Invisible Lilies —

By Jem F. Sespeñe

Invisible Lilies
‘The invisible wounds often hurt the most’
-Archana Sharma-

Are you okay?
One question with two answers. Is it a yes, or a no? We often say yes when we are asked if we are alright but behind that answer, we are hoping that someone will notice our invisible wounds. It was like pleading with someone to look into our eyes and hoping that they would not believe our lying smile.
“Ms. De Leon, can you tell us the inspiration behind your latest published book entitled Invisible Lilies?”, one of the hosts of the book signing event asked while pointing at me.
Everyone shifted their gaze onto me expecting an answer. With hesitant eyes I looked for him in the crowd. He then nodded at me as if he was cheering me up and that made me smile. I am glad that he was always there supporting me even though it is hard to be with me.
‘I am blessed to have you, my real life Drielle.’ I thought to myself.
I cleared my throat and grabbed the microphone in front of me.
“Lilies represent grief. In our lives we experience different kinds of wounds that we are grieving for. There are new wounds, some wounds that are small but painful, there are also wounds that are slowly healing but do you know what hurts the most?” I stopped and looked at the crowd for a few seconds and they were all waiting for my next words. I took a deep breath and continued, “The wounds that cannot be seen by the naked eye.” And I heard them sigh.
“Invisible wounds cannot be treated by any medication. You have to endure it all by yourself because only you can feel and see the pain. You want to be healed but as time passes by, the wound keeps on getting deeper and deeper until you can no longer endure it. I have been a woman carrying an invisible lily with me for years and just waiting for my time to wither. But someone showed me that lilies are beautiful and our pain will always be seen by the right person. The reason why I wrote this story is to narrate an unconditional love that I received while I am carrying my invisible lilies.” I said while looking straight into his eyes. And then I mouthed ‘thank you’ and started to cry out of joy.
After three hours, the book signing was done. I am now sitting on my chair while reminiscing the scenes that I have written in this book.

It started with a young beautiful lady named Vienna. She was living in Quezon City with her mom, Dr. Lavigne, who was a Psychologist. She was a 12th grade STEM student who was about to graduate in a few weeks.
“What are your plans for college, Vie?” her mom asked while they were having their breakfast.
Vienna no longer has a dad because he died when she was just 8-year-old. They were about to go on a vacation together but their car was hit by a trailer truck and sadly, her dad did not manage to survive. Her dad is an engineer that is why she wanted to pursue engineering. Being a daddy’s girl, she really wants to make her father proud.
“I am pursuing Dad’s passion, Mom. You know how much I love him and I will do everything to make him proud.” She said and smiled before taking a bite of her sandwich.
Her mom was not in favour of her pursuing engineering because deep inside, she wants her to pursue a career connected to medicine just like her but before she could talk, Vienna’s school service arrived to pick her up.
“Don’t forget your face mask and alcohol.” Her mom reminded her as she grabbed her school bag.
“It’s in my bag already. I’ll get going Mom.” She assured and gave her mom a peck on her cheek before running outside their house.

The day went well for Vienna and everyone is excited for their upcoming graduation. They are talking about the clothes that they have prepared for the graduation ceremony when their class adviser came. Her face was serious so every person in the room went silent.

“Class, I would like to relay to you a very important announcement. Due to COVID-19 Virus, classes will be suspended for 2 weeks. It means we will not see each other for a while. Make sure to finish the task that I gave you and submit it today. You are now dismissed.” Ms. Adriece said and then she walked out of the classroom.

“Vie, I will eat outside before going home. Would you like to join me?” Drielle asked but Vienna was hesitant to answer.
“I actually have a promise to Klean, we’re going to eat somewhere. I’m sorry.” She replied without looking at him.
“Hey! Don’t be sorry. It’s fine. He is your boyfriend after all.” He assured her with a pat on her head which made her smile.
After a few minutes, Klean arrived and he gave her a hug. He also insisted on carrying her bag until they reached their favourite place to eat.
“We will not be able to see each other for a while.” Vienna said while pouting.
“I can visit you in your house any time so you do not need to worry, Vie.” Klean replied. “Stop pouting. You’re too cute. I am now thinking of having you kidnapped for two weeks.” He chuckled as he continued his words and then they laughed in unison.
“Klean, thank you so much for being there for me all the time. Thank you for loving me.” She sincerely uttered but Klean remained silent and looked away.
“Why? Is there a problem? Klean? Are you listening?” she worriedly asked her boyfriend and waved her hand in front of his face that made him come back into his senses.
“Uh… Nothing. I just remembered that I left my Physics notebook in my locker but that’s not important. Where were we?” he said and then drank the water in front of him.
Vienna noticed that something was wrong with her boyfriend’s action but she did not make it a big deal and decided to divert the topic.
“Never mind. Let’s order our food.” She said still wondering but she managed to show him a smile.
They continued talking about how they spent their day and their plans during the 2 weeks suspension of classes.
Both of them agreed to meet each other on the upcoming Saturday to celebrate their 2nd year anniversary.

When Saturday came, Vienna was really excited. She woke up early to prepare everything that she needed and started looking for the perfect dress to wear. After almost an hour of raiding her closet, she found a red above the knee cocktail dress and decided to pair it with a white sneaker.
She wrapped her gift for Klean and put it on a red paper bag. Before leaving her room, she took one last glance of herself in the mirror and smiled.
“You look gorgeous today.” She said to herself while imagining what her boyfriend had prepared for her that day.
It was 3 PM when she arrived at their meeting place. With a big smile on her face, she went inside the café. She waited for two hours but Klean did not show up. She was very worried and thought that something happened to her boyfriend. She waited for another 2 hours and still, no sign of her boyfriend has been seen. She tried contacting him but his phone was unattended.
Her heart beat started racing thinking about what had happened to Klean. She immediately went out of the café and looked for a taxi. After 30 minutes, she arrived in front of Klean’s house. She was knocking for about 3 minutes before the door opened and there, she saw Julienne, her classmate.
“Babe, who is there?” It was a very familiar voice for Vie. Of course, it was familiar because it’s Klean’s voice. Who would not recognize her boyfriend’s voice right?
Klean was shocked when he saw Vienna standing in front of his door. He does not know what to say or what to do. He was caught cheating for heaven’s sake.
With tears flowing down her cheeks, Vienna took a step back and ran away from Klean’s house. She was running out of breath but running away from that heartbreaking scene is the only thing running on her mind. She wants to escape reality and wishes that what she saw was just a nightmare. Her legs are getting weak and she can no longer endure the pain.
“I want to go home. This isn’t real.” She said and then laughed sarcastically. “This is a dream, right? Wait, where were the cameras? Were they pranking me?” She asked out of nowhere and looked around her trying hard to fight her ranging emotions from bursting out. She laughed again while crying like a crazy woman in the middle of the road. Her makeup is fading but no one will care about being beautiful if you caught your boyfriend cheating on you on the day of your 2nd anniversary.
Vienna, having nowhere to go, went to the nearest convenience store and bought some beer. She sat on the chair in front of the store and started drinking while her tears were flowing endlessly.
She drank one can of beer, and then two, and then until she passed out.

On the other hand, Drielle felt hungry in the middle of the night and was craving for some instant ramen. He wore his hoodie and grabbed his wallet and walked to go to the nearest store near their house.
When he arrived at the store, he saw a suspicious man approaching a girl sleeping at the corner. He was about to ignore the scene but suddenly, the man started touching the legs of the girl and it went higher and higher. Drielle was alarmed. Without a second thought, he approached them, grabbed the collar of the man, and punched him hard on his face before throwing him into the floor. The cashier of the convenience store saw this and hurriedly approached them.
The man cursed under his breath furiously.
“Who are you?!” he asked with gritted teeth and tried to stand up while wiping the blood on the side of his lips caused by Drielle’s punch.

“I am her boyfriend. Stay away from here or I’ll call the police and file a sexual assault case against you.” He angrily shouted back and cursed the man. With fear, the man ran away from the scene and Drielle was relieved. He tried to wake up the girl and to his surprise, it was Vienna, his best friend. He started to wonder what happened to her because looking at her, she was wasted.
“Are you really her boyfriend, Sir?” the cashier asked.
“No, but I’m her friend. Give me something to sober her up.” He commanded and the cashier obeyed him immediately.
“Vie, wake up.” He said while patting her shoulder, gentle enough to wake her up. She slowly opened her swollen eyes.
“Drielle.” She called as she saw his worried face in front of her.
“What happened to you?” he worriedly asked.
“Drielle… Klean…” she uttered and started crying again.
“What did he do to you? Tell me, Vie. What happened? Why are you here drinking alone? For Pete’s sake if I were not here earlier, you must have gotten yourself sexually assaulted.” He said, and frustration is evident in his voice.
“He cheated on me, Drielle. Klean cheated on me.” She finally said and tried to wipe her flowing tears with her hands.
Drielle was left speechless. He said every single curse he knew.
‘Who is he to hurt the girl I like and treat her this way?’ He thought and his hands formed a fist while trembling in anger. He wants to punch Klean right now but he could not. So, he forgets about his anger for a while and hugged Vienna to comfort her.
“Here, eat this.” The cashier came and handed Vie a noodle to lessen the effect of alcohol in her system.
After eating, Drielle gave the cashier their payment. He took off his jacket and made Vienna wear it. Instead of taking her home, he just made her stay in their house. It’s almost 12 midnight and he knows that her mom will be mad if she comes home late and drunk.
He called Dr. Lavigne to tell her that Vienna is in their house. He created an alibi that she went there for a movie marathon with their friends. But she fell asleep and Drielle does not want to wake her up. Thankfully, Dr. Lavigne believed him and told him to accompany Vienna home in the morning.
On the morning after that day, they went to Vienna’s house early to have their breakfast. During the meal, Vienna was silent and Drielle was worried about her. She is not in a good shape and she seems to be spacing out from her mom which she does not normally do.
Suddenly, Dr. Lavigne asked Drielle about his plans for college.
“I will be taking a BS Nursing tita for my pre-med course. And then, I’m thinking about being a cardiologist after that.” He answered with a shy smile.
“That was great. I hope this girl right here will pursue medicine too and not engineering.” She said with disappointment in her voice and looked at Vienna.
Vie felt offended. She does not get the point of her mom.
“Do you really have to say that in front of Drielle mom? I’ve told you several times already that I will pursue engineering, why can’t you just accept that?” She said with irritation.
“Viennalyn, what is happening to you?! I am still your mom and you have no rights to disrespect me!” Dr. Lavigne shouted.
Drielle does not know how to react or what to say. He needs to do something but his brain is not functioning.
‘Think Drielle. Think.’ He frustratedly told himself.
“If you do not want to be disrespected then, respect my opinion.” She replied to her mom and stood up heading straight upstairs to her room.

Dr, Lavigne and Drielle were left speechless on the dining table.
“What happened to her? She is not like this before, Drielle.” Dr. Lavigne asked and a tear escaped from her eyes.
“I think we should give her some space tita. Maybe she is just going through something right now or she wants to be an engineer so badly for tito? I think she just needs some rest, let’s wait until then tita.” Drielle said to lessen the tension inside the dining area.
They just finished their food and then Drielle decided to go home.
A week has already passed and Dr. Lavigne became busy volunteering for COVID-19 patients. She can not go home for Vie’s safety so they are just contacting each other through text messages whenever Dr. Lavigne has a free time.
Little did she know, her daughter is suffering alone in their house. She was feeling unloved, she was questioning her worth. Is she really not worth fighting for? Why is the world so harsh towards her? All these years, she has been a good daughter. She maintains her high grades, makes her mom proud all the time but, why does everything seem to be worthless? All her achievements do not count unless she pursues what her mother wants for her. The only person who she thinks can understand her, cheated on her.
No one understands a person whom everyone thinks is perfect. In a life where compliments seem like a rock that you need to carry all the time.
Vienna suddenly laughed while her tears were flowing. She remembered the day when she did not want to join a Science competition but everyone told her this sentence.
“You can do it. You’re Vienna.”
It did not motivate her. What they said pressured her. She hates being Vienna. She hates being the person that everyone thinks is perfect. She wants to be herself but she is surrounded by expectations. Once she fails, criticisms follow. When will she be free from all the chains that have been controlling her? She’s tired but who will notice? She is Vienna, a person who never gets tired, an achiever, a perfect daughter, a talented person, the one who stands out the most, a beautiful lady, a jolly and friendly girl, and a person who never commits mistakes. Those are the chains that have been put on her, but deep inside she knows, she’s not the person that everyone expects her to be.
“I am a robot. I am a human. I have feelings. I get hurt. I make mistakes. I am not perfect. I can not do everything that you want me to do. Please let me be me.” She shouted and cried hugging her pillows.
Vienna tried everything to reduce the emotional pain that she is experiencing but nothing seems to work. Then she saw a knife.
That knife became her addiction. Whenever she is experiencing depression, she will hurt herself with that knife to lessen the pain that is slowly killing her. It was fun. It was like converting all emotional pain into physical pain.
There was a night when she could no longer handle the pain. With a smile on her face, with a thought that if she ends her life, she will finally be free. With a chair under a round rope, the poor girl jumped into the end of her life.
After a few days, she woke up in a hospital. Her mom was crying standing next to Drielle.
“You’re awake.” “Nurse. Nurse. The patient is awake.” Drielle and Dr. Lavigne were so happy to see her open her eyes.
They thought they would lose her.
That night, when Vie tried to end her life. Drielle went to check on her. He managed to save her. He rushed her into the hospital and contacted Dr. Lavigne immediately.
Vienna was given another chance to leave. She undergoes different therapies to help her recover. With the help of Drielle and her mom, she is finally free from depression and self-harm. Her mom is no longer pressuring her to pursue medicine, she finally made up her mind that no matter what happens, she will support Vienna in the path where she wants to walk. Klean apologised for what he had done to Vienna and agreed that she no longer wanted to see him as a form of respect to her decision.
Now, Vienna is a licensed engineer, enjoying the second life that God has given her. She was grateful that God sent Drielle that night into their house. For her, it was a miracle that she will always remember.

I am a real-life Vienna. I was once pressured by society, my family, friends and was broken by relationships. I tried different paths but every time I walk, all things seem to be against me. I believe in second chances. I would not be able to write this book if God did not give me a chance to live my life. I will be forever grateful for what He has done for me. I am a living testimony of a sheep that was lost but now found and happily living with my shepherd.
It is not too late to change. It is not bad to make mistakes but it is bad to repeat the same mistake. Let us let go of all our invisible lilies and live life the way God wants us to be.
I am Yna De Leon, the author of invisible lilies, finally closing this book to open another chapter of my story.

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