Living Room

I was sweeping the floor this morning when suddenly I felt something passed me by. It was not a rat, I was sure, because my cat had protected her turf from any invading rodents. 🙂

I sat down for a while to take a breather. Cleaning the house is a multi-stage activity in my book: one room at a time in a day. It was the sala, as we call it, that needs tidying up.

One of the flower vases was not in its old spot. I knew it because I had a pictorial memory of where things stood and hanged. Who moved it was a perplexing question: I was alone.

As I waited for my memory to give me answers, I recalled an intriguing experience during my high school days. It happened in an old room in our school which historians labeled as a former garrison during the Spanish era and a holding cell during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

Converted as the guidance counselor room, seniors entered the place individually to speak with the Italian priest, who was in charge, about future options in college education. At the time, the ambiance inside was hair-raising, considering the strange stories that happened there.

When it was my turn to get counseling, the priest excused himself to fetch my record from the registrar that was located in another building. I was left alone: the silence provoked my mind to wonder if the stories had basis.

Without a breeze to speak off, the windows were shut, the curtains swayed as if something behind them moved. Then, I heard footsteps behind where I sat so I turned around to see if the priest came back. No one was there.

I must admit I was so scared that day that my palms began to perspire. I had the feeling that invisible hands would suddenly tap me on the back.

“Hello? Is there anyone there?” I stuttered.

No answer. I was glad because if someone did and who I could not see, I would be out of there within seconds.

I sighed a welcome relief when the priest came back: my courage returned.

Before we could get underway, he went to the curtains and spoke loudly. I thought he was crazy, infected by the phenomenon residing in the old room. But then, I was mistaken.

Out of the curtains came the school’s maintenance guy who purportedly fixed a light switch. He wore headphones connected to a Walkman. That was the reason why he did not hear my query earlier.

“You look pale,” he observed as he passed me by. “You probably saw a ghost.”

Both he and the priest smiled. I was not amused.



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