In the loving memory ofARINA ELLIOT R. HERMOSAMay 17, 1993 - July 3, 2013"I knew you'd be here."I turned my back and saw Josh standing behind me with a sketchbook in his hands.I looked back to Arina's gravestone."I heard the news and I thought you'd be here so I came here," he said and sat down beside me.Of course he would hear the news. He is Ali's uncle after all."You're still blaming yourself, aren't you?" he asked but I didn't answered him.He gave me the sketchbook he was holding."Ali said I should give this to you. It's from Emerson."It was not the same sketchbook he left at my table before. I turned the page and it was a calligraphy saying, "I'm sorry.""Emerson Del Valle. You don't know him, do you?"I was just turning the page of the sketchbook that contains calligraphy mostly from song lyrics."He is the son of the person behind Arina's ****." I looked at him with confusion."Arina was sold to a PO1 Samonte. The one who sold Arina is Emerson's father. He surrendered himself after her son's burial. According to his father, Emerson was in a critical condition that time and he had no choice but to accept the offer. He said he did it all for his son. He became a drunkard and violent to Emerson after that. If it wasn't for Emerson he wouldn't have done it."I know nothing about it."Ali said that Emerson knew all of it. About what his father did. About Arina. And about you. That is the reason why he's getting your attention. He wants to say sorry but he doesn't know how so he decided to do what you hates the most. To make you happy. But it was hard for him to do it because that time, he's fighting with his demons but unfortunately, he lost the battle. Ali found that sketchbook in his bag and it was addressed to you.""When my time comesForget the wrong that I've doneHelp me leave behind some reasons to be missed"This is another calligraphy from Linkin Park's Leave Out All The Rest.Tears fell from my eyes when I saw the last page.It was the painting of Arina and me. This picture was taken when we went to a field trip to Baguio. We looked so happy in this painting."You should move on, Ellie. Crash the wall you built around you," he said.I finally got my courage to speak."I'm afraid of being happy for it comes with consequences," I said while crying."No. You're afraid to entertain a new feeling thinking you won't be able to handle what you might feel when it fades away," he said and looked into my eyes."You are being a coward, Ellie. Relive the lively Ellie I used to know not this miserable Ellie in front of me.""Free yourself from the chains you used to tie yourself. It won't be easy but it is worth trying and I'd be here all the way to support you. The more you keep it, the more miserable you get. Let go, Ellie."
He smiled and left me thinking about on what I should do next.What do you think should I do, Arina?Letting go means crushing down the walls I built to protect myself from pain.I don't know what to do.The wind blew and the sketchbook I am holding turned its pages automatically."leave out all the rest"--"Okay, cla.s.s dismissed. See you around, cla.s.s.""See you around, Ma'am," the cla.s.s said in unison.Before the students could run out of the door, Josh blocked their pathway. He's holding a bouquet of flower.The students cheered and squealed in excitement. Some of them teased me but Josh and I just laugh it off.Josh went up to me when the students were already out of the room."Let's go?" he asked. I nod and we head out on the parking lot.Josh opened the car door for me before he went to the driver's seat. The drive was a quite one. No one dared to speak. Maybe because we're both reserving the talk for later.After a short while, we reached our destination.

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In the loving memory ofARINA ELLIOT R. HERMOSAMay 17, 1993 - July 3, 2013In the loving memory ofEMERSON P. DEL VALLENovember 29, 2001 – August 12, 2019Josh lighted the two candles and put down the bouquet of flowers on the gravestone."Your students are crazy for thinking that I am your suitor," he said while laughing."They really are," I laughed with him."If I would court someone, I will never give her a bouquet of chrysanthemum.""Unless it's Arina," I said while wiggling my eyebrows.I smiled when I saw him took his gaze away from me."It is nice to see you laughing and smiling again, Ellie," he said."All thanks to you. If it wasn't for you, I won't be able to let go of the past that's been haunting me for six years."We just smiled at each other and looked up at the orange sky.Letting go doesn't mean forgetting. Letting go means freeing yourself from everything that have been hurting you.Do not deprive yourself of happiness. Let go and be brave because that is how you grow and learn.

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