After Two Years

It has been two years since we met each other for the first time. And it has been almost two years and a half since we foolishly fell in love with each other. It was puppy love, yes – for we were only “kids” back then (at least, according to our ates and kuyas). Our romantic tale ended abruptly, and it was very devastating for me. Lots of people told you that I had lots of men in my life, but they were only tools so I could forget you easily. They amused me so much because they found me so pretty and attractive that they were willing to be my little dogs. And that was because I had a very low self-esteem, you know. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough for you. I thought I did not deserve you. So when you disappeared from my reality, I hardened and became a bitch to my other “little dogs”.

Two years ago, we struggled for a common free time to be together. It’s like you studied in North Pole, and I studied in South Pole. The time you would go home to your South Pole was the same time I would be going back to my North Pole. But then twelve hours ago, a classmate invited me to go to your South Pole to meet your sister because our organization wanted to conduct a writing workshop on your high school. We immediately met your sister (and your mother too, surprisingly) via pump boat as we reached your hometown. Your sister started teasing me about you, but then I maintained a poker face because I overheard them talking about you being seen with a girlfriend who is twenty-five years old (which means six years older than us). But I also have a boyfriend right now who calls me a pig – so basically, any meaningful act or thought between or about us would seem adulterous. We just can’t reach each other anymore. And I already gave up any hope of looking at your eyes or holding your hands. I didn’t really care anymore.

When we reached your alma mater, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I was stepping on the grounds where you spent your high school days. I was envisioning all sorts of things about you, and I didn’t care whether the nuns that manage your former school were frowning upon my short shorts. I tried to be preoccupied, I quietly waited for your sister’s return. I looked around, saw teenagers in uniform and got slightly irritated as my own high school life was destroyed by my bitter teachers who did not want me to have a happy high school romance. My mind went back to the stories that you told me about yourself back then. You freely had your girlfriends in high school while people around me gossiped nastily about me the moment I got a boyfriend. My classmate was busy talking to one of the teachers about our proposed activities on your school while my mind was wandering back in time, trying to remember your face. I deny missing you on the surface, yet I know that I really do. I hate feeling that way when it was you in the first place who gave up on me. I did not want to look like I was chasing after you. Never again.

I was so caught up in my own mind that I didn’t notice that one button has fallen from my blouse. My little breasts were in danger of being seen, so my classmate and I walked out of your school and searched for a store that sells safety pins. I bought two, fixed my blouse, and walked while gossiping about other people. When we reached the highway, my classmate decided that we go to a nearby beach, but I was so hesitant that I said no right away when she asked for my opinion. Then we bought two ice candies at a nearby store, and walked slowly back to your school. After about ten steps, my friend repeatedly mentioned your name but I ignored her. I was serenely eating my ice candy when I saw you riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, going to the direction which we were also headed to, and you looked behind as if you knew what’s going on. My eyes popped out and your face showed the same look of surprise.

The motorcycle you were riding on kept on going, but you also kept on looking back at me as if you couldn’t believe your luck. My friend then started teasing me. But I stayed still, incapable of deciding of how I should react. We just saw each other after two years! Yet like the old kind of fate that we had back then, chance did not give us much time to spend time together. It’s like we were just permitted to take a glimpse of each other after a long time, and that was it. I did not know what to think. But I was happy, I guess. I was happy that I saw you again. I was happy that you took time to look at me. And I was happy that you looked back at me several times. But then I wondered, have you found me prettier and deserving of your love now? I wonder if I ever touched your heart at that moment like how you touched my heart. I was secretly smiling, you know.

As we were walking towards your school, my friend and I found a waiting shed and sat there for a little while to chat. However, I was still stupefied by what happened earlier. Almost ten or fifteen minutes passed, and she was mentioning your name repeatedly again. But I already knew what she was talking about, so I froze. You wanted to talk to me, or to us, but you were only looking at my friend, making it seem like you were only communicating with her. But I can see that you just can’t look me in the eye or get near me. You were trying to tame me, I guess, as my eyes were intent on your face, by waving to me while not exactly looking into my face. And when you did, you couldn’t help but smile. You were such a little boy that I could really sense how shy you were in my presence when you are normally confident and charming. I knew that you really wanted to go near us, and basically talk to me, but my friend was there and you were too shy to face me. So when you finally went at loss for words, you just said bye-bye to us and you went away with the motorcycle driver. I didn’t know what to feel anymore.

We went back to your school because you told us that the principal was already back. The guard asked us if we have seen you because you asked him if he saw two maidens walking around the campus. I blushed at this, for I did not expect you to care so much. We wanted to talk to the principal, and we wanted to wait for the return of your sister, but we suddenly saw Sir Riley (our history professor) and Sir Hall with the principal. We naturally knew then that we would be going with them back home to our boarding houses and apartments near the university. We happily talked with the two professors with the principal at the canteen – but yes, I was still thinking about you. Even the most mirthful chitchats couldn’t measure up to our smiles and meaningful silences earlier. Suddenly I became nostalgic. My mind went back to the times when we first got attracted to each other through the pictures that your sister was showing us, when you told me: Andaman mo lang kung indi ta magdayunay, and when you kissed me on the forehead to say goodbye for good. Two years has quickly passed; but it was a very long time, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t the girl that I used to be back then. Probably you have also matured a bit too, but something still stays the same, I guess. You said before that there were no “sparks” between us, yet I could feel it powerfully in our coy, still, and silent interactions earlier. I was supposed to leave alone all our memories in the past, yet I felt a tinge of hope. Perhaps it was just the ugly first chapter. I don’t know.

After we finished our business there, we went inside the car following the two professors. I realized just now how dramatic that moment was: I didn’t know that you were already walking towards us from afar, and that you clearly saw us getting inside the car the moment you stepped into the campus. Inside the car, I saw you walking so I opened the door and shouted your name. You heard it, saw the two American professors and got a little bit shy so you just smiled at the car (not at a particular person) and continued walking. The professors asked me if you were a “special friend.” I just coyly smiled and everyone in the car laughed. They knew you were. But I secretly wished that you still were.

I just thought about you all the way back.

I wonder if we will ever meet again, and what will happen next. 


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