Are we just born to follow our parents’ steps? If I could just give them signs before they made me, I would tell them not to have a child— me.
"During my time, I crossed several rivers and high mountains just to make it to university. I didn't want to miss class but now..." the old woman tsked as she shook her head, disappointment was visible on her brown wrinkled skin.
I almost rolled my eyes. Seriously, reminiscing about how hard her life was before at this kind of place?
"I'm not a student anymore, Mrs..." I said for the nth time.
"Don't lie," she insisted. "You look minor to me, prolly you're still a student yet you're here, wasting your potential."
I smirked. Should I take that as a compliment?
"I have lived here in the world for twenty-seven years, Mrs..."
Her mouth hangs open, then she squinted her eyes, obviously thinking that I'm lying, again.
"Really?" Her gray-ish eyebrows shot up.
I nodded. "Yup."
"Amaia Cruiz!" I immediately got up from my seat when I heard my name.
"What?!" I fired back. I walked towards the barrier that hinders me from going out.
The officer raised his hand in the air, showing me the keys.
"You are now free to go home," he announced.
I almost jumped in delight because of it. Finally!
"Thanks, officer!" I salute after.
When he opened the prison, I glanced behind me and saw the old woman smiling at me. She was teary-eyed as if we've been together for so long when I was just detained last night due to illegal car racing.
Shaking my head, I smiled and went out.
I immediately grabbed the sling bag that I surrendered last night in the tray. Then, I walked towards the other officer who's leaning at the edge of the table, crossed-arms while staring at me.
"I'm free? No joke?" I double-checked, combing my hair using my fingers.
He raised his brows which made me stop. I looked down and pursed my lips.
"The prison is quite spacious. If you want to stay longer, feel free," his voice was full of sarcasm.
I pursed my lips more. "Uncle... I didn't know it was illegal..." I reasoned out.
I looked at him through my lashes. He was staring at me with a knotted forehead, eyes filled with frustrations. I tried my best not to laugh even though deep inside, I feel sorry for making him feel anguish.
"Go home now, Aya. I won't tell this to your father."
Raising my head, I nodded wearily. "Okay..."
"The next time you involve yourself in any illegal activities, you'll not be able to get out of the cell, Aya. I'd tell, remember that."
I chuckled then, leered on the table and my eyes glued on the chocolate bar laying there. I peered at my Uncle and smiled shyly.
"May I?" I pointed to the chocolate by pouting my lips.
He just rolled his eyes and scoffed. "Take it and go home."
I smirked and quickly grabbed the chocolate and walked away. My heels ticked on the marble floor with every step I made, the red spaghetti romper I'm wearing shouts dominance. Some officers turned their heads in my direction as I walked past them.
When I got out of the police station, I wore my glasses just hanging around my neckline, protecting my eyes against the blazing sun.
I bit the inside of my cheek. I got jailed, again. Shaking my head, I took my phone out of my bag and swiftly dialed a friend's number.
"Hello..." I greeted the moment he answered. "Can you pick me up? I'm just nearby, waiting outside the police station under the sun."
I heard him snort in the other line. I'm sure he knows what happened.
"Today's first day of November. Instead of lighting a candle for those souls we have lost, you chose to sleepover in that stinky place..." I could imagine him rolling his eyes.
"For experience, Sid. Also, I found a new friend." I shrugged, remembering the old woman inside the prison.
"As usual, Aya. As usual..."
I let out a giggle. "Of course, make the best out of it. Who knows? I might plan to sell illegal drugs inside. Connection, Sid." I jokingly said.
I closed my mouth tightly when the officer who walked by glared at me. I just showed him a peace sign and laughed at my silliness.
"Come on, Sid... Pick me up, my tummy's been growling and complaining since last night. I haven't eaten a portion of decent food
"Send me your location," he uttered, which I did right after he hung up.
He arrived in less than ten minutes, driving a Toyota Vios. He blew the horn in front of me which made me step back in shock. I rolled my tongue over my lips and opened the passenger seat and sat there. Before closing the door, I took a picture of the police station.
"That's your fifth collection for this year."
I shrugged before closing the door beside me. I moved the image to the album named Haven.
"To my house, please..." I leaned on the backrest, letting my eyes rest for a moment.
He fastened my seat belt and started driving. I blew a deep breath. All of a sudden, I feel tired from everything that happened yesterday. My whole body is shouting for rest.
"Why don't you try to go out? I will set a date for you," I heard him say.
"No," my voice was firm. "I don't have time for headaches."
"But you have a lot of time ruining your name. You've been going in and out of jail, Aya. Once your family finds out about your activities, you'd be dead meat."
Slowly, I opened my eyes and tilted my head on his side, eyeing him sharply.
"They won't find out if we both keep our mouth shut, right?"
He zipped his mouth and never bothered to say something again. I closed my eyes and waited.
The city isn't the right place for me to live. Toxicities, then cancer family. I don't want to live with people whose roles are to dictate me for what I should and shouldn't do.
That was why I left home.
I decided to live away from the city, hundreds of miles away from my religious family. They just covered up my whereabouts, so people won't question why I left home.
I don't mind though. It's alright that way.
"You always get caught. I wonder how your father reacts once he finds out..."
I let out a playful laugh. "He'd surely freak out."
"Beyond that," he added.
I gazed at him. "They would disown me for sure. But before that, mother would make me kneel on the salt and utter some verses as if I'm being possessed by a demon."
"Why don't you try being..." he formed a halo above his head using his forefinger.
I scoffed. "I wasn't born to follow my parents’ step. I would be even more sinful if I served Him against my will."
Since it was already lunch, we stopped over at the restaurant we passed by.
"Enjoy your meal..." it was the server.
I began to eat.
"I saw a truck earlier beside your house. I guess you will have a new neighbor."
I chewed the food. "Really? So, I'm not lonely anymore."
"Hmm..." he nodded. "Just make sure to not cause any trouble in the neighborhood, especially to your neighbor if ever. Be friendly, Aya."
My forehead ceased at his remarks.
"I would hold a welcome party for them if you want."
"I'm reminding you to be nice," he was serious.
"Nye, nye..." I playfully uttered.
True to Sid's words, I saw a big truck parked beside my house when I arrived at the subdivision. A woman was carrying a box, while there was a man, too, who's helping her carry those heavy boxes.
Maybe they're a couple. I frowned.
I was about to enter the gate when I heard a small voice. I ignored it at first but when she pointed out my dress, I stopped on my spot and turned around just to see an adorable kid.
She was waving her cute little hands in my direction while smiling. My lips parted. I'm not fond of children but this girl...
"Hi! I'm Alexin, seven and your new neighbor! I hope we can be friends!" her cute voice filled my ears.
Without warning, a smile made its way to my lips.
"Welcome to the neighborhood, Alexin!" I greeted.
She shyly hid her hands behind her. Her pink dress adds up to her cuteness, and her curly pigtail hair was a little bit messy. She was swaying then after seconds of staring at me, she ran.
I can't help but laugh this time. So adorable. I wonder what her mother looks like. I scratched the thought at the back of my head.