Can’t Go Back Now

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this blog post are purely FICTIONAL. The author meant no offense to those whose names are being mentioned.

Her heart frantically stiffened when the lights on the narrow alley leading to the kitchen all of a sudden dimmed. It turned out to be her sister.

“Gising ka pa pala…” , she mouthed, noticing her younger sister’s somewhat shocked demeanor.

Over the last two months, her family had slowly gotten used to her coming home late, then settling to sleep not long after.

“Eto nga, nagpapaantok.”, Maine replied pointing her gaze towards the cup of hot chocolate that she was holding.

“Bakiiiiit?”, Maine implored noticing her sister’s guarded and suspicious look on her.

Wala, kailan ka pa nagiging magugulatin? Baka naman may sakit ka na sa puso niyan… Ingat…ingat baka mahulog…yang hawak mo.”, she answered with a restrained laugh.

Maine’s lips curved with a smile. Thank heavens for sisters.

Somewhere, someone’s lying anxiously on his bed. Earlier, Ryan gave him Maine’s number and insisted for him to make the first move and drop her a message or even a call.

To text her this late in the evening might not be the most perfect idea however. They still have a scheduled shoot the next morning, this he calmly appeased.

But his jolting nerves just would not allow his mind to rest; he then took out his phone and started composing a message:

Hi Meng, This is Alden. I’d like to thank you for…

He stopped. This is not him. This cannot be him.

Sometime ago, he promised to his mom’s grave that he would place his own happiness on hold just so he can make sure that he could keep his family together. They needed him to keep their lives afloat. They needed his strength to keep them from falling apart. For him, this was enough. Their happiness was more than enough.

But with Maine, she became the exception. She was different. If he knew that she was to make this kind of impact in his life, he would have readily resisted the very idea of them being paired up. But then again, he couldn’t even remember the last time he felt this way. There was no denying the fact that he is happy and that she is the only reason for it.

Hi Meng, Alden here…Thank you and I hope to get to know you better…

Erase…erase…

He held the phone tighter to his chest, shutting his eyes as tight as he possibly could.

When his eyes re-opened, it readily sought for his mom’s picture right at his bedside, seemingly looking for answers.

Ikaw naman kasi, ‘Ma…ang daya mo…

He did not even know whether those words came out of frustration. One thing is however certain, he misses having her around. If she’d only be here, he is sure she would like her for him.

Ma, tama ba ‘to?”, he uttered covering his face with both hands.

Ma, tinamaan na yata talaga ang Tisoy mo.

He slid his phone into the drawer, thwarting every intention he has that night of reaching out to her.

Her eyes remained glued on her laptop. The sight of a singing man tearing up on national television, in front of an overly agitated crowd no less is keeping her up and not letting sleep in whatever form come visit her. Never mind if it is half an hour before midnight now, this is proving to be something new for her. This experience is wholly new for her to say the very least.

Months back, if by some sorts somebody hinted to her that this will be happening to her, for sure she will be laughing the idea off. She had just finished school and for success to knock this early, it only means she’s been blessed way beyond she has expected.

“Ingat, ingat baka mahulog”, her sister’s voice continuously echoes inside her head like a broken record.

Realistically so, the past few days had been an entirely unique struggle for her. She had to repeatedly convince herself that everything was just for a show. Anything more than that can destroy any momentum they have most especially with regards to their respective careers. She knew very well that it would be a different story altogether if and when she allows herself to fall, much worse—to fall without anyone on the other end to catch her. Yes, she knew she has to follow her heart, but she knew now more than ever that she also has to tag her mind along with it.

“Is he really serious with me?”, she mumbled while watching how he shamelessly and almost instantaneously offered his song to her.

Earlier that day, she decided with all conviction there is to temper any expectation she has of him. She is convinced that all along, he was holding back and none of the show’s main hosts can make her believe otherwise. Not until that very moment when he literally broke down, even unable at some point to continue his singing.

“Okay ka lang ba?”, this she had to ask when he first came near her during his supposed first visit to the mansion.

In truth, this has also been the same question she’s been asking herself the entire time that he was there. She was shaking and even Wally and Jose had to tell her to compose herself moments before the actual meeting. Ironically though, there were also the ones who told her how Alden had been acting differently the past few days. Although it admittedly thrilled her, she went quickly to brush off their musings with her flamboyant remark and innate sense of humor.

The next morning, she arrived ahead of everyone else. Maybe borne out of sheer excitement, she nearly forgot that she barely had slept last night; this is her first day of shooting for her very first movie. Everything simply happened too fast as they say. When she reached her assigned tent, she found a bouquet of pink roses placed on top of one of the converted side tables. And the note it bore read:

Dear Meng,

There’s no turning back now. Salamat para sa mga bagong simula at sa mga pangarap na unti-unting natutupad. Good luck on your first shooting day. Alam kong kayang kaya mo ‘yan…J

-Richard

Well, it all seemed like nobody will be needing some blush-on, at least for today.

Halfway through the shoot, she was told that Bossing had already arrived on the set, and like an unquestioning newbie, she told the director she wants to go and see him as a gesture to thank him for this opportunity.

The director went gracious enough to allow her to do just that.

Alighting from her make-shift dressing room, the staff told her that Bossing occupies the tent nearest the director’s area.

She then heard a roar of excited voices from afar. Not minding it, she continued to walk distractedly.

Slowly poking her head to the tent, she saw not a single person around. Disappointed, she lithely swiveled in search for a familiar face. A familiar voice nevertheless surfaced.

“Meng…”

She bit her lower lip upon recognizing who it was.

“Alden…”

Bossing opted to take a nap daw muna, eh inaayos nila yun aircon sa tent ko, they told me pwede ako mag-stay muna dito. ”, he lengthily explained while leading her to one of the chairs nearby.

“Thank you sa flowers.” she uttered in an almost hushed tone.

“Ahh yun ba? I was supposed to text you kasi kagabi but then… ”

“You have my number?” she hastily asked, not wanting to get too ahead of herself.

“Ahh, si Kuya Ry kasi”, he shyly confessed.

“Meng…baka kasi, ahmmm I don’t want you to get the impression na I am riding on to this whole thing…na baka isipin mo I am taking advantage of you, of the situation…alam mo na.”, he hesitantly continued.

Baka hinahanap ka na nila?”, he smiled wryly shifting his gaze outside.

Nope, nagpaalam naman ako.”, she insisted, appreciating this candid side of him she is seeing for the very first time.

He stood up, seemingly in search of something.

“Kumain ka na ba?”, he softly asked looking at the box of French macaroons left on one of the tables.

Baka magalit sila sa atin..”, she promptly cautioned.

Hindi naman siguro, at tsaka ganito na lang, ilang pieces lang naman and if may magtanong, I’ll just oblige and pay for it. Okay ba yun sa’yo?” he gamely assured.

She then burst into laughter.

“May bago na pala akong partner in crime now. Hayaan mo ‘pag pumayag si Lola Nidora, I will bake for you.” She light-heartedly remarked.

Aasahan ko yan, partner in crime!

Baka naman, ma-in love ka sa ‘kin kapag natikman mo yun luto ko ahh..” she quipped subsequently giving him a high five.

Both paused as he held on to her hand, tracing the gaps in between her fingers with his own.

“Meng, Thank you…I couldn’t think of anything else to say than that. Salamat kasi hinahayaan mo ako kahit papaano na mas makilala ka and you don’t know how that means so much to me. And wait…teka…”

He finally let go of her hand, raising his pinky finger close to hers.

His eyes suddenly turned misty as his mother’s memory came instantly storming back, even owning the moment for him.

Pinky swear. I’ll always be here for you. Always. Hindi ko alam where all these will take us, pero I want you to know that you have this one person right here to count on to be with you through whatever…”

Sure, she realized how his eyes have their silence, the kind that comforts her; it has its own power of freeing her from doubts she has once consider.

Curving her own finger into his, she simply knew that there was no turning back now, no coming back to the strangers that they once were.

This is after all, a new journey, a new beginning for both of them.

☺☺☺

-For nicoy, bree and tintoy-

somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot tough because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
-E.E. Cummings