i don’t know how strong i am, until being strong is the only choice i have.

strong
PART 1
i applied for this call center way back in november 2007. it wasn’t my first time doing collection calls so i gave it a chance. the pay isn’t bad afterall.
there were 35 applicants in all (including me). i arrived at 6 in the morning (my scheduled exam is at 7am). i thought they were strict with the dress code so i wore my killer heels (4.5″ stilleto) with my black cropped pants and green ruffled blouse just to be safe. it was more of a casual business attire for me. when i arrived at the recruitment hub, to my surprise, others were wearing denim shorts, sneakers.. tee-shirts, and the likes. i felt like i overdressed for the interview.
There was this gIrl, Kat, who’s seated beside me who became my first friend there. She said she’s a licensed nurse, but haven’t had any experience yet aside from her OJT. She was always shy so i was the one who always ask questions from other applicants who already have call center experience/s. out of the 36 aplicants, from the initial screening, 25 were left, then 13, then 8, then just me, Kat, and this flirty guy whom i can’t recall his name.
we were scheduled for the final interview at 7 that evening. yes, their claim at ‘one-day hiring process’ is true. or maybe just for us. the interviewer was late, so Kat had her chance at 8pm, then this guy’s turn was at 8.30 pm. then mine started at exactly 9:05 in the evening. so we’ve had this q&a about my previous work experience and all, about my expectations, the usual stuff. then a few minutes of role-playing (or mock call) wherein he commented “it really shows you’ve handled charged-off accounts”. we finished the interview at around quarter before 11. when i went out of the interview room, after the interviewer left, Kat and this guy were teasing me, saying they thought they wouldn’t find my feet flat on the floor. really?!
ok
it was fun. the training was fun. after aBay (training) for almost 2 months, we’ve had this mini-awarding ceremony, and i was given a certificate written with MISS HEARTHROB , i was one of the youngest, so they always call me bunso, princess. it may be rude, and i may sound as if i’m feeling maganda but there were a few guys who’d asked me out. too bad i’m still not over my ex then so i didn’t gave them a chance. even security guards/officers, grabe!
almost a month after i was hired, we’ve had our company christmas party. it was held in a comedybar. i was with my friends. had a few drinks, but i’m not yet drunk. i can still walk in a straight line. my limit everytime is at 6 bottles and i just had 4 then so i know i’m still ok. my friend/team mate asked me to join her upstairs to get something to eat. then we bumped into one of the supervisors. he asked me where are we going and i just said we’re going to eat. when i looked around, my friend was nowhere in sight. so the supervisor asked me to join their table upstairs instead and wait for my friend there. a few minutes more, and a few more bottle of beers, next thing i now, he was kissing me. after that he never left my side. he introduces me to all the people he know.. supervisors, his previous agents, the OMs, even the country manager.. when it was time to go home, i left him and went to my friends. one of them said “kanina ka pa namin hinahanap ah.. bakit ba hindi ka namin makita?” then someone answered, “alam ko kung nasan sya kanina. di ko na lang sinabi s inyo kasi baka meron tyo maistorbo” then i saw him again, seems like waiting for me outside the bar. when my guy friend and i hailed a cab, i saw him looked so angry then mouthed a curse.
come weekend, i wasn’t expecting any text message from anyone aside from my ex boyfriend. i was on my way from batangas going to manila when i received a message from an unknown number.

PIPILIIN MO LALANDIIN MO, HINDI MO ALAM KUNG SINO KINAKALABAN MO!!!

then right after i read the message, my phone rang. it was that supervisor. ok, let’s give him a name. let’s call him Zoren (his agents call him this, they said he looks like this actor who has the same name, but i don’t think so). at first i din’t know it was him. i didn’t gave him my number anyway. so when i heard his voice i was startled. he’d asked me what happenned after i left. he’s asking me if we could meet again outside office hours. so just to set things straight, i said yes. i agreed to meet him the next day before shift (Monday, December 10, 2007).
before christmas, i, together with two of my wave-mates,were chosen by our clients as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). it was easy at first. kapal ng mukha ko eh!
those who were more tenured than i am used to play tricks on me, making customers irate then passes the phone to me since i take escalated calls. but still, i was able to surpass all those. without the help of anyone, even Zoren.
Come Christmas eve, we were in the office. it was my first time to work during the holidays. and since i knew he has a daughter, i didn’t expect him to be there in the office. talk about perks of being a supervisor. hmp! what i din’t expect was, not even a text message or a fucking missed call came! and ever the optimistic, and sadistic girlfriend that I am, i keep telling my self, maybe he was just caught up doing something. i’m not that selfish so i think maybe he was just making up for the lost time with his daughter.
It was Christmas day itself, after our shift when i was riding a bus on the way home to the province. i was awaken by my phone ringing from an unregistered number. i thought it was just someone who wanted to greet me Merry Christmas. when i clicked the answer button, it was an older woman’s voice on the other line.

“stay away from my son or else you might regret it for the rest of your life. i know who you are. i know where your family is. kung ayaw mo ng gulo, gawin mo sinasabi ko!”

I saw him again December 28. Yes i was mad. it was the first time i felt like i was neglected. first time that i felt alone. emo! well, i have my family. but it’s different. and i thought maybe it’s really like this.. since he has a daughter. it felt like it was an illicit affair. So there he was, coming close to my station, mouthing something like “i miss you” or maybe it was just my imagination. when he was beside me, he said “meet me at starbucks downstairs after shift. then he left.
so shift came to an end. i saw him waiting for me in the elevator banks. we were going out when our Project Manager together with one of the supervisors passed by and saw us. Project Manager smiled. but the other supervisor just raised her eyebrows while looking at me from head to foot. duh?! what a bitch!
we sat at the farthest table to the door. avoiding people? maybe. he asked how was my chritmas. i said “hell.” his reaction was? he slapped my mouth. maybe it was just a tap. but since i’m not used to that, i was startled. it was the first time someone did that to me. “you’re not supposed to curse in front of me!bastos!”
surprised was an understatement. out of frustration, i told him “so who the hell were those women calling me then asking me to stop seeing you?” i think he was shocked. he wasn’t able to answer right away. after a few minutes of silence, not sure if he was thinking or what, “can i check your phone?” and without even waiting for my answer, he took it from my hand. i think he checked/dialed the numbers on his phone. then “it was my mom.. and charisse.” “who the hell is charisse?!” “my daughter’s mom” “ah.. so you still see each other?” “she’s always there at home in BF” (BF, an exclusive subdivision). “sorry? you mean.. you still live together?!” “no. but my parents ask her to stay there. but she has her own house. his uncle is a general, my dad is a general, so they’d always wanted us to end up together. i proposed to her just last october, she said NO. imagine my humiliation! so i don’t know why bother you now!” and yes, EOP po talaga kami.
he then asked me if i could go with him to his condo unit to get his things before i go home. when we arrived, i asked if i could use the comfort room. i’ve noticed that one bedroom door was open. so i thought i was supposed to go there. i’ve noticed pictures scatterred on the bed. when i passed those, i was shocked when i saw pictures of our house, of my parents, and of my siblings. all were stolen shots, of course. right then, i knew this is totally something. who, in the right mind, would ever take these pictures? i haven’t done anything yet to him. or to his family.
i wasn’t able to go through the comfort room then. i’m scared of the things i might see if i go further in that room. when i came out, i saw him standing by the door just waiting for me. without saying a word, we went out.
sometime in january, i received a call from clarisse. “ang kapal tlga ng mukha mo no? how many times do i have to tell you to leave him alone? you’re ruining our daughter’s life! if it’s money that you want, tell me how much do you need and i’ll send you a check!” with that, i hung up. when i ask Zoren about it, he said “told them you don’t want anything from me and you’re not after the money. i told them we broke up. but i don’t think they believed me. my daughter used to use her mom’s lastname, but they changed it to mine. just so they can transfer my assets to her name and that you won’t get any, in case. my business, my car, my condo, all of those were taken away from me. can’t you see all the things that i’ve sacrifice for you?” and while saying that, he was holding my arms so tight, it bruised the next day. whenmy mom asked me how’d i get it, i said i bumped into something.
i was so scared, and confused that i don’t know what to do. i don’t know how to react. and i don’t know what to feel then. i hoped our relationship would be my last. i hoped everything will turn out well. just like in the movies.. in the soap operas.. in the novels.. kababasa ko kasi ng pocketbooks eh! pang MMK kaya story ko!! i keep on making stories, good stories to my mom whenever she asked me about him. only to realize later that i shouldn’t have done it in the first place.
i didn’t know where it came from, but he keeps on asking me if i already have my period. i thought it was just to make sure i’m not pregnant, but i was wrong! i know it was my fault. why i stayed. i tried to break up with him many times after the constant calls & text messages from his mom and his ex. at first he’ll talk me out if it, saying everything will be ok. then after the pictures.. i thought it was my last straw. i wouldn’t want anything bad happen to my family just because of my selfishness. and i’m not happy anymore. from the start all he gave me is confusion, frustration,and everything in between. i don’t want to lie to my mom whenever i go home every day then she’ll see the bruises on my arms. she even asked me to visit the doctor as i might be sick. yes, sick. sick from him and all his hang ups and his bullshits!
it felt like everything was starting to fall. i’m hurting. physically, mentally, figuratively. there was this time i approached one of my so-called friends in the office, i wasn’t actually going to spill my drama to her. but i was astounded when she said “can you just stay away from us? we don’t want to be caught in the middle of your issues” then she left. wow! that’s a friend. a Fucking friend!
and i asked Zoren to let me go. but he did what i didn’t expect him to do. he pointed a gun at me, while gripping my neck, shouting, “you wouldn’t dare! or else i’ll kill you, or any one from your family!” i was so scared. i never had imagined he’d do that to me. and the last time he asked if i had my period, he said “are you pregnant? i want you pregnant with my kid. or else you know what will happen. you wouldn’t want to go onthe pill.. or else..”
gun
…to be continued
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