Chapter 11

[A story from]

“Here, drink this. It may help to calm you down.” 

“Thanks.” Tinanggap ko ang inabot niyang baso ng tsaa. I stopped crying but I was still feeling that heavy lump in my chest. Brian was sitting next to me in bed, not saying anything. He was patiently waiting for me to tell him what happened. After a while, I was finally able to tell him the whole story. He didn’t judge my decisions, he did not give his comments but he just gave me a hug instead. Something I needed more than any comforting words. 

“Do you want to go to sleep na?” 

Umiling ako, “Feeling ko hindi pa ako makakatulog agad. I just have too many things on my mind right now. If you want to sleep na, you can turn off the lights.”

“I don’t want to sleep if you’re not sleepy yet.” He looked around as if trying to think of what to do, “Gusto mo maglaro ng card games?” 

“What card game?” 

Pumunta siya sa bag niya at naglabas ng card games, he had a few of them pero most of it were for multiplayers. The only card game that fit 2 players was the “Would You Rather” game so we played it. It’s basically just a game with various questions that we just take turns to answer. He placed the cards in the middle of the bed and we started playing. 

“Would you rather listen to music from the 70’s or music from today?” That was the first card na nabunot ni Brian. He answered first, “I prefer the old music. What about you?”

“Same. Pero more in the 90s than the 70s.” Ako naman ang bumunot ng next card. “Would you rather read an awesome book or watch a good movie? I like reading books. Ikaw?”

“More of a visual person ako so I’d go for movies. Would you rather be known for your intelligence or your good looks? I’d personally want to be known for my talent.”

“Which is sa swimming, tama ba?” 

“Yup, I really want to be known as one of the best swimmers in the world.” 

“Let’s stop playing this game, tell me more about you.” I suddenly lost interest in playing the game and wanted to know Brian more. I never really knew much about him, it was always him asking me what I like and what I don’t like. 

Niligpit ko na yung cards at nilagay ito sa bedside table. Napakamot ng ulo si Brian at parang nahihiyang ngumiti sa akin. “There’s nothing really interesting about me . . . ”

“I don’t believe that.” I took a pillow and hugged it while I looked him in the eyes with curiosity. “You can start by telling me why you like swimming.”

“Well,” nakangiti pa rin siya sa akin pero I could feel ang hiya niya sa pagkukwento, “initially, I took swimming lessons dahil sa asthma. Recommended sport daw kasi for someone with asthma. 10 swimming classes during summer lang dapat pero sa swimming club, may nakilala akong girl na kasing edad ko at ayun, nagka-crush ako.  I begged my mom to sign me up for the yearly swimming club membership so I can see that girl more. Sa umpisa, dahil sa kanya pero patagal ng patagal, na-enjoy ko na rin ang swimming classes ko. Eventually, in-encourage ako ng coach ko noon na sumali sa swimming competitions. I agreed thinking I will be impressing the girl I liked and if manalo ako dun, aamin ako sa kanya.”

“Bata ka pa lang ginagamit mo na ‘yang swimming trick mo ha.” I joked remembering how he used the same scenario to me, but instead of confessing, it was a deal to date me. “I bet nanalo ka rin noon.”

Natawa na lang din siya at tumango, “Nanalo naman.”

“Nagconfess ka sa kanya? Ano nangyari?” 

“Ayun, rejected ako and the girl started avoiding me. Na-awkwardan ata sa akin pagkatapos.”

“Hala, how dare her! Ni-reject ka niya!”

Tumawa siya sa reaksyon ko. “That’s fine, kasi after she rejected me, I realized that I went for the swimming class not just for her, but because I really loved diving in the water. Doon ko unang napagtanto na first love ko ang swimming. When I’m in the water, I forget about everything, I feel calm. I feel more like myself.” 

“Well, that’s good for you. Gifted ka naman talaga sa swimming. Plan mo bang maging professional career ‘yan after graduation?” 

“Yup! Actually, I’ll be competing in Singapore next month. It’s a really big swimming competition and I’m aiming to win it tapos I’ll go for the olympics naman. Dream ko talaga ever since to stand on the Olympics podium while holding a gold medal.” I saw so much passion in Brian’s eyes as he talked about his big dream. He seemed genuinely happy to talk about the things he loves.

“I’m sorry, I think I’m talking too much about myself.” 

I jokingly threw the pillow to him. “Ano ka ba, you barely talk about yourself. I’m glad to know these things about you.” 

“Ikaw Sai, what do you want to do after graduating?” 

“I honestly don’t know, probably just get a job aligned with my course. I actually envy you for having such a clear dream you want to achieve. I feel too mediocre in everything that I just want to do whatever would be available for me.”

“Hey, that’s not true. I think you just probably haven’t discovered what you’re truly good at or what you really like doing. Marami ka pa naman time to find it out.”

“Hmm . . . I’ll be graduating next year na but I still don’t know what that is.”

He patted me on the head.  “That’s fine. You don’t really need to discover it before graduating. May mga iba ngang tao who finds their true calling when they’re old na. Darating din ‘yan for you.”

“Maybe.” I said slumping myself on the bed. “I’ll tell you when that time comes. Pero basta kapag nasa Olympics ka na, make sure to send me an invitation to watch you live!”

“Syempre, you are my V.I.P.”

A little later, sleep finally came. 

[A story from]

At 6 a.m., Brian was already putting our bags at the back of his car. Before going to sleep, I asked Brian if we could go back home before anyone wakes up. I didn’t really want to see Cedric after what happened last night. Brian agreed to it and sent a text to Tatsuo to take Kyla home instead.

We stopped at a restaurant to have breakfast while admiring Taal’s beauty. 

“Ang sarap sa pakiramdam ng ganito.” I was drinking my coffee when Brian said that, I looked at him to meet his gentle smile. “I am really happy to enjoy a good breakfast with the most beautiful person. I wish every morning would be like this.”

I couldn’t help but smile. It was definitely a calming moment. For a year, my heart has never been this at ease. 

We drove off after breakfast. I was having a good laugh with Brian throughout the drive. He was telling me funny stories and we were even singing along with familiar songs on the radio.

Pinapatugtog ang kantang “The One That Got Away” ni Katy Perry sa radio niya at sinasabayan namin ito ng pagkanta. Ibinaba ko ang car window at ine-enjoy ang malamig na simoy ng hangin. I was enjoying that moment, forgetting all the worries in my head. Then it happened. I barely felt the calm when the storm came back, destroying me all over again.

“Brian!” Napasigaw ako ng sobrang lakas nang makita ko ang mabilis na takbo ng kotse mula sa gilid namin. Sinubukan ni Brian umiwas dito ngunit huli na ang lahat. Everything happened so fast. I could feel pain on every part of my body and everything was blurring out. I was hearing people shouting but the voices slowly faded away as I ran out of consciousness.

[A story from]

Lie About Love

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