Positive

Kumusta ka na?

 

 

 

 

For three days, hindi ako lumalabas ng kwarto ko. I have my laptop with me here kaya hindi naman problema ang pagta-trabaho. I can still work even when I am quarantined. That's the beauty of working from home and freelancing, I believe. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanda ko pa nang araw din na iyon, I was just scrolling through my Instagram after calming myself from the roller coaster of emotions given by Seulgi. Pagkatapos noon ay nakatanggap ako ng isang tawag mula sa local health center dahil ang lalaki na nakasabay ko sa elevator when I went out tested positive for covid. 

 

 

 

 

"Good day, Ms. Bae! This is Joan from the Taguig Health Center. I am calling you to inform you po that you have made close contact with a COVID-positive patient just recently. Very recent po Ma'am because you were in the same elevator with him earlier." muntik kong maihulog ang cellphone ko nang marinig ang message na iyon. 

 

 

 

 

I was so worried for Ate Tiffany when she said that she tested positive for the virus, and I was also worried for myself and my housemates dahil ako lang ang lumalabas ng apartment kaya todo ingat ako. Pero ngayon naman.. 

 

 

 

 

"What do I need to do po?" matagal bago ko iyon naitanong. I couldn't find the right words to say dahil masyado akong hindi makapaniwala sa mga nalaman ko. 

 

 

 

"Kailangan natin malaman, Ma'am, ang mga close contact mo. Saan ka po ba nagpunta? May mga kasama ka po ba sa apartment?" I bit my lower lip as I look at the door of my room. 

 

 

 

Sa labas ng kwartong ito ay si Jennie at si Chaeyoung - na parehong mahina din ang immune system. Inisip kong mabuti ang mga ginawa ko pagka-galing ko sa grocery kanina. I was wearing my mask when Jennie opened the door and said that the shower's ready. I took a bath then changed my clothes to join them for merienda. Katapat ko si Jennie, at sa tabi niya naman kanina ay si Chaeng. 

 

 

 

Did we share our drinks earlier? Mabuti naman at hindi. 

 

 

 

 

"I-I have two housemates." then I sighed. "I was on my way out to buy stocks when I came in contact with the person you are pertaining to. I remember him." 

 

 

 

"Copy that, Ma'am. Did you sign the contact tracing forms upon entrance sa mga pinuntahan niyo po kanina?

 

 

 

"Yes." contact tracing forms are necessary, lalo sa ganitong sitwasyon. 

 

 

 

Sa mga supermarket, grocery store at iba pang lugar ay kailangang pumirma ng contact tracing form bago tuluyang makapasok. That'll be helpful para mabilis mahanap ang mga naka-salamuha ng isang patient na nag-positive, or kagaya sa case ko - close contact ng nag-positive. 

 

 

 

 

"You've done a great job, Ma'am. Now, there are things that I want you to do, starting this moment." I nodded as if I'm speaking to the health officer face to face. "First, I want you to remain calm. You're going to be alright, as long as you follow the protocols." 

 

 

 

"Sure." sagot ko. 

 

 

 

"If you're inside your room, you are no longer allowed to go out, Ma'am. We have to ensure the safety of your housemates, too. But of course, you have to inform them why you're doing this. If you are still with them right now, I suggest to please get inside your room, immediately, Ma'am." 

 

 

 

"I have been in my room for more than 30 minutes now." 

 

 

 

 

"That's great, Ma'am. The next thing that you should do is monitor yourself. I am sure you are aware of the symptoms?" 

 

 

 

 

Cough, cold, headache, fever, and the loss of sense of smell and taste. Those are the common symptoms that I am aware of.

 

 

 

"I am familiar, yes." sagot ko. 

 

 

 

"Excellent. Now all you need to do is count fourteen days, Ma'am. Kung hindi niyo po ma-experience ang lahat ng symptoms in fourteen days, then you are free to go out of your room again." kumunot ang noo ko sa narinig. Ibig bang sabihin noon ay magku-kulong lang ako ng fourteen days?

 

 

 

 

"If I understand correctly, I won't be tested?" 

 

 

 

Matagal bago makasagot ang health worker at mahina pa itong tumawa. "We do not have enough test kits to test everyone, Ma'am. Sa ngayon ay priority po natin i-test ang mga urgent case. Lalo ang mga symptomatic. In your case, asymptomatic po kasi kayo kaya hindi kayo required itest."

 

 

 

Napaawang ang labi ko dahil sa narinig. Parang nag-pantig ang tenga ko nang marinig na mahina ulit siyang tumawa. Ganito ba talaga sa Pilipinas? 

 

 

 

 

"More of a reason why I should be tested. Dahil asymptomatic ako. Paano pala kung marami ang carrier na at hindi lang nade-detect dahil asymptomatic kaya mabilis ang spread ng virus?" may diin pero kalmadong sabi ko. 

 

 

 

"Hindi po mangyayari 'yan, Ma'am. This is why we are thorough with the contact tracing. Para hindi ganoon kabilis ang pag-spread ng virus. As long as you follow our suggestions, Ma'am..nothing wrong will happen to you." 

 

 

 

I just sighed dahil mukhang wala namang patutunguhan ang usapan na ito. "Alright. Thanks for reaching out to me immediately." 

 

 

 

 

"Ginagawa ko lang po ang trabaho ko, Ma'am. Ingat po and enjoy your quarantine!" 

 

 

 

 

My jaw dropped after hearing the final word from that government employee. Dahil ano ang sinabi niya? Enjoy my quarantine? Is this something that I should enjoy doing? Akala niya yata ay nagse-staycation ako!

 

 

 

 

I just shook my head after ending the call. Nahiga ulit ako, at yakap yakap ang unan. Sana naman ay wala akong masyadong maramdaman at hindi maapektuhan sila Jennie. 

 

 

 

 

 

=

 

 

 

That was three days ago, nang wala pa akong nararamdaman na symptoms. Agad ko namang tinawagan din sila Jennie pagkatapos noon. They were surprised, worried, and afraid. Talagang iniwasan ko ang contact sa kanila dahil naka-quarantine ako. 

 

 

 

 

We share the same bathroom kaya walang choice kung hindi makigamit din ako doon. They wear facemasks when I get out of my room. I believe they also wear it when they are in the office, dahil airconditioned iyon. They take turns in sleeping in the office, too. They said that they'll stop sleeping together for a while until we all finish our 14-day quarantine. Sila din ay nag-decide na mag-quarantine dahil they came in contact with me. 

 

 

 

 

We do steam inhilation therapy every day. Suggestion iyon ni Chanyeol dahil tinawagan ko siya agad after informing Jennie and Chaeng about my current situation. Chanyeol also suggested that we drink ginger tea or lemongrass tea pero wala kaming ganoon dito sa apartment so we just regularly drink hot green tea, every day. Si Jennie na mahilig sa cold drinks ay hindi muna umiinom ng mga ganoon ngayon. They also take turns in cooking dahil hindi ko nga pwedeng gawin iyon. They place my meal by my door and I will only get it once I receive their text message. 

 

 

 

 

Right now, I feel like I'm a nuisance. They have so many things to do and now they have to take care of me, too. Dahil ngayon ay nawalan na ako ng sense of smell and sense of taste. 

 

 

 

 

"Are you sure about this, Rene?" si Jennie habang kausap ko sa facetime para sabihin sa kaniya ang kung anong nararamdaman ko ngayon. 

 

 

 

 

"Yes, Jen. Impossible naman na hindi ko malasahan ang tteokbokki - kahit instant lang yan. It's my favorite, remember?" malungkot na ngumiti si Jennie. I know that she is also afraid for herself and her sister, too. 

 

 

 

"So what should we do? Do you want to be admitted to the hospital? I'll drive you." mabilis akong umiling sa sinabi ni Jennie. Siya naman ay biglang kumunot ang noo. 

 

 

 

"I don't think I should be hospitalized, Jen. Wala namang cure dito. Ano ang gagawin sa akin sa hospital, diba?"

 

 

 

"And what about the government worker you talked to, last time? hindi ka na ba tinawagan ulit?" umiling ako. "This useless government, as always! Kaya naman pala hindi kumo-konti ang cases dito sa atin. They are not catering the patients properly!" 

 

 

 

Natawa na lang ako sa sudden rage ni Jennie. Para gumaan din man lang ang atmosphere. Pilit ko din pinapakalma ang sarili para mag-mukhang okay kahit ang totoo'y nahihirapan na yata akong huminga. I got off that call with Jennie because I have an incoming call this time, from Ate Tiff. 
 

 

 

 

"Oh, great! So you called company?" iyon ang una kong sinabi matapos ma-connect ang call dahil hindi lang pala kami ni Ate ang magfe-facetime. She invited Tita Boa too! 
 

 

 

 

"I wouldn't know if not for your Ate, Irene." Tita sighed then looked at me worriedly. "Are you fine? You know I can always call our family doctor to have you checked." 

 

 

 

 

Nginitian ko na lang si Tita. "I'm fine po. Wala naman po akong ibang nararamdaman aside from the usual symptoms." 
 

 

 

 

"Kahit na. I heard from Tiffany that no one from the government has reached out to you, yet? So hindi ka pa nate-test?" 
 

 

 


"They said last time that we do not have enough test kits, Tita. And that I am not an urgent case so they won't test me." I bit my lower lip, ramdam ang pagka-dismaya ni Tita sa sinabi kong iyon. 
 

 

 

 

"What can you expect from an incompetent government, anyway? Hay nako, hija. Forget about the government. I will call Doctor Kim to check on you. Magpalagay ka na din ng vitamins through IV." ito na nga ba ang sinasabi ko, kaya ayokong ipaalam kay Tita ang nangyari. She will not stop contacting people until she's sure that I'm okay! 
 

 

 

 

"That girl is stubborn, Tita. Hindi 'yan papayag magpa-check." I just chuckled sa sinabi ni Ate. "See? She's laughing so I'm right!" 
 

 

 


"You sound like a bullied sister looking for a backup, Ate." she just rolled her eyes. "Tita, really, ayos lang po ako. Let's not bother other people. I will just finish my fourteen day quarantine and if I'm still not okay after that, then maybe I'll get myself checked." 
 

 

 

 

"Ten days, Irene." sabi ni Ate. "Your first ten days are crucial. If you still have fever, and you still haven't gotten your two senses back, then we'll send Doctor Kim there. Right, Tita?" 
 

 

 

 

 

"No. Five days." pagod akong tumingin kay Tita at kay ate na ngayon ay tumatawa naman. "Fine. Seven days." 
 

 

 

 

 

"Ten, Tita." hindi na umimik pa si Tita Boa at nakipag-staring battle na lang sa akin. Sa huli ay siya din ang sumuko. 
 

 

 

 

 

Natawa ako. "Alam mo, you are just like your mother, Irene. She would glare at me until I voluntarily give up. I never won against her, at ngayon pati ikaw!" reklamo ni Tita na pareho naming ikinatawa ni Ate. 

 

 

 


"I let you win, sometimes, Tita." dudugtungan pa sana ni Tita ang sinabi kong iyon pero nakita ko ang isang incoming facetime call kaya bigla akong napaayos sa pagkaka-higa ko. "Uhm.. Tita.. I think I have to end this call na po. I have something I need to take care of." 

 

 

 

 

"Nag-chat na siguro si Seulgi, Tita." then Ate Tiff chuckles. 

 

 

 

 

"Ohh! It's good that you're communicating again! Sige, sige, hija. Asikasuhin mo na si Seulgi." 
 

 

 

 


Natawa na lang si Ate at ako naman ay tahimik na nagpaalam bago i-end ang facetime call na iyon. Nabigla ako dahil tuloy pa din ang pag vibrate ng phone ko dahil sa isa pang facetime call na hindi ko pa sinasagot. 
 

 

 

 

 

Kahit medyo hirap at masakit ang katawan, pilit akong tumayo para tingnan ang sarili sa salamin sa dresser ko. I made sure that I don't look too pale even when I really feel weak on the inside. I even applied a light lipstick para hindi naman mukhang dry ang lips ko. Tapos ay bumalik na ako sa kama at sumandal sa headboard, hawak hawak ipad ko, handa nang sagutin ang tawag niya. 
 

 

 

 

 

"Finally, Irene! I was about to call 911 for you!" eksahersdang bungad ni Seulgi as soon as the call got connected. 
 

 

 

 

 

"I have to remind you, Seulgi, that 911 doesn't work in the Philippines." sagot ko at mahinang natawa. 
 

 

 

 

"Oh." 

 

 

 

I giggled. "And which address would you give? Alam mo ba kung saan ako nakatira?" I crossed my arms and raised a brow. 

 

 

 

 

"W-well.." Seulgi just sighed in defeat. "Are you okay? Bakit ang tagal mong sumagot?" 
 

 

 

 

"I'm fine. Bakit hindi ako magiging okay? And why do I have to answer your call immediately? Hindi ba pwedeng may ginagawa ako kaya hindi ko nasagot agad?" natawa siya at nagtaas din ng kilay sa akin. 
 

 

 

 

 

"And what if I'm calling because of work?" natawa ako. Tumatapang na si Kang Seulgi, ah! 
 

 

 

 

"You won't use facetime if you're calling for work. We often use skype when we're talking about work, right?" 
 

 

 

 

"Sabi ko nga." umismid si Seulgi. "I never really win against you." 
 

 

 

 

 

Natawa ako. "No one wins against me." 
 

 

 

 

 

"So okay ka nga?" tumango ako sa tanong niya ulit na iyon. 

 

 

 


"Anong balita ba ang narinig mo? About me?" 

 

 

 

 

"That you're---" 

 

 

 

 

"Positive?" mahina akong tumawa nang tumango si Seulgi. Ako na ang nag tuloy ng tanong para sa kaniya. "I'm not really sure because I wasn't tested. But I have all the symptoms." 
 

 

 

 

 

Seulgi sighed. "You should be hospitalized kung ganyan." 

 

 

 

 

"Oh my goodness. Is today nag Irene day??" 

 

 

 


"I'm not nagging, Hyun. I'm just concerned. The virus is not curable. I know you're aware that thousands die each day. So if you're sick, you should be hospitalized! You should have yourself checked and be treated properly!" 
 

 

 

 

Umismid ako dahil sa patuloy na litanya ni Seulgi. "Maybe if I'm in the States, too. The hospitals here have reached their full capacities. They won't accept patients unless it is a severe case." 
 

 

 

 

"Hindi dapat ganyan!" 

 

 

 

"Calm down, will you?" natatawa kong sabi dahil mukhang high blood na talaga si Seulgi. 
 

 

 

 

"How can I? When you're right there, alone and sick, and you're too stubborn to go to the hospital!" 

 

 

 


 

Nakaramdam ako ng kaunting kirot sa puso ko dahil sa sinabi niya and the way she's reacting towards this news. 
 

 

 

 

Dahil heto nanaman kami. Heto nanaman sa mga ganitong usapan, ganitong concern. 
 

 

 

 

"Bakit, Seulgi? Ano naman kung may covid ako? Ano naman sayo 'yon?" I took all the courage to ask her that question. Kung kanina ay nakatawa pa ako, ngayon ay seryoso na ako ulit. 
 

 

 

 

"Y-you're m-my.." tinitigan ko siya, halatang kabado at hindi alam ang susunod na sasabihin. "M-my bestfriend.." 

 

 

 

 

Natawa ako. Sabi ko na nga ba. "Bestfriends don't ghost each other for three years, right?" 
 

 

 

 


Napakagat sa labi si Seulgi at natahimik. Hindi ko din alam kung paano ko nasabi ang mga salitang iyon. 
 

 


 


Handa na ba ako? Gusto ko na ba talagang pag-usapan ito? 

 

 

 

 

"You know what, let's not talk about this if you're not ready." tipid na lang akong ngumiti dahil wala nang masabi si Seulgi. 
 

 

 

 

Tatlong taon.

 

 

 

 

Tatlong taon akong nagintay ng sagot. Pero hindi pa yata sapat sa kaniya ang panahon na iyon. Hindi pa yata siya handang pag-usapan. 
 

 

 

 

 

"I'll hang up now. I want to rest. Please send my regards to your girlfriend." 
 

 

 

 

 


Hindi ko na inintay ang sagot niya doon. Sinarhan ko na ang ipad ko at humiga ulit. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm too tired, too exhausted and hurt to even think about what happened. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Kung hindi pa siya handa, sige. Bibigyan ko pa siya ng panahon. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

                     ----------------------------------------------

 

 

have a great weekend! :) 

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Thank you!
ereni_r
thank you, a lot, for reading this! I will mark this story complete but will still publish three chapters centered to the three ships. thank you, again and have a great evening! :)
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