My cellphone didn’t shut up until I woke, unzipped my Coach, pulled it out, slid my finger across the screen (the only way to answer calls… no easy, one-button answer), and croak out a groggy “He~l~lo~~?”
“Pucha! Kagigising mo lang?!?!” (“WTF! You just woke up?!”) came an incredulous voice on the other end.
“I’m still asleep!! Who is this anyway??” I defensively countered.
“Si Rej to! Langya, sarap ng buhay mo ah! Ala-una na, tulog ka pa?!” (“It’s Rej! Damn, some life you’re living! One in the afternoon and you’re still asleep?!”)
“I slept at 6AM, argh!!”
“What were you doing staying up until six in the morning?! Browsing the Net?!”
“Uhh… I was also playing online…”
Turns out he was calling to ask me out. (Yes, that’s how that schmuck asks me out.) But that’s beside the point. I realized, by his shocked reaction, that this is how the world outside sees me. Without thinking to first understand what series of events brought me to this day, the world jumps to the conclusion that I’m a lazy slob who knows nothing but sleep even with the sun high up in its zenith – that I’m a waste of space.
But then, I doubt his reaction would do much to get me going. I just thought it was nice to notice that improvement in me that I actually realized I wasting away.
I promised to text him one of these days so we can hang or he can pick me up when he visits his old place near my house.
Ever since first grade, Rej has been in and out of my life more times than I could possibly remember. He was my first dance partner, the first boy teased to me, my first puppy love – all innocent, but all hopefully forgotten by him. He left school in third grade, so he just contacted me during summers through phone pestering me to join him in his new school (an all-boys school). Next time I saw him again was during third year high school when I had already a boyfriend, yet he decided to formally court me (schmuck) – giving me poems written on intermediate pad sprayed with his dad’s perfume, coming to my house with his friend after playing tennis (yes, the schmuck brought his racket as proof), and asked me to be his instead. Since these stunts didn’t work, he just went back to calling me once every year. I believe I saw him a couple of times while we were in college but I had another boyfriend then – whom he had a chance of meeting. Around one or two years ago, he called me up around 1AM while I was at work and told me he was in the area and asked if we can meet even if just for a few minutes. He sounded distressed but didn’t say why… just that he came from Baclaran (to pray?!). I agreed to meet with him downstairs in 30mins. My phone ran out of battery. I was in the middle of emergency meetings and conference calls that I just had to excuse myself to go downstairs at the aforementioned time. The place was deserted at that time and he was nowhere to be seen. I had one smoke and after I finished the stick I decided to go back in. I only got to call him after I charged my phone a bit and he gave me a muffled excuse as to why he didn’t show up. Shortly after that, I learned his dad died.
Before today, last I talked with him (if you can count that as talking) was on Feb 4 or 5 of this year – a few seconds right after I found out that the guy I was living together with for the past year, and who I was talking marriage and kids with up until our very fresh breakup last Jan 22, was “In a relationship.” Rej sent me a cheerful chat message “Uy! Musta na?” (“Hey! How are you?”) and my reply was “PUTANG INA!!!!!!!!!!!!” (“SON OF A BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!”) “Uhhh, ok, I take it you’re not alright.” So I gave him the link to see what I was all riled up about. “Isn’t this the guy you’re with?! I thought you were getting married already!! All your pictures were so sweet, like those ones in Bora, Bohol and Pagudpod… Wanna talk? Looks like you need to let this out. Let’s go out for coffee.” I agreed but I was a zombie for the past half year that I never really went through with many of my social obligations.
And here he is again, calling me up, waking me up. I could think of no other person (non-family) who has stayed in my life for that that long and still keeps knocking. I’m thankful for his presence, albeit very inconsistent. I’m not one to reach out to people so he is truly a gem of a friend to have been there all these 22 years.