It was like the end of the world kind of thing. Everyone was either panicking or staying inside their houses to be safe. I was with a family. A single mother with two kids. We were at their small house, watching from the window how things are going outside. There were guards and people lining up for something. I’m not sure if it’s for rescue or what. But I remember feeling so scared and worried. Not for myself, but for the lady’s kids.
I told her to hide the kids in a secret compartment that leads to an escape hatch somewhere. The guards will be visiting houses soon to check on kids. I’m not entirely sure why we had to hide them or when we’ll ever see them again.
When the guards did come, they told us to list our names and be ready by 10 p.m. While there were so many things going on outside, I remembered my mother somewhere and wondered if she was able to escape somehow.
The scene changed and we were in some sort of abandoned or closed mall. There were elevators not working, stalls that are closed, and empty halls. There were a lot of us there, wearing some sort of marathoning outfit.
I was wearing red and white. I can’t even remember the number on it but I’m sure there was. I saw familiar faces in the crowd; some are from my college days while some are my high school friends. I tried to look for my mother in the crowd but there was no sign of her yet.
Then we were running.
Around the mall, down the elevators, through the empty halls. I don’t know why we are running. Or why we are doing any of this in the first place.
We stopped at an empty hall; there were my college and high school friends and some other faces I don’t recognize. I can’t even see the single mother I was with earlier.
Then I saw my mother walking towards us, wearing all white, looking exhausted. I grabbed a plastic stool and ran towards her. Before she can even sit down, I saw the crowd moving already. I took her arm and we started running. She told me to go ahead and she will follow. I kept glancing back at her to make sure she’s still there.
While going down one of the elevators, I spotted my grade school crush, Al. He was there too, running. He ran towards me and we started running together. I’m not sure what we were talking about but I remember myself smiling all the way. We were getting along so well, I completely forgotten about my mother.
When we stopped next, there was a huge pool in the middle of the ground. What kind of mall has an indoor pool??
There were people running around the edge of the pool, holding some stuffs on their hands. There was a guy who looked like a gym teacher, telling them orders. It looked like they were trying to pass a test. He called on to us, Al and I, and told us to grab one of the weird stuff and start running like the rest.
The stuff was like a poi but instead of fire, there were balls at the end. You have to spin it around and over your head while you’re running. I remember the struggle of it all.
After some time, Al and I stopped. We were just walking along the edge of the pool. On the other side, we watched people trying to race through swimming. They were crazy fast, like mermaids under the pool, and we were just so impressed.
Al and I kept walking and talking. We stopped by some sort of nipa hut and he started talking about a girl who seemed to be her ex girlfriend. I think her name was Mindy.
“I think we’re getting along again,” Al told me.
I was quite. I don’t know why it was affecting me that way when my crush for him was long gone. And I was in grade school then. That’s like a decade already and I haven’t seen him since until now.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always wanted him to notice me then but he was always looking or liking somebody else that’s why hearing him talk about another girl again, affected me. And I thought we were actually having a good time and getting along well.
It was like a stupid scene from a movie. I walked away and he followed behind.
“Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong? All this time, we’re having such a good time and the moment I talked to you about Mindy, you acted strange,” he said and I kept quiet. “Tell me what’s on your mind.”
I looked at him and it seems he had read my expression because his face turned sad too. “If I tell you, would it make any difference?”
He was silent, thinking. I waited for him to say it can change his mind. That all I need to do was to say something and he’ll choose me.
But what he said stung me a little.
“No, it won’t.”
He will choose Mindy still even after we’ve spent so much good times together. And I felt like my 6th grader self wanting his affection but never having it.
I wanted to say more but I couldn’t. I decided to end it there and just wake up.