Life’s Cutest Moment

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BEN
(A short story)

As I take a breathing spell from my emceeing at a friend’s baby shower, a chinky-eyed boy grabs my elbow and innocently goes:

“What’s your name?”

“It’s Addie. What’s yours?”

He tells me, then flies. I shrug and I go back to hobnobbing with the guests. Moments later, the same familiar chinky eyes are staring at me again and he is all:

“What’s your name again? ‘Cause I don’t muh-member.”

I stroke his hair affectionately, can’t help it, and I tell him again.

A look of giddy delight crosses his face and he goes back to his seat next to a lady, and to her he whispers (or he thinks he is):

“Mom, her name’s Addie.”

(Related Post: Life’s ¯\(°_o)/ Moment)

Question 989

989

“Did we just get pre-engaged last Sunday,” I asked him via text.

It was one very late night and I was pretty sure he was already crashed out, so I prayed that the message tone wouldn’t stir him up. It was meant to be read at a later time.

I had added a “haha” to connote that the question was not a pressing one. I had also used the term “pre-engaged” because I did feel kind of engaged…and kind of not. He did not really pop the question. There was no kneeling down on one knee with an amazing diamond ring, nor was there an over-the-top flash mob — just one Sunday night sitting side by side at a musical event and then him uttering something about us getting married.

It wasn’t the first time he brought that up: Earlier that Sunday, we had snuck out of the venue to get something to eat. He said he was starving. Fortunately for him, there was 7-11 so off we went. We got ourselves a table and began munching our way through a cup of noodles and Pringles.

“My parents wanted us to get married already.”

He said it as casually as he could before slurping his noodles. I, on the other hand, couldn’t help but smirk. A self-satisfied smirk. He could have glared at me for that, but he sort of discounted it and just went on by saying how his mom had been telling him about her plan to give up work just so she could help us raise our future child, the plans to do this and that, plans, plans, plans, and some more plans.

“I love your parents for thinking that much about us,” I said slowly. “But are we ready?”

A sobering silence hovered over us. You could have heard the cash register ringing. Then his phone beeped. It was Kim the bassist asking where we were. He typed out a reply, hit the send button, and transferred his gaze from his cell phone to me. He smiled. You know the kind of smile that always warms a girl’s heart. That.

I smiled back, popped the rest of the chips into my mouth, wiped my finger on my jeans, and reached for his hand. We left the store back to the venue with our unspoken words still hanging in the air.

So that was the first time. Later that night, as we were sitting side by side waiting for his band to take the stage, he brought it up again.

“Let’s get married. You and I. In three years time.”

I paused. I mean, squealing could have been the most reasonable way of responding to lines like that, but I just swallowed, brought my eyes up, met his steady gaze, and composed myself.

“Okay.”

(Related Post: Question 1129)

Question 670

Click here to get to the photo source.

There is no substitute for the gasp of excitement he made as I was sliding his birthday cake out of the box. Careful, careful – I could hear him uttering under his breath, his hands ready to grab the cake just in case I would get assailed by my own clumsiness and crash it onto the floor.

But no. I was not going to let that happen. I knew better than that. His last birthday cake was for his seventh birthday. He hadn’t had any more since, or so I was told. So, no. I’m not ruinin’ it – that was his childhood right there!

Careful, careful. You bet I was. I managed to take the cake out of its box safely and in one piece. “Happy birthday!” I chirped.

Birthday cake

He first goggled at this beauty – I love how his eyes sparkled here – for a good minute before looking me in the eye and mouthing “thank you”.

Question 1246

1246

I could write more about this but I choose not to. His Instagram post, however,  should throw some light on the question.

this

(This is my coolmate. She’s been supporting me with all that’s important to me: family, church, school, work, and my band. Thank you for being there, coolmate.)

I used to think giving someone a material gift was the BEST way to show your love to them (yep, me and my shallow thinking, errbody), but then again who was I kidding? Gift-giving is not my strong suit.

Your turn to answer, my friends.:)

Question 1216

1216

In the summer of ’93, our local parish announced that they were to open the first kindergarten in our town. I can only imagine excited mothers rushing off to enroll their children immediately after hearing the news, whereas my ‘mothers’, by whom I mean my grandmother and my aunt, were as much in the dark as I was. Apparently, we were the last ones to find out what the entire hullabaloo was about.

Nonetheless, my aunt managed to enroll me on the first day of school. I was introduced to a Sister Annie and a Teacher Marissa – the nicest and prettiest ladies I’d ever seen. Shortly afterwards I was introduced to my so-called classmates. My very first real classmates. I never felt intimidated nor out of place when I first met them. I instantly felt a sense of belonging. I mean, most of them were MY kind – the rowdy, chip-toothed, mucus-eating kind. These people were not so much hard to please. I wasn’t put under such pressure. In fact, meeting them was like the beginning of my life. A new and exciting life.

I cannot recall how many we were in the class, but there were a few kids who were definitely noteworthy:

THE CRYBABY. Cried at the slightest thing. For example, I would make mean faces at him and he would sob as if the world has ended. Heck, I would even make face at someone else and if he saw it, he would still burst into tears.

THE CLASS PRINCESS. She was all about Barbie dolls and cute ribbons and butterflies and all the other girly stuff. My source of envy.

THE B.I. He was an expert in cursing. My mentor. Once we were both given a detention for teaching the other kids some swear words. Teacher Marissa was greatly disappointed and so enraged that she also made us eat chilies in front of the class. As expected, THE CRYBABY cried.

THE INVISIBLE KID. I only came to know about him only on our graduation day. He was the valedictorian.

THE LOVERBOY. The first boy to have ever told me he liked me. Sadly, the feeling ain’t mutual.

THE TOMBOY. She and I were tight. I can’t remember why.

Lastly, there was…

THE PRETTY BOY. Shy, but definitely the prettiest boy there ever was. My first kiss, too. It was customary for the parents or guardians to throw a fancy, if not huge, birthday party for their kids. Aside from cakes and gifts, the party also consisted of special numbers, candy shower, and kisses bestowed on the birthday celebrator. On my birthday, Teacher Marissa made my classmates queue up for the kiss. And PRETTY BOY was the first in line, to LOVERBOY’s dismay.

My kindergarten days flew by, incredibly quickly. We eventually had to move on to elementary school. A lot of things had happened in between, I’ve forgotten about 65% of it. But never will I forget that blue overall dress I really adored so bad my aunt had to wrestle with me because I always refused to take it off; feeling like a proper grown up the moment I learned how a pair of socks work; how I used my height to manipulate the shorter kids into ganging up on a classmate, a distant cousin, who allegedly stole my Crayola (it had 80 colors); Tang Marino driving me to and picking me up from kumbento with his freshly-painted sikad-sikad making me feel like a royalty; being forced by my aunt and her friends to step on a footstool to practice my salutatory speech; my Baguio-residing sister making a surprise appearance at my graduation and feeling proud because who else has a sister who lives and studies in Baguio? Who. Else. Haha.

(Jeez. Writing about these kids makes me feel quite nostalgic now.)


On our graduation day, we sang a song, which as I have later learned, was from the 1979 movie, Voices. It goes:

You can swim like a fish if you want to
Swim if you’re brave enough to try
And the whales will be amazed when they see you in the deepest ocean drifting by.

You can run like a stream if you want to
Run down the river to the sea
And the ocean will be full of envy when she sees you running out to me.

You can grow like a tree if you want to
Grow if you’re not afraid to fall
And all the other trees will be jealous when they see you standing straight and tall

You can fly like bird if you want to
Fly like a bird if you dare
And all the other birds will admire when they see you dancing in mid air.

I remember Sister Annie explaining the meaning of the song to us during one of our rehearsals – how this song, she said, is all about being brave, that there is no harm in trying, no harm in dreaming. That we can fly like a bird if we really want to. “And do you want to?” she asked all of us, her eyes resting fleetingly on me.