“KC, what happened?” Esther inquired.
Oh my gosh, she’s talking about what has just transpired right?? Gosh, I so don’t want to talk about it. I soooo don’t want to. But what can I do? She was there when it all happened. I just didn’t know exactly where but she was there and she witnessed it all – my utter mortification.
You see, about two minutes away from here Samuel and I was standing outside the Pizza Hut. It was a busy afternoon and we were filled with the hustle and bustle of the street. It was our parting time – time for us to utter our last words. This is it. Time for him to hold my hand tightly and tell me that we’ll meet at this very same place in the very same time exactly five years from now and finally give me that breath-taking, world-stopping kiss. I snapped into reality and realized that, we're so not in Europe and this is sooo not Before Sunrise right?? Haha.
The situation was unbearable. I was looking straight into that very handsome face of his and it was staring back at mine. Come to think of it, I used to stare at and admire it only from afar. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my completely addled brain, the firing synapses were warning me that he was going to kiss me. But it’s hardly possible. I prayed that my key-lime pallor will remain just the same but it’s useless as I already feel myself coloring.
Suddenly, without my meaning to, I turned away from him to look for Esther and use that same time press my lips together to spread what was left of my lip gloss. Just as I was thinking if I'm going to start this whole goodbye thing when suddenly I heard him mutter some things. I turned back to face him and too late for me to understand it all. Instead, the ONLY and LAST words I understood was
“…..it was nice to meet you.”
Before I could conjure up a single syllable to utter, he brushed his right cheek to my left and because I was too shocked (or unprepared I don’t know), I quickly turned around and started walking away. Oh yes I did!! I felt my cheeks flame (really!!!) amidst that 1° cold and my body feels cold all over. It took every ounce of willpower and strength to remain walking upright, to make sure that my mouth had not flopped open or that my knees had just given out. And get this, I didn’t look back anymore.
To keep from passing out or having to actually consider what had just happened, I talked to Esther who’s just surprisingly appeared by my side and I asked her if we can drop by the mall for my quick shopping. She agreed and as if on cue, a chugging taxi appeared infront of us.
Once inside, I faced the windowpane scanning the streets for a sign of Samuel. God, I don’t know what was wrong with me. It was just a simple “beso” – a quick contact of two cheeks and yet I acted like I was a 10-year old girl being kissed by a boy for the first time in her life. Yay!!
Now I feel my heart sank as he’s nowhere to be found on the street. Oh no, what have I done?? It could’ve been a nice ending – a proper one – but instead I ruined it all. =(
“Huh?” I replied. My face must’ve betrayed me for appearing clueless.
“Eh Samuel was about to kiss you on the other cheek but you turned away.”
“Oh my god Esther, I remember in your country you’re used to do it in two cheeks right? Gosh, I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting he’ll give me a beso. I wasn’t prepared for all of it. Did he find the situation awkward?”
“Ah, yes! He asked me what happened to you.” Oh my gosh, now he thinks I’m crazy for scampering off like that. Or yet, another horrible thought gripped me, that the foolish act had just confirmed their vague suspicion that I like him. Now I wished I just melted into the ground.
“No I'm fine. It was just that in our country we’re doing beso only on one cheek.” Yeah that’s it. “Don’t worry I’ll text Samuel and I will explain to him.” There, I’m relieved. I’m so clever in getting away with things. But really, did I have to hide it to Esther?? I mean, come on if I Dien knows the secret then how much more to this woman.
“Esther, I have a question, do you think Samuel has a girlfriend?” And there went the proof of my incurable sickness of kiss and tell. Hay.
“No. He doesn’t have.” WOW!! I was thrilled to hear this!!
“You know my husband looks like Samuel.” Oh wow, I didn’t know she’s already married.
“Really?? He must be a handsome man then.”
But our conversation was cut short when the driver told us that we’re already in Doota mall in Dong Dae Mun. All the way to the mall, I was treasuring this chunk of information that Esther had just told me. Samuel is single!! Hihi. I know it doesn’t make much of an impact specially that there’s a remote chance of us seeing again but still! I’m just happy he’s not romantically attached to anyone.
This is the same mall Dien, Lawrence and I went into last night. I would just probably pick some of the nice stuffs I saw yesterday. Time was of scant supply so I was quickly buying cheap shirts anything that ranges from 10,000 KRW to 15,000 KRW just to have something to give to the folks back at home. I was able to produce six shirts within the round-up of the first floor. We trudged up the second floor to pick anything else for my Mam specially a bag since I don’t know much her preference for clothing and perhaps my promised dress for myself. Sadly there’s none of my taste. No dress for me and no bag for Mam and Tita. It was such a depressing shopping experience. =(
Time must’ve passed quickly what with the traffic and the time Esther and I lost each other when she went to the ladies’ room for it was already 5:15 PM when we reached the Shilla hotel. The bus that’s supposed to take me to Incheon airport will arrive at 5:45 PM. Jaded from all the walking and shopping (not to mention self-embarassing..aargh, I still feel my myself burning with shame, in flames actually everytime I remember the scenario), I expected that Esther would just invite me up for a short rest in her room. I was wrong!! She invited me to take a quick look in the Duty Free shop that’s just beside the hotel.
Oh.my.god. Does she expect herself to finish in say 20 minutes or so to give me some leeway?? My bags are in her room and I realized I’m powerless in the situation. So off we went straight to Duty Free without dropping off our things first. I may have been lacking when it comes to gifts for my parents but I will not waste my money with all the high-end brands here. :P In all fairness there was a Lacoste bag sale but there are a lot of complications when it comes to purchasing items (presenting passport and the like) so I just dropped the idea off. Besides, I still have time in the airport later to buy whatever I can find for Mam.
While traipsing back to the hotel, Esther broached about Nilce and his "boy" Marlowe. She can’t seem to get over with the idea that she’s “sort of” dating him - a guy from the conference. And then she opened up the thing about Brazilian women, like how liberated they are and all that. Gosh, I can’t believe she’s talking to me about her like that. Nilce had been her seatmate and constant companion for the last four days!! I don’t want to think that Esther’s not a genuine person but to be honest, it’s already a general impression on their race.
Ok, I’m not washing my hands on this coz I admit it really scares the pants of me just the mere thought of Samuel and Nilce talking to each other. Hehe. But in all fairness to her, would she help it if say somebody from the class admires her or ok (perhaps with that man working on the same line of thought as ours), if that man wants to have a night with her?? I don’t think that’s her fault anymore. So in defense to Nilce,
“Do you think she’s that type?? She’s just quiet during the training.”
“Well, maybe. But of course, she will not show it to his colleagues.” She countered. Is she trying to convince me to go against the woman??
So to put an end in all this, I provided my impartial account.
“Well at least if she’s really like that, let’s just be thankful that she behaved professionally during the training.” Nilce had been nice to me especially in Everland.
While waiting for the bus outside the hotel, Esther and I talked about some other things. I thanked her for being kind to me and ensured that we’ll communicate in our company’s messenger. It was already past 6 when the bus arrived and when I saw it coming, I gripped Esther’s wrists, faced her and made her promise.
“Esther,” I said pausing for effect “please take care of Samuel for me. Please???”
In any other situation this might sound as a joke but I really meant it. She smiled and said okay.
“Here’s the bus. Oh, I must hug with you.”
For once the words would have struck me comical, but I found her English booboo rather cute. Hehe. We embraced each other and before I walked away, I had one more thing to ask her,
“Esther, I forgot another thing. Please make sure that Samuel stays away from Nilce.”
Ahahahaha. I turned away and climbed up the bus. I waved my hand to her inside and settled myself on the second single seat to the left.