Of skeletons and storms    
 
“So tell me about her,” I said as I chewed my bottom lip. “Tell me about the girl who tore your heart into  pieces.”
 
Letters
 
 
By PATRISHA VANESSA Q. SANTOS
Year 47 |  Issue 3 |  2011
We have been travelling together for
almost a week but I sti ll do not know him
at all. All I know about him is that he is a
runaway like me and that his name is Travis.
But I always catch him staring at that wrinkled
picture of a prett y girl with long auburn
hair when he thinks I am not looking. His
easy mischievous grin slides and the mask
falls apart. He is broken. And I am sure it is
because of her.

We are the same—him and I. We fi ght to
break loose of the hell hole we came from.
We want to be free. We think that running
away will fi x things. Someti mes at night, before
I fall asleep, I fi nd myself wondering if I
did the right thing.

We are currently trapped in this ramshackle
wooden shed because of the storm.
My hair is sti ll dripping wet and my clothes
hang on me like second skin. His dark hair
is in front of his eyes so I cannot read his
expression. For a while, there is no sound
except for raindrops and claps of thunder.

***

He reached into his pocket and took out
his precious silver cigarett e casing, pulled
one sti ck of Marlboro out then lit it with his
Zippo lighter. The brief light of the fl ame illuminated
his handsome face—his coal black
eyes, pointed nose, and thin pink lips. He
took a couple of long drags then exhaled.
“What do you want to know?” he asked
as he looked straight into my eyes.

I was silent for a while. So many questi
ons, I did not even know which one to
ask fi rst. I wanted to unravel him, to learn
everything I could about him, to read his
thoughts like the way he read mine.
I tucked some stray locks of wet hair behind
my ears and whispered, “What is her
name?”

“Priscilla,” he said, “She was nineteen,
your age, I suppose.”

I never menti oned any personal details
to him. I was trying to hide my identi ty, remain
as anonymous as he was to me, but he
sat here next to me, knowing things I never
told him.

“Do not act too surprised, it was just a
good guess,” he smiled slightly. “She was
my life. She was everything. And when she
died, I have got nothing left to lose.”
A terrible wave of sadness washed over
me as soon as his words registered in my
brain. I sat closer to him, wanti ng to embrace
him, wanti ng to comfort him in any
way I could.

“How did she...?”

“She was messing around with cocaine,
she became addicted quickly and I tried to
do damage control and got her family to do
interventi ons. She did not listen to any of
us, she overdosed twice and nearly died. I
told her I had enough and left town. Then
she killed herself.”

He said it so simply, almost casually. But
I was not fooled. His hands were shaking,
his eyes were misti ng over and I could sense
the bitt erness and hurt in his tone no matter
how he tried to hide it.

“I am sorry,” I said soft ly.

“You are not the one who should be
sorry,” he took another long drag.
“You are not blaming yourself, are you?”
“How could I not? I introduced her to
cocaine, then left her when it was too much
for both of us to handle. I was a coward. I
should have just loaded a gun and shot her
in the head.”

A tear fell down his cheek and my heart
ached to touch him. Before I could stop myself,
I was leaning over, closing the distance
between our lips. He heaved a sharp intake
of breath and pulled away quickly.
“You do not want to do this. I am a damaged
good—broken and twisted,” his voice
was resigned.

“I killed my brother,” I whispered as a
fl ash of lightning startled the dark shed.
“He tried to rape me, so I grabbed a knife
and stabbed him. That is why I ran away.”
I looked at him with tears in my eyes.
“He was hooked on crystal meth and E.”
We were silent for a long ti me. I guess
he was trying to digest what I just revealed
to him.

I would like to hope that we would soon
escape the demons of our past. As we waited
for the storm to pass, I reached for his
hand and intertwined my fi ngers with his.
“Do not worry. I am broken and twisted,
too.”
Year 47 |  Issue 4 |  2012