DISCLAIMER: All characters and events portrayed in this story are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
A lot of questions raced through my mind, while I was in the shower the next morning. After seeing John last night, I didn’t expect much to happen. Okay, I know he’s single again, and yes, maybe my feelings for him haven’t changed at all, but he still doesn’t feel the same way for me, that’s for sure. I don’t wanna be just a rebound, nor do I want to look desperate. All I can do is be a friend to him at the moment. Plus, there are other important things I have to worry about, like how late I am for my first class. It’s 8:30 am, and my Politics and Governance class had started thirty minutes ago. I am so not in the mood to go to class.
I arrived in school at 9:30, and since I was already an hour and a half late, I decided to just ditch my morning classes altogether. As I entered the elevator, I heard someone call my name. I pressed the hold button so I could see who it was, and I saw my best friend Raffy running towards the elevator door. “Oh thank God you’re late too.” He told me. He was panting and sweaty, and I could smell the stench of smoke and alcohol stuck to his hair. I don’t even wanna know where or what or whom he did last night. I sighed and said, “Rough night, eh? And you didn’t even bother to take a shower.” He replied with a grunt. “I’m ditching class, wanna head off to the Cafeteria?” He nodded, and we were out as soon as the elevator pinged.
The caf was quiet. There were only a few students eating. Most are asleep. The funny thing about this place is that it turns into a sleeping area for the anti-morning people. Raffy and I headed to our usual table, and we weren’t surprised to see that it was already occupied. There was a beefy looking guy, fast asleep, with his head laid on the table. I moved my head near his mouth to listen to his breathing (I actually don’t know why I did that), but the stench of alcohol hit me straight in the nose. Raffy sat beside him, and flashed a huge smile at me. I took a sip from the water bottle in my hand. “What did you guys do last night, besides drown yourselves in alcohol?” Raffy’s demeanor changed, and a smile formed on his lips as he touched the guy’s arm. His eyes all aglow, widened at me.
“We did it, Meems.”
“What?” I said anxiously.
“Mark and I did it!”
“What did you do?”
“I finally told my parents that I’m gay. Mark helped me out.”
“Well, that’s good news.” I was genuinely happy for Raffy, but I was curious, “Exactly, how did Mark help you?”
“You don’t wanna know.” He winked at me. “The important thing is that I was finally able to tell my parents about my sexual orientation, and you know what…” He stood up, raised his arms like he was about to fly, and screamed, “…I feel free as a bird!” I laughed along with him, at least one of us is happy. Raffy spotted a couple of our other friends enter the cafeteria. He immediately approached them to spill the news. I sat back down, and was greeted by a disgruntled and groggy Mark. “Good morning, Sunshine!” I muttered while flashing him my biggest smile. I leaned closer to him trying to fish about their crazy rendezvous last night.
“So what were you up to last night? Raf told me you helped him come out to his parents? ” “I ca–”
Our conversation was cut short when Raffy and our other friends reached the table. I was a bit annoyed, but no doubt I’ll try to get some answers again later. Ryan, Vi, and Nina all came over. “Where were you, guys? We had a quiz today, and you missed it.” Vi said. None among us three answered her. I guess we were all too caught up in our own thoughts. I didn’t notice how long I was staring out the window. Nina sat beside me, while Ryan and Vi settled into their seats, and snuggled. I hate the sight of couples. Nina tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t, but I told her yes. Maybe I’m just thinking too much. I know I shouldn’t be obssessing over John, but I can’t help it. I’ve spent two years wondering what could’ve been, and now I think I have a chance of finding out. Clearly, this must be a sign. Fate might be telling me to take charge and just make a move, like what Raffy did. I don’t care if I’m the girl, I shouldn’t wait anymore. I take back what I said about choosing to be just a friend to him. I’ve waited long enough. So tonight when he comes over (I hope he does), I promise myself to tell him how I really feel about him, regardless of how he feels about me. I’ve been dumped once, the second time won’t be so bad, I think.
Nina interrupted my thoughts again. “Hey, my cousin Miguel saw your cover on YouTube, and he absolutely loved it. He wants to meet you. He’s picking me up later, maybe you should come, and we could grab some coffee on the way home.” At that time, I really had no idea what she was blabbering about. I was getting so annoyed with her interrupting me, so I absent-mindedly said yes. Oh dear, what did I get myself into? After attending all my other classes, I got a text from Nina telling me to go meet her down at the MiniMarket near our school. It was already 6pm, and I felt so exhausted from my last class so even if I didn’t really want to go, I still went because I didn’t want to commute home. At least her cousin had a car. As I made my way through the crowded streets, I spotted Nina conversing animatedly with this tall and gorgeous guy. He was wearing a grey beanie, with thick dark-rimmed glasses. His Raglan shirt hugged his body in all the right places, and beneath those 3/4 sleeves were muscular arms waiting to be wrapped around me. I gulped and took a few more steps forward. Nina saw me and waved at me to come closer. I tucked my bangs behind my right ear, as I shyly came up to them. “Hi, friends.” I said dorkishly. Nina’s face lit up, and I could feel her ecstatic energy fill our little circle. I fiddled with my bag strap as I looked at the ground. “Miggy, this is Mimi. Meems, this is Miggy, my cousin, and your newest fan”. I smiled, and mustered a tiny thank you. “You’re too kind. That cover was terrible.” Miguel shook his head and said, “Absolutely not. You were amazing there, and you look even more amazing in person.” I could feel myself blushing. A warm fuzzy feeling came over me, and it felt pretty good. I just smiled at him and hoped that he didn’t notice how my cheeks were starting to turn pink.
We drove and stopped by a coffee shop near my place. Nina took our orders, while Miguel and I looked for a table. I found one near the window. As I was about to pull my chair, Miguel was right beside me, pulling the seat for me. I’ve never had any guy do this to me, and I liked it. He sat right across me, and stared into my eyes. He sighed, and I felt a magnetic pull between us. I sighed back and he giggled. I giggled back, and just like that, the ice was broken. We started talking. Nina came back with our coffee. She tried to join our conversation, too bad she failed. It felt like she wasn’t even there. I was surprised to find out that Miguel and I had a lot in common. We both love the Avett Brothers, we both love to read, he cooked, played the guitar, and is currently studying Creative Writing. He seems like a keeper. KEEPER. Why does that word seem to ring a bell. KEEPER. John’s a football keeper, I thought to myself. My phone buzzed, and when I checked to see who it was, it was him. JOHN. Just the thought of him was enough to pop the happy bubble that I was in at the moment.
How convenient. For a while, I actually felt relaxed and happy in Miguel’s company. I know earlier, I promised myself that I would tell John about my feelings, but now, I’m having second thoughts. Being an avid believer of signs, maybe destiny is telling me to slow down a little. Miguel might be a blessing or a curse, I don’t know yet, but I sure do want to find out. After coffee, we drove to Nina’s place to drop her off since she lived nearest the cafe. I transferred to the passenger seat, and we just drove in silence. The quiet felt pretty comforting. My thoughts were once again free to roam my mind. I tried to compare John and Miguel. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t help it. Here I was sitting in a car with a guy I just met. So far, he seems perfect, while John, although seemingly perfect too, doesn’t like me the way I like him. I’ve never been this stressed out because of a guy. I let out a sigh as I stared out the window. Miguel asked me if I was okay. I let out a second sigh and said, “Just tired, I guess.” We reached my gate, and I asked him to pull over. I’m glad I was home. All the butterflies in my stomach earlier have all vanished. What’s left now is a void filled with an aching emptiness I cannot seem to escape. Miguel had somehow given me hope that I can still get away from my unbearable desire for John, I know I just have to choose to move forward. Miguel opened the car door for me, and helped me out of my seat. He reached for my bag, and as I got out, we were standing face to face.
“I had a great time today, Mimi. Thank you.”
“I had a great time too, Miggy. Thanks for the ride home.”
He gave me my bag, and just as I grabbed the handle, his fingers brushed with mine. I felt it again, that insatiable energy that made my heart skip a beat. I smiled at him. I seriously felt I was melting. He smiled back at me, and said, “Can I see you again?”. Time froze, and all I could hear was his voice echoing in my ears. “Sure.” I laughed nervously. “I’ll see you soon then.” He replied as he waved goodbye. With a swift graceful motion, he was back inside his car, driving away from my house. Just as I was about to enter our gate, a familiar voice called behind me. “Who was that?” I turned to see John holding a six-pack of beer and his guitar. “No one.” I said. He smiled at me, and we both went in. Nothing beats the feeling of being home.
(To be continued…)
Read previous and next episodes here.