It was oddly reminiscent of the first time we met two years ago. We were at that very same eatery situated inside Little India, both of us sipping our respective mugs of teh tarik, and talking about random things about life, family, friends, career and our countries. I smiled inwardly. We both checked our watches and we didn’t notice that it was already past midnight. It was time to call it a night.
“One more question before we leave,” he began, “how’s your love life?”
I laughed out loud.
“Is that a serious question?” I shot back.
“Of course it’s a serious question, lah.” He said, feigning annoyance.
“No love life at the moment.” I replied.
“You told me last year you were dating this guy. What happened to him?”
“It was going great. Until I found out he was hiding a boyfriend.”
“Oh!” He said, clearly surprised.
“Yeah… anyway, I think we should be going now. My friend’s probably wondering where I am and you still have work tomorrow. Or should I say,” I looked again at my watch in this exaggerated and dramatic motion, “Later this morning.”
We paid for our drinks and started on our way home. As we were about to exit Little India, he had another question for me.
“Are you seeing anybody now?”
“No” was my short reply.
He stopped walking.
I looked at him to see what was up, but then I noticed him give me this contemplative gaze.
“You still have not moved on.”
I was about to laugh it off and tell him that his observation was unfortunately incorrect, but I shushed it. Truth be told, one of the reasons why I agreed to go on this haphazardly prepared out-of-the-country trip with one of my high school best friends was because I wanted to escape―escape from home and the memories attached to it; memories that annoyingly remind me of him. It’s not exactly something you’d do if you have indeed completely and truly moved on, now is it? I averted my gaze and looked at the almost deserted street in front of me. I fell silent for a few seconds, pondering about what he just said. Then I looked at him again straight in the eye.
“Yeah, I still haven’t.” I said honestly with a faint smile.
We started walking again.
He wanted to accompany me up to the guesthouse, but I insisted that he should just head on home and go to bed. He was the one who needed to report to work so early in the morning, after all. Also, the guesthouse where my friend and I were staying was a bit far from where he was residing. I appeased his concerns and told him that I’d be fine. I’ve survived roaming around Manila in the middle of the night and I’m sure I can handle Melaka at past one in the morning. Plus, if anyone dared attempt something I quite have a nefarious reputation for giving a mean kick in the scrotum that will most likely lead to sterility.
We bade our goodbyes to each other.
“It was nice seeing you after two years, lah.”
“You too, Tony.” I said.
“Eat more food. Get fat. You’re much leaner than the last time I saw you.”
I laughed at that.
Tony closed the distance between us and I suddenly found myself being enveloped in this tight embrace.
“You stop thinking about him. You deserve better, and sad faces don’t suit you. Start going out again, lah. You’re too great to be single.” He said before kissing my temple.
He extracted himself from me and I frankly didn’t know how I should respond to that. We both settled with looking at each other silently. After a few minutes he waved goodbye and I did the same. As Tony went on his way I just stood there motionless and stared at his retreating back. At least this time we’re parting ways without any tears unlike two years ago when we caused quite a teleserye-ish scene at Melaka Sentral.
When I arrived at the street where the guesthouse was situated, there was this loud music wafting through the air. Some clod must’ve forgotten that his stereo was still blaring so noisily before he went off to dreamland. Or maybe his neighbors have already murdered him and forgot to turn off his radio. I don’t know. The street was empty except for the security guard of a newly built hotel; he was obviously on night duty. He nodded at me and I returned the gesture. I continued on my way and I can’t help but think about the last few months.
I seriously still cannot figure out what kind of kick some people get from telling lies, leading someone on, and using them to fulfill their twisted, selfish and fucked up fantasies. I’m also still having difficulties comprehending how some people think that an insincere apology makes up for all the trauma they have caused; that saying a bland “I’m sorry” makes the pain and the tears go away that easily; that words can actually fix something that actions have damaged beyond recognition. Some people apparently dozed off when their GMRC teacher was discussing about the concepts of honesty, remorse and giving a proper apology.
It’s funny that liars and cheaters think that everything can be amended by puny words; that everything stops at saying a sorry that they don’t mean. Well, I’m here to burst your delusional bubbles and tell that you people are gravely mistaken. You guys deserve to be squashed and killed by a speeding sixteen-wheeler truck. Or choke on your dinner and die a slow miserable demise without anyone nearby who knows how to do a goddamn Heimlich maneuver.
I also thought about what Tony said to me.
You’re too great to be single.
I laughed this humorless laugh.
Well, Tony, if I were indeed great, I wouldn’t be in this predicament now, traveling across different cities and countries, and hoping that distance and physically moving my butt would actually help me get pass this psychological mess I accidentally fell into.
I looked at my watch.
It was almost one in the morning.
Gosh, what excuse am I going to tell The Actress why I’m late?