01K PART 3

Here's part three!
You can read part one here and part two here

Kit bounced in her place in the passenger seat of their old beat-up multicab. And it wasn’t because she was excited for today--- there were just too many potholes this side of Highway.

Why is this place called Highway anyway? Was it the only highway in Cebu? It was as dusty and bumpy as she’d remembered it.

“Well, at least these bumpy roads haven’t changed, Mama,” she said with a snort, smiling up at her mama. Her mama merely shook her head and smiled.
“Where was therapy again?” she asked for about the hundredth time, adjusting the rosary that they tied around the rear view mirror.
“In campus. They set up a facility there. How many times were you born, Kit?”
She’d asked this a hundred times, too.
In campus. The words were weird in her ears. She actually went to that school for stuck up brats.
“It was near and they offered you a scholarship in psychology,” was all her mama said when she first asked why she’d send Kit there when they could clearly not afford it.
“Are they always so kind?” her short hair whipped around her face as mama cranked her gears and sped up a bit. She was riding shotgun like she always has (as far as she can remember anyway), and yet, there’s this familiar feeling that she’s been riding other cars this past summer. Kit wasn’t sure why they felt that way.
“They are,” mused mama, “And it’s free because I think they’re assigning interns to your case.”
“Ah, like a lab rat for the PTs-in-training,” she said.
“Be thankful, Katherine.”
“I am thankful,” she said.

After yesterday’s mall meltdown, Jen apologized so profusely Kit didn’t have much in her to stay mad for long. Plus Jen paid for their lechon dinner. Her cousin is clueless sometimes, but she does have her moments. She even ordered extra achara for Kit.
When she asked Jen who Stranger Danger was---

“Just someone I know from school,” she said, waving her hand dismissively, stuffing her face with puso. Jen was the only person she knew who could eat ½ kilos of roasted pork and still not get fat.
“What did he tell you? Did he threaten you or anything?” Kit asked. Stranger Danger had looked so, so serious it made Kit nervous when she tried to remember the hard glint in his eyes.
Jen answered by biting more of her puso. This girl could win a lechon eating contest, if she put her heart to it, thought Kit.
Gaw, just finish your meal. It was nothing, I swear.”
“Are you gonna eat the skin? Coz if you won’t then I will. Mine’s not so crunchy anymore.”
Before Kit could answer, Jen already had her oily hands on that piece of crunchy, leathery skin.
And that was that.

The glint of something chrome and shiny brought Kit back from her stray thoughts.
“Is this it?”
She was hyper aware of all the fancy cars that lined up the street along the building, and how their multicab looked so out of place. Students were milling about the street too, most of them wearing white and haggard looking, clutching photocopies and paper cups of coffee.
“This is it,” mama replied.
They pulled up at the side of a building. It made Kit’s stomach a little bit queasy, for some reason. She told mama as much and she responded by clapping her back in encouragement.

The PT center was as sleek and neat as the building’s facade, and it faintly smelled of new paint. There were various equipment all around--- floor mats, exercise balls, a mirrored wall like the ones you see in dance studios, some bars and and railings. Some crutches and walkers leaned against a far wall, and there were patients training to walk without them, assisted by interns, who were supervised by a licensed PT.

“I---I don’t like the idea of another person touching me mama,” she whispered as she saw one of the interns supporting a patient under the armpits.

“Don’t be silly,” mama said with a shake of her head. “Do you want to get better or not?”

“I guess but..it would still feel weird, I think…”

“Wait here,” her mom told her, gesturing to the waiting benches just before the busy registration area. The sense of the place’s  newness settled over her like a blanket.

“Do you have to go?” she asked, feeling like a kid.
Her mom sighed, “You know I would stay if I could, inday.”
Kit nodded in understanding. Her mom had to do her morning deliveries of rice cakes and other baked goods to the schools.
“I’ll be fine ma,” she assured her mother, even if she wasn’t sure herself. And besides, she had to redeem herself from yesterday’s disaster.

“Very well. Be nice to them, ok? Call me when you need anything,” she said, patting Kit’s pocket where she now kept a phone. After yesterday’s fiasco, they weren’t taking chances. Her mother’s number was on speed dial, too.
“I’ll pick you up in an hour, I’ll have to deliver these puto cheese to the school,” she said with a kiss upon Kit’s brow. “Come up when they call your name, okay?”
“Okay. See you later.”

Kit was feeling equal parts hopeful and anxious as she bid her mama goodbye.

A couple of minutes later, her name was called.

She should have suspected the moment she heard that deep, lazy drawl.

This had to be a joke.

There, scanning a chart at the registration booth was a boy with a shock of dark hair that sort of needed a haircut.

Stranger Danger.

Author's Notes

puso- hanging rice
"gaw"- shortened version of "ig-agaw", used to address cousins
inday- a term of endearment for young girls

Hi friends! Let me know what you think of this one!


K x

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