I’m going back to work today.
I was still working at home, writing stuff and researching. But now, I get to work on the field.
My intuition was right to feel glad about being able to go out again. It is indeed a much-needed distraction.
Two days has passed since I saw the blonde girl on my doorstep. Yesterday, a police officer visited me.
And on top of that, I found a strange-looking knife at the bottom drawer of the bedside table when I was unpacking my stuff.
The catch is, I think all of them have something to do with Ace.
The letters. After ogling at the knife for so long – my eyes dried from all the tears I never thought I could cry – I looked at the letters in a sad expression.
Are all those letters even genuine? Or was I just being used?
I shook my head to physically remind me to banish those kinds of thoughts away. Leave them for another day, despite how appropriate they may seem to be, judging by the arrival of my unusual visitors.
Thankfully, my thoughts were interrupted by a car honking outside. That must be Grace. She’s here to pick me up.
We are going to the orphanage today to shoot an interview. Apparently, a guy whose name is Robert Valeria asked our magazine program to help him find his biological parents.
We will ask the caretaker in the orphanage some questions about how Robert wound up in the care of the orphanage.
Airing his story on the show will help advertise his cause. It could be possible that some people who knew Robert’s parents would see him on the television and help provide information that will aid the search.
At the same time, the show would be an avenue for donations, should the orphanage need them.
Last time I worked in the field was more that two weeks ago. I looked for my ID in the bedroom. Home-based work didn’t require for it so I was quite afraid that I might have misplaced it.
I didn’t have to worry anymore when I found it on the top drawer of the bedside table.
My hands clenched a little bit tighter on my ID when I became all too conscious about what lay on the bottom one.
The letters and the dagger. A combination that evoked so much conflicting emotions.
Again, I willed myself to ignore them for now. How ironic was it that even the simple things, such as innocently searching for my ID, would lead me to such dangerous thoughts?
I never wanted that kind of darkness in my life.
And, being alone has left me even more terrified.
I don’t know what to believe anymore, what to think, nor what to expect.
The travel to the orphanage has taken about an hour. Grace played some rock music on the background that drowned out every thought that touched my head earlier.
I looked outside and opened the window to breathe the fresh air as we were nearing the countryside.
The car stopped at a two-story wooden house with French glass windows and a small playground.
One would mistake Blessed Orphanage as a tiny school with the kids running around, aside from the fact that there were no signage posted anywhere on the gate nor the fences to actually identify the place.
The small green-painted gate was open. They were probably expecting us.
So, we walked inside the property right away.
I noticed about five children playing in the playground. Two were chasing each other and the others formed a line behind the slide to wait for their turn.
Waving hello at the kids as we passed by them on our way to the front door.
Upon entering the household, I noticed children singing in the background. Although I can’t seem to locate where the sound is coming from.
The volume increased as we entered the house.
Other members of the Rated team were there already, from the cameramen to the assistants. They were setting up our equipment.
A lady with short gray hair and diminutive form was walking towards Grace and I.
She looked sweet, her bright yellow checked scarf wrapped around her shoulders, and her smile even brighter.
Contagious as her smile is, I can’t help but release a small one as well, brightening my previously pursed lips.
“Good morning Ma’am, we’re from Rated.” Grace greeted the old lady in a polite manner.
“Just call me Rebecca.” The lady smiled widely, her eyes disappearing into thin slits. The crows’ feet in the corner of her eyes are evident with her snow white, paper-thin skin. Small freckles dotted around her cheeks.
The sound of the singing children became louder as they reached a higher note. However, a single high-pitched voice stood out when said voice of a child apparently didn’t hit the note.
Grace and I shared a look and laughed at that. It was adorable.
Rebecca joined in, her right hand covering her mouth demurely.
“They’re upstairs. They have music lessons on Friday mornings, and sports on afternoon for the more active children.” Rebecca said in a soft voice. “Kind of like extracurricular activities.”
“Wow,” I said, my hands clasped in front of me in adoration. “How did you start this wonderful home?”
Rebecca cleared her throat. “Well, I was working with the social welfare services before. They asked me if I could take care of the street children since my husband and I weren’t blessed with a kid.”
Her expression turned somber as she looked away, her mind seemed to wander towards memories of the past.
“He died almost 2 years ago.” She offered a small sad smile. “Two kids became five, and that went on from there. Currently, I have fourteen. They come and go.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Grace said, as she held Rebecca’s small hand in hers.
“It’s fine. The kids are my bundle of joy.” Rebecca replied just in time for another kid to sing out of tune in an ear shattering volume.
Rebecca laughed heartily, and my eyes shined in wonder.
“What about Robert?” Grace segued to ask about what we actually came here to do. “How did he end up in your care? Was he on the streets, too?”
“Oh, right.” Rebecca answered as she led us to sit down on the wooden chairs in the receiving area.
We were supposed to come here with Robert himself, but he was currently abroad for work and his schedule did not permit it.
Around us, one cameraman was randomly shooting video footages for montage, others were adjusting the lens to record Rebecca.
When we settled down on the seats, Rebecca started telling the story.
“Robert. He was given to us by a young woman. She claimed that she had found them on the street.”
“Them?” I asked quietly.
“Yes. The woman was with one other child, a girl named Sienna.” Rebecca paused. “She looked frantic, so my husband asked her what the real story was. It didn’t seem that she was happy to pick them up on the street and seek to provide care for the children by giving them to us.
“So, she told us. Apparently, the children were twins, and the real mother who was her neighbor then left them at this woman’s. The mother said she was just going to buy something and needed someone to look after them for a while. Two days have passed then, and the mother still didn’t collect her children back.
“The young woman’s parents were getting angry at her for agreeing to babysit the children, so she was forced to give them to us. She was young, barely an adult, had five other siblings, and still lived with her parents. She didn’t have the means to take care for them, and the mother was completely gone.”
“What about his birth certificate?” Grace interrupted. “Was Robert his real name?”
“Yes. But we don’t know the real surname. The twins were about three years old, I think. They knew their name. We just let the children use my husband’s surname.”
“That will make the search for his parents so much harder.” Grace commented.
“Where is the twin now? I haven’t heard about her until now.” I asked after replaying the sad story in my head, and all the information that Robert has told the show.
Rebecca pursed her lips and gazed at me with a pained look. “She ran away, along with one other orphan here. I also haven’t heard from her in years.”