The dream I had was terrifying.
I remembered sinking slowly into an endless and dark abyss, desperately calling my friends’ names to ask for help. However, no one could hear me. My trembling voice was just echoing around the vast darkness. I miserably sobbed, knowing that I would die alone, but then a hand appeared out of nowhere and gently pulled me up.
“I’m here,” he whispered as he carried our weights upward, and a moment later, I finally saw a light.
I woke up coughing out water and gasping for air. My body felt heavy, and I was so disoriented that it took me a few minutes to regain my senses.
Worried looks came into my view, with Ven sobbing in front of me. I tried to recall what happened, and the last thing I could remember was sinking in the water. Then, somebody called my name and rushed to me before I lost consciousness.
Oh, god, I was alive.
Saka ko lang na-realize na mayroong nakayakap sa akin. He was gently caressing my back, as if silently reassuring me that everything was okay.
“You’re okay now,” the guy hugging me, who turned out to be Darryl, whispered in trembling voice. “But please do not do that again. You scared me to death.”
I could feel his racing heart against my chest. I would have pushed him away if I were in my normal state, but instead I weakly returned the hug. He saved my life, and I would forever be grateful for that.
For the next few minutes, I was in a state of stupor, and only woke up from it when we were already in the nearby hospital. I vaguely remembered Alice and Jess coming with me in the ambulance, and the nurses running a test to check my condition. After regaining my cognitive awareness, the doctor started talking to me.
“Other than the bruises on the back of your arms, your test results are normal,” she reported. “Fortunately, you were pulled out before you could inhale and ingest a lot of water and was given a proper CPR. However, you need to rest for tonight.”
Tumango naman ako sa mga sinabi niya at nagbigay lang din siya ng reminders kung ano ang mga dapat kong gawin. Meanwhile, the two insisted that I should stay here, but I protested. May chance pa na malaman ng parents ko ang nangyari kung magpapa-confine ako at sabi naman ng doctor ay puwede na akong sa bahay na lang magpahinga kaya ‘yun ang gagawin ko.
“Sure ka ba?” tanong ni Alice habang palabas kami sa hospital.
“Yeah. Ayaw ko ring mag-stay rito.”
“Fine, pero magpapahinga ka lang talaga ngayong gabi ha?”
I gave her a weak smile. “Oo, wala na rin naman akong lakas para gumalaw pa.”
Nagtawag si Jess ng taxi dahil hindi naman na namin kasama sa rest house ang driver nila kanina at hinatid lang talaga kami ro’n. Kahit hesitant pa akong sumakay ng taxi dahil sa nangyari before ay wala akong choice ngayon.
Few minutes later, we came back to the rest house, and everyone was waiting for us.
Ven immediately hugged me. “Ate, are you okay already?”
“Yeah. Sorry for worrying you,” I whispered, and I saw her holding back her tears.
“Is she really okay?” tanong naman ni Yna kay Alice.
“Pinayagan naman siya ni doc na umuwi pero kailangang magpahinga.”
Kinumusta rin ako nina Tricia, Patrick, at Roj at inulit ko lang ang mga sinabi kanina ng doctor. Ngayon ko lang din nakita si Patrick na ganoon ka-worried kaya medyo nagulat ako. He must have been scared to witness such accident.
Meanwhile, Darryl was silent, and he was staying on the corner. I thought he would run to me and brag about how he had saved me to lighten up the mood, but he was doing the complete opposite. Bigla naman akong na-guilty dahil doon. He was the first one to saw me, and on top of that, he saved my life, but he must also have been traumatized after seeing me drowning and losing consciousness.
Gusto ko sana siyang kausapin, but everyone insisted that I should already rest. Dahil wala naman na akong magawa at bumibigat na rin ang mga mata ko ay umakyat na ako sa kuwarto namin. Ven assisted me and prepared the bed for me.
Nagulat naman ako nang tumabi siya sa akin at yumakap. Ven wasn’t the type to cling to me this much, so this was quite unfamiliar.
“Sasabihin ba natin kay Dad ang nangyari, ate?”
“No,” I sternly said. “Don’t tell Mom and Dad. Baka hindi na tayo payagang umalis kapag nalaman nilang ganito ang nangyari. Okay?”
She heaved a long and heavy sigh. “Sorry, ate, feeling ko kasalanan ko kasi lagi na lang may nangyayaring masama kapag magkasama tayo sa isang trip,” she said, her voice close to breaking.
Agad naman akong humarap sa kanya. “Ano ka ba, it’s my fault. Don’t interpret it that way. And I would never blame you for things that you’re not responsible for. Okay?”
She broke into sobs and nodded. “Okay.”
“Oh, come here, crybaby,” sabay yakap ko sa kanya.
It had been years since I last saw Ven cry this hard. Siya tuloy ang mas unang nakatulog kaysa sa akin. Na-guilty rin ako dahil sinisisi niya ang sarili niya sa pangyayaring wala naman siyang kasalanan.
I just hope that tomorrow would be a good day, so we could forget this unfortunate accident already.
Hindi ako nakatulog nang maayos dahil pakiramdam ko ay nalulunod pa rin ako. Para akong lumulubog kapag nakahiga ako at nahihirapan din akong huminga. Dahil hindi na rin naman ako makakatulog pa ay bumangon na ako. I went down the common area to make hot chocolate drink and strolled around the area while sipping from my cup. Few minutes later, I settled on the sunlounger near the pool that overlooked the cities below. Funny how this area appeared scenic this moment, when I just had an accident here last night.
It was just 5:35 a.m., but the sky was already layered with warm pastel hues. The sun was slowly peeking from the clouds, and it felt comforting to witness the world wake up with such magnificence. And how it was offering a new beginning and a chance to start over.
I had always wondered why Yna liked taking photos of nature and empty spaces, since Alice and I would always prefer capturing photos of people, but now I was starting to understand her. Taking in the beauty of nature gives you a different kind of satisfaction and tranquility.
Tahimik lang akong umiinom ng hot chocolate nang marinig ko ang pag-slide ng glass door sa likuran ko. When I turned around, I saw Patrick yawning and rubbing his eyes. I suppressed a chuckle upon seeing that. He looked like a sleepy puppy.
Nagtama naman ang mga tingin namin at mukhang nagulat siya dahil gising na ako. He approached my direction and sat on the seat right across me.
“Good morning,” he greeted. “You’re up early.”
“Good morning din. I couldn’t sleep properly.”
“Maayos na ba ang pakiramdam mo?” tanong niya kaya ngumiti ako sa kanya.
“Yup,” I replied. Watching the sunrise surely helped me calm down.
Nabalot naman kami ng katahimikan sa loob ng ilang minuto. Strangely, I didn’t feel uncomfortable. The only people whom I could be comfortable even in silence were my friends. Pero sabagay, nagsimula naman ang interaction namin nang makita ko siyang natutulog. I guess Patrick was one of the people whom I could share a pleasant silence with. I hope we could become friends. Pero hindi pa ba kami friends? I wasn’t sure if he sees me as one.
He suddenly shifted in his seat, prompting me to look at him.
“I was really worried last night,” he softly said, and I could see that it had bothered him to an extent.
Agad kong ibinaba ang mug na hawak ko sa tabi. “I’m sorry for worrying you. My own clumsiness caused a lot of trouble to everyone.”
“If only I stayed a bit longer . . .”
Oh, right. Siya ang nahuling pumasok dahil iniligpit niya pa ang grill na ginamit kagabi. Baka dumiretso na rin kasi siya sa pag-shower no’n kaya hindi na niya ako narinig.
“I’m not the easygoing type, so I seldom make friends. You’ve been in my comfort spaces, but I feel at ease with your presence. I thought, maybe being friends with you, would be a good thing.”
My face brightened up a bit. So, he wanted to be friends?
“But when I saw you at my shitty party, even though it was just for a few minutes, I had a lot of fun,” he continued. “Then when I saw you unconscious last night, it scared me to the point that I could barely grasp the thought of not seeing you again. And that moment, I realized how much I wanted to get closer to you. And maybe even less than the distance of being friends.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond to that, so I averted his gaze and fumbled with the mug I was holding a while ago instead. The comfortable mood between us was also starting to get awkward, and it heightened when I saw his face and ears turning beet red.
Nagulat ako nang bigla siyang tumayo. He forced a laugh and scratched the back of his head. “Sorry, I guess I’m not fully awake yet. Magluluto muna ako ng breakfast. Pasok ka na lang kung gutom ka na.”
Nagsimula siyang maglakad pabalik sa rest house at naiwan naman ako ro’ng tulala.
Okay, but what was that? I wasn’t adept at discerning feelings hidden in words, but . . . did I just receive a confession?