You are such a loser, says Veronica, my bitchy alter ego.
Oh my God. I am being stood up again. Where the fuck is he? Did he hit his head this morning and suddenly forget that he asked me out tonight? Did he, like, die or something? Or does he really enjoy pushing me around?
Or do you enjoy being pushed around? Veronica counters. I hate her.
Five minutes pass. And then five more. With every passing minute, my super inflated ego is taking a beating while my inner bitch is flexing her muscles, preparing for a fight. With each minute, I feel more like deflated red balloon stuck to a tree branch in one of Makati’s posh side streets.
A total of fifteen minutes pass and I am ready to hail a cab home. My entire day has been sufficiently ruined. I will not let myself wait a minute more and make a rerun of what happened that night in Greenbelt 3.
But the sex is good, Veronica whispers. And you just finished off a bottle of Victoria’s Secret Body Care Coconut Milk Hydrating Body Lotion. Think of your investments.
I shake my head and start to walk towards the cab drop off. Just then, a black Honda Civic starts to slow down across the street. I start to walk a little faster. A window starts to roll down and I start thinking, oh my God, I am getting picked up.
“Hey, Kit!” A familiar voice calls from the car. It’s Matthew. “Sorry, I’m late. The traffic is horrible.” I looked towards Ayala Avenue. Just when is traffic here not terrible?
“Let’s go?” he calls out and opens the car door while still inside the vehicle. I guess all the frustration doesn’t register on my face. Or maybe, despite the past dates, I never memorized his car plates. Or maybe it’s just his effect on me.
I feel even frustrated but my face probably registers so much joy. The moment Matthew opens his mouth, my inner bitch stiffens and drops to the floor, whimpering. And that’s not an exaggeration. All the irritation that has been making my blood boil for the past fifteen minutes doesn’t register on my face. I smile, walk to his car and join Matthew for another ride into the night.
“Are you okay with Eastwood?” he asks. “I hate Makati. It’s too crowded.”
“Sure,” I say.
“Are you okay?” he asks, reaching out to get some strands of hair off my face.
“You look…never mind.”
I want to ask him what he was about to say. I want to ask him things. There are just so many unanswered questions stuck deep down my throat and somewhere in my head. But instead of prodding, I keep quiet. Am I still too scared to ask the questions that will drive him away… again? I had thought of this moment so many times over. I had memorized some of the lines I would deliver. I can easily make that move now and free myself from the much heavy burden. But instead, I rest my head on his car’s passenger side window and feel the cool air from the air condition freeze a fleeting moment.
I look around, trying to keep myself from starting a topic I don’t think I am ready for. I see the strings of dried sampaguita that hang on his rearview mirror. I notice he has replaced the empty air freshener from last week. A quick look into the rearview mirror showed that the blanket from Tagaytay was gone. I notice his right hand on the gear shift and the small plastic bag filled with two boxes of condoms beside it.
“So, how was your day?” Matthew asks.
“I got my first copywriting assignment today,” I tell him.
“For the lifestyle magazine?”
“No,” I run my hands through my hair and they make sexy waves in the process. “It’s for a new Japanese client. A breast enhancing cream of some sort. They want a woman’s touch on the copy so they gave me free samples.”
As a young professional, I should have learned something about thinking first before I open my mouth. I snicker. He laughs. And we both agree that my girls don’t need enhancements.
We are almost to the end of Ayala Avenue when I feel his hand touch my knee. By the time we reach EDSA, I can feel his fingers massaging the slightly wet spot on my lace underwear. I hear myself groan, whimper and soon I feel the walls collapse just as his fingers badge in and then out and in again.
As a young professional, I’d like to believe I have learned something by now. I did, and in the midst of my whimpers, I check the windows and am satisfied that they are heavily tinted. We are enveloped in the darkness. But still, there are things that I haven’t learned yet and one of which is that sometimes, I still do not think before I open mouth and open his pants.
And along EDSA, I bend and open my mouth but he filled it with so much wanting and throbbing that I can feel it grow more and more violent. I keep my mouth full with so much of him from Makati all the way to White Plains. We end up looking for a place where we can release the week-worth of built up tension that has nothing to do with work.
As a member of Makati’s young professional workforce, I expected to have learned something by now. And in a way, I did learn something: I learned that I am still affected by the stigma that is Matthew Rondillo and for the nth time, I allow him to sting me.
To be continued…