“Elmo, you’ll have a meeting with Mr. Chen later.” Blaise, the editor-in-chief of the magazine I’m having a photoshoot with, said.
“Alright. Thanks, Blaise.” I said. She closed the door of my hotel room and I went back to watching tv.
I’ve been in Singapore for almost 3 months already. I was offered a big project here. An international movie and I couldn’t just reject the offer. It’s also a way of seeing my mom who lives in Singapore with her new family.
“Moe, why not stay at our house na lang? You’re Tito Robert wanted to see you and your little siblings.” mom said when she visited me the night after I arrived here.
“Nah. I’d rather stay here ma. Nakakahiya kay tito.” I said.
“If that’s what you want. Pero you can always visit us. Kahit one night lang after your work.”
“I’ll try ma. Maybe if I have no work.” I told her.
“Okay sige. I’d better go. Your little siblings are waiting for me already.” she said and kissed my cheek.
“Okay ma. I’ll see you guys soon.” I said.
I woke up from stupor when I heard my phone rang.
“Brader!!” I heard a familiar voice. My face lighten up as soon as I realized who it was.
“Ano dude? San ka? Kita tayo.”
“You’re in Singapore?” I asked.
“De pare nasa China ako.” he said and we both laughed.
“Baliw ka pa din no?” I said.
“Haha. Loko lang. Ano nga? Nasan ka dude. Tara kita tayo. Dami mong kkwento tanga.” he said.
“Okay fine. I have no appointments til 4pm today. Kita na lang tayo sa Kith Cafe. Saan ka ba nakacheck-in?” I asked him.
“Sa Mandarin ako brad. Ikaw ba?”
“Sentosa ako eh.”
“Osige. Kitakits na lang.” he said. I hang up the phone and I prepared myself and went out of the hotel after.
I arrived at the coffee shop and saw Gino sitting at the al fresco. I walked towards him and removed my shades as I sat down.
“Ano brad?” I said. He looked at me and a smile formed on his lips.
“Elmo boy!” he said and ruffled my hair like I was his little brother.
“Aray! Hahaha. Musta na?” I asked.
“Ikaw ang kamusta na? Bigla kang nawala hinayupak ka.” he said as he sips from his coffee.
“Ts. Biglaang offer kasi dude. International movie eh. Papalagpasin ko pa ba?” I answered.
“Pero uso paalam brad. Mukha kaming shunga kaya na naghihintay sayo kapag Friday. Tas malalaman ko na lang na nakalipad ka na pala palabas ng Pinas. Langya ka din eno?”
“Tss. Paano mo naman nalaman?”
“Nagpunta ko sa condo mo and nakausap ko yung receptionist. Sabi niya wala ka na nga daw and that you flew here in Singapore. Oh.”
“Alam na ba nilang lahat?” I asked. Suddenly feeling guilty for not saying goodbye to them.
“They know alright.” he replied. I heaved a deep sigh as I imagined their faces. Nakakamiss din pala ang tropa. “Nasaktan siya dude.” he added. I lift my head to look at him and he has this worried look in his eyes.
“I-I have to do this. A-ayoko kasi na pagdudahan niya pa din ako eh. Dude, masakit kasi na mahal ko siya tapos di ko alam may kailangan pa pala akong patunayan sa kanya.” I said.
“Elmo, she never thought that you would react like that. Alam mo kung bakit close sila ni Enrique?”
“Because they like each other. Ano lang ba kami dude? Friends with benefits? No strings attached? Fuck buddies? Ang unang main—”
“Close sila because she’s helping Enrique with Julia. Yung bestfriend niya. Alam mo ba kung bakit nagkagusto si Enrique kay Julie? Because he saw Julia’s attitude in her na akala niya si Julie lang ang meron. He only realized that he loves Julia when Julie told him that she loves you and that Enrique is just a friend to her!”
“What?” Wait wait wait. Basted si Enrique? Teka this can’t be true. She told me that…
“Elmo bobo ka kasi eh. Inisip mo kasi na porket Enrique likes Julie, she would feel the same way about him too. And yung plano nilang pagselosin ka? That’s just the way Julie wanted to make sure that you do love her. And besides, yung mountain climbing na yun, kasama si Julia. Julie planned that Enrique would confess to Julia somewhere na tahimik na never pa nila napuntahan. And since Julie knew Mt. Banahaw, dun siya nagsuggest na magpunta yung dalawa. She even suggested na maglagay ng camp site sa tuktok para sa dalawa eh. And she wanted you to come kahit alam niyang takot ka. Masyado mo kasing pinapairal init ng ulo mo. Di mo man lang siya hintayin na mag-explain.”
“Paano pa ko makakabawi sa kanya? Baka nakalimutan na niya ko.” I said feeling guilty about what I did.
“Well, kung iniisip mo na nakamove on na siya baka nga nakamove on na siya by crying everyday, laging nasa bahay ni Maqui because she can’t seem to live a day without hearing your voice or seeing your face, na nag-aalala na sila Nana at yung mga bata sa kanya kasi di siya nagkakakain, na pati si Jana nag-aalala na kasi hindi siya madalas lumalabas ng office niya kapag nasa cafe siya, na pati customers niya worried sa kanya kasi di na siya energetic gaya ng dati, na si Enrique naubusan na ng advice kakaiyak niya, na lahat kami nawiwindang na dahil lagi lang siyang tulala then I guess, oo. Nakamove on na siyang kumag ka.” he told me.
Julie… I can’t seem to imagine her like that. Yung hindi gaya ng dati na sobrang masayahin. I missed her a lot. I missed her when she would laugh at even my corniest jokes, when she would act like my mom everytime I did something wrong but would act like my wife when I did something good, when she was the best in everything and she brings out the best in me, and I missed her because she loves me despite of how childish and crazy I am, because she makes everything special when it comes to me and because she stayed with me even if everyone else left.
“Gino boy…” I called Gino’s attention.
“Kailan ka uuwi ng Pilipinas?” I asked him.
“I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning. Bakit? May ipapadala ka ba? Ano?” he asked.
“I’m coming with you.”
3 months. I don’t even know how I survived these past 3 months. Without him. Without Elmo.
“Jules, wag ka na emo please?” Maqui said. Here I am, staying at her house so that I can somehow have someone to talk to.
“Maqui di ko tanggap na he went away just so he could forget about me.”
“He didn’t okay? Umalis lang siya because he wants to be a better person para sayo.”
“3 months, Maqui. 3 months without even sending me a message. How sure are you na he’s just doing this to be better?” I asked.
“Julie, you can’t change overnight.” Maqui said. “Elmo needs time. He wants to be the perfect guy for you.” she said.
“I don’t want him to be the perfect guy, Maqui. I just want him to be here. You know that I loved him despite of all his flaws diba? Mahal ko siya kahit ano pa siya.” I said. Maqui didn’t say anything. She just hugged me because she knew that no words can comfort a broken heart.
“Dude, seryoso ka? Sasama ka sa akin?” Gino asked me.
“Paano trabaho mo kumag ka?” he asked.
“I will talk to them. Makikiusap ako na payagan ako umuwi even for a few days lang.” I said.
“Whatever you want bro.” he replied. I was panicking. I don’t know what to do first. Am I going to talk to Mr. Chen? Or I’ll get a ticket first? Or pack my things? It’s frustrating!
“Bro, wait for my call okay? Tatawagan kita para ikaw na bibili ng ticket ko once Mr. Chen allows me to go.”
“What if he doesn’t?”
“Then we’ll find another way.” I told him.
After Gino and I met, I went to Mr. Chen’s office for the meeting.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Chen. You wanted to see me?” I said when I entered his office.
“Sit down Mr. Magalona.” I sat on the chair opposite his office desk and waited for him to start. “Mr. Magalona, we would be having a shoot at Marina Bay Sands tomorrow for your new magazine cover.”
What?! Tomorrow?! No! Sabi niya the other day we’ll shoot next week.
“Uhm. Mr. Chen, I thought we’ll start the shoot next week?” I asked politely. He creased his forehead and looked at his desk calendar.
“No. We moved it to tomorrow because the director of your movie told us that you’ll resume shooting next week. That’s why we had to re-schedule.” he said. “Problem with that?”
“Uhm… I need to go back to the Philippines.” I said.
“I— there’s just a problem and I have to get back.” I said.
“Can’t it wait til your vacation?” he asked. I couldn’t answer. Because I know that I would never win. “I think it can wait. Besides, you’ll finish your shoot after 2 weeks right? Then you can go back to the Philippines.”
“Mr. Magalona, if you want to still have your career at the end of the day, then I think you know what you have to do.”
“Jules, wanna come? Susunduin ko si Gino from the airport.” Maqui said.
“Uhm. Ikaw na lang Maq. I’ll stay here na lang sa bahay.”
“Are you sure?” she asked. “Ayaw mo ba malaman if he and Elmo met?”
“Alam ko namang he’ll tell me once we had dinner tomorrow. So I’ll just wait.” I said. “Tsaka it’s been almost a month, Maq na di kayo nagkita ni Gino so I’ll give this night to you. Haha.”
“Tsk. Kaw talaga. Osige. Pero call me if you need me okay?”
“Yes, Kim Possible.”
“Tsk. Maka-joke ka nanaman diyan ha.”
“Of course gusto ko. Atleast alam ko na medyo okay ka na.” she said.
“Haha. Yeah. Thanks to you guys.”
“Naks naman. Osige na. I have to go. Take care of yourself. Okay?”
“I will. Ingat ka, Maq.”
“Love you Jules.”
“Love you too.” And I hang up the phone.
I busied myself by listing the grocery items we need at home. Ngayon ko lang napansin that we’re out of stocks already.
“Ate?” I looked up and saw Joey standing a few feet from me with the Elmo stuffed toy in her hand.
“Do you still miss kuya?” she asked. I smiled and she went for me and hugged me.
“You can have him.” she said and handed me the stuffed toy. “It’s from kuya diba? And they have the same name. Para you won’t miss him that much.” she said. I hugged Joey tight as tears started brimming from my eyes again.
“Don’t cry ate.” I heard her say and I nodded.
“Sorry baby. Osige na. Akyat ka na sa room mo and go to sleep.”
“Okay.” and she kissed my cheek before going upstairs.
I went to work the next morning. Jana greeted me and the other staffs and we all started the day’s work.
“Buti ma’am okay ka na.” Jana said.
“I have to, Jana. Tsaka naisip ko din kung magpapakadepress ako lalo baka di na ko balikan nun.”
“Hahaha. Ikaw pa ba ma’am? Eh mahal ka nun.” she said.
“Che!” I told her and continued mixing the batter.
The day went by so fast and before I knew it, we are closing the shop and I was on my way to Gino’s place for our barkada dinner.
“Julie!!!” they all yelled when I went in. We all gave each other a hug and started chitchatting.
“How’s Singapore brader?” Derrick asked.
“Maganda as usual.”
“Gino…” I called him.
“Uhm…” I couldn’t find the words but I know that he knows what I was about to ask. He smiled and nodded.
“Yeah we saw each other. Told him you missed him. Told him everything.”
“How was he?”
“He looks okay but sad at the same time. Miss ka na daw niya.” he said. A light of hope flickered in my eyes. He missed me.
“Yes. He wanted to come here with me pero his schedule was very hectic kaya yun. Wait.” he said and stood up and went to his room.
“See? I told you miss ka na nun.” Maqui whispered.
“Oo nga Jules. Miss na miss ka na ng kumag na yun.” Jmee said. I smiled and nodded at them. After a few minutes, Gino went out with a box in hand.
“Taray! May padala para kay Julie tapos sa atin waley?! Gravity naman talaga Magalona!” Sef complained.
“Bobo ka talaga. Girlfriend ka?” Diva asked sabay binatukan pa ito.
“No! But I’m his gayfriend.” he said and even rolled his eyes.
“Here Jules. He told me to give this to you.” Gino said as he gave me the box.
I felt excited and nervous at the same time. I don’t know if I should open it or not. I’m scared of what might be inside but I also want to find out.
“Gora na girl. Open it already! Baka may nasingit diyan na Victoria’s Secret for me.” Sef told me.
I lifted the lid of the box and my heart sank.
“Anong laman?” They all asked.
It was filled with our memorabilias. Everything that we shared and kept. Everything that has the best memories. Is he really breaking up with me?
Potek na pag-iisip na yan. Ang babata pa ang landing-landi na.
Ang da-drama! Wag yan unahin, sundin ang magulang. Dumaan din sila sa ganyan at alam nilang hindi maganda sa ganyang edad ang mag landian. Set your priorities; pero tang-ina talaga yun narinig ko kanina, at may plano pang mag asawa agad ang mga gago. They were like 14 or 15, ganyan na ba talaga ka bulag ang kabataan ngayon? Napansin ko lang, mas bobo sila kaysa sa kabataan noon. If you can think of a reason then you’ll realize why.
Juvenile years should be spent deciding of what a person want to become in the future and decide on things that makes you happy. Seriously, napa-english ako potek! pero habang maaga think of what you will become in the future and please don’t include getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant. You can enjoy much of that love when you are in the right age. It’s not that hard to wait, isn’t it? Just don’t let your heart rule over your mind. That’s where problems occur. And lastly, love your parents. If you really love them you won’t do things to disappoint or hurt them, right? :)
And kudos, you’ve read it until the end. Hope you realize something, it’s never too late to change. You can still get back on the right track.