1 1. The Tough One

Don't get me wrong. Wala naman akong problema, wala din akong issue sa mundo. Wala lang talaga akong pake.

"Gerlie! Ano na? asan na yung storyline na ipanangako mo?"

"I'm working on it, sir!"

"Masyado ka nang napupuyat. Umuwi ka na, have some rest. Hindi na nakakabuti sa'yo ang pagiging masipag mo. Call it a wrap and tomorrow, we will be going somewhere relaxing. Para naman maboost ang artistry 'nyo."

"Thank you sir, but I can't sleep even if I go home. Kaya, dito na muna ako."

"This is an executive order."

"Eh? Kelan pa nagkaroon ng executive order na ganyan?"

He did'nt answer.

"Gerli, kunin mo na incentives mo. Nakuha ko na yung akin." Si Nikko , bakla- Baklang gwapo.

'"Incentives? Saan?"

"Inked."

Ah, yung school publication na sinalihan ko. 2.5 k lang naman yung incentive every release namin ng issue. Pero, every semester din naman yung release.

"Gerli, Pwede na din na natin i-claim yung TES" Si Michelle, babaeng may kaluluwa ng bakla. TES, Tertiary Education Subsidy. 20k per sem din and scholarship na yun.

"Kala ko ba alphabetical order."

Nagkibit balikat lang sya.

"Don't worry, after n'yong mapromote to being a senior member, may 5k per sem din kayong incentive dito sa Theatre."

(20k + 2.5k + 5k = 27.5k)(2) (dahil dalawang semester kada taon) = 55k ang sampung buwan kong pag-aaral + Free tuition dahil pumasa ako sa administration exam. Ansarap mag-aral.

"Libre naman jan." Ang tanging sambit ng kawawang kaluluwa na hindi pinagpala.

"Sure. Mamayang lunch. Kakain tayo sa restaurant malapit sa may ice cream shop. Magdala lang kayo ng baon. "

Tsk.tsk. They should know better. The money I get is only enough to support my studying and food and clothes. I don't have the spare to spend for another libre session. Besides, nothing goes free in this world. Everything is all about business. Call me blunt. But I, in no effin' way would give anything to anyone for free.

"Madam, pahiram naman ng konting blessing mo. Nagkulang lang talaga ako da budget ngayun." Isa pa 'tong hinayupak na AJ. Kala mo naman mag babayad.

"Tapos, babayran mo lang kung mag-aaway na tayo?"

He just rolled his eyes. The heck? Bakit parang kasalanan ko pa kung magastos ka? Tigilan mo na kasi yang GoSurf50 mo.

"Ansama mo, ha." Nikko winked at me. Haay… ansarap sa tenga. Ipagpatuloy mopa ang papuri mo.

"Gerli, kunan mo ng pictures yung mga tao sa feature article mo. Yun ang magiging cover ng school paper ngayun." Ang galing. Nangyari na din ang isa sa pantasya ko. Ang m,agingb cover ang isa sa mga features ko.

"On it!"

"Gerli, please send me the picture of your mystery portrait. He's gonna be the background for the article you wrote titled "TOXIC"." Ok, alam mo ate Zao, imposible ko na talagang mapicturan ang drawing na 'yun. Naibigay ko na, eh. Last Feb. 13, 2109- sa crush ko. And if you are my crush, I will certainly loath to see you, much more talk to you.

"Ate, pwede ba yung galing sa facebook?"

"Hindi, dapat kuha gamit ang DSLR, masisira kasi yung quality ng picture pag galing sa facebook. Mahihirapan ako sa pag ie-edit ng layout."

So that's the reason why I asked HIM to take the picture for me which he agreed (half-heartedly I guess). At ayun, nagkita kami para ibigay sa kanya yung camera at alam ko rin na sobrang halata na ako sa kanya. Pero, hindi naman yun bago, halos magwala ng nga ako nung ikinasal ako sa kanya sa marriage booth. Oo, kinilig ako. Pero in a violent sort of way.

"Alam ko naman sigurokun pa'no gamitin."

"Sorry, nakalimutan kong i-explain." Wow, as if naman na kaya kong makipag chikahan sa kanya noh. Like, ito yung power button. Pindutin mo yan para ma turn-on ka sa'ken. Antanga.

"Thank you talaga, tsaka sorry na din sa abala."

"Ok lang yun." Kinakabahan na ako sobra. Nawasak na siguro rib cage ko, 'di na ako makahinga ng maayos eh.

That is also the reason why I hate guys being late. There's an event going on and the photo journalists needs the camera AND I can't mess it up just because he has the camera. What if lowbat yun? What if hindi sya umabot? What if itinangay na niya yung cam at hindi na sya magpapakit kailanman? What's worst? My panic attack! This is the exact reason why I want to work, live, and die alone. Kasi kung may kasama ka, malalate lang sila! Time is the greatest commodity! Once you ignore time, you are worth nothing to me.

"Ano ba? May klase yung tao! Hwag ka ngang atat!"

"Kuya Nelson, it's no manly to ignore time. Once both the parties set the time, both of them must keep their word and be there an hour earlier. Naiintindihan ko naman na hindi kami pareho ng definition saa tanghali. Ang tanghali sa normal na tao, 12 0'clock, sa'ken kasi 9 o'clock yung tanghali. Pero kuya, alas singko na. It's near evening!"

"What kind of a clock do you have?"

"Just like your clock, but I set it two hours advance."

"Malala ka na, Gerli. Kinain ka na ng sistema mo."

"Being punctual and a woman of word is never my fault."

"You can't just boss everyone else! Sometimes, you need to adjust your sails."

"Look, I don't adjust my sails to sink my boat. If I lose this chance, I don't think there will be any other else."

Gustong umakbay ni Michelle sa'ken but I stopped her mideway.

"alam mo, malaking turn-off sa mga lalake yang masyadong demanding."

"Wala naman akong problema kung ganyan ang mangyayari.

After that frustrating-time-insulting-day, I don't wanna see him at school nor hear of him, nor talk about him. He is a disaster. He triggered my anxiety attack! HE managed to make my brain cells debate over his tardiness.

"It's you who asked for his help. Yeah, I did. But I never expected him to be so late. But he's an engineering student, he doesn't have that much free time! Well, he's online! It means he's not listening to his teacher and probably is having a game. That means, he's not that busy! What do you think you are to him? His number one priority? This is not about priorities, it about the time wasted and the worth of the time wasted."

Alam ko, di nya alam na siya naman kasi yung nasa drawing ko. Sya din yung tinutukoy ko sa article na yun kaya nararapat lang na yung portrait niya ang maging background. Hindi naman kasi ako ganun katigasin. Naattact din ako sa mga boys- tall, dark and handsome boys, yung may mumunting bangas pero dapat, not too thick. Masculine dapat yung angas, pero nandun yung pagka snob. Bonus na din yung mga mata tsaka kilay at pilimata.

"Ano 'to? Sabi mo dito, stop me not from loving you at least. Ano ka? William Shakespeare? Tapos, iiyak ka nanaman kung makita mo syang may kasamang iba?"

"Bakla, di porket crush ko na yung tao, mahal ko na. Paki-ayos nalang nung mga glow in the dark paint ko. Tsaka yang gown, paki suot mo nlanag dun sa mannequin, ha. Huwag ka na magalala, ayos lang tong puso ko."

Binigyan nya lang ako ng nagaalalang tingin.

"Bhe, yung grade mo sa isang instructor natin di nakapasa sa cut-off para maging Dean's Lister ka."

"Ano?"

"Pa'no na yan? Kayong dalawa ni Nikko ang naalis sa Honor's List. Sayang, Administrator's Lister pa nanam sana kay0 dati."

So, ibig sabihin di ko na makukuha yung inaasam kong another 2,ooo pesos?

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