To My Cheerleader (Part 2)

By: Ian

Hello! I'm really glad for the positive feedback on my first submission, To My Cheerleader. Please have time to read it first before reading this! :)

As a sign of appreciation, here's a small portion of our Fb conversation. :P I hope you enjoy this one too.

January 1, 12:13AM

Him: Happy New Year Kuya!

Me: Happy New Year. May 2017 be a fruitful year for you and bring all the lessons 2016 has taught you. :)

Him: I hope so too. Haha. Thank you! :”)

Me: Catch up soon. :)

Him: Sure! :)

January 1, 1:39AM

Me: Heyy. How are you?

Me: You know I’m still here for you right?

Me: Annd I’ll just leave it there. Sorry. btw, Happy new year again. :)

January 1, 3:11AM

Him: Haha. Lately I feel like I’m on my own. Hahaha. Nahihiya nga ako kausapin si *squad successor* eh. Kahit bestfriend ko siya. Hahaha.

Him: But yes alam ko naman na nandiyan ka pa din. :)

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” - George Eliot

Finally! I got the guts to ask you to hang out with me again. It took me a whole lot of courage to send a simple ‘hi’ to you even just in Facebook. I didn’t understand at first why it terrified me to message you. Maybe it became too unfamiliar. Maybe, for the 28th time, I’ll get rejected again. Yes, I counted. I counted every single time I made myself a foolish desperate to keep in touch with you.

But none of those mattered since you made your one Saturday night available to hang out with me and the squad’s company. I was so happy. I couldn’t contain myself when you confirmed that you will be coming with us to Tagaytay as long as you’ll get to go back to Manila early in the morning. I didn’t bother to ask why. It didn’t matter. What mattered most was I got to see you again. I even volunteered myself to bring you back to your unit when you need to go home.

I was extremely nervous and anxious. Not by taking the risk of hazard ‘parking’ while I wait for you in front of your unit’s building, good thing no traffic enforcer were around that time, but because this will be the first time, in a very long time, that I’ll get to see you again. To see the person I admired for a very long time. To be near you again. To talk to you again. Maybe to hold you again. It was nervewrecking.

Then I saw you from afar, coming out of the building looking pretty neat. I tried my best to memorize every detail of this moment because I was afraid, too afraid, that this could also be the last time I’ll be seeing you.

I knew it’s absurd but the presence of you walking towards me consumed me so much. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. From the nicely waxed hair, leather jacket laid over your black shirt, a pair of perfectly fitted jeans, all the way to your kicks, everything was admirable. You had proven that 3 years could change a person physically bigtime. You were half-a-foot taller than me and a freshly razored stubble was very visible in you even at night. You may have changed in many ways but I assure you one thing that has never changed, I still love you the way I loved you for the first time.

I came back to my senses when I opened my arms and tried to hug you as a sign of greeting but instead, you offered your hand awkwardly for no more than a shake. I didn’t know what hit me but I thought it was just right to pull you from that hand shake to a man hug and a pat to the back. We rested like that for a moment then you broke off the hug and gave me a short awkward silent smile.

I tried my best to keep you entertained the entire trip but it seemed you wanted to… no, you needed to be quiet. I just didn’t understand what was pulling you back to enjoy our road trip. Even after we picked some our friends up, their presence only made you return cheap smiles. Right then and there, I knew something was up. That time, I just let it slip. I was waiting for you to be open to me again, just like what I promised that time, over my balcony, under the stars.

“I’m sorry. But that’s all I could give.”

“Ohh..”

“…”

“…”

“Hey, hey. You don’t have to be sad. Nothing has changed! You’re still the best kuya I never had.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry too. I know it’s too much to ask for.”

“Kuya?”

“Hm?”

“Just please promise me something.”

“Yeah?”

“Promise me… that you’ll always be by my side no matter what.”

“I promise… I promise you that… whatever happens between us, wherever fate brings us into, I will be your kuya and I will be here for you.”

“Always?”

“Always.”

The rest of the night was all out fun. Overflowing foods and drinks everywhere. Nostalgia hits and everyone became kids again. Yeah, for us, college was just another phase wherein everyone pretended to be matured yet no one actually is. For a moment, I forgot how adult and professional life meant to me. There were lots of catching up and laughter. Everyone has been talking to me. Asking how I’ve been and what places I’ve been to. I felt like I was mentoring these kids again. Yet, there’s only one person I’ve been longing all night to spend the rest of it with. I wanted to be with you.

I was about to light another cigarette when I saw you looking at me from a far. I wasn’t expecting what I saw but it was the same sweet smile I’ve been missing for a very long time. You were smiling at me. No, you were laughing. Those laughs were very familiar. It was comforting. It took me a moment to realize what you were laughing at. I was lighting the cigarette butt. Not another second when I also laughed at my stupidity. Not another second when I realized my stupidity. I realized I’m stupid. I am stupid. I kept on falling in love with the idea of being in love with you.

I was looking at my burnt cigarette butt when reality hits me. It took away my smile and made me anxious to look back at you. It made my heart beat fast. I was about to go out of the bar to catch fresh air when I caught a glimpse of you. Your smile also faded. Heck. I didn’t care that moment. I just wanted to go out and calm myself.

I wanted to give up but I couldn’t. I wanted to let you go for good but the idea that there’s a possibililty for you to love me back made me want you, have you, crave you. You seemed so near yet unreachable like a silhouette in the mist, a mirage on a desert, a reflection in the water, a fantasy in my reality. I may look alright when you see me but I tell you, everytime you made me feel loved even without telling me, instead of filling my heart with delight, it felt like it was being beaten by a hammer multiple times. I was being crushed whenever I realize that the affection you sometimes show me was nothing but companionship. It wasn’t even brotherly love anymore just like before. I made me confused and exhausted. I wanted to get out.

A fresh breeze of cold air made me calm a little. The mini volcano wasn’t visible that time but I had a moment to appreciate the beauty of the city lights below. All i can hear was the chirping sound of night bugs and the toned down bar music. It was a perfect place to calm down and relax with my beer on the right hand and my cigarette on the other. But the perfect place to calm down and relax was made even better when you stood beside me also looking at the city lights.

We stayed silent for a while. My beer and cigar all gone. I closed my eyes and felt the cold breeze of the wind. For a moment, I wished I could stay where I was for all eternity. I wished you were by my side forever, even just by my side.

I built my courage and decided to break the silence.

“Is it true?”

“Huh? What is?”

“That you l…”

“Hm?”

“That you left UST?”

“What? I didn’t leave UST.”

“Oh yeah. I’m sorry. What I meant was you shifting college.”

“Yeah. I guess that’s it.”

“Hmm.”

“I’ve always wanted to be an architect.”

“I know. You told me.”

“I did?”

“Even if it wasn’t your first course, you said that you’re going to graduate in our college first then go back to take Architecture.”

“Yeah. Going in was a tough one. And the cost is too high.”

“You’ve always wanted to give your family a decent house designed by you. To give back to your sister that pays your tuition.”

“You remembered that?”

“Of course. You said you’re going to design my house for free.”

“Hahaha. I didn’t say it was for free. I said you’ll get a discount.”

“Oh really? Hahaha. I don’t believe you.”

“Hahaha. Hey, I remember that. You sneaky cheap bastard.”

“So you’re calling me cheap bastard again? Good luck going home walking. Hahaha”

“Hey hey, I was joking. You’re not a sneaky bastard. Just cheap. Hahahaha”

“I was being practical you son of a bitch.”

“I know. hahaha. I know. I was just messing with you.”

“Hahaha.”

“…”

“…”

“I guess me transferring to another college won’t make my dream to become an architect come true anymore.”

“And why is that?”

“I think professional life with my new college will take me quite a while for me to support my architectural fees.”

“Hmm. We’ll never know. I guess you should just make the most out of what you are into now.

“I guess so.”

“Hmm.”

“…”

“…”

“I’m sorry.”

“You have nothing to be sorry about.”

“…”

“I promised you one thing and I have no plan to ever break it.”

“I’m really sorry, kuya. I really am. I know I hurt you and all…”

“Shhh. That’s enough.”

“Hmm.”

“…”

“…”

“What are you doing?”

“Please just let me hug you like this kuya Ian.”

“…”

“I was lost.”

“Then get back on track. I’ll be with you.”

“Thank you, kuya. Thank you for looking after me.”

“No. Thank you, Aki.”

It doesn't matter now if I knew that you loved me or not. I tell you, whatever may happen between us, please hold on to my promise. A promise that no matter what the cost is, I will never break. I promise that I will be by your side and guide you, Aki. Always.

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