When one thing passes, it can’t happen exactly the same way again. Throw a bouncy ball to the floor. Pick it up. Throw it again and make it land on exactly the same spot. Impossible. Or highly unlikely.

But then again, maybe that doesn’t apply to relationships.

What did I think I’d get out of still constantly spending time with you? We already had our chance months ago, but it didn’t work out. It’s been two girls after me, or so I’ve heard.

But here we are sitting next to each other on the steps leading to an empty stage in the middle of the mall. It’s closing time. Some shops have already switched off their lights and rolled down their doors. We’ve spent the whole night together along with our other friends. I won’t admit this to anyone, maybe not even to myself, but you were the reason I tagged along.

I guess I just like being around you. I guess I’m contented with the sparks of indications that you might still have feelings for me – small things like carrying my bag or walking beside me on the street when we’re with our friends or you being the first one to say “hello” on Facebook chat.

So, like I said, we’re here at the mall and it’s closing time. It may seem unintentional, but I sort of knew we’d end up going home together. Our friends would head home the other way.

And here we are riding the train together. It’s been awhile since it was just the two of us. I take the opportunity to hand you the birthday gift I bought you from my trip out of the country. I couldn’t give it to you in front of our friends. Unlike you, they don’t have any pasalubong. They might suspect.We spend the rest of the night trying to find a cab. I suggest transferring from place to place, avoiding the long lines and streets that were not hopeful of taxis. Or maybe I’m stalling so we’d have more time to talk.

When we finally get in a cab, you ask, “So…Paolo?”

I’m caught off guard, yet I smile inside. You noticed I’ve been spending a lot of time with Paolo. Were you jealous? Or maybe just curious.

At home, before going to sleep, I replay the events in my head. I try to give myself reverse psychology: don’t expect things to kick off this time, idiot. But then I end up making a 360-degree turn. What if this time, he’s changed his mind about me? We seemed to enjoy each other’s company, didn’t we?

Maybe it’s a good sign.    

Drumroll. Hopeful thoughts of your next move.

While reading random online articles the next day, the Facebook tab on my browser flashes a (1). New message.

I get excited when I see that it’s your name. You thank me for last night, then some small talk. I feign a casual reaction.

Do you have anything else to say?

I click another tab, on that funny Buzzfeed article I was reading before you messaged me. Maybe after I finish this article, you will have replied. I read the article too quickly. It seems less interesting now.

Click. I go back to Facebook. I stare at the blank space under the last message in our chatbox – a smile emoticon I used to punctuate that “casual” thing I said to you. I anticipate an ellipsis to fill the blank space, hoping you type another message. A few minutes pass.

The green dot beside your name turns gray.

Drumroll fades out. No climax. No fireworks. The silence mocks me for making such a fuss about this.

Like I said, when one thing passes, it can’t happen exactly the same way again.


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