I immediately sat at the bartender’s corner and ordered her to serve her recommended cocktail. After a few minutes, she gave me a glass of pinkish, carbonated liquor. I took a sip and felt a surge of warmth in my mouth down to my stomach.
Tumingin ako sa paligid at mukhang ang saya ng mga tao rito. The EDM songs were also vibrant and bouncy so a lot of people were dancing. Napabuntong-hininga na lang ako at saka ulit uminom.
“I love you, Sab, but you should let me go. Live and love again.”
Even though it was just a dream, his words were still ringing in my head. Hindi naman gano’n kadaling makalimot. Mahirap. Masakit.
Naubos ko ang isang glass ng mixed drink at umorder pa ulit ako. The bartender looked at me as if I was requesting something bad so I just smiled at her.
“Another glass please,” sabi ko at nagsimula naman siyang mag-mix ulit.
“Here,” sabay slide niya ng drink sa harapan ko.
Ininom ko agad ‘yon at naramdaman ko ang pag-init ng tiyan ko at parang unti-unti nang umiikot ang paningin ko. Nakatingin lang sa akin ang bartender at sa tingin ko ay halos nasa twenties lang din siya tulad ko. She looked pretty and her features attracted several guys who were sitting on this side.
Naramdaman ko naman ang pagkahilo matapos kong maubos ang iniinom ko pero humingi pa ulit ako ng isang glass.
“Are you sure, Miss? You look drunk,” sabi niya sa akin.
“Yeah. He’s still in my mind so that means I’m not yet drunk,” I sighed.
Instead of getting drunk, it felt like I was becoming more clearheaded and I hated that. Lalo ko lang naaalala ang panaginip ko at kung paano niya sinabing kailangan ko na siyang pakawalan. His words hurt and the alcohol made it more painful . . . more miserable.
“Ah. So you’re here because of your boyfriend?” she asked, and now, I could see her smiling at me.
“Yeah,” I replied with a strained smile. “He wants me to move on from him.”
“Really?” sabay abot niya ng pangatlo kong baso. “Bakit? Dahil may bago na siya?”
“No.” I stared at my pinkish drink and remembered his face. “He’s . . . he’s gone.”
“Huh? What do you mean—oh. I’m sorry,” sabi niya nang ma-realize niya ang ibig kong sabihin.
Tumulo agad ang kanina ko pang pinipigilang mga luha at mukhang nag-panic siya kaya naman ngumiti ako sa kanya. She offered me a tissue and I took it to wipe my tears.
“Sorry for getting dramatic,” sabi ko naman habang pinipigilan ang luha ko pero tuluy-tuloy pa rin sila sa pag-agos.
“It’s okay. Most people tend to drink when they have problems like that.”
Napangiti naman ako sa sinabi niya at nakakatuwa dahil ina-accommodate niya ako kahit na hindi naman kami magkakilala. Siguro ay marami na siyang na-encounter na tulad ko.
I silently drowned myself in tears and liquor as Kyle continued to haunt my thoughts with his last words. Naka-apat na glass na ako at halos hindi na ako makagalaw nang maayos pero nasa isip ko pa rin siya. Ang hirap niyang kalimutan.
“Kyle,” I sobbed after finishing my fourth glass.
“Miss, okay ka lang ba?” tanong ng bartender dahil halos nakahiga na ang upper body ko sa table.
“No,” sabi ko at may narinig akong nabasag sa gilid ko. Was that my glass? I can’t see clearly anymore.
“Now, you’re really drunk.”
“Mmm . . . not yet,” I whispered. “Could you give me a liquor that could make me forget a person?”
“He wanted me to forget him even if I had spent five painful years keeping him in my heart. What a bad guy,” sabi ko habang tuluy-tuloy na ang luha ko.
Hindi ko na matandaan kung anu-ano ang pinagsasabi ko dahil parang wala nang restrictions ang bibig ko. I can’t filter what I say anymore and I was sure that the girl was getting tired of me.
“Miss, may I have your phone? I need to contact your guardian.”
“Hmm . . .”
“How are you going to—”
Bigla namang nawala ang atensyon ng babae sa akin at napatingin siya sa tumawag sa kanya. ‘Yon ba ang pangalan niya? Hm? That voice . . . it seemed familiar.
“Andito ka na,” she said while pointing to someone.
“Sorry, traffic. Ano na ba ang plano natin sa birthday ni Alleine?”
“Hay. Sorry rin pero na-extend ang shift ko kaya mamayang madaling araw pa ako free. Hindi na kita na-text dahil busy.”
“Oh. Balik na lang ba ako mamaya?”
Dumilat ako para tignan kung sino ang kausap niya dahil pamilyar talaga ang boses niya. He was just sitting beside me but my sight was blurry and I could only see his vague profile.
“Who are you?” I breathed and I felt a throbbing pain in my head. God, the alcohol was finally kicking in.
“Ah, sorry, she’s alone and drunk,” I heard the bartender said while checking my pocket for my phone.
“I’m not drunk. Not yet. I’m . . .”
Napatigil naman ako nang marinig ko ang pangalan ko. Who said that? Was it the guy?
“Wait, you know him, Andrew?”
What? Did she call him Andrew? Did she mean . . . that Andrew? I wasn’t sure. I can’t see him clearly. I can’t hear any sound anymore. My senses were betraying me and my head was spinning like crazy.
“Andrew . . .” mahina kong tawag at iyon na ang huli kong naalala bago ako tuluyang mawalan ng malay.
“Sab, don’t live in the past. Move on and keep living.”
Napabalikwas naman ako at halos hindi ako makahinga nang maayos nang makita ko ang mukha ni Kyle. Panaginip na naman.
Bigla naman akong napahawak sa ulo ko dahil parang pinupukpok sa sobrang sakit. I was about to get out of bed but I froze when I realized I wasn’t in my condo. Hindi ko alam kung ilang segundo o minuto akong nakatulala dahil hindi ko alam ang nangyayari. Pinilit kong alalahanin kung ano ang ginawa ko kagabi at . . .
“Oh my God,” bulong ko. Ang huli ko lang na naaalala ay nakasubsob na ako sa table sa sobrang kalasingan at tinatanong ng bartender kung nasaan ang phone ko. What happened after that?
Inikot ko ang paningin ko sa kwarto at halos puti ang nakikita ko. The theme and design was minimalist and I could smell the strong aroma of perfume. Wait, parang amoy lalaki?
Bigla ko namang narinig ang pag-click ng pinto kaya lalo akong nagpanic. Tinakpan ko ang sarili ko ng kumot at dahan-dahang sumilip kung sino ang pumasok.
“Good morning. Okay ka na ba?”
Memories from last night came rushing in my mind and I just stared at him, unsure of what to do. He smiled at me in return and placed the cup of coffee he was holding on the bedside table.
“We meet again, Sab,” he said and I felt a mixture of emotions—confusion, embarrassment and a little bit of amusement.
Live and love again, Kyle had said. Maybe, just maybe, he could help me.