it was hard not to notice her for she towered most of the girls in the assembly ground that day. though she was silent, there was something in her that makes her mysterious and very appealing. she was definitely the safest choice, if people decided to ask that stupid question, "who is your crush in the block," which i think is every acquitance bonding's favorite.
as expected, the question was then raised during our first block inuman. but in my surprise, among all the boys in the block, she actually chose me. but took the shot straight when she was asked why. perhaps thats where all the ackwardness between us began.
for more than a semester, she was nothing to me but a blockmate. a classmate who i always saw in all of my classes. a fellow student who i nodded whenever we passed each other in the lobby. nothing more, nothing less.
but when we reached our sophomore years, where we were asked to choose what major we are pursuing, i was actually surprised to see her in my first social anthropology class. for i really thought she would take economics since she was one of those who excelled in math.
we were only 7 students in our block, in that program. probably because those who took economics had better foresights of whats ahead of them compare to ours. nonetheless, this gave us opportunities to know each other more. we decided to take the same subjects for each semesters, exchanged notes, held weekly inumans and even do each others' projects and papers. until we just realized were already living under the same house, her house.
eventually, i learned that she was actually not that silent at all. that she is an open book for those who are brave enough to ask her but ofcourse, worthy of it. that despite her intimidating beauty, built and personality, she was just a simple girl but with a very welcoming heart. thus, we instantly become good or better yet, the best of friends.
"isn't that, you had a crush on me when we were in first year." i asked her one chilly night while we were under the same blanket, sharing a single sized bed together with a couple of our close friends (which we seldom did before and i miss a lot).
she laughed and said, "yes, i did. and i repeat, i did."
"bakit hindi na?"
"because i realized you are that kind of friend, that is too precious to be risked and lost."
i was speechless. it was one of the sweetest thing i've heard from someone up to the present. i never felt so much appreciated.
whenever allowance were delayed and we have nothing, not even a faded cent, she was always there to help, eventhough she too was just depending with her groceries.
for days, we will stay in her place, collect what was left from us, if any. then buy and allocate food. we would feast with pancit canton (the official college student stable food), eggs (which we experted all the ways of cooking it), cold rice poured with toyo and oil everyday, until all of us were financially stable. there were even times when we would finish each meals without drinking.
but the memories worth really remembering were the times whenever one of us needed someone to lean on and talk to, we would meet in her place and drew good things out from it. i believe that i would never be the same person if not of those talks.
you see, studying in a place, where you are hundreds of miles away from your family, is not as easy as it may seems, especially in your first years. yes, its great because of independence. you can do whatever you want with limited PARENTAL supervision. but there were times, most of the time, when we would just catch ourselves crippling because of homesickness and depression without anyone beside us. and the chilly and gloomy weather of the city worsen it all.
"hey whats the matter?"
"nothing," then she immediately hid something under her pillow and wiped her eyes dry.
then i would grab her neck until she confess. you see she has a large funny bone in that area, that i could easily bring her down to the floor, helplessly, by just placing my hands between her neck and shoulder.
"oooo-kkk-a-yyy, ee-rriikk! i give up."
"alright, i am listening."
"its M (her jawy boyfriend), i think he is seeing someone else in manila."
"din't we just talk about it the last time? are we suppose to remind you of what we told you?"
"thats why i don't want to bring it up."
"can you blame me (us), if we always see you that way?"
"just let me be."
"and what? to see you just like her?" i pointed the tv, which had kris aquino in the national news crying.
"you're a million times of what he has you in him and you know this for a fact. and if all hopes, including boys failed you, always remember that i'll always be here for you."
then she smiled. we both smiled.
to be continued...