“That’ll be two hundred and fifty-six pesos, sir,” the woman from the counter said as she placed the last item on the plastic bag. I pulled out a 500 peso bill and handed it to her. Matapos kong makuha ang sukli, lumabas na ako ng convenience store.
Bustling streets welcomed my sight. People walked past me. Others were busy strolling along the pavements of the shops. Cars and taxis were hooting. Tipikal na araw sa Avia City.
Others might find it annoying, but for me who lives here all my life, the noise ironically calms my mind. I crossed over to the other side. I’m going to meet Addy today.
Just the thought of her makes my heart pound so fast, ano pa kaya kung makikita ko na ulit siya? Laman ng plastic bag na ‘to ang mga paboritong snacks ni Addy. Sigurado akong matutuwa siya.
I walked past the coffee shop and turned left. Sa bawat hakbang ko, gayundin ang paghina ng ingay galing sa kalye na dinaanan ko. After a few minutes of strolling, a tall golden gate became visible. I continued walking until I’m finally in front of it.
My pounding heart doubled upon realizing that any minute from now, makikita ko na ulit siya. My grip tightened as I made my way inside the tall gate. A deep green grass combined with different species of flora calmed my pounding heart. The atmosphere here is way different from the outside.
The plants began rustling as the wind blows. Birds were chirping joyfully. Wow, this place is bubbling with life. I let the pathway guide me to her.
After a minute or so, I saw her. Unconsciously, my lips curved to form a smile as I close the gap between us. Despite my heart’s loud beatings, I managed to sit beside her. Memories of us flooded my mind. I smiled sheepishly as I remembered how we first met.
Three years ago…
It was around 10 p.m. when Wayne invited me to a nearby club. I didn’t really want to but he used the ‘I am alone, what are buddies for-card’ again. I had no choice but to go there. Besides, it’s been a while since I let myself get loose from all the weekday pressures and shits. Plus, tomorrow’s the start of our Internship. Might as well enjoy the remaining hours of our freedom.
I’m a Respiratory Therapy student, currently on my fourth year. I have to spend my last year at the hospital for my Internship. My parents are both doctors. Pati si Rae, ang ate ko. She’s on her third year in residency. Gaya nila, I am also planning to enroll myself in medical school. Not because I was forced to, but because I want to.
The moment I step foot inside, bahagya akong napapikit dahil sa neon lights. Masyado na ring maingay sa loob. People are getting wild. Some were busy making out. Ang iba nama’y tila nawala na sa katinuan at nagsimula nang sumayaw sa taas ng stage. Marami na ring mga lasing ang nasusuka sa kani-kanilang mga table.
I’m not new to these scenes at all. ‘Yon nga lang, I think 10 p.m. is too early to be this wild. The amount of people tonight is just overwhelming. Combined scents of liquors, citrus, smokes, and sweats filled the air inside.
I scratched my nose lightly as I dialed Wayne’s number. After a few rings, he answered.
“What’s up, my precious Michael Lawrence,” just from the tone of his voice, I am more than a hundred percent sure that he’s wasted.
“Where the fuck are you at?” I can’t help but massaged my forehead. A wasted Wayne means a dirty car. I almost gagged myself when I remembered the last time he got drunk. Halos hindi na nagmukhang sasakyan ang sasakyan ko sa suka niya noong gabing iyon.
I won’t let it happen this time. I just had my car cleaned earlier para sa simula ng Internship ko bukas.
“Chill, bro. I’m upstairs,” he said on the other line. I hanged up and made my way upstairs. May naabutan pa akong naghahalikan sa baba ng hagdan. I pretended to cough to get their attention. Bahagya naman silang natigilan saka umalis doon. I shook my head and continued my way upstairs.
Nakaupo si Wayne sa isang mahabang couch. Various types of liquors are on his table. May kasama siyang dalawang babae roon. Ang isa’y kahalikan na niya samantalang ang isa naman ay nasa zipper na ng pantalon ni Wayne ang kamay. Napalingon ako sa gilid at nakitang marami ring mga tao roon.
Tarantadong Wayne, balak pa yatang gumawa ng live porn dito.
Mabilis ko silang dinaluhan saka pinigilan ang babaeng buksan ang zipper ni Wayne. Napagitla ang babae sa paghawak ko sa kaniya. “Leave.”
They quickly got up from their seat, leaving me and Wayne alone. Mahina ko siyang binatukan to sober him up.
“Asshole, ang sabi mo mag-isa mo lang,” sabi ko. Bahagya siyang natawa saka lumagok ng panibagong inumin.
“Kanina ‘yon pare, kasalanan ko bang gwapo ako?” he shrugged as he nonchalantly tried to take another sip of Fireball Whisky again. Agaran ko siyang pinigilan.
“Stop drinking, you fucktard.” Hindi na ako magtataka kung ilang taon mula ngayon, magiging pasyente ko ‘tong tukmol na ‘to. Umiinom din naman ako, but this guy right here took drinking to another level. Hindi na naawa sa atay niya.
“Sa’n ka na-assign?” he asked.
“St. Luke Medical City, ‘bout you?”
Grin started to form in his face. I shook my head in response. Alam na alam ko ang mukhang ‘yan. “Don’t tell me you fooled your old man again?” He started cackling with my question.
I knew it. Sinuntok ko ang balikat niya. He winced in pain ngunit hindi pa rin maalis ang nakakalokong ngiti sa labi niya. Fucker.
“Oh come on, I know you like me being there too,” he teased and playfully leaned himself in me. Mabilis akong umatras para pigilan siya.
“Asshole.” Diring-diri kong sabi sa kanya. Tumawa siya nang malakas, causing the people from the other tables to look at our direction. I covered his mouth with my hand.
“Hayop ka, Wayne. Kung gusto mong ipahiya sarili mo rito, ‘wag mo akong idamay.” Tumayo ako mula sa kinauupan, handa nang umalis sa lugar na ‘to. Dapat pala in-indian ko na lang ‘tong siraulong ito.
He grabbed my arms to stop me. I shot him a glare which made him laugh more. “Putangina mo, Wayne. Bitawan mo ako, susuntukin talaga kita,” I threatened him.
“Seryoso nga pare, sa St. Luke din ako,” he said in between his laugh.
“How did you do it this time?” I queried when he finally calmed down. A grin was still etched on his face.
“Sabi ko lang ayoko roon sa Green Oak.”
My brows started to crease. “That’s it? I don’t think he’ll immediately approve your request for that reason.” Wayne’s dad is one of our professors at the University. Siya rin ang nag-aassign sa ‘min kung saang hospital kami mag-iintern. He works at St. Luke Medical City too.
“Well, I also told him about the staff there.”
“What about them?”
“Not much, just a little badmouthing,” he chuckled.
“Jesus Christ, Wayne. Can you just stop beating around the bush? How the fuck did you let father approved your request?”
“Wala lang, konting drama lang na gusto kong matuto mula sa kanya. ‘Yong tungkol naman sa mga staff, sinabi ko lang na mabaho ‘yong isa sa mga staff do’n.”
“Bro, I swear to God, ang baho ng hininga niya. Tawag nga sa kaniya ro’n ay stinky Dave. Feeling ko nga tubig sa inidoro ‘yong ginagamit niyang mouthwash. And his armpit. Holy mother of coconuts! The hairs in his armpit are so long. Anak yata siya ni Chewbacca, bro.” Disgust was evident on his face.
Natawa ako sa narinig. Gagong Wayne. See, this is what I like the most about him. He says what he wants to say. Walang filter. He never fails to surprise me. Very unpredictable.
We stayed there for a few more minutes hanggang sa lasing na lasing na talaga si Wayne. Damn it. I should’ve dragged him outside the first time I saw him.
“Tangina mo, Wayne. Ginawa mo na talaga akong muchacha mo. Humanda ka sa ‘kin bukas.” Inalalayan ko siya sa paglalakad, at sa sobrang kapal ng mukha niya, he’s putting all his weight to me. Tuluyan na akong napahinto sa sobrang pagod. Nasa likod na kami ngayon ng club.
Napaupo si Wayne sa gilid saka may tinuro sa likod ko. “Bro, look at that chic. She’s giving me ‘that’ look.” Sinundan ko ng tingin ang tinuro niya. I saw nothing but a dirty cleaning map. Tarantado. Napagkamalan pang babae ‘yong map.
Then an idea popped in my mind. Ngumiti ako nang nakakaloko saka nilapitan ang map. Sige Wayne, pagbibigyan kita. Hawak ang map, nilapitan kong muli si Wayne. “Bro, si Valerie nga pala, type ka raw niya.” Humagikgik si Wayne saka pinilit ang sariling tumayo nang matuwid.
“Hi babe,” malandi niyang saad, at walang sa anu-ano’y hinalikan ang map. I grabbed my phone to record this unbelievable moment. Ilang sandali pa’y muntik ko nang mabitawan ang aking phone when Wayne started gagging.
“Ew dude, get that chick away from me. Her breath stinks!” sabi niya saka muling sumuka. I looked away to repress myself from revulsion before tapping his back.
After that hideous scene, we continued our way to the parking lot. Napahinto kami sa paglalakad nang may marinig na ingay mula sa ‘di kalayuan. Dala ng kuryosidad, sinundan namin ang ingay.
Reaching the parking lot, two girls with one guy were there. They were standing right beside my car. The girl who’s facing her back on us had her arm hooked around the guy’s arm. The other girl was just wearing a red hoodie. Her eyes were bloodshot. She was holding a rock in her right hand.
May idea nang namumuo sa utak ko, but I ignored it. Hindi ito ang tamang panahon para makialam. Ipagpapatuloy sana namin ang paglalakad when we heard a noise. My eyes widened upon seeing my shattered car window.
Binitawan ko si Wayne saka tinungo ang babaeng may hawak na bato kanina. “Excuse me, but what the fuck is your problem?” I asked her sternly. Her cognac eyes were surprised with my sudden outrage.
Her surprise look later fades. She knitted her brows in confusion. “Who are you?” she fired back.
“I am the owner of this car.” I can’t help but clench my jaw to suppress my anger. She was again surprised by what I said. She looked at me, then to my back.
“I thought it’s my boyfriend’s. You guys have the same car,” she explained without looking at me. Narinig kong tumawa ang babae sa likod ko.
“You just made yourself more pathetic, Addy. See, that must be the reason why Fynn cheated on you.”
The girl in front of me was gritting his teeth. Tears started to form in her cognac eyes. So she just got cheated on huh? Pain was evident in her eyes. Ang galit ko kanina’y biglang napalitan ng awa.
“No… H-he loves me. Right, Fynn?” her voice was small. I can see her lips trembling. Fuck.
I turned around to see the guy’s reaction. I’m sure he heard what she said. Instead of answering her, he wrapped his arm around the other girl.
“Go home, Addy. We’re done,” he said and turned his back on us. I glanced at the girl and saw her crying. Her porcelain face was now red, totally soaked with tears.
Wala ako sa katinuang hinawakan ang kamay ng babae. I can hear Wayne calling me, ngunit hindi ko ‘yon pinansin. “Where the hell are you taking me?” the girl asked as she tried to free herself from my grip. I looked at her and smirked.
I saw the guy and the girl earlier. I tried to close our gap, just enough for them to hear me.
“Hey, fucktard.” The guy looked back. He wondered his eyes around to check if he’s the one I’m referring to.
The girl beside me said, “What are you doing?”
“Me?” the guy asked as he pointed himself. I nodded.
What’s this girl’s name again? Addy?
“Gusto ko lang ipaalam sa ‘yo na hindi lang ikaw ang nangaliwa sa inyo. Addy’s seeing me while you guys are dating. Hindi ka raw kasi marunong humalik.”
Before Addy could say anything stupid, I stopped her with my kiss.
As I sensed the guy dragging his new girl inside the club, I quickly pulled away. The girl in front of me still had her eyes closed and her lips still half-open. I smirked. Looks like someone liked my kiss huh? I took it as a chance to stare at her.Her lashes were long and naturally curled. She had thick brows. Her nose was not that pointy, but it fits her. And her lips, it was soft. Her height is probably about five foot four or something. Kailangan ko pang yumuko para halikan siya.I wonder why that jerk cheated on her. Clearly, her face is not the reason at all. In fact, her face looks like a walking heart-breaker.“Bro, ba’t mo naman ako iniwan do’n?” Wayne entered the scene. The girl immediately opened her eyes. Her face flushed after realizing what just happened. Well, me too. What was I even thinking?Muli kaming nagkatinginan. Dude, I think the word beautiful will not
“Dude, did you see the nurse from the emergency room? She’s hot. Totally my type,” Wayne said dreamily. I raised my brow and playfully bumped his shoulder.“Pull yourself together, fucker. Your old man might catch you drooling over a nurse.” Wayne chuckled and bumped my shoulder too.“Loser.”Just when we’re about to reach the exit of the emergency room, we were signaled by the nurse to step aside. Agad naman kaming tumabi. Ilang sandali pa’y may pumasok na paramedics, isang lalaking duguan ang kamay ang nakahiga sa taas ng stretcher. Napasinghap kami ni Wayne sa nasaksihan.Others might think na bakit naman magiging ganoon ang reaksyon namin gayong medical student naman kami. You see, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners like us are humans too. Ang mga kilalang doctor at ibang mga personalidad sa medical realm ay minsan ring dumaan