HE ALMOST cried when he saw me. It had been months since we last saw each other, and four years since we had a private conversation like this.
I was wearing my best smile and tapped his shoulder lightly. “Did you wait long?” I asked. “No,” he said. “You’re right on time.” He pulled me a seat and I thanked him in return.
Silence was with us for a moment. I studied him. I noticed the moustache he was growing. His hair almost touched his forehead, but he nicely ran it to the side. The mole on his nose perked slightly as he took a deep breath. And in that moment, I realized that I really love this guy.
As if on cue, he broke the silence and asked me how I was. I answered him with a question. “Is there a problem? You never ever called me for a treat,” I teased him. “Well, I’m desperate,” he replied in a serious tone.
I stopped my teasing and stared at him. Well, this is a change, I thought.
We had chatted and texted when he needed some advice but never really saw each other. Then, hope suddenly surged, and I felt butterflies in my stomach. I blinked and blushed, realizing that I was jumping to conclusions.
I risked another question. “What did you say?” I asked, while trying to think of the many possibilities of his reply.
“I said I’m desperate,” he said. “You know, she came back from the city last Christmas vacation. We talked and… You’re the only girl who knows about our relationship… how it goes and ends. And I want… No, let me rephrase that. I need your advice. I want her back.” He rambled on and on, suppressing the tears forming in his eyes by occasionally looking up.
Yes, I could truly see that he was desperate. I choked back a tear. I didn’t see that coming. I forced a smile while silently reprimanding myself for making assumptions. Of course, it would never be me. I laughed, realizing that I had made a fool of myself.
He frowned, noting my bizarre reaction, and I liked it. Even if I felt that a boulder was just thrown at me, I couldn’t help but admire him. I laughed again. Really, I need to stop this self-inflicted pain. Later, I let him tell me the details—the things they talked about, the way he felt, how much she made a difference in his life. She’s his first love and first girlfriend.
Most of the time I let my consciousness drift, and his voice suddenly became a medley of discordant noises. I busied myself with little things, trying to escape the reality that I was caught in a moment where I couldn’t do anything but bleed. I sighed. I will never have a chance against her. The only role for me is as a loyal friend, a listener, an adviser.
Again, I teased him. I called him an idiot for calling me over to discuss the matter, and tried to persuade him that their relationship was a lost cause. She lives in Manila and he lives in our small hometown. He’ll never make progress if he will be stuck here in Bicol; he must pursue her in the city.
The idea didn’t sound great, but I could see hope lighting up his eyes. Damn, I cursed silently. Maybe I’m the one who is a lost cause.
Well, what’s new? I tried to reassure myself. The worst-case scenario is that, again, I won’t receive a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.
Dayanara Alburo Rom, 21, is in her first year at Aquinas University College of Law.
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