/34/ Back to Reality
“You’re a Peculiar, Jill.”
“That’s how we call our kind.”
“Can I have a word with you?” My flashbacks were interrupted when someone disturbed my solitude here at the wide backyard of Villa Barbara. I don’t know how she found me when it’s still so early in the morning. I nodded as reply and then I returned my gaze to the beautiful surroundings. I expected her to sit beside me or stood in front of me but she only remained standing there.
“Our class was fixed, but I should remind you that we are not, Jill.” She started. What should I have anticipated when it’s Lily? “That’s all I want to say, I just want you to not assume.” Before she left, I spoke.
“Thanks.” I know she paused and looked back at me after hearing that. I can see that clearly from the edge of my vision.
“F-for what?” She tried to act snob.
“Because you chose to rescue me before.” That eve she picked me over Ireneo. I don’t have to ask her reason since it’s very obvious. She was stunned for a second but later on, sneered.
“J-just think that I did that to do my part as your half-sister.” I can’t say for sure what she wants to imply. “The truth is, you’re very irritating.” My lips curved up because of what she said. It’s like a music to my ears. “Because you’re stunningly special.” Can you really say special? Special… against the many. Lily left, my smile also disappeared. That eve when they told me that I am Peculiar, I couldn’t believe that there’s a term used to refer to us… Peculiar.
“I’m also a Peculiar, Jill. Like you, I also can see something from people’s eyes, but not future but past. I hope you understand me.” I’m not that stupid to not realize what Morris had said. If so… that explains why I saw those past events about Aya after he touched me… and also why I only saw nothing but pasts whenever I looked at his eyes.
“How did you know that I can see the-“
“I know it since long ago, Jill. Even Lucille was aware…”
“She’s a Peculiar, too.” What Miss had said shocked me.
“Lucille?” I was very dumbfounded by what I’ve learned. “Wait! I still couldn’t understand you!”
“Jill – “ However, Morris was stopped by Miss Karen. She eyed me with her unchanging blank expression.
“You won’t understand because you’re not trying to do so. Jill, people who possess different abilities which no normal person have are called Peculiars. You, including Morris and Lucille are Peculiars.” She explained. But my mind couldn’t digest what I heard. It seems a dictionary is not enough to fully describe the essence of a Peculiar. It’s very deep. Or maybe my system couldn’t accept it or maybe I was only shocked to know that I’m not the only one like this… I’m not actually the only one who was different from the others. Dunno. I watched the two of them, Miss Karen sighed, “I guess you need to take your time Morie. We’ll discuss this matter after this recollection. For now, you have to rest. You must be bemused due to too many revelations. Just rest first.”
That’s how the talk ended, leaving me so confused and puzzled. But maybe she’s right, I really have to take a break after the myriads of events. I learned tons of things and even though some pierced the heart, at least everything was fixed. Somehow, I’m glad that Morris asked that favor to Miss. He’s concern for me but Miss did that for everybody. After that survival game which had became the turning point of our class, it was as if nothing happened last night, however, the change can’t be denied – the change in everyone’s heart. “To change everyone’s heart”. I think no one from us will ever forget this phrase.
“Jill! We’re being summoned! It’s time to eat breakfast!” I looked back and saw Aya at the garden’s entrance. She’s together with Penelope and Stephen. I smiled at them, stood up and walked.
The ones who said ‘that someone in the midst of enjoying something will not notice the passage of time’ are correct. They said time will become faster if you are happy. This is our last day in Villa Barbara which also means the recollection will be concluded soon. After this, as they said – ‘back to reality’.
After finishing the breakfast, the facilitators who colluded with Miss Karen before, made us go back in the common room for the last activity.
“Geez, there are already so many memories attached to this room.” Said by Baldo. He needed to put power to his voice since the room is made noisy by others who are busy chatting and shouting with each other while waiting for Miss Karen.
“Wow, men. When did you become sentimental, huh. ULTRA GAY!” Tadeo suddenly appeared and he was hit in the head by Baldo. They laughed together. “Hahaha! You’re being gayish, men! Ouch!”
Tadeo, huh. It will be not fun if he was not together with us, even if Aya and him are always arguing.
“Yeah, I’m being so sentimental I want be brought at the hospital!”
Speaking of Aya, she’s fine now, though sometimes there are awkward moments since she’s still feeling embarrassed to us. It’s a relief they are here to cheer her up.
“Whew! I thought you totally become mad, chicken lady! ‘It’s your fault iiihhh!” Tadeo imitated how Aya whimpered that time so we all can’t help but laughed.
“DAMN YOU TADEO! YOU’RE SO IRRITATING!” He was made a punching bag by Aya.
“Hey, enough of that. Miss will be arriving.” I stared at the one who chastised them and laughed more. Ireneo’s bangs looked weird due to what I did. Now he’s looking like an alien. But he’s also okay now, like Aya. Well, all of us feels the same with them – hopeful and grateful.
“Ice doll is here.” Aya whispered, everyone arranged themselves and zippered their mouths when she stood before all of us.
“Ice doll?” I asked.
“That’s her nickname given by them.” Penelope hushed in low voice. I forced to stop the curving up of my lips. Seriously, only now did they give her a name like that? Well, it suits her.
“Good morning.” She greeted in a lifeless way and we returned the greetings. I noticed the big bag she’s holding and it seems it was full of stuffs. She placed it on the top of the table and picked something from there, papers. “I hope you brought your pens.” She said while arranging them.
“Miss, don’t tell me there’s an exam again?” Tadeo jokingly stated which ignited everyone’s laughing spree. Miss Karen eyed us as if saying ‘What are you laughing at?’ which cause us to be quiet. Really, the aura brought by her eyes is this powerful and effective. Her stares itself are deadly. Tadeo cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, Ma’am.” And he tried hard not to laugh. Miss Karen distributed the papers which like her face, are blank. It’s also colored peach and thick. I think the probability of this being a test paper is a big zero.
“That is your last activity; I want you to write your own letter to yourselves ten years from now.” Letter? To myself? Ten years from now? “I’ll give you one hour to think about it. Any questions?” No one spoke, “I’ll collect the papers later.”
I don’t know if I’m the only one who is uninterested about this ‘letter to myself ten years from now’ but it seems that when it comes to the word ‘future’, I feel myself weakening. Nothing really comes into mind… I can see their future, I can see someone’s future, I can tell what might happen to them and I can see their unborn fates… But why can’t I tell mine? Right now, I’m watching them while happily speculating about themselves. Why can’t I feel any happiness about myself? I can’t relate to their happiness and hopefulness for the future they can’t see.
Time is a fast runner, I know. An hour passed but not even a drop of ink is present on my paper. I folded it into two and passed it empty. I peeked on the others’ papers and theirs were almost filled with paragraphs and such, with emoticons and even drawings. It’s a heart-warming scene, seeing them being ecstatic about this aspect called ‘future’. It’s enviable.
After Miss collected all the papers, she dropped it on the table and then she brought out something from the paper bag. Everybody is excited about what Miss Karen will present to us. We’re surprised again though, that she once again presented us some papers. The black ones. Those are where she requested us to write what our future paths will be.
“Remember these black papers?” She asked while showing one copy of those black papers. It has a name on the upper right corner. “I know that you all thought that I’m crazy because I told you to write down your future paths in these papers.” Well, since long ago I really wanted to think of you as a mad woman… “Do you have any idea why I commanded you to write down your future paths in black papers?” No one answered. “Fine, I’ll rephrase the question… If you draw a picture using a red pen in a red paper, what would you get? Same concept here if you write your future using a black pen in black paper, what would you see?”
“Of course, you wouldn’t get anything, you wouldn’t see anything.” She paused for a while. She’s staring at us as if she’s memorizing everyone’s faces. “You can’t see anything but you knew that there is definitely a picture there. And why am I telling you this?” Once again, she’s peering at us, seeking for an answer I guess. However, nobody wants to answer since we prefer to listen this time. “…A picture that still exists but you just can’t see, you called it future… Your future is not predetermined yet. Your future is completely blank. No one can see that future, not until you get there.” She picked another paper. “…well, except for this fella.” We laughed when she showed the paper to us with ‘WILL BECOME A HANDSOME CEO’ written using a correction fluid.
“M-miss! Do you have to wave around my paper!?” No doubt that Tadeo was its owner.
“SHAMELESS! HE SAID A HANDSOME CEO! AHAHAHAHAHA!”
“Mr. Tadeo just destroyed the concept of the black paper, but this paper really reflected his character.” They stopped laughing, “It shows that he doesn’t easily give up on his dreams, that he’ll do anything for it. You impressed me, Mr. Tadeo.” Because of what Miss had said, shouts and flattering rained down.
“This is love!” Baldo shouted.
“Ayieee! Roman is blushing!”
“So Miss Karen’s type is like him! AHAHAHA!”
“WHOA! Miss! Roman had a crush on you since first day! HAHAHAHA.”
“Whoa! Karen and Roman is heart-heart!”
And they shouted more silly jokes.
“SHUT UP, MEN! WHAT IF AYA GOT JEALOUS!” Tadeo loudly stated.
“YOUR FACE GOT JEALOUS! MONKEY!” – Aya.
All of my worries vanished from my heart. I laughed along. But… about Miss Karen’s ‘black paper’ concept… it made me speechless. I never thought that she wanted to imply that. It amazed me and at the same time, inspired me. But… here comes again the ‘but’. Things are not that simple. If only I am normal like my classmates, I might understand her completely. For a seer like me, it’s insulting to hear ‘you can’t see the future’ when I can. What does she wants to say to me?
Miss gave the rest of the day to us. Though time passed by so quickly while we’re enjoying the places here at Villa Barbara. We went swimming at the hidden falls that Baldo and the rest had found when they were searching for me. Then they invited me to go almost everywhere. Only a little time remains before we will return to our real world.
Afternoon came; it’s almost sunset when the bus which will fetch us arrived. It’s time to leave. Recollection has ended and I sighed. I’m now worried for the things that I will face from now on. I let Aya and the others to go ahead me because I was late in arranging and packing my belongings. When I closed the door of our room and when I turned around, Miss actually appeared in front of me.
“You’re disobedient as always, Morie.” She said then showed my blank paper.
“Funny, I can see what will happen to others but I can see nothing when it comes to mine. What a big paradox.” I slightly laughed. “Well, you’re another exception Miss, since I can’t see anything about your future. Reason unknown.”
“All of us can at least expect for our future, Morie. You can actually see your own if you will just look within it.” Then she handed the paper, “I’ll give you more time to think about it and when you’re done, you can pass it to me anytime.” She turned around and when I thought she’d be leaving already, “About that…” She looked back… and smiled. “… You’ll know… soon.” After that, she left.
I didn’t notice that throughout the whole trip, I actually fell asleep. Probably due to fatigue. I don’t want to do anything other than sleep. When I reached my apartment, it was cleaned and there’s food prepared at the kitchen. Manang Fe is probably aware that our Recollection ended today. Near the food, there’s a black envelope but I ignored it and I only paid attention to eating. I assumed that it’s just another invitation from my ‘good’ father. I changed clothes and when I entered my room, I eyed first the bed and jumped at it. It’s seven pm… I’m sure when I woke up tomorrow, I have to face again some inescapable matters….
“Jill… Morie… “ I woke up out of the sudden because I once again heard that deep voice calling onto me… Maybe it’s a dream? Why? Why am I hearing them again? I glanced on the clock and it says 1 am… I sighed in relief since it’s not the same as before when I always woke up passed 3 am… devil’s hour…
I thought to just bring out the paper handed to me by Miss Karen. Maybe I’ll fall asleep again while thinking for something I could write to myself ten years from now on…
But before that… I suddenly remember something… I immediately opened my laptop and went to the blog site… I have to fix an issue in that pest of a blog.
Nothing was added into that blog… It’s the same… I grabbed my phone and called the person who knew the one behind the blog…
“H-hello?” Thankfully he answered back.
“J-jill… Why are you still up?”
“You, why are you also up?” I throw back the question at him.
“I can’t fall asleep.”
“Ah. The same. Yue—“
“I can’t sleep thinking about what I have tracked, Jill… I’m sorry if I didn’t tell you right away… I don’t know how to say this actually… Jill… I also don’t know why but…” His voice hinted fear…
“Jill, the address I’ve tracked, is yours.”
I suddenly dropped my cellphone… W-what does he mean?
“Jill? — *toot*”
I sat down on the floor. Maybe Yue is wrong… or maybe I’m just dreaming. Impossible… I looked up and scanned my surrounding. Until I found a small thing hidden atop the cabinet… the focus of that thing is the place I’m currently at… Camera?
I went out of my room and searched for that black envelope which I saw earlier… I don’t know why but something is urging me to look for what’s inside it… My hand is trembling when I tried to open it.
And fear crept into me when I saw its content. Those were picture which depicts a sequence, at the bottom part of each, there’s an indicated time… From between 1 am to 3 am… I arranged the pictures… It portrayed me, from when I was sleeping, leaving the bed, opening the laptop, remaining at that position for half an hour and then going back to sleep…
“What is this?” I whispered… the beating of my heart is so loud…
From what I learned this night… It means that… I… I created that blog. Without being aware of it… Sleep walking? Multiple Identity Disorder. I don’t know… I’m really going crazy… But… who sent me these photographs? Who?
A scene flashed into my mind.
“Are you really not going to stop bothering me?!”
“Yeah! I already placed the cameras there. Are you contented now?” Cameras? “I already did what you told me so please let me go already.” Lily’s voice hinted pleading. I wonder what they are talking about.
“We have a deal! I did my part, so I hope you’ll be fair enough.”
“Why does it seem as if you saw a ghost?” I taunted. “Who are you talking with?” She couldn’t look at me directly so it was me who was enjoying her flushed expression.
“N-nothing! It’s none of your business. Excuse me.”
If I learn that you have something to do with this stupid mess, I’ll make you pay for it.
You will be the one to prove that I’m not yet crazy. Lily Cortez Morie.