Olga

“Ah… Look at all the lonely people”

– Eleanor Rigby, Paul McCartney, Beatles 1966

The faucet cries the sound of water gushing, it’s as if it desires to fill up the world – drown the world with its sad tune of endless flowing.

Her eyelids are still heavy from last night’s work; grades and names of different children that she can’t even remember by now are all clamoring inside her head begging for attention.

“Look at me teacher”

“Notice me teacher”

“Acknowledge me”

“Make me happy”

“Do your job”

“Teach me”

“Let me live”

“Save me.”

Her eyes finally found the strength they needed and they jolted open in a flash, light entering the pupils of her eyes – so eager to show her how her world looks today. It’s still the same room she has been sleeping in for a couple of years now: the same worn-out bed tired from carrying her across rivers of dreams and nightmares every night, the same lamp which helped her survive years of cramming when she was in college, the same closet filled wih the same clothes she’s been wearing ever since she became an adult – something she was proud of because it means she didn’t get fat throughout the years.

All she can see was white – white walls, white ceiling, white window borders.

Only one detail stains the almost flawless view – her narra, refurbished, study table, with only one compartment enough to hide fragments of her privacy. A table which she first bought when she started reviewing for the teaching board exams and now serves as the judgment table –  where she lays down the monthly verdict to her students: who shall pass and who shall fail?

Atop the table was an old picture behind a red-bordered picture frame amidst the sea of documents – in the picture was a man of 30 years of age – rough face and a goatee, medium build, blue polo-shirt, old jeans, sunglasses on top of his head, carrying a little girl on a blue, little princess blouse.

Her dad.

How long has it been? Five? Ten?

She was not sure, all she knows was that one day her father never came home again and all her mother said was “he left us.”

She went down the stairs.

At the corner waiting for her was the view of the living room – still covered in white and minimalist furnishings. The house speaks for itself; no flamboyant paintings or sculptures or “pang-paswerte”, there were only tables and sofas enough for about two or three people, an old 90s classic television with a big, bulging back, the kitchen was just a few steps away and one can see who’s cooking and preparing the dishes if he/she sits on the main living room sofa.

There was almost no sound, aside from the clamor of the knife beating as it cuts the onions and the energizing sound “ding” that the coffee brewer makes as it finishes brewing..

As well as an old cassette playing the Beatles, her father always loved the Beatles.

“Good morning sweetie” her mother said, she wore a matured smile with her hair tied in a ponytail with a handkerchief, she was preparing the breakfast: some sunny-side up, with garlic sizzling on the frying pan, some canned beef with the onions as garnish, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee.

She nodded, with her gaze penetrating the glass of the window, seeking the glorious view of a February morning – across the street was Aling Mameng with her morning set of freshly harvested kang-kong and sitaw, the local hueteng guy which everyone in the village probably knows, the kids running away from their mothers trying to escape the horrors they call “baths” – it was a pretty basic morning with the basic routine.

“Routines are good, they help you form a system” she remembered coming from her father.

She misses her father – his soft voice, comforting yet with a tone of authority in it. He loved music especially the Beatles and she remembers growing up with the sound of “Imagine”, “Let it Be”, and “Eleanor Rigby”.

“Why did you leave us? Where did you go?” She often asks.

Her father disappeared without a trace – it was late afternoon one Christmas some years ago, late night after watching a film at the local theater house her father said he was supposed to meet an old friend so she and her mother went home first.

He never came home after that. All she can remember by now is that he suddenly stopped coming home; “He left us” her mother always said.

She sat in the table prim and proper, she took her gaze towards the coffee brewer – “A gift” her mother said, from the Mayor himself where her mother works as a secretary.

“I’ve always loved coffee”

And Olga knows what kind of coffee she was talking about.

She was not sure when it happened and when she started accepted it, or did she? She does not know, by now she is pretty numb to what is going on around her.

Or maybe she thought she did.

It was fine, but it was still an unspoken topic inside the house – kind of like sexual topics where everyone probably knows what’s going on but no one dares to start because it was unethical, immoral to talk about it.

Ironic.

“Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
In the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream”

Of course they are dating, they are having sex, they are doing the thing that makes children and babies.

“Too much coffee I guess”

Sometimes she finds her mother dazing off, with a face that looks so familiar; blushed, eyes flickering, heavy breathing – she looks like a salmon gasping for air while she rubs her legs together.

“The mayor is that good I guess” She says in her mind.

Is it disgusting? She does not know, she lost the concept of it.

A day ago she met the Mayor, or Rody as her mother calls him. He was a fine gentleman, quite bulky with a body shaped like a bottle of ice-cold pale pilsen, stocky, with some flab and a mustache that speaks “I’m gonna give you a good time”.

He was smart, crafty, smooth talker – he was a very likable guy and even though she knows she’s supposed to hate him, she can’t.

“Maybe he is that good”

She grabbed her cup of coffee and transferred it to her tumbler. It was bitter.

This was her everyday routine – wake up, eat breakfast, contemplate om her existence, observe her mother, go to school and teach the children.

Yesterday it was some math exercises, today it’s all physical with jumping jacks and aerobics for the children. Teaching was natural to her, there is something about the feeling of being in command and deciding the fate of these children that she finds appealing.

She is disgusted at her thoughts.

Maybe she needed to feel in control.

“I wonder what they’re doing now”

“Maybe she is with him”

“Maybe they are fucking”

“Maybe they are sexual, maybe they are licking each other by now”

“Does the mayor feel that good”

Eleanor Rigby play in her mind.

“All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?”

She took the long way home, school was dismissed earlier than usual.

The scenery was different today – the birds are chirping, leaves are falling, the wind is brushing at her knees, the clouds are dark ahead, the cats in the street are looking at her.

“Don’t go home” it’s as if they are talking to her.

There are a lot more people today. “Are they looking at me?” She asks, then dismisses it as her imagination – she was always a bit paranoid, probably because she did not speak her mind too much.

She was not sure but the usual road she was taking seems a little longer today, and it keeps getting longer, it’s as if some heavenly power above is forbidding her to go home.

The scenery really is different; outside her house was a white car, they do not have a car.

She approached the white door. There were people inside, upstairs. She did not knock, she listened.

“I cannot take it anymore Rody”

“What? It’s been years now”

“He was your friend!”

“He was OUR friend”

“He’s the father of my child”

“I am now”

“You killed him”

“We killed him”

“This is wrong”

“Let’s be wrong”

“Ahhhnnn…”

The silent house is now filled with sound – a sound so loud it covers the crying of the faucet, or the sound of the coffee brewer, it was almost as loud as the Beatles that are currently singing – it’s as if a demon was orchestrating an opera made from hell.

Olga’s eyes were flickering, her bile was twisting, churning – she vomited at their doorstep, crying, hands shaking, with sweat falling down from her face like a faucet.

She stared at their doorstep in horror.

She touched the door-knob.

She pushed it open.

The door made a creaking sound, chilling, it’s as if it was afraid to reveal the horror inside.

The sound was coming upstairs, from her room.

The sound was getting louder, and louder with each step.

It was the door of her room – the white room with the white ceiling, and the white walls.

“Ahhhhhnnnn… Rody! RODY!”

“You are mine now, MINE!”

She pushed it open, gently.

It was a man and a woman. The woman stared at her.

It was a woman no longer.

The female specie stared at her in horror as the male specie was mounting it.

“Eleanor Rigby, died in the church
And was buried along with her name
Nobody came”

Cries of ecstasy and disgust came from the female’s mouth. “Do not look! Do not look!” it cried.

Olga walked calmly, straight face, towards the male and female.

Towards the brown, narra study table and its compartment which holds a fragment of her privacy.

She opened it.

Her hands were shaking.

Inside was the fragment of her identity, something she hid, something she was disgusted, something she was scared at.

A memento of her father.

“Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt
From his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved”

Bang, bang.

Bang.

Three shots, three lives.

And the white house was stained with scarlet.

It was silent once again, with nothing but the sound of music.

“All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?”

 

 

 

 

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