school bells ring
Finally, it’s dismissal! Thank God It`s Friday!!!
My name is Toni Campos. A high school student at Luxen University. I have a best friend since childhood, her name is Cindy. I treat her as my sister and other half. She is really nice and very thoughtful. She always sleeps at my house every Fridays or on weekends. My parents make her feel very welcome to our house. We’ve been friends for years and I really trust her more than a hundred percent. That is why I decided to tell her my deepest secret.
I am an adopted child.
My mom told me that they adopted me from the church that their family always visited. I was 3 months back then. She said that it was a very heartwarming scene the moment she laid her eyes on my face. She told me how lovely I was. Since then, they decided to take me with them. They organized the papers neatly to look like I was their original child.
I was bullied when I was in elementary because I was adopted. I was so mad with myself back then. My parents decided to move to a place and transferred me to another school near our place before the bullying gets worse. That is when I turned in high school, I decided to hide that I am an adopted child. I don’t want to reveal anything about it. Maybe, I got traumatized with what happened on my elementary days. It was only Cindy who knew all since I have known her since we were kids.
Today is Friday and our sleepover day! Cindy already packed her things before leaving their house. She just left them on her locker when she arrived school.
Cindy: I can’t wait to watch this Korean drama that I downloaded!
Toni: You really sound excited. Hahaha! Anyway, Ate Ehla will pick us today.
Cindy: Really?! Ate Ehla is in the Philippines? When did she arrived? How about her business in Japan?
Toni: No worries, my cousin, Karen will be assisting there. And, yes she arrived last week.
Cindy: I bet Ate Ehla became prettier! Aaaaa! I’m so excited to finally see her again!
I laughed as we walked to the parking area of the school. I texted Ate Ehla so we can find her car. She waved her hands so we can see her easily, and drive near to our place.
Ate Ehla: Ohhh! Hey, Cindy! You grew taller ha? You also look blooming. Maybe you got a boyfriend now ha!
Toni: Um, excuse me. I just want to remind you that I am your sister. Hahahaha!
They laughed as we went inside the car. We decided to eat at a nearby restaurant before going home. Ate Ehla paid for our orders. This is why we love Ate Ehla to be here in the Philippines, she always treated us. Kidding!
We finally arrived at home. My parents were on Bohol for some business conference. So, it was only me, Cindy and Ate Ehla. We went inside my room to fix our things and change our clothes. I texted Ate Ehla that we will just sleep.
I woke up at 5:40 PM. I fix the side of my bed and took a quick shower. I went downstairs to cook for our dinner. After a few minutes, I heard footsteps and saw Cindy going down the stairs. I called her so she can help me prepare the table. She volunteered to wash the dishes. Ate Ehla went back to her room after we finished eating. She might be in the Philippines, but she is still very busy with her work. My phone vibrated, it was a call from my Mom.
Toni: Hello, Mom?
Mom: Hey, sweetie. How are you?
Toni: I’m fine. Cindy’s with me today. She will be sleeping here. When are you coming back?
Mom: I’m still not sure. Our boss told us to extend for 2 days. So maybe by next week.
Toni: Aw, I miss you, Mom.
Mom: I miss you too, sweetie. Anyway, remember your childhood friend? They moved near our place. I told her mom to visit us. Maybe he will come to our house tomorrow. Don’t be rude okay?
Toni: Wait? Childhood what? Who’s that?
Mom: Your first crush! Paul.
Toni: Oh god. Why so sudden, Mom? Wait, I’m panicking. Hahaha. I think I need to practice myself to calm down before I meet him tomorrow.
Mom: Hahaha! Don’t worry. You are pretty and kind. He will like you too. Anyway, it’s quite late. I need to sleep now, we have an early meeting tomorrow. See you soon!
Toni: Goodnight and take care Mom!
I called Cindy and told everything about Paul’s arrival tomorrow. She also gets excited for me. Anyway, Paul was also our childhood friend. He left and studied in Canada for 2 to 3 years, I think. Now, he’s coming back. I wonder how he was, what he looks like. We did not have any conversations and connections after he left.
The next day, we woke up at around 7:30 in the morning. Ate Ehla cooked pancakes and bacon for our breakfast. She even made our all-time favorite hot choco. After eating, I went back to my bathroom and took a bath. Cindy helped me picked up my clothes for today.
We were so busy chatting with each other when we heard Ate Ehla calling for us. So we ran downstairs that I accidentally bumped to someone’s back.
Cindy: OH MY GOD!
I looked back and saw Cindy’s reaction. She was surprised from what she saw. I looked in front of me to see the person I bumped and also to apologize.
Toni: I’m sorry.
Ate Ehla: Mygod, Toni, You’re still clumsy, you even bumped to Paul’s back. Hahahaha!
WAIT WHAT? WHO?
Toni: Oh my god! Are you real?!
Paul laughed and sat to the couch.
Ate Ehla: So, how are you? How was your parents?
Paul: They’re fine, still busy as usual. But, we’re doing well.
Cindy: Are you transferring to our school?
Paul: Uh, yep. My parents already delivered my papers. Fortunately, your principal was so nice.
Cindy pinched me a bit, giving me a hint to have a talk with him.
Ate Ehla: I’ll just left you here for awhile. I’ll prepare some snacks for you, guys!
Cindy: Ate, wait for me! I want to help!
Cindy gave me a wink and teasing smile before she left.
Toni: Uh- hello. Sorry for what happened earlier. It was not my intention-
Paul: It’s fine.
He cut me off and smiled. It was really lovely and sweet.
Toni: You became more handsome hehe.
Okay, that slipped from my mouth. I blushed a bit. I was so surprised when he pinched my cheeks.
Paul: You’re still the same, Toni. But, you became prettier.
The day went well, we cope up with the things we missed. Paul shared his life in Canada. I also learned that he did not had any girlfriends there since he was so focused on his school. He was also included in the top list and got an award there.
Just like what he said, he transferred to our school. He was introduced and joined our section. He became popular as soon as he transferred. No wonder since he is really handsome and smart. He's an achiever. He excels in Math and Science. He's also good in arts and draws a lot. He even joined Sports Club and became the captain of our basketball team. They always won their competitions. He also joined a dance group. He can play guitar really well. And maybe that's the reason why most of the girls are head over heels for him. He received lots of letters when Valentines day arrived. It was a memorable Valentine for me. He surprised me with a stuffed toy and flowers on my room. He confessed and asked me to be his girlfriend. And on that day, we became official. We are legal on both sides and our parents supported us. We became happier each day. We eat lunch together with Cindy. Cindy was also very supportive. She was the one who helped Paul to decorate my room when he confessed. We were very happy. Not until an incident had happened.
It was Monday afternoon. Dismissal.
I was looking for Cindy so we can get home together. When I saw her with our other classmates and looks like they are having fun. I was about to call for her but it looks like they are talking something personal. So I waited for them to finished. I was so shocked when I heard Cindy's words. Her voice was trembling, but I still heard it, loud and clear. Cindy was shocked to see me walking towards them.
I slapped her face in front of our classmates. I was crying and very mad at her.
Shayna: Oh my gosh! So, it was real?! All this time, we knew how rich your family is. Oops! I forgot, you're an adopted child!
Our classmates laughed at me and some began whispering. And then everything that happened in my past began to came back. It was traumatizing.
Cindy: I'm sorry. I'm really sorry, Toni. They forced me. They even scared me. I'm sorry.
Cindy was kneeling in front of me, crying and begging.
Toni: I trusted you...so much. And this is what I got from trusting you.
She held my hand as I tried to walk away. I was so mad at her. I don't want to hear any explanations from her. I don't want any lies again from her. I pushed her and run away.
I went back home. Paul called me but I declined it. I told him to give me a time. I was crying the whole night. I was not really expecting this to happen. After all the friendship that we had and kept, this is what I've got.
School days passed and I tried to avoid Cindy as much as I can. Paul was the only one who eats lunch with me. He tried to pursue me to talk with Cindy and try to hear her explanation. I got mad at him that we almost broke up. I don't know it felt like he was choosing her over me. He did not opened that topic again.
Summer break began. I was walking on the park when I saw Cindy sitting on one of the benches. She walked towards me.
Cindy: Can we talk?
Toni: There's nothing to talk about.
I tried to avoid her eyes and make myself busy with my phone.
Cindy: Please. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. They scared me. They hurt me and forced me to tell everything even mine. Shayna was so jealous of you.
She was about to hug me but I move backwards.
Toni: I'm sorry but I don't think you still deserve to be my friend. Move!
I intentionally bumped into her shoulders for her to move aside. I went back home. I was still mad at her.
It was 7:00 in the evening when my phone vibrated. It was a call from Rhena, Cindy's sister.
Toni: If you're going to convince me to your sister, stop-
Rhena: Ate Toni.. Ate Cindy...
I heard her crying. She told me that Cindy's in the hospital and not in a good condition. I was so shocked and asked for the address of the hospital and her room number. I asked for Ate Ehla to drive for me. We arrived at the hospital and I saw Rhena sitting on the benches outside Cindy's room.
She runs towards me, crying. I hugged her and asked for what happened.
Rhena: Ate Cindy followed you after you walked away in the park. You crossed the street. She was running and didn't saw that the van was approaching. The owner paid for all the expenses. Ate Toni, your classmates were bullying her. She was just so afraid to tell everything to you because she don't want you to be involved. Your adoption paper was found by Shayna. She scared Ate Cindy so much that they even hurt her.
Toni: I'm... I'm sorry. I did not know it would reach this point. How.. How's Cindy?
I was trembling and crying after I heard the whole story. If only I listened to her explanations. If only I listened to Paul to give Cindy a chance to explain everything. It was all my fault.
Rhea: She's critical, Ate. She's in comatose. It will be a miracle if she will survive. Ate Toni, please help her. Please talk to her. I don't want her to die. Ate, please.
I entered the room and saw her lying on the hospital bed. I sit next to her and held her hand.
"I'm sorry. I was so stupid. I'm sorry for not giving you the chance to speak. I know I was so cruel towards you. I'm really sorry, Cindy. Please don't leave us. Wake up, please."
Her fingers suddenly started moving. I called for the nurses to check on her. When I get back to her room, she was already awake but still weak.
Toni: Cindy, I'm really sorry. I didn't listened to your explanations. Sorry for saying bad things against you. Sorry for hurting you. Sorry for not being a good friend to you.
I was crying so hard. She touched my face and smiled.
Cindy: Don't cry, best friend. It's nothing. I'm already happy, now that we're already fine.
Toni: This was all my fault. If only.. if only..
Cindy: Shhh, enough. You're still my best friend. Nothing will change. Thank you for staying by my side. Thank you for being a good friend to me. I love you, best friend.
Toni: Please, don't leave me..
She just smiled. I called for Rhena so they can talk. Paul also arrived and talked with Cindy. We spend our night together and watched the movies that Cindy likes.
The next morning, I told Cindy that I will just go to our house to take a bath and bring her other clothes. I hurriedly went back to the hospital after finishing packing up the things I needed. I was walking on the aisle when I saw lots of nurses outside Cindy's room. Rhena was also outside crying. I run towards them to see what is happening.
Doctor: Time of death, 8:00 AM.
I was so numb. My tears started falling. I even dropped the flowers I bought for Cindy. I can't believe what I've heard. I run to her and tried to shake her a bit.
Toni: Please, Cindy. Wake up. I know you're still there. Please, don't leave me. We still have list of dream places to travel. We will still build our own dream business. Don't leave. Please. I'm sorry for everything. I will not let you feel hurt again. I promise. Please, come back.
Days passed. I am with Paul today, we visited Cindy's grave.
Paul: She might also missed you too.
We placed her favorite flower and fruits beside her grave. I also put our printed photo. I miss her. I miss my best friend. I wiped my tears and left a smile. I know Cindy don't want me to be sad. We stayed for an hour with Cindy. I told her about everything that happened this week.
Paul: Let's go? We might be late to Ate Ehla's wedding.
I nodded and hold Paul's hand. As I stood up, the wind blew. I smiled as I felt the wind. I know it was Cindy. I closed my eyes and the memories of us flashbacks. I looked up and whispered.
"Thank you for being my best friend! You will always be my best friend, Cindy. Best friends today, tomorrow and always."