It was the end of August 2003 and everybody should be running to the gymnasium to watch the closing program of Buwan ng Wika. But not every high school kid wanted to participate or attend, we just want to go home. But what can we do if it’ll earn us extra points for the Filipino subject. Some of the kids didn’t care because they might not be interested in earning those stupid points. Some of them went out to play computer games such as Ragnarok. I can still remember the Ragnarok hype back then. I am a bit of a player but my first love is Warcraft and it will always be. It was the hype back then too, I wasn’t just playing socially cos during that time, only the boys play in computer shops. I never tried playing in computer shops, I feel like it’s going to be awkward to see a girl play computer games during that time so I have kept it as tiny little secret of mine. I,myself plays at home right after doing my homeworks.
Some of them are in the classrooms chilling and listening to their discmans. Discmans and CD players were popular back then and I guess the ipod has been relased but not like the ones that we have today. Students who care in getting that extra credit attended the program and I was one of them. I was actually a part of the program. I was at the back stage thinking about how many people are waiting to watch us walk, talk, and stand. Ethan approached me as we hear the roar of the crowd, the music playing, and the teachers calling every candidate to line up. He reached out his hand and said, “Let’s go. Let’s get this over with so you could go home early and I can proceed to my friends who are waiting for me at the computer shop.”
I nodded and held his hand. He looked at me with shock and said, “Why are you so cold? Nervous? Is this your first time?” I smiled at him and said, “No. I just feel cold because of the rain.” He smiled at me and said, “It’s alright. I’ll keep your hands warm then.” He grabbed both of my hands and squeezed them a bit. It felt good. And while we were keeping ourselves warm, the rain pour harder but the roar of the crowd still sounds louder. Ethan was still squeezing my hand and finally, when he knew that I looked calm, he let it go and said, “feeling better now?” “Yes” I replied with a smile. Ethan felt like a brother to me even though I only knew him because of the contest. He was funny and loud but a bit serious at times. During practices for the pageant, he would open up to me unconsciously about his feelings towards girls and girls that he like and I would do the same thing. We don’t know why but we got along pretty well. Maybe that’s why we became so comfortable with each other that holding hands wasn’t a problem or I mean awkward. At the age of 12, I should’ve felt something like other girls when boys hold their hands but to him, I don’t. It was sisterly love that I think what grew in those fast three weeks.
What Ethan told me during practices about how fast the program will end was True. We ended up walking around the stage, introduced ourselves, and if we’re lucky not to be picked for the final five then we’re good to go. Luckily, we weren’t so Ethan and I parted ways right after the judges decided who will be the top five. I was relieved we could go. It was a tiring afternoon due to practices before the program, to changing clothes to the traditional Filipina dress and putting on make up. I didn’t like make up, it’s itchy and feels heavy on the face. When we were about to part ways, I suddenly had the feeling to call Ethan back and he turned around walking a few steps back to where I was standing and said, “What?” I said, “Will you still be talking to me after the program? I mean you’re from Descartes and I’m from Pythagoras. Will we still be friends?” I was a transferee so I was desperate for people that I can get along with and call friends. He smiled and pat my shoulder, “Of course! You’re my bestfriend now. All right?” He pat the top of my head and waved goodbye. I even felt more relieved to have one new friend at least. The rain was still pouring hard and I realized that I have left my umbrella in the classroom right before the program started. Now, it’s 6pm and it’s probably locked already. I was feeling hopeless when suddenly someone approached me and said, “Need an umbrella?” I was sitting on the bench within the elementary stage when I looked up and saw Lance. I stood up and said, “Well.. Kind of. What are you doing here?” “Are you blind or what? Rescuing you of course. Can’t believe Ethan left you here alone. Come on, I’ll drop you at the waiting shed.” And as he walked, I just stood there,frozen. He came back and said, “What are you still doing here? I said I’ll drop you at the waiting shed.” I answered softly, “No. Don’t blame Ethan I told him that I have an umbrella but I realized that I have left it in the classroom.” He touched my chin and said, “Hey, I’m not mad okay? I’m just worried about you. Well, do you want to stay here for a while and wait till the rain stops? I can stay.” I looked at him and said, “You don’t need to. Go home.” He raised one eyebrow and said, “No. I’ll stay here with you. This will be like a reward for your outstanding modelling earlier.” we both laughed and sat there talking while we watch the rain pour heavily.
Lance is not like Ethan. Well, base on how I feel, it’s far different. I might say that it was true love or maybe, first love but it never was a lasting love. I was 12, so it must be the hormones kicking in. Lance is someone deep and sensitive. He was a player too, it was too late when I knew about it. But this memory will forever last in my heart although we’re through for more than 10 years now. When I look back to that day, I don’t regret saying phrases such as “I love you” and “I’ll fight for you”. For a 12 year old, it looks easier back then cos I can have an excuse for being such an emotional little girl. But for a 23 year old, it was just empty words.
Lance was the first person whom I thought my full trust can be given. I was young and naive to even do such thing. He was trying to capture me in a trap full of romantic prose and illusions of what we may become. And I was a pretty vulnerable butterfly to kiss the words of empty vows of adore and voluntarily fall into the trap of his own illusion.
At a distant, we look nothing special. But he has spoken words that made me believe that I was the one. I had hoped that it was his hormones kicking in too back then.
We sat there for 30 minutes talking about us and how he feels about me. It’s as if my dreams are coming true when he said those three deceiving words. It was the final act of his illusion, his greatest weapon to finally lock me in the cage. But I was acting tough, trying to resist, holding those words back as a reply. I can feel it now, the rush of blood. Those heartbeats, please make it stop. Don’t make me say it. Not now. Not yet.
He said it again with courage and bravery in his voice, “I love you.” I didn’t dare look at him while sitting there. At the stage.. 645pm.. The rain is still pouring.. I can still keep it. Run now and don’t look back.
I stood up, bag in my right hand, one step forward, then he grabbed my arm, our lips touched for the first time. I couldn’t let go. His hands were strong. My body was in total shock. I can see the sky, it’s purple with some orange hues. My heartbeat’s racing, I can feel it in my ears, in my forehead and everywhere in my body. This time I wasn’t shivering because I was cold. I was shivering because of the currents I received from this extraordinary moment. I slowly closed my eyes and stopped thinking about anything.. But this moment.
He was shivering too, I can feel it in his kiss..
We let go and looked at each other. We were just looking at each other, our cheeks were blushing and the cold that the rain caused me earlier is no use, I’m in heat.. Heartbeat’s still racing.. Our eyes met and I guess we were thinking the same thing. “What the hell were we thinking? Making that moment last..”
He was about to approach and embrace me but I took a step back and said, “No.”
I ran away from the boy who took my first kiss. It was wrong. It never should’ve happened. My 12 year old body was in shock and couldn’t believe that her first kiss was stolen, but how come did she let it last? Was it love? Or the illusion of love?
I went home wondering.. If Lance could be my last for he took my first kiss. Taken or stolen? Or given? I couldn’t even remember clearly now. It has been more than a decade. But I feel no regret in giving in to the temptation and letting Lance take my first kiss.
Now that I’m 23 and I look back to that moment, I still smile and call myself naive.
Names were changed.
Locations were changed.
Some events were interchanged due to blurry images and to make it sound more dramatic. Lol! I was reading some novels lately and my hands became itchy to write something again and well, I just recently remembered about how scary it was for me as a 12 year old back then to experience my first kiss.