by Allana Luta and KB Meniado
Welcome to Rewind Down, where we sit back, relax and revisit stories. This feature series is inspired by The Rewatch Project of Forever Young Adult.
For our very first session, we’re returning to the episodes of What Am I To You by Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla. If you’ve been reading this heart-racing serial here on Bookbed, you’ll know that the latest episode just left us with a major cliffhanger! WE KNOW, RIGHT? Some authors just love to watch their readers burrrn. But let us not despair; let’s use this waiting time to relish some of its greatest moments until the next release!
In this first episode, we get a flashback to five years ago, where typewriters are a class requirement (oh, our goodness, when was this exactly?), and we’re there with Kit, who can’t seem to stay awake in journalism class.
Now, having been both journalism majors in college (which was n years ago!), we’d have to say yes, there were definitely “boring as hell” moments, but unlike Kit, nope, we didn’t have a Sir Magic Pants to help keep us pull through. (We did have fantastic teachers, though. It was just the mountain load of papers and Maginhawa nights that bogged us down. Haha!)
Then, the ho-hum turns into a sss-znap, when in comes the Matthew Rondillo, the hot transfer from Bio who is also the editor of the university paper and president of the literary club. The knee-jerk reaction is, of course, HE WILL BE (OR ALREADY IS) A DOUCHE. But then, our girl Kit seems to be *smitten* by him, so what can we do?
What we do is we follow them up to the university library, where the spark seems to have been first flared and then eventually, ignited. (Libraries are one of the most magical places in the world, we’re telling you.) They talk about Kit’s failed friendship, choice of literature and non-boyfriend status. (Matthew is a true-blue reporter, by the way, always sniffing out for stories.) That first time led to a second time, then to a third and onto a regular schedule.
But like all things, that came to an end. This episode leaves us with a crying Kit and her memories of Matthew, which seem to mean more than just their conversations at the library.
“There are no athletes, no gorgeous nerds, no jocks and no superstars. How will I manage to find a boyfriend in this building filled with boys whose cat eyeliners are fiercer than mine?”
“I’ve always known that there will be people who will hate you because you don’t need to belong to a group.”
“Whenever I feel troubled, I find solace in books.”
The second episode jumps off to 24-year-old, post-college Kit, and we find her working hard in the city, “jumping from one [ad] agency to another.” (Ahem, that sounds a lot like what many millenials go through.) We were ready to find her with another guy, but then again, Matthew re-enters via a text message (to which Kit replied with a dignified version of “Hu u p0?”), a call (which Kit dropped—to our delight, as Matthew just couldn’t get a hint) and finally, IN PERSON. After FOUR years!
(Apparently, it was Kit’s winning ad pitch for an editorial team, which Matthew was head of, that led that to happen.)
But just when we’re feeling FIERCE AND I DON’T-NEED-THIS-DRAMA-BYE, we see Kit waiting for Matthew later on, who has asked her for coffee at 11p.m.! 11 P.M.??? We guess some girls never really learn, huh, Kit?
But we’re patient and we’re waiting for the saving grace that will make us cheer for this girl, so we watch another little flashback to a Kit-Matthew moment in college. And here is the moment where we feel like we should be elated because Matthew holds her for the first time. However, “DOUCHE DOUCHE DOUCHE” thumps inside of our ears, and so we return to that very moment where Matthew seems to be standing Kit up. (DOUCHE, DOUCHE, DOUCHE!)
SURPRISINGLY (and to our chagrin, lol), he doesn’t. He shows up. After an hour and 45 minutes. We therefore promote him to Mr. A-double-S. But does Kit care? No, absolutely not. Because Kit turns into the giddy 18-year-old version of herself, and asks Matthew out to a movie. (If coffee at 11 p.m. is a booty call, then what is a movie at 12:45 a.m.? SERIOUSLY, KIT.)
And so we watch them go to a movie house (which we have no idea where, since everything is usually already closed down at 10 p.m.), where they order a tub of popcorn that falls when Matthew accidentally stumbles. We would laugh but then we hear Kit throw a joke that speaks so much, and we’re back to Mr. A-double-S, because Kit… Kit is the one who seems to be falling for him again.
Judging from our judgment of Matthew in the past two episodes, we have this prejudice that Matthew is not good for Kit. But because there seems to be a lack of BFF in Kit’s life (we keep looking for the best friend, Hazel, but she’s MIA), we decide to stick by her and support her happiness…
… Even if that means going on a road trip to Tagaytay with Matthew. On a rainy day.
Kit, Kit, Kit.
They drive up, stop over for bulalo and talk about college and their lives. Matthew, as usual, pries Kit about her career, which leads her to admitting that “she was lost.”
Matthew pounces on the opportunity and takes her breath away, figuratively first (“I’m lost, too”) and then literally (kisses). He has her singing to Norah Jones afterwards.
Houston, we have a problem.
You know someone’s a Grade A Jerk when even your boss knows just how awful a person they are. So when we hear Kit tells her boss Joey, who seems like a really cool dude, by the way, that’s she’s going on a date with Matthew that night, he responds with, “Ex editor-in-chief cum asshole Mathew?”
Okay, alright, Joey probably only knows about Matthew as the EIC that disappeared all of a sudden. But he backs off and lets Kit live her personal life, as all good bosses should, and Kit is free to reminisce about what happened after that car incident in Tagaytay.
The memory doesn’t feel romantic. Like, not even a little bit. Kit knows it wasn’t romantic (at all) and yet her body heats up at the simple thought of what they did. And at this point we kinda just want to slap the crazy out of Kit and tell her to Cancel. The. Date!
But Kit, helpless in the face of Matthew’s everything, pushes through with it anyway. And you know what she’s rewarded with when she arrives at their meeting place? Nothing. No Matthew. No car. Nada. Zilch.
TOLD YOU SO!!!
Okay, okay. We were wrong. Matthew arrives a mere 15 minutes late because of the usual Metro Manila, should-have-anticipated-that traffic (hey even classes allow grace periods) and while all of Kit’s frustrations melt away as she climbs into his car, ours exponentially grows. Girl, what the heeewl?
What happens in the car is a perfect example of how you know someone ain’t good for you. Kids, listen up.
Kit is a strong, independent woman, right? Right? She’s a young professional working in the city, as she repeatedly reminds herself, and she can take care of her own. Admittedly, Matthew makes her a bit loopy. In a bad way. But still, she’s got a fire in her that pushes her to go after what she wants.
So why is a strong, independent young woman like Kit keeping quiet when there are so many questions burning in her head? Why is she so scared to use her words when she wants, needs the answers to appease her mind? Why, in all the time they could have spent in the EDSA traffic clearing the air that’s been fogged up for years, is she preoccupying her mouth with something else entirely?
Maybe it’s easy to say what Kit should and shouldn’t do as people who are simply third party observers and not in her situation. We’re not trying to be judge-y here! Just concerned. Kit is our heroine, for crying out loud. We want her to be happy!
In this episode, we watch Kit and Matthew eventually get to their destination and hooray, Matthew isn’t a complete fool! He’s actually reserved a table for them at this restaurant. They talk about Matthew’s magazine and Kit’s inner publishing geek perks up at the topic.
We assume they’re having a pretty grand time until Matthew invites Kit to write for him. And the actual words he uses are, “You’ve known this ever since college, remember? You want to be with me.”
OH HEEEEEEEECK NAW.
They’re talking about the magazine, of course. But no one can tell us that Matthew doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing.
Kit flinches and starts doubting her probably rusty writing skills. So she waves the offer off, promises maybe, someday. (We say: NEVER.)
They settle down at a Starbucks after dinner and this is where the real conversation happens. Matthew makes an offhand comment about not being afraid to die and Kit can’t help it. She asks him what happened to him (subtext: to them?). She opens the dam.
And damn, was that dam opened.
Apparently the reason why Matthew is now a shell of his former self is because his long-time girlfriend Bridgette left him. The same Bridgette who he was seeing in college when he and Kit met the first time. The same Bridgette who was left blissfully unaware of their sordid affair. The same Bridgette who Matthew chose over Kit in the end.
But this is Matthew we’re talking about. If he’s good at anything, it’s confusing the hell out of Kit.
“I was so in love with you then, Kit.”
“I know. And you knew I loved you when you clearly did not.”
“That’s bullshit. You know how I felt… feel about you.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Do you really know how you feel about me?”
By the end of the episode, Kit is doing an Elsa and telling Matthew to LET. HER. GO. Although not as forcefully or as sing-song-y. But we don’t know yet if she’s finally learned what’s good for her or if it’s just to stop hurting.
Oh, Kit. ☁