I'm sitting next to Tim and across Eliza and Ariel.
I had told Eliza I kissed that girl in the basement. I had been able to keep it quiet for two days but after that I had to tell her. When I had, she hadn't said a word, but now, we're together but separate.
I should feel more terrible but I don't. Last weekend, I saw her do something. If she comes down too hard on me, well, I've got my ace.
I take out a pen and write Eliza a note on my napkin. If I could read your mind, would that be a good thing?
She reads it. Then she shakes her head, slowly. No.
A bunch of seniors head our way, and one of them slows down to smile at Eliza. When they're gone, I ask, "Who is he?"
"Don't know," Eliza says.
Like that's remotely true.
Suddenly, it's too much. I'm jealous, frustrated, and I hear myself asking, "Are you going to take me back?"
"I did, Ben. Right after you asked me to, practically."
"You did, but maybe you really didn't, inside."
"That's true," she says.
It's terrible, hearing that she can't like me as much, that she never really took me back. Then I see Eliza checking out the other guy. "You like him now?" I ask while wondering how many after-school-burger-and-torture-sessions a guy can take.
"Maybe, I do." Her eyes flash. "Because maybe I can trust him."
"You can trust me---"
"No." She looks away. "We need to be cool."
"What's that, be cool?"
"Like, I can say hi to a guy if I want and you can say hi to girls like you already did and we'll just see."
My ace, I think. It's my chance to use it, and so I do. "Like how you kissed Matt at Bo's party?" I say to Eliza. "I saw you and him upstairs. I saw you go for it."
Eliza looks down. "He says it was kissing music."
"I get it. Maybe we're even." The words don't make me feel any better.
"Maybe." Eliza gets out of the booth. "I have to go."
Too many maybes. I watch Eliza smile at the other guy.
Great. We're so cool I'm shivering.
"Cooling it could be okay," she tells me.
And even though I hate it, I get it. I started it. We're cool, you know?
What you'll read below is something I wrote on my organizer (that's how we called planners back then) sometime in 1999 (17 years old). Everything's written as it is with the exception of a few grammatical corrections and structural changes. :D
* Starting February 1, 2014, this blog will be dedicated to providing publishing tips for aspiring Filipino writers.