There were a lot of thoughts floating in my head, but all I could do was stare vacantly at the wall in front of me.
Tricia and I went back to the rest house after that meeting. Dumiretso siya sa kuwarto niya para maghilamos dahil namamaga pa rin ang mga mata niya kakaiyak kanina. Nag-stay naman ako sa common area at naupo lang sa center couch. Everything that I heard and learned was just starting to sink in.
Hindi ko lang natanong kung ano ang purpose niya sa pagsama sa trip kung gusto niya talagang umiwas kay Darryl. I was thinking about closure, but why now?
My thoughts were pulled back to the present when I heard the girls calling my name. They were gesturing me to the patio. Mukhang ready na ang breakfast. Pushing the thoughts at the back of my mind, I headed toward them.
They prepared a simple breakfast: toasted breads, fried eggs, hotdogs, sausages, and fried rice. Nang makita ko ang pagkain ay agad akong nakaramdam ng gutom kaya kumuha na rin ako ng plato at utensils. Maya-maya pa ay nagsidatingan na rin ang iba at nagsimulang kumain.
Umupo ako sa pinakagilid matapos kumuha ng portion ko pero napatigil ako nang tumabi sa akin si Darryl. I could feel their eyes discreetly glancing at our direction, and that made me overly conscious. Binilisan ko na lang ang pagkain ko para makabalik na ako sa room pero bigla akong nabulunan.
I was about to ask for a glass of water, but it was already in front of me. Agad ko namang ininom ang tubig na binigay ni Patrick at makalipas ang ilang segundo ay guminhawa ang pakiramdam ko.
“Thank you,” mahina kong sabi.
He smiled in return. “No worries. Dahan-dahan sa pagkain. Okay ka na?”
“Good. Gutom ka pa ba?” sabay tingin niya sa plato ko. “Gusto mo pa ba ng egg?”
“No, I’m already full. But thanks.”
Our short conversation earned suspicious looks from my friends, Ven, and even Darryl. Maybe because we didn’t have any interactions in front of them before, yet we looked quite close, so this was a strange sight to them. Dahil tapos na rin naman akong kumain ay dumiretso ako sa room ko.
I plopped onto my bed as soon as I entered our room. Bukod sa kulang ang oras ng tulong ko, ang dami na agad nangyari kahit ilang oras pa lang ang nakakalipas kaya hindi maka-keep up ang utak ko. To sort out my thoughts, I typed everything that happened on my journal and expressed what I felt about them, too.
Bigla namang bumukas ang pinto ng kuwarto kaya napabangon ako. Pagtingin ko, nakapasok na sina Alice at Jess.
“Magsho-shopping muna kami saglit ni Alice. Sasama ka ba?” tanong ni Jess.
“Pass si Yna,” dagdag ni Alice. “She said she’s still tired.”
“Pass din muna ako,” sagot ko. “I want to rest.”
Sabay na ngumiti nang nakakaloko ang dalawa. “Baka naman gusto lang mag-stay dahil kay bebe boy,” pang-aasar ni Alice.
“Para kayong magnet kanina, eh. Dikit na dikit,” commented Jess. “Akala ko ba break na?”
Kung hindi lang ako pagod ay magre-retaliate ako pero naubos na ang energy ko kanina. Mabuti na lang at nakaramdam sila kaya agad din silang nagpaalam pero bigla akong may naalala.
“Ah, Jess! Alice!” I called and they both turned around. “Baka puwede n’yo ring isama si Tricia? I think she’s feeling out of place, so a little trip to the mall with you may cheer her up even just a little.”
I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing, but I thought it would be nice for her to destress after crying a while ago.
“Okay!” Sagot ni Jess. “Kami nang bahala sa kanya.”
Hindi ko alam kung ilang minuto na akong nakahiga lang sa kama. Dahil hindi naman ako makatulog ay bumangon na rin ako at muling tumungo sa common room. It looked like the rest of the group were doing their personal business elsewhere since nobody was there.
I tried watching a movie, but I couldn’t even focus on it. Parang lumilipad pa rin ang utak ko kaya wala akong maintindihan. In the end, I gave up, and turned off the television.
Wala na akong magawang iba kaya kinuha ko ang nakatabing gitara sa gilid. If I remembered correctly, this was Roj’s and he said we could use it if we wanted to. I could play the piano, but I didn’t know how to play this instrument. Nags-strum lang ako kahit hindi ko alam kung paano ang tamang positioning ng mga daliri ko sa strings. Doon ko rin na-realize na ang sakit pala sa mga daliri kapag pine-press nang madiin ang strings sa gitara.
“Ouch, it stings,” I mumbled as I massaged the ends of my fingers.
“That’s because you’re doing it wrong.”
Halos mabitiwan ko ang gitara sa sobrang gulat nang may narinig akong boses sa bandang likuran ko. I saw Darryl leaning against the wall, crossed arms, and was holding back his laughter while staring at me.
“Kanina ka ba d’yan?” tanong ko.
I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks when he nodded. “You definitely don’t know how to play one.”
“I-I wasn’t playing it seriously!” I said in defense.
Naglakad siya papunta sa akin at umupo sa tabi ko. “Gusto mo bang matuto kung paano?”
I stared at him for a moment and remembered the things Tricia had talked about. Ilang beses na kaming nagkatabi ngayong araw, but somehow, it felt a bit different this time.
My feelings and reasoning had been in conflict these past few days. In my head, I didn’t want this attraction to develop further, so I was trying to stay away from him, but today, the opposite had been happening, and the worse was I didn’t even dislike it.
After contemplating for a few seconds, I nodded. “Yeah.”
Kinuha niya ang gitara sa akin at ipinakita kung paano ang hand positioning ng iba’t ibang chords. I tried to copy what he did, but I could only do a few. Sumakit lang lalo ang mga daliri ko dahil hindi ko aabot ang ibang strings sa ilang chords. I was suddenly impressed by guitarists since how were they able to play this without wincing in pain?
“I can’t do it,” I grumbled after failing to play the B minor and F chords.
He laughed at my complaint, and I passed the guitar back to him. Ngayon ay na-realize ko na hanggang piano lang talaga ako.
Darryl started showing off and played some hard progressions and plucking, much to my annoyance. I thought he would brag about it, but he suddenly started singing.
“It's too late baby, there's no turning around. I've got my hands in my pocket and my head in a cloud. This is how I do when I think about you.”
I had to rack my brain to remember the title of the song he was singing, and only recognized it when he was already on the chorus.
“'Cause you caught me off guard. Now I'm running and screaming. I feel like a hero, and you're my heroine.”
Naramdaman ko ang pagbilis ng tibok ng puso ko dahil nakatingin lang siya sa akin habang kumakanta. What’s worse was we were just inches apart and I was afraid he’d hear it. There was also a tingling sensation in my stomach, and it was getting intense every time his gaze found mine.
I had to discreetly inhale after he finished the song because it felt like I hadn’t taken a breath for a long time. Hearing him sing right beside me made me feel a bit lightheaded.
“May song request ka ba?” Nakangiti niyang tanong.
His soft gaze and proximity got me tongue-tied. Ilang segundo siyang naghintay sa sagot ko pero hindi ako makapag-isip nang maayos. Nagulat na lang ako nang bigla na lang siyang tumawa nang mahina at muling tumugtog sa gitara.
Agad namang bumalik ang tingin ko sa kanya nang marinig ko ang isang pamilyar na tono. The overwhelming feelings building up in my chest eased a little upon hearing the mellow sound he was playing. I couldn’t believe I’d hear him play and sing one of my favorite songs.
“I don't know you, but I want you all the more for that.”
“Words fall through me, and always fool me, and I can't react.”
Napatingin siya sa akin dahil sumabay ako sa pagkanta niya. It reminded me of our music project, but this time, it was more . . . intimate. The way he was giving me gentle smiles while singing the lyrics made my heart thump painfully.
“Falling slowly, eyes that know me, and I can't go back,” he sang while staring right at me.
Ah, forget the rationality. I’m falling, and I can’t stop it any longer.