one : uno

1530 Words
Chapter 1 I wake up with a jolt, a repressed shout on my lips. I was falling again. The same dream I’ve been having for weeks. I climb to the very top of the tree until I slip and fall- only the falling part is prolonged to the point that I feel my lungs contract.  Scratching the sleep from my eyes, I tiptoe to the bathroom careful not to wake my roommates. I close the door and open the lights. My eyes are bloodshot and I wash it with cold water.  The news of my grandmother passing did not come as a surprise. She’s been sick for quite sometime now and everyone was expecting it. Lung cancer. It was a painfully long battle that she did not win.  I thought it would hurt less because I already knew it was happening but it didn’t. It still hurt the same and if possible, I cried even more.  All I ever had were my grandparents growing up. My parents were never in the picture. They died when I was a baby and I don’t really remember them. I was a happy and spoiled kid with my grandparents. I never felt like anything was missing with them there.  Originally, I was coming home from college sooner but my grandfather thought it was best if I finish my midterms first. I don’t know why he thought it was the best idea when I couldn’t fully focus on my exams with her death so fresh.  I haven’t been home in years. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to come home, it was more of my grandparents wanting me to experience life outside our small farm. They would be the one to travel to the city for holidays and birthdays. They always preferred that. Maybe it’s their own way of leaving our home too.  Now, I’m coming home and I wish it wasn’t in these circumstances.  With sleep gone, I decide to shower and prepare to leave. I finished all of my midterms yesterday and have an early flight home in a few hours.  I honestly just want to hug my grandfather for a few hours while listening to his old songs on vinyl. I’d make him his favorite apple pie and we can watch the sunset together.  It’s been such a long time. I wonder what the house looks like. My grandmother is such a clean freak that she always has her army of household workers fixing everything. Our family is financially stable enough with our farm. It’s grown over the years. They have large plantations now and livestock.  Fresh from my shower, I pull on a simple dress and a cozy sweater over that. I quietly take my bags that I’ve previously packed my things in and leave our school dorm not bothering to wake my roommates. They already knew I was leaving early and we’ve said goodbye the night before. It’s still dark by the time I walk out of our building and into the cab that I called. I’ve been living in the city for a few years now and it’s definitely going to be a big change when I get home. From what I can remember, its woods as far as the eyes can see. I’ve missed that. I’ve always been more in-depth with nature and living in a concrete jungle with pollution in every direction... it’s gonna be a pleasant change.  On the way to the airport, my mind goes back to my grandmother who’s always yelling and always making sure I’m well fed. She coddles me too much that woman and I love her to the ends of the world. My fondest memory of her would be of us sitting outside by the patio drinking hot cocoa and telling stories about the mysterious creatures that live in our backyard. Most of my memory about her though is when she would drag me out of the woods by the ear for dinner.  I miss her so much.  What I would give to get dragged by the ear again.  I had tears in my eyes when I got down from the cab and checked in for my flight. My grandfather surely isn’t doing well no matter how much he tells me he’s alright. He’s always been like that. Once, he accidentally cut himself from the top of his shoulder and down to his elbow. He was bleeding profusely and I was crying but my brave grandpa didn’t flinch or cringe when he was being stitched up. Instead, he smiled through it and flicked my nose with his good hand. “Your snot is coming out.” He teased with a big grin.  “Your blood is coming out.” I argued back trying to wipe the mucus from my nose on the collar of my shirt. He merely laughs and pats my head. “Blood needs to come out from time to time to replace the old with the new.”  I never cried about cuts and bruises after that thinking it was good for me.  Pretty soon, I was on the plane staring out the window. I closed my eyes and dreamt about my childhood. I was a bit of a wild child growing up. A menace really much to my grandmother’s disdain. She always wanted me to be something like a lady but I was a female Tarzan reincarnate minus the vine swinging- trust me I tried. My knees and arms were always filled with scabs from numerous wounds from my adventures. Multiple clothes have been ripped because of my trips to the woods. Let’s just say, I was my grandmother’s nightmare.  But she loved me. Oh, how she loved me.  Despite not agreeing with my Tarzan like living, she showered me with everything and anything. She fed me my favorite dishes every day and continued to do just that while I was away in college.  She visited me often bringing with her my favorite food and stories.  I wake as the plane is descending and a perfect few of our small town greets me from the window. I’m home. “Maggie?” I turn from trying but failing to get my bag from the overhead bin.  My eyes scan the male in front of me. It takes a moment but I smile when I match his face from someone in my memory. “Adrian?”  “Maggie! It is you! I’m so sorry about your grandma.” He says helping me in getting my bag. Adrian was my classmate from middle school. We were quite close. He used to bring me snacks from his parents store. They owned the biggest store in town and they sold just about everything there.  I force a smile. “She’s in a better place.”  “I’m glad you’re home though. How long has it been?” He asks when we make our way out of the plane together.  “About seven years.” I tell him. I was sent away to study in the city when I was thirteen. My grandmother believed the city had a better high school and college education.  Adrian’s eyes widen in surprise. “Seriously? Damn. We have to go out and catch up.”  I nod. “Yeah. For sure. You’re coming home from?”  He smiles excitedly. “College. It’s spring break. I thought I’d visit the parents.”  By this time, we’re out of the plane and moving to baggage claim. “It’s nice to be home.”  “It is. Has the city made you into a proper lady? There’s not even a single scab on you! You’re not the Maggie that I know.” Adrian teases bumping his shoulder on mine.  “The city could never.”  Adrian’s grin widens and he chuckles. “We’ll see about that.”  I don’t get to reply because I see my grandfather at the entrance. Strong, tall, white hair and tanned wrinkled skin. It’s the best man that I know. I run with my bags flailing about at the near empty airport. When I’m close enough, I drop my bags and wrap him in a hug.  “Oh, I’ve missed you, Pa.” I whisper in his ear. He hasn’t changed at all.  He wraps his arms around me as well. “It’s been awhile, little one.”  Behind him is Ron, his help around the farm. Since we were only kids, Ron has been working in grandfather’s land. He’s the son of our household help. We grew up together and often would have adventures when he wasn’t helping in the farm.  “Ron! You’re so tall!” I gasp letting go of my grandfather to hug Ron as well.  Ron blushes in embarrassment and scratches the back of his head. “Hey, Maggie.”  “Pa! He’s so tall isn’t he?” I say turning to face him.  Grandpa agrees and pats Ron on the shoulder. “He’s a big help too.”  “I’m glad. Wow, I haven’t seen you in so long.” I beam happily.  Ron, still blushing, picks up my bags on the floor. “You’ve changed too.”  “Beautiful, yes?” I boast, flipping my tangled hair.  Ron and Grandpa share a look.  “No.” Ron replies jokingly the same time my grandpa says, “Absolutely.”  I lightly smack Ron at the back of his neck like how I used to and he grunts.  “What was that?” I repeat fluttering my eyelashes. “Yes. I said yes!” He gapes at me. “Children, please. Let’s move along.” My grandpa sighs pointing at the exit.  I playfully shove Ron who pretends to trip. “Sir, she hit me again.”  “Pa, I didn’t. He’s overreacting.”  Grandpa merely shakes his head ignoring the two of us altogether. It’s nice to know that after seven years, nothing much has changed. 
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