Chapter 2

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

“Sairyl, are you okay?” Nanghina ang mga tuhod ko nang makita ko si Cedric at hindi ko na napigilan mapaupo bigla sa sahig. “Hey, Sairyl?”

Lumuhod agad si Brian para subukan akong alalayan tumayo pero bago pa man niya ako maitayo nang tuluyan, agad tumakbo palapit sa akin si Cedric na may bahid ng pag-aalala sa mukha. “Okay ka lang ba, Sai?”

Ayan na naman siya, akala mo may paki siya sa akin kahit siya naman ang nang-iwan.

“Magkakilala ba kayo?” Nagtatakang tanong ni Brian habang pabalik-balik ang tingin sa akin at kay Cedric. 

Umiling agad ako at tumayo na. “Hindi ko siya kilala. Tara na, Kyla. Gusto ko ng umuwi.” Tumalikod na ako sa kanila at naglakad na palayo ngunit nakakailang hakbang pa lang ako ay biglang naramdaman ko na naman ang panglalambot ng aking mga tuhod at bigla akong na-out of balance. Naramdaman ko agad ang dalawang magkaibang kamay na umalalay sa magkabilang siko. Si Cedric sa aking kanan at si Brian naman sa kaliwa. Napatingin ako sa mata ni Cedric at marahas kong tinanggal ang kamay niya.

“Can you walk? Do you want to sit first and rest?” Tanong sa akin ni Brian ng lumingon ako sa kanya. 

“Okay lang ako, nanghina lang siguro ako dahil nag-skip ako ng lunch kanina.” Sinubukan kong ngumiti. 

“Kyla,” lumingon siya rito, “Saan kayo pupunta? Samahan ko na kayo, I’ll give you guys a ride.”

“Sa bahay na lang siguro ni Sai, Kuya Bri. I’ll give you the direction kapag nasa car mo na tayo.”

Nang makarating na kami sa sasakyan ni Brian, pinaupo niya ako sa back seat at sinabihan na maghintay. Bigla siya tumakbo pabalik ng villa at naiwan na lang kami doon ni Kyla. 

“Okay ka lang ba, Sai? Kilala mo ba si kuya Cedric? Mukhang nag-iba ang demeanor mo nang makita mo siya.”

Right. Kyla doesn’t know about Cedric. I met Kyla just right after we broke up. She knows about the story but she has no idea who he was. 

“Kyla, siya ‘yong ex-boyfriend na kinuwento ko sa ‘yo dati.”

“Oh…” Napakamot ng ulo si Kyla at parang hindi alam ang susunod na sasabihin. “I’m so sorry Sai, I really didn’t know! If I knew sana hindi na kita dinala rito!” 

I shook my head and reassured her. “It’s fine. It’s not your fault. Don’t worry about it.”

“Hey sorry I made you guys wait.” Bumalik si Brian na may dalang bote ng tubig at tinapay. “Here Sai, drink and eat this so you’ll have energy.”

“Hindi ka na dapat nag-abala pero thanks.”

“Walang anuman!” Ngumiti siya at napakamot ng batok habang nakaiwas ang tingin sa akin. “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but do you know Cedric?”

“Hindi.” Napatingin naman ako sa baba at nagsinungaling. 

Parang hindi siya nakumbinse. “I’m not so sure about your answer. Nag-iba ang reaction mo nang bigla mo siyang makita. Napansin ko rin ang biglaang pagtanggal mo ng kamay niya nang subukan ka niyang alalayan. Naramdaman ko ‘yong bigat ng tensyon sa pagitan ninyong dalawa kanina.”

“Sorry, but that’s none of your business,” tanging nasabi ko na lang.

“Probably. I’m sorry if I asked, curious lang talaga ako. Pero I bet na ex-boyfriend mo siya at hindi kayo nagkaroon ng magandang break-up.”

“Kuya Brian!” Nanglaki ang mga mata ni Kyla sa kaprankahan ng kanyang pinsan. Kahit ako ay nagulat sa kanyang sinabi.

“What made you say that?”

Napangiwi siya, “I had the same reaction when I saw my ex-girlfriend for the first time again after a year. Hindi rin kami nagkaroon ng maayos na paghihiwalay, she cheated on me. Nahulaan ko lang ang tungkol sa inyo ni Cedric base sa reaction ninyong dalawa kanina and I guess I am right.”

“Hey kuya Brian, pwede ba hayaan mo na lang muna si Sai?” 

“Okay lang, Kyla.” Saglit na ibinaling ko ang tingin ko sa kanya at ibinalik ulit ang tingin sa boteng hawak. I could feel the heat in my eyes as I tried to hold back the tears from falling, “Tama naman siya. It’s fine, ‘yon naman ang totoo.”

“I’m really sorry about that, Sai.” I heard sincerity in his voice.

“Bakit ka nagso-sorry? Wala ka naman ginawang mali. Bad timing lang talaga ang unang pagkikita natin.” Sinubukan kong uminom ng tubig pero habang umiinom ay hindi ko napigilan tumulo ang mga luha ko. Napahagulhol na lang ako sa harapan nina Kyla at Brian. Nakakahiya.

“Sai…” Maingat na binanggit ni Kyla ang pangalan ko habang pinatong niya ang kanyang kamay sa balikat ko upang i-comfort ako. 

“I’m so sorry… I’m sorry for crying in front of you guys like a weirdo.” I said that in between tears and hiccups. It was hard for me to speak and breathe at the same time.

“Don’t apologize. It’s normal to cry when you feel hurt. It will be more painful to just hold everything in. Just go and cry as much as you want while I drive you home. And if you want, you can cry more when you get home. Iiyak mo lang lahat ng gusto mong iiyak hanggang hindi na siya sobrang sakit. That’s what I did when I was trying to move on with my ex.”

He patted my head and went to the driver’s seat to start driving. It was quiet during the ride, only my sniffing could be heard while I continued to cry. 

Nang makarating na kami sa bahay ko ay nakapag desisyon si Kyla na samahan muna ako. Papasok na kami ng gate nang bigla akong tawagin ni Brian.

“Hey Sai, nasabi sa akin ni Kyla na you needed a date tomorrow night. I’m very willing to be your date. I’ll make sure you enjoy it. Let’s forget our first meeting today and refresh it tomorrow with a better day.”

Napatango na lang ako at napangiti sa kanya. Kumaway na siya sa akin bago niya inakyat muli ang bintana ng kanyang kotse at nag-drive palayo. 

His kind words made the pain in my chest a little bit less. I kind of look forward to tomorrow’s date. 

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

***

“Hey Sai, sure ka ba na gusto mo pa rin akong samahan sa double date?” Tanong ni Kyla habang nakahiga siya sa aking kama at hawak hawak ang kanyang cellphone. “I can cancel the date, it’s not a problem you know. I really won’t force you this time.”

“I’m okay, Kyla. I can do it.” Nagu-guilty kasi siya sa nangyari kahapon kaya hindi na niya ako pinipilit sumama. “Your cousin looks like a decent guy plus it’s your first time dating, dapat i-support kita!”

“Okay sige pero totoo, kuya Brian’s a really good guy you know. Malay mo magustuhan mo siya talaga! Clean record ‘yan, napaka-loyal. In fact, sobrang loyal niya, siya lagi ang niloloko.”

“Okay, kalma ka lang. Sabi ko he’s decent but I don’t think I’m ready to go on another relationship. Hindi pa talaga, hindi kakayanin ng puso ko agad.” Iiling-iling kong sabi habang kinu-krus ko ang mga kamay ko sa harap niya. 

“Dahil hindi ka pa nakaka-move on kay Cedric? Naku! Kalimutan mo na ang lalaking ‘yon, hindi siya worth it! Napakalabo niya noong nakipag-break sa ’yo. I think you deserve a better explanation back then. Para ka na lang iniwan sa ere.”

“Hindi naman sa ganoon pero pakiramdam ko talaga hindi pa ako ready. I feel like my heart is still too fragile to trust another person again. Alam mo Kyla, I can do the double date with your cousin pero don’t get your hopes high na we’ll end up a thing or whatever. We can be good friends but that’s just it, okay?”

“Okay sis!” Itinaas niya ang mga kamay niya as a sign of resignation. “Basta sabihin mo lang kung gusto mo ang number niya!”

I rolled my eyes and opened my phone to watch a movie. I was seriously not planning to get too involved with that Brian person or any other guy at the moment. I just wanted to take care of myself first and totally heal from all the pain Cedric left in my heart. 

At around 5 p.m., nag-suggest na si Kyla na mag-ready na kami. Kyla opted to put up her hair in a ponytail while she curled mine. She wore a black fitted dress while I wore fit jeans and a white floral sleeveless top. 

By 6 p.m., Brian arrived to pick us up and drive us to the restaurant where we were meeting Kyla’s date. As soon as we arrived at the Italian restaurant, Kyla waved to a tall and buff looking guy with brown hair seated on the middle table. We approached the guy and introduced each other; Mark’s the name of Kyla’s date. The restaurant had a very authentic Italian ambiance with even a brick stove for their pizzas which we ordered. Classical music was played in the background and the light was dim giving it a very romantic vibe. 

Over dinner, nag-usap lang kami ng kung anu-ano to get to know each other, puro small talk lang. I learned na Brian was actually the star of our university’s swimming team and won a lot of medals. Hindi kasi ako masyado into sports kaya I didn’t know about that before. I also learned na he is in his senior year na so he’s a year older than me. 

Overall, it was a nice and relaxing dinner. Mukha namang disente yung ka-date ni Kyla at mukhang head over heels na agad siya kay Mark. After dinner, nagyaya si Mark to have more drinks habang nagka-karaoke, so we went to a nearby karaoke hub. After a few songs and drinks, nag-excuse ako to pee. Pagkalabas ko ng toilet at pabalik na ng karaoke room namin, biglang bumukas ang pinto at bumungad si Brian.

“Mag-c-c.r. ka rin?” Tanong ko sa kanya. Ngumiti siya sa akin. “Ah, I was just going to get some fresh air. Gusto mo sumama? Let’s give the new love birds their alone time together.”

Tumango naman ako at sumama sa kanya. Naglakad lang kami at napunta sa malapit na convenience store. Bumili lang kami ng snacks at soft drinks. May mga lamesa at upuan sa labas lang ng convenience store at doon namin napiling tumambay.

“Are you enjoying the night?” Tanong niya habang binubuksan niya ang kanyang sitsirya. Nilapit niya pa sa akin ito na tila ba nag-aalok, umiling ako at tinanggihan.

“Oo naman, nag-enjoy ako. Masaya ako at nakikita kong nae-enjoy ni Kyla ang ka-date niya.”

“What about you? Are you enjoying your date?” He smiled playfully.

“Hindi! You’re a bad date!” Pabiro kong pinalo ang kanyang balikat.

“Ouch. Ang mean, grabe! My heart, ack!” Umarte siyang parang nasaktan at humawak sa kaliwang dibdib. Natawa kami and somehow it felt good. Sobrang gaan ng pakiramdam ko ngayong gabi, nakatulong pa ang nakakalmang simoy ng hangin para lalong mawala lahat ng problema sa aking isipin.

“Joke lang! You were such a good date, sobrang na-enjoy ko ang gabing ito na kasama ka.”

“I’m happy to hear that. Ah, nakalimutan ko rin pala sabihin kanina pero,” nag-pause siya saglit at napayuko habang napahawak sa kanyang batok, “You look beautiful tonight.”  

Pakiramdam ko ay nag-init bigla ang aking mga pisngi pero nawala din agad ang pakiramdam na ito at naging seryoso ako. “Hey Brian…”

“Yes?”

“Please don’t get me wrong, I think you are a really nice person but I think we can only be friends. I’m not assuming you like me or anything, but I just want to be clear with you right away. I find you really nice, I enjoy your company, but I’m just not into dating right now. I just went along with this because Kyla needed help.”

Para siyang nabigla sa sinabi ko, hindi niya siguro inaasahan. Kumuha siya ng sitsirya at ngumuya habang nakatingin sa mabituing kalangitan. Mayamaya ay nagsalita na siya, “Sai, I’m glad I met you. I also enjoyed your company tonight. I would be lying if I say I don’t find you attractive, but if you’re not into dating, I’m not pushing you into anything. I know you’re still being careful with your heart. I totally understand that, I’ve been in that situation before. It’s hard to start again if you haven’t even closed a chapter in your life yet.”

Tinitigan ko ang mukha niya at napaisip sa sarili ko kung bakit minsan parang alam niya ang mga tamang salitang kailangan kong marinig.

“Sai, let’s be friends. I’m happy with just that. I’d love to go with the flow and see how things go in the end. Just remember that if you need to talk to anyone, you can also count on me.”

“Thank you, Brian. I really appreciate it.”

“You’re welcome. Huwag mo masyadong i-stress ang sarili mo, Sai. Just enjoy the night, we’re here to have fun. Okay?”

Nginitian ko siya at tumango. Wala nang umimik sa aming dalawa pagkatapos. Purong katahimikan, may pakonti-konting tahol ng aso na maririnig o kaya busina ng kotse. Pero sa pagitan naming dalawa ay walang kahit anong salita ang maririnig.

Hindi na ako nakatiis kaya naisipan kong itanong ang unang bagay na pumasok sa isip ko. “So, Brian… anong favorite mong color?”

Gusto ko kaagad bawiin ang sinabi ko nang ma-realize ko kung gaano ka-awkward ‘yon. Bigla na lang natawa si Brian nang sobrang lakas na para bang gusto ko na lang talagang kainin ng lupa sa kahihiyan. 

“Sorry Sai, sobrang unexpected ng tanong mo. Hindi ko mapigilang matawa!” Sinusubukan niya pang punasan ang mga luha sa mga mata niya sa sobrang kakatawa. “Saan naman galing ang tanong na ‘yon? Sobrang random!”

“Hindi ko rin alam! Sorry, ang random nga talaga. Sorry, hindi ko kasi alam ano sasabihin ko. I just wanted to break the silence.”

“Come on Sai, it’s fine. I’m comfortable with silence, I actually enjoy it. You don’t really need to force yourself to think of anything to say.”

“Okay, sorry.” Nahihiya pa rin ako. 

“Okay lang, pero kung talagang gusto mo makipag-usap at hindi ka komportable nang walang imikan, pwede naman tayo mag-usap. Sige simulan natin sa tanong mo na favorite color ko. It’s blue, ikaw?”

“Uy! Hindi mo naman talaga kailangan sagutin ang tanong ko, random lang talaga ‘yon.”

Ngumiti siya. “It’s fine. Pwede naman natin makilala ang isa’t isa mula sa maliit na bagay lang muna. So ano na nga ang paborito mong kulay?”

“Purple…”

“Ah, purple. O sige, ako naman. What’s your favorite food?”

“I like cake. Ikaw?”

“Same!” Nagulat ako nang biglang tumaas ang energy niya at parang nagningning ang mga mata niya. “Sobrang fan ako ng mga cake! Strawberry cake pinaka-gusto ko sa lahat!”

“Hala, same! Comfort food ko ‘yan!” Nahawa na rin ako sa energy niya at na-excite sa takbo ng usapan.

“Nice, nice! Katuwa! Na-try mo na ba ‘yong cake sa Sweet Home?”

“Hala, saan ‘yan? Hindi ko pa naririnig ang cake shop na ‘yan. Masarap ba strawberry cakes sa kanila?” 

“Gusto mo ba malaman? Tara sa Sabado! Libre kita! Promise makakalimutan mo kung sino ka after mo matikman ang strawberry cake nila.”

“Ang OA!”

He laughed so loud it echoed through the night. I laughed as well and looked up at the starry sky — how the stars that night shined so bright making me feel excited and scared at the same time. It’s going to be just a ‘friendly’ date, right? 

I just don’t want to go too far and find myself falling into a deep well again. Be calm, my heart.

Lie About Love

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