He hums, unaware of what to say next. Theres a tiny bit of silence going on because neither of us did want to speak up. I didn want to elaborate, he seemed awkward to say anything.

”Lets… Lets just end it there. I don want you to feel like you
e obligated to answer something to that, ” I say in a calm manner. I give him a slight smile as well.

He nods, totally understanding what I mean. Im glad that he somehow felt what I meant when I said that. So, the whole ride didn necessarily turn awkward. It just fell silent, neither of us spoke anymore. He just turned the music on, vibing while driving, and I look outside the window taking in everything beautiful I am seeing— thinking of things.

”Hows your daughter doing? ” I blurt out. I didn even realize that came out until a few minutes. Was it too personal of a question? Should I take It back?

His face suddenly breams with happiness. ”Oh, shes excellent! Shes calling me every afternoon just to ask how I am. She can be sweet sometimes, ” he chuckles while driving.

Somehow that makes me smile as well. ”And Im sure itll instantly lift your spirits up. ”

Yes, I do envy those who have that kind of relationship with their parents. But its a way for me to reflect, what I need to do, what I want my children in the future to experience, what I want them to experience. Its something for me to learn rather.

We both talked about his family which I gladly listened to. Its fascinating and makes me happy just by listening to him with his a wide smile on face. As if something around him glowed was the only thing missing.

To our surprise, it started raining. Not just a light rain but a pouring one. And naturally, itll be traffic, so it took us more hours to go home. Its okay, though. Its not like Im stuck in a car with my family. I can breathe here, no awkwardness.

”Don tell this to anyone. I am about to tell you my deepest, most precious secret, ” I say at him dramatically. Funny how I didn think this day would come. Me telling that I have different aspirations and dreams.

”Oh, I tell you. You can trust me, ” he winks at me like how a father does with his child in movies.

I chuckle softly because of his small gesture. ”Okay, brace yourself, Daniel, ” I pause to take a deep breath. ”I actually write. Novels that are probably never going to be published. ”

Now that I said it out loud, it kind of sounds— you know, weird. I cringe at myself for trying to share something so irrelevant. And when I am just about to take it back, I see Daniel staring at me from the rare view mirror with a wide smile on his face, so wide that even his eyes are for a smile as well.

”Im glad you enjoy doing something like that. And if it become what you want to be, go for it. Trust me when I say that I will be the first person to support you from behind. ”

I almost tear up at his word of reassurance. No one has ever told me that, no one has ever supported me in what I want to do. No one ever tries to understand me. And here he is, a father who is now someone I see as my father figure. I know it is too much to say when we
e just seeing each other during working hours, but thats how I sincerely feel.

”But what if no one ever likes what I write? What if no one supports me when I say I want to become a writer? Its a lot to think about, the consequences, the effects, ” I lower my head, smiling wearily.

”To hell to those who don believe what you can do. And not everybody will like what you do but what matters is someone likes it, even if its just one person. Don let others tell you what to do because in the end, that is your life. And you need to believe in yourself as well for you to achieve what you want to. Don think too much, follow your heart, Gem, ” he nods at me, follows it with a reassuring smile.

I nod a multiple times, thinking about what he said. ”Someday, Daniel. Someday. ”

And then he laughs— to break off the seriousness going on inside the car. ”Make sure to send me the first copy of your book when you do publish one. Ill even be the president of your fans club! ” he jokes which, of course, makes me laugh as well.

The long, very very long, drive didn seem too long for me as I had someone I can talk comfortably to, share my thoughts to, my dreams, anything. He was willing to listen to anything I wanted to say and I was thankful for that. I needed to get some things out of my chest and this helped. Given that I am always alone, this for sure was breath of fresh air for me.

As much as I didn want to leave the car, I needed to when we arrived home. And it was the most dreadful feeling, seeing the house— knowing that there are two persons waiting for me inside.

I take in a large amount of air, prepare myself once again. I shake my head to ease the heavy feeling in my heart and close my eyes. Im glad that Daniel gave me time, as well. When I open my eyes, I am the ideal daughter of the Lenzs—the well mannered, well spoken, well educated young lady they expect me to be. I notice a glint of sadness in Daniels eyes as I say goodbye to him through the window of the car.

As he flees, I also head inside to once again enter the war. I once again take a deep breath and walk with confidence, chin held up high, to the door of the house.

It was so empty that I could hear my footsteps as well. I know they
e here. Shoes are here, coats, as well. I can also smell the lingering perfume of my mother as soon as I opened the door. Though it is dinner time, I took a shower first as I went outside before going to the dining area.

When I step foot inside the room, there I saw my parents, still wearing their work clothes. They both glance at me and return to eating. I bowed at them slightly as a greeting before seating. It was a rather quiet dinner, with only both of them talking. They
e discussing about my mothers siblings who want to compete with her, as having the same business.

My mother looks totally appalled by it and talks to my father about how they can expand more and change things.

My mother looks totally appalled by it and talks to my father about how they can expand more and change things. I tilt my head slightly as I am also appalled by my mothers behavior. I cannot understand why she wants only for her to have that specific kind of business.

Shes too competitive, as well as my father. They even talked about investing to a business totally not connected to what they have. And of course I do not have any say on this so I just stay silent unless I want to hear unpleasant words from my father.

”Excuse me, Ill head upstairs. Please enjoy your meal. ” I was about to get up and, you know, continue with my life peacefully.

”Gem, stay. I need you to write down some details for me. Well be attending something next month. ”

I nod and shift on my seat to fix my posture. I bring out my iPad thats always with me to write it on her schedule and to write down important things I need to remember.

They were finished eating, plates gone and taken by the maids.

”Well attend something about a book workshop next week since I, rather your father and I are sponsors. Its at Manila, 3 pm. Gather some books to give to them or something. ”

I freeze when my mother mentioned a book workshop. I always wanted to attend one but couldn because of my schedule. I do not have spare time to that.

Still, I continue to note down everything she is saying. Suddenly I feel so excited, my hands are even trembling.

”I need you to write a speech for me. And, of course, the money. Just contact Geleen for it. ”

I nod while typing. Well, I was actually absent minded while typing because I still cannot process the unexpected event we are going to.

Im so close to my dream yet so far. And I need to keep my expressions and excitement inside because my parents cannot know about it.

How I wish I was do one having a workshop. Not this… job But, what can I do. The least I can do is this.

After she gave me the things she wants me to do, I left them at the dining table to talk to each other and I went to my room to freshen up.

As I once again face my laptop, a page open with some written words already, I suddenly stop writing. You know when you
e on a roll? Writing so fast, words and thoughts keep coming that you don even need to pause to think. And then suddenly, it breaks. It breaks because of a sudden thought that pops in your head, and now, you forget what you want to write next.

I sigh. I think thats enough for this today. Perhaps 5 pages are sufficient enough. Its now time to do my mothers orders and schedule things.

I open my small notebook to check the things I need to do. Of course I start where I know I can finish early. The speech.

It was, you know, a mediocre speech. Well, I won say mediocre. Its rather well written and just like how my mother likes it.

Classy, educated, with a tiny bit of boasting in it.

I save the file and afterwards I stand up to stretch my limbs that were sitting for too long. I have a very bad back for someone my age.

I glance outside my window to see how the outside is looking and it never fails to amaze me.

The stars are shining even brighter than yesterday, if thats even possible. The moon. My god, the moon. Its simply ethereal and I cannot stop looking at it. Maybe for others its just something, a ball thats… white? Very bright and its just there. But for me its something else. Its something I look forward to seeing even in the midst of all of this.

And just like that, everything thats been bothering me earlier left me like it wasn even there. The what-ifs, the workshop, my dream that I cannot seem to take a hold of.

I sigh and shake my head. Its just occupying my head too much lately. I feel like Im being brought back to the time I was very depressed of things.

My pillow now with me, I sit back on my swivel chair. I just sit there, curtains open, as well as my window, my chin resting on the soft pillow I am hugging.

The air feels so fresh tonight. I wonder if it feels that I need this today. So, I close my eyes to let some of the air going in to hit me, to calm my nerves. And trust me when I say it does, I even almost fell asleep if it weren for the loud honking of the car next door.

I just chuckle to myself while closing the window (and of course peeking below). Why is it that when I want something, there will always be something between thatll prevent me from getting it? Well, what can I do? Life is beautiful, yet cruel and ironic.

Maybe tomorrow Ill have the answers Ive been seeking for since I realized how truly cruel the world is. And with that, I slowly fall asleep with a lot of things in my mind again.

For the past days, Ive been working with Geleen, my mothers secretary, for the workshop. Shes doing all the work related to money, and I am organizing the things that need to be brought. I am also the one who gives updates to my mother everyday about progress. She wants it very… extravagant, I must say. Im used to her making small events big for her to get attention.

After a long day of working at the main branch alongside Geleen, I come home to fix the books my mother wants us to donate.

I pull out a large box outside my cabinet. I grunt when I realize how heavy it was, but I manage to put it down slowly without any damage. /Goodness, I need to do more cardio./

I smile while taking a huge breath in. Seeing all of the books I used to read when I was a child makes me feel so nostalgic. These were my starting point, you know. Without these, I wouldn be writing. I wouldn realize what I really want to do in life, I wouldn have something to escape to.

”Well, I guess now is the time to put you all to good use. May you also awaken the passion hiding inside each and every child that will read you. ” Now I was smiling like some lunatic. This is the most Ive smiled since I don know when.

That reminds me, Daniel! He can pick me up tomorrow so I can bring these to the office and we can put it somewhere better looking than my old, weirdly big, brown box.

I take my phone out to send him a message and my face instantly lit up when I saw his reply.

”Oh, I see you
e giving the books that made you the writer you are now, ” he replies.

And thats where I start telling him about the workshop and how excited I am for the event.

Well, one month probably seems long to other, but not to me. It only felt like weeks, days even, to me! One day Im arranging everything and next thing I know, its already the day Ive been waiting for. And god knows how many teas I drank to calm my nerves.

Im on a separate car from my parents as they still have some business to tend to, and I will be the one to head there first.

I cannot stop tapping my foot on the floor, biting my nails, and cold sweat rolling down my forehead. Why am I so nervous about this? Its just a workshop my parents were invited to. /Its a workshop youve always wanted to do, dumbass./ Okay, lets not think about it that way. Im just here as a child of the sponsor, Im not here fo—

My thoughts were cut off by someone who seemed to notice how quiet and jittery I was. ”Calm down, Gem. Knowing you, youll probably do great talking with the kids because you share the same interest. Don think about it too much, go with the flow. Youll do great, I swear on my toenails. ”

I chuckle at his attempt on easing my nervousness which works. He never fails to calm down my very chaotic mind. It feels like he knows what to say to me every time, and I like it.

”Thanks, Daniel. I just don know if Ill leave a good impression? Should I interact with them with my parents there or would that be too obvious? ” I quirk my lips. I don know how to act with my parents looking at me like some sort of camera.

”Do what your heart tell you to do, what you want to do, how you want to act. Don mind their eyes looking your way. ” He shrugs with a sly smile on his face.

Okay, hes right. I shouldn think about it too much. Its messing with my head. Lets act how I normally do. Uh… I think that wouldn be a great idea considering how I normally act? Okay, lets just act like how I want to. Yeah! Thats it.

And just when Ive calm down, Daniel announces that we
e here that cause my whole calmness to explode, my nerves scattering all over the place, and my soul leaving my body.

Oh my lord almighty. Someone please save me. My legs seem to not cooperate with me. The doors open with Daniel waiting outside for me to go out as well. But I just freeze. And I very much thank him for holding my hand and giving me assistance knowing how Im lost right now.

”You can do this, Gem! ” He raises his fist to encourage me. ”Now, go. Go to where your heart belongs. Enjoy this day! ”

Thats just what I needed.

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