By Kyla Reyes

Let me introduce my friend named Gaia. She was alluring, with a beauty that could captivate any man and a heart so pure that made her loved by everyone. She had luxurious curly gold hair that matched her ocean blue eyes. Her lips were as vibrant as the burning flames of lava. Her skin was as white as snow and as soft as a feather. She was a total dream girl, a perfect girl. Gaia’s beauty was not the only thing admirable about her; along with it was her love and care for plants and animals. She took care of them, nurtured them, and loved them very much.

Well, that is how I remember her from years ago. We never got together again after our high school graduation. But one night, little did I know that a sudden phone call would reunite us. The call revealed that she was in the hospital and was in a terrible condition. I rushed there immediately, only to see my former vibrant, gorgeous, and strong friend now gasping for air.

“What happened to you?” I asked her as I slowly sat on her bedside. 

“I was wrong.” She whispered as tears fell on her cheeks. 

I held her hands tightly as I tried to comfort her. 

“Remember John DC, my secret admirer back in our junior high school?”

I nodded as she continued her lament. 

“Well, he pursued me even after we graduated. He courted me, and I said yes to him. Our love grew; then we felt that we needed each other so we got married. The first years of our marriage were simply magical. He supported me in doing the things I love; we helped people and tended to the plants and animals.”

Her smile began to grow faint, as she told the story, subtle tears now forming in her eyes after reminiscing their happy memories.

“But after his conference about urbanization and industrialization, he changed. Whenever he was at home, he would physically hurt me. There were times when he would just wrap my head with a plastic bag while I was sleeping…” she said sniffling, her tears continuously falling. 

My eyes started to water, and my heart got heavier by the passing second.

“There were also times when he would force me to smoke, or else, he would burn me with the cigarette. Just to please him, I exhaled blackish smoke out of my lungs, just like how factories release their black smoke…Now, I can barely breathe. Whenever I cough, I can feel my body trembling, and when I vomit, it’s as if water is gushing out of me. My body began to grow weary and weak to the point that my recurring fevers melted and burned the things I touched. This is why I can now barely take care of the plants and animals. I’m terrified that I may hurt them. I…”

She suddenly screamed in pain. I panicked and started pressing the on-call button frantically. The doctors rushed in and gave her sedatives and painkillers so she would sleep. But before her eyes closed shut, her words echoed in my head. She said, “In my condition, he too won’t last.”

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