Speak & Listen 2

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SOME THINGS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN OTHERS

Some Things Are More Important Than Others

For some reason, I felt good about today. I felt like some things were abruptly cut out of my life and are no longer my responsibility. I never liked people, to an extent that I would prefer solitude . In addition, I had always felt like I’m more social and attentive to myself than any other human being.

Maybe that’s me being narcissistic, but I do prioritize solitude and a peace of mind. On the other hand, as much as I thrive and indulge in lonesomeness, it can be suffocating to talk to walls. I just didn’t know how to crack them to the perfect amount for my voice to seep in between the openings. That’s how insane my social appetite was.

I got out of the car. Gabriel, who was driving me, had been lost in thought a lot when he was driving today. He also couldn’t string out the events in conversation. As in, it was easy for him to lose concentration and it was noticeable because he was very observant.

I walked through the corridors, packing out everything I would need for Calculus.

“Good morning.” Mia, from nowhere, stood behind my locker door.

I nodded with a frown. “Hey.”

“My dad...” She trailed off. Suddenly, she broke down to a cry.

I had NEVER seen her in that state. Typically, Mia wasn’t even the type to allow herself to cry publicly.

“Wh...”

“Can we talk?” She spoke with a wobbly voice.

“Sure. In here.” We walked into Mr Davis’ class, who was my Calculus teacher. The room was empty.

I gave her a seat as I took mine. My heart was POUNDING.

“My dad...”

“No, he’s not.” I was feeling tears coming too.

“No, it’s not that. He’s been deported.”

My eyes widened. “Wait...how?”

“I’m the only one who’s an official citizen because of my mother. Dad, on the other hand...” She trailed off again and caught her breath. “Adrian, I don’t even know where my mother is and I’m afraid they may take me away too.”

I broke down as well as I embraced her. I was scared for her. I had no idea what they do to ‘immigrants’ and that made me uneasy. I knew, however, that Mia was born in Singapore and moved to Alex as an infant. Her mother, who was born and raised in the country, obtained official citizenship only for her daughter and not Mia’s dad. The major worry was how Mia was still a minor and couldn’t be living alone. She also never told me the kind of relationship she has with the rest of her family.

“Mia...you never told me about your mother. Ever.”

She shook her head. “She’s the last person to resort to anyway. She and my father divorced because of tradition. Dad was mentally ill and due to Alzheimic stereotypes, they believed he was ‘ragged and old’ and couldn’t be married to my mother, who was twenty years older than him. My mother was forced to marry him at the age of fifteen, while she was pregnant with me. That was also a taboo...fornication.” She shrugged. “I don’t know much about our traditions, what I do know is that they spat my dad out like he was nothing and I can never forgive them for that.”

“What are you going to do?” I sighed.

“Honestly...I don’t know. All I know is that with dad being deported, I cannot maintain the house.”

“I would definitely talk to David if home wasn’t so dark anymore.” My voice saddened.

“What do you mean?” She wiped her tears.

“Gabriel and Alejandro are moving out.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh.”

“They’re going back to college. Both of them. And I know this isn’t just about college. Ever since I told him about Cynthia getting remarried, he’s been acting like a child, throwing tantrums out of nowhere.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” She whispered.

I shook my head. “I’ll try on the other end to talk to anyone I know who might help...”

She nodded, interrupting. “I’d appreciate that.”

...

“Swamp party at my house at 8 tomorrow night.”

The entire school roared in cheer. I didn’t know such things still existed. Plus, what was the entirety of a swamp party anyway? Dancing with alligators?

“Sophia’s throwing a party?” Mia sat down as she joined Abel and I at the table. She more or less liked Abel. I did too.

“Apparently. She went from being nobody in this school to quite the girl with a reputation for her name and self.” I added.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her ’round the school before.” Abel’s tone wandered.

“To be honest, I quite forgot she existed.” I scoffed.

“A party?” Jeremiah spoke absentmindedly as he read the poster while joining the table as well. “That’s really unlike her.”

“That girl Julie could be behind it.” My eyes rolled.

“Of course.” Mia’s voice pitched. “We have to go to that party!”

We all looked at her. I particularly looked at her because in the dire situation she’s in, I didn’t think her partying was a good representation. But then again, what was she representing? Loss? Tragedy?

Who was I to question how she dealt with her problems? Yet, how can I sit and do absolutely nothing to advise her out of the idea of partying during deportation?

“Why? She’s been a bitch to us.” Jeremiah exclaimed.

“Exactly. She is expecting us to go to that party and that’s what we’re going to do. We need to see where her head is leveled. What she and Anilkumar are up to this time.” Mia elaborated.

“I don’t, at all, think this is a good idea.” My head shook.

“Did she threaten y’all or something?” Abel interjected.

“Let’s just say she’s not on our good side.” Jeremiah patted Abel’s back with a euphraxic smile.

“Why?”

“I’ll inform you later on.” I smiled. Anyway, I didn’t think it was anything to hide anymore.

I had known him for almost two months now. Slowly, reasons to doubt him were reasonably becoming less.

After recess, while collecting some books for my following period, History, Mia approached me with a blossoming smile. I hoped it was about his father.

“Hey.” I laughed as well.

“Hey. Did you consider whether or not you’re coming to the party?”

I frowned. “You can’t be serious!”

“What? Besides the key mission, I think dancing in the swamp river at night will be fun.”

“Mia, your dad’s being deported with a chance that you might be taken away by social care. Forgive me for not being in the mood, but I don’t understand how you are.”

“I can’t pause my life because of some heavy shit going on, Adrian. I’m a teenager doing my junior year, I’m supposed to be having fun!”

“Mia...some things are more important than others! And not even a tank of alcohol or a dozen parties can erase the reality for you. I have History to attend.” My teeth clenched.

It was a long day, for me especially. Not only I had sat up the entire night completing my homework, but, for the first time, Abel and I texted randomly out of school for school non-related and trial non-related things. I would feel a ridiculous smile on my face and attempt shaking it off, only to laugh again to his next joke.

But he was mysterious. For an hour, he did not respond.

For the next, he didn’t too.

I decided to sleep.

But it didn’t feel as if I was sleeping. It felt as if I was just shutting my eyes.

I decided to open my eyes. I was at a different setting, which terrified me. But I didn’t scream.

I was on a hospital bed. It looked similar to the ones I’ve been on before. But I felt something in my throat. Something bitter going up to my mouth. When I attempted coughing it out, I coughed out a large amount of blood. I looked around and I was the only one in the room.

“Help!” I yelled, but the walls felt patted.

I stood up, disconnecting every wire from my body. When I opened the door to exit the ward, I realized that I was at school. It was embarrassing to acknowledge that I was in a hospital gown at school…in the middle of the night.

I heard footsteps from a distance. I released a nervous sigh, now my paranoia escalating. I the saw a silhouette in the shadows, slowing walking to the passage lights by the lockers. When he was finally under the light, he was wearing a feet-covering cloak that covered his head.

“Who…are you?”

He walked even closer. I trembled even more.

When he finally stood a few feet from me, he took out a pistol.

“Whoa! Wait, wait…please…don’t shoot!” I begged.

He took off the hoodie. And I was never so confused in my life. It didn’t calm me down at all to see his face. Because his face was…

“...you’re me?”

A gunshot went off.

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