Chapter 23

[A story from http://www.haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Lumipas na ang tatlong linggo simula ng ilibing si mama. The melancholic feeling is still there, but the days are getting a bit easier as it goes by. It is still difficult for me to go home after work because I find myself alone in a big and empty home. Brian wanted to temporarily stay at my house to accompany me but I rejected the idea. I know how much sleep he’s losing because of having to balance his deadlines and being the best boyfriend. 

Gusto kong mag-focus siya sa malaking project nila ngayon na kailangan niyang tapusin. Isang araw nang matulog siya sa bahay, mga bandang alas dos ‘yon ng umaga at nagising ako upang magbanyo nang marinig ko siya mula sa kusina. May kausap siya noon sa telepono at mukhang nakikipagtalo siya dito, boss niya ata ‘yon. Maingat ako sa hakbang ko upang hindi niya ako mapansin habang pinagmamasdan ko siya. Nagulat na lang ako nang ibato niya ang cellphone niya at nagtungo siya sa sink upang maghilamos ng mukha. He looked really frustrated and angry. Simula noon pinayagan ko lang siya matulog sa bahay tuwing weekend para hindi siya magambala masyado sa kanyang trabaho. 

“Ito ang listahan ng mga siyudad na nag-anunsyo na ng walang pasok.” Naririnig ko sa t.v. ang balita na umabot na ng signal #2 ang bagyo sa Metro Manila at karatig na lugar. At syempre may pasok pa rin kaming mga immortal private employees. Buti na lang at Friday na at kahit magpatuloy ang bagyo bukas ay wala ng pasok.

“Ingat ka ha.” Paalala ni Brian pagkatapos niyang patayin ang t.v. at kunin ang bag ko. Nagtungo na kami sa kotse niya at hinatid na ako sa trabaho. Pagkaupo ko sa aking desk, bumungad agad sa akin si Hannah na nagkikilay.

“Good morning, mamsh.” 

“Good morning, bakla. Alam mo ba,” nagsimula siyang magkwento, “I met this super hot guy the other day tapos ilang araw na kaming magka-chat. And then, he asked me to go with him tonight sa house niya para mag-chill lang daw kasi mag-isa lang siya doon. Nae-excite ako, baklal! Alam mo na, madidiligan na naman tayo sa malamig na panahong ito!”

“Baliw ka talaga, pero ingat ka ha. May bagyo pa naman, mas lalakas pa raw mamaya.”

“Gaga, nasa loob naman kami ng bahay niya. Hindi naman kami babahain doon.” Tumigil siya sa pagkikilay at humarap sa akin. “Pero alam mo may girlfriend siya.” 

“Ha? Bakit mo pa pinapatulan?” 

“Wala lang, gwapo kasi. At saka sabi niya sa akin, magulo daw isip ng girlfriend niya at nauumay na raw siya doon. Ibe-break niya na rin daw soon.”

“Hala, nako ka Hannah. Masama ‘yan.”

“I know girl, wala naman akong sinabing good girl ako. Parang hindi mo naman na ako kilala.” 

Hannah is very open in letting people know how promiscuous she is. I really don’t know her story and why she presents herself like that but sometimes I just don’t bother with other people’s business.  

“Yeah, pero kawawa naman ‘yong girlfriend nung guy.”

“Well, may kasalanan din naman ‘yong girl. Nahuli niya raw kasi na nakikipagkita pa rin ito sa ex niya without him knowing kaya ‘yon, malabo silang dalawa.” Bumalik siya sa harap ng salamin niya para mag-polbo. “And I’m just here to have fun, bahala silang dalawa sa problema nila.”

“Hay, Hannah. Ikaw ang bahala, gulo lang ‘yang pinapasok mo. Ingat ka na lang sa karma.”

“Oo naman, ilang bad karma bullets na ba naiwasan ko. Ako pa ba.” Sabay tawa niya, umiling-iling na lang ako habang ino-open ang aking computer.  Hindi na ako nagsalita pa at hinayaan na lang siyang magpatuloy sa pagkukwento niya ng kung anu-ano. Sanay na ako sa kanya, marami siya laging kwento tuwing umaga at titigil lang kapag tapos na siyang mag-magkeup at nakakuha na ng kape niya sa pantry. Noong unang linggo pagbalik ko sa work after malibing ni mama, ‘yon lang ang time na talagang tahimik siya at siguro pinakikiramdaman pa ako katulad ng iba ko pang mga katrabaho. 

[A story from http://www.haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Habang nagtatrabaho, I received a direct message from sir Jack via Slack. 

Jack: 

Please meet me in booth 4 in 5 mins.

Sairyl: 

Ok po, sir.

Ito na nga, I dread this kind of message. Lalo na I did commit a lot of mistakes sa work ko in the past weeks. I lock my computer and hesitantly stand up from my seat. 

“Saan punta mo? Mag-c.r. ka? Sama!” Kinuha niya ang pouch niya mula sa drawer niya at tumayo na. 

“Hindi, sa booth. Nag-chat si sir Jack.”

“Hala ka, tinawag ka na rin niya last week ah.” Nagsimula na kami maglakad palabas, parehas lang naman ang direksyon ng banyo at mga private booths.

“True. May nagawa na naman siguro akong mali.”

“Nako, sana naman maging considerate si sir Jack. Kakagaling mo pa lang sa . . . you know.”

“Yeah, pero hindi ‘yon excuse.” At nagpakawala ako ng napakalalim na buntong-hininga. I feel exhausted. I’ve been dragging myself to go to work but all I really want to do is just lie in bed and do nothing all day. I can’t concentrate. Minsan natutulala na lang ako sa harap ng computer screen ko. 

“Good luck sa ‘yo, bakla.” Pumasok na si Hannah sa banyo at nagpatuloy na ako sa paglalakad papuntang booth 4. Since transparent ang mga booths, nakita ko kaagad doon si sir Jack na nakaupo habang may tina-type sa laptop niya. Kumatok muna ako bago pumasok. Nang makita niya ako ay ibinaba niya ang laptop niya at pinapasok na ako.

“Kumusta ka, Sai?” agad niyang tanong sa akin. 

“Okay naman po.” 

“Are you sure? I’ve noticed how bad your performance was for the past weeks. I get it na you just started in the company and you’ve also lost your mom, pero we can only be considerate for a specific amount of time and error. Last week, you sent the wrong emails to the wrong recipients. It affected 2 of our clients and it was a critical error because you’ve sent financial and very confidential information to the wrong people. Buti na lang, those 2 clients actually know each other and sir Ray was able to pull some string for you kung hindi it would have definitely led to your immediate dismissal.”

“I’m really sorry po about that.” Nakayuko kong sabi habang pinaglalaruan ang aking mga daliri sa ilalim ng lamesa. 

“We just received complaints earlier from several clients. The reports you delivered to them were a complete mess. Even the most basic details like inputting their correct company information had glaring errors. We have one client, the same client from last week, wanting to pull out from us just because of that and even our CEO now is stepping in just to calm them.”

“I’m really, really sorry po.” Hindi ko na talaga alam ang dapat kong sabihin kay sir Jack. “Am I getting fired na po ba?”

Sumandal si sir Jack sa upuan niya at napakamot ng ulo. “At this point, you should be but I don’t know why sir Cedric just doesn’t agree to that decision. He said to give you one more chance to correct it. He’s currently in a meeting with that client but he’s updated sir Ray just an hour ago that the client seems to have calmed down na and would allow us an extension to resend the correct report by tomorrow morning.”

Binuksan niya ang laptop niya at may ginawa saglit doon bago nagsalita ulit. “I’ve just sent you the file compiling all errors in your reports. I would need to see all of these reports corrected with zero error by tomorrow, 7 a.m. Buti na lang talaga, the client operates even on Saturdays. So please get your act together, Sairyl.”  

“Yes po, thank you.” After that ay hinayaan na niya akong bumalik sa desk ko. I opened his email and saw a 10-page file of my mistakes. I also checked my task organizer app and saw how many pending tasks I also have to accomplish today. Naisuklay ko na lang ng daliri ko ang aking buhok at nagbuntong-hininga. I tell myself, ‘you can do this, Sairyl.’

I started working, ignoring everyone and skipping lunch break. I only stop when I have to go to the toilet or refill my water or coffee. I don’t even notice it when everyone starts packing up their things and turning off their computers. 

“Bye, Sai. Uwi ka na rin agad pagkatapos niyan ha.” I hear Hannah saying before she goes out. I just nod as I continue to work. 

A little bit later, I hear my phone ringing. I see Brian’s name on the screen and I answer it.

“Hi love, I’m sorry I’m not yet done with work.” Tumayo ako at kinuha ang baso ko to refill it with coffee as I speak with him on the phone. Pangatlong kape ko na ito for the day. 

“I’m sorry din, but I don’t think I’ll be able to pick you up today. I’ll be doing overnight work again, one of our programmers suddenly went AWOL and we’re all panicking here as the project launch is nearing.” I can hear the strain from his voice. 

“Oh no, that’s really bad! Hindi niyo talaga siya ma-contact?”

“Hindi na, we’ve already tried everything pero wala talaga. We are not yet sure what happened to him pero we think it had to do something noong nag-away sila ng senior dev namin the other day. Mainit na kasi ang ulo ng mga tao dito recently dahil sa stress. Nasabayan pa talaga ng drama kung kailan malapit na ang deadline.”

“Kaya nga. Sige love, don’t worry about me, I’ll just get a taxi pauwi. I guess I’ll just see you tomorrow, okay?”

“Yup, ingat ka love. Get home as soon as you can dahil palakas nang palakas ang ulan. I heard baha na raw sa ibang area.”

“Opo, ikaw rin.” 

We ended the call and I went back to my desk. I stared at my screen as I scan how much work I still have left then I shift my eyes to the big transparent window of the office and watched the heavy rains. 

“Puro na lang ulan. Kailan ka ba titigil?”

Maga-alas otcho na, wala ng tao sa office at patay na rin ang mga ilaw. Ako na lang ata ang nandito. Lumalakas lalo ang ulan at rinig ko ang ugong ng hangin mula sa labas. Hindi pa ako naghahapunan pero tinatamad na akong bumaba at bumili ng pagkain, hindi ko nga rin sigurado kung may bukas pa. Marami-rami pa rin akong dapat gawin. 

“Magpapahinga lang ako saglit.” Tinulak ko ang keyboard ko palapit sa monitor para magkaroon ako ng mas maraming space sa lamesa upang ipatong ang aking mga braso at ihiga ang aking ulo. Isinuot ko muna ang aking earphones at saka ko ipinikit ang aking mga mata upang umidlip. 

Let’s fall in love for the night

And forget in the mornin’

Play me a song that you like

You can bet I’ll know every line

Hindi ko alam kung gaano katagal akong nakaidlip ngunit pagmulat ko ay nakasalubong ko ang mga mata niyang nakatitig sa akin. Akala ko ay nanaginip lang ako habang tumutugtog pa rin ang kantang “Let’s Fall In Love For The Night” ng FINNEAS sa aking earphones. 

I’m the boy that your boy hoped that you would avoid

Don’t waste your eyes on jealous guys, f*ck that noise

I know better than to call you mine

“Hi,” nakangiti niyang bati. Nakagilid ang ulo niya habang nakapatong ito sa kanyang braso katulad ng pwesto ko. Nakaupo siya sa upuan ni Hannah. Inabot niya ang earphones sa aking tenga at tinanggal ito. Nang mawala ang tunog na aking pinapakinggan at narinig ko ang boses niya ay saka ko lang napagtantong hindi ako nanaginip. 

“Bakit hindi ka pa umuuwi, Sairyl?”

Inangat ko na ang sarili ko at umupo ng diretso habang kinukusot ang aking mga mata. Napansin kong umupo na rin siya ng ayos at nakatingin pa rin sa akin. Madilim sa paligid namin at naaninag ko lang ang mukha niya mula sa liwanag ng aking monitor screen.

“Bakit hindi ka pa rin umuuwi, Cedric?”

[A story from http://www.haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

Lie About Love

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