Chapter 16

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

“Kumusta po siya tita?” Tanong ko sa nanay ni Brian bago ako pumasok sa kwarto niya. Inabot niya ang kamay ko at marahang pinisil ito. 

“He’s very heartbroken hearing the news, he cried a lot and didn’t talk for the rest of the day. Kung hindi natutulog ay nakatingin lang siya sa bintana, tulalado. Ikaw na muna ang bahala sa kanya, kukuha lang ako ng gamit sa bahay at babalik na lang ulit mamaya.” Tumango ako bilang pagsang-ayon at nagpaalam na rin sa akin si tita. Bago buksan ang pinto ni Brian ay huminga muna ako ng malalim at hinanda ang sarili ko. 

“Hi Brian . . . ” Katulad ng sabi ni tita ay nakatingin lang siya sa bintana, ni hindi man lang siya tumingin sa direksyon ko nang pumasok ako. Umupo ako sa tabi niya at inabot ang kamay niya, nabigla siya ng konti ngunit wala na siyang iba pang reaksyon pagkatapos.

“Sorry, Brian . . . ” He looked in my direction, confusion written on his face.

“For what?”

“For what happened. Kasalanan ko kung bakit tayo naaksidente, kung bakit nangyari sa ’yo ito.”

“Anong ibig mong sabihin?”

“We were supposed to go home in the afternoon pero I asked you to go earlier than scheduled. Just because I wasn’t feeling well that day, kinulit kitang umuwi na agad. Kung nagtiis lang sana ako at hindi nag-inarte sa nararamdaman ko, e ‘di sana wala tayo sa mga oras na nangyari ang aksidenteng ‘yon. Okay ka pa sana, hindi ka sana magkakaganito.”

Tinignan niya lang ako sa mga mata ng ilang minuto, wala ni isa sa amin ang umimik. Mayamaya lang ay may tumulong luha sa mga mata ni Brian. Hinigit niya ako palapit sa kanya at niyakap ng mahigpit. 

“Aksidente ‘yon, hindi mo ‘yon kasalanan. Please don’t blame yourself, Sai.”

Hindi ko na rin napigilan at naiyak na ako sa kanyang mga braso. “Kung hindi mo na lang sana ako nakilala, Brian. Kamalasan lang dinala ko sa ’yo.”

He pulled away slightly to lift my face. “Don’t say that. Kung papipiliin ako whether to lose my ability to swim or to lose you, always remember that I will choose you. I may not remember everything about us yet, but I feel a great amount of affection towards you. I know that I love you more than anything.”

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

“Sir Ray, hindi ba matagal na kayo magkakilala ni sir Cedric? Tell us how you guys met!”  The party started a while ago and everyone at the table had already consumed a fair amount of their drinks including me. I’m not a heavy drinker but sitting right across Cedric makes me want to down a lot of alcohol just to calm my nerves. 

“Ah yes.” Ibinaba ni sir Ray ang baso niya sa lamesa para magsimula magkwento. “We were actually taking the same units back in University of Western Australia. Of course, coming from the same country made us friends right away. We kinda had the same goal ni Cedric to build our own company after uni. Sobrang workaholic nitong CEO ninyo, natatakot nga ako sa kanya dati kasi hindi na ata natutulog ‘yan pati weekends nagtatrabaho. Well, I soon understood na our CEO was just a sad boy drowning himself with work to forget his broken heart.”

“Hey, you can leave out that part.” Pabirong siniko ni Cedric si sir Ray. 

“Uy, kwento naman po diyan sir Cedric!” Kantyaw ng mga ilang kasamahan namin. 

“Oo nga! This is a rare chance for us po na makasama ka sir on a casual event like this, it’d be nice to get to know you more!”

“Kaya nga, Cedric. Masyado kang seryoso sa work, loosen up a bit today at pagbigyan mo na mga employees mo to know something a bit personal about you!” Natatawang saad ni sir Ray habang pinipilit magkwento si Cedric. Dahil sa sinabi ni sir Ray mas lalong lumakas ang loob ng mga ilang kasamahan namin na kulitin pa si Cedric na magkwento. Tahimik lang ako sa buong pangyayari habang pinagmamasdan ang reaksyon ni Cedric. Nagulat na lang ako nang biglang tumingin siya sa direksyon ko. 

“Okay, I’ll give you guys a snippet of my personal life then.” Kinuha niya ang beer niya at uminom dito, hindi inaalis ang tingin sa akin. Ibinaba niya sa lamesa ang kanyang beer pagkatapos uminom at ngumiti siya sa akin. “It’s true, I was heartbroken when Ray met me in uni. Before going to Australia, I was in love with this girl. She was actually my childhood love, my first love, my first girlfriend, my first everything.”

“What happened po with this girl?” Hindi na nakatingin sa akin si Cedric kundi ibinaling na niya sa mga nagtatanong sa kanya. I’m watching him as he continues to tell his story. I’m not sure what he’s trying to do pero the situation makes me want to drink more alcohol. 

“It’s a really long story if I have to get into details so to cut the story short, I broke this girl’s heart. I made bad decisions that ended our relationship. I later regretted the decision pero it was too late. She didn’t want me in her life anymore.”

“Hala, sobrang sad naman nun sir!”

“It is,” he smiled, “pero despite that painful experience, I’m thankful to her because she taught me a great lesson.”

“Ano po ‘yon?”

“It’s part of our company’s core values: Communication and Respect. Plus, she also taught me the value of careful decision making. I worked hard to make Nimble a success and at the same time, I wanted to improve myself. I wanted to be a better person for her.”

“Wow sir! Now that Nimble is a success, nakipagkita na po ba kayo ulit sa kanya or may balak kayo makipagkita to show how you’ve changed?”

That question made me stop drinking and look at his direction again. He is looking intently at me as he answers it. 

“All these years I only wished for her to be happy. It was never my intention to go back to her and bother her. But fate must be playing with us, I unexpectedly met her again.”

“Hala! For real po? What happened next?”

“Nagkabalikan po kayo?”

Umiling si Cedric, “No, we haven’t really spoken yet.”

May nagtaas ng kamay sa dulo ng table. “Sir Cedric! Sorry, sobrang curious lang po sa kwento ninyo. Kahit hindi ninyo po sagutin if masyadong personal.”

“Sure. Go ahead.” 

“Do you still love her after all these years?”

I couldn’t take it anymore. Hearing all of these is making the room feel smaller, hotter and uncomfortable. I want to breathe fresh air so even before he answers the question, I excuse myself.

“Sorry guys, c.r. lang muna ako.”

“Uy kj mo naman, Sai. Wait mo muna marinig sagot ni sir Cedric, intense na ‘yong kwentuhan!” Pagpigil ni Hannah sa akin nang tumayo ako. 

“It’s fine, you can go.” Napatingin ulit ako kay Cedric nang sabihin niya ‘yon, tumango lang ako to acknowledge it at naglakad na papunta sa pinto. Ngunit bago ko pa man mabuksan ang pinto narinig ko ulit siyang magsalita.

“To answer your question if I still love her after all these years, well . . . it’s never easy to forget your first love.”

I left after hearing it. Not sure what he meant by it and not sure what to feel about it.

Pagkatapos kong mag-c.r. ay lumabas ako sa building para makahinga saglit. I’m already feeling a little dizzy from all the drinks I had. 

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

“Umuulan.” Sambit ko sa aking sarili habang nakaangat ang aking kamay upang saluhin ng aking palad ang mga patak ng ulan. Nakatayo lang ako sa may hagdan sa labas ng building, ito lang kasi ang covered area. Wala rin akong dalang payong kaya hindi ako makalayo para makapaglakad lakad. Pinagmasdan ko ang pila ng mga tao sa daan na nagaabang ng masasakyan. Friday night at umuulan pa, sobrang traffic.

Mayamaya lang ay naramdaman kong nag-vibrate ang phone ko at nang silipin ko ito ay nakita ko ang isang text mula kay Brian.

“Sorry, love. Mukhang hindi kita masusundo today, nagka-emergency sa work at mukhang dito na ako sa work matutulog para matapos itong urgent task namin. Gusto mo i-book kita ng taxi? O kaya pwede kong tawagan pinsan ko para sunduin ka?”

Nag-reply ako sa kanya, “It’s okay, love. I can ask a colleague to give me a ride home. Don’t worry about me, just focus there. Good luck sa work and I hope matapos niyo rin agad ‘yan. Get something to eat and rest as soon as you finish. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Thank you, love! Sorry again if I can’t pick you up today! I hope you’re having a great time there. I love you!”

“Thanks, love you too.” Ise-send ko na sana ang reply kong ‘yon nang biglang may nagsalita sa gilid ko. 

“Do you smoke?” Paglingon ko ay nakita ko si Cedric sa tabi ko, hawak hawak ang isang pakete ng sigarilyo at lighter. Inaalok niya ito sa akin. Umiling ako at itinago ang cellphone ko, hindi ko na nai-send ang reply ko kay Brian. 

“Oh okay, do you mind if I smoke?” Umiling lang ulit ako bilang tugon. Nagpatuloy siya sa pagsindi ng sigarilyong naka-ipit sa kanyang mga labi. It feels awkward standing next to him. I’m already thinking of going back inside to avoid being alone with him. 

“So,” Nagbuga muna siya ng usok, ibinaba ang sigarilyo sa kaniyang gilid bago muling nagsalita, “How are you, Sairyl?” 

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Lie About Love

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