Pagkatapos kong sabihin iyon ay napatulala lang sa akin si Deon. However, I noticed how conflicted his eyes were. This was easier for us both. Ayaw niya naman pala sa akin kaya bakit ko pa ipagpipilitan ang sarili ko sa kanya? I don’t like being friends with the likes of him. Iyon bang they cannot be themselves when they were around me simply because they always thought and believed that I was way out of their league.
He licked his lips, slightly lowered his head, and frowned. I couldn’t help but frowned as well as I continued watching him. It seemed like it was his way of contemplating about something. Very funny because despite hiding in his strong façade, his soft qualities inside would always surface. Unlike me, he just couldn’t conceal them. He was not good at it no matter how hard he tried. Pretending was simply not built for him. It was not his strongest suit.
Hindi nagtagal ay muli siyang nag-angat ng t
BEFORE DEALING WITH Deon, I have to deal with Felix first. Dapat ko munang iganti ang pinsan ko. It was Saturday afternoon and since Chadleen and I had nothing to do, I have asked her to take me to Felix’s place so I could punch him on his goddamn face.Hinatak ko si Chadleen ng umagang iyon papunta sa address nina Felix. They were living on the beachside. Medyo na-distract ako sa ganda ng lugar. I didn’t know that such place actually exists in this province – white sand beach with crystal clear waters plus the cool breeze. Sobrang ganda talaga pero dapat galit ako at hindi namamangha ngayon.“Insan, nakakahiya sa pamilya ni Felix. Huwag na tayong tumuloy…” pigil pa ni Chadleen sa akin kahit na hatak ko na siya.“At dapat din siyang mahiya sa’yo!”“Hindi naman kasi gano’n. Hay… bakit ba ang hirap ipaliwanag ng sitwasyon…”Kagabi pa siya ganito. I
THE GUYS SENT us home. Sumakay kami ni Chadleen sa pickup ng Lolo Riggs ni Felix. Hiniram niya muna kasi bukod sa aming dalawa ng pinsan ko ay ihahatid niya rin si Deon sa kanila. Siyempre ay sa front seat niya pinaupo si Chadleen kaya kaming dalawa naman ni Deon ngayon ang magkatabi sa may back seat. Tahimik kami pero hindi iyong tipong awkward dahil sa totoo lang ay komportable ako ngayon sa tabi niya.Ang tanging maingay lang sa loob ng sasakyan namin ngayon ay si Felix at ang pinapatugtog niyang pamilyar na kanta sa stereo. I gathered my courage to face Deon beside me to tell him, “Thank you.”“Salamat nga pala—”We both stopped because we said those same words in chorus. Sabay din kaming nag-iwas ng tingin at bumaling sa kanya-kanyang mga banda namin hanggang sa hindi nagtagal ay narinig ko siyang marahang napahalakhak sa pwesto niya. Naiiling na napangiti naman ako at muli siyang binalingan. I loved how genuin
TAHIMIK LANG KAMI ni Deon habang binabaybay namin ang daan papuntang kabilang canteen. I just took him with me after he bid his farewell to Richelle. Napaamang tuloy iyong huli habang nagsisimula na kaming maglakad palayo sa kanya. I felt guilty for using Deon but not bad for taking him away from Richelle. She was already acting possessive over him, and I do not like what I was seeing.Bumagal ang paglalakad ko nang matanto kong hindi rin naman makabubuti ang intensyon ko kay Deon. Nilukob ako ng pagsisisi ng mga sandaling iyon pero kailangan kong panindigan ang desisyon at hakbang na ginawa ko. Alam na alam kong pagsisisihan ko ito balang araw. I often watched this kind of drama on television, but it never occurred to me that it will happen to me also.“I’m sorry…” usal ko nang kaming dalawa na lamang at malayo na sa kaninuman.“Para saan?”“Magre-review kasi sana kayo ni Richelle. Naistorbo ko
IT WAS HARD to shun away persistent people in your life and to stop destiny from working just so you two would not become too close. Habang tumatagal ay lalo kaming nagiging mas malapit sa isa’t isa ni Deon. Nakabuntot din kasi ako sa kanya lagi dahil sa kasunduan namin ni Ruby Lane. Pero kung minsan ay sumusulpot din naman siya sa mga sandaling hindi ko inaasahan o kung kailangan ko nang makakasama pero wala si Chadleen. In those times, I found out that Deon was more than his pretty face. He was not the type of man I initially assumed him to be. He was not just a good catch but a great one – maalalahanin, maasikaso, matulungin, at mabait. I never had an ideal guy but when I met and got to know him more, I pictured it to be him.“The hell…” sambit ko nang matanto ko kung ano ang mga iniisip ko.I sound as if I like him, and I find it totally absurd! Binagsak ko ang likod ko sa malabot kong pink Chanel bed at saka tumitig
I PASSED RUBY Lane’s test, that’s why she did not bother me for the following weeks. I felt guilty for using Deon, but I was also honestly happy being with him that I really think… “Pagod ka na ba?” he asked when he came back to me in the bleachers after their training. He was sweaty but he did not smell bad. Akala ko ay imposibleng mangyari iyon pero may mga tao pala talagang hindi maamoy kahit na pawisan. Maybe because they were used to working out a lot. Kumikinang iyong kayumanggi niyang balat ngayon habang tinatamaan nang halos papalubog nang sikat ng araw. I could not deny that I loved it. That feature really suited him and had added more to his appeal. “Baleleng?” he called me again to take me out of my musings. “Ha?” “Pagod ka na ba?” nag-aalalang tanong niya. Mabilis naman akong umiling. Chadleen was not with me today. She was noticeably busy these days. Kahit si Felix ay habol na rin nang habol sa kanya dahil
WEARING MY POWDER blue off-shoulder top that was neatly tucked in my high-waist denim midi skirt with a small slit and a pair of white Gucci sneakers, Chadleen and I graced the hall of our state college. I side-twisted my half-ponytailed hair and carried with me my white YSL chain sling shoulder bag. As usual, all attention was fixed on me. What’s new, anyway?“Chadleen, pwede ba tayong mag-usap?”Hindi pa kami nakakapasok ni Chadleen sa classroom namin ay mukhang inaabangan na siya ni Felix na noong una ay nakasandal lamang sa pader sa labas ng classroom namin at halukipkip. Nabuwag lamang iyon nang matanaw niya kaming papalapit saka umayos din siya nang tayo. He looked stressed and tired as I observed. I glanced at my cousin. She seemed serious as she slowly nodded her head. May problema ba ‘tong dalawang ‘to?“Mag-uusap lang kami ni Felix, insan,” paalam niya sa akin.“I will just go to t
WE WERE HAVING our dinner when daddy opened up about something. He seemed to be in a good mood today. Actually, daddy and I shared the same attitude – ma-attitude. Tito Khalil and Chadleen, on the other hand, complimented each other. Masyadong seryoso at strikto si tito samantalang si Chadleen naman ay mahinhin at masunurin.“Everyone’s having a hard time these days, aren’t we?”Nauna namang umiling si Mignonette sa amin.“According to Confucius, life is simple, but we tend to make it complicated.”Napakunot naman ang noo ko sa kapatid ko. “Why do you sound like Chadleen now?”“I got to read one of Ate Chadleen’s books, ate. They were interesting!”“But you’re too young for that. You should be reading children’s stories.”“Elphie and Hermione got bored with the children’s stories. Guess, I have to level up. They
MAGKAKASAMA KAMI NGAYONG apat nina Felix, Chadleen, at Deon sa iisang lamesa sa isa sa mga karinderya sa labas ng state college namin at nanananghalian. Until now, I was still wondering if Chadleen told Felix about the relationship deal we had with Ruby Lane. Hanggang ngayon kasi rin ay mukhang clueless pa rin si Deon, and that all the more added guilt to my conscience. I love Deon, and we should not hurt the ones we love, right? Well, I guess I fucked up big time. This was so not fetch!“Masama ba ang pakiramdam mo?” Deon asked, his voice was laced with concern as his hand rested protectively at the small of my back.Maagap naman akong umiling.“E, problema? May problema ka ba?”“Marami, gusto mo isa-isahin ko?”He chuckled at my retort and then nodded as he smiled at me.“Sige, makikinig ako.”Sa halip na ngumiti ay napasimangot lang ako lalo. Kapag ganito kabait si De