“Then he let it out, the question he really wanted to ask. He bowed his head, quite hesitant. But looked up at me again. “May feelings ka pa ba sa kanya?”
The answer came to me as fast as the blink of an eye. And I gave it to him with a reassuring smile. Finally, I was able to meet his gaze.”
“Love is like COFFEE”
I stared at the framed painting on the wall. Reading the description for the tenth time. Love is like cofee daw. Sumulyap ako sa counter at tinuon na lang ang aking pansin kay X. He’s placing our orders. Two hot capuccinos.
I can’t believe that we are able to make it today. Na nandito kami ngayon sa Figaro, SM Manila. Nag-text kasi siya kanina na di kami tuloy. I said ok lang, punta pa rin naman ako UST for our org. meeting. Kaso, pagdating ko sa UST, cancelled din daw yung meeting. Di ko pala na-receive yung text. Nagkakagulo na kasi. Coup attempts na naman yata. So ayun, tambay sa UST. Magpapagupit na lang sana ako ng hair when X texted to meet-up.
“Ok ka lang? Gusto mo ba magpagupit after this?” bungad ni X as he took the seat facing me.
“Next time na lang siguro. Sa may Morayta kasi ako nagpapagupit eh”
“Bakit mo nga pala naisipang magpagupit?” X asked as he leaned closer, “Sayang naman ang buhok mo.”
“I believe that one’s hair always has something to do with memories” I explained looking at him intently. He kept his silence and I continued. “Whenever I cut my hair, a big decision always comes with it. usually, of letting go of memories.”
X smiled. I know he understood what I said. Our order came along with one chocolate cake. Nag-order daw si X, hati daw kami. He got hold of the brown sugar packets and tore them. He sprinkled one to his cup and one in mine. I stirred my coffee and started sipping. He did the same. Then he looked up to me.
“Nasa Robinson’s nga pala si Audrey kaya dito na lang tayo nagpunta. Di niya kasi alam about this.”
I bowed my head. Hindi yata naging maganda usapan nila ni Audrey last time. Dapat ba ako magtanong? Huwag na lang siguro.
“Ang Ai means ‘Love’ di ba?”
The question made me raise my head and gaze at him. A sugary kind of smile was drawn in his face. I can feel the heat rising in my cheeks. I controlled myself and gathered my composure.
“Uhumm… Yun nga. Yung isa alam mo na?” hoping that he doesn’t know and that he would stop staring and smiling at me.
“Hindi pa. Dun nga ako nahihirapan eh. Ano ba ibig sabihin nun?”
“I got it from a self-study Nippongo book. Naghahanap kasi ako ng Nippongo for ‘sweet’ (kasi sweet ka – to self only!) kaya lang ang meron lang ay Amasa which means ‘sweetness'”
“So, sweet ako?” His grin grew wider. And I hate it that I feel giddy about it like a high school teenager.
He got his fork and carefully sliced the chocolate cake. Then, he offered it to me. I opened my lips and ate the cake. I did the same for him. Ano ba yan… para na talagang mag-boyfriend na kami, I thought. I was wiping my lips with tissue when his cellphone buzzed. He excused himself and read the message.
“Si Audrey. Alam niya raw na kasama kita,” his face turned gloomy.
I said nothing and just looked at my cup of capuccino. I don’t know what to say. I felt like a bunch of tiny pins are piercing my heart as of the moment. I don’t know why but it hurts to know that somehow, it seems that Audrey is not in favor of what’s blossoming between me and her cousin.
“Sa tingin mo ba nanliligaw ako sa’yo?”
“I’m not sure” I answered without taking my eyes off from my cup of coffee.
“Para ka kasing nanliligaw na para namang hindi.”
“Para ka kasing di seryoso.”
“Sa tingin mo ba seryoso ako?”
“Di ko alam. Mahirap masabi eh.”
And silence fell between us again. I don’t know how to break it but then again I have no plans of doing it. It doesn’t seem proper if I’ll be the one to do it.
“Mahal mo ba ako?”
I gently looked up at him. Puzzled. The words registered in my ears like lightning and thunder. But I’m confused. Why would he ask that?
“Parang may mali yata sa tanong mo…” I answered, almost a whisper.
“Anong mali?” now he also wore the puzzled look.
“Para kasing… baligtad. Di ba dapat ako ang nagtatanong nun?” I explained in a soft voice. Afraid that someone who knows us might hear them.
“Anong sabi mo?” I straightened my back and looked at him, surprised.
“Ulitin mo nga.”
“Mahal kita. (pause) Mahal kita. (pause) Mahal kita. (pause) Mahal kita. (pause) Mahal kita. ”
And with that, I felt like crying. I tried hard to fight back the tears that threatened to fall.
He leaned a bit more closer and attempted to hold my hand. Hesitated, and withdrew his hand. He straightened in his seat.
“Jane, mahal mo rin ba ako?”
“Yes” I answered softly then nodded. I bowed my head again, afraid that my eyes might give me away. It’s quite embarrassing if he catch me so happy in tears. No, I shouldn’t give that much.
“Pero alam mo ang situation natin… ”
He started his litany. He said that he doesn’t like commitment. That he can’t afford it. He is not into formalities like monthsaries. That, I should understand his relationship with Audrey. Audrey means so much to him, more than his own life. That if time will come that he has to choose between me and Audrey… he might hurt me so bad. He noticed my silence. He stopped.
“Am I hurting you? I don’t intend to”
I raised my head and I was unaware that tears were already flowing from my eyes. “You don’t want to hurt me… but… you are hurting me already right this moment.”
He tried to open his mouth but no words came out. He kept quiet. A long pause before he managed to speak again.
“I want to commit with you. But. I don’t know how…”
I stared at him for a second. Unsure of what to say. I looked back at the painting I was looking at a while ago. “Love is like coffee.”
Yes, I agreed silently. Love is like coffee. It is a blend of sweet moments and bitter experiences created that could make you crave for more till you get addicted to it.