Today was harder than most. It was my twenty fifth birthday. It had been exactly four years ago since ‘that’ happened. My birthdays were the worst days as I remember the abuse more vividly. There were alot of questions running through my head, alot of regrets. If I didn’t sneak out that night, if I just stayed in my room, if I didn’t go to that club my life would’ve been normal. I wouldn’t be like this. Maybe I would’ve had the family I’d always dreamt of by now. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed. I couldn’t function. I laid in bed and just stared at the ceiling, wishing the day away. I wished I could just skip this day. Would I ever be normal again? Hanggang kailan ba ‘to? Kailan ako makakawala sa bangungot na ito?
The doorbell rang, pulling me out of my trance. Who could that be? I wasn’t expecting anyone. I forced myself up and went to get the door. I looked through the peephole and saw Callum there. My heart started beating a little faster just like it always does when he’s around. Callum and I had gone out a few times already. I wouldn’t say they were dates, just casual coffee catch ups. Sometimes instead of doing therapy in his office, we do it outside. There was this one time I didn’t bring my car with me because I had washed and he insisted on dropping me off.
Callum was a very interesting person. Ngayon lang ulit ako nalapit sa isang lalaki na hindi part ng family ko. He was funny, witty, and he understands me. Well, it was part of his job as a psychiatrist to try to understand. He’s very professional during therapy sessions but I get to see his real personality when it’s over. He’d tell me funny stories and stupid jokes and little by little I got to know him better and better. One thing I love most about being around him was that for the first time in a long time, I felt safe around a guy. He makes me feel like I’m going to be alright. I reminded myself to call Cindy and thank her for this. She said having a male therapist would be good for me, this cognitive behavioral therapy she said was really working.
I cracked the door open just enough to peek out with one eyes. “Hi.”
“Hey, Audrey.” He flashed a stunning hollywood A-list smile at me. I had to swallow a sigh.
“What are you doing here?” I asked in a tiny voice.
“You didn’t come to therapy today so I came to you.”
“You didn’t have to. I’m sorry I can’t let you in.” Although I was already comfortable around him and I knew I could trust him, I still couldn’t get myself to let a man into my house.
“That’s fine by me.” Kibit bakat na sabi niya. “I don’t think I want to go in anyway. I’m enjoying the nice weather out here today.”
I pressed my lips together, trying to hide my smile.
“You want something to drink?” I asked.”A glass of water will do.”
“Sandali lang.” I said, shutting the door and going to my kitchen. I got him a glass of water and I was about to head back to him when I heard a tap on my kitchen window.
Halos mahulog ang baso sa gulat ng makita ko siya sa bintana. He waved at me and a small chuckle rose from my throat. I pulled my kitchen window open.
“Ano’ng ginagawa mo diyan?”
“I was actually just admiring the flowers around your house and then I saw you. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you or seem stalkerish.” He said, apologetically.
“It’s okay.” I handed him a glass of water.
“Thanks.” He took it from me.
“Don’t you have any other patients?”
“You know, the funny thing is I’m not supposed to be taking any patients on the weekends. I only made an exception for you because Dr. Miller said you’re only free on Saturdays and Sundays. You’re my one and only patient today.”
“Thanks, Callum. You don’t know how much of a help you and Cindy are to me.” I sincerely said.
“Just doing my job, ma’am.” He winked at me, tipping his invisible hat.
I rolled my eyes at him teasingly. “So are you my therapist now today or are you my friend?”
“I’d like to be your friend today. Do you want to go out and get something to eat?”
I thought for a few moment. This would be the first time I’d ever go out on my birthday since my twenty first. I had nothing to look forward to today aside from watching a comedy movie to distract myself. I wanted to recover and Callum was here to help me.
“Sure. I’ll just get my bag.” Sagot ko.
We went to get burgers and fries then he said he didn’t want to eat in a greasy burger restaurant. He drove to Twin Peaks because he said he wanted to catch the nightview of the city. It was a really high point in San Francisco where you can see all the lights. It had a spectacular view of the whole bay area. I’d been in San Francisco for years now and I’d heard of this place but this was the first time I’d ever been hear. The view was breathtaking. The sky was already painted with deep shades of purple and pink as the sun sets. Lights began to appear like star lights below us.
“Are you going to play?” I asked when I saw him took out a guitar from the trunk of his car.
“You bet.” Sinabit niya ang strap ng guitar sa katawan niya. “Have you heard of the song Blackbird?
“I shook my head. “No, I haven’t.”
“It’s another The Beatles song.” He grinned. I knew he was a huge, huge fan of The
Beatles, he had been very vocal about it. “It kind of reminded me of you.”
He strummed his along the strings of his guitar and it started playing a tune.
“Black bird singing in the dead of night, take this broken wings and learn to fly. All your life. You were only waiting for this moment to arise. Black bird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see. All your life. You were only waiting for this moment to be free. Black bird fly, black bird fly… Into the light of a dark black night.” He sang.
I close my eyes, took in a deep breath, letting the cold wind fill my lungs and breathed out until they were empty. His voice felt like velvet stroking against my skin. It was beautiful.
“That was amazing.” I said after the song was over.
“I take it to mean that no matter how dark everything aroudn you is, there is always a small glimmer to be found. We all have our blackbird moments. I’ve had mine. And broken wings or not, it’s up to us to hobble our way towards the light.
“My eyes lowered as tears stung them again. I tried to blink them away.
“Beautiful.” I heard Callum said.
Bumukas ang mga mata ko at pumihit ang ulo ko sa direksyon niya. We were both sitting on the hood of his car. He was staring at me when I looked at him. He swallowed and then looked straight ahead. “The view is beautiful up here.”
“It is. I’ve never been here before.” I confessed and I started playing with my fingers.
“Thank you for taking me here, Callum.”
He smiled softly while still staring at the spectacular view. “I want your birthday to be a happy one. I don’t want you to associate it with something bad that has happened to you.”
“You know it’s my birthday?” I cocked a brow.
“Of course. I’m your shrink, remember? I know everything I need to know about you.”
“Oh so this is still therapy?”
“This is a friend trying to help a friend.” He grinned and then turned his head to me.
“Don’t worry, it’s free of charge.”
A small chuckle rose from my throat as I shook my head. That small chuckle turned into laughter and then suddenly I was crying. I buried my face into my palms and cried until my shoulders were shaking uncontrollably.
“It’s alright…” Callum pulled me to him, stroking my hair. “Cry all you want.”
I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face into his chest. “Bakit ako? Why did it have to happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?”
“You did not deserve everything you went through. You did not deserve to be treated that way.” He whispered soothingly. “This is why I’m here. Gusto kong tulungan kang kalimutan ang lahat ng iyon.”
“I can’t! I can’t! No matter what I do I can’t forget what they did to me. Hindi mawawala sa isip ko ang kawalanghiyaang ginawa nila sa akin.” I sobbed, my hands fisted against his chest. “I don’t want to live like this anymore. Sometimes I feel like this will never stop and I just want to die.”
“I’ll fill you with so much good memories, you’d have no room for the bad ones. Don’t even think about wanting to die. Anything but that. You want to kill someone? I know a good place to bury a body. You want to do drugs? We’ll find you a dealer. Want to drink until you pass out? God, Audrey, I’d rather see you fucked up than dead.” He hugged me a little tighter.
I sniffled and looked up at him. There was a strong hue of black in his eyes. I didn’t know what it wanted to convey. Fear?
I didn’t know what had gotten into me when my hands reached up to cup his face. I tiptoed and pressed my lips against him. His eyes widened in shock but then he relaxed and closed them. He answered my kiss back with a deeper one of his own.
I think I had found my small glimmer in the darkness.