Sometime in March
“Steer clear of that guy. He’s just fooling you…”
“Mag-ingat ka sa kanya. Pagsisisihan mo lang sa huli ang pakikipaglapit sa lalaking ‘yon…”
“That boy isn’t good for you. No one in show business will be. Remember that!”
I closed my eyes trying to shake those voices off of my head again. How come a lot of people say things about him as if they know him so well? We’ve been working in the same show for years. When finally we worked together in two movies we had the chance to know each other more. Lately we started getting along like we’re longtime buddies. We have a lot in common. I don’t see anything wrong with us being friends.
Yes, I’m so happy we became friends. But things kind of turned around the following month and all it took was two words: ‘Gusto kita.’
When he confessed to me late last year, I laughed at his face. It’s like hearing the most ridiculous joke. When I looked at him, in his eyes was sincerity mingled with pain. I paid no attention to it. I mean, sino ba naman kasi ang maniniwala? Ako, magugustuhan niya? There’s just no way…
“Gusto ko lang namang malaman mo…” he was trying to hide the hurt in his voice when he said that. “I guess I’ve made it pretty obvious. You know how I adored you ever since—,”
“Tama na,” I finally recovered from my disbelief. “I’ll forget you said that. Bakit ba kasi…” I paused. I really don’t know what to say. “Sino’ng nagsabi sa ‘yo na kailangan mong gawin ‘to? I’ve already treated you as a friend… I can’t believe you’d start this kind of game with me!” I turned my back on him and walked away. He followed and grabbed my arm.
“Please,” I pleaded and faced him. “You don’t need to lie to yourself—,”
“Sandali lang,” he interrupted me, his eyebrows almost met as he frowned. “Iniisip mo na may nag-utos sa ‘kin na sabihin to sa ‘yo? I wouldn’t lie to you! And I wouldn’t lie about how I feel lalo na kung tungkol sa ‘yo!
“I can’t blame you… if you have that kind of impression of me. But please, be slow to judge.” he held both of my hands, letting me feel the warmth of his. “I like you! I can’t even begin to know how much and when it started. At gusto ko sanang patunayan ‘yon sa ‘yo if you just let me…”
I looked at him. I couldn’t find the words to say. My head’s suddenly in a swirl. Beside disbelief another strong feeling started to consume me: fear. Fear that I could fall for him too…
Ate’s voice startled me and that broke my thoughts. I turned around and smiled at her.
“Ano ba’ng tinitingnan mo dito?” she leaned on the wooden fence and looked down on the man-made pond. “Mine-memorize mo ba ‘yung kulay ng mga koi?” she laughed as she stared at me. “Are you okay? Pagpasok pa lang natin kanina nakatulala ka na…”
“I’m okay, Ate,” I answered and turned my eyes on the pond again. “Marami lang po akong iniisip…”
“I see,” I know she was still staring at me intently. “Napanood ko na ang interview niya noong Sunday. That boy just announced to the whole world that he’s finally courting you.”
I just nodded and sighed.
“Eh, bakit para kang binagsakan ng langit at lupa? Sa lahat yata ng nakita kong ipinagyayabang ng manliligaw nila, ikaw lang ang ganyan ang reaksyon…”
“Kasi naman po…” I answered, in my voice helplessness. “Parang hindi talaga kapani-paniwala, eh. Hindi kami bagay. Kilala niyo naman po ang mga babaeng na-link sa kanya, ‘di ba? Parang mga anghel na bumaba sa lupa ang mga ‘yo— aray!” I flinched. Batukan ba ako? Actually, hindi nga yata batok ‘yon. Sapok. Ang lakas kasi! “Ate naman!”
“Ayan ka na naman sa ang mga insecurities mo,” she scolded. “Ano ngayon kung anghel sila? Diyosa ka naman. A Diva, in the real sense of the word! Bakit, nagagawa ba nila ang mga ginagawa mo? Walang nakakapantay sa ‘yo. Nag-iisa ka lang!”
I just have to smile at that. “Salamat po. But still…”
Our conversation was cut short when Mom and Dad called us from our table. Our lunch was served. Like always, during mealtime, wala kaming pansinan. At kapag ganitong marami akong iniisip, mas malakas akong kumain; at walang pwedeng kumausap sa akin.
I was only too glad that we stayed at the restaurant for a few hours more. Ate and I took the other table for two and had the chance to continue our chat.
“Ang ganda po dito, ‘no?” I initiated trying to change the subject, looking around the fancy restaurant at the same time. “Someday, bibigyan ko rin po si Mommy at si Daddy ng isang ganito…”
“Bunso, sabihin mo nga sa akin. Why are you so bothered now that he’s courting you?” she shrugged. “I mean, everyone seems to know where things between you two are going…”
Frustrated, I sighed inwardly. There’s no escaping her. Of all people, imposibleng siya pa ang hindi magiging interesado sa love life ko.
“Tell me…” she said tenderly and held my hand on the table. “Gusto mo na rin siya, ‘no?”
I spoke softly and looked straight into her eyes. “Opo. Sino ba naman po ang hindi?”
“Talaga?” Her eyes suddenly sparkled. “Eh, anong problema? May turn off factor ba? May bad breath ba siya? May body odor ba?”
“Ate!” I almost choked when I was trying to sip from my smoothie. “Wala po! Ang bango-bango nga po nung tao. Sobrang bango po…”
“Joke lang, ano ka ba?” she was still giggling me while handing me the table napkin. “Then what are you so afraid of? You’re happy with him, right? He makes you happy…”
“Gusto ko pa po siyang makilala ng husto. At sa ngayon po, I just want to enjoy our friendship…”
“I see. Ano pa? May hindi ka pa sinasabi sa akin.”
For seconds, I just stared at her. Paano niya nalaman na may iba pa akong dahilan?
I sighed. “Hindi ko po alam. Hindi po dapat ako nag-iisip ng ganito pero… paano po kung… palabas lang pala ang lahat? Na napipilitan lang po siyang gawin ang lahat ng ito?”
Ate frowned. “Sweetie… why would you say that?” she shook her head. “Okay, I admit— hindi ko siya gusto noong una. Mabait naman siya but he’s not someone I’d like as your boyfriend to-be…
“But lately… the way he looked at you, with or without cameras around… kahit anong galing niyang umarte, that’s something he couldn’t fake. He’s so into you.”
Oh, my… talaga nga kaya? I have mixed emotions. I don’t know but I feel like crying…
“Sa tingin ko, tinamaan talaga siya sa ‘yo. At hindi naman ‘yon nakakapagtaka. You’re one in a million. Hindi ko sinasabi ‘to dahil close tayo, ha? That’s just what you really are. You’re beautiful through and through and you’re worthy to be loved. Don’t ever think otherwise.”
“Thanks, Ate.” My throat constricted as I gave her a smile. “Ilang beses na rin nga po pala siyang dumalaw sa bahay… at may approval na po nina Mommy at Daddy ang panliligaw niya.”
“Ganoon ba? Ate’s eyes widened a fraction. “Then that boy must really be something else! Kita mo na? Bakit mo iisipin na nagkukunwari siya? May mga kasama ba siyang camera man kapag nagpupunta siya sa inyo? May mga photographers ba?”
I shook my head and laughed. Perhaps I just got so affected with what the people around me are saying.
“See? Stop doubting and give him a chance. Unless of course…” she raised an eyebrow on me. ‘Di ka pa rin naka-get over sa mga nangyari noon at natatakot ka pa rin…”
“Ate, you know me better than that. Sobrang irrelevant na ng mga nangyari noon at ang mga taong involved. Pero… tama po kayo. Kahit papaano, natatakot pa rin po ako. I don’t think I’ll be ready to catch him if he really is falling for me…”
She giggled. “Hoy ah, ano ‘to, movie niyo? Totohanan na ‘to, Bunso. Sa mundong ginagalawan ninyo, it’s not about who’s the one falling or who’s the one catching. It’s about both of you taking the fall together.”
My eyebrows rose. “Ganoon po ba ‘yon? Patay kung patay, basag kung basag… durog kung durog?”
She laughed aloud that made the other restaurant’s guests turned our way.
“Grabe ka naman!” lowering her voice, she looked around a little embarrassed. “But yes. What matters is that you still hold each other when you reach the ground. And how you both fight those thieves trying to take away your chance at happiness… you know who they are. At alam mo ang ibig kong sabihin, right?”
I nodded. This is what I love whenever we had the time to bond. I always learn a lot from her.
“Huwag mong hayaang pigilan ka ng mga nangyari noon na magmahal uli. Don’t be afraid to take another chance.” She held my hand and pressed it firmly. “When you know you have so much love to give, you should never give up on love. Keep that in mind, Bunso.”
Smiling, I stood up and embraced her. Having her join us was such a breath of fresh air for me. We just got home from our show in Dubai and Mom and Dad planned this small get-together before I face my ever hectic schedule again and before they leave for Paris.
Before we leave, I spent minutes in the powder room brushing my hair. It has become a habit for me whenever I’m filled with thoughts and emotions, mixed up feelings… feelings that I can’t give a name to. I closed my eyes. Ngayon, ang boses naman niya ang naririnig ko.
“You’re the most beautiful girl in the world…”
“What I like most about her? Her being herself…”
“Siya ‘yung gusto ko. Siya po ‘yung gusto ko.”
“You make me happy every day…”
“You inspire me a lot, Baby Girl.”
I opened my eyes and smiled to myself in the mirror. He says I’m an amazing person; I am beautiful… he always makes me feel that I am.
“I’m beautiful.” I spoke it out loud. “I am loved and I deserve to be… I am extraordinary.”
Back then, I almost lost myself. But why would I let my mistakes in the past get the best of me?
‘Don’t be afraid to take another chance. When you know you have so much love to give, you should never give up on love.’ That’s what Ate told me. I know I have so much love to give… but in my heart I know I’m not ready yet to be in a relationship again. And he knows that.
Ang sabi ko sa kanya, I want us to take our time and just enjoy the moment; to take things slow. But what if… we did fall in love? We said before that we wouldn’t hide it if ever we’ve entered into a new relationship. But what if for some reason, we have to hide it? In this business I know a lot of lovers did. Some are even our friends. Would I want that? I guess it’s a decision we have to agree upon. Sa totoo lang hangga’t maaari nga, I don’t even want this courtship to go public. Ang dami kasing nakikialam, ang daming nakikisali…
I shook my head. What am I thinking? Am I subconsciously wishing that one day… maging kami nga?
I left the powder room before my reflection in the mirror scream ‘Yes!’ on my face.
I could spend all night and all morning just watching her sleep. I missed her so much. The last time I saw her was two Sundays ago. I knew the gods didn’t like it when I sneaked out and visited her at the director’s booth. Oh, I’ll go as far as getting my ass kicked just to see her again. Pero siya na ang nagdesisyon na huwag na muna kaming magkita at kailangan kong sundin ang gusto niya.
I will talk when I feel like it.
For now, don’t expect I will…
Focus on the premiere night.
That was the last message she sent me almost a week ago, the only one I had though I’ve been calling and sending her messages like crazy. It still is a wonder for me how she does that— ang matiis na hindi ako kausapin. So I played her game. After that reply from her, I followed suit. Hindi ko na rin siya kinausap.
I’m glad that the last two weeks had been so busy for us two. It was such a diversion. Thinking about her and when she’ll talk to me again for the last few days sort of almost made me crazy.
After her show tonight, I called her. I was so happy that I feel like screaming when she finally answered. I didn’t know they had to film for another episode. I said I’ll wait for her and insisted picking her up. But unlike before I can only wait for her in my car.
Just like every Sunday she went through performance after performance, and as always she nailed each one. That’s her. She always goes all out, always giving her best. Earlier when we talked I noticed she sounded different. Ganoon ang boses niya kapag magkakasakit siya.
I gently touched her cheek with my knuckle. My Queen, My One and Only… she’s really tired. I should have driven her straight home but I’ve been dying to have some alone time with her. I’ll make sure I’d keep her safe. I’ll keep her warm. I have so much to say, so much making up to do…
Touching her lips with mine, I tried waking her up. “Love, nandito na tayo,” I whispered. “Gising na…”
“Hmm…” she moaned and opened her eyes.
“We’re here, Sleeping Beauty.”
“Oh,” she sat straight and stretched her back. “I’m sorry… tinulugan lang kita.”
“Okay lang,” I kissed her forehead and pulled her. “You had a long night.”
“Where are we?” she looked around and smiled at me. “Bakit tayo nandito?”
I grinned and turned off my car’s engine. I helped her wear my jacket and cap before we got off my car. “You’ll love the view from up here. Isa pa, may privacy tayo dito.”
“May privacy rin naman tayo sa bahay, ah.” She laughed. “Tingnan mo, may mga tao sa banda roon. Baka may makapansin sa atin.”
“I doubt that.” I held her hand as we walked to the clearing. “They’re busy with each other. You see, they’re lovers. Just like us…”
“Sabagay…” she put my hand on her waist and I automatically embraced her from behind. Her head was on my shoulder as she looked up at me. “I love your new look.” She smiled and touched my eyebrow. “And I missed you…”
“Talaga? Totoo ba ‘yan?” I pretended I was hurt. “Kanina nga parang ayaw mo pang pumayag na sunduin kita…”
She turned around and held my face with both hands. “Huwag ka nang magtampo, okay? Nakaganti ka na nung ‘di mo na ako i-text at tawagan. Malay ko bang ako rin ang mahihirapan sa ‘di ko pagkausap sa ‘yo…”
I smiled. Kung ganoon, effective pala ang ‘di ko pagpaparamdam. Maybe I should do that more often.
“Hindi ka na ba nagtatampo sa akin? I mean, with what’s happening lately…” I shrugged and told her about my recent interviews… and the issues that got stuck with it the just right after.
Her eyebrows furrowed as she quietly listened to me.
“I saw their movie’s poster on my way to the studio. Maybe that’s the reason why when I was asked that particular question, sila ang unang pumasok sa isip ko…”
I shrugged and continued. “I didn’t know that my nonsensical answer to that nonsensical question could create such a rift between some people. My arms around her tightened as I whispered. “I’m sorry. Forgive me… if in any way I hurt you. Alam mong ikaw ang kahuli-hulihang tao na gugustuhin kong husgahan ako…”
“S—sandali nga lang,” she finally spoke shaking her head at the same time. “Why are you saying sorry? At bakit naman kita huhusgahan? I didn’t even consider your interview that much of a big deal!”
Before I answered, I sat down on the grass of that elevated clearing and pulled her to sit in between my legs. Looking down, we watched the busy world below us. We have a full view of the metropolis and lights surrounding the Memorial Circle are mesmerizing from up here. And I love how I see them reflected in her eyes…
“Nag-worry ako na baka nasaktan na naman kita sa mga sinabi ko…”
She laughed softly. “Do you think I’m that petty, that I’m that shallow? Kung magtampo o magalit man ako sa ‘yo, you can be sure na mas may malalim na dahilan kaysa doon…”
“Pero bakit nila sasabihing nalulungkot ka? And that you’re—,”
“Let’s just try to understand them.” she interrupted me. “That name is taboo to them for quite some time now, kaya ganoon talaga ang magiging reaction nila lalo na’t sa ‘yo pa nila narinig ang pangalang ‘yon.
“Even if the issue between us was so two years ago and I got over with it, hindi ko naman din hawak ang mga damdamin nila… most have moved on but some are still indifferent when they hear matters involving her, at kapag konektado pa rin sa akin. As they say, first cut is the deepest. Kahit insignificant na para sa akin ang mga nangyari, maaaring hindi ganoon para sa kanila…”
“You’re right. I understand.” I released a sigh of relief. The mere thought of her being sad or hurt kills me. That’s the last thing I want her to feel.
I kissed her hair, inhaling her sweet scent mingling with the cool midnight air. Yes, it was past midnight but the night is still young for most people. They wouldn’t want this night to end. I wouldn’t want this night to end…
“I’m sorry too if they’ve been saying words about you. Hindi na dapat pa lumaki ito…” she whispered on my neck.
“Sanay na ako doon. I was more concerned about you.” I bowed down and stole a quick kiss from her lips. “Talaga bang okay ka lang? ‘Yung totoo… you don’t have to say so if you’re really not…”
“I’m okay. Though I’ve been dealing with my own issues, too…” she took a deep breath and closed her eyes, burying her face on my chest. “I guess we’ll have our fair share of shortcomings along the way, lalo na’t nasa ganito tayong sitwasyon. May mga nasasaktan na pala tayo ng hindi natin nalalaman…”
I only nodded in agreement. It is what it is, I think. Our life in the business…
“Ano’ng iniisip mo?” She said after a few minutes I kept quiet.
“Nothing important. It’s just that…” I bowed and avoided her gaze. “Lately, I’ve been wanting more. I want to win any award and grab every project presented to me. I want things to work on my favor. I know it’s kind of greedy and selfish. Hindi ako dapat ganito mag-isip…”
Smiling, she held my chin. In her beautiful eyes was understanding. “I know how you feel. Pero naaalala mo ba ‘yung sinabi sa atin sa church noon? Give thanks in all circumstances. Kahit ano pa ang dumating, dapat natin ‘yong ipagpasalamat. That way, we are always reminded of how blessed we are…”
“I know, I know. I really am thankful for everything…”
I looked straight into her eyes. “I just want to be more worthy of you…”
She opened her mouth to say something but closed it again. I know she’s trying to find the right words to say to me.
The wind blew quietly and we couldn’t hear anything but faint noises from the group of lovers we saw and now leaving the place. Now it’s just the two of us. Holding her, I removed the strands of hair that started fanning her face. “Gusto kong maging karapat-dapat para sa ‘yo. I want to give you the whole world, My Queen.”
“I never wanted the whole world! You’re all I want!” she answered and turned around to face me. “I have no idea what makes you feel that way! Majority of this nation’s female populace would want to trade places with me, kung hindi mo lang alam. And by that, I mean females from age eight to eighty!”
I laughed aloud, blushing at the same time. “Exaggerated ka na naman but thank you for the compliment, Love. You know how to make a man feel good.” and ache with desire, I almost added, but stopped myself on time.
“But what makes me feel this way? Actually… not what, but who; and by who, I mean… everyone.”
Her eyebrows furrowed. “I thought we’re over this? Didn’t we say we wouldn’t care what other people think?”
“Alam ko, I’m not forgetting that. Pero sa mga nangyayari ngayon,” I shook my head and started fidgeting, which I always do when I’m stressed. “You know what those people keep on saying ever since. Maybe I’m just vulnerable right now but… I feel that I will never be f—king good enough for you—,”
“Hey,” she put her forefinger on my lips. “No foul words in front of me, Mister!” I bit her finger that she yelped.
“The world sees you as you see yourself, Love. Kung ganyan ang tingin mo sa sarili mo, ‘yan din ang magiging tingin ng buong mundo sa ‘yo…”
I grinned. “Hmm… tama ka diyan…” God, why didn’t I meet her sooner? Or were you just lacking angels in Heaven back then that you sent her to me just now?
“Pero alam mo,” her smile faded. “I guess… we’ll always have the same dilemma…”
“What do you mean?”
“Alam mo ‘yon. I never believed na bagay tayo. I mean…” She shrugged and started touching my eyebrows, my eyelids; the tip of my nose… my lips. “I’m not even your type. Hindi mo naman talaga kailangan pang mahirapan kung gusto mong magka-girlfriend… women chase you and not the other way around. You’re too beautiful that I never wanted to fall for you…”
“But you did fall for me.” I grinned, feeling like king of the world. “At ikaw? Not my type? You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever known. You’re very talented, you’re true to yourself, you’re amazing, you’re out my league… at sa umpisa pa lang, I flunked your parents’ standards just by being in show business…”
She pouted her pretty lips again. “Kaya sabi mo, kapag nagka-girlfriend ka uli, gusto mo non-showbiz na lang din. Ganoon ba?”
“Correction: I said IF given a choice. You know very well that I’m left with none— the moment I fell in love with you…”
She stared at me and gave me a bright smile, a smile that can light up the whole city below. “Talaga ba? Lagi nilang sinasabi na mali ang magkasama tayo. Letting you into my life in the first place is a mistake…”
Inching my face closer to hers, I murmured on her lips. “Ganoon talaga ang sasabihin nila dahil wala silang alam. At gusto ko ang ganoon. But if what they’re saying is true, I don’t mind committing this mistake with you again and again…”
My lips claimed hers in a deep, longing, possessive kiss. Her arms encircled around my neck as I held her nape, feeling her soft, silky tresses as I ran my fingers through it. This is it. This is how we seize the moment… away from the world; from the judging eyes of everyone else…
We were both breathless when we let go.
“I hope that made you feel better…” I whispered as my thumb finger traced her lower lip still moist from my kiss. “Perhaps we just needed to let those get through all our sulking…”
She nodded. “Siguro nga. Gumaan ang pakiramdam ko. Alam mo minsan nga, sa dami ng nangyayari at mga iniisip ko I just feel like screaming.”
I laughed and stood up, offering my hand to her. “Why don’t we?”
“Why don’t we what?”
“Scream.” I took a deep breath and initiated screaming until my voice croaked. She shrieked in surprise and amusement.
She walked closer to the edge of the clearing that I have to hold her. Then she screamed. Longer than mine, of course, the singer that she is. And even her scream is musical.
Our voices filled the midnight air. So this is how it feels like screaming at the top of your lungs. Such a form of release; the same adrenalin rush I have after a ballgame.
After exchanging screams, we ended with a ‘duet.’ We were still laughing when we decided to go home and while on the road.
“We should do that more often! Sobrang nakakawala ng stress! Natatakot lang ako na baka maubos ang boses ko…”
“Don’t worry, dadalhin ulit kita doon.” I smiled and kissed her hand. “I like taking you to high places. Gusto nga kitang isamang mag-cliff jumping minsan… kung papayagan ka lang.”
“I’d love that,” she smiled sleepily and leaned on the headrest. I speeded up. She needs to rest or else she’ll totally be sick.
When I walked her to their front door, I embraced her one last time. “Sleep well. I’m sorry if I kept you late.”
“It’s okay.” she smiled and kissed my cheek. “I enjoyed tonight. Thank you…”
“I love you…”
“I love you more…” she answered before closing the door.
I stayed in my car until the lights on her room went out. I suddenly remembered I have to go on location shoot early in the morning.
Hindi ako sigurado kung kailan kami magkikita uli. We’ll be leaving the country by the end of the month, pero hindi naman kami magkasama…
I didn’t know what time I arrived home. The moment my back fell on my bed, I fell asleep instantly. I dreamed of her again… her kiss, the way she holds me… when I’m with her I have no care in the world.
Someone knocked on my room and that woke me up. I only got three hours of sleep but I have to get ready and be on location before my call time. I’m lightheaded but being with her last night was enough to invigorate me. I know I’ll get through the day.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A/N: “If you want to change your life, begin by changing your words. Start speaking the words of your dreams, of who you want to become, not the words of fear and failure. Look at a crisis as a blessing rather than a curse, an opportunity rather than a problem, a challenge rather than an obstacle, a time to win rather than a time to lose, and a time to be brave than to be afraid. Be glad when things are difficult because difficulty is the dividing line between winners and losers. Think of difficulty and struggle as the training ground for champions.”
Lovely readers! Thank you again in advance for reading this! ♥ Again, If you wish to copy/share/post this on your FB/ blog, just don’t forget to leave credit where it’s due. ↓ Thank you! :)