by Lucille de Mesa, Celestine Trinidad, Ibyang Riot, Sarah Bulalacao, Mikki Shiu and BJ Medina
Click here to read the previous episode.
Drew reached out for her hand again, but this time, Girlie stepped out of his reach. She felt his eyes boring into her back, but she did not stop. She went inside, sliding the glass door behind her, leaving Drew in the veranda alone.
She did not want to talk to him anymore about the past. It was a long time ago, and that was true, even when there were still some days when she still felt as if everything had happened only yesterday. The memories were still fresh, and so was the pain. There were days when she still wondered what would have happened if they hadn’t broken up then. If they were still together now, maybe they would be happy, happier than how she was now, at least—
But all this wondering was useless, because they weren’t together now, and there was nothing else they could do about it. Nothing else but move on, just as she was supposed to move on from Richard and the five years of her life she wasted on him.
If only moving on were so easy. All her life, Girlie kept having to move on from every heartbreak that was thrown her way. She thought she’d be better at it throughout the years, but moving on was still something she never really learned to do well.
Inside, she found Phil and Dimitri in the living room, drinking the bottles of beer they bought from PetraGas’ convenience store. They had originally planned to drink these by the seaside, but as with everything else that had happened so far, Girlie thought with a sigh, nothing had gone according to plan. But Dimitri still seemed to be enjoying himself, which made her smile, despite everything. “Hey, Girl,” he said with a laugh, motioning for her to join them. His eyes, though shining with the mirth he always seemed to exude, were now hazy, unfocused. “Come, let’s join us!”
Girlie burst out laughing at Dimitri’s last words. “‘Let’s join us’… seriously, Dimitri? You sure you haven’t reached your limit yet?”
“I have no limits,” Dimitri said, his words slurring together. “I can drink aaaalll night.” He suddenly hiccuped, which only made Girlie laugh harder.
“Thanks, Dimitri,” she said. “But I think I’ll have to pass this time.”
“Fine, Girl,” Dimitri said. “Guess Phil and I will have to finish this all by ourselves.” He took out newly purchased cans of beer from a plastic bag with the words ‘Have a good day!’ printed on it, accompanied by a smiley face. Girlie assumed Dimitri had bought even more booze from the store near their cottage. “More for us, eh, Phil?” Dimitri said, with a wink at Phil.
Phil only raised his bottle own can of beer. He still did not say anything, but he had a small smile on his face as he looked at Dimitri. This filled Girlie with relief and hope. She squeezed Phil’s shoulder before returning to their room.
There was no one in the room, although she could hear the sound of the shower running in the bathroom. Girlie flopped onto the bed, grateful for some time alone, away from their friends, after all the mishaps they faced ever since their trip started. Girlie wondered if it was the universe telling them this vacation was a bad idea. She already had that sinking feeling when Phil proposed it three months ago, and right now, she felt like she was beginning to be proven right.
“So, had a one-on-one talk with Drew earlier, eh?” Girlie jumped as freshly showered Brenda joined her, drying her hair with a towel. Girlie closed her eyes and sighed. She was grateful to still have Brenda as a friend and all, but there were just some days when Brenda was a little bit too nosy for comfort. This was one of those days.
“You know, you offended him with that cheating joke you said earlier,” she said.
“He’s a big boy now, he can handle that,” Brenda said. That reply was exactly what Girlie was expecting from her. “His cheating on you happened a long time ago. I do hope he’s changed. We all do have to move on, anyway.”
Brenda sat beside Girlie on the bed. “Speaking of moving on…” She looked at Girlie, her eyes filled with something Girlie was not used to seeing in her: doubt. “There’s something I need to tell you.”
Phil woke up to the same A1 song he heard from Andrew’s phone last night. He thought it was just the TV or the radio, but it was really Drew’s phone ringing. He sat up and saw his friends all dressing up.
“W-what time is it?” he said as he rubbed his eyes with his hands.
“Dude! You only have 10 minutes left before we leave!” Dimitri said, removing his shirt. Phil stared as Dimitri stood half-naked, his lean form silhouetted against the soft morning light streaming in from the window.
“Why are you staring at me like that?” Dimitri said, breaking Phil out of his trance. “Hurry up!”
Dimitri was now putting a shirt, and Phil looked away. “How can you have been dead drunk just this morning and still have this much energy now?” he grumbled instead.
It was just the hangover, he told himself. Nothing more.
Phil got up and hurried straight into the bathroom.
Brenda exclaimed, sweat dripping down her face, “I told you we should have gotten on a jeepney!” Phil had insisted that they could walk to Tukuran Falls, and it was something he had been excited about even back when they were still planning their trip. But now his idea was on the verge of failure.
“But the blog post I read said it’s less than 2 kilometers away,” Phil said. “So I figured walking was not a bad option.”
“Oh, really?” Brenda said. “This is such a good idea. Like, the best you’ve come up with. Ever.”
Girlie explained, trying to mollify both of them, “The locals said that jeepneys and tricycles pass by here. We can wait for one to bring us to the falls.”
Brenda looked around.
“Yeah but we’ve been walking for almost a freaking hour and we haven’t seen any jeepney or tricycle pass by—” They heard a beep from a tiny tricycle, cutting Brenda off. The tricycle slowed down, stopping in front of them.
“Hello!” the driver said cheerfully. It was the fainting grandma’s grandson driving the tricycle, smiling.
Anything to share? :)