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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4. THREE

“GOOD MORNING, Senorita" greets her bodyguard Edison. His messy hair worsens his image in addition to his dark skin that he acquired from excessive exposure to the sun. A circle of sweat ringed his shirt on the chest part; he's in his fifties and has been Maria's bodyguard for over eight years, just enough time to be able to witness her growth from a tween to a teenager. "Where off to now?"

            Maria, who is in her usual baro't saya designed with curves and flowers with her hair tied up in a bun with a butterfly ponytail, is being asked from her parents to do some mature job other than watching after the house.

            "Off to farm kuya," she replies as she starts climbing on the kalesa. "Where's the driver?" She asks searching around the vicinity.

            Edison tries to remember. "Ah! He just went out for a drink, he'd be back soon."

            Maria nods.

            They wait until the driver came into view. "Senorita," he starts, "Sorry if I was late, I wasn't expecting you to be early," he says apologetically.

            "Forget it," she accepts the apology with a smile. "I guess I was just a little early. You're new?"

            "Oh yes Senorita. I am the substitute of my itay," he explains as he got on the driver's seat to ready the horse. "Where are we going, Senorita?"

            "To the Gomez Farm," Maria replies and added, "Do you know it?"

            "Yes Senorita!"

            "Ah Senorita, Congratulations!" Edison interrupts.

            Maria shrugged. "Err... Thanks"

            The ride wasn't as fast as Maria expects but with Edison, she was able to bear up a casual talk. The sunshine is digging its way in their seats that ever her fan did not do good. The Gomez family has three farms in the city; they also own a hacienda not far from town. Every now and then, her siblings are assigned to visit a farm as a practice learning so as the right time arrives, they can manage and make the business grow.

            Since Maria is the only girl of the four children of the Gomez couple, she is assigned to the smallest farm of the family; little did she know that this assumed-little-farm is the most progressive of all.

           A red gate with a sign shows “Palayan Ni Gomez” welcomed the trio. Upon arriving, Maria is directed to an office where she is welcomed again by the manager.

            “Senorita,” exclaims Mrs. Darbus. “Kamusta? I’m delighted to see you again.” Mrs. Darbus approaches and gives Maria a hug. In the Gomez businesses, Mrs. Darbus is one of the trusted ones the couple has. She’s been running the Palayan ni Gomez for over a decade, and to presume, if ever she makes up in mind to have a retirement, his eldest son will be replacing her.

            “I’m doing good Mrs. Darbus. Delighted to see you too,” Maria replies as she returns the hug. “I’ve come here to observe the workers. I’ll be staying ‘til afternoon.”

            “I know, but before that I would like to congratulate you. You are so lucky to marry Senorito Frederick but he’s luckier because you are the chosen one to marry him.” Mrs. Darbus says in a manner of excitement.

            Maria prefers not to reply and instead pushed her way towards the direction of the farm. Mrs. Darbus is on her heels.

            “Senorita, if you don’t mind…” Mrs. Darbus hesitates.

            Maria takes a hint. “Hmm. Are you busy? Sure you can go. I can do this,” she says.

            Mrs. Darbus sounds convinced and paces back towards the office.

            The cornfield spreads its way in front of Maria. Her eyes couldn’t even see the ends of it. Workers are divided, some are harvesting the crops while others are planting; everyone is busy. She strolls her way towards the first path that welcomes her but not as warm because mud scatters everywhere in the path. Maria doesn’t really know what kind of supervising she is tasked to do but then she will stand for her own strategy. Her attention shifts back to the muddy roadside of the farm. A breeze, carrying humidity embraces Maria who is starting to hold on to her patience. She looks up the sky to grasp for cool air and it takes a while since she enjoys the flock of birds dancing in the horizon. Maria is dazzled to the beauty she witness.

            She pushes her way without looking on her path when she steps on a poop! Not just stepped on it but she slides and fell on the wet ground.

            A shout escapes her mouth.   

            The Maria Santos who seldom panics and even loose temper is now not in her old self. No one is around to help her, and even if someone sees her they might not identify her as a Santos, and worse, they’ll laugh at her clumsiness. Maria hopes that she should have fallen unconscious, as least they might pity and help her; she could escape embarrassment.

            Maria tries to stand without success. She pauses and looks around, still no one come out; didn’t even bother to call for help. Again she tries to stand against the hold of the sticky ground to her saya and even to her tsinelas that sank deep into the mud.

            At last she is able to stand but she began shaking and starting to fall again but unlike her first fall, the ground wasn't  as harsh but instead it seems like it reach out to catch her. No. She was wrong, she wasn't on the ground. She was floating. No. She was wrong again. She wasn't floating either. It took her a while to discover the hands gripping her sides that made her realize someone just saved her.

            De ja vu hits Maria instead of the consuming ground. Eleven years ago a stranger helped her from falling but she never get the chance to know him. He saw a guy in her balcony but it was never confirmed whether he was her hero.

            “Thanks,” Maria mutters. “Please put me down, I’m transferring too much dirt on you.” The guy does not respond, not even putting her down.

            Catches by surprise, Maria wiggles her legs in her sign of protest. “Please put my down,” she begs. “You’re not going rape me, are you?” She asks with a tone of fear.

            Mysterious guy smiles at her.

            “Put me down.” Repeated Maria firmly.

            He smiles again.

            “Who are you?” She asks, not willing to give up.

            He smiles again.

            “Excuse me? I’m talking to you.”

            He smiles again.

            “You’re not going to talk to me, are you?”

            Again, another smile.

            Boy, I’m not collecting smiles.  Maria thought.

            Before she realizes, a cabin came into view, pretty unoccupied. Maria drags her eyes towards her hero and closes her eyes. Indeed he smells bad, but in a good way.

            Upon reaching inside the cabin, she is laid on a bamboo bed and her stranger-not-talking hero goes outside. Maria bits her lip, maybe he really is deaf or mute or both. Worst, he left her! He arrives before Maria starts panicking. With him is a damp cloth where he used to clean the mud coated feet of Maria. He starts to the door again and goes back with a new pair of baro’t saya in hand.

            After Maria dresses up, he turns to face her. He is good looking. His skin bore the typical color of a Filipino blooded individual but a little shade darker. He stares at her and Maria stares back. He looks at her as if she is an angel, so lovely, so gorgeous.

            “Uhmm…” Maria stammers. Is that a drum? Something is beating hard. “Uhmmmm…”

            She stops when he starts caressing her cheeks with his rough large hands and follows by cupping her chin as he mouths, “beautiful”.

            She wants to reply, she wants to ask why he doesn’t talk, whether he means it or if it’s natural. She wants to know whether they’ve met before. She wants to figure out who he is – what’s his name, where he lives, how old he is, how he does and everything her mind can gather to ask. She wants answers to her a crowding mind and even –

            Her thoughts are suddenly interrupted she finds her lips enclosed in his lips. He is kissing her! Maria freezes but recovers and kisses back without noticing her hands inside his shirt while he is digging her closer with his hands on her waist. Maria is caught off guard but it didn’t last long when she pulls away from his hug. He was fast when he kissed her but Maria is faster to slap him.

            Whether she liked it not, or whether she responded or not, what matters is that he has taken advantage of Maria who seems weak in the situation.

            “How dare you?” Maria asks flatly without staring at him and managing to escape the lump in her throat. A tear starts its way downward. The world began floating and her eyes come to a blur as her ribs begin to tighten, leaving her barely breathing.

            Without waiting for response, Maria dashes towards the door, decided never to come back.

            The beauty of the sun nearing the horizon, painting orange and red on its image didn’t stop the heat of anger burning inside Maria’s chest.

            Damn. She curses under her breath not bothering for another glimpse of the cabin, not even bothering to know which way to go. What matters is to get farther and farther from that guy who was supposed to be her hero but turns out to be different. 

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