Chapter 20

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

“Hey Sai, thanks for accepting my friend request whether here in social media or in real life. I’m really glad we’re able to talk again. I was initially scared to approach you thinking you still hate me so much, but thank you for giving me another chance in your life. I wasn’t a good lover to you before, but I hope I can make it up to you by being a good friend at least. I’ll see you at work. Have a good night.”

“Have a good night, Cedric.” 

In-off ko na ang cellphone ko pagkatapos kong i-send ang reply na ‘yon kay Cedric. Nakatingin lang ako sa kisame habang iniisip ang mga nangyari. Parang kailan lang I was dreading to see him again pero everything took a different kind of turn than I expected. Setting aside everything from the past and being just friends with him again, is this really the right thing? 

Maybe the fact that Brian found out about Cedric when he’s calling me right now in messenger is a big sign that I’ve made a mistake. 

“You remember Cedric?” 

“Yes . . . kaibigan ko siya during college days. I’m not really sure when was the last time I heard from him pero just like some of my old friends, I think we just drifted apart. Wait, is there something I’m forgetting about Cedric?”

Nag-hesitate ako saglit.  “Do you remember Cedric’s ex?”

Kumunot ang noo niya, “No, I don’t think so . . . Why?”

Umiling ako, “Ah, wala naman. I was just surprised you’re able to remember old friends you haven’t met after the accident.”

“Yeah, from time to time, I still get fragments of memories I never even thought I lost.” Napatigil ako nang sabihin niya ‘yon, kinabahan ako bigla. What if? 

“Were you friends with Cedric din ba? Also, are you not going to answer his call?” Napabalik ang atensyon ko sa tumutunog kong telepono. 

“Cedric’s my boss at my new work. Wait lang, let me get this.” Tumayo ako sa kama at lumayo ng kaonti kay Brian bago ko sagutin ang tawag ni Cedric.

“Hello?”

“Hi Sai! Sorry for calling, but you weren’t answering my chats earlier. I just realized I might’ve left my wallet in your house and since I’m already out, I’m hoping I can pick it up there. I’m already on my way.”

“Ha?” Nagulat ako sa sinabi niya, hininaan ko ng kaonti ang boses ko upang hindi marinig ni Brian. “Wait. Can I just deliver it to your address later? Sorry, wala ako sa bahay.”

I sighed in relief nang pumayag siya and ended the call. 

“Did he need anything?” Tanong agad sa akin ni Brian pagkabalik ko sa higaan. Umiling ako, “Nah, just some emails to check later.” 

“Ahh. Do you think Cedric would mind if I ask him to meet again? I really couldn’t remember the last time I talked to him, I have vague memories of him. It would be nice sana to catch up on things with him.”

I smiled nervously, “Not sure about that. Medyo busy kasi siya since saglit lang siya dito sa country. He lives in Australia na kasi at nandito lang siya sa country for expansion projects ng company.” 

“Oh, sayang naman.” Nagkibit-balikat siya, “Well, just let him know I said hi if he still remembers me.”

“S-sure!” Na-awkwardan ako sa nagiging takbo ng usapan kaya nag-isip agad ako ng ibang pwedeng mapag-usapan. “Hey love, malapit na ang birthday mo. Next month na, is there anything you like?” 

Ngumiti siya sa akin at nilagay niya ang kanyang palad sa aking kanang pisngi. “I will love anything from you.”

“Ayan ka na naman sa kahit ano, lagi mo ako pinapahirapan sa pag iisip ng ireregalo sa ’yo.” Nag-pout ako sa kanya at kinurot niya naman ang pisngi ko habang natatawa. 

“Wala naman kasi talaga akong gusto in particular, I’m just really happy to receive anything from you. You’re already the best gift in my life and I just couldn’t wish anything more than that.” 

Lumambot na namang ang puso ko sa mga salita niya. He doesn’t even know it but he’s just the sweetest person on Earth. 

“Eh, but I really don’t know what to give you for your birthday. Baka mamaya hindi mo magustuhan.”

Ginulo niya ang buhok ko. “Don’t think too hard about it, promise talaga anything will do. Also, please don’t spend too much on it or better, just don’t get me anything. I want you to focus on your mom’s operation. Just spend the day with me and I will be really happy na.”

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Nang makaalis na si Brian after niya mag-dinner sa amin ay agad kong hinanap ang wallet ni Cedric. Hindi ko ito makita kaya naman tinanong ko si Ate Lalay. Nakita niya pala ito sa sahig ng kusina pagkagising niya at iaabot niya sana sa akin ngunit nakaalis na kami. Nawala na sa isip niya maghapon at naalala niya lang nang banggitin ko. Nang makuha ko ito ay agad kong chinat si Cedric. 

“Where do I send your wallet?”

He responded a few minutes later with his address. I realized how close he lives, just 10 minutes away from my house. Umupo ako sa kama ko at pinagmasdan ang itim na wallet niya na nakapatong sa bed table ko. Nag-isip ako ng malalim hanggang sa napagdesisyunan kong makipagkita sa kanya.

“Hey, can I come over instead?” Pumayag naman siya. Nagpalit ako ng jeans at nagsuot ng jacket, kinuha ko rin ang payong ko bago ako naglakad papunta sa condo niya dahil umuulan. 

“What time are you going to sleep, love?” Nakatanggap ako ng message from Brian nang makarating ako sa tapat ng pinto ng unit ni Cedric. Magre-reply sana ako nang mabilis kaso biglang bumukas ang pinto ni Cedric. He’s standing in front of the door wearing a red v-neck shirt with a black jogging pants, it’s weird to see him looking so casual again. Lagi ko kasi siyang nakikitang nakasuot ng suit. It’s a bit refreshing to see him like this, all of a sudden his mature demeanor disappeared and I’m reminded of the Cedric I used to know.

“Here’s your wallet.” Itinago ko muna sa bulsa ko ang aking cellphone at kinuha ko naman ang wallet niya para iabot agad sa kanya. Mas binuksan niya pa ang pinto niya at nag-udyok na pumasok ako. 

“Hey sorry for the trouble, you shouldn’t really have gone your way to give it to me personally.”

Inilagay ko muna sa gilid ng pinto ang payong ko nang makapasok ako sa unit niya. Napansin ko na sobrang simple ng interior, there’s barely anything in his unit, just the necessities. 

“It’s okay, I just wanted to talk to you as well.” Pinaupo niya ako sa couch while he walks towards his fridge.

“About what? Also, do you want anything ba? Juice or beer? Sorry, I don’t have much here.”

“Beer na lang.” Kumuha siya ng dalawang can ng beer at inabot ang isa sa akin matapos niyang buksan ito at umupo sa tabi ko. 

“I’ve never felt nervous when people tell me they want to talk about something in private. It’s usually just business stuff pero hearing it from you all of a sudden, kinabahan ako bigla.” Uminom muna siya ng beer bago magpatuloy. “Did I do something wrong again?”

Ipinatong ko muna ang can ng beer sa lamesa sa harap namin at tumingin sa kanyang direksyon. “Not really, but I want to tell you something.”

“Okay . . . ”

“Brian does not remember about us, our past.”

Muntik na siyang masamid nang marinig ang sinabi ko. “Wait, sorry, ano? Hindi ko gets.”

In-explain ko ang naging kundisyon noon ni Brian at kung paano ko siya inalis sa kwento naming dalawa. 

“Oh.” Iyon lang nasabi niya pagkatapos kong magsalita. 

Inikot-ikot ko ang aking hintuturo sa lid ng beer can bago nagsalitang muli. “Pero naalala ka pa rin niya bilang naging kaibigan niya.” 

“Bakit mo pala sinasabi ang mga bagay na ito sa akin, Sai?”

“Kung sakali lang magkaroon ng pagkakataon na magkita kayo ni Brian, gusto ko lang iwasan mong ikwento sa kanya ang tungkol sa atin.”

“Bakit mo ‘yon itinago sa kanya in the first place?” 

Napakagat ako ng ilalim na labi at tumingin sa aking gilid upang iwasan ang kanyang nagtatanong na mga mata. “I didn’t want you to be part of us. I wanted to completely remove you from my life back then so I can only focus on Brian.”

“Ouch naman ‘yon.,” Nagbiro siya sabay inom ng kanyang beer. “Pero hindi naman kita masisi. I guess you really love Brian that much.”

Tumango lang ako bilang tugon. Tumayo naman siya para kumuha pa ng isang can ng beer sa kanyang ref. Habang nandoon siya ay bigla siyang nagsalita ulit.

“7 years na rin pala, Sai. Hanggang ngayon hindi mo pa rin sinasabi sa kanya ang totoo? Don’t you think he deserves to know about the truth? I don’t think it’ll bring any harm naman sa relationship ninyo. Actually, the more you keep this hidden, the bigger risks you’re going to face. Trust me, I’ve learned it from experience.” He smiles bitterly as he continues, “What if isang araw bigla na lang niya maalala? Ano na lang kaya ang iisipin niya?”

“I hope he doesn’t remember pero if he does . . .  I don’t really know, I’ll figure something out. I think he’ll understand me in the end anyway.”

“Do you want more?” Inalok niya ako ng isa pang can ng beer na tinanggihan ko dahil hindi ko pa nauubos ang unang ibinigay niya. Umupo na ulit siya sa tabi ko, binuksan ang can niya at uminom ulit. “I hope he does. I hope everything works out for you, Sairyl.”

Isang mahabang katahimikan ang namagitan sa amin. Tanging paglagok lang ng aming mga inumin ang maririnig habang magkatabi kami sa couch niya. Iniisip ko na dapat na akong umalis nang magsalita ulit siya. 

“Thank you, Sairyl.”

“Saan?”

“Thanks for filling me in with a few details of your past, regardless if it’s a positive or negative one. I’m so happy to hear something about you  in those years I didn’t get to see you. You don’t know how much I’ve missed you.”

“Hey, remember, we’re only friends now. Please don’t cross the line.” Mariing sabi ko upang makarating sa kanya ang mensahe.

“I know and as your friend, I’ll do anything for you. I can even go along with the lie you’ve told Brian if that’s what you want me to do. It’ll be our very own secret, you can trust me.”

“Thank you. Can you give me a cigarette stick?”

“Hindi ba nag-quit ka na?”

“Can we share this secret, too?” 

The cold July night makes me crave for a cigarette so bad. I also feel like I can trust Cedric again so I went ahead and told him everything that’s been bothering me for the past weeks that I have only kept to myself. After I’ve finally let everything out, umalis ako sa unit niya feeling lighter than usual.

I forgot my umbrella in his condo, probably because it’s not raining anymore when I got out. I only checked my phone when I got home and that’s when I realized I also forgot to reply to Brian’s messages. Ah sh*t, Sairyl. What’s wrong with you?

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Lie About Love

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