Her idea of breakfast consisted of a half-pack of Marlboro mediums and a diet coke. He found out that much about her when he woke up with a hangover inside an unfamiliar room. The night before was a collage of blurred images and deafening trance music. It all started when the organizer slipped some E in his drink and dared him to drink it straight up.
“Like eff’ dude, you want me to straight a Zombie?” he remembered himself say. That pretty much ended a night of self-control and lucidity.
He shifted his eyes to the girl sitting by the window on a purple lounge chair. She noticed him sit up and looked at him with the brightest smile. She was the girl he was watching last night. The one with the little black dress and white sexy shorts. Sexiest pair of legs he had ever seen.
“Howdy, Champ. Want some coffee?”
“Sure, what time is it?” he smiled back at her.
“10:47 AM.” she tossed the blanket around her and stood up from her chair. She was wearing an over-sized polo shirt that had the color of the morning sky. He watched her waltz to a corner of the flat which appeared to be the kitchen. Judging by the way the fabric sifted as she walked, she probably didn’t have much underneath.
It seemed like he remembered something, but only up to the point that he had to do something or be somewhere and not remember much about the details. He could only scratch his head with a bit of frustration in his hands but the welcoming sight before him alleviated whatever aches he had that morning.
“Oh, bathroom is over there. You can use my towel in the meantime if you need to shower, okay?”
He gave his thanks and left the bed. He didn’t have anything on him either so he looked around to see where his clothes lay.
She came back with the coffee. “I only have instant here, I hope you don’t mind.”
“Oh, I don’t mind.” he covered himself in embarrassment as he wasn’t used to being seen in a Dr. Manhattan get-up.
“Please, I know every nook and cranny of that body since last night so I don’t see why you should cover up.” She laughed at his shyness, which only reddened his cheeks all the more. “I’ll place the coffee here.”
“I’ll go freshen up then.” he said, throwing away the last remnants of his modesty. As he walked towards the shower, he could see her watching him as he walked by. His waking Johnny brought some more laughter from her, which made him hurry to the bathroom.
She lit up another cigarette and took a deep drag.
“Nuts. What the hell was I thinking?” she thought. She could hardly remember how she ended up with the goofball. He wasn’t exactly the shy type last night and she was now wondering if him being shy was just him being coy or something. Still, she thought it was cute and was secretly hoping for him to be a decent guy.
A few minutes later, he came out wrapped with her towel. He sat down on the little chair beside the coffee table and took a sip from the coffee.
“Gotta love crap coffee.” he took another sip, ignoring his headache.
“So, what are you going to do after this?”
“I don’t even know yet. My headache is killing me.”
“You took one too many zombies last night I was thinking you were playing Resident Evil in your head or something.”
“Ah, a gamer. What surprise.” he chuckled, allowing himself a silly smile.
She pointed to the TV and video game console on the floor with her lips. “Her lips are sharp.” he thought, and wondered if her words take the same route.
“Okay, I get it. So what else do you like doing besides clubbing?” he took a cigarette from the open pack on the table and lit one for himself.
“I’d probably be in to lynching if I were male.”
“You’re pun-ny.” he replied.
“It only applies to cigarette snatchers though.” she raised her eyebrow as high as she could and gave him the evil eye.
“I’ll get one, if you don’t mind.” he smiled as he waved the cigarette stick around.
“So… coke and cigarettes for breakfast?” he tried breaking the awkwardness of the situation and took another sip of the coffee.
“Uh-huh.” She directed her attention to the traffic building up in Katipunan. The sun was beaming down on her face and made her pale brown eyes glow. Hints of freckles were on her cheekbones. Her lips were thin which sharpened when they pout. (Or when pointing at something.) Still, she seemed to have a hint of sadness somewhere. Beautiful eyes like that don’t go empty over nothing.
“What are you looking at?” She asked him, her eyes never changed direction.
“Oh nothing. I just never expected you to end up with someone like me.” the freckles on her chest were a welcome sight too.
“Minus fifty points.” she thought. That’s how losers talk. It also reminded her of someone, and she instantly became upset.
“I’ll go look for my clothes, if you don’t mind.” he said, standing up. Her good mood slowly faded to an irritated one. He didn’t care. He didn’t feel like he was welcome anymore.
“Go look by the front door past the kitchen. I think that’s where it all started.”
He found them by the floor and picked them up, but his boxers were missing. He found them underneath the bed as he looked around. She didn’t move except to take a sip from her soda or to take a puff from her cigarette.
An avid fan of CSI, he quickly deduced that they probably leaned by the coat rack while they undressed because of the way it was tilted. They probably kissed like there was no tomorrow as they made their way to the bedroom to do their thing which was pretty apparent from the numerous articles of clothing that led there. He tried wincing as if that would help in remembering something, but to no avail. Everything was fuzzy.
Now, fully clothed, he sat down to check the messages from his cell phone. Seeing him take no notice of her graciousness, she snatched the phone away from him.
“Dude, no checking on your girlfriend while you’re here. It’s rude. You’re annoying me already.” she looked irritated already. She was bright as a sunflower when he woke up but now she’s something else.
“What’s so annoying about checking my phone? I feel like I forgot something.” he was now wondering where that beautiful and delicate girl he just stared at went.
“Yes, you forgot to thank me for everything.” either she’s young or a she’s a statue. Her angry face didn’t make any creases whatsoever.
“Thanks, now can I have my phone back?” the headache he had seemed to have materialized into something tangible, someone he had touched. Too bad he couldn’t remember how she was or how she tasted.
“Nope. I want to look through your phone.” he allowed her to do so like he didn’t have a choice on the matter. He helped himself to his now-cold coffee and another stick of her cigarettes.
He had 4 missed calls and fourteen messages. She looked through each and every one of those messages and read them as if they were her own. Some came from his friends apparently, and the missed calls came from someone named Miel.
“Hey, who’s this Miel?” she asked. She had a sarcastic look as she faced him.
“Oh, her. She’s my ex.” he answered indifferently with a shrug.
“So what’s the deal with her calling you?” she put the phone in her front pocket. It seemed like he wanted to reach for it, but he didn’t.
“What is this, 21 questions?” he replied, but he didn’t look at her. He seemed to take a bit of interest at what was outside the window now. The view was great and it was lulling him into dreaming about a vacation somewhere.
“Just answer the question. I don’t see why it’s so hard to answer that one.”
He looked at her with a tell-all irritated face. “Who the hell are you anyway?” was the phrase that he wished he could say to her face but didn’t, for politeness’ sake. He was a guest and she was the gracious host. Sarcasm was dancing around his mind now.
“We just fell apart. She calls me every now and then to see how I was doing. All my friends know her. My family knows her. Whenever I go missing, they turn to her to get to me.”
“See? That was easy right? You still love her?”
“Maybe. I don’t really know. We still date, we still do it every now and then…” images of his ex went through his mind as he shrugged the thought off.
“Habit syndrome huh? I know how that feels.” she rolled her eyes and looked out the window again.
“What’s with the window anyway? You’ve been at it for quite some time now.” he asked.
“It’s MY habit.” she took another cigarette and lit up with one sweep of her hand.
“So… do you have any stories you might want to share?”
“Be specific, and maybe I’ll be nicer.” she looked at him, only this time it was that bright smile that greeted him earlier. Judging by the way she has reacted so far, he couldn’t guess how she might react to a specific question aimed at probing. She on the other hand, was trying to approximate how he might approach her. All men want a jab at the crotch… or so it seems.
She was wondering if he would ask about what happened last night but he seems to be going around the subject. Either that, or he was preparing to find the right moment to do so.
“What’s with the window then? Why do you keep looking outside?”
“I often wonder why the cars all drive so fast in Katipunan. They’re all pretty to look at. Don’t you go car watching and dream about having one of your own someday?” she replied non-nonchalantly.
“I already have one. Specific questions get specific answers, huh?”
“That’s pretty much how it works. You’re in my house so it’s my rules.” a sheepishly evil grin replaced her thin lips that were almost pouting previously. It had an enticing effect on him and he can’t help but comply to what she wanted.
“Seriously, most men just walk out after waking up. What’s your deal?”
“I don’t know either.” he was actually thinking about how to exit properly, without hurting her feelings… if there were any. Since he didn’t know what happened, he wanted at least to know something before leaving.
“Really now? You want a second round I suppose?” she took a sip from the soda can this time after replying. She shifted a bit to face him. Her ruffled shirt allowing a peek at more skin.
“I’ll be honest, yes. I want you because I feel cheated for not knowing… but my brain talks louder than junior so I guess I want to know you a bit more.”
“Liar. Junior didn’t seem to mind when we did it last night.”
“That wasn’t me. It was purely a subconscious act on my end which isn’t fair. Ever heard of the movie ‘Click?'”
“Yeah, sure, but I was the one that was ravaged and violated. What makes that fair?” she crossed her arms. Although she was merely implying; a little girly lie seemed to be in order.
“Huh? What did I do?” he didn’t see that one coming.
“Ah, now you’re fishing.” she laughed heartily this time. She wasn’t really sure if the whole act was just a routine. She was thinking that maybe he was looking for something like; “You were awesome” or “You were great”. No budging til she was satisfied that he wasn’t a prick.
He fell silent for being baited to respond the way she wants him to. He was getting tired of the old cat and mouse routine. The way she put it though, he was also feeling a bit of guilt for how he might have acted last night. Yet still, it was hard to make a sincere apology if you don’t know what happened.
“Ok then, I guess I’ll be going now.” she could feel his irritation in the way he stood up. He let out a heavy sigh and thanked her for her hospitality.
“Giving up so soon?” she wanted to tease him even more.
He paused and took a long hard look. Thus was the power of puppy eyes, a girlish pout and a peek-a-boo.
“Look, I don’t want to sound like some loser who gives up easily nor do I want to look like a desperate freak trying to get another one for the road but I can’t take it anymore.” he was slowly losing his composure, poor guy. She often used this to her advantage on several occasions. She didn’t really want anything from him, but it entertained her immensely.
“So which one is it?”
He was holding his forehead now like it was just about to burst from the huge amount of blood pumping in to his head. Never has he encountered anybody so difficult. If it were a cartoon, he’d probably have steam coming out of his ears.
“Relax, I’m just playing. Stay with me a little longer will you?” a hint of that lovely face resurfaced. It melted his wavering demeanor.
“Sorry… I’m just cranky. Maybe I’m just hungry. Want to go grab a bite to eat?”
“I’m fine with this. You know what? I grew up watching my parents fight over breakfast.”
He let out a little smile and agreed to sit down again. She shared something about herself. Maybe this was what he needed. Someone to talk to. Maybe it was what she needed too.
A few hours later, when they had their fill of talking about themselves, they parted ways. He found out that she watched her boyfriend walk away from that window after a really bad fight. She could see the street from her vantage point and she watched him get run over by an ambulance as he tried to catch a cab.
She told him about what happened last night and she gave him a 6 out of 10. He just laughed at himself and told her that it was fine as it was his first time in this particular situation. He wasn’t the promiscuous type. Neither was she.
He told her about how he had been trying to escape from the shadow of his past relationship. Everyone just seemed to think that it will still be ‘them’ in the long run. There were things he couldn’t tolerate anymore and just wanted to live his own life for now.
Before he left, she told him that her boyfriend died a few days ago and she really needed some company. She thanked him for his time, even though it wasn’t really what they had expected. She was beginning to like him, even though they didn’t exchange names. She thanked him from the bottom of her heart.
He smiled his best smile and told her to keep her chin up. He paused, and wanted to ask her name but he didn’t. Maybe it was better to leave things as they are.
As he walked away from her building, he looked back and tried to squint against the sun. He could only see her partially, looking on from the window.
She waved goodbye.
He waved back.
She watched him get run over by a speeding pickup.
His phone started to ring from her front pocket, startling her back to reality. She looked again and saw him hailing a cab. She sighed a deep breath and smiled.