I didn’t know how many days had passed. Maybe even weeks? I lost track.
Everything was so hazy that when I first woke up, I slept again few minutes later. Naririnig ko ang ingay sa paligid ko pero wala akong lakas para manatiling gising. It was like drifting back to back from reality to dreams.
Hindi ko alam kung ilang araw pa ang lumipas, but one day, upon opening my eyes, the first thing I saw was Venice’s face.
“Ate? Naririnig mo na ba ako? Nakikita mo na ako?”
I had to blink few more times to adjust my vision . . . just to make sure this was real. After several seconds, naging mas malinaw ang mukha niya. There was a cast around her arm and some scratches on her neckline.
I slowly shifted my gaze around. Wala ako sa kuwarto ko. But the room looked familiar . . . and I realized I was in the VIP room of one of the Shin’s private hospitals.
Just then, memories before I lost consciousness came rushing in my mind. The terror after seeing the driver’s face and knife. How I pushed Venice out of the taxi. And how we almost died.
Nang tingnan ko ulit ang mukha niya ay halu-halong emosyon ang naramdaman ko. I wanted to tell her I was so scared. That I thought I would lose her. That we would die. But no words came out of my throat. I couldn’t even speak.
Tears started streaming down my face.
“A-ate? Oh my god, wait! Dad! Dad!”
Agad siyang tumakbo palabas ng room habang tinatawag si Dad at patuloy lang na umaagos ang luha sa sentido ko.
I’m so glad you’re safe. I wanted to tell her that.
Few moments later, Dad came rushing in. May kasama rin silang doctor. I was still sobbing after the fear and worry caught up with me at lalo lang akong naiyak nang yakapin ako ni Dad.
“It’s okay, it’s okay now,” malambing niyang bulong habang pinupunasan ang luha ko. “You’re safe now.”
“Steff, kaya mo na bang kumain mag-isa?” tanong ni Alice.
Dahan-dahan naman akong bumangon mula sa kama. It’s been four weeks since the accident happened. The doctor said Venice was extremely lucky because she only got shoulder and ankle sprains, along with numerous shallow cuts across her arms and knees. Since I cushioned her fall and received the impact, I suffered from blunt force trauma and bone fractures. I underwent several surgeries and had to do physical therapy for at least six weeks, even longer if necessary. Mabuti na nga lang daw ay walang problema sa pelvis bone ko dahil kung ‘yon daw ang na-fracture ay may probability na magkaroon ng problema sa paglalakad at balance.
My left arm was still in a cast since I had an elbow fracture. May cast din sa kaliwang paa ko. Still, I was thankful dahil left side ang medyo napuruhan instead of right. At least I could still be comfortable doing necessary things . . . like eating.
“Yeah, I can,” sagot ko.
Laging dumadalaw sina Alice, Yna at Jess during the first two weeks, pero ngayong nasa period of recovery na ako ay once a week na lang. Mas madalas na nandito si Yna since may private room sila rito kaya siya rin ang nag-a-assist sa akin kapag hindi nakakapunta sina Venice at Dad.
“Jess, pa-copy pala ng notes.”
“Grabe ka, ang GC pa rin kahit muntik ka nang ma-ano.”
The classes I were in was informed about what had transpired and allowed me to still take special classes. Ayaw ko namang mag-drop at lalong ayaw kong mag-reflect ‘yon sa transcript of records ko. Since may mga kakilala naman ako sa ibang class, nanghihiram na lang ako ng notes nila. Sa iba, in-email ko ang professors ko to have copy of slides if pwede tapos self-study na lang. Mabuti na nga lang at hindi pa panahon ng exams, pero may mga na-miss na akong quizzes and seatworks.
“So, sa Psych 1 na lang ako may kulang na notes,” I remarked. “Hindi pa rin nagrereply sa email ko si Ma’am Cruz.”
Jess shifted on her seat and smiled at me. “Psych 1? ‘Di ba classmate mo ro’n si Darryl Garcia?”
The mention of his name immediately caught the attention of the other two. Hay nako, mga tsismosa talaga.
Agad namang ngumiti nang nakakaloko si Alice at tumabi kay Jess. “Oh, ho. Bakit hindi mo na lang hiramin ang notes niya?”
“She’s right,” added Yna. “He’s a Campus Prince so the best choice is his copying his notes.”
My eyes narrowed in suspicion. Halata namang may halong pang-aasar ang tono nila. Talking about him was the last thing I wanted to do, but . . .
Alice flashed a teasing smile. “Come on, akala ko ba gusto mong mag-thank you sa kanya?”
I grunted in response. “Not to him, but his family.”
Apparently, the one who helped us was the Garcia family.
It turned out their car was just behind the taxi we were in. After naming mawalan ng malay ni Venice ay sasakyan nila ang huminto para sa amin. Since wala na ang mga phone namin ay hindi nila alam kung sino ang ico-contact after calling for an ambulance. Fortunately, nakasuot pa ang ID ko kaya ni-try nilang tawagan ang number ni Dad, but he rarely looks at his personal phone kapag nasa trabaho. Nang malaman ko ‘yon ay doon ko lang na-realize na sana ay ‘yong business number na lang niya ang nilagay ko sa emergency contact.
But they realized na sa Kingdom University ako nag-aaral so they quickly contacted their son and asked if he knew me. Well . . . may benefit din pala na naging acquainted ako sa kanya kahit papaano. After knowing what happened to me, he informed Alice and she called my dad.
The emergency procedure was done in the nearest hospital and as soon as I was out of the ICU, they transferred us to the private hospital that Yna’s family owned.
I still hadn’t had the chance to talk to them personally dahil sa tests and therapy sa hospital. Add to the fact na naghahabol din ako sa lectures sa classes ko. Now, I felt guilty for prioritizing my academic standing over thanking the people who saved our lives.
Wala naman akong contact ng parents niya dahil hindi nila iniwan sa hospital since dumating din agad si Dad noong nasa emergency room na kami. He thanked them that day and I wasn’t sure if they gave him their card. But knowing Dad, baka nasa pile na naman niya ‘yon ng business cards sa table niya sa office at hindi niya sinave.
The only connection I had with them . . . was him.
“Fine,” I muttered.
The three immediately grinned in unison. Mali talaga ang desisyon kong ipakilala si Jess kina Alice at Yna dahil mukhang nag-e-enjoy na rin siyang asarin ako.
“Pero wala akong number niya.”
Alice immediately fished out her phone from her bag. “Ako meron.”
Agad ko siyang sinamaan ng tingin pero lalo lang siyang ngumisi.
Since wala na ang dati kong phone, and all the memories that I wrote and stored there, ay binilhan kami ni Dad ng bago. Sobrang nalulungkot pa rin ako kapag naaalala ko ang journal entries ko ro’n at photos with families and friends pero wala naman na akong magagawa. The driver was still on the run, and I had already lost the hope of finding him.
Binigay sa akin ni Alice ang number ni Darryl pero after that ay hindi ko na alam ang gagawin. Saturday ngayon kaya walang pasok, but for some unknown reasons, ayoko siyang tawagan dahil weekend.
“Today’s a weekend,” mahina kong sabi.
“Why would I call him on a weekend?”
“Text mo na lang,” Jess suggested.
“I don’t text.”
“Ah, oo nga pala.”
Alice rolled her eyes. “Kasi nga manghihiram ka ng notes at magpapasalamat ka sa family niya. Ano naman kung weekend?”
“But we’re not close—”
Bago pa ako makapagreklamo ay pinindot ni Alice ang call button. Nasa tapat ng tenga niya ‘yon for a few seconds pero bigla na lang niya ulit inabot sa akin.
“Hello? Who’s this?”
My body stiffened upon hearing his voice on the other end of the line. I felt so awkward because the last time we met, I was so annoyed with him, and now, I had a favor to ask.
“Uhh . . . hu . . . hi?”
My face turned red after uttering such unintelligible words, and the three stifling their laughter were not helping at all.
Due to panic, I ended the call before I could even reply, and my friends burst out laughing.