She is a picture of happiness… with her curly hair that matches her fair complexion and a smile on her lips for everyone. By looking at her now, I could say that she had gone a long way. Yes, a long way indeed before having the happy life she has right now. You wouldn’t believe the pain and hardships she had gone through.
She grew up knowing nothing about her father except that he left them even before she was born. She doesn’t even know his name. All Anzene had is her mother, her uncle Tony (her mom’s only sibling) and the poor life they live. She never had a normal childhood because she never experienced the joy and happiness of playing with other kids; not because she doesn’t want to, she just hates it when they teased her of not having a father. Because of that, she became aloof; she made a world of her own where nobody is allowed to enter.
But things began to change when she met Leila during the fourth grade. Leila is the sole daughter of a business tycoon. Like her, Leila is in need of someone who will understand her since her parents are always busy. They became friends, and life for Anzene became different; her world begun to turn wonderful.
But fate couldn’t be less unfair. Her friend was kidnapped! Leila’s parents were able to ransom the money but she wasn’t saved from being raped by the kidnappers. Although the criminals were put behind he bars, life was never the same again for Leila. At a young age, Leila couldn’t handle such mischief.
Not long after that, her mother suffered from tuberculosis. And because of poverty, they weren’t able to buy sufficient medication. After a year of suffering and pain, her mother died. Leaving Anzene in great mourn. Her life began to fall again. She became more aloof. She hardly talks to anyone. She became known as the “ICE LADY” because of that. The only thing that keeps her moving on was her uncle’s encouragement. She kept on moving although there were times that she felt like quitting. But remembering the dreams her mother left for her, and all the encouragements that her uncle has for her, she was able to hold on.
True to the saying that life isn’t bed of roses, death steals her uncle away from her. I was about to go to my favorite spot in our school’s mini forest when I saw her crying in my “sanctuary”. Sanctuary as I call it because it’s the place where I always find peace of mind. Like her I am always alone. While she was known as the school’s ice lady, I was tagged as the campus snob. And seeing her in total grief, I walked towards her and gave her my handkerchief. I know she won’t talk to me but I still asked her what’s wrong. But to my amazement, she answered, “I am sorry for invading your privacy.” I smiled at her, extending my hand, “I am Sapphire, and you are?” She smiled back and said, “It’s Anzene.” Then she told me that she just remembers her uncle, her mother and her best friend. “My uncle died just a week ago. A driver who is too drunk hit him and just gets away with it. He didn’t even know what happened on the man he bumped in. And then a Good Samaritan brought my uncle to the hospital but it is too late because his head was badly injured.” She paused for a moment to dry her tears then, “what hurts most is that I am all alone now. I have nobody to turn to. He’s all I have and now he left me too.”
I was horrified by her revelations. I couldn’t even think I could be strong like her if I had a friend that was kidnapped, a father who left us all for inheritance and an uncle who is a victim of hit and run. It even made me ask, “Is there still goodness in this world?”
After telling me everything that had happened to her, she smiled and told me that she felt good. “Thanks for listening; I haven’t cried like that for a long time.” Then I told her that that it’s good to let go of feelings once in a while. All of us have our share of our dark moments; although mine is not as tragic as yours.” I told her one time when we were eating. “I’ve told you my whole life; I guess it’s time to share yours with me.” She said with a look of encouragement. “Well, I am glad I didn’t have a family who died. But I grew up being teased for looking so ugly. I could remember our neighbor saying that why am I a member of our family when I don’t even look like them. Of course, I know I am just adopted. My mom told me that they found me at their doorstep one rainy evening. However, I am thankful; they have nourished and love me as if I was their own. Too bad my sisters don’t feel the same they are among those people who teased me for not being so-good-looking like them.
I even thought of quitting school because I am tired of hearing my classmates calling me names. So I decided to make my own world. I let everybody think I am snob. At least, I won’t be hurt by their harsh words. I know I am ugly but do they really have to shout it out in front of my nose? It’s really hard to be alone, alone in the sense that I don’t have anybody to turn to. And when I feel like I can’t handle it anymore, I would watch a sad movie and then I will cry.” She laughed at my idea and said, “Hey that was good. But you don’t have to do that anymore now that we have each other.”
And that was the beginning of a brand new start for both of us. Problems still come along but it’s different now that we have each others back. She was there when my classmate insulted me and told me that I don’t have the right to join the school theater because I don’t have the look. She comforted me the way no one comforted me before. I had witnessed how happy she was when she was appointed as the editor-in-chief of our school paper. I was there when she cried her heart out because she discovered that her boyfriend courted her all for a bet. I was so furious with the guy that I spank him in front of a crowd. Well, serves him right. I could remember telling my friend that I couldn’t blame her if she would hate this world after what happened. But you wouldn’t believe what she said, even though goodness seems to be gone, she said, “I don’t and I won’t hate this world Sophie, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” She even told me that if her father would come home, she would welcome him with open arms. “I know that there’s a reason for all of these and I also believe that in everything, God has a purpose.” Was her word that really touched my heart. I have learned a lot from her and I know that I am about to learn more as we go along together.
When she stand on the stage to give her speech as the summa cum laude during our college graduation day, she had proven to everyone that she is not just nobody that they could step on. For the first time, they heard the “ice lady” talk, aside of course during class recitations, with full of aspirations and heart touching words that made everyone of us shed a tear.
A week after our graduation, while we were talking of what we are going to do next, my friend had a visitor… her father. He asked for her forgiveness and explained everything why he left them 20 years ago. True to her words, she welcomed him with open arms. I could see how happy she is. I heard her say, “Life is too short. We can’t even be sure if we are still alive tomorrow. That’s why we must make the most of every chance that we have. And we could only do that if we always have a room for forgiveness in our hearts.” Tear-eyed, her father said, “I am lucky, not everyone is given a second chance to correct their mistakes.
Presently, she is managing her business which is a boutique. She has already expanded it to three branches in such a short time. She is now 26 and about to marry Lawrence James. He was our schoolmate way back in high school. They met each other again when LJ bought a gift for her mom at her boutique. And how they end up together is another story. I am indeed lucky for being able to witness how each morning became more beautiful for her.
I know there are still twist and turns in the road of life she is going through and that problems are yet to come. But as of now, all I could ask the Lord is to continue giving her the strength that she needed. As for me, I am living a happy life as one of the stockholders of the country’s top corporation. I may not have a family of my own yet but I believe that God has a plan for me whatever that is.