Chapter 13

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Pagka-discharge ko sa ospital ay pumasok na rin agad ako kinabukasan. My parents wanted me to rest muna sana sa bahay pero nagpumilit akong pumasok na. Gusto ko na rin kasi harapin si Melody at tapusin na talaga ang lahat para mawala na lahat ng bagay na gumugulo sa isipan ko. 

Tinext ko si Melody kagabi na magkita kami ng mas maaga sa campus para hindi kami maabutan ni Kyla. I wanted to deal with this alone. Pumayag naman siya. 

It took me some time before I could get any sleep and when I woke up, I felt more tired than yesterday. Hirap na hirap akong bumangon sa kama, parang gusto ko na lang ulit matulog at huwag na lang harapin ang mga problema ko. Mayamaya lang ay napilit ko na rin ang sarili kong bumangon. Naligo na lang agad ako at kumain lang ng isang tinapay bilang agahan. Pinili kong maglakad kaysa mag-jeep para makapag-isip muna. 15 minutes away lang naman ang bahay ko sa university. 

Habang naglalakad napapa-isip ako kung ano kaya ang magiging reaksyon ni Melody? Magagalit kaya siya? Malamang niloko ko siya. Paano ko kaya sisimulan sa kanya? Ano kaya ang tamang paraan para aminin ang lahat sa kanya na hindi siya gaanong masasaktan? Pero parang kahit ano atang sabihin ko, masasaktan ko talaga siya. Haay, ang hirap. Kung sana masamang tao na lang si Melody, mas madali pa ito sa akin. Kaso hindi, napakabait sa akin ni Melody at pakiramdam ko sinamantala ko lang ang kabaitan niyang ‘yon. Pakiramdam ko napakasama kong tao sa ginawa ko. Sana sampalin ako ni Melody mamaya, sana sabunutan niya na rin at mura-murahin. Sa ganoong paraan mas gagaan ang pakiramdam ko, mas mababawasan ang guilt na nararamdaman ko. 

Sa sobrang dami kong iniisip, hindi ko napansin nakarating na rin pala agad ako sa university. Habang naglalakad ako sa hallway, may tatlong babaeng tumigil sa harapan ko. Kumanan ako para sana makadaan pero hinarangan din nila, kaya tinry kong kumaliwa naman pero humarang ulit sila kaya nagtaka na ako. Anong problema nila?

“Excuse me?” Nang matignan ko ng maigi ang mga mukha nila, naalala ko kung saan ko sila nakita. Isa sila doon sa mga nagche-cheer kay Brian noong araw ng competition niya. Fangirls ata niya. 

“Ikaw si Sairyl De Mesa, hindi ba?” Nakapamewang na tanong sa akin ng babaeng nasa gitna while holding an iced coffee on her left hand. Nakamataas na ponytail siya, makapal ang make up at naka short skirts.  

“Uhh . . . Yes. Bakit? Sino ka?” Wala talaga akong oras makipag-usap sa kanila dahil baka naghihintay na sa akin si Melody. 

“Kapal din naman ng mukha mong pumasok pa ano?” Nagulat ako ng bigla niyang inilagay ang hintuturo niya sa noo ko at tinulak ako ng malakas. Napaatras ako ng konti sa ginawa niya. 

“Anong problema mo? Sino ka ba? Ni hindi nga kita kilala.” Inis na sabi ko.

“Hindi namin ma-gets ano ba nagustuhan sa ’yo ni Brian.” ‘Yong isang babae sa kanan naman ang nagsalita, tinignan niya ako mula ulo hanggang paa. “Wala naman espesyal sa ’yo. Hindi ka naman ganoon kaganda.”

Napaikot na lang ako ng mata at napabuntong-hininga. Great. A bunch of jealous fangirls to start my day. I really didn’t want to argue or waste my time sa kanila kaya in-ignore ko na lang ang sinabi nila at sinubukang itulak ang isa sa kanila para makadaan ako. I failed to do that as the two of them caught me and held each side of my arms as I tried to resist. 

“Ano ba! Bitawan ninyo nga ako! Wala naman akong ginagawa sa inyo!” There were only a few students in the hallway as it was still early. They were only looking at my direction but no one was actually saying or doing anything to stop them. 

“Wala na ngang espesyal sa ‘yo, nagawa mo pang ipahamak si Brian? We heard na ikaw ang kasama niya during the accident. Brian’s in the hospital now with serious injuries, habang ikaw parang wala lang nangyari sa ’yo? Sana ikaw na lang ang nasa posisyon ni Brian!”

Nasaktan ako sa sinabi niya dahil it was true and I shared the same sentiment as her. Sana nga ako na lang. 

“Sasaktan ka na lang namin para naman maramdaman mo kahit kaunti ang pinagdadaanan ni Brian!” Pagkasabi niya noon ay naramdaman ko ang pagdapo ng malakas niyang sampal sa pisngi ko. Hindi siya tumigil doon at sinampal niya ulit ako sa kabilang pisngi naman. “Nang dahil sa ’yo hindi makakasali si Brian sa international competition niya next month! Nanggigil talaga kami sa ’yo!” 

Hindi pa man din ako nakakabawi sa gulat ng pagsampal niya at sa sakit na dulot nito, nabigla naman ako nang maramdaman ko ang pagbuhos ng iced coffee mula sa taas ng aking ulo hanggang tumulo sa damit ko. I was totally drenched with it. Binitawan din ako ng dalawang babae sa magkabilang gilid ko para siguro hindi sila mabasa. 

“Kulang pa ‘yan sa  ’yo sa ginawa mo kay Brian!”

Hindi na ako naka-imik pa, nakatayo lang ako doon, nakatingin sa sahig, bukas ang bibig at basang-basa. Pinagtitinginan at pinagbubulungan ng mga tao sa paligid. That was the first time I was humiliated like that in public. I didn’t know what to do. I was so scared and hurt at the same time. 

While I was pitying myself, I heard Melody’s voice. 

“What are you b*tches doing to my friend?” Napataas ako ng tingin at nakita ko si Melody na nakatayo sa likod ng babaeng nagbuhos sa akin ng kape. Nagulat ako nang bigla niyang hinila ang buhok nitong naka-ponytail. Napa-aray ito at pilit inaalis ang hawak ni Melody sa buhok niya pero wala siyang magawa. Tutulong sana ang dalawa pang babae na humawak sa kamay ko kanina nang i-spray-an ni Melody ng pepper spray ang mga ito. Napatakip sila ng mata at napasigaw sa sakit. Pinagbalingan ulit ni Melody ang babaeng hawak-hawak niya ang buhok at iniharap ito sa kanya. 

“I didn’t know bullying is still a thing here? You’re ganging up on one girl? That’s so low of you!” Nagulat ako ng paulit-ulit niyang sampalin ito sa magkabilang pisngi hanggang sa halos bumakat na ang kamay niya sa pisngi ng babaeng hawak niya. Sobrang lala na ng iyak nito na halos kailangan ko ng hilahin si Melody para bitawan niya na ito. 

“Tama na, Melody. Let’s get out of here baka may mga dumating ng mga professors!” Nagpapigil naman si Melody pero bago niya bitawan ang babaeng nang-away sa akin ay tinakot niya muna ito. “Don’t you dare bother my friend again. The next time you do it, I’m really going to do much worse to you!”

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Melody called her driver and we drove off to a nearby boutique shop. Binilhan niya ako ng damit para makapagpalit ako. Nagpunas muna ako ng katawan sa public toilet bago nagpalit para maalis ang lagkit ng kape. 

“Grabe sila! I’m sorry I got there late and they were able to do that to you!” Naka-upo na kami sa isang coffee shop at mas galit pa ata si Melody kaysa sa akin sa mga nangyari. 

“It’s fine and thank you for helping me out there.”

“No worries, I just did what I had to do. Let me know if they bother you next time. I won’t just slap them, I’ll give them a good beating na talaga!”

“Thank you talaga, Melody.” 

“But who are they ba? Why did they do that to you?”

I drank my tea first before responding. “Hindi ko sila kilala actually, but I can recognize their faces. Mga fangirls ni Brian.”

“Oh. But why did they attack you?”

“They were upset about what happened to Brian and blamed me for it.”

Kumunot ang noo ni Melody at kita ko na naman ang inis sa mukha niya. “Why would they blame it on you? It was an accident! How dumb are they? I’m really going to tell tita about them and get them a suspension!”

Umiling ako, “No need for that, but thanks. I think naman hindi na sila uulit after you scared them like that earlier.”

Natawa siya sa sinabi ko, “They should really be scared! I can do more than that if they do it again! By the way, you texted me last night na you wanted to talk about something, what is it?”

I just took a bite of my cake when she asked that and it suddenly felt hard to swallow the cake. Paano ko sasabihin ang lahat sa kanya pagkatapos niya akong tulungan? 

“Sai?” 

She was waiting for me to say something. I looked at her and I heaved out a big sigh. It’s bound to happen anytime anyway. Wala namang sikretong hindi lumalabas and it’s better to tell it to her now kaysa malaman niya pa sa iba. 

“I lied to you all this time, Melody.”

“Huh?” Confusion was written all over her face as she didn’t seem to understand what I just said. “What are you saying?”

“Ex-boyfriend ko si Cedric. I just pretended all this time not to know him to avoid awkwardness between us.”

Nag-expect ako na magugulat siya ngunit salungat ito sa kalmadong reaksyon niya. Inabot niya ang baso niya at uminom dito.

“I know.” Ako ang nagulat sa mga sumunod niyang sinabi. “Cedric told me everything about it the day you got into an accident. He wanted to cancel the engagement.”

Hindi ako maka-imik sa gulat. Hindi ko alam ang sasabihin ko kay Melody. She really didn’t wait a response from me as she smiled bitterly and continued. 

“I have a confession to make as well. What happened to you earlier, those girls, it was my fault.”

“Ha? What are you saying?” Ako na ang naguguluhan sa mga sinasabi niya.

“When Cedric told me about your relationship, I was really upset. I trusted you and treated you like a real friend pero you lied to me all this time. Nagmukha akong t*nga and I even unconsciously gave you and Cedric reasons to meet again. Dahil doon, I have just reinforced Cedric’s desire to get back to you. Nainis ako sa ’yo and I wanted to get back to you. I anonymously tipped off Brian’s fans about what happened and gave them the idea na you asked him to leave Tagaytay earlier which wasn’t initially part of the plan. I wanted them to think na it was your fault and despise you for that. I wanted them to be mean to you and make you feel some kind of pain para that way, makabawi ako sa ginawa mo sa akin. I even tipped them the time you’ll be arriving on campus today. Pero as soon as I saw what they did to you earlier, na-guilty rin agad ako sa ginawa ko. I couldn’t really wish you any harm even after feeling betrayed by you. I’m so stupid, I’m sorry.”

Hearing her apologizing to me even after knowing what I did to her made me feel more guilty than ever. 

“Please don’t apologize, Melody. I made you do it, kasalanan ko lahat ng iyon. I deserve to be hit by those girls. You have all the right to be upset with me. I am so sorry kung nagsinungaling ako sa ’yo, kung hindi ko sinabi ang totoo sa ’yo sa simula pa lang, but I swear to you that I don’t want to get back with him anymore. I only lied to you kasi I didn’t want to make things awkward between the two of us. Wala akong naging masamang intention doon.” I tried to reach out for her hands but she avoided it. 

“I really have mixed feelings about this, Sai. I know you probably didn’t mean any harm to me. You probably did it to make me feel comfortable around you. Pero I don’t think we can ever be friends again after knowing this.”

“Melody . . . ” Bigla siyang napatakip ng mukha niya at narinig ko na lang ang mga hikbi niya. Hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko o dapat sabihin ko sa kanya. 

“Alam mo ba, the first time I met Cedric, I already liked him and the more I spend time with him, the more my feelings for him grow. We had happy memories together, Sai. I thought all of it was true, but after everything Cedric told me, I just realized those were only my happy memories while those were moments he was suffering with me. He had to fake everything because of me. He was hurting because of me and I was clueless of everything. I wish you told me the truth from the beginning, Sai. I would have avoided you, I wouldn’t have let you and Cedric meet again. Maybe that way he wouldn’t want to end things with me. Maybe he’ll end up forgetting about you and finally notice me.”

“I’m really sorry for lying to you, Melody. Pero I swear I didn’t mean things to go the way they are now. Sinabi ko na rin kay Cedric na hinding hindi na ako makikipagbalikan sa kanya. I told him not to cancel your engagement. I will avoid him from now on, I will have nothing to do with him I swear. Please don’t hate me, Melody.”

Inabot ko sa kanya ang panyo ko habang patuloy pa rin siya sa pag-iyak. Kinuha niya naman ito at ipinunas sa basang mukha niya. 

“I really thought I found a sister in you, Sai. Why did we have to fall in love with the same guy? I was told when I was little that love brings people together pero they missed to tell me na it also divides people apart. I’ll cancel the engagement if that’s what Cedric wants to happen, I don’t want to force myself on someone who doesn’t like me. I’m also going to avoid you, Sai. Let’s not be friends anymore. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other. It’s probably the best for all of us. We shouldn’t have met in the first place. You and Cedric totally broke my heart.”

That was the last time I spoke with Melody. She really did her best to avoid me, even to the extent of asking for a complete schedule adjustment so we don’t meet in the same classes. As for Cedric, I also haven’t heard about him after our chat in the hospital. 

Melody and Cedric disappeared in my life after that. 

Brian woke up the next day. He had temporary retrograde amnesia because of the accident. He remembers remote memories but he barely remembers recent memories. He even forgot about me. I visited him daily to make him remember me. I distorted the truth with some lies like how we first met, how we started dating and how I completely removed Cedric in the picture. I even asked Kyla to collude with me in that lie.

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Seven years have passed and I’m still with Brian. 

He became a project manager for a digital agency. He has completely abandoned his dream to become a professional swimmer after the accident. A lot of missed opportunities for him because of that accident and I only had myself to blame for that. It was one of the reasons why I never left Brian’s side. 

I am now an accountant for an e-commerce firm. I would say that I have survived the storm in my life seven years ago. I have totally forgotten about him. I have enjoyed Brian’s company and we’re almost celebrating our seventh anniversary in a few months. 

Friends, families and people around us are already teasing us when the wedding would be. We just brush it off with shy smiles. I do wonder if Brian suddenly proposes to me, will I be ready to say yes? 

I have learned to love Brian. It wasn’t difficult at all. He was like any other girl’s ideal guy. He was kind, sweet, loyal and very responsible. In our relationship, we barely fight. Most of the time, I’m the reason for our fights because of my mood swings but he has always been patient with me. But somehow, I feel like there’s still some kind of reservation in my heart and I don’t know why. 

“What do you want, love?” 

“Iced caramel macchiato, grande lang ha.” Sabi ko kay Brian at nauna na para maghanap ng mauupuan habang umoorder siya. I saw a seat next to the window. It’s a Sunday afternoon and we love spending our Sunday afternoons chillin like this. Ikot-ikot lang sa mall tapos magkakape. 

As I was waiting for Brian to bring our orders, pinanood ko muna ang mga taong naglalakad sa labas bilang pampalipas oras. May grupo ng mga kabataan na nagtatawanan, may isang pamilyang masayang naglalakad, may couple na mukhang may pinagtatalunan, may isang saleslady na nag aabot ng flyers sa mga dumadaan. Iba-ibang mukha ang nakikita kong dumadaan ngunit may isang pumukaw sa akin at gumulo sa kapayapang naramdaman ko sa loob ng pitong taon.

Nakita ko siya. 

He was wearing a blue business suit. He was alone talking to his phone and looking serious, his other hand in his pocket. Akala ko noong una ay hindi siya pero sinundan ko siya ng tingin upang makumpirma kung siya nga iyon. Ang daming nag-iba sa kaniya, mas naging mature ang itsura niya, tumangkad siya at mas kumisig pa ang kanyang katawan. He didn’t seem to look like the stupid clueless guy like he was before. 

“Are you okay?” Nagulat ako nang marinig ko ang boses ni Brian. Ipinatong niya ang order naming kape sa lamesa at umupo sa tapat ko. Sinundan niya ang tingin ko sa labas ng bintana. “Anong meron?” 

Hindi ko sure kung nakita niya rin ang nakita ko. Umiling ako sa tanong niya, “Ah wala, akala ko kakilala ko, hindi pala.”

I tried to look at the window again pero wala na siya. Did I really see him or was it just my imagination? 

I really wish I wouldn’t see him again. It has been a peaceful 7 years without him.
I don’t want him back in my life again. Please, don’t let it be you.

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Lie About Love

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