[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]
“Uy Sai, I heard you’re going on a date with my cousin this weekend.” Inirapan ko na lang siya habang sinisiko niya ako habang nakangiti. Katabi ko si Kyla in almost every class kaya in the end naging bestfriend ko na rin itong makulit na ito.
“Hindi nga ‘yon date na tulad ng iniisip mo. We are just going to hang out as friends.”
“Sus! Kuya Brian’s not a bad guy plus my cousin has good genes.” She placed her right hand below her chin as if to prove her point.
“Kyla…” I repositioned myself so I am already facing her and looking directly in her eyes. “Brian IS a really nice guy and yes, he is good looking too. BUT I am seriously not looking to be in a relationship right now. I’m just happy to be friends with him, that’s it.”
“Hay naku! Pagdadasal ko na lang talaga na ang ‘pagkakaibigan’ ninyo kuno na magbunga at magka-’ibig’an din kayo sa dulo.”
“Please don’t get your hopes high.”
Bago pa makasagot si Kyla ay napagalitan kami ng professor namin dahil nahuli kaming nagdadaldalan, nag-sorry kami parehas at hindi na muna nag-imikan hanggang matapos ang klase. Umuwi rin naman agad ako pagkatapos ng klase at tumambay lang sa kwarto ko habang nanonood ng Kdrama. I usually spend my Friday nights at Kyla’s house kaso ayun ang ate mo, confident ng makipag-date mag-isa kay Mark. Well, I’m happy for her and I hope Mark is the right guy for him. Mukha naman siyang mabait. Well, Cedric seemed nice to me before too until he just dumped me like trash. Teka, bakit bigla na lang pumasok sa isip ko si Cedric?
Inalis ko siya kaagad sa isip ko at inabala ang sarili ko, pinalitan ko na lang pinapanood ko from romance to horror. Nangangalahati na ako sa pinapanood ko nang biglang may lumabas na notification sa cellphone ko. It was a message from Brian.
“Hey Sai, see you tomorrow! I’m excited!”
Bigla akong nakaramdam ng kaba. Mga ilang minuto rin ako papalit-palit ng irereply sa kanya at ilang pagdadalawang isip bago ko mapindot ang send button.
“Ok. See you!”
As soon as I sent that message, I got up from my bed and went straight to my closet. I rummaged through my clothes and checked myself in the mirror to see which clothes fit me best.
“Ah! Bakit ba ako naa-anxious sa susuotin ko at para bukas?”
I gave up and threw all my clothes back to my closet. I jumped back to bed and tried to sleep, but my mind keeps on worrying about what tomorrow will be like. Hindi ko na rin namalayan anong oras na ako nakatulog, nagising na lang ako sa alarm ko kinabukasan. Naligo lang ako at kumuha ng simpleng damit: plain white shirt at black jeans. Nag-powder lang ako at lip tint.
Nang marinig ko na ang busina ng kanyang kotse, kinabahan ako bigla. Sinampal ko muna ang sarili ko bago ko buksan ang pinto.
‘Chill ka nga lang Sai, para ka namang hindi nag-hang out with a guy friend before.’
Hindi naman ako ganito noong double date, or dahil ba nandoon din si Kyla? Kaya ba ako kinakabahan ngayon dahil kaming dalawa lang ang magkasama? Isang taon na rin naman kasi halos ang nakalipas ng huli akong makipag-hang out with a guy alone.
“Hey Sai, are you excited to try the best strawberry cake in town?” Bungad na tanong niya pagkasakay ko sa passenger seat.
I just nodded. I took a quick side glance at him. He was wearing a plain grey shirt and denim pants. Good thing, I opted to wear something casual too. He kind of smelled really good; there’s a strong, fresh, citrus scent which suits his cheerful vibe. He was actually smiling while driving. Actually, I also noticed last time that he smiles a lot. He radiated so much positivity in him that I felt like a negative person like me shouldn’t even be sitting next to him.
[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]
“So Brian…” Sinubukan ko magsimula ng conversation dahil medyo uncomfortable ako sa katahimikan na nabubuo sa sasakyan. Tanging “After You” ni Meg Myers na tumutugtog sa kanyang radio ang maririnig.
“How did you discover this coffee shop na nagtitinda ng masarap na strawberry cake?”
“My ex introduced it to me before.”
“Ah…” Well, I just picked the wrong question to ask. I thought I just made the situation more awkward, but I was taken aback when he suddenly laughed.
“It’s fine! Don’t feel awkward about it! I still love that place even though it has memories of the person I used to have feelings for.”
“Hindi ka ba nasasaktan tuwing pupunta or babanggitin mo ang lugar na ‘yon? I mean, does it not bring you painful memories?” Because it does for me whenever I go to places that remind me of Cedric.
“Oo, noong una, pero natutunan ko rin mag-move on at kalimutan lahat ng sakit na nararamdaman ko sa tuwing maalala ko siya. Kahit noong kaka-break pa lang namin, binabalik-balikan ko pa rin ang Sweet Home hanggang sa mawala na ng tuluyan ang sakit at mas nae-enjoy ko na talaga ulit ang cake nila. Mas mahal ko na ata ‘yong strawberry cake ng Sweet Home kesa sa kanya so, ayon!” Natawa na lang siya sa sinabi niya na ipinagtaka ko. Hindi ko mawari kung paano niya nagawa ‘yon.
“No offense pero sa totoo lang, I find you weird in a way.”
“Bakit? Is it because I can still go to places that had memories of my past that can’t be with me in the present anymore?”
“Sort of. It’s just… I don’t know how to say it, but isn’t it like just torturing yourself?”
He shook his head and smiled, “You’ll truly know you’ve healed if you can go to places that bore painful memories but you are now able to replace them with new and happier ones.”
“Ganoon ba ‘yon?”
He nodded, “That’s what I think and feel. I think may kani-kanya tayong way para mag-move on and that’s how I actually learned to accept the painful truth and moved on.”
We arrived at the coffee shop, maliit lang siya pero nakaka-relax ang ambiance niya. Maraming nakasabit na halaman sa mga pader at meron din silang mga bookshelves sa bawat sulok. It had like a ‘secret garden’ vibe in it. Kahit maliit lang ang lugar ay napakarami nilang customer. Buti na lang may naabutan pa kaming upuan sa isang sulok.
“This,” Brian pointed out the only strawberry cake on the menu with a ‘Bestseller!’ sticker on it, “This is their bestseller. It’s a mortal sin not to try it on your first time going here.”
I followed his recommendation and just added an iced macchiato to pair with it. When our orders arrived and I was able to taste the cake, I couldn’t help myself but close my eyes and smile.
“Hmm!” Totoo nga, feel ko makakalimutan ko sarili ko sa sobrang sarap ng cake! Parang nagme-melt sa bibig ko ang cake at tamang tama lang ang tamis nito, sobrang fresh pa ng strawberry na para bang kakapitas lang nila!
Na-distract ako nang makarinig ako ng camera shutter kaya napamulat din agad ako. Nakita ko si Brian na may hawak na cellphone na nakatutok sa akin.
“Piniktyuran mo ba ako?”
“Sorry, you looked cute while enjoying your cake.” He brushed his hair with his fingers as he smiled sheepishly.
“Uy, delete mo ‘yan! Baka ang pangit ko d’yan!” I tried to get his phone but he hid it right away in his pocket.
“Let’s say that photo is your gift to me for bringing you to such an awesome place.”
I gave up and just glared at him while I took another bite of my cake.
We talked about random things in the cake shop. I was about to get the last bite of my cake but before it could get into my mouth, it fell off from the fork and landed on my white shirt.
“Great! Just the best time to wear a white shirt.” Sinubukan kong linisin ang part na natapunan with a tissue pero I just made it worse.
“It’s okay!” Brian tried to console me pero it didn’t really help as I felt more frustrated about my clumsiness.
“It’s not. Ang dungis ko tignan. Uwi na lang siguro tayo after this.”
Sinilip niya ang relo niya at umiling. “Too early, sayang naman ang Sabado natin kung uuwi na agad tayo?”
“But I can’t go around like this, nakakahiya. Baka pagtinginan lang ako kasi ang dumi kong tignan.”
“If that’s the case, I will buy you a new shirt! Tara na sa mall, pili ka ng gusto mong store, libre kita ng bagong damit!”
I tried to reject his offer but he insisted and even said that he’ll feel offended if I don’t accept his offer. We ended up buying a pink blouse for me which Brian chose and I kinda liked it.
“Suits you well,” Brian said after I got out of the restroom to change.
“Thanks! Dami ko na utang sa ’yo: nilibre mo na ako ng cake, nilibre mo pa ako ng damit. Saan tayo next? Ako naman ang bahala sa ’yo!”
“Nice! Actually may bagong labas na Marvel movie, tara sine? Pwede mo ako ilibre ng popcorn.”
“Just popcorn? Sagutin ko na rin ticket mo!”
“No, it’s fine. I’m happy with just popcorn. Bawi ka na lang sa akin next time we go out again.” He smiled and we headed to the cinema.
During the movie, we sat next to each other, eating our own bucket of popcorn quietly. We didn’t really talk much while watching and there were no accidental touches of hands or anything mushy like those in romance movies. In a way, I was glad it turned out like that but at the same time, I felt a little bit disappointed. ‘But why? What’s wrong with you, Sai? What are you expecting ba talaga?’
“I’ll just go to the restroom.” I excused myself after the movie.
“Okay, hintayin kita dito sa labas.”
After peeing, I went to wash my hands. I noticed a girl entering the restroom, she stood next to me and she went to take out her lipstick to reapply it on her lips. I observed her through the mirror and secretly admired how beautiful she was.
Long brown curly hair, almost perfect glass skin, big doll eyes, tall and with the body of a model. Her blue sleeveless dress fit her so well while her black high heels made her stand so elegant.
I stopped myself from admiring a random stranger and went to dry my hands. After that, I went out of the restroom. As soon as I got out, I saw Brian standing next to the wall while looking on the floor. I was about to call him when I noticed the guy next to him was Cedric. He was also looking on the floor with his hands in his pockets. Both of them were silent and there was an awkward atmosphere.
Before I could say anything or even get close to Brian, the model-looking girl from earlier went out of the restroom and ran towards Cedric. She clung to his arm and said, “Sorry, babe. Did you wait long?”
Cedric looked at her and shook his head while smiling.
“Let’s go! What should we do next?” They started walking and when they walked past me, I met Cedric’s eyes for a second and then they were gone. As soon as Brian saw me, he ran towards me looking worried.
“Sorry Sai, promise hindi ko talaga in-expect na makikita siya rito. At sorry rin kung hindi ko nabanggit sa ’yo ang tungkol kay Melody.”
So, Melody pala ang name ng bago niya. Hindi ko na siguro kukwestyunin bakit niya ako iniwan. Kitang kita na, napakaganda niya at kahit sinong lalaki, siya ang pipiliin kesa sa isang tulad ko.
“Brian…” Hindi ko na napigilan ang sarili ko. Naipatong ko ang ulo ko sa dibdib niya at napakapit ako nang mahigpit sa kanyang t-shirt. “Please take me home.”
It felt like all my self-confidence went down the drain and I hated myself more than ever for not being enough to the person I love.