By Hossana Isaac O.
I briskly walked faster than my legs could carry me. I even tripped at intervals and got people looking at me with weird eyes. I was just trying to get back home before this heavy rain pours down on me. I have a problem with pneumonia and getting showered by cold water from the sky will do more harm than good
The wind began to blow vehemently, carrying my hair about and blinding my vision. I quickly brought out a band from my pocket and fastened it over my hair. I then braided it and it was in place
I began to run as little drops of water fell to the earth. It soon began to drizzle and the traders by the roadside began to pack their goods.
“Mari” I heard my name. I looked back while running, it was Eliza my best friend and former classmate in highschool
“wait” she yelled as she began to run towards me
““I can’t” I yelled back
I began to run faster
I stopped immediately. My auntie? She continued to run until she got closer to me. She was out of breath so I quickly ran to her
“what’s it with my auntie?”
She lifted up her hand and unfolded her palm. A wrapped white paper was in it. I gasped at the recognition of it
“oh my God” I muttered out as I took it from her
“it fell down while you were braiding your hair” she whispered partially
Eliza’s shop was around that side, she sold fresh fruits with her mother
“thank you so much for bringing it for me” I hugged her
It was the very reason I was running back home, so I won’t keep my auntie waiting or else I’ll be seen with purple and red bruises across my face
“go on now. Make sure you hold it tight. Or just keep it in your pocket” Eliza said and I nodded
A loud bang raced across the sky and sent strong electric flashes to the earth. We screamed and bent down, covering our heads. God knows how much I hate thunder strikes
“bye Mari” she waved at me and zoomed off. I stood up gently and released my head. I looked up at the sky and water began to pour down. It’s too late to run away from the rain now
“but it’s not too late to escape auntie Denny’s harsh slaps” with that, I took off, running as fast as I could and holding tightly unto the substance in my hand.
By the time I reached home, I was totally drenched by the rain in and out. I doubt if any part of me is still dry. I was also covered with mud because I slipped three times. In this side of Manila, mud is our best friend.
I gently rinsed my leg in the large puddle that formed in front of our house. I stepped into the house and closed the door
“what took you so long miss?” that was my auntie. I closed my eyes and opened them
“I’m sorry… The rain”
“the rain stopped you from walking?” she asked, getting closer to me
She scoffed and stood in front of me then brought her hand. I gently placed the damp paper wrap on her palm
She was standing in my way and I wouldn’t be able to move except she leaves there. And who the hell gave me the guts to ask her to excuse me
Right in front of me, she unwrapped the paper then immediately gave me a blow across my face. I was taken unexpected and I gasped at the striking pain then staggered back and hit the wall
“why is this wet? How I’m I supposed to sniff it if it’s wet?” her voice was so coarse
“I’m sorry. I didn’t want it to get wet” my eyes were teary and I could feel the blood seeping out from my inner cheek unto my tongue
She looked me over and hissed
“now I have to put it over the fire” she said as she was going towards the kitchen. I sighed and found my way to my room. I sat down on my bed which is actually a set up of building blocks put together to form a rectangular box. The blocks were covered with old clothes, rags, and anything that is made from fabric. Then on top of all those junk is a brown bed sheet which covered everything and made it look attractive
The water from my body dripped down unto the sandy floor. Yes, my room is on sand, it was not plastered with cement like my auntie’s own.
I took my wet and muddy shirt off then released my hair. A bug fell from the ceiling unto my cheek and I unknowingly slapped it.
Well the bug died, but it brought the pain that was subsiding back to life
Sometimes I wonder why my auntie doesn’t slap normally with a flat palm. Instead she makes her hand into a tight fist then she hits your cheek with it Maybe she knows it’s very painful. I just thank God I came home with the cocaine, what would I have done if I found out I didn’t bring it
I entered my self-made bathroom. It was just a place where I covered with some planks and an old zinc. I took a bathe and rinsed off all the mud off my body. I came out and wore a red shirt and a black short jeans just below my knees. I was feeling very hungry so I checked to see if the coast was clear.
I was feeling cold already and my teeth began to gnash but food is my number one priority now.
I decided to check on my auntie. I tiptoed to her room and saw her sitting on the floor, sniffing her life out. I smiled and hurried to the kitchen, I uncovered the pot and saw a tantalizing chicken soup. I gasped
Nothing is stopping me today.
I quickly went back to my room, took my personal plate and spoon and went back to the kitchen. I have my own plate because of undercover jobs, like when Eliza comes to my window asking to give me some of her fruits or her food without my auntie’s knowledge. Or when I want to steal food and can’t use her numbered plates because she’ll catch me if she finds out one plate is dirty or missing. So, I have my own plate
I went back to the kitchen, took the bottom chicken then arranged the ones at the top to make it look like no one touched it. I then poured out some of the soup and covered the pot.
I stopped to listen to any sound from the house. Though the heavy rain was creating noise, it was obvious there was no movement from my auntie.
I moved to a covered flask and saw a heap of fried potatoes. I sighed and dished out lots of it. I don’t care if she finds out about this one, though she won’t because before the effect of the drug wears off, her boyfriend or should I say man-friend will be here. That old man is old enough to be her father. He’s so disgusting, eww!
I quickly moved to my room and closed my door then blocked it with a stone so it won’t open by itself.
I ate everything with alacrity and I was so filled.
The only way I get filled is when I steal to eat. It’s not my fault, I hope God forgives me
I watched as my skin was slowly turning red because of the heat from the sun
I’ve been washing clothes under this harsh sun for hours. All of auntie Denny’s clothes, her wretched clothes.
After I washed all of them, I spread them on some logs. I rinsed the bowls I used then rinsed my legs before carrying my wheelbarrow to collect some steel materials or anything made from metal. I took my woven hat and gloves then left the house. I continued to gather lots of metals. I even went into the main city, though I didn’t reach the heart of the city because it’s busy with cars and trucks and important people. And also there’s no way I’ll find a metal there, their cans and metal plates that are out of use are always thrown into a garbage can for the truck to take
So today I’m just going to go round the streets of Gabrielle. It’s one of the best streets but some children do throw out soda cans into the lawns so I’m just going to pick them.
After going through the lawns for ten minutes without seeing what I was looking for, I decided to open their garbage cans to check. I really needed to sell them off before I would be able to buy a new dress for church. My old dress is so worn out and can’t be sewn again
When I opened the can, I saw something shining against the sun light. It was silver. I smiled and put my hand in the can, I tiptoed in other to reach it since I’m not tall. My hands gripped it and I pulled it out. It was covered by a banana peel and some candy packs. I removed them and gasped, it was a phone. An iPhone 11
What would it be doing here in a garbage can? I looked into the can again and picked out a silver wristwatch. It was studded with green gems and as I moved it in the sun, it glittered and even changed colors
“this is beautiful” I muttered
I heard a hoot so I looked up, the garbage truck was already picking the garbage can and pouring the content in.
I can’t return these things into the can or it will be crushed in few hours. I ran back to my wheelbarrow and dropped them inside then ran off with it.
I woke up from my afternoon nap and sat up. I yawned and rubbed my eye lids. I looked beside me and didn’t see my phone and wristwatch on my nightstand.
“oh no!” I jumped off the bar so under my pillows, under my bed, on my book shelf, I checked my closet. Even my bathroom. I didn’t see it.
I rubbed my temples frustratingly, I just knew Winifred will play an expensive prank on me.
I wore a red vest and left my room. I raced down the stairs and entered the living room.
I asked a maid
“have you seen Winifred?”
“she left the house few minutes ago sir”
I scattered my hair. This girl wants to give me a heart attack.
I stood akimbo, wondering where she might have kept it. I don’t even care about the watch, though I just got it yesterday
I decided to check her room.
While racing up the stairs, I kicked my foot on a stair. I groaned and began to walk slowly instead.
When I got to her door, the stupid girl had locked it before leaving.
I just hope my phone is safe. I hope she didn’t give it out to a street thug like the last time
This phone is too important now. All the documents and files containing my shares from dad’s business is stored there. I refused to make them into paperwork because it was stressful, and now I’m going to be doomed if I don’t get it before the next stakeholders meeting coming up next weekend.
Then an idea popped in, let me call her and tell her how important that phone is to me, to us because her shares too is included.
I went to the telephone and dialed her number. Of course she didn’t pick. I kept trying until she picked with a groan instead of hello
“ughhh what do you want?”
“Wini, my phone!”
“what makes you think I have it?” she said with a tone of sarcasm
“I don’t know who else can enter my room while I’m asleep to take my things without being questioned except you. Please I’m begging you, give it back. Our shares are stored there” I said, pleading and knowing how stubborn and adamant my twin sister can be
“huh.. Shares… I don’t get you”
“ugh, dad gave us some shares from the company. I’m supposed to transfer them into paperwork but they are still stored as documents in my phone”
“OMG! Check the garbage can in front of the house. I dropped them there, quick!” she yelled
I dropped the phone and went outside with a maid because I’m not going to dip my hands into any can and get diseases
The maid opened the can
“Sir it’s empty” she announced
My eyes popped open
“I think the garbage truck passed already” she said
“no no no. Let’s check the other cans. It has got to be inside!” I protested
After checking all the cans, we found out each of them was empty. The garbage truck really passed.
I was both angry, sad and scared. I stood speechless for minutes.
Then I saw Wini’s red car driving home. I huffed out hot air
I’m going to murder someone today!
To Be Continued