(My real identity is never revealed in this blog. If you happen to discover this page from my Facebook, Twitter or Yahoo Messenger account, it means that you are one of the few who owns my trust)
Working out-of-town is something I really look forward. This rarely happens to me because I work for a school. Much of our tasks are confined within the walls of our office.
I always envied my friends who have their own team building activities. They are fled to a place away from the city to enjoy the fun physical games with their colleagues. All I can see are traces of happiness in their pictures. In our case, the main off-from-work activity we have is a rather discreet spiritual retreat.
When this significant project was assigned by the President to my Boss, my dream of experiencing a team building activity happened. My Boss spearheaded the formation of committees and members for this major project. In order to establish favorable working relationships, my Boss organized this team building activity. It was held in one of my favorite places in the South. I was the happiest. I was looking forward on experiencing the beauty of the place and later blogging all those memorable experiences.
My simple dream vanished as it was replaced by an unfortunate event I will never forget.
One of the tasks we were required to accomplish was to build a human pyramid. We were around 10 in the group, comprised mostly of female members. Our group decided to form a three level human pyramid. The task was easier for the males because they are expected to serve as the pyramid’s base. They have to carry the burden of everyone who will join the pyramid. As for us girls, it was chaotic. No one of course wanted to stay on the top of the pyramid. Whether we like it or not, we did the task and I agreed to be in the second layer of the pyramid. Everything went fine until our last member stepped on my back and balanced her way.
I believe my colleague was able to stood and balance for a while. However, seconds after trying to prolong the pyramid, I was the first member who lost balance. I ended up falling on the ground. In effect, my colleague went rattled and also fell on the ground. I ended up hurting my back but I never had the heart to complain. Why? My colleague unfortunately suffered the worst consequence.
My colleague fell with the wrong footing and position. She ended up with a foot sprain that changed her life forever. Everyone thought it was a typical sprain that will eventually heal weeks after. Unfortunately, the sprain turned to a serious injury. I will not anymore detail her medical condition, but she was forced to make a lot of adjustments in her life after the accident.
She have to walk with crutches because her foot was compressed and bandaged. She almost consumed all of her vacation leave credits to accommodate her check ups and treatment. Worst is that I learned that she needed to undergo a series of therapies.
Seeing her everyday in that condition made me felt more and more guilty. I felt that everything was my fault.
When we returned to Manila, I approached her and said I was so sorry. She smiled and told me that it wasn’t my fault. It was an accident. No one wanted it.
I should felt relieved after hearing her words. But deep inside, I was still feeling guilty. I felt that everything was my fault.
No matter what I do, I can’t convince myself that I’m not liable over the incident.
When I confided my feelings to one of my colleagues, I was expecting some comfort from her side. Unfortunately, I received the opposite. I felt more blame on me. As I was just starting the conversation she told me “hindi ka naman niya sinisisi” (she is not blaming you for the accident) Wow, I badly needed that. I wasn’t even uttering any words yet. Your mouth obviously speaks what your mind is trying to hide. You just insinuated and confirmed that you are one of those people who thinks that I’m the one to blame for everything.
The next days at work were so difficult especially when my unfortunate colleague seemed to be the talk of the town. Come with her injury is the story of the person who caused her agony.
No one confronted me of the incident. However, I failed to realize that silence doesn’t automatically meant absence. Little do I know, I was perceived by the many as the antagonist of the real life story. It was my fault. I was the one to be blamed. I was able to confirm this when I attended an institutional gathering.
While everyone in the group was asking of my injured colleague’s recovery, someone blurted “ikaw kasi eh” “ikaw may kasalanan” It was confirmed. My colleague’s unfortunate suffering was seen by everyone as my fault. Come to think of it, the colleague who rendered the rude comment was not part of the team building activity. He wasn’t there when it happened. How was he able to make such comment? Someone who was part of the team building activity related to him the accident and surely, I was introduced as the antagonist.
My injured colleague happened to be one of my Facebook contacts. Though she rarely does it, she provides everyone updates of her injury. I never told anyone that seeing updates of her condition made me feel worst. There was a time when I don’t anymore want to logged in my account because that would mean feeding my restless self more guilt. Though of course I don’t blame my injured colleague for providing updates. It was her right and I guess her friends are expecting it as well.
If only I can tell everyone that I never wanted everything to happen. If only I can instill to the minds of every gossiper and rude commenter of the torture of guilt I have to endure. If only my friends realized that I also needed them. If only everyone knew that I was equally sad and frustrated….
As of date, I would like to believe that my injured colleague is nearing to her full recovery. I was gradually coping with the emotional burden of guilt as I see her getting back to shape. I thought we can finally close the story. The thing is, everything just exists in my thoughts… When the official newsletter of the school was released, I saw an article that documented our team building activity turned personal nightmare. Much to my surprise, the article showcased the picture of our group’s failed human pyramid. Perfect ruin! While I was trying to convince myself that everything will soon be forgotten, an immortal documentation will always be there to remind everyone of the accident that is loudly blamed on me in silence.
I used to dream of experiencing our own happy and memorable team building activity. Ask me now? I’d rather succumb to a month long and boring spiritual retreat.