To everybody’s eyes, Rai has everything. A great life, the type that gets everything he wants and takes everything he needs. Financially stable with a very strong family business. Whether successful or not to the career he’s currently taking, for sure he will have a great fallback. But to littlest they know Rai could never find happiness he wishes he has now.
As what his grandparents told him, Rai was left with their care a few months old by his mom. The time his mom found out that his dad has a new family not so far from their town. He has few memories of his childhood, mostly things he wished he never recalled. On his 7th birthday, his mom picked him up on his Grandparents’ house to treat him but he never recalled where they went and what they do there, but he remembered the time his mom slapped him on his face for some unknown reason. When he went back to his Grandparents’ house he never shared that experience neither to anyone he knows. Also one time, he remembered when his Grandfather took him out for a treat. They went to their private beach, strolling, eating where he wants to eat. It was a great day, he told himself. Sadly the following day, his grandfather was struck with a terminal illness. Back and forth they came from the province to the city for his treatment. At the time his grandfather died, he told himself it was for the best to lessen his Grandfather’s burden. He grew up with his cousins. So the pain he felt lessened while doing normal things what kids usually do.
Despite that, with the support of his aunt from US, he was doing well with his studies. Maybe it’s also his escape from that reality he’s been trying to keep from everyone. That time he also learned that his parents have new families. He never felt more alone. One time on a PTA meeting, he has no choice but his yaya came to attend. And that continued when he reached secondary education. Some of his classmates asked him, “is that your parent?” He replied jokingly, “I hope so”. He finished his primary and secondary education with good grades. Before graduating his secondary education, his grandmother died.
When he reached Manila for his college education, he never expected how different and how hard his life could be. He was given a unit where he can live, a helper, credit cards, and was given anything he wanted and needed. But that time he realized he was doing things in return for his education. He least wanted his bachelors and his post graduate course. He has no choice that he will pursue a career his aunt wanted him to take. That he will take more years of sacrificing. He wanted to stop studying but his aunt who supports him never wanted him too. He wanted to travel and see what life is outside.
One time he received a call from his mom, asking him how he’s been. He said he’s ok. His mom told him how lucky he is living a very good life. He wished he could answer back and tells his mom how wrong she is and how he wished he was part of her second family. The one his mom is taking good care of now. His dad once took him for a vacation along with his dad’s second family. He strolled by himself and showed no trace of enjoyment on his face. But still, he never wanted to disappoint his dad, so he has to show he’s happy. In spite of the hate he feels, he never wished terrible things to happen to his parents. He even instituted a good relationship with his half brothers and sisters. He just wished he has a real family to come home to and a family that will accept him.
Rai wanted to be surrounded by his friends. He wanted their company and he wanted to fit in. Some may misinterpret him. Some even questioned his sexuality. He was straightforward to his friends and will even give anything what his friends wanted and will not mind what’s left for him. He listens to his friends’ rants and problems but he never shared what he really felt. He is indeed a good friend maybe more of a great friend. He once told a friend how jealous he is that his friend has a family to come home to every weekend and in spite of having a few, their family has a strong and great bond.
Now that everything seems so blurry to him. The insurmountable pressure he felt for his education. The pressure his aunt is giving him, the peer pressure he’s going through and the sense of wanted to belong to a family. He had thought of taking his life. He wished he could describe what a family is. He wished he could say he finally belongs.