It was too painful for her to just having a long stare from her window, seeing nothing but the clouds in the horizon, amazingly admiring the beauty of the sky. She was thinking on how she could go to Visita Iglesia ( a traditional church visit during Maunday Thursday in the Philippines) and could see her most loved man if the virus was still giving chaos to people's lives?
It was a busy morning of community enhanced quarantine in her place. Maris was cooking breakfast while asking her Dad who was very busy reading news on his laptop- if when the virus stopped its terrifying effect. She even asked a lot of questions on why it seemed 'twas getting worse.
"Daddy, can we go out next few days?" The Lenten season is approaching. Can we go to church?"
"Maris, no church visit yet until this community quarantine ends".
Her Dad glanced at her while she was in the counter eating her pancake and sipping her milktea wih lemon.
"But Dad what happen to our tradition? We are not used to it. We have been doing this visiting in seven churches every year in different places here in Manila."
"Do not insist, it's for our own good" Her Dad was already annoyed by her questions.
She later cleaned the kitchen same with the living room and their bedrooms because their helper went home before the quarantine was announced. She watered as well their plants and surprisingly her neighbor opened their gate to throw some garbage . She felt her cheeks turned red. It got more intense when he waved at her.
"Hi there Maris" She just smiled and pretended that she was not concious while hearing her rapid heartbeats and then stopped for a second.
"Oh , hello there Mark!"
That was a quick scene to both of them. They only knew more to each other through their wavings.
Her Dad and Mark's mom were inloved with each other before. It was really a small world when they just noticed that they were neighbors too. Her father even told her to not be too close to Mark because of his mom. They didn't have a proper break up because Mark's mother broke their promise. She got married to another man. It was actually a usual tale for lovers and the reason why their love was like a bubble-it burst easily.
Maris always stayed in the half opened window hoping that Mark also did it. She felt so bad when even his shadow wasn't there. She really wished that she could see him every day through where she was. She asked herself if she already fell in love with him because of such unusual feeling but again her Dad's warning was echoing in her mind. It was a horrible thought for her.
One night when her father was so busy with his work as a writer, Maris wrote a poem and made it like a paper airplane. She told herself that it should be received badly by Mark who was nowhere there again. It was a poem about a teenager girl who wanted to go out but it couldn't be. Who wanted to have someone to talk to. Her wished was totally a reverse thing. She failed for many times.
"Maris, Maris, come here a bit!" It was her Dad calling her calmly.
"I saw a letter in the garden and it was written for someone perhaps?" "Did you write it?"
"Yeah , it was mine Dad. I wrote it when I felt bored."
"Ah okay.My daughter, you have all the gadgets that you want in your room. Why not doing a vlog about your poetry writing?"
"Hmm , that's a nice idea Daddy, let me think about it."
She couldn't decide yet because she wanted her writing to be special and nobody would know about her feelings not unless Mark would tell her that he loved her so much. She couldn't even imagine a courtship because her father didn't like Mark obviously. Only the wind heard her sigh of so much sadness.
She wrote a lot. She almost filled up her word application and notes of love poems. She couldn't deny nor even hide her love for Mark. Her poems were all about him. The proofs.
"I won't do vlogs", she murmured. This is special and private. I don't want to shout it out to the whole world especially that I am a girl. It's not good to anyone's eyes."
Her conservativeness really hit her so deeply.
Maris could not ask any piece of advice from a mother. Her mom went abroad and never cane back anymore. She was five then. Her Dad alone took care of her 'til at her age now. She needed a motherly care and concern about what she felt. She couldn't open it up to her Dad because of his hatred to Mark's mom. Maybe he had this regrets of everything that had happened to him before.
The Lenten season came. A long family tradition was never happened because of the Covid -19 and she had no chance also to see Mark in that very beautiful garden facade of the church. She knew that he did as well the Visita Iglesia because they saw each other once or maybe twice. Her mind was almost thinking of wild things - like she wanted to go to their house and say hello to her mom and to him. She just cried on her bed. Disappointed.
One night when the moon was so bright. Maris saw Mark at their terrace. She didn't know how her face looked like in that moment. She felt that she flew near to him and whispered how much she loved him. She wrote again a poem and wished again and again that the moon would carry it to him. It was like the moon heard her wish and she got an idea to search him on Facebook. She had doubts to do it because perhaps he never used his real name to avoid girls. According to what she heard, he was popular and one of the handsome boys in their campus. She tried to search him even if it was so hard to look for someone who was probably couldn't be found. But alas! She saw him. She smiled. She could see herself smiling at her mirrored door wardrobe. She sent him a friend request and gotcha he accepted it right away. She couldn't explain how happy she was in that moment. That was the time they started chatting with each other. Exchanging jokes. Even corny jokes from Mark- she still laughed at it.
They didn't even know or notice that it was already almost dawn. Every single minute was memorable and enjoyable for them until one night Maris read a poem for him:
My heart can't tell
this loony love starts.
It seems there's a
magic red rose
growing inside me--
day by day-
I can't even resist.
Mark was shocked but she could see him smiling. " I know that you never expected this because you see me as very conservative person but what will happen if I'll only stay here like a mute who can't express what I feel?" A crying voice of Maris was echoing in the room. "I know that it's our tradition to be escorted by a man. Sometimes carrying flowers and chocolates or even doing a harana ( a suitor sings a love song while the girl listening from her window) These were acts of showing man's love for a lady but I can't wait anymore. I have this feeling for years already for you. It was started when I felt happy watching you at your lawn playing stuff." Mark told her to chill. He told her to not be worried at all because he also loved her secretly. He confessed that her Dad also warned him to stay away from her. They were both emotional. Their conversation was full of heart emojis. Their love was unexpectedly in a full blown in that special night. Mark told her I Love You and Maris sent him a hug emoji and a non stop heart emojis too. Suddenly her father knocked her door asked her if she was just okay.
"I heard someone sobbing Maris, are you okay baby?"
'Yeahh, Dad. " She answered him with mixed emotions. Mark and her said good mornight already and they slept with smiles in their lips.They even imagined that they kissed each other before hitting their hays.
The next day her Dad told her astonishingly that he wouldn't allow himself to be the reason of his daughter's sadness. Maris hugged her Dad so tightly with so much joy in her face. She convinced her father to go to Mark's house. "C'mon Dad!" He was hesitant but Maris hands held his Daddy's elbow so hardly. Mark's mom and her Dad talked about them civilly. Both Mark and her laughed of how their lives turned into a very happy one. Mark took the remote and searched the youtube channel of Niña. He clicked and played her song: Love moves in mysterious ways. Then they smiled.