Chapter 38. From Afar...

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Z

"Why don't you talk to her and enjoy her smiles?"

Nakasandal kami ni Jake sa barandilya ng terrace, kasalukuyan kaming nagkakape habang nakatanaw sa open space ng villa kung saan maraming mga guests ang namamasyal at nagpapahangin.

"I am enjoying her smiles."

"From afar. That's pathetic, Z."

"This is better than having an argument with her."

Kitang-kita ko ang malawak na pagkakangiti ni Ruby na nakaupo sa bermuda grass kasama ang Daddy niya habang kumakain mula sa picnic basket. Nakikita ko siya pero hindi niya ako mapapansin mula dito.

"You really took it seriously, didn't you?"

Hindi ako nagsalita at humigop na lang ng kape.

"Alam mo kasi ang mga babae, mahirap spelling'in. They're insane, and at the same time rational. They make you go crazy."

Hindi ko pinansin ang sinabi niya.

"Para silang crossword puzzle na ina-assume natin ang sagot base sa bilang ng letrang ilalagay sa boxes...sometimes there's no right answer."

"Your point is?" napipikon na tanong ko.

Hindi kasi ako mahilig sa mga philosophical basis ng mga bagay-bagay.

"Gusto ko lang malaman mo na madalas talagang tinotopak ang mga babae. They're a lot of things. They're undefined. They do stupid things. They say things they don't mean. So whatever she said to chicken you out, she didn't mean it."

I raised an eyebrow.

"You think?"

"Yup. That's why women are complicated. Trust me, I've learned it the hard way with my wife."

Hindi na lang ako nagsalita at ibinalik ang atensiyon ko sa tinitignan ko kanina.

I'm not going to talk to her under any circumstances... I hope.

Hindi dahil ayaw ko o dahil ayaw niya...

I do want to talk to her. I really do...

Pero ayoko nang marinig mula mismo sa kanya na wala akong karapatan para manghimasok sa buhay niya. Ayoko nang sumugal para lang ipagtabuyan niya ulit. Looking at her now, hindi na niya kailangan ang tulad ko para maging masaya. Masaya na akong may nagawa ako para sa kanya.


"So what's your status now? Are you single? In a relationship? Engaged? or It's complicated?"

"Stop it, Jake. I don't want to talk about it." tinalikuran ko siya at umupo.

"You don't want to talk about anything, Z." pagsunod niya

"Yup."

"You're not gonna be happy if you don't get her back, Tyrell."

Huminga ako ng malalim.

"I know..."

Tinignan ako ni Jake ng diretso.

"So why are you still sitting here?"

Napabuga ako sa hangin. Jake Constantino is indeed one hell of an annoying human.

"I told you, ayoko ng argument."

"Geez. What are men compared to rocks and mountains? This is not the time to be a coward."

I glared at him. I have a feeling na hindi rin lang ako titigilan nito kung hindi ko papatulan ang litanya niya.

"It's not cowardice. Kung ikaw ang nasa position ko that time, I bet you won't even get out of your cave."

He rolled his eyes pero hindi rin nagsalita. We fell into an unknown silence.

And then he looked at me straightly.

"She hit you that hard, huh?"

Damn. I hate to admit it but she did.

"Yup."

"And now you're miserable." naiiling na lang na sabi niya.

Hindi na lang ako nagkomento at hinarap ko na lang ang kape.


Trrrt...Trrrt...Trrrt...

Nagvibrate ang celphone ko, senyales na may tumatawag.

King Alejandro Montereal's face on my screen.

"Yes?" pagsagot ko sa tawag

"Hi Z! How are you?"

"Twilight?" nakakunot ang noo ko

"Yup. Punta ka dito sa bahay mamayang 7pm. I'm throwing a dinner party."

"You're cooking?"

"Yes, dear."

"Okay!"

"Be on time."

"Yup."

At natapos na ang tawag.

Tinignan ko ang wrist watch ko.

5:30 pm.

"Well, I have to go Tyrell. Duty calls." tumayo na si Jake

"Yeah, me too." pagsabay ko sa kanya paalis sa terrace.

Pero bago ko tuluyang lisanin ang lugar ay isang sulyap pa ang ginawa ko sa direksiyon ng dalaga.


And then I walked away...

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