“Cous! What are doing right now?”
“I am fine Kuya!”
“Where are going to study in college?”
“I don’t know yet Kuya. I am still in my junior year!”
“Yeah! I remember.”
You have a quite long conversation because this the first time we see each other after the vacation in Norway last December.
“Franz don’t bother to ask that question. I don’t have a proper answer.”
“Come on Joachim! You nearly fail one of your subjects and you are an irregular student at the university.” His father divulged while cooking our dinner.
He exclaims, “Dad, seriously!”
After talking to him for almost two hours I finally asked him about the ticket.
“Bro, I have a favor. You’re going to have a concert three weeks by right now, right?”
“Can you please give me a ticket for my friend? She was a big fan of your band and she wants to attend there at least once in her lifetime.”
“I don’t know if I still have a spare. I am supposed to give it to my friends at school.”
He went to his room. It took him nearly ten minutes until he went back to the couch and gave the gold. “I thought I already gave it to them. They would not attend the concert anyways because of the summer classes. Give one to her and attend there, okay?”
“Good morning Franz!” greeted by Evan and Agatha seating beside each other.
I nodded and coldly greeted them back, “Hello. Good morning!” and walk to my seat. However, they went near to me and teases me. “Bro, what is happening? You are becoming a slug again!” Evan exclaimed.
“What’s wrong again?” Agatha laughingly questioned.
They continued to tease my beg for me to smile. While I look at them preparing myself for the demanding review.
The bell ring, nearly deafening everyone in the room. The bell was louder today than yesterday, and this was irritating to all of us. The instructor from the review center arrived in the room and started the brief lesson in Math before answering the mock exam that was made by the center themselves. We do not have any break time as we need to finish it immediately after the two hours lecture. Leaving us hungry.
Twelve in the afternoon, we finally have our lunch break.
“The exam was so horrible!” Frida expressed her despair by slamming the reviewer in her table.
“Dude, chill! We have to review hard so we can pass to the biggest universities in the Metro.” Fredrick reclaimed.
We finally ate our lunch and relax for a bit. The mock exam consumed the mental energy of everyone and some of us even slept after eating. The next will be Science which is another draining subject. Same with the earlier subject, two hours of sleepy lectures and one hour of the mock exam and check it and questions to the parts that we do not understand.
The three decided to go to Bonifacio Global City and stroll there. Therefore, I and Agatha walked together going to our homes. Both of us walked into the village going to Gate 2 where her brother is waiting for her.
“Where is brother studying?” I asked.
“He was studying in UP Diliman. I heard that Frida’s brother were classmates until her brother shifted in another course at the university.” She replied.
I found it awkward as I am not used to starting a conversation with her. Usually, when we are going to talk, she was the one to start the conversation.
“Franz, when is your birthday?”
“How about you?” I asked despite I already heard it.
Her reply stunned me as the concert of her favorite band was the same date as her birthday. That is why she was eager to go to the concert.
“Have you able to find the ticket for the concert?” I asked.
This question quite changes her voice and becomes sad. “I haven’t able to buy a ticket. Maybe it is okay so I will not go pay a big amount of money for concerts.”
“But you wanted to attend there right?”
We are now near Gate 2 of the village where her brother is waiting.
“I am delighted that you finally sparked a conversation. After a long time, I can hear your quite deep, lighted voice.” She praised and suddenly gave me a gentile and angelic smile.
“Thank you. Wait!”
“What was that?” she asked.
“I am going to give you something that will give you much happiness.” I open my bag and grab the ticket hidden in the pocket of this bag.
“A ticket for the concert?” she shouted.
She screamed in happiness, jumping all over and giggling for a long minute.
“How come did you get these?” she asked while holding the ticket.
“I talked to one of the members of the band and be able to give me a ticket.” I simply answered.
“How about the other one?” she asked again.
“Give it to someone whom you want to accompany you to the concert,” I replied.
As fast as lightning, she gave the ticket to me. “Wait, me?”
“Since you are the one who worked hard to get this, you’re going to watch this concert with me.”
Instead of hesitating, I decided to get the ticket. “Thank you.”
And she continues to scream and jump because of the happiness that she felt. She went in front of me and hugged me. this awkward moment stunned me. my heart was pounding fast, and my hand was shaking because of the shock that I am feeling right now.
“Thank you, Franz! See you tomorrow!” she said and run out of the village.
I walk back going to my house. I never felt this kind of exhilaration. I want to jump however, I cannot. I am afraid that someone might see me doing that. I bottle these emotions and walk fast until I arrive home. I immediately sat in the table in my room and created another drawing about what happened earlier.
Until now, I cannot still believe that it happened.
“How come you will go to the concert?” Frida questioned Agatha’s answer to her about the concert.
“Yeah! Someone gave me a ticket.” She replied.
Frida and Isabella are begging her to tell who gave the ticket to her, but she refused.
Meanwhile, I continue drawing an image that I imagined on my mind. I do not have any idea why I am doing this. In the end, it went beautiful. It took me a whole hour to finish this artwork. Little that I know that our senior who just recently graduated.
“I did know that you’re good at drawing.”
“I didn’t know either,” I answered. Everybody laughed hard because of my answer deemed to be “sarcastic”.
“Why don’t you join the art club?”
I easily declined to the offer. “Thank you but no.” However, he immediately went to Evan and commanded me to put me on the list of new members. I am furious after he added me without my consent.
Agatha, meanwhile, saw my reaction and said to me, “Franz, calm down. I know joining these kinds of groups are not your thing. But I think this is on the time to show to everyone what you got.”
“I am not good enough!” I whined.
“It is now time to come out and show your art to everyone. I know that your sketchbooks are already tired of being hidden in your room and they wanted to be outside and be shown.”
Evan went back to the room and wrote my name. I felt quite betrayed, but I guess it is now time to (I guess) join this club and consume my last drop of the energy of the day to this club. Maybe, it will help me to show my talent to everyone. Maybe…
After the review, we immediately walked home. However, Agatha did not join with us because she has something important to do. So, only the four of us walked going home. However, I am still not happy that they put me on the group. I do not budge to speak because of Agatha, encouraging me to join there. Therefore, I decided to ask Evan for the removal of my name in the new members of that “club”
“Evan, can you please remove to that art club? I don’t want to join there.”
“Uhm… Bro, I can’t. I already put you on the official list of new members. It means that you cannot remove your name unless you going to not active.” He justified.
“Bro, please don’t leave there. A lot of youngsters need your natural talent in the arts. You have to show want you’ve at least for the very last time.” Frida begged but with no avail as I am not interested in joining that club. Therefore, Frida continued to encourage me. “Scaredy-cat, please just try. You know, a lot of us were amused by your artworks. It is your time to show your talent in drawing to everyone aside from yourself and the whole class”
I do not say anything anymore. However, I realized that my seclusion takes on the brink and took a toll over me. maybe it is the time to change and turn things all over. As I went to the kitchen, however, I saw my mom and dad laughing and giggling. Instead of disturbing them, I just went to the refrigerator and get some food.
“Franz, you’re home!” Mom exclaimed.
“Yes. I am here to get food inside the refrigerator.” I uttered.
I took the pack of cookie and milk, get a glass, and immediately went to my fortress. And do my own thing. Before I draw something, I wrote something in my poetry journal.
I completely went out of my fortress
The ground greeted me with delight.
The treatment shocked me
But when the flower blooms,
I know this is the start of a new beginning
Today is the concert of the band of my Cousin Joachim. And for the first time, I am going to attend a jam pact area. I also heard that the others even come from other parts of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, which is for me is mind-blowing. This the first major concert of the band, so they understand how serious and special this concert is for the fans.
I can enter inside, as I need to wait for Agatha. It is been thirty minutes since I arrived at the concert hall. Therefore, I opened some tunes on my ears because I am bored.
After forty-five minutes of waiting, “Sorry Franz if you wanted for so long. Thank you for your patience.” She apologized.
“It okay. as long as you come before the concert.”
We went inside the concert hall. A few minutes later, the concert had already started. I do not know any songs from this band, but Agatha knows this very well. She sings it without failing the lyrics of the songs and shouting so loud. I am a bit worried that she might be lost her voice the next day.
I can see to her that she enjoys the entire events. She even participated in one of the games at the concert and paired with my cousin. She was delighted as she honestly told me, and she was the fan of “Bassist Hendrix”. I did not know that cous used his second name as his screen name instead of “Joachim”.
After the concert, we went to the backstage. She took some snaps and signed the album that she brought a month ago. While she was doing that, I briefly talk to Joachim.
“Thank you cous for giving us a ticket. She never felt so happy as this.”
“She is enjoying the whole show. I am delighted with her. What was her name by the way?”
“Agatha, what a nice name. to be honest, I admire her. She seems nice.”
“Not only that, but she also changed my life. Without her, I might still in my bubble.”
To my surprise, she was already behind the two of us and heard what I have called to him.
“The two of you were cousins?” she asked.
“Uhm… yes. My father and her mom were siblings.” He answered.
“Okay. I now understand how Franz got the ticket. I am sorry if I haven’t said thank you to you.”
“No prob! My classmates were supposed to go to the concert but were not able due to OJT’s.”
She asks him to sign the album and took a picture and we went out immediately to the concert hall. While walking,
“I didn’t expect that the two of you were cousins.”
“We are cousins. We both have the same grandparents which are Norwegian and French, I hold the surname Hansen, and we have facial similarities according to our relative.”
“I see but, sadly I wasn’t able to notice it.”
The car that will take us back to Makati is here, drove by her mom. They get inside and start the two hours ride from here in Araneta to Makati.
After nearly three hours, we manage to touchdown my village. Her mom continued to drive until we already arrived at my home.
“Thank you, Tita!”
“You’re welcome. Take care.”
As I get out of the car, Agatha also went out and,
“Franz!” she loudly called me. She runs near to me and kisses my cheeks. “Thank you for everything. Promise, I would not forget everything that happened today. You made my life happy and have a little color and spark to it.” She runs to the car quickly and went inside. The immediately went out in front of my house.
I was left stunned. The shock on how fast things happened. The kiss from the check lingering to my whole body and my mind and heart cannot get over to it. I was trying to get inside of the house but, instead, I look above and appreciate the moon shining bright and the stars are spread out all over the sky.
“I was able to give a good impression to her. I added color and spark to her life. I cannot believe that I finally got into the heart of the angel. I am astonished yet delighted.”
The next school year starts. The section where we belong was announced the day after we enrolled. I look at to the student portal, I saw that Agatha and I were still classmates. That why, I am excited to attend the classes today. I have never been greeted by anyone whom I walked into. For the first time, I was finally greeted by my peers and classmates. The class started as the bell ring. However, Agatha did not arrive on the first subject. I just thought that she will arrive on the second subject and do what she did before.
However, she did not. She still has not arrived. The whole was already done, but I have not seen her. After that, I went home.
Uhm… no! I attend the first org meeting. I am not used to this kind of after school activity, but I am glad to accept my first project as a newbie in this club. Our paintings will be shown on the Nutrition Day in July.
Days have passed she has not arrived here. Weeks have passed, it is very frustrating. Two months since we started the senior year, she has not gone to school. We are also going to take some college examinations to pass the best schools around the Metro.
“Guys, do you think it is worth applying to these universities?” Frida asked.
“No. Trying is better than letting go of opportunities,” Fredrick said.
“Why do you ask that kind of question?” Evan asked.
“The exams are darn hard.” Frida shortly justified.
I can relate to Frida’s skepticism to enter to this biggest universities. I cannot help but think of the people around us, our parents, the school, and our classmates were forcing us to expect and make things “grand”. However, I am not thinking about the exam. After each CATs, I immediately throw it out in the window and think about the concern of my emotions.
“I am still baffled why Agatha wasn’t showing up to us and attending the school. She even skipped ACET and UPCAT.” I suddenly uttered.
While they are still debating about how hard the exams until I interrupted them. They also thought I have told them earlier.
“Yeah, I am wondering where she is right now. She was enrolled but never entered the school since we started two months ago.” Evan uttered.
“I don’t know. Also, I have not talked to me after our review. She doesn’t answer calls and text, which frustrating.” Frida complained.
We are worried about what is happening to Agatha. Her long absence makes me scared about what the feature holds to me and us. We still chatted and made calls before the third week of June. I tried to call her a lot of times, but she did not. We also went to her house, but sadly no one is around. We did that on repeat until August. However, we failed to talk to her nor see her. All of us eventually give up and decided to just hope that one day we will just see her in the room, running in the aisle going to her chair because she is late and immediately go to my chair to greet me with her smile.
Just like the usual.
One day in September. I went home from school after those tiring club activities that I never asked for. Of course, as I arrived home, I immediately went into my bedroom and relax.
However, I noticed something odd in my bedroom. The door was open and the painting of the back of the door fell on the floor. I saw that my storage of art materials was scattered in my table and my favorite pencil was lost.
I guess I have an idea who did this.
I went to Charlie’s bedroom and I saw him using the pencil and one of the sketchbooks that I have not to use ever since. I was outrage about what he was doing to my thing so, I immediately grabbed all the of my things that went out of his room. I already heard him screaming and crying, calling his mama. I immediately locked the door and rip all his drawings in my sketchbook. I hide in my bathroom and screamed. Making sure that I would not be scolded by either mom or dad.
As it turns out, I heard a loud knock on my door.
“Franz! Open the door!” my dad furiously shouted while knocking my door.
I stayed inside my room until I heard that they already entered my room and this time knocks on the bathroom door. I am still inside the room and firmly holding all the keys of my haven. They gave up and just closed my bedroom.
After thirty minutes inside the bathroom, I now finally went out and do the “regular things”. I locked the door and seat down in front of my worktable. I am finally at peace until…
“Franz, you have gone too far.”
I heard someone spoke inside of my bedroom. I looked at my back and I saw… mom.
“Franz, you have been absent here in his family. You rarely talk to your siblings and even insulting them in front of me. However, what you have done to Gian pushed me to the brink and I am completely done to you.
Ow! Really! She finally speaks to me like that. Like my mom! After all of this!
“Okay. So, why don’t you ask yourself if you did your responsibility to me? It has been a long time since you talk to me like you’re my “mother”!”
I offended her and step on her ego. Therefore, she hardly slapped my face left and right and swear at me.
“Thanks for that. I am still mad at you.” I coldly said.
“I am already tired of you shunning me and getting rid of each and everybody of us. It is been years since that happen. I even ask for your forgiveness before I went back here. Franz, when will you forgive me?” she asked while bursting into tears.
“You did. As far as I remember, you just went back here without saying anything to the three of us. You just came back here as if nothing worst happened. And yeah, I am not going to forgive you. Never!”
I immediately went back in front of my table and do everything that I need to do for today. My reply seems got into her as she kneeled, crying. She was not saying anything, and I am pleased.
However, deep inside my, there is a voice, “Franz, you have gone too far. Maybe further than Inferno…”