Rina thought it was their second year in college when Winter started hanging out with her group comfortably.
Madalas isama si Win ni RJ sa mga lakad nila. Rina liked keeping her group small even when she was in high school and sa tingin niya, sapat na ‘yung tatlong tao lang ang palagi niyang kasama. She wasn’t a snob—far from it. She knew how to talk to other people, approach them and make small talks to them, but RJ, Giselle, and Lia have always been her constant ever since college.
Rina was a bit close to Winter’s group too pero hindi naman niya nakakausap ang mga ito nang sobra. But she’s comfortable enough to hang out with them tuwing gusto ni RJ na magsama ang dalawang grupo. Si RJ kasi ang maraming paandar. Okay lang naman sa kaniya because Winter’s friends were nice.
RJ arranged an overnight trip between the two groups. That was a first. Birthday kasi ni RJ at gusto niyang isama si Win sa trip at para naman mas mag-enjoy daw ang pinsan niya, RJ figured it would be nice to invite Winter’s group, too.
They were all okay with it. After all, it was RJ’s birthday and they were merely guests too.
The overnight trip happened sa Batangas. May beach house raw kasi sina Winter sa Batangas at nag-offer ito na gamitin nila para wala nang gastos sa place. Pinapa-rent lang daw ito at may caretaker para mag-maintain ng house. Food na lang ang gastos ni RJ dahil Rina volunteered their family van para sa transportation. Sa driver na lang sila nagbayad.
The group was loud when they arrived sa beach house. Pinanood niya lang si Winter na dire-diretsong nagtuloy sa second floor ng bahay at pumasok sa dulong room. Kita pa rin niya kasi ang kabuuan ng second floor dahil high ceiling ang bahay.
“Hey, p’wede niyo na ilagay ‘yung gamit ninyo sa room. I just checked and okay na siya,” mahinahong sambit ni Winter na nakapuwesto sa may railing ng hagdan.
Winter has this endearing accent that Rina has always liked hearing tuwing nagta-Tagalog si Winter. Balita niya kay RJ, sa US ipinanganak at lumaki si Winter at pursigido itong magsalita ng Tagalog nang diretso.
It’s just four-thirty in the afternoon and Winter suggested having dinner sa may beach. Winter requested to put a long table sa beach, hindi kalayuan sa shore, and watch the sunset.
Lihim na napangiti si Rina. May pagka-romantic ang idea ng kaklase. She also found it sweet considering that it’s for RJ’s birthday.
It was unexpected of Winter, Rina admitted. It may be that she has misjudged Winter for being nonchalant about other people most of the time, but unti-unti, nakikita niya na thoughtful ang kaklase.
There was this one time when Winter saved a seat for her when they went to watch a documentary sa A.V. room ng school. She was running late by then. Siksikan na ang lahat sa maliit ng room when she arrived. Kaunti lang kasi ang seat sa room. Some were sitting on the floor pa.
When she roamed her eyes, Winter was waving at her and pointing at the seat beside her. Rina immediately went to Winter’s side.