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The Other Side of the Moon

By: Rachelle B. Villegas

I paused for a moment and wiped my tears with the sleeves of my white silk blouse. Lee would probably be waiting for me on the other side of that door and I don't really want her to see me crying. Again. For the umpteenth time.

Lee is my best friend and probably the only one I ever have. But nobody knows about Lee, especially not Papa. Lee is the radical type - unconventional and never conforms to the rules. Papa will surely not like her. He will say Lee is a wild child, or a delinquent, as he so usually puts it. He will prohibit me from seeing her because he will fear that it will ruin the family reputation. You see, we belong to the upper class of the society and our friends are supposed to come from well-meaning and respectable families. But Lee is my ONLY friend, the ONLY one who understands me.

Checking to see what Lee is doing, I pushed the door a crack open and peeped in. Oh, good, she's not yet present. I dashed to my walk-in closet and quickly changed my clothes. The tear stains are highly visible in silk.

"So, how's your day, yo, hottie fi," Lee's here. I watched her reflection in the mirror as she puffed swirls of smoke.

I pasted a smile on my lips before facing the mirror. "I got an A- on my Music 103 quiz. I forgot that Frederic Chopin is Polish, not French. But I'm still on top of my class; not one crummy mistake is going to ruin my academic standing, right?"

She looked at me nonchalantly. "What did your old man say?"

I looked in the mirror and saw Lee staring back at me. I knew lying to her would be difficult if I look back, so I turned away from the mirror and played with the strings of my violin. "Well, he said I had done well, but that I could do better the next time." There. I was able to say it smoothly.

Lee's reflection cocked an eyebrow and smiled sarcastically. "Oh, come on, Jamie. Do you really think I'll fall for that crap? Your Papa's probably going postal over that A-. He can't possibly tell you that 'It's alright, just do better next time, honey'. Spill it out. Tell me what he said."

I guess I can't hide anything from Lee after all. Trying my best not to cry, I started slowly, "Well, I lowered my voice to a cautious whisper," he told me that if I only focused more on my music classes than hanging out on the garage jamming with my guitar, I could have done well on the exams. He said if I were Alyssa, I wouldn't let him down. If I were Alyssa, I could have made him proud. If I were Alyssa…"

"Damn that fucking jackass!" Lee cursed in between cigarette puffs. "Alyssa's his favorite daughter, his darling princess! Why can't he see that you're Jamie - not Alyssa! You are an entirely different individual! The way I see it, you're never gonna be good enough for 'im."

"Calm down. They could hear you downstairs." Lee has a tendency to get lost in her emotions.

"There's an ad in school this morning," I said, faking another smile in a lame attempt to change the topic. The school band Chained is in need of a new guitarist, as Alex, their lead, will graduate this semester. Why don't you try out? You're very good at it."

Her coal-black eyes stared at mine. "Why don't you? You're better."

I knew that will come up so I've prepared myself. I stood up and walked to the windowsill and avoided making eye contact. "I can't. Nobody's going to believe me anyway."

"I believe you," she whispered.

"I - I don't know, Lee. What would Papa say?"

"He will say, 'Wow! Look at my talented daughter!'" She is not a very convincing liar.

As if she read my thoughts, she added, "Alright. This is your chance to prove to your Papa that there are things you could do that perfect Alyssa cannot do. Girl, don't miss this out!"

Though I'm dying to make it to the band, I hesitated because Papa, Papa will surely be unhappy with that decision. So I turned to look at Lee and tried to reason, "Please understand, Lee. I really can't do it. Papa is bent on molding me to becoming a violinist. Besides, it's all in the family. Mama is a violinist and so is Alyssa. It may hurt because it is not what I want, but it's a sacrifice I'd be willing to give just so as not to disappoint him."

Lee sprung up from the bed, spitting her cigarette butt and put it off using her big toe. "God, Jaime," she looked at me sternly from the mirror, her hands in an exasperated gesture. "Listen, babe, everything that is accompanied by sacrifice is pain, but everything accompanied by pain isn't necessarily sacrifice. What you're giving up is your dreams - you're giving up your life!" Not knowing how to take this, I just stood there without a word.

"Why are you doing this? Who are you living for? This is your life! Don't leave your destiny to other people!" She paused and waited for an answer.

No reply. I continue standing, careful not to look at the mirror.

"What? Say something'!" she prodded. When I still remained quiet, she uncrossed her arms and crossed the room, heading for the door, mumbling, "Fine! I'll go and deal with that old geezer myself."

That seemed to wake me up from a trance and I managed just in time to stop Lee. As a precautionary measure, I blocked the door with my arms stretched out parallel to the floor.

"Okay. I'll do it. I'll tell him about the band thing over dinner."

"Do it now!"

"Alright, alright! Just don't go ballistic. I'll tell him now, right away."

"Good," I heard her say before I left the room. "I'm going WITH you."

I was mortified. "No! No, you can't!"

"Of course I can. Watch me." And she bounded down the stairs, determined that I get my case over with.

I waited in horror as Alyssa, who met Lee by the staircase landing, eyed Lee from head to toe. Lee stared daggers at Alyssa.

"Nice costume. Going to a Grateful Dead resurrection party?" Alyssa scorned.

Lee returned the greeting in her usual angry atmosphere with "Shut up, bitch!"

Knowing that Lee had a lifelong obsession of giving Alyssa a good beating, I stepped in with a lamebrain cheer. "Alyssa, hey, your hair smell great!" It sounded like a shampoo ad.

"What's going on here?" asked a loud voice. Instantly, Lee disappeared.

I turned around and my eyes widened at the sight of a burly man in a corporate suit. He held my gaze with cold, menacing eyes. I gulped as I prepare for my first sentence.

"Papa," I nervously started. My hands are getting more and more sweaty every second. "Papa, I, I was just thinking, since I am good at playing the guitar - "

Papa interrupted. "Are you going to start on that issue again, huh, Jamie?" He pointed his mahogany cane at me and smoked his pipe before telling me," You are to concentrate on your violin. You cannot think of anything else. Now this discussion is over, young lady."

I closed my eyes to hold back the tears and when I opened them, Lee is back. She is seething with rage, like a bull on a Spanish arena.

"You nasty, old fart! To hell with you!" Lee screamed, her eyes slit on fire.

"You impertinent! How dare you speak to me that way?"

"How dare you decide you decide my life for yourself," I whispered. I don't know how, but the words just tumbled out of my mouth.

Alyssa stood frozen by the stairs as Papa proceeded to beat me with his cane. "You base ingrate! After all that I have done for you! After all that I have given you!"

The mahogany cane left ugly red marks on my skin, on my body, and on my face. My nose started to bleed. But I did not feel any pain. No more pain - my body has gone numb.

I was able to pull myself from that struggle and rushed to the kitchen. Lee grabbed a sharp carving knife from the rack and pointed it threateningly at Papa, who had followed me to the kitchen, who is still wagging his cane towards me, yelling, "You are as crazy as your Mother!"

"Mama? I do not even remember her. I grew up with you, Papa. If I turned out crazy it is because I only want you to recognize me the way you do with Alyssa. I am not asking you to love me if you can't, Papa. Accepting me as your daughter is enough." My voice broke, but if I am crying, no one could tell as there are no tears to show my feelings.

Lee butted in. "But you didn't. You can't because you're selfish. You only care about what people will say about you. And for that, you are going to pay." After saying so, Lee lunged and stabbed Papa on the chest. Papa dodged in time that Lee only wounded Papa's side. But still, he is bleeding profusely.

Lee is about to attack again, this time aiming for Papa's throat. My head is spinning as I weigh my emotions.

Finally, I decided to control Lee. "No!" I halted.

"Don't leave your destiny to other people, Jamie. Don't leave your destiny to other people. Don't leave your destiny to other people." Lee's words echoed in my ears over and over again.

"I won't. Never again." And with that promise, Lee vanished.

The last scenes I saw were Papa trying to snatch the knife from me despite his continued bleeding, and Alyssa, perfect Alyssa, bounded into the room, covered in tears saying something I couldn't comprehend. After that, only darkness.

Jamie Lee R. Villeza
BORN: April 30, 1983
DIED: March 14, 2002

"The other side of the moon people can't and didn't see."

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