There's a lot of weird things that are happening these days, and one of those is to be in love with someone who she hates the most. What a world of surprises.
How can a person develop her feelings to an individual who she's supposed to dump for his rude attitude towards other people? And the twist is that he is her partner in everything that she's doing as part of her duties as one of the youth leaders in their town.
Carmela, an active teenager, who has a lot of visions in the society where people need to be evaluated in their personal development as the first solution to progress. It's always in her mind to change the community's backward understanding about scientific method on how to gain or achieve a developed small town. She is like her father who often tells her the importance of dealing with others. It's like she is being trained by principles and love to her fellow. She gives a wink to her Dad every time she says something that is related to humanity.
"Dad, what if you aren't my father?" She teasingly asks him.
"Hmm, perhaps, you are not as good as you are now." He smiles at her.
"Dad, you are exaggerating! I am not as good as you, remember when I had that acquaintance to people from the highest office? I almost shooed them to go back from where they came from."
"Carmela, I understand what you are trying to tell me. I freaked too. I can recall every destruction that they've created in our country."
"That's why we are a father and daughter tandem Daddy!" They laugh.
Her mom hears their conversation and just smiles at them while looking at her bonsais on the patio.
Their house is just as simple as those living in their neighborhood. Her father always thinks that simplicity of life can make people's lives less complicated yet happy. Contentment is the key as what he says to Carmela and the rest of the town people in his speeches. He is not a politician. He never joins politics, but people love to invite him as their inspirational speaker- as part of their motivation and Carmela also backs it up so everyone of her fellow can survive the scarcity of food and everything especially when the drought comes in. Her father already receives a lot of acknowledgments and recognitions for his enormous deeds of humanity and helps not just financially but emotionally.
"Why are we here in the rice field Mel?" Carlo asks Carmela while walking on the narrow paths between the square shaped rice fields that are full of cogon grass that tickles their legs and toes.
"My father wants me to go here to check if the water supply for the farmers is still okay." Carmela answers him while heading to the upper part to check the small canals that carry the water through the rice grains.
"Goodness, you are like that old woman who knows everything!" Carlo shakes his head.
"There's nothing wrong with that. By the way, do you really want to help me or are you just here to nag me?"
"Okay, I'll stop, but remember that this is not a part of my job as a youth leader.Yeah, just to remind you!"
"I know but isn't this also for our fellows who give their effort, time, and everything to make a living?" She stares at him blankly.
"Well, since I am here already, so no regrets. I will help you."
"That sounds amazing!" Carmela retorts him with a wry smile.
They go to the coconut tree areas where the farmers live their very simple life too. Carmela talks to them. Assuring them that her father does his best to have a project like irrigation to sustain their farming for a living and to give as well enough water consumption. The farmers prepare them a super delicious lunch and the recipes are cooked in coconut milk. The fish with chili is so yummy as well as the malunggay leaves with diced young jackfruits and dried fish. They drink fresh coconut fruit juice too. Carmela is surprised why Carlo has no complaints at all when she knows that he never eats vegetables. She keeps that in mind and makes a plan to invite him in their house and cook a lot of vegetables for him. She knows that he is naughty and a bully. Just like a kid who is starting to go to school. She knows as well that he has never participated in any events in the school and town, but she is really confused why the youth voted him as their chairman.
The sun is already fading through the ridge of the mountains and seems to be fighting from the silhouette of the darkness. They continue to walk until they reach the street going to their motorcycles that they put under the big Ipil-ipil tree. Carmela learns how to drive because of him. Yes, he is rude and straightforward but she can actually see his heart. Perhaps three -fourth rudeness and one- fourth kindness. Her aim is that she wants to change him from a kid to a man. That's part of his mission while they are still in their positions. As they arrive and almost start their engines she hears Carlo's complaint about the mosquito bites.
"Carlo, what you feel right now is not as painful as what other people have experienced, especially that the economy in our country is shaking because of our dullard leaders.You are a spoiled brat perhaps because you are an unico hijo and your parents do their best to get what you want. Be a man okay?"
He just snubs her and starts his engine and eventually fades in her eyesight. She murmurs as she slowly drives her green two wheeled vehicle.
The next day, she texts him that they'll be having a meeting the next afternoon but even one word he never replies. "Hmm, he is in his tantrums I know." She shrugs her shoulder while reading all the agenda for the next activity: their town fiesta. The town councilors assign them to head the activities from day one to the last day of the event but Carlo is nowhere to be found. She is not used to it because though he is stubborn and not as professional as hers, he still manages to reply to her messages for confirmation.
She tries once again to message him but still no replies. Carmela already worries what he's been through. Days and nights have passed and she never receives any information on what he's been doing. She wants to go to his house but her father tells her to just give him a space maybe Carlo and his family are in the States having a vacation. "But that's a funny thing Dad, our town fiesta is approaching, I know that they'll be having visitors especially their relatives from the other towns. That's already our tradition." Her father just looks at her and sighs.
She writes things in her journal especially the longing of his friend at the same time as her enemy. Her heart cries thinking why he can't even do a single message to her to just assure her that he's okay.
The fiesta arrives and she does her best to make everything good especially the beauty pageant that she's hosting that supposedly he is her co-host. The days turn months and almost a year. She doesn't know what exactly happened to him and his parents are so secretive.
The day comes when all the loved ones are almost in the grave of their loss and she sees his parents crying. She suddenly cries from afar. A friend who is near in her heart and so straightforward and rude to her never opens up any problem at all instead he keeps his pain. His leukemia. All her plans are gone like the sunshine that is suddenly covered by the gray clouds. Her heart explodes of so much pain...