Things We Didn't Talk About
By leightsh8
Date: June 3, 2022

Shandy took a deep breath and inhaled all the air that she could to fill her lungs. “WHAT A GREAT DAY! HELLO BEAUTIFUL SKY! HELLO AIR! HELLO SAN JOAQUIN!” She exclaimed – full of joy and energy. Her mother – Shena, chuckled at her own daughter’s expression. “You missed San Joaquin that much?” She asked her, Shandy immediately nodded and giggled. “Of course! It’s been what…?” She counted her fingers quietly, “five years!”

Shandy immediately helped her mother and siblings – Sharmaine and Shaun – to get their belongings and brought them out from the bus that they rode on. “Our sister is being too hyper again.” Sharmaine and Shaun shook both of their heads and looked at their sister who was now walking faster than they did even if she’s carrying two large luggages. “Hey! Let your sister feel that joy, she was gone for five years. She must have really missed her birthplace. Don’t tell me the two of you don't feel the same thing?” Sharmaine rolled her eyes, “we’re only gone for a month, unlike her. And I’ve been going back-and-forth so… no.”

It’s been five years since Shandy last set her foot in the province of San Joaquin, it felt longer for her. It didn’t feel like five years since the past years have been rough for her.

“What are you all waiting for?!” Shandy shouted, she was already inside the tricycle – a type of motorized vehicle consisting of a motorcycle attached to a passenger cab – it is what they are going to ride on to finally get to their house at Vicente, District Uno, San Joaquin. “Faster! The one who rode the tricycle last, is the one who will pay!” Shandy said with full of energy. But her mother, Sharmaine, and Shaun, seem like they are not in the mood to play along with her jolliness today. They were all tired from the five hour trip on the bus.

“You are all a killer joy.” When Shandy’s family was finally on the tricycle, the vehicle started moving. “Take us to number 150, District Uno. Don’t worry, we will pay you. My family is just having a bus lag… You know, when you feel off but not from the airplane but from the bus?” She said to the driver and held onto the steel bar above the tricycle’s roof. The driver just laughed at her.

Shandy was looking closely at every street and corner that they were passing by. She was trying to recall all of the houses, trees, and infrastructures that didn’t used to be there. She was also trying to look for all her childhood friends so she could eventually connect with them, her highschool friends, and everyone that she knew before she left five years ago. They went through her former school – San Vicente National High School – a public school. Memories of everything she had experienced from that school came rushing to her mind. She can’t help but to suppress her smile and miss those high school days where she did a lot of silly things, those things that are just normal for her age – seizing what she thinks is love, competing with different students in and outside her school, those projects and subjects that made her cry. For her, those were the days she would never forget. Those were the days she thought that everything in life is simple.

As Shandy and her family finally arrived at their barangay, some people greeted them. “Shena?! Is that you? Oh, you got fat, but still stunningly beautiful!” It was Rosalia, one of their neighbors ever since. Shena got off the tricycle and greeted Rosalia, “Rosalia! How are you? You still look the same!” They started joking with one another as if they had not seen each other for more than a year, while Sharmaine and Shaun brought their belongings out and immediately went in front of the door of their house.

“I thought you weren’t coming home! It’s been a month, your house is starting to become haunted.” Rosalia joined the family. “Wait. Is that Shandy? Your eldest?” Some of the neighbors were looking at them but only Rosalia was able to greet them and even tried to get along with the family even though they just got back. Shena nodded, “OH. MY. GOODNESS! Your eldest, it’s been five years since I last saw her. She was just a high schooler before and now look at her!” Rosalia shook her head in amusement, Shandy cannot help but to smile. “I’ve become prettier. I know that Rosalia!” Rosalia nodded and laughed hard at what Shandy had said. “She’s still funny and confident.”

The house in front of them is a two-storey house made from bricks and stones. It was the house of their relatives, passed down to them – and when their family left San Joaquin to spend a month at Melanie’s house, the house was abandoned. It was being looked after by some of their relatives who were living in another part of San Joaquin, but it only happened twice. Sharmaine was also coming back to check the house whenever she had to go to the University. Then she would come back to Melanie’s wake – her auntie who died a month ago.

Shena stopped Rosalia from talking, “I’ll just open the door. Come over later, let’s talk over a cup of juice.” Rosalia excitedly said yes and then went back to her own house.

As soon as Shena opened the door, the dust coming from the house greeted them. Shandy sneezed as well as Sharmaine. They immediately went inside and opened the windows so the light could come inside the house. “I’m hella tired!” Shaun said and then immediately dropped himself to the sofa, “watch your mouth!” Their mother warned and then went to the kitchen to get the broom. Shaun sneezed, the sofa was full of dirt and it smelled so stale. It had only been a month but the house had become gloomier.

“Get up on your feet! Let’s cleanup first!” Shandy said with full of energy. She went upstairs to see her old room and also to get a duster. She is full of energy even if they have traveled for more than five hours. Sharmaine and Shaun cannot do anything, both their mother and elder sister didn’t want to rest first.

Shandy went inside her old room. Her family did not lay a hand on her belongings and did not touch her room after she had left five years ago. She cannot remember all of her stuff but she knew that she had a duster, she just needed to find out where it was. Her room is not that huge, it has one single bed, a plastic drawer cabinet beside the bed, a ceiling fan that she had always thought would fall on her when she was a child, and some posters on the wall of her favorite band – Eraserheads.

Shandy opened every drawer and looked around but she could not find the duster, so she went under her bed to see if it was there. Instead of finding a duster, what she found was an old carton shoe box. Her brows furrowed and tried to think if there was something inside it. So she got it out, and sat comfortably on the bed full of dust.

As soon as she opened the box, her eyes widened. “WHAT THE HELL?!” She screamed out loud making her family panic.

Shena heard her daughter’s scream, Sharmaine’s eyes widened and even Shaun got curious, so all three of them immediately went upstairs to check on Shandy. The door was opened so they went inside the bedroom at once, “What happened?!” All of them saw Shandy sitting on her bed while hugging an old carton shoe box with a wide eye. “Why did you scream?” Sharmaine asked while eyeing the box that her sister was hugging, “I-I screamed? Sorry. T-there was a spider, you know how afraid I was of them.”

Shandy scratched her head even if it wasn’t itchy, she admitted to herself that her reaction was so much yet she couldn’t blame herself, what inside the box really shocked her plus there was really a spider.

Out of disappointment, Shandy’s mom left. “Let’s go, let’s at least clean downstairs so we could all finally eat and rest. You get down too, let's make the spiders leave.” Shaun went after her but Sharmaine stayed, “what?” Shandy looked at Sharmaine with suspicion without letting go of the box, “what’s that?” Sharmaine asked. She walked towards her sister and tried to get the box. “Woah! Woah! Go and help our mother to clean up!” Shandy shooed her away, making Sharmaine more eager to see the box. “What’s inside that box? You don’t want to let go of it, why is that?” Sharmaine narrowed her eyes.

There was a long silence between the two of them, Shandy was unable to shoo away her sister downstairs and is now staring at her intently. She felt like her sweat was forming and it was falling down so slowly on her body.

“Wait, I know that box!” Sharmaine got so excited while Shandy felt like her hands were trembling and her heart was beating so fast! “W-what? What’s with this box?” She asked as if she was light-headed, “I know that box! It was your treasure box, the box you used to keep all the gifts and the things that remind you of….” Shandy’s eyes widened, she stood up on the bed and shut her sister’s mouth. “I-inside are the stuff –” Sharmaine cannot continue what she was saying because Shandy was trying to cover her mouth. “I-it w-was f-from.” Sharmaine loved her sister’s expression, she was flustered and shy about it – gone was her confident sister.

When she had the chance, Sharmaine bit her sister’s hands and then ran away downstairs while screaming.


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