It was Saturday, 7:15 in the evening here at the West Hartford, a suburb in Connecticut where I pursue my Degree in Fine Arts. It’s a usual thing that I ought to imagine the customary happenings in the Philippines when I know that it’s Sunday in the morning there. The busy markets, stereos in loud mode, where everyone in the household prepares foodies to accompany an indoor or outdoor activity– strong family ties that goes on from the grandparents to their grandchildren.
Nostalgia strikes at me at this typical Saturday night. It was two long years and I’ll never unlearn to miss the bonding at home. I tucked into bed early without minding taking off my shoes. I was an hour ago facing teenage aspirants and giving them workshops about art– a leisure pursuit that I sincerely enjoy and a source of income too. Unlike my colleagues that are used to live a life in the lap of luxury, I am here risking my own world to offer a good life for my family. As a scholarship grantee, I took it as my best shot to succeed in my chosen course.
Monday. Classes going on.
“Miss Lovell Dela Rosa? You have a call from the Admin Office. You can now excuse yourself.” suddenly our instructor in one of our major subjects muttered it in the middle of the discussion. It was a rare thing being summoned by someone at the Admin. All eyes were on me as I paved my way out of the door.
I composed myself, as if counting my steps towards the office of Mr. Hudson.
“Uhm, Sir. Good morning. I was told that you need me to be here.” I approached the old man sitting on his swivel chair sidewise, as he dropped the phone slowly, obviously ending the call after hearing my voice.
“Be seated Miss Dela Rosa. ” He’s always on his strict and firm tone, wearing his poker face and I noticed how his fingers tweak over his pen unconsciously. A habit that I, too, couldn’t rid.
I sat there, trying to keep calm as I clasp my hands together at my knee. Waiting for the main reason of why I am facing a professional tyrant here and silently hoping this agony would end.
“We will be sending you back to the Philippines .” He said it without conviction and I am half aware that he left me alone there. It took a minute to regain my senses.
Confused and puzzled. I ran into him at the hallway, as I reached a hand on his shoulder which caused him to turn to me, still his face without emotions.
“Can you please explain to me why? Can you please, Sir, in behalf of all the scholars that you slapped with your insults and went home without a word from you, can you please, atleast, for now, tell me why? Do you know how we strived hard to get here and leave our loved ones only to get disappointed just because of your nonsense standards??” I couldn’t help but burst out in tears as I picture out how my Mom’s smile would fade if she’ll know how I failed. My dream job and my promise that though we were left by my father, we will still survive.
It’s unprofessional to spit all of those words like this. But who cares, I just lost my hope on telling someone who was never been a father to me , someday, that we can live comfortably without his help.
Mr. Hudson smiled for the first time. It was like crying on a wrong grave and I felt stupid at that moment. So what was happening?
He motioned and tapped my head, a familiar gesture and I don’t know why those fat tears were racing to drop from my eyes. My mind was vague now but deep in my heart was a clear truth revealed on that day — someone became a father to me.
“You grew tough and strong as I expect you to be. Scholars were sent back in advance training due to their excellencies. The Academy only wanted you to serve your own country. And I only wanted you to fulfill your promises to your mom. Something that I could never do for her. “
“I was wrong when I left you. But I’m glad I had a chance to see you within two years as you used to pass by at my office.” His voice was shaking, holding back his own tears.
“But why didn’t you tell me earlier?” I was sniffing and my eyes looking straight to him.
“I have my own life here in Connecticut. I promised your mom not to show my face to our only daughter. I was so weak. Now tell me? Did I just break my promise to her? ”
I didn’t reply, instead, I just stood there and we hugged — like it was forever.
I thought to myself that time that I broke my promises too. And everything that happened were just premises – a logic, an argument, to support the fact that no boundaries set by human can hinder the essence of forgiveness and love.
Entry for: Promises