“You’re still sick. As your Dean, I’m telling you not to go to school tomorrow. Ah, I’m not telling you, I’m commanding you.” Sir Dean said as he took a sip of the cup of coffee that my mother brought in earlier. After we ate the food that he brought, he insisted to stay since no one is looking out for me. I really wanted him to leave but having him around is not uncomfortable as it looks. And besides, it would really be a disgraceful thing to do if I made him feel like I want him to go as soon as possible.
“Sir, kailangan kong pumasok. Paano na lang po ‘yung klase ko –“
“We can always find a substitute. Kung wala edi ako na lang.” He stubbornly argued. I groaned and glared at him. I can’t really win with this guy against me. We were having a normal conversation on how school has been after I fainted when I mentioned that I will go back tomorrow. That’s how this whole thing started. “Don’t give me that look, Ms. Dela Rosa. As your superior, a friend and a soon-to-be doctor, what you’re planning to do is unhealthy.” He firmly said.
I rolled my eyes at him. I don’t care! I can’t miss another class of his again. I will surely fail. I looked back at him to continue arguing but I was surprised with the words that involuntarily left my mouth. “A friend?”
His eyes widened for a bit then he nodded. “Yes. A friend. Am I not?” He ended in a question. I mirrored the confused look he is giving me. I am certain that we are colleagues but it hasn’t really crossed my mind to consider that we are friends. I stared back at him and saw that he’s quite anxious in waiting for my answer.
I’ve decided to give Sir Dean a smile. “Yes, Sir. We’re friends.” I replied and the corner of his lips produced a smirk. Seeing him like that made me realize that we are in fact friends. Over the weeks that I’ve known him, I became close not just to Richard Santelices but to the man he actually is – Richard Lim. As Sir Ryan said, I’m one of the few people who knows the real him.
“Then, as your friend, I’m advising you to stay home tomorrow –“
“Sir, I refuse to follow. There are still a lot of things that I need to figure out in your subject. Tulad ngayon, nag-lesson kayo kanina, hindi ko alam kung anong topic tapos exam pa –“
“Hindi ako nag-lesson kanina.” He interrupted as he grabbed his iPad from his bag.
“H-Ha?” I quickly said. I don’t even know anything else to say but that. From my seat, I saw him unlock his iPad and opened some program. “Walang klase kanina?” I added.
He nodded without looking up. “I have some personal matters that my father wants me to do. It took longer than I expected and I failed to show up in class. I came here instead.” He answered.
My mouth hung open. “Talaga Sir?” I asked again, wanting assurance of what I just heard. It’s so unlike him to be like that. He just nodded and continued scrolling his iPad. Something caught my attention with what he said. “Sir, ano pong pangalan ng tatay niyo?” As soon as the last word was out, his head snapped to look at me with his slightly furrowed brows.
“Why do ask?” He asked back. His iPad was momentarily forgotten and his full attention is on me. I suddenly felt conscious because of the look he is giving me.
“Uhmm.” What would I say? Should I say that I just asked or it’s because of what I heard from Simon? “Ah, ano Sir. Si Simon kasi, nagkukwento kanina tungkol sa .. sa owner ng school nila.” I started. Damn, I should’ve said that I just want to know. But I’m too late now. “Tapos may binaggit po kasi siyang pangalan tapos ang apelyido, Lim. Wala lang, naisip ko lang na .. baka related kayo somehow.” I stated and swallowed the lump in my throat.
Sir Dean nodded slowly and brought his attention back into his iPad. “You’ll find out soon.” He said. I rolled my eyes at him. I should’ve known that his response will be those words again. I grabbed my phone and saw that it’s already eight in the evening. I removed my blanket and swung my legs off the bed and lifted myself up. Before I could even take a step, someone already held me by the arm. “If you’re going to stand up, please inform me first. Saan ka ba pupunta?” He said beside me.
“I’m going to get my bag, Sir. Magrereview ako.” I said and tried to walk again but his grip on my arm stopped me. When I look at him, he just sighed. I felt the force he’s putting into me that made me sit back on the bed. Before I could protest, he already reached for my bag that was hanging on the back of the door. But instead of giving it to me, he brought it with him as he sat beside me, also leaning his back on the head board. “Sir, ‘yung bag ko.” I said.
“You’re not allowed to study. Do you really want to be sick?” He asked back without looking up again. “When I was sick, you told me that I shouldn’t be reading my journal since it will just make me feel dizzy. The same terms must be applied to you.” He said again.
“The same terms are not applicable to me.” I said in my in-matter-of-fact voice. As expected, Sir Dean looked at me in confusion. “Sir, you’re one of the wisest people that I’ve met, probably even the wisest of them all! I do not intend to be rude but I do think that you’ll do just fine when you didn’t review the night you got sick. Napakatalino niyo Sir! Walang wala ang level ng katalinuhan ko, kung meron man, sa level niyo ngayon. Kung hindi ako magrereview, babagsak po ako. Pero kung kayo ‘yung hindi mag-rereview, baka pumasa pa kayo –“
“So that’s what you think of me.” He said in a cold voice, stopping me from talking. “Well, it’s understandable since you all know the path that I chose to take, and I bet Ryan already enlightened you with it.” He added quite calmly, but I could see that he’s a bit irritated.
“Ah, Sir, sorry –“
“I always read reading materials in my free time because I don’t want to waste a single minute. My situation is very unusual since I’m a Dean and I’m enrolled in med school. I don’t have time for everything, Ms. Dela Rosa. I don’t have a lot of free hours in a day. I sleep in the morning, would wake up two or three hours after, med school comes next which is intoxicating, after that I still have to go to PUS to check my college, go back to med school, go back to PUS to teach, go home then review until morning.” He stated and I felt like I want to be eaten alive right now. “Then add the pressure of being someone’s son and that I have to always look so composed even though I’m rattling with so much shit inside of me.” He continued and ended it with a sigh.
I remained sessile in my place. I cannot move a single muscle. I watched him and for the first time, I saw the other side of Sir Dean. The person sitting in front of me is slouching, his eyes look like they’re about to close anytime soon and that I could feel exhaustion emanating from his body. He’s right about himself. He’s under a lot of stress and I don’t have any right to compare myself in him.
With the strength powered by the unhealthy fast food, I lifted my hand and grabbed Sir Dean’s left hand away from his iPad. I could see the look of astonishment in his eyes but I’m already thankful that he didn’t pull back. I held his hand with both of mine and using my thumb, I applied pressure in his, giving him a massage. “Nung buhay pa si Tatay, madalas niya sa’kin gawin ‘to. Masyado na raw kasi akong stressed kahit na BS Bio pa lang daw ‘yung kinukuha ko.” I said and I felt him relax.
I heard Sir Dean sigh beside me, then I felt the head board move a bit, giving me a hint that he leaned his back on it. “Do you know that God gave us this life so we could live it to the fullest? Yet humans made it all complicated. Like for us as an example. He just wants us to enjoy life and meet Him back at the end yet we’re stressing ourselves like this.” He said which kind of surprised me. I never thought of him as a guy who has so much faith beyond his baggage.
“Wala naman po kasing smooth ride, Sir. Laging may obstacles, may hindrances, may bawal, may pwede. Kung wala ‘yon, hindi natin masusubukan ‘yung sarili natin kung deserving ba tayo sa pupuntahan nating lugar.” I said and I stole a glance at him. He managed to produce a smirk this time but it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Saka Sir, ano ka ba, exam lang ‘yan. Sabi nga nung prof namin dati, ‘Exams are not made to define who you are.’” I proudly said.
“Said the person who wants to study even if she’s sick. Very, very ironic.” He sarcastically said and I found myself laughing because of it. “You can’t understand my lessons? How come? I thought I always explain them clearly.” He said.
I abandoned his left hand and gestured to give me his other hand. “Malinaw siya Sir. Kaso lang, sa sobrang pagod, hindi na naaabsob ng utak ko.” I said as I massaged his right hand. “Kulang ata ako sa time management eh. Kaya kailangan kong humingi ng advice sa inyo Sir kung paano mag-manage ng time.” I teased and the smirk on his face grew wider.
“How about this? If you ever have questions or topics that you can’t understand, just approach me. Tutal, ilang hakbang lang ang layo ng office ko sa table mo.” He offered.
“Nako Sir, edi nakadagdag lang ako sa stress mo –“
“Nope.” He interrupted. “We stressed-people need to work together. Or else, this stress will eat us. As your newly found friend, na inutusan mong bumili ng Jollibee kanina, you need to be absent tomorrow so that you can recover. And,” He pulled his hand back for a second and grabbed his bag. I heard the sound of the zipper then he placed it back on the floor. He’s holding the black filler notebook where I usually see him write. “Here. You can borrow this for the mean time.”
My mouth gaped. “Sir! Hindi na kailangan –“
“I insist.” He said and threw the notebook and landing it on my lap. “Ingatan mo lang.” I stared at the notebook on my lap and hesitatingly opened it. It was full of writings that I could barely read because of the penmanship. I couldn’t help but smile at it. Sir Dean looks like a promising doctor. “Why are you smiling?” I heard him ask.
I chuckled first before I looked at him. “Wala lang Sir, natuwa lang ako sa penmanship niyo. Mukha na kasing pang doktor. ‘Yung parang kinahig ng manok.” I said and he smiled back.
“Well you have to live with it. I cannot really blame myself though. Kapag kasi umabot ka na sa ganitong degree ng pag-aaral, lahat na lang ng sinasabi ng professor mo, importante. Kailangan maabutan mo lahat ng sinasabi niya kaya ‘yan ang resulta.” He explained.
I chuckled again and continued to flip the pages. “Pero Sir hindi ko talaga pwedeng hiramin ‘to.” I said. “Tanda niyo pa nung una tayong nagkakilala? ‘Yung napagkamalan ko kayong estudyante ko? Tapos nung natapos na ‘yung klase, in-approach ko kayo para umalis na ng room. Tanda niyo pa kung anong sinabi niyo?”
I huge smile formed in his lips. “If you’re going to ask for my notes, don’t bother.” He said and a huge smile spread across my own lips. He remembered them word by word!
“See? Tapos ngayon ipapahiram niyo siya sa’kin tapos sasabihin niyo namimihasa ako.” I said and he just chuckled in return.
“I have a different feeling about you Ms. Dela Rosa. This is only a one-time offer. Besides, I don’t think na mamimihasa ka. I can feel na aabutan ka ng hiya mo.” He said and I amusedly shook my head.
“Why are you letting me borrow this?” I asked.
He gave me one of those stares that lasted for more than a second. “Because I can.” He said and then he laid out his left hand again. “Do that massage thing again, wench. Start reviewing tomorrow, not today.” He said and I laughed.
“Wench pala ha.” I said and I pressed my thumbs on his palm so hard.
“Argh! Alright, alright! You’re not a wench!” He immediately said and gave me an amused look. “Slave ka na lang.” He said with a smile and I quickly removed my hand to pinch him on his side. “Argh! Damn woman! Ang bigat ng kamay mo pagdating sa’kin!” He exclaimed.
I laughed so hard and as I applied the normal pressure on his hand. “You haven’t seen the real deal, Sir.” I taunted.
He narrowed his eyes at me. “I should be getting my shield the next time I see you. I wonder what your greatest fear is.” He said.
“Heights.” I quickly said.
Sir Dean’s face produced an enlightened one and I laughed so hard again because of it. “It’s your loss my friend. You just told me your weakness.” He said.
“What’s yours Sir?” I asked.
“Why would I tell you? Hindi ako uto-uto no.” He said and the whole scenario was repeated again. We were laughing so hard after that and I simply don’t know what happened next since my eyes automatically closed to sleep.
A/N: Tadaaaa! Please do include me in your prayers. Haha. Exams ko na po this week and the next. Sobrang naiistress na po ako sa buhay ko. Lol. Thank you for your patience! Kahit po ako hindi ko inaakalang magiging ganito kahectic ang sophomore year ko. Salamat po sa patuloy na pagsuporta sa blog na ito! Excuse the typos. Thaaanks! God bless!