*it is always fun writing, feeling and reminiscing highschool things that you tend to shy away at.
he is through with love as far as i know.
julio was my classmate in high school. he was the first person i knew in class. like most of the rest of the boys in our class, he stands smaller than the girls. though being petite was never been a disadvantage for him. actually most of the girls in school, finds him really cute because of this feature. even the prettiest chic in school confessed that she has a crush on him. thus, he was tagged as "crush ng bayan". but depite all of these julio remained silent and reserved himself for his small circle of friends, which includes me.
"hey julio, i have heard that girl in the other section also has a crush on you," i teased him while we were walking along the correigdor.
but julio just remained silent as always, with his eyes on the book he was reading. while the girl on the other section, wearing a rather thick pink talcum press powder on her face passed by, looking at him. then she giggled so loud with her girlfriends as if she was intentionally picking julio up.
i noticed that julio never really gave attention to such. most of the time, it felt that he would just let those news pass from one ear then out to the other. eventually the sudden craze for him fade out in our school by the time we were already juniors. new faces came in each year and the title "crush ng bayan" jumped from one person to another.
ironically, as the craze fade out, julio began to expand his circle: he was gaining more friends in and outside of the class, hanging around in the canteen bench with his new friends and eventually our circle somehow parted ways in a blink of an eye. nobody from the both of us, really made the move to regain it back. i just wondered probably, it was just the way it is and accepted it as a defect or hole of life.
nonetheless, as the old line says: when you lose, you gain. when you lose, you gain.
it was in our senior years when i met two of my closest friends, mae and leo. i met mae and leo during our sophomores. although we really weren't that close. since we weren't classmates in the first year (both of them were from the same section. while i am on the other one). it was only in the latter part of third year when we got to know each other. the same period, when me and julio are no longer going together.
fortunately, the three of us went along well. since we share the same interest for films and music, same taste for artists and those things. so it wasn't really hard to cope up with the two. eventhough i was new to their group or may i say partnership. we were literally inseperable. in opur class, we always come as package among group works and end up the best package in class.
mae could be considered as "one of the boys," her tomboyish behavior would really make any other boys during that time think twice if they we're going to mess with her. she was quite laidback. she was fond of wearing snickers and keeping her face oily than wipe it with a hanky or put on powder like most of the girls in class. if you're going to give a closer look on her, you'll realized that she is beautiful without her knowing it. probably, this made me like her for she was able to outstand herself from the rest of the girls in class in the very least effort.
leo, on the other hand, was also not one of the boys. he was considered a nerd but the truth was he's not. indeed, he was topping in class. but i never saw him reading or atleast holding a book nor writing notes unless it was required to complete one for clearance purpose during exams. probably he was just born genius--- especially when it comes to throwing pratcial jokes. i remember calling him the pandora's box, one time. something so tempting to open but safer not to know what is inside. he was so fun to be with that even without the other half---mae, you'll forget that there is such thing called boredom. but ofcourse, it was always nicer to have mae around.
"i don't think your compatible," julio whispered as he rest his head on his arms while waiting for the next class, it was the only class we were seatmates because the seating plan as arranged alphabetically.
"what do you mean?" i asked confusedly. considering it was the first time we spoke again.
he didn't answer. instead he just hid his face between his arms facing the table and pretended to be sleeping. i didn't bother to ask anymore.then came february, a week before the senior's promenade night. everybody was making a big buzz about the event. everybody was asking each other as a date in the prom and dicussing what dress to wear or what car they would take. no senior was hanging around late in the school grounds. even the varsity and club practices were postponed. the entire school was like missing an entire senior year after the last bell rings every afternoon.
honestly, the three of us doesn't have any plans of going to the prom just to tire ourselves out. instead, we planned of hitting the beach and drink all night with the excuse of attending the senior's night, ofcourse. but our adviser actually required the entire class to attend and warned to mark us with a lower grade for her subject. it left us with no other options but to abide.
mae came up with a wonderful proposal. instead of looking for partners, she thought the three of us could go as a trio. leo got excited hearing the plan. he was actually draining his brain out thinking how will he stand out for the event. he even thought of wearing a gown just to be different from the rest. since it was already late looking up for a partner and i don't want leo to get frustrated, i've finally agreed to the proposal.
the next day, i have heard from a classmate that julio actually asked mae for the prom and was rejected. since she already had partner(/s) for the event. knowing mae, she wouldn't spill the beans yet nor inform him who will be her date, thinking it might spoil the plan.
in a way, i felt sad hearing the news imagining the former "crush ng bayan," but more importantly a friend getting rejected. it just actually came to me that probably julio was too shy to talk with girls thats why he really didn't entertain them before. i remembered one time, while i was walking along the canteen benches, he was being teased as "torpe" by his 'friends' as they were pushing him to the same girl who wears a pink talcum powder (she still does). they were laughing and tagging him, scared of girls. i saw julio not smiling anymore while being pushed and laughed at. i know he was not enjoying his position that time and he saw me stopped and looked at that moment. nonetheless, inviting mae for prom would probably took him lot of guts. but ended up with the same outcome he was trying to avoid---rejection.
i was walking home that same afternoon when i saw julio standing against a wall, a couple of blocks away from my street. he was still wearing that blank face the first time i met him. when i was just a couple of meter away from him, he raised his head towards me. i gave him a nod as a sign of a greeting. he smiled back thriftly. he followed me as i walk the side walk, silently. nobody dared to talk. i was actually thinking of what to say just to break the silence. but the news i have heard earlier was the only thing i could think of.
when i was already infront of our gate. i have finally gathered all the courage i have and asked, "is there a problem, julio? i am almost at our house now."
but julio just remained silent. he was still looking at the ground, sweeping the cemented road with his snickers like a kid who broke his mother's favorite vase pretending he didn't know what happened. i gave him the that moment he needs, expecting he would be able to say the thing he wants to say. in a way, i felt guilty that i was one of the cause why mae rejected him. if only i could just asked mae myself to forget the plan and just go with him, i really would. but i can't. because i am not mae.
julio was now kicking the small rocks erected by the rough cemented road. but he was still silent. i tried inviting him inside but he nodded his head for disapproval.
"i still need to do chores, julio, before mom arrives. i better go inside now. i'll see you tomorrow. take care," i said.
i tapped his shoulders as i walked away from him slowly. i was waiting for him to call me and tell me the problem. but he didn't.
that night, same with the rest of the sleepless seniors, i couldn't sleep. but not because of excitement for the promenade the next night. i was anxious and still feeling guilty, knowing the first highschool best friend i have wouldn't be able to go to prom with the girl he likes. for a petty reason that we wanted to play a game of standing out from the rest of the crowd.
i didn't helped it. i felt the need to call mae and beg her to be julio's partner for the prom. i approached my side table and lifted the handset. my forefinger was chilling numb while i was dialing mae's number. it rang. i heard mae's voice on the other line with a rough "hello".
"hey mae, its me!" i tried greeting her as spontaneous as i normally do.
she immediately recognized my voice, as expected.
"hey whats up?" the husky deep voice that greeted me earlier abruptly changed into a perky tone. as expected again.
"nothing much. i just can't sleep," i was already twirling the telephone line into its extent without knowing it. good thing i managed to catch its side and stopped it from falling.
"is it the prom?," she asked.
"no...i may still have nothing to wear yet. but it really didn't bother me. insomia, i guess," i never thought i could really be this good in lying.
"ah...okay. by the way, julio approached me earlier," aha! there goes my cue. it was such a relief mae brought it up. because its always the opening the topic that i really find difficult to formulate with.
"oh yeah?! what did he say?" i have asked. the chilling numbness already covered my entire hand, the one holding the handset. the scripts that i have thought earlier where beginning to rush in my head, in chronological order.
"well, he just asked me if you' will be going with me to the prom. then he just left when i said you'll be going with me and leo," she naively answered, that was something not expected.
i was surprised upon hearing it. the scripts that were running in my head flew wildly. as if, looking for something among these lines i thought about earlier that would fit what she have just said.
"she didn't asked you out?" there goes my most common stupidity called slip of the tounge.
"of course not, pscho! but i just wish he did," i felt mae's flirtness coming out of the handset and breathing on my ear. probably if i were not in the state-of-confusion, she might already devoured the belief that was left believing i was actually talking with my close friend, mae.
everything was completely out of my league now. i have decided to say my goodbyes to mae and made up an excuse ('again') that i would give sleep one more try. by the time we hang up. i felt more confused.
i thought of him during our first year, the sudden parting of ways, his friends, mae, leo, when he said, we're not compatible, who was he actually referring to? why would he ask mae tha question? why he walked with me home earlier.
then everything just stopped when i felt something warm kissing my skin. i have just realized that it was already morning when i noticed the morning light peeking across my window curtain. the warmth just literally brightened up my being that made me think of him again as he first walked in our classroom and seated beside me, introduced himself and chatted.
suddenly i just caught myself, can't stop from smiling on a realization that i can't help from thinking.