My friend and I were sitting at McDonald's at the carpark of SM North, seeking sanctuary from the merciless heat of the summer sun. The day was spent running her errands and getting the CPU of my computer near the bible shop in West Avenue. Carrying the CPU from the computer store to the mall was no easy feat, and the afternoon sun was patently vicious. We decided that we deserved a break, and McDonald's was a choice as good as any.
"The're back!" my mind screamed as a luscious poster of the McDo Strawberry sundae greeted us in the store. Those kind of sundaes were particularly good, i knew -- chunks of strawberry swimming in sauce and a soft ice cream would be a good refresher in this hot summer day. Top it off with the largest Coke serving they offer and I was all set. In between our incessant jokes and non-stop talking, my friend ordered the same thing i was having, but with fries.
We went ahead and found a table, eagerly awaiting one of the crew to bring us our goodies. The aircondition was fine, but the sweltering heat outside drained most of my energies.
"punas ka ng pawis! basang-basa na yang t-shirt mo. yuck."
"eh ang init sa labas eh!" i answered. "at least ako nilalabas ko -- di katulad mo di pinapawisan. masama yan sa katawan kala mo -- ako nilalabas ko yung dumi sa katawan ko. so sa palinisan ng loob ng katawan, talo kita!"
"utot!" she squealed, and put out her tongue in reply to what i said. She was an incoming law student at UP, graduated college with honors, and had been a long-time leader at her church. She calls me names and puts her tongue out whenever she had no logical rebuttal for my teasings. we've been traveling the whole day under the sweltering heat but she still had the energy to laugh at me to my face.
"gads." i thought. be still, my heart.
not even two months have passed when she turned down another friend of ours -- for all sorts of reasons. and while she and i had a GREAT friendship, i honestly didn't think she'd go for me. I wasn't her type. I wasn't the IKDG-guy she was looking for. I wasn't handsome, or like any of the guys she adored. She turned down walter, for crying out loud. Why would I think I'd end up different? And more than that, i was younger -- at the time of our lives when age still mattered.
But i wasn't the 'champion of lost causes' for nothing.
"uy, salamat sa pagsama mo sa'kin sa contract-signing sa PDI ha. kung di moko sinamahan, di ako nakapunta don kasi bulag ako."
"haha. buti nga nakabili ka na nang bagong contact lens eh. at nakakatawa yung text mo ha. "pwede ka bang mahiram?" hahahaha. kakaiba."
"eh ikaw lang naman talaga ang pwede kong isama don eh." i answered.
"quits na tayo. sinamahan mo naman ako ngayon eh."
"eh bakit kasi di ka pa mag-boyfriend? para lagi kang may alalay."
"bakit pa? andyan ka naman. sinasamahan mo ko, inaaliw. nagdadala ng gamit. ano pang use ng boyfriend?"
"hahaha." i laughed, covering my thoughts. "so alila ang tingin mo sakin?"
she laughed again, and put out her tongue.
Our hands were separated by mere inches on the table, but they could just as easily have been miles apart. she was just too high, too much, too pretty, too precious for me. And if i did lose my head and articulated how i felt, i was sure i would just end up losing her -- the same way that walter lost her.
My eyes wandered around the McDonald's store, desperate to find something - anything that could distract me enough to not blurt out what i wanted to say to her. My eyes settled on a store sign that made me smile. A safe joke -- with just the right amount of ambiguity.
"hey." i said. I extended my hands and held her arms.
"bakit?" she asked. I held on.
"hello? hoy! bakit?"
Finally, I let go and with a smile on my face, pointed to the McDo in-store sign. She turned from her seat and read...
"Please do not leave your valuables unattended"
"Hahaha! Baliw!" she said. And looked at me with a hint of question in her eyes...
"finally." i mused, smiling a secret smile. And before she could articulate whatever it was that she was beginning to notice, I attacked her strawberry sundae before attending to my own.