I was in the middle of something when my phone rang. I picked it up to see who it was.
It was his name.
After two months of not hearing from him, I was surprised to see his name appear on my phone.
I answered the call.
"Buhay ka pa pala?" I greeted him.
"Grabe ka naman."
"Do not even!" I answered.
"I'm somewhere near, do you want to talk in person?"
"I want to explain. It's a long story"
It took me a few seconds to respond but those few seconds felt like an eternity.
"Sure. Meet me where we usually hang out."
I ended the call and got dressed. I grabbed my keys and drove off. When I arrived at the place, there he was wearing an orange and navy blue stripped shirt. Hair perfectly quaffed. He usually wears glasses but this time he didn't have them on.
We found a spot where we could have some privacy and got seated.
"So what happened? What the hell (name I cannot post)?!" I asked, my voice slightly shaking.
"He and I are back together. He's not in the best shape and I feel guilty because it's my fault. Kinausap ako ng mom niya na kung pwedeng balikan ko muna siya."
"That is bullshit! Do you have any idea what I've been through the past two months? The nights I spent thinking what I did wrong? You left without a trace, without so much as a goodbye."
"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. It's a very complicated situation I'm in right now."
He wouldn't look me in the eye.
"Did you even consider my feelings in any of this?" I asked.
"I wanted to talk to you, I just didn't have the..."
"Subukan mong sabihing 'time'. Subukan mo lang," I warned,
"...opportunity" he said with a sheepish smile.
That smile of his always got me. Seeing it calmed me down a bit.
"Does he know that you're here?" I asked.
"No. Ang alam niya kasama ko friends ko and I asked one of them to cover for me."
The waiter arrived with our order. He and I fell silent. We waited for the waiter to leave. I looked at him and I could tell that the stress of the whole situation was taking its toll on him.
I took a sip from my glass.
"So what now? Where do we go from here?" I asked.
"I don't know," he answered. "Have you tried dating someone else?"
"I have, but..."
"But what?" he asked.
"He's not you," I said. He looked at me. I could see it in his eyes that he was trying to find the right words to say.
"I don't know what to do. I'm trying to make things work with my ex... boyfriend... whatever."
"Don't call him that around me. It just hurts more because I know you're doing this whole thing out of guilt. What do you want me to do? Maghintay until maging okay yang situation na yan?!" I said trying to control my voice.
"I can't ask that of you. Even I don't know how this will all end."
"Yeah, and I'm not gonna put my life on hold for you," I said. "Are you happy with the situation you put yourself in? Kuntento ka na ba sa ganyan?!"
"Yeah. I have to be."
I lit a cigarette. So did he.
"Is that the lighter I gave you?" he asked referring to my red lighter.
"No. You never gave me one."
"Gusto mo palit tayo? I prefer a red lighter. You can have my blue one," he said handing it to me and taking the red one.
"Ano to? Peace offering? Parting gift? Memorabilia?" I asked sarcastically.
"Sira ulo. Hindi." he chuckled.
The night continued on with him and I just talking about random things. Catching up on each other's lives. The mood became lighter. It's like we were back to where we were before he vanished two months ago.
On the drive home, I was focused on the road. He was listening to music.
"You know what sucks the most?" I suddenly asked while Like Im Gonna Lose You played in the background. How apt.
"When you get out of my car, you're gonna go back to him and back to the illusion you're trying to live in while I end up back where I was two months ago after you disappeared."
He looked at me but did not say a word. I felt a lump in my throat. I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to scream bloody murder but I restrained myself.
When we got to his place, he gave me a hug. A tight one. He's never hugged me that way before. I tried to fight back my tears but to no avail. He looked at me and wiped the one tear that rolled down my cheek.
"Please stop. Don't cry over me. I don't deserve your tears."
I said nothing.
He grabbed his bag and opened the door of my car.
I could not look at him.
With one foot out of the car, he turned and looked at me and said, "I had fun tonight."
"Me too," I responded without looking at him.
He put his hand on my leg, gave it a squeeze and was out of the car.
I saw through my rear view mirror that he glanced back at me as I was driving away.
Note: I posted this on Facebook on May 14, 2016. May follow up 'to actually. I'm just not sure how to write it haha