On Annie’s first year in college, she met two very special friends, Riza and Maya. While Riza is cheerful and spontaneous, Maya is quiet and reserved. And though both of them obviously know each other personally as they come from the same town, they don’t stick together as childhood friends should be.
At the end of the school year, Annie learned that her parents were going abroad. As soon as Riza and Maya found out, they both extended an invitation for Annie to spend the summer with them. Since Annie feels more comfortable with Riza, she accepted her invitation with a promise to Maya that she will join her next year.
Riza’s family welcomed Annie warmly. She felt as if she were a member of the family. Riza’s house was cozy with an old but comfortable sofa at the living room where family members cuddle together while watching television and munching microwaved popcorn. The entertainment center was cluttered with DVD of the most famous movies of all times. A guitar was leaning against the wall ready to be picked up and played if anyone feels like it. Bingo cards were stacked in one corner of the house beside the decks of playing cards. Books were everywhere from the living room to the dining room.
Annie shared room with Riza and the creaky bed with a sagging old mattress was witness to the hopes and dreams of two giggling girls that particular summer vacation. The day before Annie was supposed to leave, Riza invited her to drop by Maya ’s house which was only a few blocks away.
As soon as Annie entered the whitewashed gate, she felt the contrast between Riza’s house and Maya’s. Inside the house, Maya’s mother greeted them with a reserved smile. They were led to an exceptionally clean living room. The table was polished, the sofa was soft and the throw pillows were fluffy. Not a single speck of dust can be seen. There was a doormat by the front door and a shoe rack, filled with house-slippers of various sizes, beside it.
They were served neatly sliced chocolate cake and glasses of orange juice standing on coasters. Annie looked around and suddenly felt that she made a mistake in turning down Maya’s invitation.
The next summer vacation, Maya and Annie took the bus on the first day after school. Maya’s parents were sincerely happy to see them but they were too quiet that Annie couldn’t be sure. They were in silence and as soon as they were done, Maya’s mother cleaned out the table and Annie was led to the room she was supposed to occupy for the entire vacation.
The room was immaculately clean. On the floor was a pair of house-slippers for her to use. That night, despite the delicious food Maya’s mother cooked and Maya’s effort to make her feel at home, Annie felt homesick. Something she didn’t feel the whole time she was at Riza’s house. The vacation went by and for Annie, it felt such a very long time. The day before she left, she asked Maya to go to Riza’s house.
As soon as Riza’s family saw Annie, they stopped what they were doing to give her warm hugs and asked her how she was. They showed her the new addition to their family, a puppy Riza’s youngest brother picked up from the street. Then, Riza’s mother showed her a newly crocheted afghan with a promise that Annie will be the first to use it when she spend another vacation with them. Annie felt so overwhelmed that she nearly cried when she finally said goodbye.
As soon as the classes resumed, Annie asked Riza if she could spend the summer vacation with her. With an easy smile, Riza simply answered.. ‘but of course..’
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)