“Guys, faster!” shouted by everyone in the theater.
Everybody was running back and forth in the backstage to prepare everything in the stage, from the stage props to the curtain, until to the outfits of each character.
Our classmate who was on the stage shouted, “Ten minutes!”
Meanwhile, while everybody was still running busy doing their task, I stare at Agatha and noticed something. She appears to be a bit frail and sluggish. I am aware of how she moves when it comes to this situation and she was not like that. I could understand that she may be tired due to what we have done to the past four days, passing all the requirements and projects to pass next year. She was helping the characters in their outfits and make-up on the dressing area of the backstage.
I am on the other side of the backstage as we are preparing the props later, so we do not have problems in putting the props immediately after each scene. However, I heard someone fall on the ground. At first, I tried to ignore it as I am too busy doing this but when my classmates run fast and were alarmed on what they saw.
The sound when from the dressing area and my classmates were screaming and panicking. I saw frail Agatha lying on the floor, she is still conscious but still weak. She was holding her head and on a sturdy table on her right. I was supposed to run near to her to help her to stand up. My classmates immediately help her to stand up.
“Sorry about that. I still fine.” She casually said while maintaining her balance on the table.
“No! Sit down and rest. I am going to oversee them this time.” Evan strongly demanded.
Despite Agatha’s misgivings, she was still not allowed to move nor to help to do what she was supposed to do. While all of us are running back and forth, she was seating near the piano that we force to put there and watching us. I look at her again and I saw tears in her cheeks.
Since no one is looking nor here in this area, I walk near to her and wipe her tears using my handkerchief that was in a pocket in the whole time.
“Don’t cry. It is okay, we will be going to take care of this. Do not worry about our classmates, they are helping each other to accomplish this. Just take a rest and later we are going to have a party after this.”
She smiled and felt a little bit of relief that we are going to be fine despite that she was not moving with us.
“Agatha, I am going to bring you to the clinic,” Frida commanded.
Agatha stands up while holding Frida’s hand and walk slowly going to the clinic.
The play already started. The backstage was filled with running people, fixing the characters’ clothes and the props. They were also quite busy fixing the lines that they will read and so on. The play lasted for more than four hours.
Our performance was according to the audiences are comparable to a professional theater group performance. My teacher applauded our performance and praising us for this play. At least all the efforts, sleepless, and anxious days have finally paid off.
After the performance, they have a small party inside of our room. Someone brought a palabok, puto, cake, and bottles of soft drinks. However, I have not seen Agatha since after her nearly collapsing.
“Evan, have you seen Agatha?” I asked.
“She was there. Eating.” He replied while pointing at her.
She sits in the corner along with Frida and Isabella, eating. I am delighted she was now feeling well than earlier. I walked following Evan and sat beside him. After a few hours, I finally ate something that I can now call “food”. I have not eaten anything because of the preparation of this play and only eating crackers and water. I am not fond of eating but sometimes you still need to chow down a bit.
“I thought you are going to talk to Agatha.”
“No, I just check if she was there. I haven’t seen her after Frida brought her to the clinic earlier.”
Evan is looking at me and not believing my intention of asking him where Agatha is earlier.
After we eat, we clean and remove all the mess in the room and went home along with, Fredrick, Evan, Frida, and Agatha.
“Are you sure you’re feeling better now?” Fredrick asked Agatha.
“Yes. I am feeling well now unlike earlier.” She replied.
“I bet and you haven’t eaten anything since we arrived at the school earlier in the morning,” I said.
“But you look so weak earlier!” Fredrick and Evan said in a worried tone.
“I felt dizzy because I just cannot take everything that is happening earlier. People roaming, shouting, and so on.” She replied.
After we heard it, I completely understand what she was talking to. I don’t know to Frida, Evan, and Fredrick if they believe her. We continue walking until we reach the gate of the village.
“Are you sure that you can go home alone?” Fredrick asked.
“I already contact her mother and told her what happened to her earlier. Her mom’s car would probably somewhere here.” Frida said.
“She is already here,” Agatha said while pointing a car outside of the village.
“Take care, Agatha. See you on Monday!” we said.
Before she went to the car, “Franz, I never thought that you can also lead a group aside from silently sitting all day, drawing, writing, and painting beautiful images. I am grateful to have you as my assistant leader.” Applauding me.
“It was my responsibility. And without Evan, our classmates would not act like that. Even I don’t even expect them to perform like that.” I enthusiastically responded.
“I willing to help.” He shortly replied.
“Guys! We all did our best! Without all of us, this wouldn’t be a success.” Frida told to her, just probably to silence her.
Fredrick rolled his eyes, annoyed at her. “Stop the drama Chauco! You supposed to be in the car right now.”
“Oh yeah! Bye guys!”
She runs fast going to the car parking outside of the village and gets in there.
We walk back into the village and went home. I must rest and hibernate the whole night till tomorrow afternoon and recharge. Next week, we are going to face the final challenge of this grade, examination.
We started the examination last Monday. This will be three days of the examination plus we will also have to pass all our and projects to be cleared and able to enroll next year. Today is Wednesday, making the last day of our final quarter. We do not have any examinations. However, we still pass all our projects to our teachers. We are going to go to our classroom at nine ’o clock in the morning. Therefore, along with Evan, Frida, Fredrick, and Agatha are seating in the school garden, chilling and silently waiting till nine.
“Waiting takes like forever!” Fredrick reclaimed while seating hears.
“Would you please shut the hell up Freddie! We are patiently waiting here, and you whined just like that.” Frida picked him up and argue to him again.
“Again, the cousins are fighting again.” I coldly said to them.
However, because Agatha knows about my relation to them, she said, “You’re acting like you’re also not the cousin of the two.”
“I am their 2nd cousin. I am far from an off relative of these two.” I defended.
“Nope. You are still their close relative. If you are in the 4th core, I would probably accept the claim.” After what Evan said, I just closed my mouth and continue drawing. While the two are still fighting, the other two, Evan and Agatha, witnessed the agonizing and worthless argument that the cousins. The two talked while watching them.
“Are we going to watch them fight or stop them?”
“Of course, we are going to watch them until they kill themselves.”
“How to mean of you?”
“They will stop. It will take a little, but they stop if the felt tired or ashamed of themselves.”
After a few minutes, they finally stop. Both seats back to their seat earlier and rest a bit. Deep inside I cannot help but, laugh. Every time the two will fight, it would be exciting and entertaining. I finally have a quiet life after the two have their argument.
It is already time and we need to go to the room. We immediately walked going there. While going there,
“I have a question. Did you apply for the college entrance exam review?” Evan asked.
“Not yet.” I and Frida replied.
Evan answer to his question. “I don’t know if I am going to apply.”
“I already applied,” Fredrick replied.
We were all shocked by his reply, so we teased him.
“I wish I am as rich as you!” I and Evan said with envy
Frida meanwhile mocked him. “It is no doubt because you are the heir of the Fernando Enterprises and the most future most senior member of our clan.”
The three of us continued to bully him.
“Shut up! Three of you, especially you Frida!” he shouted in vain.
I noticed that Agatha was just watching. Despite we are laughing, she was just standing, watching, and listening to us. I have been avoiding looking to her bright, beautiful eyes. However, these eyes were not as bright as before. I can see the sadness lingering to her, nearly going to cry. Also, she did not blink her eyes despite I am swaying my hand in front of her.
I called her name but failed to get her attention. When the three finally saw the stunned Agatha, they went beside me.
“Are you okay?” Evan asked.
“Agatha! Wake up!” Frida shouted.
She finally went back to herself after Frida shouted her.
“I am sorry. What is asking again earlier?”
Fredrick slaps his face because of embarrassment, while Frida cannot but to shout so loud it can disturb the other rooms.
“Have you applied to the College Entrance Review?” I repeated the question.
She finally understands the question and responds to it. “No… I mean do not know. I don’t have any plan for college so far.”
“Okay…” we all replied to her.
“What are you all plans after high school? Where are going to study?” Fredrick continuously asked to us.
“I would study business course and plan to study in De La Salle, as my parent both studied there.” Frida easily replied.
“I am going to take a Literature course or somewhat Humanities courses,” Evan answered.
“Art course! Maybe Architecture.” I shortly answered.
We already arrived in the classroom. We did not continue our discussion earlier and instead went to our seats.
I become suspicious and lamented Agatha’s answer earlier. She told us that she has no plans of entering college. These past few days, I notice some unusual changes to her. She becomes a bit reserved and often appears very weak. Furthermore, she was not as active as before. These changes worry me a lot as I am not used to seeing her like that. I do not want to be a pessimist, but I help but to think whether the rumors about her being are true.
I am not that kind of person who is strong enough to say anything nor start a simple conversation. But I guess it is time to stand, come out to my shy bubble, and walk to her seat.
“Agatha would you please have plans for the future and attend to the review. So, I can talk to you even more than being like this.”
Frida, Isabella, and Evan were shocked about what I have said. Even Agatha was stunned about this.
“Uhm… Is this a friendship invitation?” she asked.
“I guess.” I doubly answered.
“I thought we are already friends?” she asked.
“I want it to be official,” I said with dignity.
Little that she knows, I intend to confess as I do not have the power to do it just like how her stalkers do. Despite confused, she accepted what I said.
Exactly two in the afternoon, we immediately went home, meaning that our classes were finally over.
“When will the review start?” Evan asked Fredrick were walking.
“First week of May to the first Saturday of June.” He answered.
“Agatha, are you sure that you’ll not apply for the college review? All of us will attend.” I started negotiating with her.
“Not sure if mom will allow me.” She replied.
“Do you have a lot of things to do while on vacation?” I asked.
“I have nothing to do. Probably, just stay home and sleep.” She answered.
“How about, let’s go out and stroll throughout the city?”
Everybody was shocked about me, offering her to go out.
“Are you sure that you’re going to sacrifice your solitude lifestyle to be exposed in the polluted air of Metro Manila?” Frida asked reluctantly.
“Are you sick Franz?” Fredrick and Evan asked shockingly.
Agatha, meanwhile, cannot help but laugh about it but still, raised her thumbs. “Okay. As long as it wouldn’t affect your solitude life.”
“I would be happy to get out than being inside the house.”
After that, we all went home and finally took a rest.
In my case, grab my art materials, and paint all night. I did not know that it took me until three in the morning to finish it.
“I know finally got the chance to be with you,
I am not going to miss this…”
I woke up, ten in the morning. It is two weeks after our official vacation has started. I went downstairs to eat a little toast and hot chocolate and go out of the house immediately. Luckily, the car was in the garage. I took the keys of it and drive on it. I am a bit nervous as I am not used to driving this car. The last time driving this was last December. My father was teaching me to drive a car.
I felt eased as the drive was smooth and so far, I am driving this car quite well. I am learning a lot from my driving lessons. I just wish that I am already on the legal age so I can now get my driver’s license.
At first, I forgot how to get to Agatha’s house. But after a few minutes of turning around the village, I already remember where she lives.
I went out of the car and walk to the gate. I am feeling a bit nervous about doing this, asking her to go out with me. This may sound a bit creepy but, I am already here. And I have no choice but to ask her. I reluctantly press the doorbell just too surprised her.
Instead of surprising her, I am the one who was surprised at her. She was already standing beside the gate, carrying a lot of plastic bags. She probably went to the market to buy vegetables and other things.
“Who was that?” her mother asked.
“Mom, he was my classmate.” She answered.
She opened the gate and let me enter their house. “Come in.”
I immediately entered their house and help her carry all those plastic bags. “No need to do that Franz.” She said.
“It is okay. I can carry it.” I said while walking going to the door opened by her brother. I continue to help them until the last remaining bag in the car. I went inside first to drink water and rest a bit.
“Thanks earlier by the way. However, what are you doing here?” she asked.
“I want to ask you if we can go out and hang out to the mall or somewhere, I guess,” I answered.
“Yeah! Sure.” She said.
After she asked her permission for her which she allowed her, we went to the mall and went to the arcade where we play games. I am not used to doing this as I have not gone here since childhood. The games were not my thing, but I must be enthusiastic about the sake of Agatha. Despite being a bit tiring, I felt happy and finally fulfilled my challenge to myself to went out.
By the way, after a month I finally saw her beautiful smile and for the first time heard her burst into laughter and giggle a lot. Luckily, she was able to recover as she can walk better now and appeared bright as before compared to the last time, I saw her.
After that, we went to a fast-food restaurant where we ordered and ate fries, burgers, and ice cream.
“I never felt so happy like that,” I told her.
“Sometimes, you have to go out of your bubble to experience the good things in life. you have to balance to solitude lifestyle and going out of the outside world.” She happily said.
“I know that I am not good at socializing with other people. I do not know why. Maybe because of my past.”
She leaned and ask, “Why? Is something wrong with your household?”
“Yes. It is a long story. It happened before.” I replied.
After eating, we went to the park in the center of the business district and seat under the tree.
“Hmm… are you close to your family?” she asked.
“No. I am not that kind of person who is affectionate to people, even to my family. I also have an icy relationship with my mother. I just don’t like her.” I replied.
“Why? Is she clingy to you? Or something went wrong to the two of you before? A feud or something?”
“Sort off. But it is more than that. She did something bad to us, especially to my father.”
“Something happened. Like what?”
“Sorry, but I cannot tell you as of the moment.”
We went back to the mall parking area and get in the car, drive, and bring her home first.
“See you in the review, Franz. I hope you have learned a lot.” She said when we arrived at her home.
“Thank you for accepting to go with me.”
“By the way, before I get out of your car, I also hope that you fix your issue to your mom. I don’t know why you felt that way to her, but whatever it is, please talk to her and start reconciling to her,” she said.
I nod as she removes the seatbelt and went out of the car. “Bye Franz! Thank you.” She said.
“Goodbye! Thank you too.”
I immediately went home. As I arrived home, my mom was “worried” to me rushed and went near to me and hold my face.
“Franz is this you?” she hysterically asked.
I was confused as she looked at me like that like we have not seen each other for days or probably I died or something.
“I’m Franz and I am okay.” Now, I know what is going on. “Mom, I just went to a stroll with the car. I have not used that car for months. I must make sure that the car is still on the working condition.” I explained.
She nodded meanwhile my sister savagely joked at us. “If it was not Franz, we should have heard that he was in an accident or something. It was from Franz! He was wearing his favorite jacket, jogging pants, and colorful socks!”
I was annoyed at her and commanded her to shut up as she was going to continue to bully me. “Margot, shut up!”
I immediately went into my bedroom.
“Franz, you’re not going to eat?” she asked quite loudly.
I finally went inside of my safe and quiet place in the house. Honestly, I am not comfortable with the company of my family. Especially to my mom. I do not like her, pretending that everything is fine despite, she already hurt our hearts.
When I was young my mom and dad separated. I heard that she had a relationship with someone despite being married to my dad. I was barely nine years old at that time, while my sister was six years old. I felt angry and bitter to her causing me not to talk to her until now when they went back to each other. She went back to my elementary graduation. I thought she will go back to Norway again and stay with her parents. Instead, she went to us.
What happened next made uncomfortable for her. I hate the fact that she acted like a mother when in fact she was not like that. She thought that everything will go back the way it was supposed to be before everything happened. I am also sick and tired that my family relatives on my father’s side are talking about my mom. That is why we rarely attend those events.
Because of these experiences, I become withdrawn and reserved. I prefer to be alone with paper and pencil and write or draw something than socialize with people
Also because of my rough upbringing, I become quiet and reserved. I prefer to be alone with paper and pencil, write and draw than play and socialize with people.
I finally recognized the reason why I become like this. As much as possible I avoid feeling something every complex and prefer solitude and silence than making friends. I regret that I could not recognize all these as earlier as possible. If I can find it early, I was not like this.
I spend the whole month of April, drawing, writing, and painting. I also started to socialize with other people. Agatha and Evan introduce me to their circle of friends, mostly our classmates and schoolmates, and attend parties with them. Despite tiring, I happy that I am starting to communicate with other people than talking to papers and stationaries. Frida was also delighted with the changes that I have made.
We started the review last week. The review will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is the first summer vacation that I will not visit my maternal relatives in Norway or France. Next week, I am going to spend my vacation alone in the house which is good for me. At least I am not going to deal with noisy siblings and a mom that I am uncomfortable to be with.
Nearly the whole class attend this review as everybody was eager to enter the most prestigious universities in the country, especially UP and Ateneo. Others may also study aboard but there is a separate review to those students.
While waiting for the lecturer to arrive, someone screamed so loud coming from the front of the room.
“Letter to Frances will have their concert!” shouted by Agatha.
My classmates especially the girls opened their phones immediately and completely disappointed as, “The tickets were already sold out within 24 hours!” one of our classmates announced in the whole class.
“What a waste! I just hoped that I didn’t know about this because I won’t attend anyway.” Agatha sadly said and sat back to the seat.
And they went back on reading their notes instead. Not bothered to think about that concert again.
I know the band because aside from that the girls in the class like their music and the guys themselves, most of them were also alumni of this school only one studied in La Salle Greenhills. I also have a cousin who is a member of that band, Joachim, my cousin to mom’s older brother Hendrix or “Uncle Henry”
Since both of us were born and raised in the Philippines, we are extremely. Therefore, I decided to visit him and probably have the chance to get a ticket to help Agatha go to the concert. But I must be silent so they would not know my plan.
During the lunch break,
“I hate the fact that I wouldn’t attend to their first big concert,” Agatha said while still disappointing that knowing it earlier.
“Me too,” Frida said while playing her meal.
“Guys, don’t tell me that you’re going to be like that forever just because you haven’t attended that concert.” Evan coldly told to them.
“What’s the sense!”
Frida just dropped the fork to her plate and did not eat the food. Instead, she went back to the room.
“How childish!” Fredrick was furious about the attitude that his cousin shown to us.
I seat near Agatha and comfort her anguish. “Agatha, it’s okay. Someday you’ll be going to attend their concert just wait.”
“I hope I can reach that time.” She said.
“Just wait. People who are waiting patiently will be rewarded.” I said and smiled at her.
They were all surprised by what I have said but. I promise that she will have the ticket she wanted. The only thing she must do is wait.
I did not walk home with them. I immediately went home and took my mom’s car. However,
“Franz, where are you going?” she asked while holding the keys of the car.
I immediately reply, “I am going to visit Cousin Joachim.”
“I can ride you there. I am going to your uncle.”
I am reluctant to join her, but I have no choice but to go inside the car and travel going to Uncle Henry’s house.