Say My Last Farewell

This is about a Filipina teenager who fell in love with the most unexpected person in the most unexpected time. Does that mean a bad ending or a good one? In the process, readers will encounter Filipino words where you can learn and understand through the little dictionary below each chapter to use as reference. This story is not connected in anyone in real life and scenario but if any story is related, it is a big coincidence. This story is inspired in common Filipino lifestyle in the past during colonization of foreigners in the Philippines. [Reference are provided to keep readers from getting confused] [Author might have messed up with the Philippine History timeline but other than that, the words in the reference are facts.]

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6. FIVE

MARIA LOOKS at her windows that overviews the mountains sheltered with green grows of plants and below where the hills meet the oceans in a line. The sun had been up three hours ago. And just a day ago Frederick and his parents step foot to their mansion to contrast plans for the wedding.

            Indeed it is common to have arranged marriages in their life. Your parents choose who you are to marry, sometimes in need for rescues for failing business but sometimes they just wanted their child to marry someone in their level and they know. It sucks for some, but you have no choice anyway. And for Maria who isn’t in love with somebody, she can adjust pretty easily.

            “Senorita, Senorito Frederick is downstairs waiting for you,” a kasambahay informs her.

            Maria makes her last retouches before meeting Frederick. They are off for a picnic beside the ilog with some friends.

            Frederick meets her at the end of the stairs. “How’s my lovely Maria?” he asks teasingly.

            “I’m good. Let’s go”

            Frederick pointed out to the kalesa and they begins climbing up.

            The drive was long for Maria even if it is just two miles away from the mansion. She wasn’t used in Frederick’s presence yet. Talking to him is fun; he is kind and handsome. And bonus, he is rich. But regardless these, she isn’t in love with him, but she figures out that maybe time will make her. She accepts her destiny and has been ready for this since she was little. Knowing things will turn out these ways, she alerts herself.

            As the two arrives in the venue for the picnic, they are welcomed and congratulated by people.

            “Perfect,” Maria exclaims as she watches the scene in appreciation, directing her eyes in every angle, from the water running in the current to the little meadow where the mats are laid with baskets. Bread pokes its way out of a sewn basket. When Maria walks around, tingling feeling from the grasses play with your bare legs, the noise you can manage to hear is from the river and the singing of the birds.

            “Maria, you’re late!” Shana exclaims teasingly as she gave her a big hug. She is followed by Victorina and Rosana. The three are Maria’s closest friends that she grew up with. Shana is more outgoing than her three friends while Victorina is more on playing different instruments and Rosana, she goes for planting. Maria is shy yet she is the magnet in the group, she can easily gain hearts from people.

            Maria leaves Frederick with his friends and follows the three girls for a walk.

            “Maria founds her soulmate, where is mine?” Victorina sings as she hops.

            “Behave Victorina,” Shana says. “Jealous my friend?” she continues and laughs.

            “Oh no, I can’t!” Victorina replies as she waves her hands in the air. “He must be near –”

            “Look!” Rosana interrupts as she gestures her friends to hide under a bush. In a flash they find themselves hiding. Soon, a guy, in a white shirt and maong shorts that hangs to the knees passes by. He is quite familiar and just that Maria remembers him. He was the guy who stole a kiss! Worst, he is with a girl. Maria feels hatred starting to coil inside her.

            As the two reaches farther, Maria stands as she wipes the sweat on her forehead.

            “So what now?” questions Victorina to Rosana. “I don’t care if he sees us, We don’t know him anyway, do you?” she asks in narrowing eyes.

            Rosana hesitates.

            “What?” Victorina insists, blocking Rosana’s way.

            “I saw him at the plaza yesterday. I thought he’s hot but then I saw him holding a girl’s hand.”

            “Was that the girl?”

            “I doubt.” Rosana says disappointedly. “He must love doing such things,” she continues as stares in a plant. “Sayang.”

            Maria frowns.

            “Let’s keep going,” Shana says. “He’s a waste of time.”

            “I think we have to go back...” Maria suggests unsurely.

            The others agree with her and go back to the area. Frederick approaches Maria and gives her a kiss on her cheeks and nods to her companions. He asks, “Where have you been?”

            “Just somewhere walking,” replies as her eyes fall on a couple sitting on a big rock. The boy starts looking near her direction. Maria’s eyes widens as she freezes. When she recovers, she darts hey eyes to every face of her three girl friends – Shana with her hands covering her mouth with eyes grew bigger; Victorina with her forehead raised and lips bitten as if she is caught between a stupid fight; Rosana, eyebrows raised and her fingers bitten by her teeth. He can talk!

            Ugh.

            The group finally starts getting used to the two except for Maria. She is bothered, very bothered that she can’t stop paying glimpse to the guy and the girl.

            Did he recognize me? Maria wonders. Her face remains blank, not showing any signs of annoyance but her fists are gripping her handkerchief very hard now. Lucky for her that no one noticed. She glances in the guy’s direction, he is laughing with her, showing off his white teeth and lips curving perfectly. Enough for Maria who tries to distract herself to the food but fails; she excuses herself and goes straight for the river. She cups water on her palms and washes her face and decides to sit on a big rock for some air.

            Two big hands cover her eyes that she almost jumped to her heels. She holds the hands for clues and she guess it right as Frederick smiles at her.

            His tone turns concern. “Is there something wrong?”

            Maria shakes her head as she tries hard to put on a smile.

            “Look,” Frederick says as he points a couple sitting on a fallen tree just a few feet away from them. “Aren’t they sweet?”

            Maria feels a stab in her heart. “Yes,” she croaks. “I want to go home.”

            “What?”

            “Go home. I want to go home.”

            “Okay. I’ll find someone to fetch you. Is that fine with you?” He asks as he plays his hand on Maria’s hair. He receives a nod and goes back to the crowd as Maria starts playing with the water with her feet.

            The water is cold and it sends chills to Maria who kicks the water continuously. Sometimes she goes picking stones and throwing them in the rushing flow of the river’s water. Aiming to shoot it to the other side, she fails every time. She waits for Frederick who takes long to find someone. Such a gentleman but haven’t realize he could bring her back home.

            For a moment Maria thought she had the stone reach the other side but soon she realized that it was Frederick, who winks at her.

            “No driver so I asked him to send you home,” He says as a guy came to view.

            Oh no. It was the guy who saved her but kissed her and held hands with another girl and brought another girl for this picnic. Confusing.

            Maria starts to hesitate. “I just realize I want to stay,” she says.

            “You better go home. You look red.” Blushing? No way. I’m just mad. Maria thought.

            “No no..” she retorts not meaning to flatter in the process.

            “You should go home. You look sick. I don’t want my future wife getting sick.” Frederick demands as she pulls her slowly to the kalesa.

            “But…” Maria started protesting when Frederick starts to peck a kiss on her chicks. Just then the horse starts making its way out of the forest and away from Frederick but alone with the driver, the guy she swore she hates so much.

            Maria remains silent the whole journey, not even taking some look to him. She busies herself looking to bunch of coconut trees and little houses, or rather huts, along the way. The road is not cemented; making transportation harsh as stones strides the path.

            The kalesa stops and Maria starts to panic.

            “Senorita, a big tree blocks the road, do you mind if we walk? We are near the mansion but we need to walk for more or less 500 meters.” The guy says formally as he scratches his scalp.

            Maria shoots him a glare.

            He steps back.

            Maria continues glaring. Hatred and disgust plays in her. And… hurt.

            A tear leaves her eyes but she didn’t wipe it neither moving an inch. The guy moves, closing their distance. Surprisingly, he takes Maria’s hands and made a hand shake with hers and blurted out his next words, “Bryan…Bryan de la Cruz. I’m pleased to meet you Maria Gomez, soon-to-be Maria Gomez Santos.”

            Maria refuses to talk but slips her hand off his.

            “You can talk,” she snaps. “You’ve been making fun of me!” Maria says not realizing she’s been screaming. She started running to the direction of the mansion with Bryan after her. “Away!”

            Just then a branch of a tree on the ground catches Maria’s right foot makes her fell. Her eyes are occupied with tears that she wasn’t given a clear view of her path. Panting, she cries hard. Bryan comes to her side, slowly removing the dirt glued in her wounds. Maria feels like a child, but she’s not crying because she tripped and gained wounds, she’s crying because she felt her heart ripped.

            Focusing on Maria’s agony, Bryan buries her face to her chest and gives Maria hug. She didn’t push her way to escape, but digs her way deeper as Bryan hugs her tighter. He whispers through her ears, “Everything’s going to be okay.” She felt the assurance in his tone; sincerity runs in it.

            “Get off me,” she says firmly as she struggles to stop her tears. “Get off me.”

            “Wh-what?” he says, sounding shocked.

            “I’m not like them.” She says in her promising manner. “And I’m not going to be like them. Never be one of them.” She curses in shallow breath.

            Bryan loosens his grip she sets herself free and pushes him hard knocking him, catching him off guard.

            The wound covers Maria’s both knees. Blood finds its way in her saya seeming like a design if you don’t notice the blood dripping off. It hurts most when air dashes through it as Maria starts standing and off to run again.

            Nothing in her mind seem to progress well and all that matters is her to stay away from him; somehow maybe the pain will fade, not the pain from her knees, but the unyielding pain inside her. Why does it hurt? What hurts? What’s happening to me? Why can someone like him affect me this way? Once, twice, thrice, she trips off but she stands and continues; nothing matters but to build distance from him. From the guy who changed her life. 

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