wayne dragged me with him. Nang makalapit, agad inilahad ni Wayne ang kamay niya para magpakilala, “Wayne nga pala, miss.” Addy glanced at Wayne’s hand then at him.

She smiled and extended her hands too. “Addy, call me Addy.”

“Wait, parang familiar ka. Did we meet before?” Yes, dumbass. Siya yung hinalikan ko sa labas ng club. Addy was about to answer him when he said something which made me cringe to the core.

“Yeah, I guess I met you in my dreams.” He also winked at her. Kitang-kita ko kung paano ngumiwi si Addy sa narinig.

Siniko ako ni Wayne, signaling me to introduce myself too. I rolled my eyes. Nakita yata iyon ni Addy kaya natawa siya. “Cute.” Rinig kong sabi niya.

Wayne whispered again, “Bro, ang cute ko raw. Ikakasal na yata ako. Don’t worry, dude, best man ka.” Gago. Anong kasal? Walang gano’n.

I faked a cough to stop him. Alam kong naririnig kami ni Addy, but I guess she chose to ignore what my dumb friend is saying.

“Uhm, actually, you’re the best man here, not Milo,” bwelta ni Addy while smiling. Damn it. Ito na namn tayo sa Milo na ‘yan.

It’s fucking Michael Lawrence, not Milo. Seriously, this is a crime.

Wayne knitted his brows in confusion. “Who’s Milo?” Addy chuckled and hook her arm around mine na agad ko namang ikinabigla. Damn, this woman and her boldness.

Agad ko iyong inalis, baka may makakita sa ‘min. This is a hospital. Ayokong magka-demerit.

Wayne’s eyes widen. His face screams betrayal as he looked at me. “Taksil ka, bro. Akala ko ba single tayo habambuhay? Anong kalapastanganan ito?”

I shook my head in response. “Bobo mo.” Kanina lang ay nilalandi niya si Addy, ngayong nalaman niyang ako pala yung type, nagda-drama. Ayos din eh. Ang tino.

Iniwan ko silang dalawa roon. I’m hungry. I sensed that both of them were behind me. Nag-uusap silang dalawa, but I can’t hear it because of the noise outside.

Ano naman kaya ang pinag-uusapan nila? Binalikan ko sila saka hinila si Addy. Surprise was evident in her face.

“Hoy Milo, ‘wag niyo akong iwan,” sigaw ni Wayne saka patakbo kaming nilapitan. Sinadya kong hintayin siya para mabatukan.

“Isa pang Milo, Wayne. Iri-repost ko ‘yong video mo sa club.”  He acted scared and covered his mouth.

“Sorry na, daddy Milo.” He used a girly voice which made me cringe. Sisipain ko na sana siya nang mabilis siyang tumakbo palayo. Addy was laughing at us. For a second, her voice sounded like a sweet lullaby in my ears. Ngayon ko lang rin napansin na may dimple pala siya sa kanang bahagi ng mukha niya. Why did I not notice it last time?

She caught me looking at her so I immediately looked away. I started strolling away to escape from her. She followed from behind, kaya mas binilisan ko ang paglalakad.

“Hoy Milo, napaka-ungentleman mo naman. Hintayin mo kaya si Addy. Minus points ka sa langit bro.” Sigaw ni Wayne habang pinapanood kami ni Addy. He’s right. Why am I even ignoring her?

I stopped walking and waited for her. Ilang sandali pa’y nasa tabi ko na siya. Kita ko ang pamumuo ng pawis sa noo niya. I pulled my handkerchief in my pocket and wiped her sweat myself. Natigilan siyang muli sa ginawa ko. I can sense her staring at me as I wipe her sweat.

“Pa-fall mo rin eh. Kanina, ayaw mong hinahawakan kita tapos ngayon naman pinupunasan mo ‘yong pawis ko.” She hissed.

I chuckled and gave her the handkerchief. “This is a hospital, as much as possible, hindi tamang maglandian tayo rito.”

“So okay lang ‘pag nasa labas tayo?”

I looked away. “Well…” She cut me off and giggled.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” sambit niya saka nilapitan si Wayne.

Nasa loob kami ngayon ng isang fastfood restaurant at nakapag-order na rin.

“Ikaw ‘yong kasama ni Milo no’ng isang gabi sa labas ng club? Hindi nga?” Wayne said before taking a bite from his burger. Addy nodded in response. Binato ko siya ng fries.

“Isa pang Milo, Wayne. I’ll let you visit hell.” Pananakot ko.

Tumatawa akong sinagot ni Wayne, “I’ll drag you with me, bro. Forever tayo ro’n. Pati what’s wrong with Milo anyway? Bagay nga sayo eh.”

“Ako lang ‘yong pwedeng tumawag sa kaniya ng ganyan,” pahayag ni Addy.

“Luh, feeling girlfriend mo naman. Walang kayo ‘no. Sige nga, Michael, pumili ka sa ‘ming dalawa. Ako na kasama mo sa paglaki o siya na nakilala mo lang sa labas ng club?”

Pareho nila akong tiningnan, tila hinihintay ang magiging sagot ko. Napasapo na lamang ako sa noo. Instead of answering them, tumayo ako mula sa kinauupuan. I have no time for these childish creatures.

“Hoy, Michael, sagutin mo! Sabay tayong nagpatuli. Holding hands pa nga ‘di ba? Ako ‘yong pipiliin mo ‘di ba?” Sigaw ni Wayne. Right at that moment, I just want to bury myself 6 feet under. Lahat kasi ng mga naroon ay nakatingin na sa ‘min. ‘Di ba talaga tinubuan ng hiya itong nilalang na ‘to?

Ang sarap mong itakwil, Wayne.

I used my right hand to cover my face. Nang makalabas, dali-dali akong naglakad pabalik ng ospital. Magsa-sign out na ako. The amount of embarrassment today is already enough to make me want to be absent for the whole week. Alas dos na rin naman kaya tamang-tama talagang makaalis na ako rito sa lalong madaling panahon.

I was already outside the hospital when I came across Addy again. She held my hand to stop me from walking.

“You’re leaving me just like that?” Hindi nakalagpas sa ‘kin ang pagiging malungkot ng boses niya.

Kumunot ang noo ko. “Ano ba ang gusto mo?”

“Hindi mo ba ibabalik sa ‘kin ‘yong kiss noong isang gabi?”

I clenched my fist. “Iyan lang ba lagi ang nasa isip mo, Adaleyza? We’re in front of the hospital. Umalis ka na. Wala akong panahon para makipagbiruan.” 

I’m taking it back. I don’t want to get involved with her again. I had enough. Nandito ako para sa internship, hindi para makipaglaro sa taong nakilala ko lamang sa labas ng club.

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