One thing I learned about feelings was that you either control them, or they control you. I thought I was the former, but the uncontrollable tears coming out of my eyes said otherwise.
I locked myself in one of the cubicles in the comfort room, and stifled my sobs. Hindi ko alam na ganito pala ang pakiramdam kapag narinig mo mismo sa taong gusto mo na hindi ka niya gusto. I felt stupid for crying so hard, but I couldn’t even make it stop.
This was what I was worried about. I shouldn’t have let my feelings for him grow, yet I stupidly spent more time with him. I misread his actions and assumed—hoped—that somehow, he felt the same, too.
Pero sinampal ako ng katotohanang hindi niya ako gusto at ako lang ang nahulog.
I thought that crying because of love was foolish before. That you could always move on when you wanted to, and not waste your time and tears for someone not deserving. That it would be easy as long as you had the resolve to do it. I didn’t understand why Darryl needed me to move on, or why it took him a long time to start the process, but at this moment, I finally realized why.
It was because love was uncontrollable, and something you could not sever at once.
I did not attend my afternoon class, and went to the university clinic instead. Maga ang mga mata ko at ayaw kong makita ako ng iba na ganito. Sinabi ko na lang sa nurse na masama ang pakiramdam ko at pinayagan naman niya akong humiga sa isang bed.
Ang dami ring notifications sa phone ko. Jess was texting me dahil wala ako sa class namin today pero hindi ako nag-reply. Out of curiosity, I went to the portal, and browsed the trending articles.
Hindi ko alam kung matatawa ba ako o maiiyak dahil sa dami ng articles tungkol sa amin. They wrote about my surprise birthday event earlier, and how Darryl celebrated it with me. Mayroon din na nagsasabing “perfect couple” daw kami. I saw photos of him staring and smiling at me, and my stomach churned uncomfortably. Napahawak din ako sa necklace na binigay niya before.
This. Things like this made me assume about his feelings about me. Why was he making efforts for me? Why confuse me?
Napabuntonghininga na lang ako sa mga tanong sa isip ko. I better start sorting out my feelings again and accept the fact that there was no hope with him.
Nang medyo humupa na ang pamamaga ng mga mata ko ay nagpasundo ako kay kuya Ronald. Around 3 p.m. ay lumabas ako mula sa clinic pero napatigil ako nang makita ko si Darryl na naglalakad papunta rito. It was already too late to escape since our gazes had met.
He excitedly waved while approaching me. “Nandito ka pala. Anong—“
Iniwasan ko siya pero bigla naman niya akong hinarangan.
“Wait, galit ka pa rin ba?” tanong niya. “I’m really sorry about that. I admit, it was inconsiderate.”
Ilang inches lang ang pagitan namin at naaamoy ko ang pabango niya. I did not want to get swayed anymore, so I stepped back and glared at him.
“Why are you doing this?”
He seemed to be taken aback by my question. “H-hm?”
Pakiramdam ko ay tutulo na ang luha ko anytime kaya huminga ako nang malalim. I steeled my resolve and faced him. “Please stop doing things like this. It’s making me uncomfortable, and it’s creating more rumors. We don’t even like each other.”
Realizing the seriousness of my tone, the smile on his face disappeared. “Wait, Steff—”
“Do me a favor and stay away from me.”
As if on cue, I saw kuya Ronald parking on the side, and I hastily walked away. Pagpasok ko sa sasakyan ay agad ko siyang sinabihan na umalis agad. I fought the urge to glance at his direction, but at the last second, I did. He was just standing there, longingly looking at our direction.
This was the right thing to do, I told myself, but at one corner of my mind, there was a voice saying it wasn’t, and all I did was run away from him and my feelings.