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“By throwing yourself into emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, all over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what is love. You know what is grief. And only then, you can say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now, I need to detach that emotion for a moment.”
How would one open her heart if she's afraid to get hurt again?

Submitted: October 15, 2018

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Submitted: October 15, 2018




“With no loss or sacrifice, we can't appreciate what we have[G1]  because we yearn for what we have lost that we can’t appreciate what we have.”

-Dor, Time Keeper, Mitch Albom

"By throwing yourself into emotions, by allowing yourself [G2] to dive in, all the way, all over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what is love. You know what is grief. And only then, you can say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now, I need to detach that emotion for a moment."[G3] [G4] [G5] 

-Morrie, Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

The warmth of the sea breeze is embracing the cold feeling of loneliness in her heart and the scorching heat of the sun is making the warmth worse for her.

The loud cheers of the neighborhood’s party covered the solemnity of the shore Erica has been sitting in. Her mind wanted to get mad for disturbance, but her body is too tired to get along with her mind. So, she just swift the disturbances away of her attention. How long has she been sitting her since she arrives from church, where she would’ve had a rendezvous with Sean? Yeah. Sean, by the way, whom she’s been thinking about.

Sean, you’re like the color of the sky right now, I don't know how to describe, if it'll rain or not, if it's the absence of the sun that's making it look like it's about to pour grief or bliss[G6] , she thought.

She stopped when she saw a familiar black-spotted starfish swiftly getting along with the soft waves of the sea.


“You might be the reason why that creature lost its name.”, said by a little voice teasingly at the back of little Erica.

Blue round eyes meet her gaze as she turns around to see who owned the little voice. She automatically stood and straighten her stand facing the little boy, maybe a year older than her. She gave him a questioning look like a response to his statement.[G7] [G8] [G9] [G10] 

“That creature’s black-spots will be lost because it’ll melt down having your blazing eyes staring at it.” He continued with a teasing smirk painted on his face.

“Do I know you?”


“So, don't mind other people's business because I think that's rude especially because we're not friends.", little Erica replied with [G11] rolling eyes and walked out.

“Hey! I’ll introduce myself then, so we can be friends.”, cried by the little Sean following little Erica’s footsteps.

“I don’t want to be friends with you.”, little Erica shouted with a teary eye.

“Why not?”

“You’re bad! You said my eyes are blazing, though it’s not!” she stopped and cried.

“Hey! I was just teasing you, okay? Because I was calling your attention earlier and even yesterday, but you ignored me.” Little Sean replied, now patting the back of little Erica. “I’m sorry.”, he continued.

Little Erica stopped crying and slowly raises her face up with a lighter aura and said, “You’re sorry?”

“No. I’m Sean. *pfft* HAHAHAHAHA!” Little Sean burst out into laughter holding his stomach and almost teary-eyed. But, little Erica got irritated and throws girly punches onto little Sean’s arm.

“You’re bad! I hate you! I hate you!”

"Ow! Ow! Ow! Stop it! It hurts!" Little Sean begged now making his both arms form an X a shield to himself.[G12] 

Little Erica stopped and stepped back a faced little Sean fiercely. “You, Meannie! I really hate you!” and run crying back to their house.

“Hey! I’m sorry! Erica! Erica!”

[End of Flashback]


Her head automatically turns to locate the voice's direction and her heart beating fast.[G13] [G14] [G15] 

“Erica! What are you doing there?” Raphy, her cousin, waving his hand standing a few meters away from the stone she's sitting.[G16] 

“I’m fine here. Go back in there. Don’t mind me.” She replied with a weak smile. She can’t hide the disappointment she just felt hoping it was not anybody else who called her name out.

“Okay! Just call me if you want to go home already. Bye!” Raphy replied and turns his back. She just followed a gaze at the back of his cousin until its image is gone.


“Were you looking for me?” Sean greeted Erica in a teasing grin.

“Why would I?”

“Because you miss my handsome face.”

“Dream on!”

“Oh! Come on! Don’t deny it!”

“Can you just get out of my life? I don’t need you, okay?”

“Hmmm. Be careful Erica because if I do so, you might find yourself missing me." He said wearing a face full of a grin.[G17] 

“Oh!” Erica groaned and walked out.

[End of Flashback]

Goodness Erica! Control your mind, please! Stop looking of the past, will you? [G18] she convinced herself. She still can’t contain herself with the thoughts of Sean.

“Hahahahaha! Have you seen how mom looked like a dragon? That was epic, Dad!”

“Haha! Oh! Let’s stop this already Sky. Haha! Okay. Board on the boat now. We’re setting sail.”

“Okay. Let’s just bring mom some fish to ease her anger from doing the prank earlier dad.”

“Yeah. Yeah. May God bless us with some catch for today.”

Erica’s attention moved to the man and the little girl who came to the shore and hop in the little wooden boat. They seem so happy and connected to each other as if they’re just a pair of best friends. The middle-aged man in a black hair with some whites on it helped his daughter to get into the boat with his thin tanned arms.

“Ahm, can I maneuver the boat now?”

“Hahaha! You can’t even help yourself get into the boat! Hahaha.”

Hearing the conversation of the two made Erica hug her legs even more. Her loneliness had moved deeper down her heart and soul now. A tear suddenly fell when the memories came rushing back into her mind as if it just happened yesterday.


“Dad! Look! Do I look like a lady now?” Erica asked her dad with a huge smile.

"Hahaha. Do you want to grow that fast honey? You're still a girl. Don't rush everything. Anyways, when you become a lady, boys would come to you. And I don't want that to happen soon. You're still my princess." Replied by the [G19] middle-aged man with a worried smile. [G20] 

“I’m always your princess dad no one can change that even when I have my boyfriend, even when I get married, even when I have my own kids, even when I have my grandchildren—”

"Okay, okay. I got it already. Stop daydreaming now. You almost look stupid." Teased by her dad.

“What? Stupid? You just said I am your princess, and now you’re telling me I’m-”

“Hahaha. I said, almost, okay?”

“Its still the same dad.”

“Hahaha. Okay, sorry. How about an ice cream?” After hearing the statement of her dad, Erica automatically swung her head back to face her dad wearing a huge grin.

“Yes, please!”

“Hahaha. I know you can’t say no to that. Now, let’s go.” Her dad was about to stand when he put his hand on his chest once closing his eyes tightly.

“Dad? Are you okay?” Erica asked with a worried eye. Her heart starts beating fast and her body is shaking.  She supported her dad back to take back the sit. Still, her dad’s eyes are tightly closed, and his hand is now clutching hard his chest.

“Mom! Moooooom! Moooooooom!” Erica shouted her lungs out asking for her mom’s help. She does not know what to do. She just watched her dad with her eyes full of tears and her hand holding her mouth.

Dad doesn't leave me yet, please.[G21] [G22]  She pleaded in her mind.

[end of flashback]

The cold of her damp dress brought back Erica’s senses to the present. She hasn’t noticed that the tears that came out of her eyes have already damp her dress that touches her knees.

After her father died, Erica's joy had also been buried down together with her dad's coffin. She isolated herself from people, especially of her age. Her father was her everything though she has a mom, her mom has always been away for work. [G23] [G24] She has her cousins but all of them way older than her. She had also once had a dog, whom she first gave her love and attention after her dad, but months later, it died. [G25] Then, she told herself, I would never care for anyone or anything anymore for they will just leave you behind because of everything changes.[G26]  [G27] [G28] 

Then came Sean, who entered in her life when she was already fine of being alone. However, Sean pushed himself in, into the door that Erica had locked for good. Now, she doesn’t know what to do because she’s afraid to be left, hurt and isolated again when he had already felt the happiness of having someone in your life.

As she got her hanky out of her beige Korean bag to wipe her tears away, a colorful gift wrap catches her attention.

When was this placed in my bag? Who put this here? She thought.

She got the gift out and scanned it.

To: Erica. From: Sean. It says in the greeting card.

She automatically opened it as soon as she read her name. There she saw a letter attached in a book Time Keeper by Mitch Albom.

Dear Erica,

“Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel and if you are ever going to have other people to trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too—even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.”

--Morrie, Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom.

Sorry if I ditched you in our rendezvous and sorry if I haven’t made my promise to be with you always. Know that I am doing this for you. Maybe someday, somewhere by the shore, we'll see each other again. Hope you're ready by then.



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