Read Chapter 1 here.
Chapter 2 – Bagyo
Bagyo. It’s the Filipino term for ‘typhoon’. Roughly twenty of them hit the country each year, killing in the process scores of people and damaging properties and infrastructure, which probably explains why the Filipino, aside from being the most insecure, is also the most resilient nation in the world after the perpetually persecuted Jews. And we’re not just the most raped country in terms of natural disasters; we’re also the most ass-fucked in terms of thick-skinned politicians and government leaders. I’m looking at you, Bong Revilla et al.
That night though, it was Isko who’s getting all the ass-fucking from his boyfriend Joseph in pretty much every context of the word, not knowing that a significant storm is about to hit their almost perfect relationship.
“Oh my god!” Isko cried as Joseph slowly entered his wet, thoroughly licked butt. “That feels good, Babe. That… feels… good. I love how your dick curves to the right. It always hits the right spot.”
Isko has always been a firm believer of dirty talk. For him, it’s like trying balut for the first time. One might be tentative to try it at first but you might love it immediately.
“Your cock feels good, babe. I can’t believe what you’re doing! Please do not stop!”
However, Joseph, instead of feeling the tightness and warmth of Isko’s man-pussy, had a whole lot of things going on in his mind that he has to work double time just to keep his dick hard for his partner. Truth is it’s been a while since the two had sex, not to include their post-My Husband’s Lover jerk off sessions. Law school and work consume virtually all of Isko’s free time while Joseph has recently partnered with his close friend, Alexis, to open up a bar business somewhere in Malate, which used to be the gay Mecca of the Philippines but is now experiencing a slow, painful death.
“You’re so good,” Isko gasped while jerking himself. He needed this. He needed to come back to earth and recover his sanity, which he thought he’s about to lose trying to make it through law school. “I love the way you handle me, babe. You’re not only good in bed; you’re also good with life and with money.”
And there it was, the one word Joseph hoped he would never hear during their lovemaking: money. So as not to distract him, Joseph closed his eyes and tried ignore the thought. Unfortunately, it’s all he could think about. He used to have this strong sensation of a massive ejaculation brewing up inside him while fucking his boyfriend, but this seemed to be a little off tonight. And so, after a few thrusts in and out of Isko’s butt, Joseph’s erection dwindled.
“I’m coming, babe!”
But just when Isko was about to come, Joseph took out his already flaccid dick from his butt and crashed his sweaty body beside his euphoric boyfriend. But Isko, a little surprised when Joseph abruptly stopped, couldn’t keep his semen from spurting all over his chest. Some even reached his cheeks. Isko’s body writhed in utter ecstasy.
The exhausted Isko laid on the bed, breathing heavily, as semen dripped down his sides while Joseph’s gaze was fixed on the white ceiling, lost in thought. Heavy rain began to pour outside their condo unit on the sixth floor of a highrise downtown Makati building.
“What’s wrong?” asked Isko, still breathing heavily. “Do you want me to give you a blowjob? But you have to wash Matsu first, of course.”
Isko baptized Joseph’s dick as Matsu, short for Daniel Matsunaga. He’s always had a thing for the Brapanese model, way before Heart Evangelista got sick of him and settled for Chiz Escudero. Who in his or her right mind would trade Daniel for Chiz? The guy talks like a robot!
“No, I’m fine,” Joseph momentarily escaped his thoughts and smiled at Isko. He held his hands as his eyes returned to the ceiling.
“But you haven’t come yet.” Isko lifted his head and gazed into Joseph’s eyes. “Let me suck you.”
“I said I’m fine,” Joseph responded, this time with a tinge of annoyance in his tone.
“Is there something wrong? I can tell there’s something wrong.”
“No, Isko. Nothing is wrong.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“All right,” Isko nodded. “If you say so. By the way, this month’s rent is due tomorrow so…”
“I got scammed,” Joseph said swiftly. He looked at Isko for a moment, waiting for a reaction to appear on his face. “I’ve been contacting Alexis since yesterday but… He’s got all my fucking money.”
“What!? That fucking cocksucker!” Isko cried as he leaned closer to his boyfriend. “I knew you shouldn’t have trusted that skank of a person. He drinks all my Yakult without my permission every time he visits!”
“I don’t know what to do, Babe. I don’t have cash and my bank account is drained.”
“But aren’t you supposed to receive your bonus this month? Maybe we can use that to pay for the rent while we figure out what to do with your cheating friend.”
“Well, about that. The company decided to delay the bonus. Everyone in the office was upset it’s about to turn into one tiny Mendiola. God, Isko, this is the worst month ever. Probably the worst year.”
“Yeah, I wish there was a god so he can burn your cheating friend in hell.” Isko let out a heavy sigh. “Don’t worry, Babe. I still have my savings in the bank I got from all the freelance writing work I did last year. I think It’s enough to pay for this month’s rent.”
“That’s the other problem, Isko. I still haven’t paid for last month’s rent.”
“W-what did you say?” Now, Isko’s fuming, his eyes were piercing Joseph’s. He rose and sat on the bed’s edge, trembling in anger.
“You wanted a nice monthsary celebration.”
“Damn, Joseph!” Isko has turned red. His eyes were a reminiscent of Sadako’s from Ringu right after she climbed out of the TV. “Common sense, please! Maslow’s!”
“Are you even aware of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?! Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t pay for that stupid El Nido getaway without rendering us homeless in the streets!?”
“You wanted a nice surprise!”
“Uh-huh, I’m royally surprised! Thank you!” Isko picked his boxer shorts up from the floor and hurriedly donned them. “I should’ve said yes to my frugal Ilocano suitor instead of you. Cebuanos are such unreasonable spendthrifts!”
“Look who’s talking, Capampangan!”
Meanwhile, the Binondo native Andrew was at his Chinese restaurant in Makati when he got a message from a random guy with the nick ‘TheExperiment’ on Grindr, a social networking smartphone application geared towards LGBT men. The app uses of the device geolocation, which allows users to locate other men within close proximity. Before responding, Andrew visited TheExperiment’s profile first to check out his photos. Unfortunately, there were none. But what caught his attention is the user’s bio that says “You don’t watch Downton Abbey? How middle class.”
Andew asked himself, “Is he a rare Filipino Downton Abbey fan?” Then he thought there’s no other way to find out.
UrChinito24: Hi, Dowager Countess.
UrChinito24: Ur bio. It’s very Dowager Countess.
TheExperiment: Oh. Yeah. I’m a fan.
UrChinito24: Sme here. Whos ur fave character?
TheExperiment: Tom Branson.
UrChinito24: Why? No judgment.
TheExperiment: He’s hot.
UrChinito24: He’s a chauffeur. And Irish.
TheExperiment: He’s hot.
UrChinito24: K. Whtvr.
UrChinito24: How r things going?
TheExperiment: Pretty smooth, tho it’s raining hard outside. Wat up?
UrChinito24: Waiting 4 closing time. I own a resto. I heard a typhoon is abt 2 arrive. Scary. Not anoder Ondoy, pls.
TheExperiment: Yea. U own a resto? Wow. U seem rich
UrChinito24: Well I cudnt ask for more. What kind of work do you do?
TheExperiment: I’m an Arabic translator for an embassy.
UrChinito24: Sounds nice. Ru Arabian? Cant tell, u don’t have a photo.
UrChinito24: Ooooh. Okay. Wer u at? I juz saw the distance on ur profile. We’re neighbors.
TheExperiment: Somewhere in Salcedo. U?
UrChinito24: Rly? My resto’s in Salcedo! Shld we meet?
TheExperiment: I don’t even knw ur name yet.
UrChinito24: Right. I’m Andrew.
TheExperiment: Jigs. What ru here for?
UrChinito24: Do u mean why I am on Grindr?
UrChinito24: No particular reason. It’s juz nice to talk to random ppl when ur bored. Although some ppl here are crazy. Wbu?
TheExperiment: Same reasons. Plus, Im doing sum sort of a social experiment.
UrChinito24: How’s that working out so far?
TheExperiment: Gud, actually. I’m learning a lot about how the ‘transaction’ goes here.
UrChinito24: I think our whole existence is a social experiment.
TheExperiment: Not f ur aware of the experiment & ur dictating the results. Like Big Brother. What do u think of those u meet here who say personality is more important than luks?
UrChinito24: A bunch of bullshitters. As far as initial attraction is concerned, that’s bollocks. Initial being the operative word.
TheExperiment: Ryt!? That’s BS. I mean, wud you have replied 2me if I looked like a guy serving meal in a Jolli Jeep? Course not.
UrChinito24: But I haven’t rly seen ur photo yet so… but I must say, u reeled me into ur profile with ur bio. Haha. Anyway my answr 2ur question is nope. Anyone who’ll say otherwise is a piece of shit.
TheExperiment: I know. Haha. That’s a part of the experiment. Determining the shallowness & prejudice of people in platforms like this. In this place, nobody cares if u don’t know the difference among they’re, their & there. So long as you have the face and the dick size u’ll get sum1 interested in u.
UrChinito24: How about the ugly ones?
TheExperiment: They hav 2 cum to terms w/ the fact that the world is unfair.
UrChinito24: Asking for fairness is like going to McDo and ordering a rack of lamb ribs.
TheExperiment: Tell that to the leftists.
UrChinito24: Lol. Were u rly surprised w/the results of ur experiment?
TheExperiment: Not rly. I’m juz fascinated that I have to have a firsthand experience of it.
UrChinito24: Guess all ppl here have their motives.
TheExperiment: Right. Question: wud u have endured a day with me even if I were dumb?
UrChinito24: Hell no. Unless I’m looking for a sex slave.
TheExperiment: Even if I were as hot as Matt Bomer?
UrChinito24: Then that’d be fine.
TheExperiment: Does that mean u categorize ppl? Hot + dumb = sex slave? Hot + smart = prospective lover? Where does an ugly but smart guy fit in your classification?
UrChinito24: Ugly & smart, I’d be careful TBH. Especially if they’re smarter than me. Not that I’m claiming to be smart.
TheExperiment: Then u r a piece of shit as every1 else. Am I ryt?
Andrew wracked his brains for something to reply. Is TheExperiment right? Is he just as judgy and shallow as everyone else? But aren’t we all? Let’s say you have this guy who you haven’t seen yet and you two have been chatting for, say, a year already. In the course of your little affair on the Internet, you have come to like him because of his personality and the way he carries a convo. I guess during this time you tend to put the skin-deeps in the sidelines; you know, what his hair color looks like, or does he have gorgeous eyes and a perfect body or a neat, pink dick. But when you two meet for the first time, do these skin-deeps resurface? And do they undermine the intangibles? It bothers me: do looks trump personality?
Andrew, liking how TheExperiment’s character is turning out, was not prepared to know the answer to that question yet. So instead, he replied to the question with an answer aimed at prolonging their insightful conversation:
UrChinito24: On second thought, Tom Branson is indeed hot.
While Andrew is starting to have hots for TheExperiment, it’s also starting to get hot inside the elevator where Toffee was stuck with his 40-year-old manager, Sir de Guzman. He’s an attractive, proper guy with gray hair and the posture of George Clooney. They’ve been inside for more than ten minutes now and not a single word has been uttered between the two, only a few glances, most of which coming from the senior. In an attempt to break the awkward quietness, Mr. de Guzman made a joke.
“Aren’t you lucky, Mr. Castillo, to be stuck in the presence of your superior?”
Toffee didn’t bother to reply and remained silent.
“If there’s a perfect time to suck up to your boss, it’s now,” Mr. de Guzman added after letting out a chuckle.
“Interesting choice of words,” Toffee thought to himself. Again, he didn’t reply to the man and just broke a smirk on his face.
“A little cocky, aren’t we?” Mr. de Guzman said.
Again, interesting words.
Seeing that he couldn’t break Toffee, the man let out a deep sigh. “Oh well, let’s hope the power returns soon. It’s probably the typhoon. I heard this one’s about to cross Metro Manila tonight.”
Silence lingered inside the elevator for another few minutes until Toffee decided to make the circumstances even more interesting. I’m a god, he thought to himself. Gods make things interesting.
The sweaty young man started to untie his tie from his neck and unbutton his white long sleeves to reveal his clean, beautiful chest and rosy nipples. He dropped his tie and shirt on the floor and started to play with his nipples. Mr. de Guzman stared attentively at what he’s doing and swallowed a wad of saliva.
“What are you doing?” the older man asked.
“Playing with my nipples.”
“I-I can see that,” de Guzman gulped nervously. “But why are you doing that?”
“Because I know you want me to, Fred. And as your subordinate, I need to do my job, don’t I?”
“You can’t talk to me like that!” The perturbed man cried. “I’m your boss!”
“But I’m your crush. Fred. Crush trumps boss.” Toffee started to walk near Mr. de Guzman while still caressing his chest. His eyes pierced Mr. de Guzman’s with intensity, like he’s making a mockery of his current uneasiness.
“What made you think you’re my crush? I’m not gay! I have a wife and children!”
“Fred, you gave me a raise for slacking off in the office. You give all my workload to Shane and allow me to sleep in my cubicle all day. You bring me expensive coffee every morning. It’s time for me to return the favor.”
“I was trying to be a nice boss!”
“This morning, you were staring at my nipple bulge while pretending to have a conversation with me about how Pacman is a squashed lemon. Nobody’s that passionate about Pacman, Fred.”
“You’re sick!” Fred shouted as he pushed Toffee away from him. He has never felt so powerless. He’s used to giving orders and intimidating people, but this time, he felt like he’s being toyed by divine presence, like a little ant whose fate depends on a mammoth.
Toffee hit the other side of the elevator. He laughed.
“I want your resignation letter first thing in the morning tomorrow, Mr. Castillo!”
“No problem, Mr. de Guzman,” Toffee said. “I’ll even send a carbon copy to the admin. ‘Dear Mr. de Guzman, I’m resigning from my post because I just can’t take the sexual harassment anymore. How you suck my cock in the office restroom and eat my semen for lunch every day.’”
“Are you threatening me, Toffee?”
Ignoring his question, Toffee grabbed Fred’s neck and slammed him against the wall. “Shane deserves a raise. And that old guy to my right; I can’t remember his name. Something Madrigal. They both deserve a raise. If they do not get what they deserve, you will.”
All of a sudden, Mr. de Guzman grabbed Toffee’s head and pulled him in for a crushingly passionate kiss while Toffee’s hands went for his clothes and tore them. But just when Mr. de Guzman was about to unbutton Toffee’s pants, the young man grabbed his hands and parted his lips from his and looked straight at his eyes.
“No, Fred,” Toffee whispered. “I was just teasing you. You don’t get to cheat on your wife with me.”
“Pee on me, at least?”
While Toffee remained stuck in the elevator, I was stuck in front of my five-year old laptop, watching critically Popoy’s plead to Basha.
“Bash, ‘di mo ba alam ‘yung three-month rule? Lahat ng taong na-inlove at nakipag-break ay alam yun. Maghintay ka muna. Tatlong buwan. ‘Di ba? Tatlong buwan bago ka makipag-boyfriend ulit! Hindi mo ba alam ‘yun? (Bash, aren’t you aware of the three-month rule? Every person who has fallen in and out of love knows about that. You wait for three months. Three months before you engage in a new relationship again. Don’t you know about that?”
Is it just me or is Popoy a masochist? I think whoever invented these rules to prolong their suffering are masochists. And a little stupid. Isn’t the process supposed to be as simple as the term itself? Moving on. It means moving forward or advancing to the next place, the next chapter, your next destination. But why does it seem like most people choose to be stuck in the present rather than ‘move forward’ to see what’s beyond the horizon?
There are hardliners who would say that the process isn’t as simple due to the existence of the so-called memories, or according to Thomas Hobbes, the decaying sense. After a break-up, wherever you go, whatever you do, you will see fragments of him, the person you’re moving on from, in every succeeding breath of your life. You’ll see him waiting for you outside your house gates; buying you Mogu-Mogu in the convenience store; you’ll even here him singing your favorite song beside you on your bed or taking a piss in your bathroom. According to these people, once a person becomes a part of your life, you cannot get rid of him anymore. You only learn how to cope with the emotions and the pain of yesterday.
There are also those who put much premium on ‘relationship etiquettes’. According to these people, you cannot have another relationship only after a week of the break-up, otherwise you’re a slut. You cannot move on until you meet this interval or else you will be judged.
As for me, I think moving on, just like happiness, is a choice. If you think you’re ready to be happy again, then fuck the rules. They aren’t real anyway. Happiness, or sadness for that matter, should always be a personal choice. It is not to be forced by anyone, any rules or by codes deemed moral by the society. After all, there’s no such thing as a moral truth. Taylor Swift jumps from one guy to another guy and nobody stones her to death.
Or maybe I’m just trying to justify my sluttiness? Well, if your moving on comes in the form of a handsome guy named Hamed Mediana, you’d be a fool to turn it down.
After a week of ‘seeing each other’ (which literally means video-chatting on Skype with our clothes on), I learned that Hamed is a financial analyst for the country’s biggest land developer. He’s also an Ilonggo, a graduate of UP Visayas, has a house in Taguig, loves oatmeal, hates watches, the only son of his parents, and a closeted gay man. He also has a pet goldfish named Eugene whom he named after that guy from Ghostfighter.
We were skyping earlier that evening and everything was doing well until he mentioned in passing that Jhong Hilario is ‘eye-catching’. I had to bid him good night, run to the bathroom and puke. And then Isko called but I couldn’t understand a thing he was saying because of the noise of the scary rain so I had to lock myself in the bathroom to be able to hear him.
“What is it?”
“I’m homeless. There’s a fucking typhoon and I am homeless.”
I could hear the sound of the rain from where Isko was calling.
“Where are you?”
“I’m outside the building. Joseph and I had a fight,” he started to cry and talk crazy on the phone. “I’m all soaked and I’m wearing a fucking sando and boxers and my butt is sore. He just fucked me… big time. And I loved it. But then we fought and we haven’t fought in a very long time. And I’m now outside the building and I’m soaked and…”
“Calm down, do you want me to go there?”
“No, don’t bother. I just want to know someone cares about me.”
“Of course, I care about you. All of your friends care about you. Now go back to Joseph and fix whatever problem you have.”
“Thank you, Harry. Thank you for being such a good friend. As my good friend, could you loan me a month of our unit’s rent?”
“W-what? Honey, I… uhm. Let’s call our rich friend, Andrew, shall we?”
After persuading (actually, more like ‘coercing’) Andrew to loan Isko the money, I was already preparing to go to bed when my cellphone began to ring again. I checked to see who it was and saw the only name that could make me go kilig these days. Hamed.
“Hey, it’s late,” I prompted. “Why are you still – “
“Shhh. I’ve been preparing all day for this.”
“Preparing for what?”
There was a brief silence. Then the sound of a guitar began to play and Hamed started to sing.
How many times did I pray you’d find me?
How many wishes on a star?
Gazing off into the dark
Dreaming I’d see your face
Safe at home, unafraid
Captured in your embrace
“Harry, I’ve been waiting for you for so long,” he broke in. And then he continued to sing.
It was you who first believed
In all that I was made to be
It was you looking in my eyes
You held my hand and showed my life
And I’ve never been the same
Since you first believed
That night, I learned new things about me and Hamed. I learned that he can sing and he can play the guitar… and that… I might be falling for him.
That Sunday night, Toffee, Isko and I were all in Andrew’s restaurant, exchanging anecdotes of our experiences during the typhoon. Sadly, more than twenty people died during the storm in Metro Manila alone while there are other victims and missing people in nearby provinces.
The three looked at me briefly before returning to their conversation.
“I don’t care what your opinions are about iced tea,” I proclaimed while taking a sip of my glorious red iced tea, “Iced tea is my whiskey.”
“Whatever, Harry,” Isko replied. “Nobody wants to listen to your iced tea fan-guying. Or fan-gaying. Whatever.”
“I heard on the TV that they are planning to relocate the squatters living along the waterways,” Andrew butted in. “Apparently, it’s their solution to the flooding in the Metro.”
“I believe the politically correct term is informal settlers,” Isko responded with a piece of meat in his mouth. “Do you seriously believe that these city officials will really relocate these poor people? Their votes are too important to them to just rid of them like garbage.”
“That’s true,” I agreed, turning to Isko. “But do you think that alone can solve the flooding? I don’t think so. For as long as the government funds, which are supposed to go to the modernization of our drainage system, go straight to the pockets of our beloved officials, this city is doomed to sink. Like a modern day Atlantis. What do you think, Toffee?”
“I think,” Toffee muttered. “I think sex was great in Atlantis. Men were scantily clad and I don’t think undergarments were already invented at that time.”
The three of us looked at each other with confused faces.
“Okay,” Andrew broke in with a curious smile on his face. “I have an announcement to make.”
Toffee sucked his pansit up into his mouth and said with his mouth full: “You’ve finally given your first blowjob?”
“No, I’m finally in a relationship!” Andrew said bouncily.
“Wow, Andrew. We’re all happy for you. Who’s the lucky guy?” I took another sip of my iced tea.
“Well,” Andrew chewed and swallowed a meatball before finally responding. “I haven’t met him yet.”
“What?” Isko said while preparing to devour a fork-full of spaghetti strands.
“I met him through Grindr and…”
“What?” Again, Isko cannot seem to continue with his eating. “You have Grindr?”
“I have Grindr and PlanetRomeo and Boy Ahoy and Path,” Toffee said.
“Path?” I interrupted. “Isn’t that for everyone and not exclusively for the gays and the bis and the whatnots?”
“Oh, Harry, you know the gays. We’re very resourceful. Whatever the Internet throw to us, we find the opportunity to transform into a big pool of potential fuck buddies. Remember Multiply? I wouldn’t be surprised if Toffee finds his next hook-up on LinkedIn.”
I nodded. “So anyway, Andrew. Tell us more about him. Your quote, unquote boyfriend. And have you see his photos yet? How does he look?”
“He’s not my quote, unquote boyfriend. He’s my partner. And I really like him a lot. He’s very smart and he works for an embassy as a translator. I haven’t seen his photos yet though. But I’m pretty sure he’s handsome.”
Isko and I glanced at each other, a gesture that can be translated to “who’s going to tell him what he’s doing wrong.”
“Andrew,” I had no choice but to do it. “Internet dating is okay, but you should have at least asked for his photos. I mean, what if he’s not your type? You might get disappointed.”
“It’s my risk to take. I really like him a lot and he understands me. That’s what matters to me now.”
There was silence for a few seconds.
Isko heaved a sigh, “At least you’re happy. I have a real boyfriend and sometimes I feel like I’m with an alien. Is it because he’s Cebuano and I’m a Capampangan?”
“Oh yeah, about that,” Andrew said. “How are you two doing now?”
“He still hasn’t gotten his money back and he’s working overtime to compensate for his loss. We barely talk at home. Sometimes, I feel like I’m living with a kid who is always in need of my guidance, you know what I mean? I don’t know how to explain it but I feel like Joseph is a little immature. I love him though. But I just can’t revert back to normal mode now. I need my alone time.”
“Isko, a little fight is okay,” I told him. “I think it’s a sign that you both want your relationship to work. That nobody’s giving up on anyone. Isn’t that beautiful and sweet and romantic? Two men working hard to keep their relationship afloat?”
I didn’t notice it but I sounded like the Harry three years ago before Allen, my ex, and I agreed to become lovers.
“Harry, is there something you’re not telling us?” Isko asked. “What’s that smile on your face?”
Then I began to blush. I haven’t mentioned anything to them about Hamed yet.
“Well… I’m kind of like seeing someone.”
Suddenly, Toffee dropped his fork on his plate and leaned closer to me, “Who?”
“A little enthusiastic, aren’t we, Toffee? His name is Hamed. I met him at Landmark last week. I know his name sounds Muslim-ish but he’s not.”
“But, Harry,” Andrew interjected. “It’s only been less than a week since you and Allen broke up. Isn’t it a little soon for you to date again?”
Isko just stared at me. He looked like he was trying his best not judge me. There’s a little hurt in me because they are my friends and I expected them to be a little more understanding. But I just ignored the thought and just tried to explain myself to them.
“Guys, I love you. Andrew, I’m happy that you’re finally in a relationship even if you haven’t met your partner in person yet. Isko, I’m happy because a real man loves you so much and your relationship is something I find inspiration in. Toffee, I’m happy you’re living your life the way you want it and I’m proud of you. Now, guys, I want you to be happy for me simply because I’m your friend and I’m sure you do not want to see me hurting. And I’m not hurting now. I’m over Allen and Hamed has helped me forget. So please… be happy for me.”
An hour later, Toffee offered to walk me to Ayala Avenue from Andrew’s restaurant where I will wait for a bus home. Still hangover from the conversation we had, Toffee and I were uncomfortably silent, something that doesn’t happen quite often. So as the guy with more words between us two, I tried to halt the stillness by striking a conversation.
“So… tell me the truth. Where are you going now?”
“Uhh, I’m walking you to the bus stop.”
“No, I mean after you walked me to the bus stop.”
“Uhm, wait for you to get on a bus?”
“I’ll be heading home.”
“Weh?” I put my arm over his shoulders and neared my face to him. “Aren’t you going to meet someone tonight?”
Toffee did not respond. He just bowed his head and remained quiet until we reached the bus stop in front of the KPMG tower. Once more, the silence between us lingered.
Toffee doesn’t talk a lot but when he does, he’s really got something to say. But that confuses me sometimes. We have been friends for a very long time but somehow, I feel like there’s a lot of secrets he’s hiding from me and that somehow defeats the purpose of our friendship. But I do not want to force him to speak especially when he’s not comfortable. I want the words to come freely from him and not force him to blurt them out.
A few minutes later, a bus arrived. But just when I was about to say good bye, Toffee spoke.
“Wait,” he said while looking the other way.
“Is there something wrong, Toffee?”
“Can you stay a little longer? I’ll let you get on the next bus, I promise.”
“Oh. Sure. But… are you sure you’re okay?”
He just nodded.
And so I waited for a few more minutes. But when the next bus arrived and I turned around to bid him goodbye, he wasn’t there anymore.