I was lying on my bed, my right hand resting on my chest while my eyes looked at the plafond. I knew the pain would surface soon. I prayed for God to hold it back, because sooner or later I would need to use my hand again.
I heard voices in front of my room. I believed it was Cassie and Julie coming. I pretended that I was still sleeping.
"Oh, Cynthia's here," I heard Julie say as she and Cassie entered the room. "It's weird. She usually gets back much later than we do."
"Yeah, I don't know." Cassie responded.
They were quiet after that. I wondered what they were doing. I couldn't open my eyes to peek because they would know I was pretending.
"CYNTHIA!" Their voices so surprised me that I suddenly opened my eyes. My right hand was shaken but I was relieved that I didn't feel the pain. I believed it was because of the painkiller. I was grateful they would not know I was hurt.
"I knew you were pretending." Cassie said.
I got up from bed and sat up against the wall behind me. "How come?" I chuckled.
"Though your eyes were closed, your eyeballs were moving," she explained. "That's why I knew. I read it in a magazine."
"Besides, I don't believe you're smart enough to lie, Cynth," Julie added. "Better not lie to us anyway." She chuckled. Cassie and I did too.
I nodded and admitted it. Dad and mom told me to never lie. That's why I wasn't used to lying.
"Anyway, why are you here so early?" Cassie asked.
I sighed. I decided not to lie again. They were my roommates. Sooner or later they would know what came to me. "My right hand is in pain." I told them.
"How come?" They simultaneously asked me in surprise.
"His ex-best friend did this to me." I answered.
"You mean Meredith?" Cassie shot in a startled expression.
"You know?" I frowned.
"Of course I do. I was his neighbor remember?" She reminded me.
"Wherever Genesis was, Meredith was there," she told me. "As if nothing could separate them. I thought their relationship would last until vows were made."
"So what happened actually?" I interrogated her because I really wanted to know what had made Meredith so angry with Gee Kay, enough that she'd injure me because of it.
She shrugged. "All I know is when they got into the university, their relationship suddenly ended." She answered.
"By the way, what did she do to you?" Julie asked. She looked really concerned for me.
While rotating my right wrist very gently, because I felt a bit uncomfortable, I gave her an answer; "She pushed me really hard and I fell onto the floor. My elbow hit it pretty hard."
Hey, hey, answer me now! This is a call! Julie and I turned to the direction of the voice. Cassie grinned as she took out her cellphone from her purse and answered the call.
"Hello," Cassie greeted, then she remained silent for a while. "Calm down. She's here with me, at Argenta."
Hearing what Cassie said, I assumed she was talking about me.
"Is she wounded? Yeah."
I hissed and mimed 'no' to her. She mimed back to me 'I'm sorry, I don't know."
"But she'll be fine. Julie and I will take care of her," she assured the caller. "Oh, yeah. That'd be cool. We'll be here. Okay. See you." As the call finished, she put her cellphone back into her purse.
"Gina?" I asked.
"What did she say?"
"She was worried about and looking for you," she replied. "And she said she'd be here to see you soon."
I sighed. Inside my heart, I regretted that this had happened. "Now I'm making everyone worried," I felt sad and cried to the Lord silently. "I'm sorry."
"Hey, it's not your fault," she replied in a soft voice. Julie calmed me down. She moved toward me to sit on my bed and patted my left arm.
I smiled at her and looked at both of them in turn. Thank you, both of you." I said.
"Now lie down for a moment. When Gina comes, I'll let you know." Julie told me.
I nodded. She was right. I needed to get some rest for a while, not only because of my right hand but also for my emotions to be calmed down. Julie got up from my bed to let me lie down.
I didn't know how long I'd been sleeping. Yes, I believed I was sleeping. I opened my eyes. When I tried to get up from bed, the pain came. Oh no. The painkiller was gone. I propped up my right hand as I moved.
Julie and Cassie were nowhere in the room, so I figured they were outside. I looked at the clock on the wall that showed it was still 10 AM. I'd only slept for an hour.
My throat was a little bit sore. I was thirsty. I usually had a glass of water on my desk, but it was empty. I had not refilled it. Slowly, I walked toward the door. Because I had nothing to prop up my right hand, it gripped the fringe of the left side of my shirt while I opened the door with my left hand and stepped outside.
I made my way toward the kitchen and took some water from the sink to drink. I still did that with my left hand. As I finished, I walked out from the kitchen. However, somehow a girl suddenly ran past me and touched my right elbow.
"Ah!" I groaned with tears suddenly coming out.
The girl stopped and came back to approach me. "I'm sorry. Are you okay?" She asked with concern.
"No." I let her know the truth. I was still crying.
"I'm so sorry." She felt guilty.
I shook my head. "It's not your fault. It's my elbow that's still in pain," I tried to be steady with my voice and wiped the tears away with my left hand.
"Have you gone to the doctor?" She asked me. "Let me take you there."
I shook my head again. "I have. It's okay," I told her. "The pain will be gone soon."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." I convinced her.
"Okay," she said. "Be careful." Then she left.
I walked back to my room which was open. I realized I'd forgotten to close it. When I was about to come in, I heard my name being called. I stopped and turned my head toward the one who called me.
"You're awake," Julie appeared. "How do you feel?"
"To be frank, it hurts." I showed her my elbow.
"Oh my goodness, it's swollen!" Her eyes widened.
"It's going to be okay soon," I tried to be as calm as I could. I didn't want to go to the doctor just to be given another prescription for medicine I couldn't pay for. Again. "So, where's Gina?"
Julie looked a little bit annoyed. "She is down there with Cassie and Brenda and Genesis," she answered. "But you changed the topic. We need to take you to the doctor, now."
"I did. Just relax. I'm going to be okay." I persisted.
Without warning, Julie touched my elbow and I moaned. "See? Do you think that's okay?" She was still insisting that I go to the doctor.
"As for now, it still hurts. But I believe it'll feel fine soon, OK?"
"NO," she cut me off. "Go with me now, or I will touch your elbow again."
I sighed. "O-kay." I emphasized my tone showing her I was indisposed for doing it.
Reluctantly I walked down with her to the first floor where Julie, Gina, Brenda and Gee Kay were sitting on couches. As they saw me, surprised and anxious expressions appeared on their faces. All but Gee Kay stood up.
Brenda moved closer to me. "Are you okay?" she looked really worried.
"Yeah." I put a smile on my face. "But don't touch me." I said when she was about to touch my right hand.
"You're not okay," Brenda protested. "Let's go to the doctor."
"That's what I told her to do," Julie added. "But she was really persistent."
"Let me take you to the doctor," said Gina. "You guys can stay here, I'll take care of her."
"No, I'll go with you." Said Cassie.
"Me too," Brenda and Julie said simultaneously.
I sighed. I'd never expected this. I had caused everyone to worry about me.
"Okay," Gina responded. "Julie and Cassie can come with me."
"I'll be following behind you." Said Brenda.
I was brought to the hospital. Again. The same doctor. Again. Oh dear, how embarrassed I felt having to see him again. Julie, who had come with me into the doctor's office, told him about my pain. When the doctor asked me if I had taken my medicine, that's where I tightly closed my mouth.
"So, tell me Cynthia. Did you take the medicine?" Julie insisted because I'd remained silent for a number of minutes now since the doctor had asked me.
I sighed deeply. "This is embarrassing to say, you know." I was still feeling reluctant to tell her and the doctor the truth.
"Just tell us. There's no need to worry." Julie encouraged me.
I had no option but to tell them the truth. I looked at my concerned roommate and the curious doctor before I said, "What can I do for this hospital to get the medicine?" I decided to use pragmatic rule to answer. I couldn't say that I didn't have money because in fact I did, only it wouldn't be enough for my daily needs because the daily living fund, a part of the scholarship, had not been given.
"So money is the reason?" Julie asked in disbelief.
Julie shook her head. "You could've just told me about it, Cynth." She said.
"I didn't want to be a burden to anyone."
"You will be." She rested her hand on my shoulder. "If you don't take the medicine, you'll get sick eventually. You know, you could just borrow money from me and pay me back when you receive your daily living fund."
Though what Julie had said made sense, I felt it wasn't the appropriate thing to do. Borrowing money from someone other than family was just something I'd never done before.
"Doctor, could you please give me her perscription again?" Julie asked the doctor and he nodded. Then she looked at me. "I'll pay for it, and don't refuse."
I couldn't say anything now. Really. At the moment, what I was thinking was I needed to feel some fresh air.
The doctor gave me the temporary painkiller again, because I'd moaned a little from the pain that struck my elbow, and the prescription. We both thanked him and left his office to find everyone waiting for us outside.
"So, how was it in there?" asked Brenda.
"Everything's under control." Julie answered. I thanked her with a silent nod, because she did what I told her to do before we went out, not letting everyone else know about this.
Julie and I took the medicine to the pharmacy and went back to meet our friends again. Knowing my condition was better, Gina told us that she wanted to treat us to ice cream at the park near Argenta. Using the same cars again, we made our way to the park in less than 5 minutes.
I enjoyed the ice cream very much. I felt happier. The pain was gone. All seemed back to normal, though it was temporary at the moment and would soon be gone. During the time, I also remembered that I needed to pay my debt back to Julie. It was what I always did when I owed someone something. As all of us finished enjoying our time at the park, we went back to our residents.
Another morning came. It was Monday; school was back. With a piece of fabric I decided to prop up my right hand, because my elbow needed to be protected until it became much better. With that done, I went to the campus with Cassie.
In every class I took, I would try to use my right hand whenever I needed to write, but I would mostly fail and then my right hand would need to rest. Then I decided I might as well train my left hand to write. My writing was really bad, but at least I could record many things the lecturers taught us in my notebook. Actually, I could use my tablet but some lecturers didn't allow gadgets to be used in class, because many would misuse that freedom to do anything else but taking notes, like social media or something else.
Monday was not the best day of school, but I always tried to enjoy it. The popular idiom 'I hate Monday' supported the fact that it was a hard and long day, because I had three classes and then an extra class for musical theatre. Well, I'd already gotten used to hard and long days from high school, so it wasn't too big a deal for me here.
I was in the library reading a play script to widen my knowledge about the popular scripts usually used in musical theatre. Musical theatre class started at 3 PM. When it was time to attend, I cleaned off the table where I was sitting and put all of my stuff into my bag before leaving the library.
It was the second meeting, and there were more people coming. Nobody skipped the class anymore. Moreover, there was a warning that punishment would be given for anyone who skipped class because they were already committed when they chose to take the class. I smiled to myself, feeling happy about something like this. Discipline and commitment, yeah.
"Guess what? I'm on Genesis' Instagram this morning!" A girl sitting behind me said in a voice audible enough for me to hear. Her friends responded cheerfully.
Hearing it, I didn't feel annoyed like I used to because I already knew who Genesis was. Instead, I was glad. He always knew how to make people happy, though it was only through Instagram.
"You know, I was feeling so upset and mentioned him in a comment under his picture that says 'Anyone Wants To Talk With Me, Just Talk.' Then this morning, he encouraged me and now I'm glad!" The same girl said. I knew it was her without turning around. I didn't want to turn my head toward her because I was afraid she and her friends would recognize me and think that I was Genesis' girlfriend like the rumor said. "You know, I want to marry him!"
That made me chuckle a little, but I realized it was a bit too loud so I stopped. I suddenly pretended to read something on my tablet so that they wouldn't know I laughed from her confession of wanting to marry Gee Kay.
Then I realized that the girls stopped talking. I wondered if they knew I was pretending. I really wanted to turn my head and see what was happening, but I was too afraid. What I was afraid of became true eventually when another girl said to her friends that it was me, Cynthia, the one who was considered as Genesis' girlfriend.
I couldn't let this happen. I couldn't let those who like Gee Kay stop liking him because of me, or rather, because of the false gossip about me and Gee Kay.
"Hey, if you love him, just go get him. The rumor isn't true. I'm just his friend." That was what I told them when I finally turned my head and saw four blonde girls were surprised looking at me. With nothing left to say, I turned my head to the front of the room again. At the same time, the lecturer walked into the room to begin class.
Cassie promised me we'd go home together but she texted me as I walked out of the musical theatre class that she had an appointment with a lecturer so we couldn't. I texted her back that it was okay.
The bus would come every fifteen minutes. I checked my watch for the time and it was already 4.09 PM. I still had 6 minutes to catch the next bus. I didn't want to miss this because I wanted to get some rest after this tiring day.
When I was making my way to the front door that directed me to the bus shelter, two guys suddenly blocked my way. I didn't think it would be a problem at first until I realized they were the guy who'd been talking with Meredith the other day and Kyle, the one whose nose had been broken by Gee Kay at his residence.
"What are you doing?" I said, feeling terrorized because they'd cornered me.
Kyle scoffed. "It should be us asking you what you've done to Meredith."
"It was an accident! I was forced to do it. I had no other choice. I needed to defend myself," I reasoned. "You see my right hand? That's what Meredith did to me."
He grasped my jaw. "I don't care about your hand. I just care about what you did to my girlfriend!" I couldn't breathe freely.
God help, God help, I cried out in my heart. "Let go of me," I tried to say as I struggled against his grip, trying to escape.
"Why did you and your boyfriend hurt her?" he still didn't let go and his hand was still tightly gripping my jaw.
"I can't breathe." I said. His friend told him to let go of me and he complied. I inhaled and exhaled deeply to let my lungs fill with air again. When I'd gotten my breath back, I told him; "First off, I'm not Genesis' girlfriend. Second, I never wanted to hurt her, I was just defending myself. Third, I have no idea what your grudge against Genesis is about. Now, please leave me alone. I beg of you."
"How dare you tell me to leave! I need to finish this with you and Genesis because you've made her suffer!" He yelled at me.
I closed my eyes and cringed a little at his shouting. Then I sighed and opened my eyes again. "Now what do you want from me? What can I do to stop Meredith's suffering?" I asked him.
"See Mike, this girl is just the same as Genesis. She's so mean." He said to his friend, but it was directed toward me.
"Why do you say I'm mean? What did I do? Okay, I'm sorry I caused her to get hurt yesterday. I'm sorry for that," I said. "But could you please just tell me why she's suffering or what I can do to help her?"
Kyle shook his head. "You know, Genesis was her best friend. He was the one she always expected would always be there for her, but in just one night when she was sitting by the bank of the river where she and Genesis were supposed to meet at, two guys raped her. And Genesis wasn't there! He didn't even show up. I found her crying and she told me everything." Kyle told me. He then told me about everything Meredith went through, as if I had been his friend for a long time. "That's Genesis if you want to know the real him!"
"But did she tell him what had happened? Did she ask why he never came? Because what I know is that Genesis knows nothing about this." I said.
"He doesn't know? Why didn't he ask?" Kyle snapped. "What kind of a man is he? What a loser!"
"Hey!" I snapped back. "Don't judge before you know the truth."
"You defend him because you're his girlfriend."
"Whatever!" He yelled. "From now on, I won't let Genesis and you alone until Meredith forgives you. Remember that." He pointed his finger right at my eyes. "Let's go, Mike." And then they left.
I was alone there, like the sky had just fallen above me, and I sat down on the floor. I really wondered and asked the Lord inside my heart why such a thing could happen. I'd always dreamed about living in the US where I would study, make new friends, learn a new culture, and feel happy and grateful for those things. However, this was what I got.
Suddenly, the pain came rushing back. My elbow throbbed. I couldn't hold it back. I needed to take my medicine because it was actually time for me to take the second pill.
I tried to get up slowly then walked a little bit faster to get to the cafeteria where I could get something to drink. I ordered a bottle of fresh water to chase down the medicine. My elbow was still hurting, but I tried to hold on for a while longer as I waited for the medicine kick in. On the couch I was sitting on, I rested my head on the side of the back rest. I didn't realize I had drifted off to sleep until I abruptly woke up.ns188.8.131.52da2