IRIS — Chapter One

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Chapter One:  The Stranger’s Touch

           

She slowly opened her eyes and for a moment wondered where she is as she stared blankly at the white ceiling.  She feels woozy and there’s piercing pain on her forehead and left hand.

 

Muli siyang pumikit at inalala ang mga nangyari.  Pinuntahan niya ang nobyo sa bahay ng mga magulang nito sa Tagaytay para sana sorpresahin ito.  Dalawang linggong mahigit na mula nang huli silang magkita ni Railey.  He was always with his teammates practicing and preparing for another basketball season while she was busy shooting for her new project, a TV series.  Ang alam ni Railey ay nasa location shoot siya.  He was indeed surprised but not as surprised as she was.  Ang totoo, surprise is an understatement.

 

Ano nga ba ang dapat niyang maramdaman gayong nakita niya ang boyfriend niya na may kasamang ibang babae sa kuwarto nito?  Worse, she caught them in the act.  Railey tried to go after her when she ran, guilt written all over his face.  Pero tuluy-tuloy siya sa kotse niya at mabilis na umalis sa lugar na iyon.

           

Nakagat niya ang labi sa pagpipigil na muling maiyak.  He’s not worth a single tear.  Her friends were right all along that Railey would just hurt her.  She knows about his reputation of being a playboy but she was blinded.  Pinaniwalaan niya ito na nagbago na ito.  Now after four months of being together, she had to find out for herself that the things he said were all lies— and she had to learn that truth the hard way.

           

Maingat siyang bumangon at naupo.  Naka-cast ang kaliwang binti niya hanggang tuhod.  Puro galos siya bukod pa sa sugat sa kamay at ulo.  Pero maliban sa mga iyon ay wala na siyang nararamdamang sakit sa iba pang bahagi ng katawan niya.

           

She thought she wouldn’t get to see the light of day again.  At kung mabuhay man siya ay tiyak na baldado siya kung hindi man malagay sa coma ng ilang buwan.

 

Sa pagmamadali niya para maiwasan si Railey ay hindi na niya nailagay ang seatbelt niya.  She was crying so hard that her tears clouded her vision.  Bigla na lang may sumulpot na truck sa harapan niya nang malapit na siya sa intersection at naiwasan niya ito, pero hindi niya alam na mas malala pa ang mangyayari sa kanya nang mawala siya sa kalsada at magtuluy-tuloy sa gilid, sa kasukalan.  She hit the brakes with all her strength but it was too late.

 

Closing her eyes tightly, she anticipated the inevitable.  But to her surprise, she was able to survive the impact.

 

May lalaking bigla na lang lumitaw mula sa kung saan at tumayo sa harapan ng kotse niya.

 

Ang lalaking iyon… ang lalaking iyon ang nagligtas sa kanya!

 

“Anak!” bulalas ni Sophia pagbukas nito ng pinto ng hospital room at niyakap siya.  “Thank God, you’re awake!  Halos himatayin ako nang may tumawag at sabihing naaksidente ka!”

 

Gumanti siya ng yakap sa ina.  “Sorry po, Mama.  Pinag-alala ko na naman kayo,”

 

Pinakawalan siya nito at hinaplos ang benda sa ulo niya.  “Ano’ng nararamdaman mo?  May sumasakit ba?  Nagugutom ka ba?  Ano’ng gusto mong kainin?”

 

Napangiti siya sa sunud-sunod na tanong nito.  “Nauuhaw lang po ako,” sagot niya at agad naman siya nitong binigyan ng bottled water.  She drank it up to the last drop.

 

“Mamaya lang ay narito na ang kuya mo,” her mother informed her, insinuating that she should come up with a good explanation why the accident happened.  Ang kuya Adrian niya ang  nagbigay ng nayuping BMW 528iniya  two months ago as an advance birthday gift for her.

 

“Tinawagan ko na nga rin pala ang manager mo.  She’s worried sick about you.  Sinabi kong okay ka na pero baka hindi ka makapag-taping ng ilang linggo,” Sophia combed her hair with her fingers.  “What happened, sweetie?  Nag-away ba kayo ni Railey?”

 

“Sasabihin ko sa inyo lahat pag-uwi natin,” she sighed and smiled at her mother.  “Nasaan ang lalaking nagligtas sa akin, Mama?  Gusto ko siyang makita,”

           

Sandaling  kumunot ang noo nito.  “Ah, ang lalaking kasama mo.  Sino nga pala siya?  Was he the one driving?  The police said they found you lying on top of him.  At nakayakap naman siya sa ‘yo,”

 

She felt her cheeks flushed.  Of course she wouldn’t know that.

 

“No, Ma.  I don’t even know him, at hindi kami magkasama.  He was the one who saved me.  Siya ang—,” pumigil sa kotse ko para hindi ako mahulog sa bangin, she could have said it but stopped on time, or else her mother would insist that she’d undergo a head scan.

 

She shook her head inwardly.  Siguro nga dahil muntik na siyang mamatay ay kung anu-ano na ang nakita niya.

 

“Ang sabi nga pala ni Doctor Arguelles ay nailipat na siya sa kabilang kuwarto mula sa OR.  Ligtas na siya kaya wala ka nang dapat ipag-alala,”

 

“I want to see him, Mom!” she exclaimed, forcing herself out of her bed.  Nakalimutan niya sandali na naka-cast ang isang binti niya.  Hindi naman na siya mapigilan ng ina kahit anong pilit nito na manatili siya sa kama niya.  Tinawag nito ang isang nurse at pinagdala ito ng wheelchair para magamit niya.

 

Paglabas nila ay nakita nila ang isang nurse at dalawang trainees sa tapat ng pinto ng katabing kuwarto na pilit hinihinaan ang boses habang nagkukwentuhan, pero rinig na rinig pa rin naman nila.

 

Oh, my God, totoo nga!” bulalas ng isa sa mga trainees.

 

“Sabi sa inyo, eh.  Sobrang guwapo niya, ‘di ba?” kinikilig namang sagot ng nurse.

           

“Sino kaya siya?  Kasama raw siya noong artista sa kabilang kuwarto…”

           

“Oo, ‘yung singer na bagong girlfriend ni Railey Oballe,” sabat naman ng isa.  Dahil nakatalikod ang mga ito sa kanila ay hindi pa rin sila napapansin ng mga ito.

 

She sighed.  It really is no surprise that her boyfriend— or ex-boyfriend’s pretty famous with the ladies dahil isa ito sa mga power player ng National Team. Still for her, it was a lot of getting used to.

           

“Hmm… iba ang kasama?  Baka break na sila,” patuloy ng nurse.  “Ang hot din ng kapalit, ha?  Pero ‘di-hamak na mas bet ko ang isang ‘to,”

           

“Nurse Victorino!”

           

Biglang sulpot ni Doctor Arguelles mula sa likuran nila.  Napaigtad sa gulat ang tatlo at lalong namula nang makita at makilala siya ng mga ito.

 

Pinamaywangan ng doktor ang tatlo at pinaglipat-lipat sa mga ito ang tingin.  “Hindi ba’t tapos na ang duty ninyo?  Ano pang ginagawa niyo rito, nagtu-tour?  Sa lahat naman ng lugar, dito niyo pa napiling magtsismisan!”

           

“Sorry po, Doctor Arguelles.  Sinilip lang po namin ang bagong pasyente,”

           

Tinaasan nito ng isang kilay ang mga nakababatang babae.  “Dahil nabalitaan niyong guwapo, ganoon ba?”

           

Nahihiyang napatungo na lang ang mga ito at umalis na doon.

 

“I’m sorry about that,” the doctor apologized sincerely.

 

“It’s okay, Doc.  Sanay na po ako.”

 

The doctor nodded and sighed.  Ito na mismo ang nagbukas para sa kanila ng pinto ng kuwarto.  Saglit nitong tiningnan ang lagay ng pasyente.

           

“Kumusta na po siya?”

 

“He’s out of danger, Miss Deogracias.  His body responded well to the operation.  Pero kailangan ko pa rin siyang obserbahan.  Kung magising siya ngayong gabi, I can assure you na magtutuluy-tuloy na ang recovery niya,” 

 

“Thank God,” she whispered, pushing the wheelchair closer to the hospital bed.

 

“Ang sabi niyo ay hindi niyo siya kakilala.  Unfortunately, wala rin kaming nakuhang anumang gamit niya na maaari naming mapagkakilanlan sa kanya…”

           

“Ako na po ang bahala sa hospital bills niya, Doktor,” sagot niya sa gustong ipahiwatig nito habang matamang nakatitig sa lalaki.

 

His upper body was covered with bandages, so is his right hand and head.  There were bruises on his arms and all over his face and she saw a few stitches on his knee when the doctor was checking him. Nevertheless, he’s outright beautiful that she couldn’t help but reach for him and touch his face.

 

His jaw and his nose were perfect as if a famous sculptor made them.  Thick eyebrows framed his deep-set eyes and she’s certain his eyelashes are longer than hers.  Day-old stubbles were starting to grow on his face but it surprisingly suits him.  Her eyes moved down to his well-built body.  He’s tall, maybe even taller than Railey who is 5’11.  But what makes him more handsome is his peaceful, innocent but mysterious aura.

 

She sighed as fondness started welling up inside her.  Hindi pa rin niya maisip kung paano, pero itinuturing niyang isang milagro ang pagkakaligtas ng estrangherong ito sa kanya.

           

She held his hand and clasped it firmly against her palms.  “Maraming salamat… utang ko sa ‘yo ang buhay ko…”

 

Naramdaman niya ang bahagyang paggalaw ng mga daliri nito.  At nang tingnan niya ito ay unti-unti nitong iminulat ang mga mata.

 

“Doktor, gising na po siya!” baling niya kay Doctor Arguelles na agad naman itong dinaluhan.

           

“I—ris…”

 

Pareho silang natigilan at napatingin dito.  It reached her ears though it was barely a whisper and despite the breathing apparatus covering half of his face.

 

“Iris…”

 

He turned around and called her name for the second time.  Itinaas nito ang kamay at banayad na hinaplos ang pisngi niya.  “Salamat at… ligtas ka,”

 

Unconsciously, she held his hand on her face.  Ngumiti ito bago muling ipinikit ang mga mata.

 

“Doktor—,”

 

“He’ll be alright.  Epekto lang ito ng mga gamot na ibinigay ko sa kanya,” she gave her a reassuring smile.  “Puwede niyo ulit siyang silipin mamaya.  For now, I suggest you get more rest as well, Miss Deogracias,”

           

She wanted to protest.  Gusto pa sana niyang bantayan ito kahit ilang minuto pa pero nagpilit na rin ang ina na ibalik siya sa kuwarto niya.

 

She tried to rest just as the doctor ordered.  Pero sa tuwing ipipikit niya ang mga mata ay ang mukha ng estranghero ang nakikita niya; ang maamo at nag-aalalang mukha nito bago siya mawalan ng malay… ang maganda nitong mga mata…

 

Tinakpan niya ng unan ang mukha.  Hindi niya alam kung matutuwa siya o maiinis sa sarili niya.  Other times she’d be crying her heart out because of Railey.  Pero heto siya at walang ibang umookupa sa isip niya kundi ang misteryosong lalaki sa kabilang kuwarto.  Ni hindi pa nga niya alam kung ano ang pangalan nito.

 

She got up and parted the curtain covering her window.  Her room’s on the top floor of the hospital building that it seems the moon was shining over her, and though it was cloudy there were a few stars.

 

Niyakap niya ang sarili at matagal na pinagmasdan ang kalangitan.  She couldn’t help but think that the stranger must have really come from there.

Really Iris, she shook her head and laughed at herself.  That’s just way too crazy.

 

Pero sino nga ba talaga ito?  He called her name as if he’d known her for a lifetime.  And when he touched her; just that one touch— she knows in her heart that her life is changed forever.

 

She breathed deeply and uttered a short prayer to put herself at ease.  Kailangan na niyang matulog at bukas na lang uli niya iisipin ang estranghero.  At hindi pwedeng hindi niya uli puntahan ito.

That’s right.  She’s looking forward to seeing the stranger again…

~oOo~

Disclaimer:  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

🙂

13 thoughts on “IRIS — Chapter One

  1. Here you go again dear writer, your talent really works on me, my imagination is working tremendously the way you describe every details in this new story of yours! Way to go! A very good start! Keep it coming!🙂 thank you for sharing your amazing grace in writing good and sensible stories🙂

    Still looking forward on the continuation of your previous stories, i love everything you write for us! Thank you so much!🙂

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