Girlfriend

Kumusta ka na?


 

 

 


That night, Seulgi and I spent the time to rekindle our friendship. It felt great to talk again without thinking of what happened to us in the past. 
 

 

 

 

 

Pareho kami na nag-agree na hindi na muna pagu-usapan ang nangyari noon. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na hindi na namin pagu-usapan ay kakalimutan na iyon. It's just that we chose to move forward without that part of the past. 

 

 

 

 

 

Ngayon ay hindi pa kami ulit nagu-usap. There is a typhoon that is bound to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility and it is quite strong so I had no choice but to go out to buy supplies on my own. Kaya wala akong panahon na tawagan pa o-itext si Seulgi dahil masyado kaming naga-alala dahil sa bagyo. I also informed my clients that I might lose power supply kaya't hindi ako makakapag-online. 
 

 

 


 

 

Jennie and Rosé are both at home, charging their phones and power banks dahil malakas ang parating na typhoon and we are expecting power interruption. Last week kasi, may dumaan na din na bagyo sa bansa at malakas din iyon. Wala kaming power nang ilang oras at hindi din nasabihan ang mga client dahil biglaan ang nangyari. Mabuti na lang at considerate sila kahit hindi namin nagawa ang mga task namin. 

 

 

 

 

 

"My goodness, ang tama ng typhoon, doon ulit!" complain ni Jennie habang nanunuod ng news sa tv. 
 

 

 

 

 

Kakatapos ko lang maligo. May in-spray din ako sa throat ko na ni-recommend ni Chanyeol. He said this will help me to not get a cough or cold. Kaya tuwing lumalabas ako ay nagsi spray ako nito. Natakot na ako, after facing a life and death situation.

 

 

 

 

 

"How is it outside, Ate Irene? You know how Filipinos are fond of shopping at the last minute." natawa ako sa tanong ni Rosé. 
 

 

 

 

 

"We're Filipinos too." sagot ko. "But, yeah. It's kind of crowded in the mall. Lalo ngayon that they are slowly lifting the restrictions. May mga bata ka nang makikita sa labas, even sa mall." 
 

 

 

 

"As expected from an incompetent government." Jennie shrugged at nagpatuloy lang sa panunuod ng news. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Since it has been months since the pandemic started, sanay na ang lahat sa new normal. Kung dati ay nagsusuot lang ang mga tao ng facemask to match their outfit of the day, ngayon ay necessity na ang pagsu-suot ng mask. Huhulihin ang mga nasa labas pero walang suot na facemask. Besides, isa din ito sa mga paraan to keep yourself from being infected habang wala pa ang mga vaccine that will fight off the virus. 

 

 

 

 

"Buti hindi ka ine-encourage ni Ate Tiff na doon nalang sa California? Since living abroad will be a lot better than staying in this country during this crisis." tanong ni Jennie bago tumayo para i-off na ang tv. 

 

 

 

 

"Na-mention niya the last time we talked." I shrugged. "Wala pa sa isip ko, eh. Besides, medyo mahirap magayos ng papers ngayon. As for Lia, she wants to stay in Dasma, so.." 

 

 

 

 

The last time I talked to Ate Tiffany, she asked me if I am interested to stay with her in Los Angeles while there is a pandemic going on. The situation in the States is far from what's happening in the Philippines. Every day, may new reports pa din ng covid. But their government was quick to handle the situation kaya hindi gaanong lumala. They are taking good care of the people, too. Palaging may ayuda. Ang mga na-layoff sa trabaho ay binibigyan ng financial support ng government. Though, logical naman na mas mayan ang United States than the Philippines and they have very much the capability to support their citizens. But I personally believe that only if the funds of the government is handled properly, matutulungan kahit ang mga mahihirap. 

 

 

 

 

Hindi ako agad nakasagot sa offer ni Ate. I had so many things to consider, including Jennie and Chaeyoung. We have been living together for a while now, at alam kong mahihirapan ako kung maghi-hiwalay kami. Or kung hihiwalay ako sa kanila. Isa pa, mahirap mag-ayos ng papers. Kumuha man ako ng visa or i-follow up man ang petition ni Ate sa akin at kay Lia. Besides, our youngest decided to just stay in Dasmariñas. She was supposed to study Architecture at UST, but decided to just take up Civil Engineering in La Salle, Dasma. She had a sudden change of mind at mukhang ayaw din mahiwalay sa pinsan namin na si Eunbi kaya nag settle na din siya sa pag-aaral sa Dasma. 

 

 

 

 

I had to change some of my plans, because of that, too. Handa na sana akong bumili ng three-bedroom condo unit para sa amin ni Lia, because she was supposed to study in UST. Pero dahil nagbago ang isip niya ay hindi ko na tinuloy ang pagbili ng bagong unit. Siguro ay susubukan na lang namin nila Jennie na lumipat sa mas malaking condo, and find a different tower dahil talagang kailangan namin ng extra room para maging office. Sa ngayon ay pinagiisipan ko muna ang mga plano kong gawin, lalo kung kailanganin ko ngang pumunta kay Ate TIff sa California. 

 

 

 

 

 

"Nakausap mo na ba jowa mo, Ate Irene?" si Chaeng, habang nagdi-dinner kami. 

 

 

 

 

"May jowa ba ako?" patawang tanong ko. 

 

 

 

 

"Si Seulgi." 

 

 

 

 

Umismid ako dahil sa tanong ni Chaeng. "Hindi ko naman jowa 'yon." 

 

 

 

 

"Hindi pa?" naninimbang na tanong ni Jennie na tinawanan ko na lang. 

 

 

 

 

 

Ano nga ba kami ni Seulgi? 

 

 

 

 

 

Tao, siyempre. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hindi namin pinag-usapan, kahit noon, ang status naming dalawa. Wala kaming pinag-usapan na dahilan sa paraan ng pag-trato namin sa isa't isa. Yes, we were physical before. We were so sweet, pero pareho naming alam na dahil iyon sa komportable kami sa isa't isa bilang mag-bestfriend. We never became more than just bestfriends. But with the way we treated each other, label na lang ang kulang.

 

 

 

 

 

Ganoon kami ulit ngayon. It's amazing how I was able to forgive her like what she did was nothing. Parang wala lang sa akin ang nangyari nang nakalipas na tatlong taon. It was funny because I fell only because of her smile. One smile and the walls that I have been building for myself in the past three years crashed in an instant. 

 

 

 

 

 

Dahil lang sa isang ngiti. 

 

 

 

 

 

Iba talaga ang epekto sa akin ni Kang Seulgi, hanggang ngayon.  

 

 

 

 

"Paano naman kasi magiging kayo kung wala pang umaamin hanggang ngayon? You've been best friends for eleven years, now. Almost twelve. Imposible na wala kayong feelings sa isa't isa." napa-inom ako ng tubig dahil sa sinabi ni Jennie. 

 

 

 

 

Ang tagal na pala naming ganito ni Seulgi. Twelve years. 

 

 

 

 

"Is it worth the risk, Jen?" malungkot akong ngumiti. "What if she's just like this to everybody? Remember how she calls her friends 'love'?" 

 

 

 

 

"Well, she's an if she's like this to everybody." tumawa si Jennie. "But you are the only one she calls 'Ga.. You're different from her other friends." 

 

 

 

 

"Ga means love, too." 

 

 

 

 

Ewan ko ba kung paano nag-simula ang pagtawag namin ni Seulgi sa isa't isa na 'Ga. We were spontaneous as teenagers, Siguro, we just find this sweet and intimate kaya namin ginawang 'endearment'. 

 

 

 

 

 

"Pero iba ka. Kita mo nang sayo pa din umuwi kahit may Tzuyu at Krystal na siya doon sa LA." natawa kami ni Chaeng pareho dahil sa sinabi na iyon ni Jennie. 

 

 

 

 

"Kahit hindi pa siya umuuwi?" 

 

 

 

 

Jennie rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean, Irene." 

 

 

 

 

"Girl, it's not even your period pero nagta-taray ka dyan. Palibasa, hindi nadidiligan." 

 

 

 

 

 

Natawa nang malakas si Chaeyoung dahil sa sinabi ko. At si Jennie naman ay nag make-face na lang dahil sa sinabi ko. She's been in a long-distance relationship with Kai since the pandemic started. Ganoon naman yata for most couples dahil talagang strict ang restrictions dahil sa covid. Hindi din dumadalaw dito si Kai dahil ayaw naman tumanggap ni Jennie ng bisita, baka daw mag-dala pa ng virus dito sa apartment. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When night came, we decided to just settle in our rooms dahil nagsisimula nang lumakas ang hangin. Magpa-paramdam na yata ang bagyo. Kaya hindi na din kami nag-trabaho dahil magkakaroon ng signal interruption, for sure. 

 

 

 

 

 

Akala ko ay okay na ako mag-isa dito sa kwarto ko. It was 10PM when it started pouring. Hindi ako makatulog dahil nakaka-bother ang lakas ng ulan. Kinuha ko naman agad ang cellphone ko para mag-check ng updates sa twitter. Baha na sa ilang lugar, some people are even evacuating dahil malalim na ang baha sa kanila. Houses and trees were damaged in Bicol, kung saan nag landfall ang bagyo. Now it's making its way to Manila. 

 

 

 

 

Binuksan ko ang isang messaging app. nang makita na may chat si Seulgi doon. Napatingin tuloy ako sa world clock para alamin kung anong oras na ba sa California ngayon. 

 

 

 

 

 

Seulgi my 'Ga

Bakit gising ka pa? 

 

 

 

 

Irene Bae

Bakit gising ka na? 

 

 

 

Seulgi my 'Ga 

ha.ha. funny. I asked first. 

 

 

 

Irene Bae

Then I'll answer first. 

Can't sleep. I'm worried. 

 

 

 

Seulgi my 'Ga

Because of the typhoon? 

 

 

 

Irene Bae

Yeah. 

 

 

 

 

Napabangon ako bigla at umayos nang pagkaka-higa nang biglang tumatawag siya sa facetime. Binuksan ko ang lamp sa bedside table at sumandal sa headboard para masagot ang tawag niya. 

 

 

 

 

 

"Bakit ka tumawag?" tanong ko nang makita na siya sa screen. 

 

 

 

 

"Because I wanted to see you." pinigilan kong ngumiti dahil sa sinabi niya. This person sure knows how to make me insane. 

 

 

 

 

"I can just send you a picture of me if you asked." 

 

 

 

 

"Hmm.. well, you can do that, too. After the call." 

 

 

 

 

Natawa ako. "Abuso ka na. Heto na nga at kaharap mo na ako." 

 

 

 

"Is that Ate Irene?" dinig ko sa background ang maliit na boses ni Yeri, na agad namang inirapan ni Seulgi. 

 

 

 

"Hi, Yerim! You're in LA?" tanong ko at nagwave pa sa batang kapatid ng best friend. 

 

 

 

 

"No. Ate Seulgi's in San Francisco! You should come here, too, Ate Irene!" 

 

 

 

 

I chuckled softly. "Are you going to let me stay in your house if I go there?" 

 

 

 

 

"Of course!" excited na tumango si Yeri na may kasama pang palakpak. Natawa ako habang si Seulgi naman ay mukhang naguguluhan sa kapatid. "We'll eat corndogs! Then we will ask Ate Seulgi to drive us to LA so we can go to Disneyland! Let's go sh--"

 

 

 

 

"Hey buddy. Are you done fixing your bed?" si Seulgi, na sumabat sa sinasabi ng kapatid. 

 

 

 

 

"Oh. I forgot." nagkamot sa ulo ang kapatid ni Seulgi at nagpaalam na sa akin bago lumabas nang kwarto. 

 

 

 

"That's rude." saway ko kay Kang Seulgi nang makalabas ang kapatid niya. 

 

 

 

 

"She entered my room without knocking. Now who's rude?" hindi na ako sumagot at umirap na lang. 

 

 

 

 

"So you flew from LA to SF?"

 

 

 

"Nope. I drove. Mabilis lang naman since there are not many cars on the road. Hindi kasing-busy noon." 

 

 

 

 

Kaya pala hindi ko din masyadong nakausap si Seulgi kahapon, dahil nagda drive siya pauwi sa kanila sa San Francisco. 

 

 

 

I learned that she lives in Los Angeles, alone, dahil nandoon ang mga restaurant. Oo, mga. 

 

 

 

 

Apparently, she has two restaurants to manage. Pareho siyang co-owner nila Tzuyu at Chef Jung. Silang tatlo ay business partners. Their restaurant has two branches in Los Angeles. Si Krystal ang head chef sa main branch, habang si Seulgi naman sa newly-opened branch nila sa Calabasas. Tumutulong pa siya doon sa mga Chef na hinire nila ni Tzuyu so she's there most of the time. Pero nang umalis sila ng pamilya niya after graduation, sa San Francisco muna sila dahil doon sila may bahay. Humiwalay lang daw si Seulg after two years and after sorting out her issues. 

 

 

 

Tell your goodnight to the light and close your eyes
There's a better place for you than to stay awake

 

 

 

 

 

"Wala ka naman work. So you should sleep." 

 

 

 

 

"Paano ako matutulog kung kausap pa kita?" natawa siya. "Besides, hindi nga ako makatulog dahil sa ulan."

 

 

 

 

"Are you worried that it might flood?" 

 

 

 

You'll get closer to a paradise of dreamers in love
You'll get better like heaven has done something

 

 

 

 

 

"Yeah. So I think I should stay awake." pagdadahilan ko. 

 

 

 

 

"Nope. You should sleep, Hyun." 

 

 

 

So lay now
Hear me all through the night

 

 

 

 

 

"Eh? should I drop the call now?" medyo confused kong tanong dahil pilit niya talaga akong pinapatulog na. 

 

 

 

 

"Hmm.. I have an idea." 

 

 

 

 

There's no teardrop
You can count on me tonight

 

 

 


 

"Ano?" natatawang tanong ko. 

 

 

 

 

"Ilang percent pa ang battery mo?" 

 

 

 

 

"I just charged, so one hundred." 

 

 

 

 

"Great." ngumiti si Seulgi at sinuot na ang earphone niya. "I'll wait until you sleep." 

 

 

 

 

Or I'll stay up with you

 

 

 

 

"What are you going to do? Stare at me as I fall asleep? Creepy yata,,: sagot ko, kahit sa totoo ay kinikilig na ako sa pag-iisip na iintayin niya hanggang makatulog ako! 

 

 

 

"Silly. It will only be creepy if I am a ghost." 

 

 

 

 

Natawa ako ng malakas dahil sa sinabi ni Seulg. "You are a ghost. You ghosted me for three years!" 

 

 

 

 

"Sabi ko nga, wrong choice of words 'yon." umismid siya. "Place your phone on your bedside table. I want to watch you sleep." 

 

 

 

 

 

Unconsciously, sinunod ko ang pinapagawa ni Seulgi. Inayos ko ang pagkakapatong ng cellphone ko sa isang phone holder, sa isang posisyon na kita ako kahit nakahiga, as per Seulgi's order. 

 

 

 

 

 

"Now sleep as if no one's watching you." tumango ako at umayos na ng higa. 

 

 

 

 

It was kind of cold because of the rain so I covered myself with a blanket. I slowly closed my eyes and tried to sleep, but I just can't. I know that Seulgi felt that as she doing something that surprised me. 

 

 

 

 

"Baby it's alright I'll be right by your side. No need to cry out loud. Nothing to cry about." gusto kong maiyak sa kilig dahil sa ginagawa ni Seulgi but I can only bite my lower lip to stop myself from reacting. "Baby it's alright I'll be just by your side, I'll keep you on my sight, I'll never leave 'til you sleep tonight." 

 

 

 

 

 

Her voice was so comforting. She was singing the song as if it was her own. I felt the message of the song - because it was her, singing it. And it's rare to hear her sing. I've only heard her sing three times, tonight being the third. I remember how she once did this to me, too, when I couldn't sleep because of the lightning and thunder. 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, here she is again, this time, on the other side of the planet - sharing that soothing voice of hers to make me fall asleep. Sharing that voice of her to me, only me.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover you with my arms and hold you tight
I'll be listening to your wonderful and calm little voice
I'll keep watching 'til my eyes burn down

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to stay awake until she finishes the song because I wanted to savor the moment. Sobrang na-appreciate ko ang ginagawa niya ngayon. She's making me feel like I am the luckiest, that I am special. 

 

 

 

 

So lay now
Hear me all through the night
There's no teardrop
You can count on me tonight

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly, naramdaman kong bumibigat na nang tuluyan ang mata ko at nakakaramdam na ako ng antok. Matutulog yata ako ng nakangiti ngayong gabi. 

 

 

 

 

 

Or I'll stay up with you
Baby it's all right
I'll be right by your side

 

 

 

 

Dinig ko ang pag-hina at mas along paglumanay ng boses ni Seulgi, siguro ay ramdam niya din na nakakatulog na ako. 

 

 

 

 

 

No need to cry out loud
Nothing to cry about

Baby it's alright
I'll be just by your side
I'll keep you on my sight

 

 

 

 

 

Tuluyan na akong nilamon ng antok, still aware that Seulgi is still watching me sleep. Kung gaano siya katagal dyan, wala akong ideya. 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll never leave till you sleep, tonight...

 

 

 

 

 

"Goodnight, Hyun." 

 

 

 

 

And it was real. Because she really waited until I fell asleep. 

 

 

 

 

 

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sana all kinakantahan hanggang makatulog. <3

hahahaha! anyway, happy Sunday! sana naging safe kayo ng mga nakaraang araw. 

I can't believe that I was able to write until 20 chapters! hahaha

Just to set your expectations, though, I only write until 40 chapters - with 30 being the least.

Ang bilis, 'no? nasa kalahati na pala tayo. :D

Thank you for reading! Ingat pa din kayo, lalo sa mga may pasok bukas. :) 

 

- @ateeneri 

 

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Thank you!
ereni_r
thank you, a lot, for reading this! I will mark this story complete but will still publish three chapters centered to the three ships. thank you, again and have a great evening! :)
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