27 Days

Believe me, I have reasons for leaving.

First; I was scared. I’m not fearless at all. The moment I knew I failed a subject, my world crumbled down. I tried not to think about it. I went and hang out with different friends like I always do. But those outdoor activities made me feel worse –guiltier every minute. Why was I there, having fun, when I was supposed to tell my parents what’s going on with my studies? That I wasted their money and I had to extend another year at college? I had the strength to keep silent.

Second; I have issues with myself. Of course, I have. I’m as imperfect and as confused as another teenager could be. Well, I thought I had it all figured out. But I was wrong. For a year, I’ve been bitter to the people around me –bitter to myself. I locked myself up behind the walls that I thought could spare me from the casualties of this world. Honestly, I lost myself. I realized that during the dreaded days knowing that I failed my parents again.

The strength to keep silent– I had it. And it was all I had. The day came that I had to tell my parents that I failed them again. But I had another choice, and it was to run away. It’s foolish, I know. But I did it anyway. I stole the money my father gave me for my dues. But it wasn’t exactly stealing, I was going to pay him back. I was at school, chain-smoking, in effect of the adrenaline. I was nervous, angry, and scared. There was a lot to think about. Cigarettes were the only thing that could help me decide.

I decided to leave.

I picked myself up from my seat, and went home. While I was packing my stuff, I was in doubt. The presence of “home” was pulling me back. I remember it clearly –the smell of the house, the creaking floor, and my shaking hands. I stuffed everything I needed and went downstairs. Yaya asked me two questions that agitated me; where I was headed and why I had my knapsack stuffed. Of course I answered her with lies.

I headed outside, trying not to look back. It was hot. But I went on. Nothing could have stopped me, not even the stupid tropical heat that I’m already used to. I knew where I was heading, I knew how many hours it would take me, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be there on time. I took the risk anyway. I sat on the far end of the bus, and started crying.

Three hours and thirty minutes of contemplating phrases and thinking how I was supposed to explain this to anyone passed, I was already feeling like shit. My tears have dried, leaving my eyes tired. I crossed from this island to another, walked this familiar city, again and again. The next voyage would be in another six hours. No shit. I didn’t have a choice. I walked from here to there, turned my phone on and off, same cycle for six hours.

After sixteen hours and traveling, I reached my destination. Dipolog City. My hometown. My home. There’s nowhere in this world that’s as comfortable as this place. I ran, hiding from people that could probably recognize me. But that didn’t last long. I had to show myself sooner.

I planned everything out. I had to find a job and start small. When I had enough savings, I would come back to Cebu and keep working and show them that I’m fine on my own.

But before I even started, there they were. My parents, hugging me and telling me to come home.

For 27 days, I stayed there.

For 27 days, I was afraid. Thinking about my mother.

For 27 days, I was brave. Thinking this is it, have to stand on my own now.

But I have to admit, I still feel guilty. Until now. My brother probably hates me, he gives me that look that I also do when I’m pissed at someone. I found out that my mother was crying so much. My dad, well, I’m not surprised, he was mad as well. What’s surprising is he is as calm as a horizontal line. They say they forgave me. They even went there to fetch me, or not. Our great granny passed away. But anyway, they came and took me home with them.

I suppose I lost their trust. I can’t blame them. I’m at fault for leaving like that. Without a word, without a trace.

But it wasn’t a waste at all. I found myself again. The enthusiastic, risk-taking, friendly me. I believe, I’m even starting to change. I’m starting to notice that I’m calmer now. Which is weird. I’m not the patient kind. Still, I need a job. I’m skipping this semester and I have to pay my debt to my dad, so… Yea. Fuck me, right? As selfish as it may be, but I will never, ever regret what I did.

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