Ryan. He hopped in as soon as the yellow-painted jeepney pulled over. He clasped a burger wrapped in a wax-coated paper with prints of a known fastfood chain’s name. He tucked it into his grey hoodie jacket as if other passengers would take it from him. It is as if the only one left for him.
“Bye Ryan!!”, a loud lady voice thundered. It seems the goodbye she bade is the last he would hear that dawn. All other voices, three or four more if not miscounted, echoed the same farewell, with variations of course. He flashed his braced-teeth to them with a thumb up, casually.
The wheels rolled, causing cold, morning wind to brush his face. His thick, quite messy hair danced to the beat the wind’s melancholic silence. It tickled his slightly trimmed mustache. His stare. It is towards the vehicle’s direction. It ran faster than the jeepney he is aboard. But it didn’t take a turn or a curve. It is straight.
He wanted to get home quick. How bad he wanted to slumber into his bed. He wanted to get numbed, for years perhaps. He wanted to replace his blood with liters of caffeine or intoxicate himself with the hardest drink the world have made, if not because of Ellen’s reaction.
Among the voices he heard who said goodbye, Ellen’s was the loudest. He never seen her open her tiny lips. But he heard it from her stares. And her goodbye was with a mix of “I’m sorry.”
That last stare, it left an aftertaste. It says, “We can still be friends.” The word reverberated into the caverns of his emptiness. The brush of wind felt more like a slap and awakened him. He summoned the heavy feeling and squeezed the bun in his hand. “Friends,” he whispered.
Bobbi Petalurca | July 19, 2015