Written by Kyla Estoya | First published here.
Monthsary naliwat nira Reyna ngan Aidan. Ika-32? Diri ako maaram ano it ira punto pag-ihap kada bulan—gabay nala nira gin-anniversary. Sure naman ada hira nga hira na. Pero sabagay, riko man hira nga duha. Kada bulan mayda regalo. Kada bulan dapat bongga. Tanan nga tawo didi ha campus, bisan mga maestro ngan maestra, maaram hiton ira monthsary. Kulang nala i-declare hiya nga holiday.
“Hagi waray forever! Pero tungod ha ira, matuod na talaga ako,” siring ni Perla. Classmate ko. Die-hard fan nira Reyna ngan Aidan.
“Magbubulag gihap iton,” it akon baton.
Nasiring hi Perla bitter kuno ako kay nagseselos la ako ha ira nga duha.
Maiha na kami magkilala ni Aidan. Han elementary, kami pirmi iton nag-uupod. Magsapit ngani kami hadto han balay. Yana diri na kay bumalhin hira ha Abucay. Namatay man gud an iya Mama, sanglit didto nala hiya ginpaukoy ha paryente hit iya papa nga seaman. Pinaura hiya didto asya naka-eskwela hiya a private school. Didto niya nakilala ito nga Reyna.
Kada monthsary, mayda nira theme. Yana kay an ira theme animals. Maaram ako kay ginsigngan ako ni Perla. Nabatian kuno niya hi Reyna ngan han iya sangkay ha may CR, nag-paplano kun ano it ireregalo kan Aidan. Nabatian gihap niya iton ‘surprise’ ni Reyna kan Aidan kay mapasyada kuno hira hiton gab-e hiton ira monthsary. Nasiring hi Perla cute daw it ira relasyon. Kun ako it papakianhon, puro man la ito pamarayaw.
Nadiri ako kan Reyna kay para ha akon diri hira angay ni Aidan. Maarte, Englishera, ngan napakahin-o. Pareho kami hin kurso ngan naaringit ako basta nakikit-an ko hiya. Fake. Klaro. Damo liwat iton nauuwat.
“Buotan ka talaga, Reyna!” Asya pirmi tak nababatian ha ira nga tanan. Buotan nim mata. Diri ba hira maaram magbasa hin tawo? Mga buta. Klaro man gud nga diri hya maupay nga tawo. Napakabuotan gad la ito hiya kay para umayon ha iya it mga tawo—para umayon hi Aidan ha iya.
Han una kada enrollment, pwede kami pumili hin bisan ano nga schedule bisan pa iba nga kurso tam upod. Maupay ko adto nga mga adlaw kay kaurugan ha akon mga subjects, classmate kami ni Aidan. Nagkokopyahay pa ngani kami han amon mga assignments. Pero danay masumo la kay pirme hi Reyna it nagawas ha iya baba.
“Mahilig hiya hin pakla. Diri ako maaram kun kay ano.”
Diri gihap ako maaram, Aidan ngan waray ko labot.
Yana nga sem, tanan nga amun klase nagtitikang alas siete hit aga. Diri na kami nakakapili tam schedule kay puro major naman tam subject sanglit pirmi ko yana classmate hi Reyna. Kaurogan pa gud ha amun klase kay ‘alphabetical order’ iton seating arrangement tapos aada hiya tak hirani. Nasulod na ngani hiya ha classroom, guba na tak adlaw. It iya pahamot, mabaho. It iya ngirit, maraksot. It iya boses, maalingogngog.
“Good morning guys! My mom baked cookies last night so nagdara ako para ha iyo tanan,” an iya siring, “But remember share-share la ha?”
Diri urusahon nga damo iton uruwaton, kumuha hira tanan hiton nga cookies. Pati hi Perla.
Diri maiha umabot na an amun maestra. Nag-announce hiya bahin hit amon finals. Usa nala kuno iton kulang nga dapat i-discuss, ngan bangin diri na kuno kami mag-klase next week. “But before we start our lesson, we have a guest for today,” nasiring hi Mam.
Kumita kami ha tanan ha purtahan. Di maiha sumulod hi Aidan nga mayda dara nga flowers, balloon, ngan regalo. Tanan nga akon mga classmates ginkikilig. Sige an ira guliat ngan ira ginkikinitaan hi Reyna nga namumula. Dumaop hi Aidan kun hain nalingkod hi Reyna: “Happy Monthsary, babe”, ngan iya ginhatag an iya mga halad. Gin-abri ni Reyna an iya regalo. An sulod? Keychain nga stuff toy hin pakla. Sunod hadto, nagpasalamat hi Aidan ha amon maestra, ngan gumawas na hiya. Ginpadayon na nam klase pero klaro nga usa la it aada ha hunahuna hiton mga tawo: hi Reyna.
Bug-os nga adlaw asya la nak nababatian nga yawyaw. Maupay nala mayda kami mga school paper meeting kada kulop, ngan maupay nala waray ini labot hi Reyna. Tak hunahuna nakakaphuway. Pero tungod han nahitabo kanina, maaringasa la gihap nak utok. Kay ano ba kasi hira nag uyab? Kay ano kailangan pa ni Aidan bumalhin hin balay? Kay ano pa namatay an iya mama? Kun waray hiya namatay, diri unta hira uyab—bangin kami lugod an magkakadayon! Mas angay man kami ni Aidan. Ano ba an iya nakikit-an kan Reyna? Mas mahusay man ako, mas baltok!
Nagab-ihan ako ha amun school paper office. Didto ako nagbuhat han akon mga homework kay maluya it signal hit WiFi ha balay. Nagsarit naman ako nam adviser, ngan sumige hiya basta uupayon ko la pag-lock hit purtahan. Pag-gawas ko ha campus, sakto la mayda multicab nga umagi. Sumakay ako.
Bisan puno an akon ginsakyan, nakakaabat la gihap ako hin hagkot. Mahangin ha gawas. Gusto ko na kumaturog. Pag-abot namon ha may Apitong, humunong an multicab. Tanan nga pasahero nagduda kun ano an nahitabo. May mga police ngan damo nga tawo an nagtatampo ha unahan. Mayda dumaop nga tanod ha amon sarakyan ngan iya ginsigngan an amun drayber nga mayda kuno naligis hin motor ngan namatay. Ginhuhulat la kuno nira iton ambulance nga umabot para kuhaon iton iya lawas.
“Hala ano ba iton! Bata pa?”, pakiana han drayber.
“Bata pa. Daraga,” siring han tanod, “Waray pa gud ID. Basta pakla an iya keychain.”
But She Has a Frog Keychain
It’s Reyna and Aidan’s monthsary again. 32nd? I don’t see why they have to count the months they’ve been together—why can’t they just measure their relationship in years? I mean, they ARE sure about each other, right? Ugh. They’re both rich anyway. Each month, they both get extravagant presents that everyone on the campus—teachers and staff—know it’s their monthsary that they should just declare it a holiday.
“I don’t believe in forever! But because of them, I do,” Perla said as she swooned over Reyna and Aidan. She’s my classmate and she’s a die-hard fan of the couple.
“They’re going to break up,” I said.
Perla said I’m bitter because I’m just jealous of what they have.
Aidan and I were friends since we were kids. Back when we were still in elementary, we’d always hang out. We were also neighbors which made our friendship more fun. His dad was a seaman, and when his mother died, he moved to Abucay with his father’s rich relatives. His relatives spoiled him and made sure he was well-taken care of, so they sent him to private school. That’s where he met Reyna.
Anyway, each monthsary is celebrated with a theme and for this month, their theme was animals. I knew because Perla told me. She said she overheard Reyna and her friend in the girl’s restroom planning on what to give Aidan. She also heard that Reyna was going to surprise Aidan with an evening date. Perla said their relationship is cute. If you ask me, I think they’re just a bunch of show-offs.
I hate Reyna because I think she’s not the right person for Aidan. She’s a brat, she speaks English a lot, she thinks she’s the best at everything! We’re both studying the same course and I get irritated every time I see her face. It’s obviously fake and a lot of people are buying it!
“Reyna is so nice!” I hear that every day. Nice? Do they even know how to read people? They’re blind. It’s evident that she’s evil and she’s just pretending to be pure so people will like her—so Aidan will like her.
Before, at the start of every school year, we were allowed to pick our schedules no matter what course you are so a bunch of students from different courses can be mingled in a certain class. I loved that time because Aidan and I get to be classmates in some subjects and sometimes we even copy each other’s assignments. But there are times I hated talking to him because Reyna is the only thing that he blabbers about.
“She likes frogs! And I don’t know why!”
I don’t know why either, Aidan and I don’t give a damn.
This semester, all our classes start at seven in the morning. We can’t choose our schedules anymore because we’re studying most of my course’s major. That means I get to see Reyna a lot. In most classes, our seating arrangement is in alphabetical order and I get to sit next to her. I couldn’t tell you how many times she entered the classroom and how it pissed me off. Her fragrance stinks. Her smile is hideous. And her voice? Extremely annoying.
“Good morning guys! My mom baked cookies last night so I brought some for all of you,” she said, “But remember, everyone has to share, okay?”
I’m not even surprised at how people reacted to this. Everyone got a cookie, even Perla.
“You should try it, it’s really tasty.”
“I don’t care.”
After a few moments, our professor arrived. She announced something about our finals, and how we’re down to our last discussion and maybe we won’t have classes next week. “But before we start our lesson, we have a guest for today,” she said.
We looked at the door. Aidan showed up carrying a bouquet of flowers, a balloon, and a present. Everyone started cheering and teasing Reyna, and she was blushing the entire time. Aidan went to where Reyna was sitting and he said: “Happy Monthsary, babe”, and he gave all of his presents to her. Reyna opened her gift right in front of us. It was a small stuffed toy frog keychain.
After that, Aidan thanked our professor for giving him the opportunity to do that and he left. Our professor started discussing already but it was obvious who was inside everyone’s mind: Reyna.
This entire day was filled with murmurs and conversations about them. I’m grateful that we have a school paper meeting every afternoon, and I am so thankful that Reyna isn’t part of this. This gives my brain time to rest. But because of what happened earlier in class, my head still echoes her name. Why are they a couple? Why did Aidan have to move to Abucay? Why did his mom have to die? If she didn’t die, they wouldn’t have dated—Aidan could have been mine! We belong together! What does he see in Reyna, anyway? I’m obviously prettier and way smarter than her!
I want to cry.
I stayed in the school paper office until late in the evening. I did my homework there because the WiFi signal at home was terrible. I asked permission from my adviser anyway, and he said it was okay as long as I made sure the door gets locked. When I left our campus, a multicab stopped by our bus stop. I hopped in.
The multicab was packed with people, but for some reason, it felt cold. It was windy outside and it made me wish I was sleeping already. When we were in Apitong, the vehicle suddenly stopped. Everyone inside was curious what happened. I peeked outside the window and I saw policemen and a crowd of people just a few meters in front of our multicab. An officer approached our driver and told him that someone got hit by a motorcycle and died. He said they’re waiting for the ambulance to pick the body.
“Damn. A minor?” our driver asked.
“Yes, a young woman, actually,” the officer replied, “I can’t even find an ID on her, but she has a frog keychain.”
Kyla Estoya is a super typhoon survivor and an advocate for throwing kindness around like confetti. She currently lives with her family in Cebu City, Philippines. She is the founder of The Love Club and The Local Creatives. Follow her on Twitter @kylayaan.