“It’s already late in the evening but I feel as though time has stood still from the moment I heard that Z already got a girlfriend… Every thing around me has lost its colors and it’s as if I am in a black and white film. I was in total blank.”
It’s three days before the most awaited UST’s Paskuhan and here I am, still uncertain whether I’ll go or not. Ewan ko ba. There’s a lot of work keeping me busy lately. Meetings and deadlines. Yet, no pressure is involved. Maybe that’s the advantage of being the country manager. You have almost full control of everything.
I was still staring into my planner when it suddenly hit me. Shit! May usapan nga pala kaming magkikita ni Z mamayang hapon after my meeting with a top restaurant owner. Anong oras na ba? Bakit parang tahimik yata sa labas ng office ko? Arrrgh! Lunch na pala. I better get going.
* * *
I am fifteen minutes early, I realized as I glanced at my wrist watch. I carefully parked my Chevy and got out of my ride. I took off my sunglasses. I had one last look at my reflection at the side mirror before I headed to the fancy coffee shop.
I was just thinking where to sit when I saw a familiar face. Si Z. Aba! Bago ito ah… Hindi siya late. Usually pag may usapan kaming magkikita, ako lagi ang naghihintay sa kanya. Ngayon, mukhang siya ang naghintay. Hmmm… baka naman may ka-meet din siya kanina dito.
I went to the semi-secluded table where Z was seated. I smiled at him before taking the seat across. It’s quite noticeable na napaka-neat niya tignan ngayon. In fact, I could even get a whiff of the musk he put on from where I am seated. Buti na lang nakapag-prepare din ako kahit paano. I wore a light blue tube top along with a black fitted cardigan. I paired them with black skinny jeans.
“Kanina ka pa ba?” I asked.
“Di naman. Medyo napaaga lang”
A waiter arrived to take our orders. I asked for white chocolate frappe while he ordered a hot cafe au lait. I added two slices of blueberry cheesecake to our drinks. His choice of what to drink was another surprise for me. Hindi naman kasi siya mahilig uminom ng kape.
“So, kamusta naman?” I asked Z.
“Eto… Ikaw? Mukhang big time ka na ah…”
“Hindi naman. It’s still me.”
“Jane, remember my text message to you? When I asked you to meet me here?”
“Oo naman. Sabi mo may problem ka. Babae ba? You usually meet me pag babae or about love ang problem eh.”
“Ang galing mo talaga!”
The waiter arrived with our orders and as he left, I could feel that Z started to be uncomfortable. I watched him for a while as he sip the coffee then I asked.
“What’s the problem Z? Did she cheat on you?”
He gazed at me with confused eyes. It made me feel so curious as to what is bothering him. He bowed down again to look at his coffee. Pakiramdam ko ibang Z ang kasama ko. Ngayon ko lang siya nakitang ganito.
“I broke up with her, Jane” he murmured softly.
I paused for a moment. Paano nangyari yun? Akala ko ba ok sila ng girlfriend niya? I thought they’re going too well and that they have already been talking about getting married. Bakit ganun?
“Bakit naman?” I asked.
“I woke up one morning and realized that she’s right. I don’t really love her. That I’ve always been looking for something in her. ”
“You feel guilty about the break-up?”
“No. Actually, it was a relief. But something she said hit me and I wanted to prove if she’s right.”
“Ano naman yun?”
“That I left my heart in the past.”
I was about to ask him why when I saw him staring intently at me. I suddenly became dumb-founded. I can’t find the words to blurt out.
“Jane, would you believe me if I tell you that I see you more than just a friend?”
I felt as though the world has crashed onto my head. Ano bang pinagsasasabi ng lalaking ito? Kung nagbibiro man siya… susme! Hindi magandang biro ito.
As if to read my mind, “I’m serious,” he added softly.
I sat motionless for about ten seconds before I drew a deep breath. I gathered all guts I have before I spoke.
“Z, you are very dear to me and I know you know that. But I know na alam mo rin that my life is so complicated. I can’t imagine dragging anyone into the mess especially if it would be you.”
This time, it was Z who fell silent. I don’t know where this conversation is leading. I must admit na flattered ako dahil nalaman ko na at least Z saw me as more than a friend. But it saddens me that this brings him pain.
“Jane, can’t you at least give us a chance?”
I smiled at him and reached for his hand across the table.
I took another deep breath. This is tough. But I must say this. I gave his hand a gentle squeeze before I spoke.
“There’s no chance for us Z. We’ve had our chance before but we didn’t take it. Maybe masyado tayong naduwag for the consequences. Or maybe, we treasure each other too much that we’re afraid that we might hurt each other too”
I looked at him in the eye and held his gaze.
“You will always hold a special part in my life. You mean so much to me. Pero hanggang dun na lang yun.”
“Pero bakit? I think we’d click together. Magkasundo tayo sa halos lahat ng bagay. In fact, I know you too well and I know na nahihirapan ka ngayon to reject me. And I know that you have loved me for almost your entire life.”
“Yes, maybe you knew me that much. But people change, Z. I maybe what you want now but after three years or ten, will it still be me? ”
“Jane, hindi ako gaya ng mga naging boyfriend mo.”
“Z, lahat naman kayo ganyan ang sinasabi sa umpisa eh. Don’t make this hard for both of us. Masyado mo lang yata sineryoso sinabi ng ex mo”
“Z, we can never give it a try. I have given my heart away and lost it”
* * * *
Paskuhan 2011. University of Santo Tomas.
Haaaay… Kung hindi lang ako naka-pangako, magmumukmok na lang sana ako sa bahay ngayon.
I have to meet a few high school friends who also studied in UST. We agreed to have lunch tapos sabay-sabay na sila mag-aabang ng Paskuhan. Doble-pagod ito for me kasi my plans din ako for the Paskuhan night at kailangan ko pa sunduin ang mga makakasama ko sa plans na yun.
I arrived at the restaurant and saw my friends. Sinalubong din ako agad ni Z. I smiled and greeted everyone at ayun, simula na ang kainan, kwentuhan at exchange gifts.
After lunch, Z and I left together. We had a walk around the university.
“Ok ka na ba?” I asked.
“Medyo. Di ko akalain na tatanggihan mo ako eh” he replied with a chuckle.
We arrived at my car and stopped. I had to leave already to fetch the ones waiting for me at home.
“Paano? I’ll just see you later?” I asked.
“Titignan ko. Baka tamarin ako eh.”
“Asus… kunwari ka pa. Punta ka na.”
“Sige. Ingat ka ha…” he said as he planted a quick smack on my cheek.