Lately, there’s a fire building up inside me. It felt unfamiliar at first but I realized it’s been there all along; I just refused to recognize.
PAS DE DEUX, Script
- INT. SCHOOL, PRACTICE ROOM – NIGHT
Only a few lights in the room are on. Emil (20) and Agatha (19) is seen standing next to each other in the center. Emil is wearing training clothes while Agatha is wearing a ballerina dress, looking ethereal in it. DANSE MACABE (by Camille Saint-Saëns) is playing in the speaker. Emil’s one arm is wrapped around Agatha’s waist and the other holds the back of her head while Agatha’s hands are placed on his shoulders. He gazes into her eyes adoringly, his lips suppressing a smile. She gives him a weak smile.
Meanwhile, a girl wearing a hoodie is seen intently observing them through the small glass window of the door.
- INT. FLASHBACK. PRACTICE ROOM – DAY
Emil (8) is sitting in the corner of the room while a few other kids are on the other side of the room, not minding him. His knees are pushed to his chest while burying his face on his arms. A girl (7) approaches him and sits in front of him. He moves his head up upon realizing her presence. He glares at her.
Dun ka nga. Ayaw kita dito.
(Sighs) Bakit galit ka sakin? Ayaw mo ba ‘kong partner?
Ayaw kong bagong partner! Di kita kailangan.
Pero sabi ni teacher-
Emil doesn’t let her finish her sentence and storms out of the room. Agatha stays where she sits but her eyes follows him until he’s gone. She continues staring at the door and frowns.
- INT. SCHOOL, COVERED POOL AREA – NIGHT
The covered pool area is dimly lit, only the pool lights that are still on are the source of light. A girl (19) whose hair and clothes are drenched, is seen lying near the pool. Her face is not revealed yet. She remains on the cold floor as she moves her head to scan the place, her eyes give no expression. After a moment, she finally decides to sit up. She gives one final look around then at her black hoodie and thights that are soaked wet. She then stares at the pool again. Then she presses her palm against her head, as though trying hard to recall a forgotten memory.
- INT. SCHOOL, LOCKER ROOM NEAR THE POOL AREA – NIGHT
The girl comes across a group of swimmers about to get changed, but they ignore her. She just gives them a blank stare and passes by them.
- INT. SCHOOL, HALLWAY – NIGHT
The girl is seen alone in the dark hallway walking aimlessly. She stares at the floor wondering why her shoes are not leaving wet prints despite it being wet too. A guy from the far end of the hallway approaches her direction. She stops in her tracks when she hears the echoing footsteps. She looks at the guy who seems to be in a hurry as he walks in a fast pace towards her but he just passes by without even glancing at her.
She gives an awestruck expression that will turn into confusion. She turns her head to the back to look at him, his back facing her. She sees the words “SWIMMING TEAM” printed at the back of his jacket. But he continues to walk away, unaware of her staring.
She finally breaks the long staring then turns to a corner heading towards the practice rooms. She stops in front of the ballet practice room.
- EXT. FLASHBACK. BUS – DAY
Emil (15) and Agatha (14) is seen sitting next to each other on a two-seater bus. The entire bus is filled with ballerinas and danseurs busy celebrating a successful performance except in the row where the two is. Emil is sitting by the window, his hair being blown by the wind. He hums to a tune of Danse Macabre.
Meanwhile, Agatha just quietly studies the side of Emil’s face. She gives him a smile even though he doesn’t see it, before she leans back to her seat and closes her eyes.
Miss Faye (early 30’s), their ballet master, approaches them enthusiastically and sits in the empty seats adjacent to them.
Kayong dalawa, iba din kayo ha. Gusto ko kayong i-congratulate kasi ang galing niyo kanina!
Emil turns his head to look at her while Agatha opens her eyes and just smiles to herself.
Nagtataka nga ako kung paano niyo nagagawang magkaroon ng maayos at magandang performance kahit mula noong mga bata pa kayo hanggang ngayon ay di kayo nagkakasundo.
Agatha finally looks at her while Emil keeps his mouth shut.
Kaya nga po e. Nakapagtataka kung paano namin nagagawang magmukhang may connection sa isa’t isa tuwing nagsasayaw kahit…
Di naman talaga maganda e. Di ko gusto. Para sakin kulang pa.
Emil gives Miss Faye a small, forced smile then plugs his earphones and pretends to sleep. Agatha on the other hand gives an apologetic bow. Miss Faye just shrugs and pats Agatha’s shoulder then returns to her original seat.
- INT. SCHOOL, PRACTICE ROOM – NIGHT
The scene continues. The girl reaches for the door knob but hesitates to open the door.
(To herself, in a soft voice) Bakit ako nandito? Hindi ko alam kung saan ako papunta. Pero dito ako dinala ng mga paa ko.
- EXT. FLASHBACK. SCHOOL, STAIRWAYS NEAR ENTRANCE – DAY
The clouds are spread across the sky. The wind blows through Agatha’s (16) hair. Her face is against her palms as she sobs. Random people are just passing by her.
Meanwhile, Emil (17) exits the building, holding a bottle of juice in one hand. He notices Agatha in the stairways. Her shoulders are shaking from crying. He walks a few steps towards her, hesitates for a while, and then continues walking up to her. He hands her the drink while shyly looking away.
(Clears his throat) Sayo na o. Di ko pa naiinom yan. Mukhang ang tamis.
Agatha confusedly looks at the drink Emil is handing to her then at him who was still looking away. Upon realizing that she’s still not grabbing the drink, Emil turns to her. He attempts to look at her eyes but feels awkward so he diverts his eyes to his feet instead. He throws the drink at her lap.
May nagsabi sakin na nakakagaan daw ng loob ang matatamis. Ayaw ko naman nito. E di sayo na lang. Baka lang makatulong kahit papano.
Then he walks away. Agatha gets the drink from her lap and just stares at it. Meanwhile, Emil stops in his tracks and decides to go back to Agatha and sits beside her. She just lets him. They both sit in silence.
‘Wag mo na isipin yung mga nasabi ni Miss Faye kanina. Maniwala ka na lang na magaling ka.
(Grins) Anong meron? Bakit mo to sinasabi ngayon? Di ba wala ka namang paki sakin? Ayaw mo nga akong partner e.
Nung mga bata pa tayo nun. Tagal na kaya nun. Pero di naman talaga ako galit sayo. Kinailangan ko lang na maging ganun ang pakikitungo ko sayo dahil alam kong magiging partner kita nang matagal. Mahirap na. Pano kung isang araw palitan na naman nila ang partner ko?
Agatha chuckles and takes a sip of her drink.
OA naman nito. Sa tinagal nating magka-partner ang sama ng pakikitungo sakin tapos yun pala dahil lang yun sa gusto mo maging handa sa pagkakaron ng panibagong partner?
Emil rests his head against his fist while he looks at her.
Nasanay kasi akong iniiwan ako ng mga taong malapit sakin. Yung tatay ko sumama sa ibang babae at mas pinili yung anak nung babae niya kesa sakin. Yung nanay ko naman sinukuan agad ako. Ayun naghanap ng ibang makakasama. Nagkaron ng bagong anak at kinalimutan ako. Kaya napunta ako sa tita ko, ta’s sa isa pang tita ulit, ta’s isa pa ulit; palipat-lipat. Di ko na nga alam kung ilang beses ako pinagpasa-pasahan. Ano bang meron sakin? Bakit walang gustong pumili sakin? Yung una ko naman naging partner, nalaman kong gusto niya magkaron ng ibang partner. Di nagtagal, iniwan nya na din ako. Tapos, unti-unti nang nagsilayuan ang mga tinuring kong mga kaibigan. Bata pa ako noon pero tandang-tanda ko ang lahat. Yun yung pinaka-ayaw ko sa lahat e. Ang hindi ako ang inuuna. Ang hindi ako ang pinipili.
Ah. Hindi mo kakayanin kung may panibagong mang-iwan na naman sayo kaya ikaw na mismo ang lumalayo ng loob mo?
Parang ganun na nga.
Pero ano nang nangyari sa una mong partner bago ako?
Emil looks directly into her eyes.
Then silence envelopes them. Agatha awkwardly laughs trying to lighten the atmosphere of their serious conversation. She playfully slaps his arm.
Wag ka mag-alala. Ako, di ako mawawala. Hanggat wala sating nababalian ng paa, magiging partner mo ko nang pangmatagalan. Oo, pramis. Pangmatagalan.
She gives him an assuring smile.
Magsasayaw tayong dalawa hanggang sa manghina na ang mga tuhod natin dahil sa katandaan.
Talaga? Papanindigan mo ba yan?
- INT. SCHOOL, PRACTICE ROOM – NIGHT – CONTINUATION
The girl finally decides to open the door and enters inside, her face still not being revealed. She finds Emil all alone. The instrumental is still playing in the background. Agatha wasn’t there in the first place. Her image was just Emil’s imagination.
The girl takes a few steps towards him.
- INT. FLASHBACK. SCHOOL, PRACTICE ROOM – NIGHT
The room is dark and quiet. All lights are off but a few windows are open. Agatha (17) and Emil (18) is lying next to each other on the floor, sharing earphones. Their figures are barely seen as the moonlight shining through the windows is the only source of light. Agatha’s eyes are closed while Emil gazes at her solemn face. He shifts his body to the side so he is completely facing her and continues to watch her. He beams at her.
- INT. SCHOOL, PRACTICE ROOM – NIGHT – CONTINUATION
Emil is still unaware of the presence of the girl. He wraps his arms around the air as if he’s holding somebody. He briefly closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He opens them and says:
Sayaw tayo, Agatha. Kahit sa huling pagkakataon.
And then he starts dancing a pas de deux, a dance for two, even though he’s all alone. The girl just watches him do all these. But then she feels a sudden pang in her chest while watching him. Her expression cannot be seen as her hoodie is still covering her face. She falls into her knees as she tries to understand what’s happening to her while bearing the pain she feels as she clutches her hand to her chest.
- EXT. FLASHBACK. SCHOOL, COVERED POOL AREA – NIGHT
The pool is already closed but Agatha (19) and Nathan (21) found their way to sneak inside. The lights are off but the pool lights are still on. They are sitting next to each other while their feet are submerged in the water. They are both wearing training clothes. Agatha’s head is resting on Nathan’s shoulder while he speaks.
Alam mo bang may namatay na dito noon?
Di nga? Gawa-gawa mo lang siguro yan e.
Totoo nga. Dito sa pool na to. 12 years ago ata yun nung may nalunod na bata dito. Sabi nila aksidente lang daw.
E ba’t ganyan tono ng boses mo? Parang di ka naniniwala sa kwento mo. Di ka ba naniniwala na aksidente lang yun?
Di ko din alam. Iba kasi ang kwentu-kwento noon sa swimming team. May nakakakita daw na isang batang lalake ang tumulak sa batang babae na namatay dun sa pool. Pero kinabukasan hindi na pumasok yung nakakita. Di na nalaman kung totoo yung kwento o hindi.
Nathan grabs Agatha’s hand and intertwines it with his then puts them on his lap.
Sino naman yung batang lalakeng yun? Taga-dito din ba siya?
Before Nathan could reply, Emil enters the scene.
Kanina pa kita hinahanap. Nandito ka lang pala.
- INT. SCHOOL, PRACTICE ROOM NIGHT – CONTINUATION
The girl continues clutching to her chest with her knees on the floor, while Emil continues dancing, still unaware of her. After a while, her face is finally revealed.
The girl in hoodie is Agatha. Her eyes widen in surprise as she starts to remember everything. Tears start falling down her cheeks. The pain in her chest starts to hurt more.
Naaalala ko na.
- INT. SCOOL, COVERED POOL AREA – NIGHT
The scene in the pool area continues. Both Agatha and Nathan turns their head to the back upon hearing Emil’s voice.
Emil doesn’t show any expression but his eyes dart to Nathan, not keeping his eyes off him. He mockingly stares at him in a subtle way.
Tension is starting to build up but the silence is disturbed by the ringing of Nathan’s phone. Nathan fumbles for his phone inside his pocket. He hesitates to answer it but Agatha nods in assurance. He gives Emil a look then excuses himself. Agatha proceeds to take her feet off the water and wipes them with a towel.
While putting her shoes on, Emil sits beside her.
Kanina pa kita hinahanap. Pinuntahan kita sa girl’s dormitory pero wala ka. Ba’t mo ba kasama yung lalakeng yun?
Wala lang. Gusto ko lang makita si Nathan.
At kailangan niyo pa talaga tumakas para lang magkita dito? Bakit? Kayo na ba?
Agatha sneers, still looking away from him. But before she could reply, Nathan goes back, interrupting her.
Okay ka lang ba dito? Aalis muna ako saglit. Kailangan ko lang puntahan kapatid ko sa girls’ dorm. Babalik din ako.
(Smiles) Okay lang ako. Mag-uusap lang muna kami ni Emil.
Nathan exits. Agatha and Emil continues their conversation in the bleachers.
Does it matter to you kung kami na?
Mahal mo pa ‘ko di ba? Akala ko ba mahal mo ko?
Pagod na ko Emil. Tagal ko nang nagmamahal sayo pero hindi mo naman nababalik. Ayoko nang maghintay sa hindi sigurado. Maybe it’s time to give my heart to someone who will look at me the same way I look at him. Si Nathan na yun, Emil.
Emil clenches his fists to his sides then aggressively stands up and goes straight to Agatha. He immediately wraps his hand around her neck tightly, trying to choke her. He looks at her furiously. Shock and fear is seen in Agatha’s face. She helplessly tries to remove his hand. To add more pain, he drags her by the neck near the pool.
(Grins) Siya na ngayon mahal mo, ha? Akala ko ba ako? Ako pa rin dapat e. Ito na o, mahal na kita. Ba’t di mo naman ako hinintay?
(While trying to grasp for air) Hindi… mo ko mahal… Hindi mo… ‘ko minahal…
Tears start to pool Agatha’s eyes. But Emil looks at her mercilessly and wraps his hand around her neck tighter. Agatha eventually falls into her knees, looking more agonized and helpless as she finds it harder to breathe.
Gusto ko, ang inuuna. Gusto ko, ako ang pinipili. Pare-pareho lang kayo. Sige! Iwan niyo na kong lahat. Magsama-sama kayo.
Emil chokes her harder, images of a young girl (7) (who was his first dance partner) being choked by his the 8-year old Emil shows up in Agatha’s face from time to time, until she’s almost not breathing anymore and then he throws her into the pool. She tries to fight for her life. But shortly after being thrown, she becomes too weak to try harder to fight for her life. So she just lets herself drown.
Emil just coldly watches her body become lifeless. No sense of guilt or remorse in his face.
- INT. SCHOOL, PRACTICE ROOM – NIGHT – CONTINUATION
Agatha remembers everything now. She takes a few steps closer to Emil. She wants to ask him, shout at him, and curse at him but she can’t. He can’t see her. So she just stands there as her eyes follow him as he continues dancing until he trips and falls, ending up sprawled in the floor. Agatha looks at him with wrath which eventually melts into pity then desperation.
He doesn’t move and just stares at the ceiling. He starts laughing, loud enough to be heard in the hallway, until his voice faints. He gives no expression as he stares into nothingness but a tear escapes his eye.
(Mumbling) Gusto ko, ako naman inuuna. Gusto ko, ako naman pinipili. Yun lang naman e.
He repeats this over and over again until his voice and the screen starts to fade to BLACK.
Only Nathan’s voice screaming Agatha’s name in grief is heard in the background.
Then the sound of sirens is heard next then a slam of a door being forcefully opened.
Write without inhibitions. Just write no matter how bad or cliche or cheesy it gets. Just write. Let the pen serve its purpose. Let the keyboard feel your fingertips. Open the jar. Unlock the cage. Let the water flow. Let the birds escape. Let your ideas be free. Never suppress again whatever you want to write. Forget everything else but the stories that deserve to be told. Even those you think are not.
Right now my happiness overflows that I feel like it’s already seeping through my skin like sweat. I love this feeling. I love, love, feeling positive emotions. But it’s also scary. Extreme happiness is somewhat unreal to me that when I do feel it, I get anxious in anticipation of the coming of an unpleasant happening. It’s like enjoying a sunny/cloudy day but you know the heavy, dark clouds are just waiting to spread across the sky, then comes the downpour of rain. But right now, I honestly don’t want to think of anything else. I just want to savour this happiness. If it shall rain the next day, let it. It will pass. The important thing is that prior to the rainy days, I’ve truly enjoyed the sunshine instead of worrying over the coming the rain.
“Please, don’t let him see you. Stay behind. Or better, go somewhere else for the meantime.” “Sure. Anything for you, sweetheart. You will not see even a tiny part of my shadow. I promise,” is what I’d always say whenever you’d ask me to stay behind. And by your definition of behind, it means a hundred or thousand steps away from you. Of I course I should; so he’ll never see me, so he’ll never know that I exist, so he’ll never get the idea of what we have (is there even a “we”? An “us”? That I’m not sure of), so he’ll never notice anything suspicious in the way I lovingly stare at you while your eyes are fixed at him as if you are still deeply in love. And like what I always do, I’ll blend in with the crowd and pretend to be a stranger meant to be passed by and forgotten. Someone you never knew about. Someone whose existence doesn’t have anything to do with you. And to ease the pain in my heart a little, I would convince myself that the way you drown in his eyes, the way you whole heartedly laugh at everything he says, the way you bury your head on the crook of his neck and all the lovesick things you do all meant nothing for everything is just a show in this circus. A circus full of lies and deception.
I can see from your eyes how you hard you try to hide those lies
I can feel it in your chest as we’re skin to skin;
your heart no longer beats the way it used to when I am near you.
It used to pound as if it wants to break your rib cage and get out of your chest
just to meet mine and wrap it with the warmth of yours.
I do not have the same effect on you anymore.
Now your heart is calm,
I kissed you anyway
But your lips doesn’t taste like your lips.
I felt a pang in my heart,
a punch in the pit of my stomach.
You kissed another girl before me.
I can tell that with the unusual redness and sweetness of your lips.
It was a sickening kind of sweet for I know
it was from the sweetness of the lips of another girl.
But for now,
perhaps for the last time,
let me keep kissing you.
Even until the morning, I’m more than willing to.
For I don’t know when you’ll come home next time again
or if you’ll come home to my arms ever again.
Ilang araw na lang babalik na ko sa Pinas. Sa totoo lang ayaw ko pa. O baka ayaw ko na. Di ko na rin alam.
July 8, 2016, 2:20 am
Sinulat ko ito ilang araw siguro bago ako umalis ng Qatar para bumalik na ng Pilipinas. Paulit-ulit kong binabalikan ito sa drafts ko. At sa tuwing babasahin ko ito ay napapaisip ako, masaya nga ba talaga akong bumalik ako dito? Isa o dalawang linggo bago ako bumalik ng Pilipinas ay inengganyo ako ni Mommy na doon na lang mag-aral. Sabi ko nga sa kanya na parang imposible naman iyon. Pero sabi niya pwede naman daw. Magagawan naman daw ng paraan. Sa totoo lang, gusto ko. Gustong-gusto ko. Pero natatakot ako. Ewan ko ba, parang hindi pa ako handang makilasalamuha sa iba’t-ibang lahi at tumira sa ibang bansa na higit na iba sa kinalakihan ko. At ang nasa isip ko kasi noon ay hindi ko kayang iwanan ang lola ko pati na ang mga kaibigan ko. Naisip ko rin agad kung saan ako magtatrabaho pagkatapos ko mag-aral ng kolehiyo kung sakaling doon na ako titira. Kailan man ay hindi ko pinangarap na magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Noon palang ay buo na ang plano kong dito lang ako sa Pilipinas magtatrabaho. At kung papalarin ay sana sa isa sa mga pinakamalalaking istasyon ng telebisyon sa Pilipinas. Akala ko tama na ang desisyon ko.
Ngunit ngayon ay tila ba may pag-aalinlangan ako. Binalikan ko na naman muli ang draft kong ito. At muli, naramdam ko na naman iyon. Ang kaunting pagsisisi. Ang matinding kagustuhan na makasama si Mommy, si Dad at ang baby sister kong si Sophia. Sa isang buwan kasi na nandun ako sa Qatar kasama sila, nakaramdam ako ng tunay na kasiyahan. Iyon bang ramdam mo talaga sa puso mo na magaan ito, na walang pabugso-pabugsong kalungkutan. Noon kasing bata ako ay pangarap kong maranasan ang magkaron ng isang nuclear family. At sa unang pagkakaton ay doon ko naramdaman iyon. Napakasarap pala sa pakiramdam. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam na kahit gigising kang walang dadatnan na mga mga magulang sapagka’t nasa trabaho sila ay mayron kang inaabangan sa hapon—ang kanilang pag-uwi. Gayunpaman, masaya pa rin ako dahil si Sophia ang sumasalubong sakin tuwing umaga. Pagka-kita niya pa lang sakin ay tuwang-tuwa na siya at agad na gagapang papunta sakin. Makikipaglaro lang ako sa kapatid ko hanggang sa magtanghali at dumating si Mommy. Mas nauuna si Mommy umuwi kaysa dad kaya naman madalas ay sa may mini playground sa likod ng living room muna kami nina Mommy at Sophia habang naghihintay sa kanya.
Nakaka-aliw nga sa tuwing dadating na siya ay tuwang-tuwa si Sophia, at agad na mangungulit naman si Dad kay Mommy. Masarap sa puso makita silang nagkukulitan at naghaharutan na para bang mga teenager. Kitang-kita ko na tunay silang masaya. Kita ko na mahal na mahal talaga nila ang isa’t isa.
Sa gabi naman—ito ang isa sa mga pinakanamimiss ko—sabay-sabay kaming kakain ng dinner nina Mommy at Dad. Salitan sa pagluluto silang dalawa at parehong masarap ang mga niluluto nila. At kapag matutulog na ay maggu-goodnight na ako kina Mommy at Dad na mayroon pang yakap mula sa kanila. Mapayapa ang tulog ko doon. Wala akong pino-problema o inaalalang kalungkutan. Punong-puno ng kasiyahan ang puso ko. Sa tuwing biyernes naman at sabado ay ang tinatawag nilang “family day”. Parehong day-off iyon nina Mommy at Dad. Paminsan-minsan ay naggu-grocery kami sa Carrefour, pero madalas ay nasa bahay lang kami. Sa hapon ay MTV ang nasa TV. May kanya-kanya kaming ginagawa; ako ay nagla-laptop lang, si Dad ay nanonood ng football, si Mommy ay pinapakain na si Sophia. Simple lang. Pero at peace ang pakiramdam ko. Ang saya ng ganoong buhay. Sa buhong buhay ko, sa isang buwan na namalagi ako doon, ay unang beses naramdaman ang pagiging totoong masaya. Palatawa kasi ako. Masiyahin. Pero sa loob ko, hindi buo ang kasiyahan ko. Doon ko lang naramdaman.
O baka naman ngayon lang itong kalungkutan na nararamdam ko ngayon. Apat na araw kasi kaming walang pasok at mag-isa lang ako dito sa dorm. Baka nababagot lang ako dahil wala akong makausap. Ginusto ko naman ang mapag-isa. Ngunit minsan ay hindi ko maiwasan ang maghanap ng kasama o kaya’y makakausap. Lilipas din ito. Sana nga.
Your coffee may have turned salty, that page may have turned crisp, all because of all the tears you’ve shed—the heart you’ve poured—but always remember that you have come this far not only to come this far.
– Lara Murallos
Hindi yung “babawi na talaga ako, pramis” na labas sa ilong.
Yung totoong babawi na kasi gusto nang itama ang mga nakagawiang mali.
Nasa kamay natin ang lubid na siyang kakapitan ng ating nahuhulog na Grado.
Kaya pa natin siyang iligtas.
Hihilahin natin ang lubid pataas.
Kahit dahan-dahan lang muna, basta’t alam nating mahigpit pa rin ang kapit niya.
At kapag nasa taas na siya, sisiguraduhin nating hindi na natin siya ihuhulog pa.
Aalagaan natin siya.
Hanggang sa hindi na natin kakailanganing sabihin pa na:
Sapagka’t alam nating sapat na ang lahat para sa kanya.
Sobrang sabaw. Ilang araw na lang opisyal nang magsisimula ang prelims week. Sana maging maging sapat ang mga pag-aaral na gagawin ko.
17 | Thomasian Artlet | AB in Communication Arts