City of Manila
"I love you, Chris."
That's what I heard from Beth before she left. I kept her words and believed that kind of feeling. She was serious when she said it. She stared at me tightly. I didn't understand why she suddenly said that. We were friends but not that close. Also, even though I loved her I didn't tell her. Although it happened 3 years ago before we graduated in college.
"Chris, where are you going?"
My friend Jack asked me. He saw me passing by while he's drinking alone in one of the stores.
"I will go to a bar to kill time. Some chilling, just something like that."
"Don't fool me, Chris."
"You will just keep on dreaming with that woman. Join me instead."
I smiled at him and said
"Not in the mood for that now."
I continued my walk and got inside the bar. I love the vibration of that bar because it gives me relaxation. The chilling music while looking up at the sky. This kind of place is perfect since it's located near the shore.
"What's your order, sir?"
A waiter asked me. I ordered one bottle of beer. I thought it's embarrassing to stay there without having anything.
I'm feeling relaxed after working the whole day. I arrived at the bar at 8 and 2 hours had passed already. I drank 3 bottles and I decided it's enough already. I stood up to leave and go home. The wind blew me away. I focused on that feeling and ignores what's around me. It feels nice, the wind gave me so much calmness.
I slowly walked to the entrance after paying the bills. Suddenly I bumped someone. I heard the voice of a woman. I asked for an apology right away.
"I'm so sorry --"
I was stunned when that woman I bumped earlier is Beth. I don't know what to say but there's something I wanted to tell her. About what I felt before she left and after. I forced myself to say something. I thought it should be the man to do the first move. That's why..,
I didn't finish what I wanted to say. She ignored me and just smiled without staring at me. Broken. Disappointed. I have those feelings of seeing her acting that way. I'm not a confident type of a guy who will just talk loudly. I just let her pass and instead of leaving I returned inside.
I seated far from her but staring at her. I noticed she became artistic. Her appearance changed. A lot of tattoos in her body but still she remains pretty. My feelings towards her didn't change. I still love her and that's the reason I'm smiling while watching her.
"Tell me if you love me or tell me if you don't."
I whispered while watching her.
Morning comes and I don't know how that night ended. I'm thinking that maybe I drank too many bottles of beers last night. I'm walking on the road but I keep my distance from Beth. I tried to approach her and I just thought it was not a good idea.
I continue my walk without looking back at her. I'm just preventing myself not to because it's for my own good. Actually, the eagerness and thirstiness feeling to talk to her is what I feel inside. Even so, I can still control myself.
Someone just slapped me at my back. I looked back and I saw Beth.
"How are you?"
"You became a fine man."
She said and smirked.
I didn't know if what he said was true. Actually, I believed it all since it was she who said it. I'm just smiling while blushing. She overwhelmed me with her presence. I don't know how to answer her. An intermittent answer from me.
"H--o--w-- ar--e you--?"
"You are still like that Chris? You grew up already. Stop acting like a stupid weirdo. That's why girls are just mocking you."
She said and I nodded.
I don't think I could hear it from her. I thought she's a nice girl since we were in high school. His words suddenly released my pride as a man.
"Okay, I'm sorry."
I said to her silently and walked away. I feel humiliated about what she said. I never thought that the girls during my high school saw me that way. I thought they were just happy because I was nice to them.
"What a stupid me that time."
I said to myself with an itchy feeling in my heart. Well, her words were painful.
I keep on thinking what she said earlier. Even if I'm at work my mind is still in despair. I still can't move one what she said and what I learned. Why I was so insensitive back then.
My voice got louder and my office mates watching me. I just slowly closed my eyes and nodded my face on the keyboard. I was ashamed of what I just did. I hid myself.
The night has come but what Beth said was still fresh in my thoughts. I'm thinking to ask her why she said that. I wanted to know if they saw me as a creepy person back then.
"What will I say if I will see her now?"
Asking myself and decided to just let it be. I don't want to think of it over and over again. I found my friend Jack in the store drinking again.
"Are you drinking again, Jack?"
Just my reason to start a conversation with him and to join him.
"Of course, I was bored and I thought this should kill the time."
He replied and just laughed. He handed me one bottle of beer.
"Join me here just now. Don't be such a downer, okay?"
I took the bottle and drank right away.
"I guess beer is still bitter than love."
I smiled and Jack laughed hard. He hit my back hard with his palm.
"Don't be fooled with woman Chris. They will just hurt you."
He never stopped on laughing.
"Like what you just did to me, Jack?"
A woman's voice came from my back. It sounds familiar so I just slowly turned my head. It's Beth. I nodded and returned my head.
Beth said it again and Jack became speechless. I wonder what was the story of these two. I just remained quiet and decided not to interfere.
"One bottle of beer please."
Beth ordered one beer.
"It's fine to sit beside you Chris, right?"
I couldn't look at Beth's eyes. I just tried to glimpse and nod.
"Tell me, Jack, will you?"
Beth started a conversation with Jack. I think did something bad to Beth for her to be this kind of rude. Still, Jack didn't say a word. I'm on the hot seat and I don't know what to do. I stood up.
"I think I should go."
I told Jack with a low tone voice. Beth pulled my hand and forced me to sit.
"You stay here Chris."
She looks at me and I look away. Slowly sitting down while feeling Beth's tighter grip from my hand.
"Just let Chris go and let's talk. He has nothing to do with us."
Jack nicely said. Suddenly, Beth laughed with a mockery.
"He has nothing to do with it, you said?"
"Don't make me laugh Jack. You are really such an asshole. I became like this because of you."
Beth's voice was so strong and loud. I think it's so serious.
"Listen carefully Chris because I will tell you why I said those words three years ago. You have the right to know. I don't want you to keep on hoping. I'm feeling guilty of what I have said to you. I pity you. I don't want you to put in misery by believing what lie I said to you."
Jack suddenly stood up and pushed me to go away.
"Stop Beth. It was long ago and Chris didn't do anything."
"No Jack. It was long ago but the pain I feel because of you is still hurting me. Also, the lie I said to Chris is still haunting me."
"Chris is a nice person and innocent. He doesn't deserve the pain."
Jack sat down again and I'm seriously listening to Beth without looking at her.
"Chris, the reason I told you "I love you" before was because of him. I was fragile back then and all I wanted that time was his love. I loved Jack so much and I would do anything just to win his love. Jack and his friends back then were mocking you. He said that if I could make you believe that I love you. He would date me and be in the same school together."
Beth started crying as I can feel her sadness. A woman who is just hungry of love. I can relate because I am feeling it for such a long time. That was in my heart, hoping that someday Beth and I could be together. My tears are attempting to fall but I look up to stop it from falling.
"I'm really sorry Chris. I didn't want to do it. I know you'll understand how this Love will push us to do something stupid. Because of this moron, I've been in different types of environments. I wanted to forget him and that's why. I did-."
I couldn't hear Beth's voice clearly. I spaced out as I focused on feeling the pain in my chest. I can't take it anymore. I feel like I want to explode. I want to shout all this sadness. I drank the bottle of beer until the last drop.
"I'm sorry, Chris. I was a jerk back then. I'm really really sorry. I hope you can forgive me."
Jack asked forgiveness and I felt like he was serious.
"Let's just forget it and move on."
My voice was shaking because of forcing myself not to cry.
"Thank you, Chris."
I showed a fake smile and left them. I'm not interested in their conversation. The lies that Beth revealed was enough that my heart is bleeding now.
I'm thinking about where to let my sadness come out. I want to be in a place where I can cry out hard. I want to be in a place to be drunk and I can express all my sentiments. I know where I should stay right now.
I arrived at the bar and ordered one bucket of beer. I chose to be outside where it's dark. I don't want to be surrounded by many people as well.
"I will now let go of all the feelings I've been holding."
I said to myself and started crying. The music helps me to make myself sober. The tears are shedding from my eyes endlessly. I drank a lot of bottles of beer. I don't know how many buckets of beer that I drank already. I'm getting drunk. My surrounding that is turning serves as the proof.
"That's enough Chris. You're drunk already."
I saw Beth beside me. I just laughed and answered.
"That's why I'm drinking, right?"
"Please stop Beth. You will just make me believe that you care for me. So please leave me alone."
I found Beth annoying. I stood up to change a table but I fell to the ground. After that, I didn't know what happened. I closed my eyes and turned to sleep.
My head hurts as I open my eyes. I watch closely the surroundings and this is not my home. I stood up immediately to leave.
"Where am I?"
Asking myself while just realising it's morning already. I'm outside the room and searching for a door to leave in this house.
"Oh, you're already awake Chris."
The mother Beth who is cooking in the kitchen. I'm so shy and I just remain my head looking down.
"I'm sorry for the disturbance, Ma'am."
"No, it's fine Chris. Come here to the table and let's eat. I cooked fish with a soup that will be good for having a hangover."
Beth's mother smiled.
"Thank you very much, Ma'am but I think I need to go. I have to go to work."
Beth's mother smiled again and replied.
"It's noon already. I think you'll be early for afternoon hour work."
I checked my watch and it's true. I closed my eyes because my head is still aching.
"See? Eat here first and take this tablet later to ease the pain."
I didn't have a reason to refuse anymore. I sat in the chair. Beth's mother looks nice and has some sense of humour. I finished eating and Beth's mother handed me the tablet.
"By the way, Ma'am is there a tablet for heartbreak?"
"That was just a joke, Ma'am."
I took back what I just said.
"I don't know if there is but maybe Beth knows?"
Beth's mother teased me as I looked back. I see Beth coming towards us from the shower. I slowly returned my head and didn't move.
"I heard it," Beth said.
They are laughing and I feel like I'm on the box that couldn't move. I slowly moved the chair and said.
"I should get going I think."
"No, stay. You said many disturbing things last night. Let us clarify it now."
Beth holds my shoulder after what she just said. I'm afraid I said stupid things last night that I don't remember. I didn't look at her and just said.
"I'm so sorry if I said too much. I don't remember anything."
"Look at me while you said that. How will I know if you take that apology seriously?"
Beth is so serious but there's no way I could look her in the eyes. I raised my shoulder and nodded.
"I'm really sorry," I said.
Beth's mother started laughing and said.
"Don't make our visitor afraid Beth. You're making Chris uncomfortable."
Beth seated in the chair and smiled at me.
"That was just a joke, Chris. Don't be so serious, okay. Just enjoy life."
I nodded and glimpsed.
I decided to stop chasing the false feeling Beth had to me. It makes me feel lighter inside. I forgave Jack and forgot what he just did. Three months was enough to think that it was just part of my past. They shouldn't be blamed as well. It should be me not being able to determine if what Beth said was really true.
"Hey, Chris. Let's go."
Jack is waiting in the store. He wants to come with me to go to that bar I always stayed at night. He is loving the place after I invited him to join me there. Of course, Beth is coming too. Not because of Jack but because of me. We are in good terms after I slept at their house last time. We are always going out and started dating. Jack doesn't feel jealous because at the very beginning he doesn't love Beth. I forgot what happened and will be starting.