Chapter 11

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#NewClassicRTMC

Chapter 11
Manila

While holding a basket of flowers, I carefully crouched down and placed the flower arrangement on top of my mother's grave. I bit my lower lip while my finger traced her name engraved on the headstone. I was glad that her resting place was still clean. I would come here once every month to spend time with her and feel her presence somehow. Pero sa daming nangyari noong mga nakaraang araw ay nakaligtaan ko.

"'Mmy..." I called her endearingly. "Sorry po kung ngayon lang ako nakabalik at sa tingin ko po ay matatagalan bago ko kayo mabisita ulit pagkatapos nito."

The corners of my lips curled up into a melancholic smile, thinking how I would be away from her for a long time.

"You used to tell me when I was a kid to keep on chasing my dreams. You told me that you would be always there for me every step of the way," I recalled our heart-to-heart conversations. "I know I failed a lot of times, but this time, I'm finally going to do it for real. Pupunta na ako sa Maynila."

After I had that conversation with Ike that night at the seaside, I finally made a decision. He helped me believe in myself and have courage. He taught me how it was okay to embrace the uncertainty of the future. Because when nothing is certain, anything is possible.

No matter if I'd be successful in this journey or not, I'd have no regrets. At least, I could proudly say that I was brave enough to try my best and do everything I can. It's better to try and fail than not to try at all.

"I'll do my best to be the daughter that you can be proud of," I told her with my chin up. "At para kapag nakita rin po ako ni daddy, magiging proud din po siya sa akin. I'll make sure that he won't regret having me as his daughter."

The misty breeze from the morning dews blew toward me. Thinking that it was my mother's way of showing her support, I smiled without worries. Mas lalong lumakas ang aking loob na hamakin ang bagong daan na aking tatahakin.

"Aleena..."

The moment I had with my mother was cut short when I heard Ike's voice. I turned to him and he seemed reluctant to disturb me.

"We should go now," he told me. "We might be late for our flight if we won't head over to the airport now."

Even though I still wanted to stay longer, I knew that I couldn't buy more time. We had to go and be on time. That was why I just smiled and nodded my head.

Ike offered me his hand to help me up. But before we left, he faced the grave of my mother, sincerity was brimming in his eyes like he was having a short but intimate silent conversation with her. I wanted to ask what was on his mind or what he could possibly tell her but I held my tongue since I didn't want to pry.

Nang matapos siya ay agad niya akong nilingon. "Let's go."

Walang salita kaming naglakad pabalik sa sasakyan. Gian was out of the car, looking a bit impatient as he waited for us.

Actually, Ike booked a van from the hotel to take us to the airport. Kaya nga lang ay hindi pumayag si Gian. He wanted to be the one to take us there. He was unhappy that we wouldn't have the time to bond before I left. It was all too sudden. Kahit si Auntie Divina ay nabigla ngunit hindi niya ako pinigilan. She looked complacent and secured, like she knew that nothing bad would happen to me even if I was away from her.

Hindi pa kami nakakalapit sa sasakyan ay nagmadali na si Gian upang buksan ang pintuan ng backseat kung nasaan si Auntie Divina. She filed for a half day para sumama sa paghatid sa amin sa airport. I was happy because those two important people in my life would send me off. I guessed that was also the reason why I wasn't even nervous leaving my hometown.

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