Friday 10th May 2024

by Tina

Anna’s last exam for the second term of that school year fell on the day when she was all alone at the dorm. Aya and Cherry had only one exam for the night, and Nikki wouldn’t be in until the next day when Anna was already long gone. Her mom won’t be able to go to Taft until the next morning, so she was more than ready to spend one night alone in their room.

Truth be told, Anna felt a little lonely that night. Since the second term finals fall right before Christmas vacation, there were less people at their usual hang out. The crowds started dwindling soon as finals week came in, just like how it did the last term, but this time it felt a little more lonely for Anna. Maybe it was because she got too used to the company she had with her new friends in the past few months, or maybe it was just she did not want to be alone. Especially now that it was almost Christmas, her first Christmas back after two years of hiding.

Anna’s steps slowed down as she turned from the SJ Walk to Central Plaza, and her eyes automatically zoned it at the hang out. It was empty, but there were tell tale signs of someone’s presence there earlier: an empty plastic cup, some pieces of paper and even a lone pencil. The pencil rolled as a slight breeze picked up while the paper and the plastic cup were less graceful in their movement, flying off the table and onto the pebble washed ground beside one of the benches. Anna walked to the table, picked the litter up and threw it away, and then inserted the pencil in the “hidden compartment” under the table where they hide little not so important things that get left at the hang out. She straightened up when she was done, looked around and sighed. Central Plaza was almost empty, and no one familiar walked from Yuchengco or SJ. This was sadder than the down time the hang out has every term — she didn’t know when anyone would be arriving, so she figured the best thing she can do now was have dinner and clean up her things at the dorm so she can be ready for the next day’s trip home. She would see her friends at course card day, anyway.

* * *

Anna blinked. The room was bright, and she could see from her bed that the fluorescent bulb at the center of the room was on. She could have sworn the lights were off when she went to bed. Did she forget?

She reached for her phone under her bed and saw it was a fifteen minutes past four in the morning.

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