The sky was already gloomy at early 9 o’clock in the morning. Expected heavy rainfalls would happen anytime soon, yet there were still lots of students who were strolling around the hallways, loitering in benches, and even the raucous noises were echoing inside the cafeteria of Genario High.


   This was the month of July. The month of rainfalls where I’d just want to cuddle with my pillow and read my favorite book over and over again feat black coffee.


   Tricia burst out a heavy sigh and gazed on the textbook she was reading. She tried to eat using her right hand while the other one was holding the book lay atop the table.


The only place where she could buy her snacks and lunch is inside their school, in the cafeteria. The only cafeteria. How she wished there would be part of their school where she could buy foods without these people making raucous noise, but well, it was implausible.


She was sitting near at the transparent glass that serves as the wall of the entire place. She was alone in this rounded table while drinking her coke float and had no one to talk to—at least for now, because she and best friend were not in good terms.


Well, Tricia was always having a hard time dealing with her best friend because they used not to agree to the same thing. Their perspectives were not always alike and most of the time, they argued.


     And now, she almost got choked and she could feel the coke float spilled out from her nose.


            “How disgusting.” She wiped her nose.


            “If I lay here, if I just lay here! Would you lie with me, and just forget the world…”


      And of course, she knew who owned that voice.


    She scarcely gazed up and raised an eyebrow to her best friend who was already sitting across her, not even asking for her permission. Well, that’s her best friend and she couldn’t do anything about it.


   They had a little fight, so she could not just smile at her. Her best friend couldn’t understand her point that she didn’t want to go with them, haunting ghost, for it was just a waste of time and especially the weather was not good.



    Tricia was just staring at her. Her best friend’s hair finely fall straightly to her waist, and the silver earring on her left ear was really visible.


    Danica put her clasped hands on the table and shrunk her eyes, pursing her lips. “I’m sorry, Tring.”



      When Tricia didn’t reply, she continued. “I intentionally went here to talk to you and to say sorry.” She sighed. “Sorry if I was forcing you to go with us to ghost hunting, although you’ve already told Irish that you won’t. I got it, I got it. But…I know that this isn’t the right time for us to depart, I mean, you know…to die. So, why not? And you’ve told me you don’t believe in ghost, so why not give it a try?”



    Tricia felt uneasy. She was about to say something when Danica spoke again.


    “Tring, believe me when I say it’s fun and cool. I just can’t let this opportunity pass that easy, especially the fact that we need a break from stressing school activities and whatnots.” She rolled her eyes. “Gosh, the luck is already the one knocking on my door, why would I refuse to open the door and not let it in?” She bit her lower lip, preventing a smile to form.


    Tricia knew it. She almost believed that acting, she almost got tricked that her best friend was just saying sorry and that’s it, but no. She wanted her to go with them, again, coercing her for the last time as if it was effective. 


    “You really are insane, aren’t you?” Tricia heaved a sigh, and stared at her. “We really couldn’t know when will death arrive, ‘Nic. Well, we all know that it will come, but what we don’t know is when and where could it happen. We cannot just conclude that we will be safe as time passes by because of your mindset that ‘this is not the right time for us to die.’” She gazed away from her best friend and looked at those students who were roaming around.



    And at this moment, she didn’t know how did they reach the ‘death’ topic. But however, she was a little bit guilty. She was doing this again, like getting irritated by this. It was unhealthy.


     “Because it was not!” Danica exclaimed, and slammed the table.


            “Tric, Dani! What’s up?!”


      They both didn’t give any attention to the guy who was raising his hand for a high five. And since he noticed that the two were not in the mood for some stuffs like that, he decided to just leave them both and spend his jokes to other table, which also parts of their so-called circle of friends who intentionally had given the time to the two best friends to talk alone, because they all knew that if they couldn’t settle this right now, they wouldn’t talk when they get to their boarding house. Familiar with the word awkward?


     Tricia’s forehead creased but she was smiling. She was smiling because she was so done. She hated this. She hated having an argument with Danica.


     She needed to calm down. She had to breathe deeply to be fine.


            “So, when will that happen? When will you can say that it is the time for me to die. I am sure this is my last.” She rolled her eyes.  “Don’t settle with a silly mindset, ‘Nic. Death is a surprise, trust me. You even don’t know this can be the time that I will die, hypothetically.” She’s constantly massaging her forehead, trying to shoo the stress away.


            “Whoop! My bad!”


      They both gazed on the guy who bumped their table intentionally. It was a senior, a grade 12 student from STEM whom Tricia didn’t know.


   Danica was supposed to shout when the guy was already running away together with his other colleagues, but before he was out of sight, he raised his middle finger to the both of them.


   Danica just cussed before she put her attention back to where they were left a moment ago. Back to business.



   “Are you mad already, Tring? Wow, seriously? You really are that serious? You are always like that. Just because of ghost hunting we are now down on that death topic? Seriously?” She gestured her hand.


            “It was obviously connecte—”


            “You are always pessimistic. You have no fun. You are afraid to try because you are just always dwelling on the negative part. You are like that, Tring. How can we grow if we only settle with your mindset too which is, ‘think of its consequences’? Ghad, it isn’t that a big deal.”


      Danica put her palms on her face. The pressure was visible in her visage. And that was the moment when Tricia realized that their perspectives will never go align, because they couldn’t even know how to settle the simple argument they made.


     Wow, for thirteen years. We are best friends for thirteen years, and this?


            “You deal with it, ‘Nic. I don’t want to die for just a nonsense reason. If ever that I’d die, I want the reason to be worth it, and that other people could benefit with. Like taking the risk to save another life, and not ‘accompanying my best friend to go near to death’.” She closed the book, as if she was implying that their talk was finally over. Period. The story had finally ended. Move on.


            “Okay, fine! What could I do? And err, yeah, you are right.” She smiled sadly. “In our ghost hunting sesh every weekend, we’d never encounter any supernatural things.” She slumped her face on table shortly and then straightened up. She sighed.  “I’m gonna spend my whole weekend again in our dorm to watch Game of Thrones.”


    Tricia just nodded, looking at her steak. Took a small bite, not looking at the person in front of her.


    Danica heaved a sigh again before she decided to finally stand up. “Counter. I’ll go order my snacks. Do you want anything?”


            Tricia just shook her head, and because of that, Danica left her alone after getting her silent response.


     She sighed and just gave her full focused on what she was reading.



            Tricia took Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics strand. Her parents wanted her to be a Doctor someday, though they weren’t really forcing her to be one, and with all honesty, she utterly disliked the profession, but not that she hated it, it was just the things and stuffs that Doctors do, and the blood. Oh, how she hated blood. However, she couldn’t bring herself to tell her parents what she really wanted, she didn’t know why she was embarrassed to take her desired course which was Hotel and Restaurant Management after moving up to college. She didn’t know much about dishes, but she is eager to learn and to dive deeper into the world of culinary, which is what she really desired. Yet, there was something holding her back to take the course.  Maybe, maybe it was just because she didn’t want to be a disappointment.


     Her gaze moved towards the transparent wall when she did a quick neck stretching. She can freely see the guy outside the cafeteria laughing hardly while he was being punched on the arms by the girl in front of him. Eventually, the guy hugged the girl.


       Tricia almost choked. She was about to insult the two in her mind when she realized what was really going on between them. The girl was crying, and the guy seemed comforting her through caressing her back. However, the moment the guy embraced her, his smile vanished.


            “Was he just faking his laugh at all? How could he alter his mood that quickly if he was not?” she asked oneself.


    When they were already out of sight, she just shook her head and opened the academic book she was reading that was all about the lesson that they will tackle later at the Pre-calculus class. She didn’t need to mind the things that didn’t concern her. It was just a waste of time.


            She snapped her finger when she finally got the formula.




     A voice whispered, prickling the small hairs on her nape. The voice seems hallow, as if it isn’t real.


            Tricia quickly took a long glance on her left. And goose bumps begun to rose on her skin as she realized there was nothing.


   That’s impossible.



     She took a deep breath and tautened her held on the book. The cryptic voice really tickled the locks in her ears, how come that there was none? How could she explain that? Was it the work of magic? Work of ghost? Or a trick of the man who can command the wind to convey his message? She didn’t believe any of those. That was insane. Really.


      She needed to breathe. She had to calm down.


     When her gaze was back to the transparent wall, she saw an old woman, more like a grandmother, standing at the place where she’d see the two a moment ago.


    She furrowed her eyes and scrutinized the old woman. She couldn’t clearly see her face because except of the fact that she was somehow far, she also had this cloak hiding half of her face.


            “Hey, Tring! What are you lookin’ at?”


            Her best friend just arrived on time handing her tray. Great.


            The moment she gazed on her best friend and attempted to tell her that there was this old folk standing across the hallway outside the cafeteria, the old woman vanished. It was impossible. The hallway was enormous in size, if ever it left or ran away, for sure it wouldn’t vanish that quickly. It couldn’t escape her sight because she just shortly looked at her best friend. And also, it was an old woman, had weak knees for her to run that fast, and it was really impossible to believe.


     She took a lump and gradually shook her head. She forced to smile at her best friend who was already felt weird about her.


            “Uh, nothing. We only have one hour break before the class starts, can you finish that quickly?” She changed the topic.


   She maintained her voice to not crack. And she opened the lid of her bottled water and drunk it.


    She needed to drink water to help her not to get insane. Maybe it was just because of her exhaustion and sleepless nights the reason why she was hallucinating. They will have a lot of quizzes, presentation for their research, and report in different subjects. Maybe that was just because of that.



            “Yes, of course, Tring! And also, Ma’am Pangs wouldn’t be around, so I still have two hours.” She quickly devoured the rice and menudo. “This is really scrumptious.”


   Tricia straightened up.         “Uh, yeah. Anyway, to be honest, until now, I am not still familiarized with all the names of our teachers here. In fact, it’s just been one month since we transferred. The campus is big, there are many teachers, and I hate memorizing names. And this is the month I hated much. July sucks.”


     Her best friend nodded while she was busy eating her supposed to be snacks but ended up to be her early lunch.


   “Hey, just slow down,” Tricia worriedly said.


            Danica waved her hand, dismissing what Tricia just told her. “Me too, me too. Anyways, can you still remember, Tring? The accident that happened in Bulacan? A year ago, during our camp. It was a tortured to me. I could barely move on for two months that time. I can still visualize how the brain of that old man—”


            “Stop. Please, stop. You are still eating. Aren’t you feel puking, ‘Nic? Just—just eat and let’s forget about it. I am horrified because of you.” Tricia hugged her body and giggled.


            Danica couldn’t help but laughed that she almost got choke. Although, there was a lot of noises inside the cafeteria, her voice was always the one which excelled. Her voice is loud. Aversion to the ears.


            This was Tricia’s reason why she didn’t want to be a Doctor. This was the reason why she didn’t go with their ghost-hunting-keme and didn’t even try to watch horror with them. She even wanted to choose the romantic movie even she was a hopeless romantic towards her crush, and even it was just an unrequited love. At least, she’ll be ghosted by a real human if ever her crush would ask her for a date—which of course will never happen, never. At least, no real ghost. That was what important to her.



            “Seriously? Haven’t you told me, ‘there is no such ghosts exist in this world’? That’s why you don’t want to tag along. So, you shouldn’t be scared on talking about dead people and because you said so.” Danica gestured and shrugged, coercing herself not to burst a horrible laugh, again.


            “I am not scared, ‘Nic, okay? I just don’t like reminiscing some grisly accidents in the past. It’s totally terrible. Those kind of things must be forgotten.” Tricia rolled her eyes. That was her way to hide her fear. But no, she was wrong. Not with her best friend.


            “Tring, seriously?” Danica heaved a sigh. Acting like she was disappointed.  “But anyway, Tring. I really like your trip. I do think that it is just your third time to go here in the cafeteria during recess. Like seriously?” She changed the topic.


            She was right, though.


            “It is not required for me to go in the cafeteria during recess, is it?” she asked and went back to reading the book.


            Danica didn’t mind Tricia and roamed her eyes around.


            “Who are you looking for?”


            Sadness formed on her lips. “My crush is not here. Why is it he’s not around, when you are? Why is he here during recess, every time you are not? What a bad timing. Always.”


            “Why are you really into that guy? Really, who’s that?” This time, Tricia looked at her.


            “But his friends are here. Where did he go? Ah, maybe he is just busy today. What a bad luck. I just really want him to introduce to you. I mean not that kind of introducing where he could see me introducing him to you, y’know. Of course, he doesn’t have any idea that I have a crush on him, Tring. But I think, fate doesn’t allow me.” She snickered.


            “Just tell me who he is,”


            Danica giggled. “Just secret for now.”


            Tricia decided to stand up, and looked at her wrist watch. “If that is so, I gotta go. I also have to go to library to put this book back.”



            “Are you seriously gonna leave me here? Seriously?” Danica drifted her gaze away to the other table which is 2 meters away from them. “Charles, please accompany her in the library. She said she needs your help. Back up!”


            Tricia just shook her head and smiled. She chose to not mind the tease of her best friend despite of the chaos that was happening inside her chest. She just later waved her hand and said ‘kitakits’. Her best friend called her name but she didn’t look back anymore.


      They both took different strands. Her best friend, Danica Villanueva, took Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS). Her best friend wanted to be a psychiatrist someday. She was into observing and psyching human behavior. That was also the reason why she had always gotten into a fight during their junior high school because of her intuition that she was being backstabbed by her plastic classmate. Then it happened, they rumbled. She had no evidences of what she was claiming, so she was the one who’d looked dumb and antagonist to their teacher. She was the one who received a sermon. And worse, she almost got a one week detention if she didn’t just plead in front of their class.


            Tricia just always shook her head whenever she remembered that moment. It was an unforgettable memory of her best friend.


            It took her more than five minutes before she reached the library. She greeted the librarian before she skimmed her eyes inside. She firstly noticed the students sitting on their comfortable chairs and silently reading their books.


     Tricia immediately went to the bookshelves and put the book back to its place. It was good that the Librarian was really kind to let her borrow the book outside the library and bring it to the cafeteria.



            When she purportedly walking back through the threshold, a torso accidentally blocked her way. Both of their bodies touched. She had stepped her foot backward out of impulse. They looked at each other. She was supposed to get out, but that was when the guy unexpectedly entered the library. It was as if a telenovela, as if the fate let them met at that moment. Romance was the genre.


            She only went back into her sanity when she heard a snap. Reality pulled her back. And as she shook her head with a hint of surprise, the laid-back guy, who had this debonair smile—stared at her. And she also felt a little uneasiness knowing this was the guy who she just saw hugging a girl a moment ago.


    Yes, this was the guy who she’d seen a little while ago. But there was a difference. She was now staring at him this close, not to mention the fact that they were still in the doorway, and his gaze was on her. And she had no idea why her heart racing this fast.







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