Sa Kanya

I will post this story chapter by chapter so you could check it out every week or every other day. I’ll try to update this as soon as I can. This will be a short story like 10 chapters only compared to the others. Siguro if not 10 chapters, around fifteen perhaps? So, I hope you’ll like it. To download, click here. You can also browse downloadables for other stories.

Started: February 13, 2010
Completed: November 8, 2011

 

Copyright © 2011 by AngManunulat

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system is forbidden without permission of the writer.

All the characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relations whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

Images are for imaginary purposes only.

Legend:

▐ RALPH        ▐ KATHLEEN                        ▐ NARRATION (MARIEL)

001

Mariel Concepcion. Female, 26, Quezon. Wedding Coordinator/Planner/Designer. Single for 3 years now. Muntik na sanang ikasal pero siya mismo ang umayaw. One of the best Wedding Shops in the Philippines. Top 26 Entrepreneurs of the Philippines under 30. Great girl. A figure of perfection — maganda, matalino, independent, mabait, successful. Isa nalang yung kulang: ang taong magpupuno ng kanyang puso at kaligayahan. Pero pano iyan? Ang puso niya’y sa kanya parin naiwan.

“Yel naman eh. Gusto ko yung super bongalicious talaga. Ay, eto. Isama mo ang wine parade. Tapos gusto ko parang little fairies yung mga flower girls ko. Yung ganun Yel.”

“Parang fairytale ba Cas?”

“Oo, ayun. I want something like that. Kasi I’m gonna be the princess who’ll marry my prince.” Napatingin siya kagad sa fiance niyang si Hans. Napangiti naman ako sa kanilang dalawa.

“Okay, I’ll work on this and present you the best fairytale kind of wedding.” I sweetly smiled at Cass and ayun, they said they’d call me nalang daw and everything. Then bigla namang pumasok yung isa kong kliyente na kakasal lang, she’s returning the barongs of the groomsmen and the bearers.

“Thalia!”

“Mariel! Naku, nakuha ko na yung video ko for the wedding. Super ganda ng kuha, dear. Thank you, thank you talaga. I super love you. I mean, you made my wedding memorable talaga.” She hugged me.

“Naku naman, Thal. That’s my job nga eh. To make it hussle-free for you and best. Minsan lang kaya nagpapakasal ang babae.”

“Oo nga no! That’s like the dream of every girl talaga. To have a grand and perfect wedding. You know, I’ll tell my cousins na dito na sila sa iyo.” She laughed.

“Oh gosh. Naku, thank you talaga.”

This is what I like about my job. It’s fulfilling to see couples happy and appreciating what you did with their wedding. Ayun nga, a perfect wedding is the dream of every girl who plans to marry someone. It’s one moment where you feel like you’re the most beautiful girl or a princess fulfilling your destiny to marry a prince who loves you very dearly. And it’s my job to make it come true for them.

“Eh ikaw ba, ha, Mariel. Kelan ka pa?” Thalia jokingly asked me.

“Naku no. Matagal pa ako.” Tumawa ako.

“Ilang taon ka na ba… baka naman mawala ka na sa kalendaryo ha.”

Tumawa ulit ako. “Loka! Hindi naman no. May apat na taon pa.”

“Ayy, kung sabagay, enjoy na nga lang muna.”

Around 8 pm na kami nakatapos sa shop. But then it was Friday so rest day sa Saturday then back to work na naman kami on Sunday. Then cycle na naman. Pero ayun, kahit ganito, hindi talaga ako nagrereklamong nakakapagod or ayoko na. Kasi naman, I’ve given up so much to be right where I am now. Yeah, so much.

When I arrived home, I ate dinner and after, naligo and nag movie marathon na. This is my Friday nights. Movie, Lays chips, Cali, face mask, you know. I have no one with me at my house. Yung isang maid ko lang tsaka yung dalawa kong puppies – Bo and Mo. Antagal na ng dalawang puppies na to saken. Maybe nung 18 pa ako, Bo was given to me. Then nung graduation sa college, si Mo naman.

And no, wala akong boyfriend.. 3 years na. The last time we saw each other nung ex ko, that was when I was 23. That was the time I decided to break up with him kasi he’s a nurse and he’s working at Los Angeles and he wanted to get married so I could move there. Siguro nung time na yun, I really thought I was too young to get married. Wala pa akong napapatunayan sa buhay ko, like, if I go to LA, ano naman gagawin ko dun? Maging housewife? Ayoko naman ata nun. I studied Computer Science for 4 years. Sobrang hirap pa. Disappointing din daw nga kasi di naman ako naging programmer or web designer, naging wedding coordinator daw ako. Eh pano iyan, this is my dream since I was young. So I had to turn him down.. and move on. He had to do the same.

For the first two years, sobrang hirap. We’ve been together since I was 17. That’s six years. We’ve been through a lot. Like my family didn’t like him at first since he’s two years older than me and my Mom expected a lot from me… like she expected someone with a great educational and financial background. He’s great naman at that too since his Mom’s a doctor, but my Mom was not all impressed. Pero yun nga, since we were so in love with each other so much, wala rin naman silang nagawa.

He gave Mo and Bo to me. He was the best guy ever, kaya sobrang hirap talaga magmove on kasi everytime I date somebody, nacocompare ko talaga sa kanya. But now, I can say I’m totally doing fine.

I am so over Ralph.

 002

Yup, I am so over him. Really, I am. Wala pa namang special person for me ngayon, but I’m really glad to know that I’m finally over Ralph — I mean, it doesn’t hurt anymore whenever I think or talk about him. Like ngayon. I’m not really hurt. After all, ako naman yung nakipagbreak kaya dapat lang na ako yung unang makaget-over diba? Since then, wala na akong balita kay Ralph. He left for LA after a week or so nung breakup namin, then we never bumped into each other again.

Anyway, Facebook time na. So I logged on to my account and just browse. Ang daming nagpapaset-up ng appointment, but then hindi dapat dito yung set up ng appointment. They can call or visit us and dun kami nageentertain ng clients. Peak season pa naman ngayon. And we don’t really accept a lot of weddings, pinipili lang namin yung worth it talaga ng aming time so we could really focus and concentrate and make it really perfect for the couple. I don’t like a lot of clients. Seriously. Sabihin niyo nang matapobre ako and all, pero ayoko ng ganun. Yeah, big money nga pero yung quality ng work namin, hindi na 100% kasi nagrarattle na yung team as to kung sino yung uunahin. So yun, I just sent them a reply that they should call us or visit us for accomodations.

SATURDAY.

“Clara, tapusin mo yung sequins ng gown ha. I like it detailed talaga para bongga. Where’s Paolo? Okay na ba yung flowers and wine?” Then I looked around at Sheila. “Shil, okay narin ba yung video coverage?”

“Yes, Mariel.” She answered calmly. “Relax. Everything will be fine. As if naman baguhan tayong lahat sa trabahong ito, diba?” Napatawa ako. “Breathe in, breathe out. Okay?”

“Naku naman no, that is the senator’s anak kaya. Dapat lang talaga the best lahat.”

“Of course, Mariel. We have the best team, look around you. Hindi naman dito magpapa plano iyan if they do not know that we’re the best diba?”

“Right. Sorry, medyo pagod lang siguro ako this week. Sunod-sunod kasi yung big weddings natin.”

“It’s okay. If you want you can go out now and just take a day off. We’ll be fine here.”

“Uhh, no. Ayoko Clara. Maybe sa susunod na lang. Like when I really need a break na talaga.” I smiled softly at her and went back to my office.

Bigla namang may pumasok na cliente at hinanap ako. Lumabas din naman kagad ako and accomodated her.

“Hi, good afternoon! I’d like you to be my wedding planner sana. You can name your price.” She smiled. Medyo nabigla naman ako.

“Good afternoon, Ma’am. Well, we have a package for your wedding, if you’d like to check it out first.” I handed her the catalogue. “But you can always change the theme, or add or subtract some parts of the package.”

“Oh, I’ll check it out muna ha.”

“Sure, ma’am. Just call me if okay na.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Lumapit naman si Clara sakin. “Sino naman yan? Ang chorva naman ha. ‘Name your price’. I guess she’s really aware that we’re the best in the business. Guess she wants this bad, Yel.”

“Oo nga. Medyo nabigla ako dun. She’s a good payer perhaps.”

“Well, let’s see. Tanggapin mo na if okay lang naman yung terms niya.”

“Oo naman no. Grasya kaya iyan.”

Then tinawag niya na ako so I went back to her again on the couch.

“Okay, so I like package 3. But I just want my own theme for this. Is it okay?”

“Yes, ma’am. How about the price? Kasi usually ma’am, when the theme is of your choice, it gets higher. Yung budget hindi stick sa price.”

“Oh, no problem. I told you diba, name your price. I’m very flexible.”

“Ahhh, I like that.” I chuckled and she laughed. “So please fill up this form, ma’am. And we will organize it as soon as pssible. When is the wedding ba?”

“Hmm, it’s next month. Kaya ba?”

“Oh, yes ma’am. Kayang-kaya.”

“Good.”

Then she filled up the form and everything else.

“I’m Kathleen. I’m a nurse.”

“Wow, a nurse… so you work abroad?”

“Yeah, my fiance is a nurse din. We both work at LA. Dito na kami magpapakasal kasi naman our families want it to happen here.”

“Wow.. that’s really great.” Nurses. Great. “So andito na ba fiance mo?”

“He’ll be arriving from LA next week. You’ll meet him soon.”

“Okaayy. Looking forward to that.”

“Then we’ll finalize everything. So I gotta go now. Thank you talaga for the accomodation Miss..?”

“Yel. Yel nalang na.”

“Sure. Kath nalang din ako. Sige sige, una na ako. Thank you so much. I left my number there and I got your calling card naman. I’ll call if there’s any changes. Thank you again.”

“Sure, see you again Kath!”

Then all throughout that week, subsob sa pagtatrabaho na naman. Siguro eto rin yung nakapagpamove on sakin kay Ralph kasi sobra-sobra akong magtrabaho. Pagdating sa opisina, trabaho. Pagdating sa bahay, trabaho pa din. Yung ganung klaseng buhay. Minsan naman lumalabas-labas ako kasama yung mga friends ko, pero mas gusto kong mahiga nalang sa kama at magpahinga minsan.

And yes, another successful wedding of an actress sa Philippine movie industry. Sobrang publicity na naman ito for our shop. Most of the elites are coming to us na. And I’m very very glad naman dun. So Saturday night, I went out with my team.

“I heard he’s back..” Hazel whispered to me.

“Ha?”

“I heard he’s back..” Medyo she shouted it to me na.

“Sino?” Alam ko naman kung sino yung tinutukoy niya eh. Pero diba nga, I’m over him? Kaya why should I care naman?

“Si Ralph!”

“Oh talaga?”

“Oo! Sinabi lang saken ni Andrew pero hindi ako ganun kasure eh.”

“Ahh, good for him.” Sabi ko lang and I stood up and started dancing with everyone else.

Nung dumating na ako sa bahay, napaisip ako sa sinabi ni Hazel. Ba’t niya pa kailangan sabihin sakin yun? Eh wala  lang din naman yun saken. 3 years na kaya.. wala nang pakealaman no.

Then after a week, Kathleen called me up na kasi she’s going back to the shop to finalize everything kasi dumating na yung fiance niya. Yehey, thank you naman. Medyo loose kami ngayong week kasi wala masyadong events. May dalawang event lang na nakaline up… and next month padin yung deadline so medyo okay talaga. Good timing din itong si Kath e.

FRIDAY.

So I wore a cute yellow dress which I look all so fresh and feminine. Bawal kasi sa shop ang BLACK and GRAY. It’s dull and ayoko. We are catering wedding events, kaya dapat yung atmosphere and aura din naman, happy and bright. Yung ganun.

Then I received a text from Kathleen that she’s on her way to the shop. So I got ready na. Eh yun nga lang, medyo sumakit yung tiyan ko at napatakbo muna ako sa toilet and medyo inabot ng 30 minutes sa comfort room. Nung lumabas ako, I saw this man.

He was sitting at the couch just looking around. He still had the same expression. Tight-lipped, hands on his lap, calm eyes. Napasinghap ako ng hangin.

Bakit siya nandito? It’s been 3 years and he’ll show up to me? Akala ko ba tinapos na namin yun 3 years ago? Ano pa ba kailangan niya saken? Shiiittt. Awkward.

“Yel!” Kath smiled and bigla akong napatingin sa kanya. Oh crap. Could it be…

“Kath… so.. ready na? Everything’s okay na?”

“Yeahh. I brought my fiance…” She smiled sweetly. Oh crap indeed.   He’s the only guy inside the shop right now. Could it be..  “Mariel, this is Ralph and Ralph, this is our wedding planner, Mariel.” She introduced me like she’s having the best time of her life.

Napatingin lang ako kay Ralph. Hindi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko sa kanya. I mean, it’s really awkward. Tsaka parang nashock din ako to know that… he’s getting married.

“Hi, Sir. Good morning. I heard you two are nurses?”

“Yeah.. we are.”

“She’s the best wedding planner in the country and I know we can afford her, right?” Kathleen now making pacute and all.

“Yeah, everything for you.” Ralph smiled at her.

Oh shiittt. 3 long years. I’ve been very fine for 3 long years. Why this? Why now?

“Wow, great. Uhmm, so have your fiance checked the catalogue?”

“Oh, he’s fine with it.. you know, guys..”

“Right.” I chuckled. “Hmm, upo muna tayo. Would you want a coffee?”

“Pwede ba yun? Of course. Coffee would be nice!” Kath answered.

“Okay, just look around muna, I’ll get two cups of coffees.”

“Thanks, Yel.”

Breathe in, breathe out. Ahhhhh. Nakakaloka ito. I can’t believe he’s gonna get married to someone in a month. I mean… it’s just weird. Gets niyo ba? Alam ko we broke up 3 years ago, but I never really thought he’s gonna get married this soon. But then again, bakit hindi? He asked me nga noon, eh ngayon pa? What I’m trying to say is, I never really imagined him getting married to somebody else.. than me.

“Okay ka lang?” Clara asked me.

“Clar.. yeah, I am.” I said and hinanda na yung coffee ko.

“Dun lang muna ako sa labas.” Sabi niya naman.

Huli ko na naisipan na baka makita niya si Ralph at baka anong isipin niya at baka ano pa ang masabi niya.. Oh craaaaaaaaaaaaapp!

“Clara-”

“Wow… Mariel, look who’s here.. Ralph Uychiat…”

“Hey, Clar..”

“What, you’re visiting Mariel?”

“Clar- stop that..” I whispered.

“Hi, Clara.. so two know each other?”

Bigla namang natahimik si Clara at siguro medyo nagets niya na yung nangyayari. “Oh, yeahhh. College friends.”

“Really honey?” Napalingon siya kay Ralph. “Pati si Mariel?”

“Yeah..”

“Yeahh..” Sabi ko nadin.

“Shoot. Ba’t di mo man lang namention? How great naman.. so can we get a discount?” Kathleen winked at me.

She’s like so innocent and so jolly and soo funny and so positive. Hindi niya nagets ang awkwardness.. and silence and even the pauses between each question and answer.

“Yeah, sure.” I smiled.

Yeah, never in my wildest dreams I’ve thought of him getting married to someone else and me as their wedding planner. Wow. THREE YEARS! Parang kahapon lang.

003

“So pano kayo nagkakilala?” Tanong ulit ni Kathleen.

“Way way back college years.” I smiled.

“Y-yeah.” I know Ralph too well and when he smiles timidly, I know he’s not really comfortable na.. but still he’s trying to. “She was a..”

“Freshman and he was a senior.”

“But he’s a nursing student?” Nawindang ata ulo ni Kathleen. “Nursing ka din ba noon, Yel?”

“Ay hindi. Computer science ako.. well, I remembered his aunt introducing him to me.. and we became good friends.” I smiled. “But then he graduated din naman kaagad.”

“Ahhh, it’s just so weird. But nevermind. Small world naman.” She smiled again and looked at Ralph.

“How did you two meet naman, Ralph?” Clara asked him na para bang tinutukso. Kinilig-kilig naman itong si Kathleen. Awww, they’re so cute.

“Well, we work at the same hospital sa LA and.. we were schoolmates back at college. Hindi ko nga alam na nageexist ito eh.” She chuckled at hinampas ng mahina si Ralph. How sweet naman.

“Eh kung nalaman mo noon, malamang pinakasalan mo nako nung college pa.” Tumawa din naman si Ralph.

Uh, eh. Pano ka niya pakakasalan nung college kayo, eh tayo kaya nun? Diba?

Mkay, enough of kakornihan na. Weird, ngayon lang ako nagreklamo sa kakornihan ng cliente ko. So not me.

When they left, natulala lang talaga sa isang sulok. As in tulala. Hindi ako nakapagsalita and everything. Nakatingin lang ako sa wedding gowns na nasa gilid ng office ko. Ano pa nga ba ang dapat kong sabihin? Sobrang nashock ako dun. What a joke. As in a very good joke.

The man I’ve rejected a proposal is now engaged to be married to another girl. I mean, seriously? Is this a joke? Or  am I PUNK’D or whaaat?

“That was Ralph? Right? Tama ba ako? Or… m-mali din?” Clara asked me na parang siya din mismo hindi makapaniwala sa nangyari at nakita niya kanina.

I shook my head. “Hindi ko din alam, Clar. H-hindi ko alam.”

Clara shook her head again.  “Let’s face it. That was really Ralph Uychiat, Mariel. Your boyfriend for 6 years until you rejected his proposal! And now he’s getting married to somebody else!” Medyo nataranta ata si Clara pinagsasabi niya. Bigla akong napatingin sa kanya..

“Kakayanin mo ba, Mariel?”

“Yeah, of course. T-this is business. And we can’t say no to a client, r-ri-right?” Napasinghap ako ng malalim and started scramming papuntang comfort room.

“Well, it depends.” Clara looked at me na parang bang may iba pa siyang meaning.

Bumalik kaagad ako sa CR. Feeling ko, bigla-biglang bumalik yung LBM ko. I felt butterflies all over my stomach. Minsan lang ako nakakaramdam ng ganito.

“Weird..” I said to myself habang nakaupo sa toilet. “He changed a lot. Physically. Mas gumwapo, pumuti, mas formal, mas may dating.. at parang may.. Arrggh, why do I keep thinking of it ba? Ikakasal na nga..”

Kinatok naman kaagad ako ni Clara sa CR. “Sure ka ba na nagieLBM ka, o baka naman mga butterflies yan na pilit nang gustong lumabas sa tyan mo?”

“Ano ka ba, Clara!” Tumawa ako. “LBM to! Kagabi pa to no!”

“Lumabas ka na diyan, naiihi na ako. Tapus chika tayo!”

I hurriedly fixed myself up at lumabas na ng CR. Pumasok naman kaagad si Clara.

“Hayy, salamat at nakaihi ako.”

“Sorry na. Masama lang talaga takbo ng tiyan ko ngayon.”

“Ninerbyos ka ba kanina, Yel?”

“Hindi naman. Honestly, nabigla lang ako. Never in my wildest dream talaga na magiging planner ako ng mga yun, especially ni Ralph.”

“I know right. Isn’t it awkward?”

“Awkward to the max, dear. Naloka ako kanina.”

“Pero in fairness, mas hot si Ralph ngayon. Alam mo yun, yung parang may direksyon na sa buhay. Di tulad noon. Paggigig lang yung alam. Naging nurse pa.” Tumawa si Clara. “Anyway, how did it feel?”

“Ang ano?”

“To see him for the first time since you broke up 3 years ago?”

“Good.” I smiled.

“Good? I mean.. wala bang efek-efek?”

“Haha. Loka ka. Wala no. We’re over.. as in over.”

“Eh ikaw ba, over na talaga?”

“Oo naman.. 3 years na kaya yun.”

“Di nga? Kasi alam mo, saksi ako sa first two years ng 3 years na iyan..”

“Naku no, wag na nating ireplay. Kahit ako nawiwindang ulo ko e.”

“Oh well, wala narin naman tayong magagawa, ikakasal na si Ralph e.”

“Right.. at wala talaga tayong gagawin..”

9:08 PM.

Palabas na ako ng shop kasi ako na yung naglock ng shop.

“Mariel!” Muntik na akong mapatalon kung di lang sobrang pamilyar ng boses. Sa sobrang familiar ng voice, pakiramdam ko tuloy nanghina yung mga binti ko at nanlamig yung mga kamay ko. “Teka..”

“Ralph-”

“Can we talk? Kahit… 15 minutes lang.”

I looked around. “Uhm, sirado na kasi yung shop, so if it’s about your wedding-”

“No, it’s about-”

“If you’re worried about the story of our past, no problem. I won’t say a thing to her.”

“No, actually alam niya.. but-”

“Ha?”

“But she has no idea kung sino.. and honestly, I have no intentions of saying the name to her.”

“Okaaayyyy?”

“Ikaw talaga kasi yung gusto niyang maging wedding planner, and I don’t want to spoil it. So sana-”

“As what I’ve said, no problem.” I smiled at Ralph.

“Thanks, Yel.”

Ngumiti lang ako then silence. Sobrang awkward. We just looked into each other’s eyes.. and for the first time, he was the one who first looked away.

“I gotta go, thanks a lot.” He smiled and sumakay na sa kotse niya. Sumakay narin ako sa kotse ko. Ipapahinga ko nalang talaga ito.

“Ano ba kasi plano mo sa buhay mo?”

“Hindi ko alam.”

“Anong hindi mo alam? Gagraduate ka na o.”

“Eh yooon. Kukuha ng board, tapos volunteer pag nakapasa, tapos punta na ng London o States.”

“Eh yun naman pala e.”

“Tsaka…”

“Tsaka ano?”

“Magkaroon ng pamilya.”

“Wow.”

“Ikaw ba?”

“Ganun din..”

“Magkapamilya?”

“Kasali na rin yan.. pero yung una, gagraduate ako, tapos magtatrabaho sandali, pag nakaipon, I’ll open a wedding thingy shop.”

“Bakit wedding shop?”

“Eh gusto ko talaga yan e. San ka pala titira?”

“Kung san ako madedestino..”

“Ahhh. Then ngayon pa lang, start searching for a wife na..”

“Di na.. andyan ka naman e.”

“Ay talaga? How sure are you na sasama ako?”

“Kaseee labbb moko.. diba?”

“Lababo mo mukha mo.. hahahaha!”

“Pero di nga..gusto ko ikaw na.”

 “Gusto ko din ikaw na.”

Now I know why memories are the most treasured gift in this planet. Cause it’s the only thing that never changes, amidst everything else – everyone else- everywhere else. It’s one thing you can always have.. and it’s one thing you can replay over and over again.

You and him. Forever. In memories.

004

“Chu, tama ba to?”

“Alin?”

“Yung.. tungkol kay-”

“Kay Ralph ba?  Anu ka ba no? Ikaw yung nakipagbreak noon sa kanya, so okay lang iyan. Mas awkward kapag ikaw yung nasa lagay ni Ralph..”

“Ang alin?”

“Yung like ikaw, eto ha, wedding planner ka, but let’s make it.. hmm, ikaw yung brinekan ni Ralph noon, tapus pmunta siya sa iyo ngayon and ask you to be his wedding planner, eh syempre, yooon, insulto yun sa part mo.”

“Ahhhh…”  “Hindi ko gets.”

“Lokaret ka naman Mariel eh. Ayos lang talaga yan.. maliban nalang kung-”

“Ano ka ba, wala na noh. 3 years na kaya. Tagal na nun.”

“O eh anu naman problema mo diyan? 3 years naman pala eh.”

“Well, hayyy. Nevermind.”

“That’s really really okay dear sister.”

“Whatever.”

Ewan ko nga ba bakit parang ako yung na-iilang sa thought na magpapakasal na siya. Seriously, it’s not like I still love him or anything as such, siguro hindi lang talaga ako makapaniwala that he’s now getting married. I mean, marriage never really occurred to my mind – not a single thought for 3 years now. I never even thought of getting married in the future to just anyone. It’s just weird kasi siguro when I was younger, all I could think of marrying in the future was Ralph, and it’s a shocker to know that he’s marrying someone I don’t even know.

Anyway anyway, just bear with me. I’m still surprised kasi.. as in, really. O_O

“Yes, pwede na nating macheck yung flowers ngayon, Kath.”

“Talaga? Edi icheck na natin.”

Hindi naman halatang excited siya. Napatingin sakin si Ralph and just smiled. Oo na, sanay na ako sa mga ganyan.

So ayun, we went to the flower shop and checked all the flowers.

“Wow, gusto ko yung tulips, Ralph. What do you think?”

“Yeah, looks good.” Aw, typical groom-to-be answer.

“How about you Yel? What do you want?”

“Well, most of my clients go for roses and tulips. Hyacinths are also nice… yung ibang clients kasi namen, they personally order their choice of flowers outside the country.”

“Wow. But we can’t do that. That will take  a lot of time, diba?”

“Yes, Kath.”

“Hmm, how about we just settle with this flowers nalang hun?” sabi ni Ralph kay Kathleen.

Hun? He called her ‘hun’? Akala ko ba he doesn’t like being called or calling the significant other as ‘hun’?  Oh well, people change, ika nga.

“Oo nga naman no. Ano nga ulit yun, Yel?”

“Pardon?”

“Your personal choice?”

“M-my personal choice?”

“Yeah.”

“Hmm, I dont think dapat kong sabihin but regarding to-”

“No, no. I really want your personal choice.”

“Ahh, ganun ba.. hmm, I’d actually go for tulips.”

“Wow, tulips. Sige, sige, tulips and roses nalang yung main flowers, then yung sa iba, ikaw na yung bahala magdecide, okay?”

“Okay.”

After the flower shop, dumiretso na kami sa shop for the wedding gown. So kinuha na namin yung size niya and everything else, ganun din naman yung kay Ralph.

“Well, ano nga naman ba ang mawawala satin kung susundin natin yung tradisyun diba?”

“Pero totoo kaya yun?” Nag-uusap sila tungkol sa superstitious belief na di daw matutuloy yung kasal kapag sinuot ng bride yung gown niya before the wedding at kapag nakita siya ng groom niya.

“I personally don’t believe in that. Some of my clients naman Kath, nagfifit ng wedding gowns nila before the wedding at natutuloy naman yung kasal. Siguro nasa determinasyon lang talaga yan ng ikakasal. Kapag nasa tama siyan kaisipan, for sure, magpapakasal talaga yan.”

“May point ka diyan, Mariel.” Tumawa siya ng mahina. “Anyway, how’s Ralph ba nung college kayo?”

Oh shooot. Ba’t kailangan pa itong itanong?

“Well, sabi ko nga dati, hindi kami masyadong nagkasama ng matagal kasi naman nung first year ako, graduating na siya.”

“Pero sabi niya, kahit graduate na daw sya noon, you guys still hang out with each other.”

“I guess he’s still the same Ralph.. like kung ano siya nung nakilala mo siya, ganun din naman siya siguro dati.”

“Safe answer naman iyan eh.”

“Haha! Okay. Well, he’s really funny back then. Yung tipong, corny yung jokes. Like, kahit di nakakatawa, matatawa ka nalang kasi nakikita mo yung effort niya na magpatawa. Something like that.”

“Really?”

“Hindi niya ba iyan nadala ngayon?”

“Ay hinde! Masyadong seryoso at tahimik. Especially nung magkasama kami sa hospital dun sa LA, lagi lang siyang nasa sulok at ayaw makipag-usap samen.”

“Eh naging kayo naman eh, kaya okay na yan.”

“Hindi eh, parang.. kasi noon, I heard ganun daw sya kasi yung significant other naiwan dito sa bansa, kaya daw ganun. Depressed. And whenever I ask him kung sino or magkwento naman sya tungkol sa kanila, natatameme yung lokong iyan.”

“Naku naman, Kath. Sabi nga nila, ‘past is past’.”

“I know that naman, but diba, dapat maging open kami sa isa’t-isa before we get married.”

“Right.. pero siguro naman hindi na kailangan iyang iopen diba?”

“Kungsabagay.. pero nung college ba kayo, may kilala kang-”

“Wala, Kath. Hindi kami ganun kaclose eh.”

“Ahhh..”

“Okay, ayan. I got everything na. Final na to ha? Tomorrow, we’ll work on your wedding dress na kaagad.”

“Yeah, thanks Mariel.”

“No problem.”

Lumabas kami ng dressing room and I saw Ralph sitting at the couch. Si Kath pinaiwan ni Clara kasi tatapusin pa daw yung gusto niyang style ng sequins sa gown. So pumunta ako kay Ralph to check things out.

“Lanie, tapos na ba dito si Sir?”

“Hindi pa Miss Yel. Tatapusin ko muna to.”

“Okay.” I looked at him. “Sandali lang ha, tatapusin muna yung nauna.”

“Sure, sure. Walang problema.”

Tumalikod na ako at hahakbang na sana papunta sa office ko when Ralph said something.

“You don’t regret anything, right?”

“I’m sorry?” I faced him.

“You have a very great career.” He looked around and smiled softly at me. “I hope you’re happy as I am right now.” FIRE IN THE HOLE. Tagos yun ah.

“Yeah, this is everything I’ve wanted. I am extremely happy and contented.”

“Then that’s great to hear, Mariel.”

“Thanks.” I smiled awkwardly and walked away.

Napaupo ako sa table ko and just buried my face in my hands. He didnt mean anything else right? No he didn’t, Mariel. That was just something a nice guy would tell you after breaking his heart. He’s just happy and you should be happy for him.

“Sige, Clara ha. I’ll just call you tomorrow. We’ll be here by ten am.”

“Okay, bye. Ingat kayo ha.”

Pumasok naman kaagad si Clara sa office ko. “Okay ka lang ba?”

“Yeah..”

“Seems like this one client is stressing you out. Gusto mo ako nalang humandle sa kanila?”

“No, it’s alright.”

“Sure ka ba?”

“Oo naman..”

“Kasi ako, hindi ako sure sa iyo e.”

“Clara?”

“Three years na nga ba talaga, Yel?”

“Oo naman no.”

“Hindi, what I’m trying to ask, sa three years na iyon, nakalimot ka nga ba talaga?”

 005

Ilang ulit ko ba kailangang sabihin na nakalimot na nga ako kay Ralph? Oo, we shared a lot – both good and bad times, pero tapos na iyon. We’ve moved on. He’s getting married and I’m very happy with my own career. Bakit hindi niyo iyon maintindihan? Mahirap ba talagang intindihin iyan? We all need to move on from the thought that I still have feelings for him. Okay?

“Oo, I’m on my way — hindi naman — medyo traffic lang — thank you — I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

I’m on my way to the cake shop kasi magpapatulong na naman si Kathleen about it. Rafaellos is where I am headed. Usually kasi talaga, dun ako nag-oorder ng cake for my clients. They’re like the best in the business. They are pretty expensive but no regrets. Plus, I can get discounts there kasi we’re kinda close na ng may-ari.

I went in at the cake shop and I saw Kathleen and Ralph sitting at the couch near the coffee station of the shop. Nandun din naman yung manager ng Rafaellos.

“Ian! Good morning..” Bati ko kay Ian.

“The lovely Mariel Concepcion..” Ian greeted and beso-beso kami. “It’s good to know that you brought another client here..”

“Of course naman no. I want nothing less for them.”

“Such a very good decision.” He winked at the couple and Kath laughed. “So eto, pinapapili ko na sila ng cake na gusto nila.”

“Good morning.. Sorry I’m late. I didn’t expect na ganun ka traffic.”

“No problem.” Ralph answered. Kinuha ko naman kaagad yung catalogue.

“Nakapili na ba kayo ng cake na gusto niyo?” I asked.

“Hindi pa nga eh. I’m really having a hard time cause everything looks really great.” Kath said and made pacute to us. Kath, cut that out. T___T

“Absolutely! Yung mga clients namin, they are all having a hard time talaga kasi we have the best cakes and we have the best designs talaga.” Sabi naman ni Ian. Nagpapakabakla na. Tumawa naman kaming lahat.

“Yeah, you’ll really have a hard time choosing one for the wedding Kath. Every cake looks really nice talaga.”

“Oh well. That’s why we have you.” Sabi ni Kath. Napatingin naman ako kay Ian.

“Ian, nandiyan ba si Melanie?”

“Wala. Nasa Aussie pa siya. Oo na, may discount ka na dito.” Ian smiled.

“I love you so much!” Sabi ko naman kay Ian. Natuwa rin naman sila Kath. Nang napatingin ako sa bintana, dahan-dahan nang bumuhos ang ulan. “Early in the morning, umuulan-ulan na.”

Napatingin naman silang lahat sa bintana. “Oh well, we have to accept the reality that we live in a tropical country.” Ian said and rolled his eyes. Ngumiti lang naman yung couple.

“You know Ian, we can make this gold.. kasi yung accent nila is gold.. like everything is white and this cake should be gold.” Suggestion ko.

“Bakit naman gold?” Nabigla ata si Ian sa motif ng couple.

“Well kasi.. gold is..” Hindi ata alam ni Kath kung bakit gold yung napili niya kaya sinalo ko na.

“You know, gold symbolizes optimism. So they are very optimistic of the flow of their relationship. And also, it means success.. so success din sa wedding. Kaya nga diba yung mga nagcecelebrate ng 50th anniversaries nila, yung tawag eh golden anniversary? Kasi it’s a great achievement. And I know maaabot din nila yun.” I smiled at Kath and Ralph then I looked at Ian.

“Ohkayyy. That was something.” Ian laughed. Loka-loka talaga. “Okay, let’s go for gold. Win for the gold!” Tumawa naman kami.

“Hay nako, Ian.” I said habang tumatawa parin. “So, eto na yung design ng cake ha? We’ll just make it gold then.. okay na!”

“Yeah.”  The two agreed din naman. “O pano, mauuna na kami ni Ralph, we have somewhere to go rin naman.” Kath said. “Thank you so much Sir Ian and Miss Yel.”

“No problem..” I smiled at her and they stood up. “Uh, may payong ba kayo?” Napatingin naman bigla si Kath kay Ralph.

“Meron ba?”

“Dito ka lang, kukunin ko sa kotse.” Sabi ni Ralph. Sabay na kaming lumabas sa shop. Naghintay nalang muna kami sa entrance.

“Oh, Ian ha. Ikaw na bahala. You know how I am naman ha..”

“No problem, Mariel. Everything’s done.” He said at nagbeso-beso na kami.

Then when I looked through the door, I saw Ralph walking towards us with an umbrella on his hand. Hindi ko alam but something hit me.

“Hun, isang payong lang yung nandun eh.” He said and Kath smiled.

“Edi compress tayo..” She said.

I looked at them not knowing what to say.

“Sige, Yel, una na kami.” Ralph said and gave me a faint smile. Then ayun, they were so close at pinakasya nila yung sarili nila sa maliit na payong. I didn’t notice that something was playing on my mind as I was looking at them running through the other side of the street.

“Awww, umuulan na naman. And for the nth time, nakalimutan ko na naman yung umbrella ko.” I whined.

“Sandali, punta ako ng kotse, kukuha ako ng payong.”

“Eh mababasa ka niyan.. magkasakit ka pa.”

“Ayos lang kaysa ikaw diba?” And he would flash me that very cute smirk of his.

“Cheesy mo..”

Bigla siyang tumakbo papuntang parking lot and when he came back, basang-basa sya.

“Oh gosh. Basang-basa ka na o. Sabi na nga ba wag na kasi e.” I took out my handkerchief at pinunasan yung mukha niya.

“Hindi ko pala dala..”

“Ayan tuloy, kasi naman eh.. pag nabasa ka-“ Then he would kiss me.

“Ang ingay mo.”

“Naman eh..” I would jokingly slap him.

“Share nalang tayo sa jacket ko..”

“But-“

“Tara na..” Then he would put his jacket over our heads and we would run to his car like 7-year old little kiddos. Minsan pa, he would stop at the midway to pull me in and kiss me under the pouring rain. Siguro some of you still dreams of kissing under the pouring rain, and I promise you, keep on dreaming. Keep on waiting. It’s worth it all.

“Nice.. magkakalagnat tayong dalawa neto.” Reklamo ko.

“Well..” Then he would look me and give me that evil smirk again.. and he would pull me close again and we would probably make out or just kiss or you know just do some cute things together like he would wiggle his nose on mine. “I don’t ever want to do all of these with anyone else but you.”

I smiled at the thought.

I gathered myself up at binuksan yung payong ko. I slowly walked to my car. You have to put into your mind, good things come to an end.. to give way to better things. And yes, I am trying to convince myself that this is better compared to what I called ‘good’ before.

006

“O, san naman punta mo?” Mom asked me when she found me packing my things up. “Ilang araw ka namang mawawala?” She asked again while helping me put stuffs at my bag.

“Tagaytay lang. Overnight lang.. or maybe two days. May balak pa kasing pumunta ng Baguio if di nila magugustuhan yung Tagaytay eh.”

“Ahhh. Seems like a big person. Whose wedding is this?”

Bigla akong napatigil. “Mr. Uychiat.” Napatingin si Mom sakin – waiting for a complete name. I let out a heavy breath. “Ralph Uychiat.”

“Oh.” Sabi niya lang and continued helping me pack. “You sure you’ll be okay?”

“Mom.. It was years ago. Of course, I’m gonna be fine.”

“I know.. it’s just that-”

“I’m okay.” I smiled at her at ngumiti rin si Mama sakin.

“Since Ralph is getting married, bakit ba anak, di ka pa naghahanap ng iba?”

“What? Ang labo naman ng question mo. Parang ang labas eh, kailangan kong maghanap ng iba kasi ikakasal na si Ralph, ganun?”

“Ay, hindi naman ganyan, baby. Alam mo yun. Okay, rephrase. Bakit di ka pa maghanap?”

“Bakit naman?”

“You’re at the right age, you’re 26 na. You’re a very successful woman. Nakapundar ka na rin ng sariling pangalan. I think you should find a special someone na to complete your life.”

Napatingin ako sa kawalan at napaupo sa kama. “Hindi ko alam, Ma. I feel happy naman just being single. Tsaka sa panahon ngayon, 26 is still young no!” I giggled.

“At some point, you’re right naman.” She just agreed and continued to help me.

“Manong, di ko na dadalhin yung kotse. Sasabay na ako sa clients ko.”

“Sige po, Ma’am. Tawagan niyo na lang po kami kung may problema.”

“Manong ha, andiyan naman si Mama. If anything goes wrong, sa kanya niyo na ikonsulta.”

“Sige Ma’am. Andun na po yung taxi sa labas. Ingat po, Ma’am.”

“Sige, bye. Manang Linda, kayo na bahala ah.”

“Opo ma’am.”

Nagtaxi na ako papunta sa shop kasi baka 48 years pa akong makaabot dun kapag nagdrive pa ako. Naku no, baka basa na rin yung kili-kili ko sa stress sa traffic. Kaya eto na, afford naman ang taxi eh. Nang dumating ako sa shop, nandun na si Ralph nakaupo sa lounge.

“Good morning.” I smiled at everyone. Teka, bakit mag-isa lang ang kumag na to? Asan ang bride to be?  “Ready to go, Ralph?” I asked him.

“Yeah. Uhmm, we’re going to wait for Kath dun na sa highway.”

“Bakit?”

“I don’t know. Yan sabi niya eh. Nag out of town kasi kahapon, so dun na siya bababa.”

“Ahh, okay.” Sabi ko.

“Where are your things?”

“Nandun sa kay Manong.” Turo sa guard ng shop.

“Kunin ko na.”

“Please, thank you.” Sabi ko lang. Then biglang pumasok sa isip ko, OMG. Both of us.. alone.. for like 30minutes or 1 hour pa pag minalas sa traffic? Shit. Makaya ko kaya?

“Let’s go?” He asked.

“Clara, ikaw na bahala dito ha? Call me if anything goes wrong. Pero I’m sure naman, you can handle it na.”

“Hay naku no. Wag ka ngang pressured. Yeah, I can handle this.” She smiled. “Enjoy.”

Hinila ko siya. “Lokaret ka, anong enjoy? Di ako magbabakasyon no!” Bulong ko sa kanya.

“Yan na ba boyfriend ni Miss Yel?” Tanong ng isang client.

“No, ma’am. Client po.”

“Ahh, akala ko naman bf mo. Bagay na bagay e. Gandang-lalaki.” Sabi ni Mrs. Santos.

“Naku, hindiii.” Sabi ko. “Ma’am, we’ll go ahead na.” I smiled at lumabas na ng shop.

Ralph was waiting for me outside. He parked his car at the other side of the street so we have to cross pa. When I stepped to cross, he stood at my left side.. kung san papunta yung cars na dumadaan. Then nung nasa center na kami, he went to the other side naman.

Shit. College. Ganitong-ganito yun e. Shit.

Then he opened the door for me. “Pasensya na if medyo makalat yung car.” He smiled.

“Ayos lang. Sanay na ako.” Ngumiti din ako.

“Ha?” Bigla naman akong napatahimik at napaisip. “Sanay sa?”

“Sanay na makalat yung kotse. Kasi.. uhm.. yung kotse ko makalat din e.” Sabi ko. Naman e, muntikan na. Nung college kasi kami, makalat din yung kotse niya. Argggh.

“Ahhh. Kala ko kung ano.” He laughed. Then he revved up the engine. Bigla namang nagring yung phone niya. “Hun? Where you at na? Bakit? Teka.. pano to-.. But-..Hun? Hatid pa ba kita? but-Okayy.. just take care, okay? I love you. Call me when you get there.. Okay. Okay. Bye.”

“Si Kath? Where’s she na?” I asked worriedly kasi parang ang worried naman ng face ni Ralph.

“She’ll call you.” Sabi niya lang and nagring naman kaagad yung phone ko.

“Kath? Yeah, we’re on our way.. where are you na? HA?!??! No way! But-… I just can’t- But kath.. this is your- Oh, I’m sorry. Yeah.. okay.. bye. Ingat.”  HINDI AKO MAKAPANIWALA! “So-”

“It’s okay, right?” Sabi niya.

“What’s okay?” Tanong ko.

“I mean.. yung ikaw na bahala sa lahat. Hindi mo naman siya masisisi. Her mom got hospitalized sa Davao, and she really needs to go. It’s her mom, after all.”

“Y-yeah. I guess, it’s okay then.”

“Pero you still look worried.” Sabi niya.

“Well- Ugh. I don’t think this is good-”

“Why?”

“Cause-”

“Look, if you think this is awkward, what more to me?”

“Yeah. But-”

“I’m your client. And you’re a professional. Let’s deal it that way.”

I looked at Ralph and I saw the changes in his personality and in his appearance. Hindi ko alam kung nandito pa nga talaga yung Ralph na minahal ko noon. Pero what’s the point of finding that Ralph before? He’s getting married.

TAGAYTAY.

“Hun, may reservation ba tayo dito sa Tagaytay?” He called up Kathleen kasi kanina pa kami hanap ng hanap ng hotel or pension house. “Awww. Ba’t naman? Full lahat ng hotels dito. Yeah, okay. Bye. Love you.”

Nakatayo lang ako sa gilid ng sasakyan while he was talking to Kathleen. “Wala siyang reservation eh. Kasi nga nag out of town diba? Sorry ha. Hanap nalang tayo.”

“Okay.” As if I have a choice.

So ayun, paikot-ikot lang kami ng Tagaytay looking for a hotel or a pension house, pero walang vacant – well, meron naman, pero yung.. arrrrrrgghh — matrimonial. Eh hindi naman pwede yun! Kung hindi ganun, single occupancy lang yung available. Ano ba yan.

“Hmm, I guess we have no choice.” He said. “We can transfer din naman daw kaagad as soon as may magbaback out sa reservations nila.”

Napaisip ako. “What if next time nalang to?”

“Yel? Andito narin lang naman tayo.. wag na nating ipanext time.” Sabi niya. He took out his wallet and gave the receptionist his credit card. Then he took our bags and we went upstairs.

“You know, I’m not really comfortable-”

“All we need is a sleeping place. Yun lang. Whole day, wala rin naman tayo dito e. I can sleep at the floor or at the sofa if meron.”

“Well-”

“Okay? Okay na?”

“Yeah. Okay.”

He opened the room and super liit ng kwarto. AS IIIINNN! Walang chair, walang sofa.. ang liit ng floor. SINGLE OCCUPANCY! Bwisitttt.

“Wow.” I sarcastically whispered. And it was 3:30 in the afternoon na.

“Bukas na tayo maghanap ng places for the wedding. I need some rest.”

“Wow. Okaayy? Go get the bed.” Sabi ko at pumasok ako ng bathroom.

SABI KO NA NGA BA, IPAHANDLE NA ITO KAY CLARA E. ARRGG!

007

“You know, we can just… do this some time else.”

“You plan to go home right now?”

“Well, magbabus nalang ako. Mas safer, diba?”

“Come on. I’m getting married. Walang malisya. Pure business.” He said. “Siguro nga we had a past, pero past is past, as they say. Wala kang dapat ikabahala. So, you shouldn’t feel awkward by now. It has been 3 years or so. Long time.” He said and fixed his things. “Akin nalang to, wala silang extra bed eh. Eto na yung ilalagay ko sa sahig.”

“You know I couldn’t sleep without the blanket.”

“Oh, right. I forgot.” He forgot?! Like 5 years of being together and he forgot all about it in 3 years?! Doesn’t that annoys you?! “Here.” Binalik niya ulit sa bed yung blanket. “Bilis na, let’s have dinner outside.”

“Sandali nga..” Sabi ko and fixed my bag. Then lumabas kami ng pension house and looked for a restaurant. “Ayun! Turn right..”

“Aya’s?”

“Oo. I super liked it there.” Sabi ko and he turned right.

“Nakakain na tayo dito diba?”

“Ha?”

“Back at college..”

“Ay, oo pala. Ayos lang ba?” I asked.

“Sure, masarap naman dito e.” Sabi niya so pumasok na kami sa loob.

We went inside and we both each opened a menu. I closed the menu book and faced the waitress.

“Hmm, I’ll go with spareribs, a fresh lumpia and sago.”

“Para sa hapunan?” He asked surprisingly.

“Y-yeah. They’re like the best.”

“Sure. I’ll go with what she ordered.” Tinakip niya yung menu book. “Sure ka masarap ha?” Nakatingin lang ako sa kanya na as if di pa siya nakatikim dito. Ugh? “It’s not like hindi ako nakakain dito, I know the sparerib’s nice, but I can’t seem to imagine what it should taste if it goes with sago and fresh lumpia.”

“Walang sisihan.” I said. And then silence. Silence. Silence. Silence.

“What a small world.” Tumawa siya.

“Oo nga eh. Sobrang liit.” I smiled. “Katulad mo..” Bulong ko sa sarili ko.

“Anong maliit ako? Hindi kaya. Tingnan mo, may muscles na ako hu.” Then he buffed his arms.

“Anong muscle dyan ha? Eh puro buto parin iyan e.”

“Pero at least hindi na ako ganun ka obvious na payatot compared nung college.” Napatawa naman ako.

“Buti napansin mo din iyan. Pero payat ka pa din.”

“Hindi yan thin. Lean na yan. Tall and lean.”

“Whatever, asa ka parin.” Tumawa na ako.

Bigla namang dumating yung waitress at binigay yung orders namin.

“Sure ka yan lang gusto mong kainin?” He asked.

“Yeah, why?” Nagtaka naman ako.

“Ang takaw mo kaya.” He smirked.

“Noon yun, di na ngayon.” Sabi ko. Hihi, napipikon kasi ako pag sinasabihan ako tungkol sa katakawan ko noon.

“Ikaw nga eh, ang payat-payat mo. Kumain ka ng marami. Balang araw niyan, maging kamukha mo si Palito.” I laughed.

Napatawa naman siya. “Asa ka, mas gwapo ata ito kay Palito. Kain na nga.”

At ayun, kumain nga kami. After ng dinner, naglibot-libot muna kami sa lugar at syempre, nagpicture-picture ako. Di naman pwedeng di ako maging vain kung ganito kaganda ang view.

“Ang vaaaiinn!” Sabi niya. Tinago ko naman kaagad yung camera ko. “Akin na nga, ako na magpipicture sa iyo.” Binigay ko naman yung camera sa kanya. “Smileee…”

*flash*

“Ang ganda..” Sabi ko.

“Masyadong unfair sa sarili.” Sabi niya naman.

“Ang ganda ng view.” I looked at him and rolled my eyes. “Ang ganda ko din..” Bulong ko sa sarili ko. Hihi. “Akin na camera mo, picturan din kita para di ka masyadong nega diyan… pakita mo narin kay Kath para magandahan na din.” Sabi ko.

“Wala akong camera eh.” Sabi niya.

“Aw, ganun.. okay. Wag nalang din.”

“Kunan mo nalang ako, then download ko from your memory card. I brought my laptop naman eh.”

“Riggghtt, sige, sige.” I took my camera and positioned it. Napatingin naman ako sa screen ng cam ko. He was posing this Randy Orton style but face straight on the camera, lips smiling, and relaxed arms. Just like college. “1, 2, 3.. smile. Ayan. Done.”

“Thanks.” Sabi niya then walked farther. Sumunod naman ako sa kanya. “How’s life?” He asked. I stopped then he turned to look at me, smiled, and continued walking. “Hindi talaga tayo nagkausap since we’ve seen each other.”

“Well, good. Uhmm, the business is very well, my health is never been great… remembered my stomach complications dati?”

“Yeah, yung lagi kang naeeLBM?”

“Oo, they’re gone. It was treated.”

“That’s good. Pero sigurdo dahil din yun sa katakawan mo.”

“Oh yeah, right.” I rolled my eyes again.

“Then.. ano pa?”

“Hmm…” Nagkibit-balikat ako while still thinking of what more to say. “Ano pa ba.. yeah! I went to Japan last month and I visited those manga stores, yung famous cosplay costume selling store at Shibuya, then I went to see Mt. Fuji and nakasakay din ako sa bullet train.. and.. yeah, it was fun.”

“Really?” He faced me and stopped walking. “You went to Japan? Why?”

“Eh kasi I took a vacation from work, so nasa checklist ko yung Japan ever since elementary. And now na medyo afford ko na yung pagpunta dun, why not diba?”

“Right..” Then tumalikod na naman siya and started climbing the stairs. “Di moko hinintay..” He said.

Napatawa naman ako. “Yeah, right.”

“Just kidding.” He chuckled. “Nice to hear that, Yel.”

“Ikaw, Ralph? What have you been up to?”

“Eto, planning the wedding instead of the bride-to-be.” He chuckled.

“Come on…”

“Hahaha. Hmm, wala, trabaho dun sa LA. Then minsan, roadtrip papuntang Mexico or fly to NY. But more on spending time at the hospital and with Kath.” He smirked.

“Hindi ka na nakauwi dito sinc-” Bigla akong napatahimik. “Since you flew there..”

“Yeah. I was so busy eh. Tsaka hassle kung uuwi pa ako dito. Masyadong mahal yung airfare. Di naman ako magtatagal.”

“Ahhh.. napetition mo na ba yung Mom mo?”

“Yeah, been working on that.”

“That’s good.. So you two are living together there na?”

“Well~..” Bigla akong nanginig kung anong magiging sagot niya.

“Uso narin naman iyan dun eh.” Sabi ko and ran upstairs. “Bilis na! Nakakapagod na!” Sigaw ko sa kanya at dumiretso na ako sa itaas. Pagdating ko sa taas, huminga ako ng malalim, my heart was beating fast and para bang it is being squeezed. Nakakainis. I’ve never felt this since..  I bit my lip and continued walking sa kung saan nakikita yung whole Tagaytay. I took out my cam and took some pictures.

“Kunan mo ko, bilis!” Sabi ko sa kanya and handed my cam to him.

“1,2,3…smile.” He held the camera for a second more after clicking it.

“Hello, tapos na ba?” I asked sarcastically.

“Y-Yeah. Sorry.” He handed me the cam.

“Sige, ikaw naman.”

“Nahh, wag na. May kuha na ako dun.”

“Oh come on.. minsan lang naman to eh.”

“O-okay.” He stood there and looked so serious.

“Ano ba, galaw-galaw baka mastroke.” I joked and he laughed. Bigla ko namang clinick yung camera, so I took a picture of him semi-laughing. It was cute, actually.

We sat down dun sa mga malalaking bato while overseeing the view. “So, wala pang boyfriend?” Tanong ni Ralph.

“Hahaha. Ano ba yan, sounds like pormafirstmove ng mga high school students. Hahaha!”

“Haha. Oo nga no.”

“Hmm, wala pa. Masyadong busy sa mga ganyan. Kaya nga kita-” I shut up.

“No, it’s okay.” He smiled with no hint of pain.

“It’s just that.. I’m just so happy kung nasan man ako at kung ano man ang meron ako ngayon. Parang somehow, contented narin ako.” Sabi ko and smiled.

“Yeah, that’s really good to hear, Yel.”

“Ikaw, pano naging kayo ni Kath? You know, you guys should have this presentation sa wedding niyo like your lives back nung elementary kayo till you met.. it’s soo nice. Like fairy tales.” I said all dreamy ~ AS IF.

“Hahaha. Pwede minus the college lang?”

“Hahaha, syempre naman. Pwede mokong maerase sa part ng college mo. No problem with me.” I laughed. “But seriously, wala ka bang planong sabihin kay Kath before you get wed?”

“I guess she’s better off not knowing. Past narin naman iyon tsaka magpapakasal narin kami.”

“But you know, you should be open with each-”

“I know. Pero what’s the point pa diba?”

“Okay. If that’s what you want.” I said. “Tara na, uwi na tayo. It’s getting really really cold here.”

“Buti pa nga..” Sabi niya and we started climbing down the stairs again. Nung nakaabot na kami sa ilalim, he suddenly said, “You know, I kind of forgot how fun it is to be around you.” He chuckled. Napatigil naman ako.

“Of course.” I laughed then bit my lip.

Then he suddenly got a reklamo na naman. “I’m hungry.”

Natawa naman ako. “Sino ba naman kasi yung hindi gugutumin dun sa pagakyat at pagbaba?”

“Oo nga naman.. tara, drive through tayo.” Kaya ayun, nag drive through kami and headed back to the pension house. Humingi na kami ng extra bed para di namang magmukhang kawawa itong client ko. “Mauna ka nang gumamit ng banyo. Susunod ako. Kakain lang muna ako.” Sabi niya kaya pumasok nako ng bathroom.

Tumingin ako sa mirror and bit my lip. Then I smiled. “I am contented.” After kong maligo, lumabas na ako na nakabihis and slumped my body to bed.

“I feel so fresh!”

“Ang tagal-tagal mo..” Sabi niya.

“Reklamo ka ng reklamo, di ka na nasanay.”

Tumawa naman siya. “Eto mabilis lang..” Sabi niya at pumasok sa bathroom. After 10 minutes siguro, lumabas na siya – shirtless.

“Sorry, naiwan ko kasi yung tshirt ko dito sa labas.” Sabi niya while hinahalungkat yung bag niya.

“No problem.” Sabi ko and tried to concentrate on the tv show but to no avail. “Payatot ka pa din.” Sabi ko.

“You’re looking! Sumbong kita kay Kath!”

“Oh shut up.” Sabi ko and laughed.

Tumawa lang din sya. When he found his shirt, nahiga na sya sa bed niya sa floor.

“I’m going to sleep. Napagod ako sa byahe.” Sabi ko. I turned off the tv and gave him the remote. “Pakioff nalang ng lights ha. Iwan na nating nakaon itong lamp.”

“Yeah, sure.” Sabi niya and stood up to turn off the lights and the tv. Then he went back to his bed and closed his eyes. “Good night.”

“Good night.” Sabi ko.

“Yel?”

“Hmm?”

“Honestly, I didn’t really forget how fun it is to be around you.” He said in almost a whisper. I smiled to myself.

“I’m unforgettable, after all.” Sabi ko and closed my eyes.

But I couldn’t sleep for fifteen minutes now. Napahinga ako ng malalim and slowly crept slowly from my blanket. I peeked Ralph praying na sana tulog na nga talaga sya.. and there he was sleeping like a little child. Probably, nasa 2nd stage na sya ng REM.

I looked at him, studying every feature of his face even his hair. I held my chest as if stopping someone from squeezing it. I felt butterflies all over my stomach. And I shivered. I took a deep breath and went back to my former position — looked at the ceiling, closed my eyes, held on my blanket tightly and covered my face.

008 : RALPH’S POV

Life in college was hard. I was a nursing student and well, everyone knows how hard it is to be one. Duty starts at 6am and ends up at 2pm. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to have a 10pm shift to 6am. Then you can sleep all day. Pero hindi e, random masyado. But then it was fun kasi jologs kaming lahat sa batch namin, moreover sa section namin. We balance our study and fun. Minsan nga, may mga katropa ako na pag nagduduty eh ang pupula na ng mga mata.. yun pala nakainom. Ganoon. Di maiiwasan yun.

Wala rin namang girlfriend. May niligawan ako dati pero hindi ko siya masyadong gets kaya di ko rin tinuloy sa finish line. Then I met her..

The first time I saw her, I told myself, “She’s gonna be mine.” Not because she was pretty, nor because she smiled so sweetly, but because I saw something in her.. something I myself couldn’t define. We started hanging out until I knew I’m not just gonna settle with friendship. I had to do something and take a risk : even giving up our friendship. It’s that way or nothing.

I started giving her hints that I’m interested, but she didn’t respond to any of it. Until that day.. It was Saturday and we were hanging out at her place watching A Walk To Remember. She was almost in tears, talking about how lucky Jamie Sullivan to find true love in Landon Carter and to change him in her own special ways that would last a lifetime. How she wished she would find true love soon, then she would be happy.

I looked at her. I took a deep breathe. It was my chance. One confession: all or nothing.

“What if.. no. Can I somehow be your true love?” I asked. I felt my intestines turned upside down because of nervous and unwanted sensations.

She looked at me and blinked a couple of times. I felt my snot started to drop from my nose. I sniffed it back inwards, chuckled and bit my lip. “I’m serious though.”

That was, I guess, the most special night of my life. It will always be. Always.

After that, wala nang babae ang nakapagparamdam ulit sakin nun. Ang weird nga eh. It was the time where I felt everything was all good. Ang corny ko pero sa kanya lang ako nagplano ng future ko. Gusto kong ibigay sa kanya ang lahat-lahat.. kung pwede lang pati araw, buwan at bituin binigay ko na e. I thought everything was great until she rejected a wedding proposal from me.

“I-I-I can’t marry you.” She said, tears in her eyes. She closed the black square box and returned it to me.

“Bakit hindi?” I asked in confusion. Gulong-gulo yung isip ko nun.

“I-I-m too young for this. I can’t. I’m sorry.” She said and tumakbo palabas sa restaurant sa Tagaytay. Umuwi siya ng Manila ng mag-isa. I wanted to run after her, pero gulong-gulo yung isip ko. My heart was shattered. Hindi ko alam kung anong dapat ko maramdaman. And for the first time, tumulo ang luha ko.

Hamakin mo, hindi bumaliktad ang sikmura ko o tumulo ang luha ko sa isang tao na may bed sore sa ospital, o sa taong dumudugo yung kamay at paa dahil tinapunan ng bomba… umiyak ako dahil sa isang babae… dahil sa sinugatan niya ako.

“Are you sure pupunta ka na ng States? Sabi ng dad mo, pwede namang next year eh.” Sabi ni Mama.

“Ayos lang po. Buti nga ito e, makapaghanda ako ng maaga tsaka makaipon na rin.”

“Anak.. I’m so sorry about what happened to you and..”

“Ayos lang iyon, Mom. Ganyan talaga ang buhay. Wala akong magagawa, ayaw niya eh. Kungsabagay, maaga parin naman. I know her. She has so many things to do pa.” I tried to fake a smile.

“Sige, ibobook na kita for Sunday ha. Sure na talaga ito. Kasi ang mahal naman pag namiss mo yung flight mo, okay?”

“Yeah, thanks Ma.”

The remaining days were such a waste. I tried calling her so many times para lang masabihan ko sya na aalis na ako and maybe we won’t see each other na. Or maybe if kahit di na muna kami magpakasal, long distance relationship nalang muna. But she never answered the many calls. Until the operator told me that the subscriber cannot be reached.. and realized that maybe she changed her mobile number.

Pumunta ako ng States, nakapagtrabaho sa LA Gen Hospital, kumuha ng low-cost apartment and lived a new life. Parang bachelor lang ako dun. Walang may naghihintay sa bahay, wala rin namang inaasahang magtatanong kung san ako galing o kung san man ako.

Maraming Pinoy na nurse dun. Isa na dun si Cathy. Sabihin na nating hindi gaanong kagandahan si Cath. Pero sweet siya. Ilang beses niya nang sinubukang makipagclose — not flirty type of close, friendly lang.. pero di ko sya kinausap. Malamang, takot ako na baka magkagusto ako sa kanya. Pero ayun nga, one night, I found myself knocking at her apartment door. Weird, yes? Christmas nun eh, wala akong magawa sa bahay, yung iba sa Pinoy community ininvite ako, kahit si Daddy, pero wala akong ganang lumabas. First christmas ko nun sa States, so medyo fresh pa yung nangyari. Sa pitong taon na magkasama kayo, biglang ikaw nalang mag-isa, diba? Weird yun. Ewan ko ba, lumabas ako ng bahay at naglakad lang, then nakita ko yung apartment building ni Cathy, sabi ko, might as well check for the fun of it.

“R-Ralph, what a surprise?!” Sabi ni Cathy when she opened the door. Nabigla din nga ako. I never thought na nandun lang siya. Potek, dyahe. “What brought you here?”

“Uhhh.. Ano ba meron dito? Wala saken eh.” Sabi ko and smirked.

“Hmm, wala lang din. Just myself. Pasok, Ralph.”

“Thanks.” I looked around kung mag-isa nga lang siya. Ayokong maiwan na kami lang. “Just you?”

“Yeah, I was supposed to sleep na. Bukas pa kasi yung Christmas sa Pinas kaya plano ko bukas nalang din ako magcecelebrate kasama yung family sa webcam.” She smiled.

“Tama.” I paused. “Hmm… tara, labas tayo.” I said out of nowhere.

Cathy looked at me puzzled. Sabi ko, “What?”

“Are you sure? Are you really Ralph?”

“Y-yeah.” I was confused. “Why?”

“Wala lang. It’s just a surprise. Wait, I’ll just get my jacket.” She said and disappeared to the other room.

Napatayo lang ako dun sa sala niya at napatingin sa bagay-bagay. May nakita akong picture and looked at it closer. Naman… batch ko sa college?! Di nga?!

“Let’s go..”

“Uh, sure.”

At first it was awkward, kasi masyado akong tahimik and I swore to myself that I won’t get interested in her. But then later on, I realized Cathy talked a lot like Mariel. At first, ayun nga, when I talk to her, pakiramdam ko kausap ko lang din si Mariel, but later I realized they’re both different. Si Cathy, sweet na madaldal. Si Mariel, pilya na madaldal. May pagkakaiba naman diba? Then lagi na kaming magkasama after nun — sa work, tuwing day-off, or kapag may holidays. Kami yung magkasama, unti-unti nakakalimutan ko na din si Mariel. And I thought it was good.

Until after 2 years of dating, I proposed marriage to Cathy and opposite to Mariel’s answer, she said yes with tears in her eyes. Alam niyo, yun yung pangalawang pagkakataon na sobrang saya at special ng araw na iyon para sakin.

Cathy started to move in with me. Late-night cuddling at the bed or at the sofa, early breakfast in the bed, or sometimes, sunday general cleaning of the house with her. It was just easy and happy.

Then she said she wanted to have a wedding back at Philippines with her family and everyone she knows. I agreed naman to it. So we worked harder and saved money… most especially ako. Wala naman akong obligasyon sa pamilya ko e. Si Mommy okay naman dun sa Pinas kahit di ako magpadala, si Daddy okay naman dito sa States.. wala naman akong kapatid o pinsan na pinapaaral, kaya yung pera ko, akin lang talaga.

Malaki-laki din yung ipon ko. Idagdag pa yung mana ko (sshhh).

Sabi niya, may gusto daw siyang wedding coordinator sa Pinas kasi gustong-gusto niya yung mga design. Syempre yes lang ako, mahal ko e.

Nauna siyang umuwi kasi nagovertime pa ako para sa leave ko. Wala rin siyang nabanggit na pangalan ng wedding coordinator, may kutob ako na baka si Mariel, pero hasul naman yun kung papayag siya diba? Weird ata yun.

Then… to my surprise, si Mariel nga. JOKEE! Isang malaking JOKE! Ayos lang naman sakin, 3 years narin naman yun. Wala na yun. Pero awkward lang eh. Hindi mo parin makakalimutan kadali yung mga bagay-bagay. Hindi naman ako bitter. Good things come to an end so better things can replace it. Tama.

Mariel was good, Cathy was better. I think.

009

We were meeting a lot of people in Tagaytay. Hindi pa naman sila nakakadecide na dito na talaga sa Tagaytay, but I just want to get the contact numbers of these people para naman mabilis and easy yung pagcontact if ever they decide to.

“Break kaya muna tayo?” Sabi ni Ralph.

“Ha?”

“Alam mo na. Maglibot-libot muna. Nakakapagod eh. Wala naman akong alam tungkol sa mga ganitong bagay. Tapos bukas, dadating din naman dito si Cath. So, for sure, the real deal happens tomorrow. Diba?” He smiled.

“I-I’m not really sure.”

“Tara na..” Kinuha niya yung cellphone niya and turned it off. “Cellphone mo?”

Nabigla ako. “Ah-Uh, hindi pwede.”

“Akin na..”

“Hindi pwede! Maraming tumatawag sa cellphone ko, di gaya mo, si Cath lang.”

“Kaya nga eh. Akin na kasi..” Kinuha niya yung cellphone sa kamay ko, turned it off and nilagay sa bulsa niya. “Good. Tara.” He walked to his car and I hesitantly followed. Nilagay niya yung cellphones sa bag niya.

“B-Bakit?”

“Wala lang. Sabi mo rin kasi diba, masyado kang busy? Malay mo, makakita ka pa ng boyfriend dito.” He winked at tumawa. “San tayo? Hmm, aren’t you hungry?”

“I-I-I am.”

“Ano ba.. wag ka ngang ganyan. Para kang iba eh.” Napatingin lang ako kay Ralph. Huminga ako ng malalim at napangiti.

“Tara, punta tayo sa mga tiangge! Gusto kong bumili ng mga souvenirs.” Sabi ko.

“Kain muna tayo..”

“Pwede din. Aya’s ulet!”

“Sige, sige.”

“21st street! Isaw tayo, sige na, Raphhhyy!”

“Isaw na naman? Pwede bang sisig naman?”

“Eh gusto ko ng isaw eh..” *pout*

“Oo na. Isaw na po.”

“Talaga? YAY!”

“Nakuha mo na naman ako sa pout pout mo eh.”

“Ang cute talaga ng bebe ko..”

“Hmm, bago naman pwede?”

“Sige sige. Ikaw yung pumili, tapos susundin ko.”

“Ayos! Sige, dalawang sisig, dalawang rice, 2 cokes, 3 siomais then dalawang atsara.”

O_O

“Sinong kakain niyan?”

“Tayo.”

“Ano ka?! Masisira ang diet ko.”

“Walang diet! Dati naman, wala ka namang diet, tapos kain ka ng kain, di ka naman tumaba ah.”

“But-but-but-”

“Just this once, Yel. Okay?” He sounded so serious.

“Ugh. Fine.” >.<

“Wait~ Is this… Ralph?!” Napatingin kaming dalawa sa gilid namin. O_O Amanda! “Ohmygosh~ I thought you two broke up! I can’t believe it.. kayo parin hanggang ngayon. True love nga naman..”

“Uhh-”

“Yeah, kumusta na Mands?” Sabi ni Ralph. “Sino kasama mo?”  I glared at Ralph and he just smiled at me.

“Well, I’m here with my husband. Hunny, lapit ka dito. This is Dexter. These are Ralph and Mariel. Remember? Yung sinasabi kong sikat na wedding coordinator?”

“Oh yeah, hi, nice meeting you guys.”

“Same here, pare.”

“Nice meeting you.”

“Nako, hunn. Alam mo ba, since college pa itong dalawa. Ang sweet talaga.” Napatingin ako kay Ralph. He was really smiling and all. “Kailan ba kayo magpapakasal, ha?”

“Hahha. Hinihintay ko nalang si Mariel.” He said. I kicked his leg. “Diba, Yel?”

“Uhh.. y-y-yeah.”

“Hay nako, bilisan niyo na. Mahirap magkaanak pag 30 na kayo. Okay? Sige, mauna na kami. It’s really nice seeing you together. Bye bye. Mariel, give me your phone number pala..”

“Ahh, okay. 0917XXXXXXXX.”

“Sige sige. I’ll give you a ring in awhile. Ingat. Bye bye.”

Nang nakalabas na ng restaurant si Amanda, I looked at him angrily.

“Why did you do that?!”

“Chill. She’s so into true love. I didn’t want to burst her bubble.”

“Ah ganun, eh kung ikaw iburst ko, ha?!”

Bigla namang dumating yung pagkain. “Huwaaa, ubusin mo ha?”

O_O “Ang sama mo.”

Hindi na kami kaagad nagkwentuhan. We were so hungry that we didn’t mind each other. Ang takaw ko nga naman. Naubos ko!

“Sabi ko na nga ba eh. Matakaw pa din.”

“Don’t start on me. I tend to vomit when I’m full. Baka sumuka ako sa iyo.”

“Woah. Okay, I’ll behave.” Then he signed for the chit. I opened my bag and looked for my wallet. “Op, don’t worry. I got this.” He smiled.

“But- I wanna share..”

“Diba sabi ko dati sa iyo, pag may pera na ako, you don’t have to share na?”

“But-”

“Please?”

“O-okay.”

“Thank you.” Sabi ko at tumahimik na.

Nung lumabas na kami ng restaurant, naglakad-lakad pa kami sandali.

“What if, what if transfer tayo ng accomodations?”

“Ano?”

“Amboring naman kasi dun sa room. Maliit pa. Diba ayaw mo?”

“Fully booked tayo dito ngayon so wala-”

“Wait, asan na ba yung cellphone ko?”

“Nasa bag mo.”

“Ay, tara, balik tayo sa kotse.”

“Bakit?”

“I need to make a call!” Sabi niya habang naglalakad ng mabilis papunta sa parking lot.

“I need my phone!”

Pumasok kami sa kotse and he took the phone from his bag and dialed some digits.

“Uy, pare.. oo.. andito ako sa Tagaytay.. oo.. magpapakasal na ako e.. hahaha.. eh dito yung venue.. ayun nga eh.. wala.. kaya sana kung pwede.. oh talaga?.. ayos! hanep, ang gwapo mo.. hahaha.. sige sige.. oo kabisado ko pa yun.. andun pa si Manang Linda? Sige, kausapin ko nalang.. salamat bro ah.”

And he turned off his phone again.

“Sino yun?”

“Si Patrick.”

“Patrick? As in Patrick Lim?”

“Oo.”

“Huwag mong sabihin sa..”

“Oo.”

“Ayos ka lang?! No way. I’m gonna stay in that pension house. Kung gusto mo dun, ayos lang. Basta ako stay put.”

“Bakit ba ayaw mo?”

“Retarded ka talaga. Ayoko! Ayoko, ayoko, ayoko. Hindi ka ba natatakot kay Kath?”

“Bakit? I’m not having affairs naman.”

Oh, right.

“Hindi sa ganun. Alam mo yun. Kasi ako guilty ako to think of di niya alam yung relasyon natin dati. Kaya sana naman..”

“Look. What we had was in the past. Wala na yun.”

“But-”

“Come on. We’re not doing anything. I’m not doing anything to you.”

You have no idea. 3 years.. and you mess it all up.

Pumunta kami ng pension house to get our stuffs. He paid the accommodation. He drove to Patrick’s rest house na overlooking yung Taal. We went there for holy week when we were in college.

“Hello sa inyo..” Si Manang Linda, yung caretaker ng rest house.

“Si Ralph po ito. Kaibigan ni Patrick.”

“Pasok kayo. Tumawag na kanina dito si Bunso. Pasabi papunta daw kayo dito. Inayos ko na yung mga kwarto. Pero wala pang pagkain diyan. Medyo malayo tayo sa poblacion kaya kayo na ang bahala.”

“Bakit manang? Hindi na ba kayo dito nakatira?”

“Nag-asawa na ako.. kaya dun na ako nakatira sa bahay nila. Bumibisita nalang ako dito araw-araw para magcheck at maglinis.”

“Ahh, kaya pala. Sige manang, kami na ang bahala dito.” Sabi ni Ralph.

“Sige sige. Mauuna na ako.”

At umalis si Manang. “Grocery nalang tayo mamaya. O diba, ayos to?”

Pumunta ako ng veranda at tiningnan ang view.

He hugged me from the back and gave a peck on my neck.

“Sana lagi tayong ganito..”

“Eh hindi na tayo makakagalaw niyan..” Hahaha.

“Ayos lang, basta magkasama tayo..”

“Kasi naman ang lamig-lamig..”

“May bakanteng lupa doon sa kabilang kanto. For sale daw yun. Bilhin natin?”

“Ano ka ba.. mabibili na yun by the time nakaipon na tayo.” Sabi ko sa kanya.

“Papatayo natin yung dreamhouse mo..”

“Talaga?” I looked at him and smiled.

“Oo naman.”

“Promise iyan?”

“Promise.”

“Walang pinagbago..” Sabi ko sa sarili ko.

“Oo nga noh.” He stood beside me.

“Ganitong-ganito parin..”

“Nga pala, dun ako sa may malaking bathroom.”

“Oo, nilagay ko na dun gamit mo. Nga pala, grocery tayo mamaya.”

“Okay.”

3pm na iyon when we drove back to the downtown.. bigla nalang akong may nakitang bahay sa kanto dati na kung saan may bakanteng lote.

“Teka..”

“Bakit?”

“Stop, stop..”

Hininto niya naman yung sasakyan.

“Pwede pakiatras?”

Inatras niya yung kotse and I looked through the window.

“Sabi na nga ba.. bibilhin kaagad eh.” I whispered. Bumaba kaagd ako looked at the house.

Parehong-pareho sa dream house ko. Ang swerte naman ng may-ari. Ang ganda ng lote, ang ganda pa ng bahay.

“Eto yun diba?”

“Ang alin?” I asked.

“Yung bakanteng lote dati?”

“Y-Yeah.”

“May nakabili na pala..”

“Bakit, may plano ka pang bilhin?”

“Sana.. bahay-bakasyunan namin ni Kath. Pero di niya gusto ang style ng bahay. It’s more.. you.”

“It’s exactly my dream house. Kita mo? Yung windows.. yung style.. yung wood.. It’s.. it’s the same.. and.. ang swerte-swerte ng may-ari nito.. o kung may asawa man siya…” I shook my head and went back to the car.

“Sana kasi binili mo na kaagad.” Sabi niya sakin. Natahimik lang ako.

After ng grocery.. he turned on our phones already. Ang daming text messages received from Kath. And then my phone rang.

“What happened to you?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t notice nawalan nako ng battery.”

“NO WAY! It doesnt happen to you. Tawag ng tawag dito si Kath.. baka kung ano na nangyari sa inyo.”

“I’m sorry..”

“I’ll call her now to tell her you guys are doing fine. Yel, ikakasal na iyan.”

“I know.”

And then his phone rang. Kathleen.

“Yeah.. I don’t know. I left my phone. Sorry. I didn’t notice. I was thinking also that Mariel has a phone so you would contact her if hindi mo ako makontak. Yeah.. But her phone went out of battery.. I’m sorry babe.. Yeah, I’m okay.. uhuh.. ikaw din, take care..” He looked at me and looked at the other way. “I love you too.”

“They will be here bukas.”

“Finally.”

Pagdating ng bahay, I sat down at the couch and looked at the ceiling.

“Sino ang magluluto?”

“Syempre ikaw.” Sabi ko.

“Di ka parin ba marunong?”

“Marunong na no.. nakakatamad lang.”

“Di ka ba nagluluto sa bahay niyo?”

“Masyado akong busy. Either I eat out or order foods. Minsan, Mom will bring some cooked foods din.”

“Then di ka naman busy ngayon, go ahead. Take control of the kitchen.”

Napatingin ako sa kanya. “No no no. I won’t cook food for you.”

“Para rin naman sa iyo iyan eh.”

So I stood up, and started preparing food. Chicken curry. Bumili ng curry powder eh, so I assume baka gusto niya ng chicken curry.

“Improvement.. level up.” Sabi niya habang kumakain.

“I know right. Kala mo kasi di ako marunong.”

“Kath doesn’t know how to cook. So I cook the foods.”

So?

“Ahhh. Good.”

“Bukas… back to basic na tayo.” Bigla niyang sinabi habang nakatingin sakin.

“Yeah.”

Back to basic.. back to reality.

010

Maaga pa kaming nagising. We went to Tagaytay Highlands to meet with Cath and Clara. Cath was so happy to see Ralph again. We had breakfast and back to work na kaagad. So we had to do things all over again kasi nga si Ralph, walang silbi. Parang nagbakasyon lang kami sa two days na iyon.

“Actually, approval nalang iyong kailangan.” I said and smiled.

So we went to the venue, and Clara drew the layout of everything.. like the altar, the seats.. the red carpet.. everything. Ako naman yung nag bebrain storm kung ano yung gusto ng dalawa.

“Alam mo.. hindi mo naman kailangang ihands-on to e. There are bigger weddings awaiting at the shop.” Clara whispered.

“I know. But it’s the least that I can do after breaking his heart three years ago.” I smiled at her.

Nagkibit-balikat lang si Clara. “Okay, okay.”

Tinawag naman ako ni Kath. “What do you think? I like white and yellow.” Nabigla ako. But that’s my.. that’s what I like too.

“White and yellow?” I asked again. Ralph turned around and looked at Kath.

“Are you sure about that?”

“Yeah. Ayaw mo?”

“No, no. It’s okay with me.” He grinned.

“White and yellow.” Inulit ni Kath sakin.

“O-Okay.” I turned around at Clara. “White and yellow, it is.”

“Oh right. I want the altar to face this way.. and the seats are like.. parang amphitheater na style. Just a simple wedding. I just want lots of flowers. Tapos since it’ll start on around.. 5pm.. tama lang naman siguro yun no? Pag set ng sun?”

“Yeah.. sometimes we can start at 5:30.. ganun ganun.” Clara answered.

“Okay. Hmm.. and also.. like lamps.. yung parang old themed lamps. Parang native..”

“Y-yeah..”

As Clara was taking down notes, I realized what Kath had in mind.

“What do you want babe, tulips or roses?” Kath asked Ralph.

“Hmm.. ewan ko. Ikaw ba?”

“I can’t decide e.”

“Then ask Mariel.”

“Right. Yel, what do you think?”

I chuckled. “Hmm you should be the one decide..”

“Come on.. you’re my wedding planner. Help me with this.”

“I-I like the tulips.”

“Tulips it is.”

“Hm.. you know.. you can choose others. Like Marigold or..”

“But I like it..”

“Oh-okay.”

We walked further.

“What do you think Yel?” Ralph asked.

“I’m sorry?”

“About the setup.”

“Kailangan ba talaga ang opinyon ko?”

“Oo naman.”

“O-Okay. Hm.. what I think is..”

And so on and so forth. Pakiramdam ko ako na ang nagplano ng lahat. Ano ba, wedding ko ba to? Around 4pm, we drove back to Manila and dumiretso na ako sa bahay. Si Clara naman nagpaiwan sa shop to check things out. Sobrang napagod ako e.

3 weeks nalang, magiging okay na ulit ang lahat. Sobrang bilis ng mga araw. Order dito, order doon. We made Kath’s gown and ako din yung pinapili niya. We tried hair and makeup narin. Everything’s going well. Ralph and I would always meet up and plan things out since Kath is busy interacting with her relatives. So si Ralph yung pinapapunta nya sakin.

“Perfect na ba?” He asked.

“Yeah, sobrang perfect.” I smiled.

“I wanna ask something.” He said while we were drinking coffee.

“Yeah?”

He was staring at nowhere, half-amused. “Do you enjoy seeing your clients getting married?”

I paused. “Do I enjoy seeing my clients get married and I ain’t married yet? That’s what you really wanna ask.”

He chuckled. “Y-yeah.”

“It’s fine with me. I mean, no hard feelings. I turned down a marriage three years ago.. and.. I’m doing great at dealing with this. It’s not like I ain’t married because you ran away or anything. It’s a choice. And I’m happy.”

“Then bless me.”

I laughed. “I bless you.” Tumawa rin naman si Ralph.

RALPH’S POV

“Bakit ka ba sama ng sama sa kanya? Alam mo bang makakasira iyan sa inyo ni Kath? Ikakasal ka na.. tigilan mo na iyan, Ralph!”

“Ma.. she’s our wedding planner. It’s no big deal.”

“Anong no big deal!? Ex mo iyan. Ex mo, Ralph. Ang masama pa, hindi ito alam ni Kath tapos sama ka pa ng sama diyan sa babaeng iyan.”

“Hindi mo ako naiintindihan. Wedding planner siya Ma. Pag wala si Kath, ako yung pinapadala ni Kath para makipagmeet kay Mariel. That’s that. Past is past. Tatlong taon na yun.”

“Ah basta! Umiwas ka nalang sa issue.”

I sighed. “Issue?”

“Malamang tatlong taon na yun, Ralph. Pero nakalimot ka na nga ba?”

“Yel..”

“Yeah?”

“Kath’s wedding..”

“Bakit? Something wrong?”

“No. I was reviewing this kasi kagabi and I realized.. it’s the same.” She took the folder of Kath’s wedding and my dream wedding.

011

Napatawa ako. “Parehong-pareho.” Pinigilan ko yung luhang gustong kumawala. “Si Ralph pa. Alam na alam niya lahat e.”

“Sinadya?”

“Hindi naman siguro. Malamang, pareho lang talaga kami ng taste ni Kath.” Inayos ko yung mga gamit sa desk at niligpit ko yung folders ng mga weddings. “Tama na iyan. Siguro ikaw nalang muna humandle ng wedding nila. Naloloka ako.” I smiled at her.

“Okay.” She smiled back. Lumabas ako ng shop to drive around and get coffee. Hindi ko alam kung pano ako nakaabot ng boulevard. So I parked there and just sat at the stone walls.

My tears started to fall one by one. “Pano na to.. ako yung naiwan? Ako yung nang-iwan pero ako pa yung naiwan. Ikakasal na siya. Tapos.. tapos.. yung wedding pareho pa nung dream wedding ko. Ayos lang naman sana eh, kung iba yung groom. Kaso siya pa. Siya pa talaga ha..” I wiped my tears and forced a smile. “How dare you! How dare you get wed before me?!”

*riiiiinngggg *rrriiiiiiinggggg

I looked at my phone and sniffed. “Hello?… no, I’m okay.. *sniff*.. yeah.. just having coffee.. *sniff*..no, I’m really okay.. uhh.. if you have questions regarding your wedding.. I forwarded it to Clara na. You can just call her up to ask things.. *sniff* … no, I’m.. I’m busy. Bye.” I hanged up my phone and just looked at the screen.

Huminga ako ng malalim. “He’s getting married. He’s getting married. He’s getting married.” I keep on repeating to myself.

Weeks passed. Ralph doesn’t call me anymore kasi lahat ng calls niya, nadadivert na kay Clara. Also, Kathleen. Sabi naman ni Clara sa kanila, I’ll be on a vacation so medyo busy din ako sa ibang pahabol na events before taking my vacation.

“Ralph told me that he needed to talk to you. Come on, talk to him — as a client.” I looked at Clara and she just rolled her eyes. I just kept silent.

 

RALPH’S POV

“Ralph, clean up your room na. Throw things na di mo na kailangan.”

“Bakit?”

“Syempre. You’ll be staying na sa US. Ibibigay ko na itong room mo kay Pachuchay!”

“Oo nga naman, Kuya. Akin na to. Marami na akong plans for this room e.”

“Ikaw talaga! Di pa nga ako nakakaalis, nililigawan mo na kwarto ko.”

Yung nanay ko, nangliligpit na ng mga bagay-bagay. Yung mga ferrari collection ko, nailigpit na sa box. Itatago na raw kasi magmamature na ako. Tapos, may bigla siyang kinuhang box.

“T-teka.. Ma-”

“Bakit?”

“Iwan mo nalang iyan.”

She looked at the box. “You should throw this na.”

“Yeah, I will. Pero diba mas maganda kung ako mismo yung tatapon?” I looked at her.

She rolled her eyes. “O, siguraduhin mong itatapon mo ha.”

“Opo..”

I locked my room at binuhat ko yung box papunta sa bed. Huminga ako ng malalim. I looked at the box.

“Three years na rin pala.”

Dahan-dahan kong binuksan yung box na yun. And when I did, hindi ko alam. Parang binalot ng kalungkutan at kirot yung puso ko.

“Bakit kasi hindi nalang ikaw?”

Lahat ng binigay ko at binigay niya sakin, nasa box na ito. Lahat-lahat.

“Wag mo tong ipamigay sa iba ha? Pag may bago kang girlfriend, wag mo tong ibigay ha?” Umiiyak pa siya nun.

“B-bakit naman?”

“Ayoko.. siguro, hindi ko kayang makita itong mga bagay na to na nasa kamay ng iba..”

“A-ano gagawin ko dito?” Umiiyak na kaming dalawa.

“Ewan ko.. itapon mo. Sunugin mo. Basta wag mo lang ibigay sa iba.”

“Kaya ko ba yun?”

“Oo naman.. kaya mo yun pag may bago kana..”

“T-talaga lang ha? P-pano kung pagkatapos ng mga ilang taon, ikaw parin? Pwede ko bang ibalik lahat to?”

“Oo..”

“Okay. Itatago ko to.”

Ibabalik ko ba?

“Clar, meron ka bang appointment mamayang hapon?”

“Oo, rehearsal nina Ralph. TAYONG dalawa ang may appointment mamayang hapon.”

“Talaga?! Rehearsal na?! Anong oras?”

“4pm. Ang bilis lang diba?”

“Sobra.” Napatingin lang ako sa kawalan. Ikakasal na talaga siya.

“I’ll try. May pupuntahan kami ni mommy e.”

“I thought, professional tayo dito?”

“Oo nga. But I can’t.”

“Come on. Wag ka ngang ganyan. You have to make yourself untog or SEE para marealize mo that you have to let go na talaga. This time for real na no!”

“I have..”

“I have I have ka diyan! You’ve been living your life for three years.. busy dito busy doon. Have you really thought about that? Syempre kala mo naka move on kana.. pano workaholic ka. Pero really? Ask yourself kaya. AS IN!”

“Clara naman e.”

“Ah basta. You have to go. Nagtatampo na si Kath sa iyo.”

3:30 pm, Tagaytay

“Clar.. is — she — here?”

“Sino?”

“Si Mariel.”

“Malamang parating na yun.”

“Sure ka ba?”

“Oo, bakit sir?”

“W-wala lang.”

“Oh, here she comes!”

“Oh. Thanks.”

 

4pm, Tagaytay

“Goodness, nakaabot pa ako.”

“He asked about you.”

“Bakit daw?”

“I don’t know.” She walked away.

“Hi, Yel!” Kathleen’s voice was all over the place. “I’m glad you could come.”

“Yeah.” I smiled.

“So I’m gonna walk from there to…. there?”

“Yeah.. and you have to stand straightly. Also.. smile.”

“EVERYONE COMPLETE?! START NA TAYO!” Clara shouted. *CLAP *CLAP *CLAP

“Okay, just tell me if everything’s not perfect yet.”

“Yeah, I will.” I said.

“Hey.”

“Uhh, hi.” I smiled to Ralph. Then he ran off to the grounds.

I looked from afar. Hindi ko mapigilang hindi mapaluha. I can see him smiling. They looked so soo happy.

Everything right here.. is and was mine. The gown.. the flowers.. the set-up.. the visitors.. the groom. They all used to be mine. I chuckled at the view and the thought. I wiped my tears and walked nearer to everyone.

KATH’S POV

As I was walking down the aisle.. I was imagining things. I was imagining myself in that white lovely wedding dress.. with my dad and mom walking me down the aisle to the man I love so much. With friends smiling and music everywhere. And my groom at the far end of this ground.. perfe-

And then it struck me. Ralph wasn’t looking at me like how I imagined him to be. He was looking at something else.. at someone else.

I followed his gaze …. Mariel.

But no, she’s our wedding planner. Ralph and I will be married in a couple of days – in two – perhaps. And we’re gonna push through.

“It was perfect.” I said before climbing up my car and driving back to the metro. They had dinner but I skipped. Dumiretso na ako sa condo. Niligpit yung dapat iligpit.

Awhile ago, I just witnessed and finally realized that the man I was dreaming to get married to for the past seven years is finally gonna wed somebody.. somebody.. somebody. It’s not me, okay? It’s not me.

And worse of all, they took my dream wedding. Everything in it! Everything. And I’m not the one who’d walk down the aisle. NOT ME.

I lie down on my bed and just covered my face with a pillow. Ang sakit-sakit.

“I was doing fine.. I really was.. bakit kailangan pang bumalik? Bakit…” Iyak ako ng iyak. Diba sabi ko move on na nga ako, pero bakit ako iyak ng iyak. Nakakainis!!

When I finally calmed down, I opened my drawer. “Pano ka makakamove on, eh you always look at his photo before you sleep?” I smiled and cried at the same time. “Sabi ko naman diba, I’ll be fine? Sana pala pinakasalan na kita dati pa. Sana pala tinuloy nalang yun.”😥

“Kailangang ibalik to.”

012

Two more days to go. Busy-busyhan na kami sa shop kasi nga may event. Fortunately, eto lang yung event this week, so medyo nakakapagconcentrate talaga kami. Clara handles their wedding na. I’m glad that I don’t get to talk with Ralph these past few weeks, baka ano pa sabihin ko sa kanya at maging home-wrecker ako.

THURSDAY.

I keep on looking on their wedding folder. Iniscan ko bawat page. Gusto ko talaga magsink-in sa isipan ko that he’s really getting married.. and to someone else. Gusto ko talagang matauhan ako at marealize ko na wala na talaga – that I should also move on and get a life of my own. After all, I’m 26 and it’s time to settle down.

“Sige, look at it carefully. Ifeel mo talaga iyan..” Clara said teasingly.

“You’re back!” I closed the folder and put it at the right side of my desk. “How’s everything? All set?”

“Yung clients mo hinahanap ka.”  “Mamaya pala, I’ll go back to see them again, kasi may pinapahanap na coins si Kath. Do you wanna go?”

Napaisip ako sandali. “Noo, I have things to do.”

“Hay naku. Di maka get over!” Sabi ni Clara at lumabas ng opisina.

“Kaloka to. Stressed out, malamang.”

I checked out the gowns na ready na for upcoming weddings. Then I saw the wedding gown of Kath’s. I looked at it and examined it carefully.

“Well, if I can’t marry you, then at least, I want your wedding to be perfect.”

Around 3pm, my phone rang.

CLARA.

“Mariel! I can’t meet up with Kath and Ralph. Nag-eeLBM ako ngayon.”

“Eh nasan ka?”

“Andito ako sa condo. Ikaw nalang muna.”

“Di nga?”

“Kumaen kami ni Gladys ng baked oyster kanina for lunch. Tapos na LBM ako. Sorry na. Ikaw na muna.”

“Talaga lang ha?”

“Oo nga. Sorry na. Go na dun!”

“Sesentahin na talaga kita.” I laughed.

So I fixed my things, got my bag and the folder and drove to City Lunch restaurant. When I arrived, there was only RALPH, walang KATH. Leche, set-up ata nito ni Clara ah. Matuluyan sana yun sa LBM niya. GRRRR.

“Hi, good afternoon.” We shook hands. “Clara was having bad indigestion, so ako nalang muna.”

“Finally, we got to talk. Kasi dati ka pa hinahanap ni Kath but Clara said you were busy.”

“Yeah, I’m about to take a vacation kasi, so medyo may mga hinahabol na sched.” “Anyways, Clara was talking about coins..”

“Yeah, Kath wanted gold coins kasi. Yung mahanap lang namin is silver.”

“Oh, okay. Uhmm.. I cannot promise to find you gold ones, but we will try. If I won’t be able to get it, my mom has gold coins naman. We can use it nalang, then I’ll give you the gold ones after awhile. Kasi its hard to find na these coins at this short amount of period.”

“That’s why nga eh. I told her that we should settle for silver, pero gold talaga yung gusto.”

“Well, you have to give her what she wants. Once in a lifetime lang naman yung wedding eh.” I smiled.

“Yeah, I know.”  Then he stared at me.

I stared at him back. 5 seconds. 5..4..3..2..1. And boom, I looked away.

“Hmm, is that all? I could forward this to Clara so she can take a look at it again.”

“So, how’ve you been?” He suddenly asked.

Bigla naman akong napatingin sa kanya. “What?”

“I mean.. how are you taking it? This wedding.. is exactly like yours.. and-”

“It’s okay.” sabi ko. “I-I don’t mind it.. not at all.” Ngumiti kaagad ako sa kanya and sipped on my coffee. Ralph stared at me for quite awhile.

“Okay.” Huminga siya ng malalim. “So when are you planning to settle down? Naunahan na kita o.” He teased.

“Well.. settle down.. maybe.. I don’t know..” Nagkibit balikat ako. “Few months from now? Few years? I don’t know. I’m not sure. If I find someone worth it all.” Ngumiti ako sa kanya.

“Well, then, good luck.” He smiled. “I guess there’s no stopping tomorrow.”

“I bet your mom’s very proud of you..”

“Well, she likes Kathleen a lot. You know, being a nurse and all.”

“Yeah, I thought so.. too. Well, hitting two birds with one stone. You find the love of your life.. and your mom approves of her. That’s just really great.”

“But even if my mom won’t like her, i’d still fight for her. I’d still choose her.”

I froze. Napatingin lang ako sa kape ko. Napalunok ako and fixed my things.

“Well, if there’s nothing more, I’ll get going.”

“Uh, yeah.”

I opened my wallet and “.. No, I got this.” He took the check and just paid the bills. Ni hindi na ako nakailing pa.

“Thanks.” I smiled and tumayo na kaagad. “I’ll just forward this to Clara.” I quickly scrammed on my way out when he held my arm.

“You’ll be there on my wedding day right?”

I awkwardly smiled. “Of course. Can’t miss that for the world.”

“Salamat.”

Ngumiti lang ulit ako at sumakay na sa kotse ko. I drove back to the shop and just sat at my office.

“He must have loved her a lot. Lucky girl. He loves her, tapos gusto pa siya ng family nila. Dati sakin, it was very complicated. Just because I’m not a nurse.. but somehow, pinili niya parin ako. That time though, everything was just complicated.”

Umuwi ako sa bahay to have dinner with my family. Miss na miss ko narin kasi yung nilaga.

“Mom, I’m hereeee!”

“Dinner’s ready. Pumasok ka dito.”

Nakaupo na silang lahat sa dining table. My mom, my dad, my sister Adelle, my little brother Mark. Complete ang pamilya!

“Oh, himala ata at walang date si Mark.” Biro ko sa kanila.

“Aba syempre, minsan ka lang din kaya nagtetext na dito ka kakain sa bahay! Eh sino ba uunahin ko? Yung pinagkakagastuhan ko, or yung gumagastos para sakin?”

Tumawa naman ang lahat. “Walangya ka talaga, Mark!” Banat naman ni Adelle.

“O tama na yan, kain na tayo. Umupo ka na, Mariel.” sabi naman ni Dad.

So umupo na ako, we prayed and ate dinner. It was just fun.. parang katulad lang nung college ako. Kumpleto kaming lahat. Walang hinahabol na mga schedules. Easy lang. Kwentuhan dito, kwentuhan doon. Then nung kami nalang naiwan ni Mama sa kitchen, she handed me something.

“Here. He visited us kaninang hapon.” She said at binigay sakin yung white envelope. I knew what that was.

“So, you’re invited pala.” I smiled. “Well, we should go.”

“Are you really going?”

“Oo naman. I’m their wedding coordinator. So I should be there.” Ngumiti ako kay Mama habang pinipigilan yung luha sa mata ko.

“Alam mo, okay lang naman sakin if sabihin mong, ayaw mo kaming pumunta dun.”

“Pero gusto ko nandun din kayo, Mom. Just in case, di ko kayanin. At least you’re there to keep me composed.”

“Well then, I guess magagamit ko na yung ginawa niyo saking dress.” She smiled. “Anak..” Niyakap niya ako. “Does it really really hurt?”

Then I just bursted out crying. “It does. It really does.”

“Well, you made your choice 3 years ago. You stood by it. Do what you think is the best for you.”

“Maybe, I’ll just have to accept all of this.” My mom just smiled and nodded.

After awhile, umuwi narin ako sa unit. Napaupo lang ako sa sofa and napatingin sa kawalan. Sobrang pinipigilan ko yung luha kong lumabas. Ayokong umiyak. Ayoko talaga.

[3 years ago]

 

“Goodmorning. Tita, andiyan po ba si Ralph? I keep on calling him, pero di na sumasagot yung number niya.”

His mom looked at me, annoyed.

“Bakit mo pa hinahanap? After what you did to him?”

“Tita, hindi naman po iyan rason. I need to talk to him now.”

“Sinayang mo lang lahat Mariel. You have hurt him.”

“But-” Mangiyak-ngiyak na talaga ako. I really wanna talk to him and tell him na hindi naman namen kailangan magpakasal agad. We can wait. He has to wait. We didn’t need to break up. He can work abroad and I’ll work here and we’ll wait for each other. Hindi naman kailangang maging complicated ang lahat. We didn’t need to choose.

“He’s gone. He went to the States yesterday.”

“WHAT?! N-n-no way.. h-h-he can’t.  “

“I’m sorry Mariel. You had your chance and you blew it off.”

“But-but..” Hindi ko alam, all I remembered was that I cried.. I really cried so hard. I was sitting on their front gate and I was just crying like a little girl na iniwan ng mommy niya.

And we never saw each other again, until recently.

Friday na and tomorrow he’s gonna get married. Ayokong pumunta ng shop kasi nakakabaliw dun. Masyadong busy ang lahat. Tsaka baka pumunta dun sina Ralph. Medyo di ko talaga kayang humarap na di naiiyak.

6pm, after having dinner at Enrico’s, I drove around to calm my mind. It was 8pm and Clara said I should sleep early para pretty tomorrow. Sa tingin niya makakatulog kaya ako nito ng matino?

“Clar.. let’s go out.”

“Ano ka ba? We have work tomorrow. Magpahinga ka na..”

“You know I can’t.” I whispered sa phone.

“YOU HAVE TO. Akala ko ba ‘be professional’ yung motto dito?”

“Hindi ko kaya.”

“Don’t drink. Go home. Magdadrive ka pa din naman.”

“I won’t. I’ll go home now. Bye.” I looked at my phone’s screen and dialed Daniel’s number. He said he’s not sure if he could come. I just gave him the name of the place.

I think I started drinking at around 9pm at Hilton’s. At first, I was chatting up with the bartender pa.. and then.. blackout.

 

RALPH’S POV

“I’m gonna get married tomorrow, Trish.”

“Oo nga eh. Alam mo, I like Ate Yel better. But sabi nga nila, mas sweeter if second time around na.”

“Second time?”

“Syempre, nung second time mong magpropose.. syempre, umu-o. Eh dati nung first time kay Ate Yel, wala e. Bokya.”

“Ikaw talaga..”

“Kuya, akin nalang iyan..”

“Saan?”

“Yung mga binigay sa iyo ni Ate Yel dati. Does Ate Kath knows about this na?”

“Hindi pa. Let’s keep it that way nalang.”

“Edi akin nalang iyan para walang ebidensya?”

“Ibabalik ko kay Mariel yan eh.”

“Why?”

“Sabi niya kasi, pag kinasal na ako, I have to return all these things.”

Patricia looked at me sadly. “No.” She whispered. “Ate Mariel once told me.. pag nagka boyfriend daw ako, I should return all the stuffs he gave me if ready na akong magmove-on.”

Napatigil ako at napatingin kay Tricia. Her tears were slowly falling one by one.

“Trish-”

“Bukas ka palang magsisimula diba?”

I just kept silent and looked at the box.

“Hindi kita maintindihan. Why are you keeping it all to yourself? Bakit mo pinipilit ang sarili mo?”

“I love Kathleen. It’s a different kind of love compared to what I had with Mariel.”

“But Kuya-”

“No problem. I’ll take care of this.” I smiled and hugged her. “Sige na, matulog ka na.”

Tumayo siya and slowly walked out of the room. “Kuya?”

“Hm?”

“Marriage is a serious thing. Pag pinasok mo iyan, hindi ka na makakalabas.”

“I know.”

I took my phone and dialed Mariel’s number. It was ringing but no answer. I called up her unit, pero wala ding sumasagot. I dialed Clara’s number.

“Clar, are you with Yel?”

“No, she’s out, I think.”

“Where?”

“I don’t know. Wait, I’ll text a friend. Forward ko nalang sa iyo kaagad.”

“Okay, thanks.”

After awhile, Clara texted.

CLARA

– she’s out. hilton’s.

11PM. I went out of the house, drove my way to her unit. Pero it’s closed. I waited for like 15 minutes, but no Mariel showed up. I went to Hilton’s. I found her drunk and asleep on the bar’s counter.

“Sir, kasama mo ba iyan?”

“Yeah. Uhm, how much?”

“878 po sir.”

“Marami ba nainom niya?”

“Oo sir eh.”

“May nakwento ba?”

“Hinihintay niya daw si Daniel.”

“Yun lang ba?”

“Oo sir. Sir, kasama mo ba talaga iyan?”

“Girlfriend ko. May LQ kami e.” I gave him a thousand and told him to keep the change. Binuhat ko si Mariel palabas ng Hilton’s. Hindi naman talaga to lasengera o malakas uminom eh. Dati nung college, dalawang shot palang ata, natutumba na. Pano pa ngayon, ang daming nainom.

Nilagay ko sya sa kotse then I ran to her car to check if may important syang naiwan, wala naman. Nasa bag niya naman lahat. So I locked it and went back to my car. She was sleeping at pawis na pawis.

When I arrived at her building, nabigla yung guard. “Sir, okay lang ba si ma’am?”

“Napalakas ang inom.” I gave him my key. “Pakikuha naman po ng box sa kotse. Yung sa Fortuner na brown.”

“Sige po sir, ifafollow nalang po sa unit niya.”

“Salamat.”

Pagdating sa unit niya, nilagay ko sya sa kama niya. Iniwan naman kaagad ng guard yung susi ng kotse ko at yung box sa sala.

I took off her shoes and her jacket. Pinunasan ko narin yung mukha at leeg niya ng wet towel.

“Mukhang di ka makakapunta bukas ah. Masamang hangover to.” I smiled and held her face. “Siguro mas okay narin yun. Baka magbago pa isip ko.”

I stood up to prepare a honey drink para sa kanya bukas.. but suddenly, she held my hand. Her tears were flowing. She was in pain. And I stopped.  She tugged my shirt at napaupo ako sa sahig.

“You know what, he’s gonna get married tomorrow.” Her words were slurred yet clear. She was in fetal position, her hand held onto my shirt and her left hand clutching on her white blanket.

“Aren’t you gonna stop him? Tanong ko sa kanya.

She smiled. “No.” She said in almost a whisper. “If.. if.. he’s not happy, I know he won’t do it.” Her eyes were half-closed and her face was wet with tears. For sure, her vision’s blurred. But she managed to smile – a sad smile though. “Daniel.. I looked for him three years ago.”

Napatigil ako at napatingin sa kanya. “3 years ago? Why?”

“I was supposed to ask him.. if we could wait for each other.. and get married someday..” She cried harder. “But-”

“But what?”

“Siguro.. nasaktan ko sya masyado.. cuz he left for abroad.. and we never saw each other again..” Napatingin lang ako sakanya. Hindi ko alam kung anong dapat kong sabihin o maramdaman. Paghihinayang? O contentment?

“But.. it was three years ago. I’m sure you’ve moved on. Right, Rielle?”

“Rielle…” She cried again. “He calls me that.” She smiled then she laughed. Napasandal ako sa kama niya at napatingin sa kisame. “Pano ka makakamove on? If all your life, you’ve imagined it with that someone? Alam mo yun? Yung parang..” I gently wiped her tears. “Yung parang.. lahat na.. lahat na ng plano mo kasama siya? Tapos.. tapos biglang ganun? Yung aalis sya bigla?”

“Pero diba.. okay ka naman?” Bigla akong napaluha habang nakatingin sa kanya.

She chuckled. “3 years diba? Daniel, diba 3 years? Tapos.. sobrang busy ko.. sobrang.. busy-busyhan ako para lang makalimutan siya.. tapos.. tapos..”

“Biglang babalik?”

Humagulhol siya sa pag-iyak. “Magpapakasal pala..”

“Yel-”

“If only.. if you’ll see their wedding tomorrow.. lahat akin yun e. Dapat akin yun.. yung gown.. yung flowers.. pati bisita parehong-pareho.. pero ayos lang.. kasi lahat ng yun mapapalitan.. pero.. pero yung groom, hinde..”

“Yel..”

“Hindi ko kaya yun.. hinde ko kaya yun, Daniel..” Humagulhol siya ulet sa pag-iyak. Napasinghap ako ng hangin.

“He tried to forget you.. in three years. And then he met her. Alam mo yun, sa dalawang taon na yun, nakalimutan ka niya. Nakalimutan niya lahat. Pero sa pagtulog niya, ikaw parin yung nasa isip niya. Kahit-” Napatingin ako sa kanya. “Kahit.. kasama niya yung babaeng gusto niya, ikaw parin yung nakikita niya. Pero nakalimutan ka niya, sa dalawang taon na yun.” I smiled. “Pero sabi nga nila.. hindi mo malalaman kung mahal mo pa yung tao hangga’t hindi mo sila nakikita ulet.”

Bigla siyang natahimik and her tears were flowing. “Daniel-”

“When I saw you again.. my world stopped. Katulad lang nung 3rd year college ako. When I first you.. yung pinaghirapan ko sa tatlong taon na yun, biglang nawala.” Napaiyak na ako. “Ilang beses pumasok sa isipan ko na hindi ko itutuloy yung kasal.. pero.. alam kong mararamdaman niya.. dahil pinaramdam mo rin sakin yun Mariel.”

I held her hand. “Siguro tama ka.. tama yung sinabi mo noon. Hindi tayo para sa isa’t-isa.”

013

 I wiped her tears and stood up to leave. When suddenly, she whispered, “Mahal kita.” Napatigil ako at napatingin kay Mariel.

I stroked her face and dahan-dahan ko siyang hinalikan sa labi. Isang luha ang kumawala sa kanyang mga mata. I squeezed her hand and wiped that tear again. Tiningnan ko ulit si Mariel. She was asleep – just like that.

Lumabas ako ng kwarto niya at napaupo sa sofa. Lahat na masakit. Masakit ang mata ko, ang ulo ko, at ang puso ko. Ito na ba talaga yun? Ito na ba talaga yung katapusan? Pano umabot sa ganito?

Pumunta ako sa kitchen at ginawan sya ng honey-syrup. For sure, masama ang hangover niyan bukas. Hindi naman pwedeng hindi iyan pumunta sa kasal ko.

Then I drove home.

I woke up at around 11am. Sobrang sakit ng ulo ko and sobrang weird ng pakiramdam ko. I slowly stood up and looked at my face sa harap ng mirror. OMG! Namamaga ang eyes ko. What happened? Did I cry?

Napaisip ako as to what happened to me. All I remembered was that I drunk lots last night. I don’t even  remember kung pano ako nakauwi. I tried to think hard.. pero mas lalong sumasakit yung ulo ko.

I looked for my phone and naka-anim na missed calls na si Clara.. and ten messages. I read those texts and just put my phone back sa bag.

I sat at the toilet. “I’m not gonna see him walk away from my life. No way.” I smiled to myself and pumunta na ako sa kitchen to get water, you know, baka maflush out yung alcohol. I feel like my stomach’s twitching eh.

And then there was a honey drink and a note.

“Drink”

“Aww, ang sweet naman nitong si Daniel.”  Ininom ko naman yung honey drink and umupo lang sa table. Napatingin ako sa kawalan.

Ngayon na pala talaga yung araw na ikakasal siya. What, ilang oras nalang ba? Apat? O lima? In five hours, that man will finally walk out of my life. Siguro its time narin for me to really move on. For real na talaga.

I walked to my room and just let myself fall on the bed. I took out his photo in my drawer and just stared at it.

Napahinga ako ng malalim to stop my tears from falling.

Then my phone rang again. This time, I had to answer it.

“Hi..”

“WHERE ARE YOU? GO HERE!”

“I can’t.”

“AT BAKET??”

“I have a bad headache.. and feeling ko, my stomach’s gonna turn upside down.”

“YOU HAD A BAD DRINK LAST NIGHT? DIBA I TOLD YOU NA MATULOG KA?”

“I couldn’t sleep eh!”

“SINO KASAMA MO?”

“Si Daniel.”

“DAMN IT. PUMUNTA KA DITO! HINDI MO SISIRAIN ANG PANGALAN MO JUST BECAUSE OF THAT.”

“But Clar-”

“PROFESSIONALISM DIBA?” And she hanged up on me. Ayos diba? She sounded like the boss.

I threw my phone at the bed and tumakbo ako papuntang bathroom and looked at myself through a mirror.

“I have a dark and big eye bags.. my face is all puffy.. I’m not really in my best condition.”  “But then, Clara’s right. I’m not gonna let emotions hinder my success. I am a professional. And I’m the best at my field.” I had a deep breathe and walked over the shower.

Sabay ng pagbukas ko ng shower ang pag-iyak ko ng todo-todo. Hindi ko maintindihan. Pakiramdam ko, my heart’s being squeezed.. my stomach’s swarmed with butterflies.. my knees are weakening.. and my head’s circling.. para akong magkakasakit.

I just hope, when this day’s over, I’m back on track again. Parang disturbance lang to e. Parang, check-point. After nito, balik na ako sa pagdadrive.. ng diretso. I WAS DOING FINE!

I took my dress from the shop.. drove my way to Tagaytay and arrived there like around 2pm.

“FINALLY! You’re here.”  Medyo pressured na ata si Clara. “OH MY GOD! What happened to your face? You need to get it fixed.”

“Makasalita to akala mo naman disfigured yung face ko.”

“Go, go, go!” She pushed me so I walked to the make up room and got my make up. They put a lot of concealer on my eyes and voila, wala na. Parang fresh na ulet ako. Around 4pm, ready na yung lahat. I went out and stood beside Clara.

“How are you feeling?” She asked.

“My head’s spinning and my tummy’s having a WW3.”

Tumawa naman siya. “Kalurky. Yan kase eh.”

We were at the side and I was looking at the set-up.

“This.. is what I have always dreamed of.”

“Is it worth it?” Clara asked. Napahawak ako sa puso ko.

“It’s better than what I’ve dreamed it to be.” I smiled at her. I was scanning the whole place, and I was at awe. “Look, its our friends.. way way back..” My tears started to well up in my eyes. I chuckled. “Thanks, Clar.” I looked at her.

“WHY?”

“For making this.. the best wedding we have ever handled.”  Clara looked at me and smiled sadly. “Bottle it up. You can’t afford to face them with puffy eyes.”

“Right. Where’s Daniel pala?”

“Bakit?”

“I need to thank him kase. He made me a honey drink.”

“Really? How sweet of him.”

I scanned around to find him and suddenly, he was walking with Bevs. “Daniel!”

“O, hi, Yel! I can’t believe na hindi ikaw ang ikakasal..” Bigla ko silang hinila sa gilid.

“Ssshh. Tumahimik ka nga.”

Tumawa naman sila.

“Thank you pala kagabi.”

“Bakit?”

“You know.. for going out with me to drink.. and making me a honey drink-”

“WHAT?” Napatingin sakin si Daniel, Bevs and Clara.

“You know.. last night?”

“N-n-no, no no no no. I was with Bevs..”

“No. You were-”

“He was with me.. the whole night.”

“WHAT?”

“He was with me, the whole night.”

“T-t-then.. s-sino yung?”

Clara looked at me and I looked at Clara.

“Thanks Bev and Daniel.. we’ll go ahead.” I heard Clara at hinila niya ako.

“Clar? Sino yung kasama ko last night?”

“I don’t know Yel.. but I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Oh gosh.”

“Dad..”

“Bakit?”

“Pag pinasok ko to, makakalabas pa ba ako?”

“Ralph.. when you decide to marry a woman, you’ll promise to stay by her side even when you fall out of love someday. Kahit wala nang love, di ka makakalabas niyan. Kaya nga dapat may friendship din na mamuo e.”

I kept quiet at tiningnan lang yung beer ko.

“Anak.. you have to make sure of it. If there’s doubt, wag mong ituloy.” I looked at him. “Even if it’s just a little doubt. When you marry, dapat sure ka.. one hundred percent. Yung kahit babagyuhin yung wedding day niyo, go ka pa rin!” He laughed.

Napatingin ako kay Dad. “Little doubt..” I whispered.

“Awww, my baby’s gonna marry na..” Mom whispered and hugged me.

“Wag ka ngang umiyak.. diba dapat happy day ito?”

“Iwan mo samin ang apo ha?”

“Si Mommy talaga o..”

We drove up to Tagaytay and went to the hotel. Iba yung hotel na kinuha namin eh. 10 minutes away lang naman from the venue itself. Yung nasa venue is yung mga bridesmaids and all. Ayoko kasing nagsisiksikan kami. Tapos may picture taking pa, so gusto ko bongga talaga.

“Ang ganda-ganda.. ikaw na yata ang pinaka magandang bride na nakita ko..” sabi ng make-up artist.

“Nako, chinacharot mo lang ako e.”

“No, Kath. You are beautiful talaga. Very lucky ng groom.” I laughed. “But I heard, the groom’s gwapo din daw.. so I guess match made in heaven kayo.” I smiled.

“He’s very handsome.. and very caring.”

“Ano ba kwento niyo?”

“Well, we work at the same hospital. He’s very suplado ha. He doesn’t talk to us.. yung ganun. He keeps to himself. I liked him na even before. Parang mysterious kasi. Yung ganun. Then after a year, he called me up and asked me to dinner during Christmas time. So tama namang wala akong kasama, I went with him nalang. And we started dating na the next few weeks. Ang casual niya masyado. Sobrang funny..”

“That’s really great.”

“Pero alam mo.. may past siya eh. Di niya pa nakikwento sakin. Ang tagal-tagal ko na talagang tinatanong sa kanya pero ayaw magkwento.”

“Ayy! Baka may tinatago?”

“Tinatago talaga. Pero kungsabagay.. past narin naman yun.”

“But past molds you kaya..”

“Oo nga no.” Sabi ko sa sarili ko. After ng hair and make up,  kumaripas ako ng takbo papunta sa room niya.

Alam ko sabi nila pag nagkita kayo before the wedding itself, di matutuloy. Pero diba, kung gusto niyo namang ituloy, matutuloy yan? Kaya kiber lang.

*knock *knock *knock

Then he opened the door.  Pocha, ang gwapo-gwapo ng groom ko!

“Hey.. why are you here? You’re not supposed to be here.”

I stepped in. “Diba sabi nila di matutuloy ang kasal pag nagkita tayo before the wedding? Let’s prove them wrong.” I kissed him.

He chuckled. “Are you scared?”

“No. If we’re gonna get married.. gusto ko open tayo.”

“We are. W-why?”

“Di mo pa nasasabi yung past mo sakin.”

“Hindi pa ba?”

I shook my head. “Now’s the time to talk about it.”

He took a deep breathe. “7 years. She was my first girlfriend. I.. I asked her for a wedding.. and she denied.” He smiled.

“Yun lang?”

“Yeah. Bakit?”

“Who is she? Where is she now? Hmm.. how was she? How did she make you feel?”

He laughed. “It’s past.. yaan na naten yun.” He hugged me.

I looked at him in the eyes.  Oh my god. It’s not “past”.

“No. No.”

“What?”

“You’re not over her.. are you?”

“I am..” I looked at him again.

“No..” My tears started falling and he held my hand. “You’re not.”

“I am.. okay? I’m marrying you.”

“Who is she? Nasan siya ngayon?”

“C-can you just go back to your room and let’s just get married?” He smiled.

“No. You’re telling me now.”

He looked at me and took a deep breathe again. “Mariel. Wedding coordinator.” He said in almost a whisper. Napaupo bigla ako sa kama. Umiyak ako.

Alam ko, that moment I saw his eyes sa practice.. may kutob na ako. Deep inside, alam kong bibihagin ko sya in case matutuloy ang kasal na to. He knelt down and held my hands.

“But we’ll be married, right?”

“Do you love her?”

“I LOVED her.”

“Do you love her?”

“Kath..”

“I just need a yes or no.” I looked at him. “Please, be honest.” He took a deep breathe again and looked at the ceiling then he looked at me. “Oh gosh..” I started crying again.

“Kath..”

“I can’t.. I can’t do this..”

“Kath-”

“I can’t.. marry you like this.”

“I’m sorry.” Then I started punching him and slapping him and I just cried. “I’m sorry..” He just kept repeating it until Mom came running down and hugged me.

“OKAY! IT’S 4:30 PM, EVERYONE GATHER AROUND NA…” Clara ran to the crowd and isa-isa sila pinuwesto. When suddenly she asked, “WHERE IS THE GROOM?” Bigla naman akong napatingin sa kanila and tumakbo ako sa side niya.

“What’s the problem?”

“The groom.. the groom.. the groom.. and the bride.. the bride should be here any minute now..”

“Okay, I’ll get the.. the bride.”

“Sige, ako na kay Ralph.”

I dialed Kathleen’s number, pero di sumasagot. I called up the hotel but the same, di sinasagot yung phone. Clara was doing the same to Ralph’s.

“Madam.. can you contact Ralph? Di siya namin macontact. He should be here by now.” She said to Ralph’s parents. His mom checked her own phone and tried to contact Ralph’s number. When suddenly, his dad stepped forward.

“He’s not coming.” His dad said.

I dropped my phone and just looked at them. He’s not coming.

“They’re not coming.” He said again. They’re not coming.

Napatingin sakin si Clara. “No way..” I whispered to myself. “No way..”

“YOU! IKAW ANG MAY KASALANAN NG LAHAT-LAHAT!” His mom shouted and she walked over me. “KUNG HINDI KA MALANDI, DI SANA TINANGGIHAN MO NA ITONG KASAL NA ITO! IKAW! IKAW NA MALANDING BABAE KA..”

I was horrified. Ni hindi ako nakagalaw. I was shocked. My tears started to burst and my mom ran over and hindi ko alam, pinigilan ata ng family nila yung mom ni Ralph. I was hyperventilating. Mom was hugging me and they gave me water.

My hands were shaking.. my whole body was shaking and my face was wet with tears. Hindi ko alam kung anong naging reaction ng body ko. I’m not sure if this half-joy and half-guilty or what. Mom took me to the car and I was just sitting there buried in her shoulders.

I was just crying. I didn’t know what to say. I had nothing to say. I just wanted to cry. Dad drove back to our house and Mom assisted me to my room. Nahiga lang ako at naiyak ng naiyak.

The next morning, I went home and just sat at the couch. Hindi ko alam. Everything happened too fast. I didn’t try to call him. They didn’t try to call me. After, I decided to go the office just to check things out.

I was scanning some events when someone knocked.

“Yeah-?”

“Hi..” She smiled.

“Kath-.. come in.”

“Yeah. Hmm, well.. I just wanted to ask if you give refunds?” Umupo siya sa harap ko. “This?”

I looked at the paper bag and I knew what was in it. “Well-”

“I have.. no use of this.”

“Okay then..” I smiled.

“Yel?”

“Yeah?”

“Did.. he call you?”

I looked at her. “No.”

“Ahh.” She smiled. “Tarantado.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Nothing.” Tarantado?

I took the gown and gave her the money only with 10% less. “Is it good?”

“Yeah. Thanks. I’ll go ahead.” She smiled and kissed me on the cheek. “Yel.. I’ll move on. So.. don’t think about it too much. You didn’t do anything.. it was just.. not really meant.. and.. naisip ko, tama ito e. Kasi pag natuloy yun, for sure.. he wouldn’t really live the life he always wanted.”

Hindi ko maintindihan si Kathleen. I just awkwardly smiled. “Thanks.”

“Thank you.” She said and walked away.

014

Dahan-dahan akong napaupo at napatingin sa kawalan. Pumasok ulit si Kathleen sa office and looked at me. I knew what was gonna come.

“Honestly.. I hate you. I blame you for all of this.” She said in between gritted teeth. “Akala ko ba magkaibigan tayo? I considered you as a friend, Mariel. I did. Tinanong kita e. Ilang beses kitang tinanong.. sana.. sana di mo nalang tinanggap to. Sana wala nalang.” She burst into tears. Nakatingin lang ako sa kanya at dahan-dahan akong lumapit. “Ang sakit-sakit, Mariel. Ang sakit-sakit.”

Niyakap ko si Kathleen at napaupo kami. Wala na akong magagawa, kungdi ang humingi ng patawad.

“I’m sorry. Akala ko magiging okay ang lahat kapag tumahimik ako, Kath. I’m really really sorry.” Napaiyak na rin ako. “I know everything’s gonna change. I don’t expect you to be all nice with me. I’m really sorry, Kath. You have all the right para kamuhian ako.”

Kathleen just cried, and I just hugged her. Finally, she took control of her emotions, wiped her tears and stood up. She looked at me and smiled sadly. “When you see him again, don’t ever let go.” And she walked out of my office.

Napaupo lang ako sa couch and just looked at nowhere. Hindi ko alam kung nasan ngayon si Ralph. I’m not even sure if I’ll see him again.

But I know, if we’re really meant to be together, God will find a way to let us meet. And I’ll take it from there. I just need that chance. That one chance to see him again.

2 MONTHS LATER.

“OH MY GOOODDD!” I shrieked from my office. Claaarraaa! You have to see this!”

“What?”

“I just received an email from Monique Lhuillier!!”

“WHAT?!”

“MONIQUE LHUILLIER, my dear!!”

“What, what, what did it say?”

“You are invited as an intern of the Monique Lhuillier couture house for two years starting December 2008 to December 2010. We will be happy to train you and expand your knowledge regarding fashion designing. Yours truly, Monique Lhuillier.” I shrieked again. And Clara was like jumping for joy na.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.. you’re gonna go, right?”

“Of course! I need to go! It’s Monique Lhuillier, for Pete’s sake!”

“But wait~” Clara paused. “How about the shop?”

“Andyan ka naman e.. sa iyo na muna to for two years!” I grinned.

“Hindi ko kaya..”

“Ano ka ba, of course kaya mo! Just in case you need my help, you can always contact me naman e. There are a lot of communication medium nowadays! Now, we can try skype-ing each other! Hahaha.”

“You’re right. You can’t really say no to that, it’s MLhuillier after all.”

“Exactly. I can’t let this one pass me by like that.”

Pumunta ako sa bahay ng parents ko to break the news. Dad’s very supportive. Sabi pa nga, I should explore and learn daw.. Mom’s a little worried and doubtful.

“Dapat ba talaga, two years? How about the shop?” Mom asked habang tinutulungan ko siyang maghugas ng pinggan.

“Clara and I talked already. I know her capabilities. She can handle it. After all, two years ain’t that long.”

“I’m really gonna miss you.” Mom hugged me and I hugged back.

Ganito talaga kami ni Mommy, sobrang close kaya wala pa nga akong ticket, sobrang drama-efek na kami.

“Yel, can I ask something?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you have any news about Ralph?” Napatigil naman ako bigla. “It’s okay if-”

“Wala e. We never got to talk again. I think he just disappeared like that. Even the ex fiance was furious.”

“Ahh, okay.”

With the remaining two months I have here in Philippines, inasikaso ko lahat ng kailangang asikasohin sa shop. I designed futuristic gowns, prepared my portfolio for MLhuillier, and changed signatories. I was teaching Clara all that she needs to know in managing the shop. I introduced her to suppliers, florists, clients.. lahat na.

December 18, 2008

Mom, Dad, my siblings, and friends drove me to the airport. We all said our goodbyes and wishes. Mom, Clara and I started crying and hugging each other. As if naman no!  Before entering the pre-dep area, I looked at Manila’s towering buildings again.

“Hmm, I’ll miss you.” I smiled to myself, braced myself and started walking inside.

1 YEAR AND TWO MONTHS LATER

“Mariel, would you like to show them your designs?” I was starstruck. Who wouldn’t be? You’re talking to Gwyneth Paltrow. And Monique just asked me to show them my designs. Are you freaking kidding me?

“Yes, absolutely.” By the way, american accent na aketch ha!  I took out my new designs and handed it over to her.

“Oh, these are absolutely gorgeous!”

“T-thank you.”

“She’s my intern, but she’s a very good designer in the Philippines. She’s such a blessing.”

“That’s really.. overwhelming..” I said and smiled.

“I love this one!” It was a red flowy gown she pointed. “I’ll have this!” She looked at me then Monique.

“Yes, absolutely!” Monique answered. “I’ll hand it over to you, Mariel.”

“This is really perfection.”

I was so flattered and inspired. I mean, it’s not everyday you get to hear Gwyneth Paltrow’s admiration to your designs. But then, I was so used to stars coming here at MLhuillier’s couture house. From Taylor Swift to Reese Witherspoon. And I have pictures from all of them.

I dressed Carrie Underwood’s last FMA awards. I got a 4-star award from fashion critiques. Not bad at all.  I spent my first Christmas at Vegas, with some college friends. And also, thanksgiving and new year. But I haven’t heard anything from Ralph.

I wonder if he’s here in LA. After all, dito naman talaga yung work niya before he came back to Philippines. And we never crossed each other’s paths. My friends didn’t mention anything rin naman about him.. you know, if he’s here or not. Or if he’s got a new girlfriend.. or kung san sya nakatira. Not that I’m interested. Hmm, sige na nga, maybe I am.

At.. I spent my 27th birthday on Canada. I visited a good good friend out there. It was such a nice place. Hamakin mo, 10PM pa lang, sunset palang sa lugar na iyon? Kung sa Pinas, holdapan time na iyan, doon sunset palang, my gosh. Okay, sorry, culture shock lang.

March 27, 2009

I was rushed to the emergency room of LA General Hospital. I have a bad stomach ache. Yung tipong parang puputok yung tyan ko. And ang hapdi-hapdi. Same as what I had before nung college. Ashley was talking with the nurses..

“Ash, you can go ahead. I’ll be fine.”

“No, I’ll just stay with you.”

“No, you can’t. You have an appointment with Kim Kardashian. You can’t miss that for the world.”

She sighed. “You’re right. Are you sure you’ll be fine?”

“Yeah. But no operations?”

“Nahh, they said you’ll be fine. You just had a bad gastritis.”

“Oh, okay then. Go ahead. And thank you.”

“No problem, I’ll see you tomorrow.” I waved at her and just lied down there at the bed.

Then suddenly, someone opened the curtains and prepared some medicine for me. I looked around and I was..  ARE YOU FCKIN KIDDING ME?

“HEY!”

“H-hey..” I said. He smiled disbelievingly looking at me.

“Y-you’re here..”

“Y-yeah.”

“And.. you’re suffering from a bad gastritis.”

“Yeah.” I tugged my blanket a little tighter. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!

Then bigla nalang may pumasok na doctor and gave me a piece of paper for my medicine. I stood up and was feeling a little better.

“Where shall I pay?”

“I got it!” He said.

“Uhh, no.”

“No, really, I got it. We have a privilege free payment here.”

“No, no.”

“Please?” He gave that look and deep voice of his. And I was like “whatever”.

“Fine. And thank you.”

Then someone called him from another room and he excused himself and he told me to wait, but I didn’t and I scrammed down the entrance and just went ahead.

My heart was skipping a beat. It was racing fast. I couldn’t breathe properly. My hands were shaking and I felt like throwing up. I walked as fast as I could, rode on a bus and jumped on my bed.

Hindi ko alam kung ano yung dapat kong maramdaman. I was like lost. Yung parang I’m like this –>  but at the same time I’m like this –>

Sana naman wag na kaming magkita ulit. I’m not going in there again, PROMISE!

November 16, 2010

Autumn na, 2 more months to go and tapos na yung internship ko dito, balik Pinas na kaagad ako. I miss Philippines so much. Oo nga pala, medyo na discover na yung talent ko dito sa LA sa fashion designing. Sabi nila, I’m the next Monique Lhuillier. Syempre, haba ng hair ko, pero thankful parin talaga ako kay Monique kasi she lets me design gowns and dresses talaga. Yung she gives me the freedom to be known and learn things.

And autumn yung pinakamalungkot kong season sa States. Yung nalalagas na puno.. yung orange na leaves.. alam mo yun, basta ayoko ng ambience. Parang ang sad.

Mom called up pala, sabi niya, mag vevecation daw sila ni Daddy sa Singapore sa February. For sure by that time, andun na ako sa Pinas. And then Clara updated me about  Giselle Lacson’s wedding. Expected daw na wedding of the year, edi sabi ko, o sige, go! Gawin mong wedding of the year!

 

December 23, 2010

Christmas rush everywhere. Downtown LA. Kaloka. I was walking really fast when I saw this restaurant/bar sa 22nd street. They have this Christmas gifts outside na nakadisplay. And then there was this diamond ring. As in, super ganda and elegant talaga. Authentic daw. I looked at it from the glass and I can feel my eyes sparkling.

Wedding ring. Pwedeng-pwede. But then I sighed. Malamang, tatanda akong mag-isa. Haha.

I had one last look at it and started walking again.

“MARIEL!”

Did someone call me?

“MARIEL?!”

I turned around and saw Ralph running towards me. I froze. Pakiramdam ko yung snow umulan sa loob ng katawan ko.

“Hey!”

“Hi..”

“It’s been a long time!”

015

I smiled hesitantly. “Y-yeah, it’s been a long time.”  It also made me realized, bakit ako parang binuhusan ng snow, eh wala namang snow dito sa LA?

“So kumusta na? Are you fine? How about your stomach?”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m good.”

Awkward silence. People were passing us by. Christmas rush nga. And we were there, standing in the middle of the crowd, exchanging stares and awkward smiles.

“Christmas na ah.” He said while smiling.

“Oo nga eh.”

“Sino kasama mo?”

“Sa Christmas?”

“Yeah.”

“I haven’t planned anything yet. Pero I think.. I’ll be with myself.” It’s another way of saying, I’ll be alone.

“Ahhh.” He nodded.

I smiled. “So, I’ll see you around. It’s getting busy down here. And..”  “It’s cold.”

“Yeah, yeah. Uhmm, take care. And Merry Christmas!” He smiled again.

“Thanks. Merry Christmas too!” I turned around, bit my lip and walked as fast as I could. Then someone caught the plastic bag I was holding. Muntik na akong mapatalon. There he was, grinning.

“Since nagkita rin lang naman tayo.. can we at least.. go around the city?”

Napatingin lang ako kay Ralph. “I have-”

“Just this once.” In that deep voice again. My weakness.

I sighed. “Okay.” He took the grocery I was carrying and he lead the way. “Oh, you have a car.” I said flatly.

“Yeah.” He grinned. “So I’ll tour you around.. and.. introduce you to my world?”

“Why would you do that?” Tanong ko.

“Well, I bet you’re always at Beverly Hills. So, there’s a lot more to see here in LA.”

“Really?”

“Oo naman! Come on, loosen up.”

“You sound like an LA native.” Psh.

He stared at me and smiled. Binuksan niya yung pinto ng car niya and I hopped in. And we just drove around. Tapos he stopped on a “take-out” booth.

“Sandali lang ha. May kukunin lang ako.” He said. Naiwan ako sa kotse niya while he ran to the booth. Then he came back after around 10 minutes. “Sorry, natagalan.”

“Ano yan?” Turo ko sa plastic na hawak niya.

“Chicken buffalo wings.” He grinned.

Nanlaki ang mga mata ko! I know back in the Philippines, Pizza Hut has that.. but I was really wishing na someday I can eat an original buffalo wings.. yung tipong dito talaga sa States. But I was very busy with work, I didn’t have time to check out places.

“Really?”

“Yeah!” I took the food and he drove west. And we just parked and he opened the boxes and we were eating the wings with our fingers.

This was what I liked about Ralph. He’s so random, so casual and so real. Yung tipong di ka mahihiya pag nawalan ka ng poise. He can see you at your worse and he’ll just smile and hug you back. Yung ganun. Walang pretend-pretend. He accepts people for who they are. But sometimes, he’s just a little hard on himself. He can understand people, but he tries not to understand himself to avoid conflicts, though he knows what he wants. He’s rather a little complex.

“How I wanted to do this!” sabi ko bigla-bigla. “It’s so much yummier pag dito talaga sa States. Remember when we were eating this at Pizza Hut dati? Pakiramdam ko sobrang kulang yung kinakain natin noon.”

“I’m glad you liked it.”  “Kelan ka uuwi ng Pilipinas? Or since kailan ka pa nandito?”

“I have been here for almost two years na. By next month, I’ll be home.”

“Two years?”

“Yeah.. uhm-” Right after your supposed-to-be-wedding.

“Ah, okay. You didn’t even contact me.” He teased. “May galit ka ba sakin?”

“Ha-ha. Wala naman. I was just too busy and I thought maybe calling you up would stir..”

“Issues?”

“Kind of.” I put down my wings and nilagay sa gilid yung box then wiped my fingers with tissue. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry if it didn’t work out very well.”

“No, it’s okay.” He smiled. “But I haven’t told you why I didn’t go ahead, have I?”

Bigla akong napatahimik. “Yeah, why?” I asked.

Tiningnan niya ako and his smile faded. “Wala lang.” He laughed.

“That’s it? Wala lang?”

“Yeah.”

“Y-You’re weird.” I tried to force a laugh. “But seriously?”

“I don’t know. I just didn’t feel like getting into a lifetime commitment.” He grinned. “Or maybe I wasn’t really over you.” He was still grinning. “Or maybe I’m not really ready to give up my bachelor life?” He looked at me. “You choose.”

I’d like to choose the maybe he wasn’t really over me reason, but that’s just absurd.

“Heh.”

“Ikaw? Why.. aren’t you married yet?” He suddenly asked, his face turning serious.

“M-me?”

“Oo.”

“Haven’t found the right man yet.” I said.

“Really? Then what do you take me for?”

I looked at him. My jaw dropped.

“I-”

“Hahahaha. Just kidding.”

“Oh.”

After that, we just kept quiet and we drove back home and he walked me to my apartment door.

“So, here’s mine.” I said pointing to my unit.

“Yeeeaah. So I’ll see you soon?”

“Sure.” I smiled and opened my door. “And, thank you.”

“No problem.” He grinned. Then I closed the door.

I took a deep breath and leaned on the wall. “Lord, I told you I only need one chance.. and you gave it to me. And what the heck am I doing? I’m letting go of him again.. please tell me what to do..”

Days passed when I suddenly received a call from Clara.

“Clar? Hey, what’s up?”

“OH MY GOD. I have to tell you something.” Sobrang natakot ako kasi baka may nangyari kina Mommy or sa business or kay Clara.

“WHAT? What? Is something wrong?”

“Wag ka ngang panic diyan. This is chismax. Hahaha.”

“Chismax lang naman pala, tumawag ka pa ng overseas.”

“Hahaha. Chismax pero totoo. Malamang ikatutuwa mo ito. That is if nagkita na kayo diyan ni Ralph. Or pag wala pa, I’m sure hahanapin mo siya this instant.”

“Ano ba yan? Bilisan mo, mahal na yung bill mo.”

“Wag kang mag-alala, marami naman akong pera. Hahaha! Okay, okay. Remember that night na nalasing ka and pagkabukas kasal ni Ralph?”

“Yeah.. What about that?”

“Well, diba you thought it was Daniel? And then Daniel said hindi daw siya..”

“Okay?”

“Okay.. then kanina lang, I saw Marlyn sa SM. So we chatted for awhile. Remember her?”

“Yeah, yung college friend ko.. na pinakilala sa iyo.”

“Yeah.. so we were chatting and she suddenly asked about Ralph.”

“Okay?”

“Then sabi ko naman, bakit mo itatanong si Ralph? Bakit? Then she asked if natuloy ba yung kasal ni Ralph since nakita niya raw kayo na magkasama sa isang bar. You were so wasted daw that Ralph had to carry you papunta sa kotse niya. And that was the night before he gets married DAW.”

“WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?”

“So, it was Ralph who brought you home.. and it was him, who made you a honey drink and I guess it was the reason why he didn’t go ahead with the marriage.”

NO FUCKING WAY.

“You’re probably shocked right now. So here’s you gotta do. You have to find the guy and tell him what you really feel about him. OKAY?”

“N-n-no..”

“MARIEL! THIS IS 21ST CENTURY. MAYA-MAYA END OF THE WORLD NA. AT IKAW, NAKATUNGANGA KA PA DIYAN, THINKING WHETHER YOU SHOULD TELL HIM OR NOT. WHAT IF KAYA YOU MATERIALIZE IT NALANG. GO TO THE GUY AND BE REAL, EVEN JUST THIS ONCE. BYE.”

And she hanged up on me.

“You know what, he’s gonna get married tomorrow.” Her words were slurred yet clear. She was in fetal position, her hand held onto my shirt and her left hand clutching on her white blanket.

 

“Aren’t you gonna stop him? Tanong ko sa kanya.

 

She smiled. “No.” She said in almost a whisper. “If.. if.. he’s not happy, I know he won’t do it.” Her eyes were half-closed and her face was wet with tears. For sure, her vision’s blurred. But she managed to smile – a sad smile though. “Daniel.. I looked for him three years ago.”

 

Napatigil ako at napatingin sa kanya. “3 years ago? Why?”

 

“I was supposed to ask him.. if we could wait for each other.. and get married someday..” She cried harder. “But-“

 

“But what?”

 

“Siguro.. nasaktan ko sya masyado.. cuz he left for abroad.. and we never saw each other again..” Napatingin lang ako sakanya. Hindi ko alam kung anong dapat kong sabihin o maramdaman. Paghihinayang? O contentment?

 

“But.. it was three years ago. I’m sure you’ve moved on. Right, Rielle?”

 

“Rielle…” She cried again. “He calls me that.” She smiled then she laughed. Napasandal ako sa kama niya at napatingin sa kisame. “Pano ka makakamove on? If all your life, you’ve imagined it with that someone? Alam mo yun? Yung parang..” I gently wiped her tears. “Yung parang.. lahat na.. lahat na ng plano mo kasama siya? Tapos.. tapos biglang ganun? Yung aalis sya bigla?”

 

“Pero diba.. okay ka naman?” Bigla akong napaluha habang nakatingin sa kanya.

 

She chuckled. “3 years diba? Daniel, diba 3 years? Tapos.. sobrang busy ko.. sobrang.. busy-busyhan ako para lang makalimutan siya.. tapos.. tapos..”

 

“Biglang babalik?”

 

Humagulhol siya sa pag-iyak. “Magpapakasal pala..”

 

“Yel-“

 

“If only.. if you’ll see their wedding tomorrow.. lahat akin yun e. Dapat akin yun.. yung gown.. yung flowers.. pati bisita parehong-pareho.. pero ayos lang.. kasi lahat ng yun mapapalitan.. pero.. pero yung groom, hinde..”

 

“Yel..”

 

“Hindi ko kaya yun.. hinde ko kaya yun, Daniel..” Humagulhol siya ulet sa pag-iyak. Napasinghap ako ng hangin.

 

“He tried to forget you.. in three years. And then he met her. Alam mo yun, sa dalawang taon na yun, nakalimutan ka niya. Nakalimutan niya lahat. Pero sa pagtulog niya, ikaw parin yung nasa isip niya. Kahit-” Napatingin ako sa kanya. “Kahit.. kasama niya yung babaeng gusto niya, ikaw parin yung nakikita niya. Pero nakalimutan ka niya, sa dalawang taon na yun.” I smiled. “Pero sabi nga nila.. hindi mo malalaman kung mahal mo pa yung tao hangga’t hindi mo sila nakikita ulet.”

 

Bigla siyang natahimik and her tears were flowing. “Daniel-“

 

“When I saw you again.. my world stopped. Katulad lang nung 3rd year college ako. When I first saw you.. yung pinaghirapan ko sa tatlong taon na yun, biglang nawala.” Napaiyak na ako. “Ilang beses pumasok sa isipan ko na hindi ko itutuloy yung kasal.. pero.. alam kong mararamdaman niya.. dahil pinaramdam mo rin sakin yun Mariel.”

 

I held her hand. “Siguro tama ka.. tama yung sinabi mo noon. Hindi tayo para sa isa’t-isa.”

So I was talking to him? That night? I was.. talking to him?  Could it be.. that was the reason… why he didn’t? Oh gosh.

I took a deep breath while wiping my tears. I buried my face on my hands.. I didn’t know what to say. And I just stormed out from the office to the hospital.

I saw him outside the emergency chatting up another nurse. I walked at him and I excused him from his friend.

“A-anong problema?” He asked.

“I WAS THE REASON, right?”

“About?”

“WHY YOU DIDN’T GET MARRIED!”

“Really?”

I slapped him. “TWO YEARS AGO, I WAS DRUNK JUST BEFORE SOMEONE’S WEDDING THINKING I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO  ATTEND JUST SO I COULD AVOID CRYING OVER OR SEEING HIM WALK OUT FROM MY LIFE. AND SOMEONE BROUGHT ME HOME. AND I TALKED. I TOLD HIM ABOUT EVERYTHING… EVERYTHING I FEEL, FELT AND WILL FEEL ABOUT THIS GUY.”

He just stood there, quiet.

“H-HOW COME.. YOU JUST.. LEFT.. LIKE THAT.. AFTER..” I was crying and I was angry. “I LOVED YOU. NO, I LOVE YOU. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO PROPOSE TO SOMEONE AND HURT HER BECAUSE OF ME? WHY DO I HAVE TO CARRY THE GUILT ON MY SHOULDER? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE HONEST? AND FUCKING TELL ME YOU LOVE ME AND YOU WANT TO MARRY ME?!”

“Rielle-”

“You are such an ass, Ralph! I hate you!” I walked angrily away from him and hailed a cab. When suddenly, he caught my arm and hugged me from the back.

“I guess, that’s the problem with you. You never listen to my side. I was always leaving because I’ve always thought that would make you happy.” He said in almost a whisper. “If I’ll have it my way, I would never leave by your side. You keep pushing me away.. and we keep on.. running back to each other.. with rather, more complicated situations. And we do the cycle again. You push me away, we get pulled back again. And everytime we bump into each other, even after years, I still find myself feeling that same feeling I felt when I saw you for the first time 9 years ago. And I just keep on falling for you over and over again.”

I just stood there, wrapped in his arms. Frozen.

“You weren’t the reason why I didn’t marry Kath.” He turned me around and he smiled. “For once, I was being real. I was doing it for myself. If I marry her, I was asking myself, will she able to give me the life that I wanted? Will she able to play the wife that I would love forever? Yun yung mga bagay na gusto kong itanong sa sarili ko. Will I be happy, even after 50 years? And I had doubts. Small ones. That I know could grow bigger into something.. that I will regret forever. So it wasn’t really about you. It was about me..”

He wiped my tears and he smiled gently. “And you were asking, why couldn’t I just be honest? Maybe because I value your happiness more than mine. I’ve seen how happy you were with your achievements, and I didn’t.. you know.. ruin it or something. Deep inside me, I was always willing to wait. I could wait.”

“But I couldn’t.” He suddenly looked at me. “I couldn’t.. anymore.” I said and just hugged him and he hugged me back. “Bilis, itanong mo na..”

“Ha?”

“Bilis..”

“Uhh. There isn’t anything special right now.. uhm, but I’m gonna ask you..”

“Hm?”

“Will you marry me?”

[Sa Kanya – Now Playing]

“Ma’am, meron po pala akong dapat ibigay sa inyo two years ago.. pero nakalimutan ko po, tapos umalis din po kayo.”

“Two years ago pa?”

“Eto po..” Brown box. “May kasama po kayong lalaki dati ma’am, pinakuha niya po ito sa kotse niya pero nakalimutan kong iwan sa unit niyo.”

“Salamat.” I took the box and opened it. Everything I gave Ralph was there. And there was note, no, a letter.

I’m giving back everything. Not because I don’t want it. But because I am keeping a promise to give back to you whatever you gave me… when I decide to move on. Maybe this time, I want to try moving on.. for real.

I smiled and brought the box to my car. I drove to Ralph’s parent’s house and I saw Tricia.

“I have something for you.” I smiled.

“I think I know what it is. I think I asked for the same thing from Kuya e.” She laughed. I slumped my body in the couch.

“You are a psychic.” I gave her the brown box.

Well then, I guess you know what happened. Love is sweeter the second time around, but for us, it wasn’t just love, it was also the proposal. We waited and cared for each other’s happiness too much that we forgot our own happiness. But I guess, it was also for a good cause. Good trials, ika nga. Our bond was stronger than ever.

*FAMOUS WEDDING COORDINATOR GETS MARRIED TO LONGTIME BOYFRIEND

“Wait. Isn’t this the house-”

“That’s actually mine. No. Ours.”

“NO WAY? I thought-”

“It’s a surprise. I hope you like it.”

“Awww. Just the way I imagined it to be. Thank you.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

END

40 thoughts on “Sa Kanya”

  1. now it’s all update in here
    i love it ate kimmie
    sa wakas may new na dito
    sa certified site mo

    bring the Under the Rain 2 here, too
    saya naman

    hope ko po yung next chapters

  2. cool po you update now
    just like in the other site

    haha go ate kimmie
    wait ko po
    here and sa neighbor site

    update na po
    i’ll support you
    always

    GOD BLESS

  3. yun na yun eh

    multi-comments ulit ako

    naku talaga
    what if malaman yan ang buong story
    kath… ano kaya??

    hay naku
    kaka-stress nga yan..

    more pa po

  4. yun yun eh
    multi-comments ulit ako

    haha
    pano pagnalaman na ni kath
    yung whole story??

    hay naku

    nakaka-stress nga naman yan

    update pa! po

  5. nice..new story…
    cant wait sa next update.. :3

    … tanong lang po, san ko po pwedeng basahin ung under the rain 2?

  6. wow. updated na lhaat! haha😀 kelan na ulit macocontinue tong story na ito? TT nkakabiten ng super. hahaha. everyday kong chinecheck eeh.🙂 thanks sa mga stories mo nalilibang ako. haha. Gbless!

  7. Ate Kimmie, pls. update na. Mukang hindi naman 10 chapters lang siya, marami pang mangyayari. End it na, para di po nakakabitin. Worth the wait naman po kapag naga-update kayo, siksik sa kwento bawat updates. Kung hanggang 10 chapters lang, 2 na lang, kaya update na po, pero kung busy po kayo, i’ll understand naman po. Hoping pa rin po na makapag-update kayo. More power Ate Kimmie. More stories from you. :-bd🙂

    1. Really, 2 chapters more to make it 10? I didn’t realize.🙂 I will update this in the coming holidays! This story needs two very long updates! Thank you.

  8. Five thumbs up to this Kimmie. I wanna read it when it’s finished already but I don’t know, I think I was already too impatient. It’s just too good for my patience lol😉 I bookmarked thissite and put it on my ipod’s homescreen. Lol. Cos you’re speciaaaal. Hahaha. Haven’t caught up with you lately. Hiatus ka ba sa ftalk? Lol.

    1. Thank you so much Ruth!🙂 I’ve been very busy and all, especially this second sem in third year.. so many school works! I don’t know what to do first anymore. I’ll update this story in the coming holidays! I love you, Ruth.🙂

      1. Aight. Can’t wait. Lol. At least you still get to write stories. Haha i never got to finish any of mine. Ever wonder why i never submitted to your site when i told you i would? Lol =))

    1. Hmm soon enough. Just one chapter left. Finale na. After nun, I’ll transfer the story here. The next time you’ll visit, you will reading the WHOLE STORY (which includes the complete chapter)!🙂

  9. Haha. Akala ko nung first year ako way back 2 years ako, I think. Hanggang 10 chapters lang siya at sad ending. Yun pala di pa tapos yun. Happy ending pala siya. Ang ganda. I love it.

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