Far from where I was
In a giant spinning storm
I have found the one
Far from where I was
In a giant spinning storm
I have found the one
His name was Bulldog Cayabyab. He was the pet of the cleaning team. Everyone loved him. I asked where he got his name because he was not really a bulldog. He was an aspin. One of the team members told me that they chose Bulldog because that was the only dog breed that they knew. As for Cayabyab, the eldest member of the team gladly gave the dog his family name.
Bulldog was a black, medium-sized dog. He was very friendly. Even those who were afraid of dogs liked him. Whenever he saw people coming, he would wag his tail and greet them with kisses. I was one of those who had lots of moments spent with him. He knew his way around the farm, following people wherever they went, except at the main gate because the guards would not let him leave. Yes, even the guards loved him. He was not only a pet but our friend.
Everything changed one day when I could not find him. I called a coworker if she had seen him near her area. But she told me that Bulldog was not there. At first I thought that maybe the dog had escaped for a while and he would come back soon.
But he did not.
A week after his disappearance, I met some of the members of the cleaning team. I asked them if they saw Bulldog. But they just smiled and told me something that I would never understand.
One cold and breezy night, the team needed something that would keep themselves warm.
I want to quit my job and hide in the mountains. I want to buy a bike and adopt a dog. I want to go somewhere far where there is no internet. I want to be alone. I want to forget everything that has happened. I want to start over.
Reality is far from good The city makes me sad.
I am tired.
I woke up to the sound of a vehicle, not quite sure if that was an ambulance or a police car. It might be true that I had not slept for almost two days but the demands of my job made me sensitive to noises, the same noises that never failed to disturb my conscience, if I truly had one.
School was not for me. Or it was, before I lost hope and answered the call of the devil. I was a medical student at a nearby university. I wanted to save lives. I wanted to help others, the same old dream of an aspiring doctor. But I suffered from depression and the presence of a church inside the school did not save me. I would not want to talk about how life got worse each day but it was because of illegal drugs and a lifeless body.
The entire story suddenly changed that one night when I was sitting outside my rented apartment in Sta. Mesa. Gunshots were heard. I did not know what I was thinking during that time but instead of going back inside the room to keep myself safe, I followed the noise and the screams of strangers. I found them. A dead body on the street and two other wounded men trying to escape in one of the alleys leading to nowhere. I followed the survivors and I could hear some police sirens, maybe a minute away from the crime scene. The wounded men eventually found an abandoned makeshift shelter and I, too, made myself at home. They finally noticed me. They pointed their guns at me but I told them that I was a doctor and I would like to help them. One of them was severely bleeding and they got no other choice but to trust me. I told them that they should stay while I go back to my place and get some first aid. First aid was all that I could give.
I ran as fast as I could, avoiding the path of the authorities that had just arrived at the scene. I took my things and hurried to where my patients were. I was able to remove the bullet from the abdomen of the one who took more damage. Luckily, no organs were harmed. As for the other man, all he got was a bullet graze wound.
I took care of them for a day. Maybe I was thinking that by saving two lives, the guilt of taking one would disappear. But of course, it did not. However, the entire experience made me dream again. I may not be a doctor but I could still save lives.
The leader of those men whose lives I saved came looking for them. I did not dare ask about what they do. But I did offer my help. I did not care if they were criminals. I told him that I could work for them as their doctor, if they trust me enough. And so, each time a comrade would fall, I would be summoned. Or if the scene was nearby, I would be on call.
Today, I was told that the team would be doing their usual roving in Tomas Mapua. I did not intend to wake up earlier than usual but I could actually use the spare time to get my supplies. I might be able to save another life, who knows.
Dreams may be dead but the dreamer is still alive.
How could I forget?
I was a child with so many health issues. Skin diseases, asthma, and sprains – I had it all. I was born a bundagol. I could not run as fast as the other kids. I could not ride a bike. Worst, I could not climb a tree. Man, I tried so hard. But my physical strength was never enough.
Our nearest neighbors had lots of fruit trees in their garden. Santol, cacao, caimito, chico, starfruit, tisa and guava. My childhood best friends and I used to run around and play under the shade of those trees. It was always fun. Sometimes, if we were lucky enough, there would be fruits falling and hitting the ground and all we had to do was to pick them up and eat them. But one day, there was no fruit to be found. So my friends and I decided to climb up a tree instead. And because we were kids, we chose the one that was easiest to climb.
I honestly thought that it was easy. I even volunteered to go first. But there was I, struggling. I could not bring my body up that tree. I tried and tried but to no avail. Later on, about 20 minutes later and after a liter of sweat, I gave up. I told my friends that they should climb up first and I would follow them later. Of course, I never made it.
That was the first time that I learned that I could not do everything, that I have my own limits. I could not have everything that I wanted in life. But with the right people, I could still get something. I would not be left alone.
So my friends picked all the ripe ones and threw them on the ground. All I had to do was collect the fruits, run away, hide, and eat them all without any guilt.
The sun was unusually brighter that day. It was not like I have been that observant but the light just kept on hurting my eyes each time I faced the crowd that was going against me. A bad day? Yes, it was. But I needed a new pair of shoes.
The mall. Finally. Five minutes of walking from the platform with all those people made me lose a week’s worth of energy. I went directly to the department store and secretly hoped that no saleslady would ever offer her help. But all of my hope has been left to die and a single soul was there doing some sales talk. I could manage, I thought. I grabbed an item on display and asked for my size. She told me to wait and so I did.
It wasn’t that long after the lady left that I heard some screaming and gunshots. For Pete’s sake. Gunshots. The emergency alarms went ringing and I sensed panic. As vigilant as I have always been, I took refuge behind an empty and abandoned cashier’s desk. I was searching for the nearest exit but too bad for me, one of the crooks was right there. He was holding a handgun, to my relief. It would have been a different story if he used some kind of automatic. At that time, I heard some exchange of shots between the security personnel and the criminals. I could only see 3 bad guys. One was at the exit, another was right behind some frightened customers which have become their hostages, and the other one was about 5 meters away from where I was hiding. Unknown to them, there was a guard who was taking his break and this guard just passed me and immediately shot that guy who was nearest to us. But shit happened and the other two fired back and the guard was right there, dead. I could hear police cars but the police could not make their move as there were hostages to be considered.
The next two hours were a mixture of despair and negotiations. Apparently, the gunmen wanted to have a talk with the president of the country. Yeah. Some leftists from the dreaded region in the south. I was still keeping an eye on everyone, of course. The gunmen have been guarding the hostages now, facing the window and the police. That means I was out of their line of vision.
I imagined the things that I would do. It was a bad day but I could make it a good one, if fate permits. So, I took my first steps and got the dead guard’s gun and ammo. I hid behind a shoe rack. I aimed like a pro. I should shoot them in their shoulders and legs, I thought. And everything happened in a blink of an eye. I was able to take them down. The rest of the hostages did their part afterwards. I ran outside and gave the signal to the police.
No need to thank me, I told them. I was simply living my superhero dream. But the manager of the department store insisted so they gave me that pair of shoes that I wanted.
But words spread like fire. As I stepped out of the crime scene, reporters suddenly approached me. There were video cameras, I tell you.
One of them asked, “Did you ever have proper training on guns and shooting because you hit them right where you want?”
“Does playing Counter-Strike count?” I said.