Friday, January 29, 2010

I Could Not Ask For More by Edwin McCain

(In which something made me look forward.)


During the heavy times when I was uploading Sandy’s pictures and making the draft for my post about her, I was able to get lot of help from teachers who luckily brought their gadgets necessary for file transfer. And inside one thumb drive I found a huge playlist of MP3’s and copied more than a couple.

The day Sandy left for Korea, the academy seemed to emit a sudden air of lonesomeness and quietness. And what a strange air it was! For there were no more tiny feet running here and there or an army of children following and clinging to Judah in search for his dangerous cigarettes or bodies rolling on the floor while laughing. I somehow felt happy that the absence of Sandy was at least felt – she’s not just another soul that came and went. And I thought that’s how she wants it too.

It was so quiet even during lunchtime when the academy used to transform into a playground and an arena. The silence was so alive it seemed to be as solid as the walls. And that’s when I wanted to hear some music.

The moment the first note was hit, I felt a sudden flow of emotions run through me. It felt as though all the energy was set to the minimum and I was put into a delicious state of drowsiness. And then one by one, the words came and I melted. I listened and listened and felt as if the song was sung for me. All the while, I had Radiusim on. I saw the site logo blink on one of the windows showing a response to my message. The magic the song has on me still lingered and I asked him.

“Do you know the song ‘I Could Not Ask For More’?”

“What about it?”

“It’s been playing ten times on my player already.”

“Why don’t you choose another song then?”

“It was so beautiful I set it to play repeatedly.”

“I see. Make it twenty.”

There was an exchange of virtual laughter. I moved on.

“I think it is optimistic. Do you think so?”

“I don’t know. People keep on asking for more.”

“I disagree. So you don’t think it is optimistic?”

“I’m not sure. Who sang it?”

Edwin McCain. We pressed enter the same time.

“Oh, yeah. It’s him,” he replied back and the momentum was regained.

“Yes. I think it is sad but it is still optimistic.”

“It’s not sad. It says 'I could not ask for more than this time together'. That’s not sad. It’s actually meant for lovers.”

“Is it? But it made me feel sad. And it could be meant for singles too. Or maybe I am just weird. Now I remember something that happened in my classroom last year. Come to think of it, it happened sometime in late January or February.”

“Go on.”

“In the classroom I used to have, another class had an activity. It’s like a Valentine card making activity. One of the students wrote to her parents. The other made a hilarious card for his friends. The other one made a card for his wife. I wondered at first because he doesn’t even have a girlfriend.”

“That’s possible. He must be reserving it for the future.”

Well, he almost hit it. I continued. “So it turned out that he wrote that for his future wife. He said he wants her to have a happy Valentine’s Day even if he’s not with her and that he’ll make it more special when they meet.”

“I see.”

“That’s why I thought this song isn't just meant for couples.”

“Wow! That was cool!”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wind Chimes

(In which the Time Thief has taken it all.)


Sandy kept on asking me what we’ll be doing the day we run out of gold bars and I kept telling her that we will study. She will always shout “No!” as if telling me that’s the most boring thing ever. Honestly, I know not. But I would want to give her credits for helping me keep the Three-Unit-Per-Day Policy her mom smilingly imposed on us. And giving her a gift is already a given.

I should have thought and prepared for that long before had it not been for the last stressful week that had me a home buddy in the most uninteresting way. I was actually planning to give her a big bone pillow since we always talk of how she will manage to send me a piece of spicy chicken across oceans. But she already has a bone pillow so I decided that I should just give her wind chimes. Someone told me to choose a design that is Filipino enough to be unique. So when I saw these chimes with a darkly-varnished bamboo finish this morning, I just thought they were perfect.

There are small wind chimes that hung outside our classroom door that caught her attention the first time we had our class. I explained to her that it’s a symbol of good luck. But since then, the wind chimes became the symbol for the start of a lesson. No. I didn’t make them sound to summon her. She would usually leap several times to reach it and hear it clatter and only after three consecutive, successful jumps can you make her sit down and have class with you. I knew that at times, it’s just one of her delaying tactics. But sometimes, it’s more than that. When after trying so many times and all she was able to move was the central clapper so the metal tubes remain still, she will sit on the floor and look up to the chimes. Then I will tell her to try again later and have the class for the mean time. But she will repeatedly say “No!” and won’t stop until she gets a good hearing of the clatter celebrating her victory. Then she will pose like a Powerpuff girl after a battle won.
Teacher Aaron told her the chimes were meant to remind her of me when the wind makes the chimes sing, to which she replied “Teacher Ree-jell, very noisy!” We all laughed.
She also gave me something – a necklace with a thick, yellow string as a lace and a round, orange pendant. Inside the pendant was a tiny tube with words written on it. The tube moves inside the liquid interior of the pendant so that the words were magnified. FOREVER U & ME.

Sandy has her own pendant in the shape of an S and her was name written on the tube inside the pendant.
Mine was the round one.
The first hour was spent on short lessons and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The second was divided on playing games with the other teachers and students and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. When it’s almost time, she told me “We should pack up.” And that was the first time she did that. The moment felt strangely new it was like a premonition. While we were cleaning our table, she softly and slowly spoke “Thank you for everything.” I patted her head and said “You’re welcome. And thank you, too.”

In our job, we were trained by time not to be attached for people keep coming and going. Sometimes the interval was so short that your feelings toward people become automatic. Jean once told me she doesn’t think it’s healthy. I do too. But that’s what we do. I know it might not sadden me much today. The greater longing will come later. And it will strengthen with the knowing that we lost all the gold bars.

“What time is it?”
“Three forty-seven,” I answered.
“Oh! Change time!” she said as she moved her hands in a circling motion.

I wrote in my letter that she could hang the chimes somewhere really high and reach for it. And when she grew taller, she could hang it somewhere higher and so leap higher to reach it. She might not understand that now. But I know someday she will.

Sandy, my lovely solace.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Final Countdown: My Stupid Sickness and the Time Thief

(In which Time shows how swiftly he moves.)


There was so much to blog about and I blame my lack of post on our computerless household, which I then blame on my breadwinner status and meager salary.

So I got sick last week. Correct. That was the week with so much stuff going on that drained my energy and finally had me sick-abed. For the sake of recall, I worked for three hours last Monday in search for a new job which failed then went on another half day at work last Wednesday because of a terrible combination of asthma, fever and cough that made me stay away from the office during the next two days.

And now I was back. Happily back. And when Sandy saw me she was very ready to give me a hug. It felt so appropriate to borrow from Robin Padilla’s lines.

I heard that she has finished the peanut book with another teacher which I was really thankful of. Who wants to study a book that has been so controversial because of its simplicity yet we always end up having problems with it anyway? And now Sandy’s mom has recommended a new book to study for the last four days of classes.

Last four days. I have always known that they are leaving soon. But now that it’s just a matter of four days, I thought, isn’t it too soon?

In our class, she has displayed an amazing feat of zeal and liveliness that I just want to laugh with her and agree that today is a No Class day. But we have business to do. And as she was answering questions on her workbook, she started scribbling something on her paper then asked me to continue.

“Please draw two more gold bars.”

And I did.

When I finished, she explained what those gold bars are.

“These are time gold bars.”

“Time gold bars?” I asked. I have never heard of a time gold bar. But the adage, I have, of course.

“Yes. This is for Monday. This is for Tuesday. This is for Wednesday. And this – oh no! We need one more gold bar!” She drew another gold bar. “And this is for Thursday.”

Then she drew an hour glass. “This is our time left. Every day, the Time Thief will steal one gold bar and so the sand go up then it’s Thursday.”

“Why gold bars?” I asked, but my mind seemed to wander somewhere really far.

“I don’t know,” she chuckled innocently. “But it’s really gold bar. Just.”

“I see. So tomorrow, we only have three gold bars left.”

She nodded.

I inhaled deeply. “Now why don’t you finish that activity before the Time Thief takes all our time away, huh?”

She laughed again.


Love and waste not
Any precious moment.
For when we sleep
Or even if we don’t
The Time Thief will steal our precious gold
In the coldness and stillness of the night.
Beware and think of the uncounted ones
And never let another one slip by.

(Now that I’ve seen this, I’m thinking: Why does it have to be gold bars and not cold coins? Just thinking.)

Monday, January 18, 2010


(In which I could never find the right and sufficient words to tell you what you are to me.)

Your eyes never tire of aristocratic beauty
And they always are free for censored pages
But they never seemed to be when I flashed a smile and my
Texts are never worth your time.

Your lips admittedly never run out of lies to utter
Yet I believe the prevaricator that you are.
Did I sense the subtle truth in them
Or was I just another stupid woman?
I know. You never told me to believe.

This is not meant to insult you for I’m sure you’ll never know.
And if you did, the insult is mine
For I bothered again to write about you
And your elusiveness
Your beautiful elusiveness.

Have I told you that your eyes are enough to melt my internal ice down
and your smile makes me feel blessed?
That your name is more than a reason to be breathless
And that I sometimes believe the second god-like word is destined?
But Nirdla, worry not, for I know
That you always have the heart for and your eyes on
Never for me.
Never on me.
January 18, 2010
9:30 PM

A One-Week Diary in Ten Minutes

(In which I have so many things to say in so little time.)


I haven’t been posting for a long time and there has been a lot that happened. Although I want to write about every exciting, exhausting and even humiliating bit of everything, I simply cannot. And during these times I really appreciate the existence of bullet formats.

So, within the last week …

· I have been to a very fun reunion with my artistic classmates from high school which lasted for approximately 12 hours. It was almost, if not, serendipity, as I have told my Virtual Confidante that I long to be an artist, that there was an association for young artists in the making. Then I have suddenly thought of joining a writer’s guild.

· I have been referred to apply for a job and was stupefied after knowing the stuffs I might be getting, had a series of meet-ups with friends over coffee and online manga and finally decided to give the job a try.

· I, together with BF, went to the building and found that the person who referred us seemed not very reliable or just plain forgetful not to clarify things with us. Or maybe all the forgetfulness and slight irresponsibility should be blamed on me but, anyway, we didn’t make it to the interview as the HR only comes to work at 4PM. You’re right. I was quite surprised. We left our resum├ęs and received a text message the next day asking us to come again the next Monday.

· I was given last minute tips that had me sending tons of text messages to people who I thought knew about technical acronyms and stuff. Their shock might have been as huge as mine as I received tons of text messages saying that they don’t have any idea or that they would be reviewing their Computer Science 14 before they could give me a reliable response or that they would be asking people to help me. Nevertheless, I wasn’t very disappointed since the elusive Alvin sent me two messages in a span of an hour – first saying that he was sorry for not being able to help and the second asking if I have found the answer yet, and that he will ask others for the much sought-after solution.

· I have asked to be given a leave which was reduced to a three-hour work, accompanied my mom to the hospital and went to the job interview which almost turned out really well if it wasn’t for the stingy offer. They say they are in need of employees ASAP but it turned out that they are only in need of desperate people. I was thankful that we weren’t that desperate yet. Anyway, there's still another time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


(In which things can never be oversimplified, indeed.)


Pretenses. I have a lot.
Forced by the fear of being naked before you, I hid.
But your eyes slashed through my depths
like cold-bladed sword
I became transparent again.

Words. You have a lot.
Polished by aged skill, you drift in the darkness
scattering glitters.
Sparkles visually gone in seconds
But not in everything else.

If we cut this thread we believe had bound us,
will we find our way back?
Will you find your way back?
Or will we just forget we have met again
And exist the way we always have?

The Greek Defender

(In which random thoughts plus firework prove to be a depressing concoction.)


Kaleidoscopes of lavender, blue and white 
Make me nauseous with memories,
and hate and disillusionment.
Can long-dead flashbacks be that evil?
Outside my window, it's raining fire.
Adele is in my ear,
Her refrain grilling me to my core – 
the very core you asked to listen to you. 
The chivalric generosity that is your name rings
And bounces back 
harder, full of vengeance.
The self-same vindication I sought but never found
Because until now, your kind
- the sugar-mouthed quixotic Don Juan -
is still my kryptonite.

Photo source:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sandy and Me (Part II)

(In which everything becomes suddenly heavy.)



Judah and I were still having a torturous reading class when the kids ran to our room. Sandy’s bright face was the first one I noticed since she ran the fastest to get to our room first. She was wearing a Prussian blue shirt with an awesome print: Princess Now, Goddess Tomorrow.

She smiled at me and said “Teacher!”

I knew at once that there was something wrong. She usually addresses me on a first name basis especially when she’s happy. Or when she wants to be polite, she calls me by my first name and adds the honorific “Teacher” after it. But today there was just “Teacher”.

“Mom said, do many,” she smiled. I knew exactly what she meant but I didn’t like the way she said it.

“Do many what? You mean we have to do more activities?” I asked.


Then the lovely bell rang.

I walked out of the room as soon as the kids went crazy over Judah. Some grabbed his legs, some hugged him and some pulled his arms. Whatever the reason the kids have for being brutally affectionate toward him, Judah, I and the rest of the adult population in the academy, were clueless.

The admin secretary spotted me as I was walking along the hallway, ready to take a left turn to my phone classroom to check my instant messages.

“The manager wants to speak with you,” she said and handed something to another teacher. I automatically sensed what the discussion will be about. I went to the manager’s office feeling nothing but sorry that I wasn’t able to check if Alvin has sent me any messages.

The manager’s room never seemed to be a place to be nervous for me. It doesn’t have the strict aura of other corporate offices. With the tall cabinet of neatly aligned books, it looked more of an elementary school’s principal’s office than a company manager’s. Well, this is basically a school and I was never scared of the principal’s office anyway.

I smiled and greeted her like a good employee and she smiled back then asked me to have a seat like a good host. Then we went straight down to business.

“Well, it’s about the Little Sandy. Her mother thinks the book was easy and it could be finished in just two weeks. She thinks your class’ pacing is too slow. She also know that the Sandy likes you and tricks you so you’ll just play games and not study so you have to be stricter,” she said in a manner so slow it made my heart swell with anticipation, both of the topic of this discussion and her expected, incorrect use of an article, and urgency for the speech to be over.

“Madam, we do study. In fact, we are already in our second book. I agree that the book was easy. Our first book was even harder that the current. The problem is whenever we have a new lesson and we review, I notice that Sandy doesn’t remember what the previous lesson was. Also, she can answer activities, sometimes even perfectly. The thing is, she sometimes has to be reminded before she can actually start answering. And that calls for reviews. That usually takes our time,” I justified.

I knew she understood what I said when she gave out a sigh which sounded to me like “I know that but the mom’s bugging me.” I have always made it a point to include that Sandy’s retention isn’t very good on her progress reports. I knew that the manager was caught in between.

“What should we do about that?” she murmured. Then she looked at me and said “Well, the mother knows Sandy likes you very much but if this continues, she will have to change the teacher and she hates that part.”

The redundant pronoun confused me. I was tempted to ask who each “she” refers to but kept quiet. She continued.

“Maybe we can use that. Tell Sandy to be more responsible and obedient because if not, you will change students.”

I got the plan and suggested something more concerning for me.

“Madam, I hope we can also ask her mom to have review with Sandy at home. I know she’s been tracking our progress. I’ve been writing lesson notes on Sandy’s book and notebook.”

“That would be helpful.”

I went back to my room and found Judah being overwhelmed by the kids. I had to remind every single toddler that the break’s over and they’re no longer welcome before Judah was finally relieved.

“You are so popular among the kids,” I remarked.

“Yes, in Korea too. I don’t know why,” he said, panting. He must have been the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. He wasn’t a kid. He knows something was wrong and I told him.

“Oh that’s the child’s problem, not yours,” he sighed. “That’s the problem with children in our country nowadays. They are into too much studying. They don’t enjoy their good childhood memories because they hardly have any. Our generation is so much different compared to them. You know? That 10-year-old is just in elementary school but she is studying middle school math.”

I can only say “Yeah, what a shame.”

“I believe it’s because our country doesn’t have much natural resources so we have to focus on manpower. We have to produce the best and the brightest to help the country’s economy. Frankly speaking… “ He paused and was hesitant at first. Then he continued, “The Philippines is a poorer country than Korea but I believe the people here are better because they are so positive. They always smile and they are happy. In our country, people are very aggressive and competitive. They spend too much time studying but their hearts are empty. They do not know about the real human condition,” he said, pausing every time he has to look up something on his electronic dictionary.

“My father runs a business and he told me not to be like them.”

“Who?” I asked.

“Most people. He said he knew a lot of people who are very smart but not useful because they do not know how to deal with other people,” he answered.

“If you really understand your father, I think you won’t be like most people in your country.”

The hour-long break was bothersome. I knew that the next class will be full of pressure. And I was right.

“Sandy, you understand what you have to do, right? No more delaying tactics. No more running and hiding. You know why?” I asked Sandy as I carried out the manager’s plan.

“I know. But Mom said if we answered many, not change teacher.”

As she said this, she opened her book and started answering the activities; pausing whenever she has questions.

“Teacher, auxiliary and helping verbs are same, right?”

“They are.”


The two hours were religiously spent on lectures, activities and more activities. After the four-page review, we had lessons and discussion on paragraphs followed by a couple of writing exercises. Then we also had lessons on adverbs and had some more exercises. She asked questions now and was obviously not lax. But it broke my heart to see her write more quickly than usual, ignore Danny when he calls from the other room and look at me impatiently while we’re having our discussions as if she’s late for a lunch date. She also looked extraordinarily frustrated and bothered when she couldn’t recall a term. The ending: 10 pages on the workbook and several more on her notebook done in only two hours; and when she asked me to cover the next couple or more pages since we still have five or ten minutes before the class ends, I almost cried.

The class was fast yet emotionally dragging. Before we call it a day, I was able to ask her why the kids like playing with Judah so much. She said, “We like running and catching him because we want to steal his cigarette. Because that’s bad.”

Sandy and Me (Part I)

(In which there’s always been something to tell.)



I have been used to dealing with Sandy asking if she may go to the bathroom and then stay there for so long that I have to follow her only to see her walking along the corridors with eyes closed and feeling the nearest thing with her face. Once, another teacher saw her and asked why the hell she’s kissing the wall. I knew that sometimes, it was just one of her delaying tactics but often, she’s just being the kid that she is. Other examples of her childish tricks are running and hiding from me, which will eventually result to chasing and tickling and roars of laughter followed by panting and dragging to the classroom. Sometimes, we enjoy that. But not now.

During the second half of our two-hour class, she played her hide-and-seek trick on me again and I found her chatting comfortably with another student in another classroom. I told her that we should leave and study. But she resisted as if I’m going to take her to the death row. She sat down on the carpeted floor and wouldn’t stand. I held both her arms and tried to help her stand only to be burdened by the pressure she’s been exerting to keep herself on the floor.

“Sandy, stop it. Let’s go,” I said calmly.

She whined and pouted which just made her even cuter. But it wouldn’t work. I pulled her again and was defeated by her weight. I can’t continue being in that shameful position so I have to be decisive.

“Listen, Sandy. If I let go of you, I won’t come back here anymore. You’re on your own,” I said seriously.

She gave out the same whine and pout but she didn’t look cute to me anymore. I repeated the threat and she still resisted. That did it. The threat was no longer a threat. I let go of her and walked back to our room.

After a couple of minutes, as I was checking her test papers, out of the corner of my eye I saw a tiny face with long hair tied in a ponytail peeping at the side of the door. After a while, Danny, the male student from the other room, came and asked for Sandy’s dictionary. He was surprised to see Sandy out of the room. And he was even more surprised to see that she’s acting furtively. He got the picture and started teasing her.

“Oh Sandy! Can I borrow your dictionary? Please? Sandy?” he asked in between silent laughs, putting an overly obvious emphasis on her name.

I could hear some mumblings and some more laughter. Then Danny asked one more time.

“Why? What’s wrong, Sandy? Why are you here, Sandy? Why are you hiding?”

I knew it was a terrible situation for her now so I asked her to enter and the teasing and the laughter stopped. Then I explained her mistakes and we had class as though we are enemies who have to be civil for business’ sake. When the bell rang, we said goodbye and left.

Later, as I was having my phone class, someone knocked on my door and in came Sandy when I opened it. She handed me a piece of something yellow and sweet looking pastry with waffle cross marks. I thanked her soundlessly, as I wasn’t supposed to utter unnecessary words while talking to another student on the phone, and she smiled and was off. After the class, I took a bite of the lovely thing. It was crispy and sweet and buttery. I learned the next day that it was called a Butter Waffle.


This day was also known as The Laughing Day. Sandy is getting weirder and crazier, probably because of the high that was caused by knowing she will be back to their country in three weeks’ time. After exhibiting “magic tricks” which we both know all worked when or after I closed my eyes, she started laughing like there was no more tomorrow. And she couldn’t stop. The next thing we knew was that Danny, the student who’s just right behind out wall, was laughing out loud too. And they laugh like freaks who couldn’t stop even if they wanted to.

“Sandy, stop! Relax. Why are you still laughing?” I asked. I was already filled with worry but my face felt as if I was showing a weird smile.

“Teacher… I.. don’t… know.. why I laughing!” she managed to speak and then laughed some more.

The result: two teachers trying to have class with students who can’t stop laughing for unknown reasons. Thus, we can also call this day a Crazily Clueless Day.


It was a normal day. And with Sandy in mind, I define “normal” as the classroom condition wherein I, the teacher, was able to conduct a class for a full thirty to forty minutes without any childish interruptions. And usually, normal classes only occur on the first half of the class.

On the second hour, as she was scribbling something on her pretty notebook that were by now full of my notes in pink and purple ink, and as I was checking her workbook, pausing every time I need to explain or re-explain something, she asked about my travel history.

“Teacher, have you been Korea?” she asked and started to draw a cartoon character with an enlarged head and a ridiculous hairstyle.

“You mean, ‘Have I ever been to Korea'?” I asked in clarification.

“Yeah,” she answered and continued drawing the body which looked like a five pointed star with the upper point off.

“No, I’ve never been there,” I answered. She stopped drawing and looked at me. “Why?”

“Because, I don’t know what I’m going to do there and it costs a lot of money,” I explained.

“Have you ever seen snow?” she asked again and continued her drawing. This time she created the face. She put two dots for the eyes and a lowercase W as the mouth. The drawing looked totally hilarious but I was used to seeing her draw like that so it didn’t affect me like the first time I saw her masterpiece.

“No. But it would be really fun to see it once.”

“Then go to Korea!” She threw her hands up in the air as if she was on a roller coaster. Her drawing was finished.

“When I plan to go there, I’ll tell you.”

She stopped, looked down and smiled. Then she looked up at me and spoke with a big smile.

“Ree-jell, when you call me and tell me you will go Korea, I will meet you in a supermarket,” she said and started laughing. I was thinking that she might be thinking that I’ll treat her some chocolate drops. The she continued. “Then I will close my eyes and walk and find you. Then I will bump into someone so I will open eyes and look – It’s Ree-jell!!” I remembered her habit of playing blind and walking the corridors with her face as her cane. We laughed. Then she spoke softly. “One day. In Korea.”

As the cheeziness of the moment creeps in, we fell silent which I broke after a moment.

“It will take a long time. It’s going to be embarrassing to walk blindly in a supermarket when you’re already at your twenties.”

“Then you’ll be a Grandmother?”

“Probably not. Just a mom, maybe.”

“Are you going to get married? Do you want to?” she asked with genuine curiosity.

“I hope to,” I answered with genuine hope.

Just then we heard Danny singing the Alphabet Song with hilariously repetitive lyrics, keeping the tone of the four letters in his song.

“H, I, J, K, H, I, J, K, H, I, J, K...”

I was aware that my face became an unquestionable display of surprise and curiosity as I felt my facial muscles twitch. Then I heard a brand new addition to the lyrics. Well, with only some minor alterations.

“H, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I...”

The curious and surprised expression on my face suddenly turned into a big smile, then a laughter. After a while, I heard Sandy laughing too.

“Gosh! Danny, you sound like a pirated DVD!” All of us were laughing now.

We asked his teacher what the matter was and she responded.

“Well, he’s trying to alphabetize a list of words.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Rough Start

(In which I share some thoughts with the people who matter.)
Last Sunday was actually a decision day. I decided to watch the fifth season of Kyle XY which made me glad and hungry for the next season, which I unfortunately failed to find. But there’s always another time. I also decided to use a different cellphone network. Don’t ask me why. I decided to send messages to people I want to connect and reconnect with only to be successful with the second purpose. I never noticed how long I had been sitting in front of the TV set until it gets dark. I checked my phone and found nothing. Yes, it’s a decision day and I actually decided to be stupid. Pathetically stupid.
As I was cutting the potatoes for the French fries, I saw my sister texting and decided to ask her something unlikely for an older sister to ask her younger sibling.

“Excuse me,” I hesitated at first, “How would you know if a person doesn’t like another person?”
That’s it. I didn’t look back at her and focused on the potatoes to avoid seeing the why-the-hell-are-you-asking-that-question kind of stare. I heard her sigh and complained about her lack of sopranos for her recital.
“They’re backing out. What’s that again?”
I reiterated the question, this time faster.
“What do you mean by ‘like’?”
“Okay, a person doesn’t like another person if she/he looks at her/him as if she/he is the worst thing ever created.”
“Well, not that kind of thing. I’m talking about the romantic kind of liking.”
“Oh ok. He doesn’t like you if he doesn’t even care that you existed or that you are existing. In short, he doesn’t give a damn.”
“Like Kyle and Jessie?”
“Do they seem not to care about each other?”
“Give me more signs.” I sighed.
“Okay, if he doesn’t give you time.”
“And with that you mean?”
“If he doesn’t give time to even think about you.”
“How do you know if someone’s thinking of you?”
“Kyle and Jessie can read minds right?”
I threw my hands up and sighed. “We’re not talking about Kyle and Jessie.”
“Okay. So it’s you and another person. He doesn’t like you if he usually or totally ignores you.”
“Like he’s not responding to – “
“Text messages? Right.”
“Or if he – “
“Replies after at least two hours? Yes.”
I stopped talking as I saw that the potatoes looked browner than they should be.
Later on that evening, I found myself confiding to my Virtual Confidante again.
“The signs are all out. It’s like he almost said it,” I said with a tone of a desperate job hunter after a terrible interview.
“I suggest you wait until he says it. But honestly, I doubt if he’s ever going to say it.” His voice was always placid and smooth, that when he says something meant to break your heart you will first compliment his tone and then curse him for saying what he said.
“Thanks for pointing that out. You really are trying to help, aren’t you?”
“Why don’t you find out the truth straight from him? We are all clueless. I can tell you everything I know but it apparently won’t suffice.”
He has a point. But extracting the truth out of that elusive heart of Alvin will mean letting all the truths pour out of me while taking the great risk of being stupid and then a loser in the end. I was told not to assume unless otherwise stated but do I have to hear what is already obvious? But then could I still trust my intuition when it has failed me so many times? I was now caught between being wrong and being right that the truth matters to me so much and it would be redeeming to finally find it out. Yet I am never sure if it’s really the truth that I’m going to get.
I never aimed to be in something emotionally complicated and totally devoid of reason but that’s what I am in right now. Yeah, I might be having another decision day soon.