The air in the open balcony could make anyone in the room shiver. It actually made us shiver then; but the darkness and the cold could not stop us. I was twenty and in love.
“Kokoy, faster, before anyone discovers we have eloped.” Even in the darkness, Romel’s beautiful eyes and long lashes mesmerized me. He was my father’s private nurse. Sometimes I think my confession had triggered father’s stroke. So I tried to make up for it by taking care of him after my classes. That was how Romel and I became close.
“I brought everything valuable I could find in the house, I think these are enough.”
I showed him the jewelry I got from Nanay’s collection and all my savings. He smiled and then we laid all our baggage in the taxi that waited for us.
We traveled to Romel’s faraway hometown in Sta. Maria where no one in my family could find us. We lived happily there until we began fighting because our money was running out. I started to sell products from different direct-selling companies. Every morning, I would wake up early and sell the products to everyone in the village. Sometimes I would continue walking towards neighboring villages.
Romel also tried finding work, but he always ended up having a boss who he thought was too arrogant. I would always agree with him when he decided to resign. I didn’t want him to be maltreated. Anyway, the products were selling well and I had also succeeded in recruiting people to my network. This made Romel happy. But although my profits from the beauty products provided food for us, Romel would often tell me to come back to my family. He said he worried about how my leaving could have made my father’s condition worse. But I always refused.
One morning, the bag full of the beauty products was not where I had left it. I was about to ask Romel about it, but he had left early. I searched around our small room. I opened Romel’s closet and found only hangers scattered in his cabinet. Only a brochure was left. It was the one with Reese Witherspoon on the cover urging, “Say Hello Tomorrow.”