6/01/2008
Chasing you home

His location was very convenient. The seat he was in overlooked the skating rink, an advantage that he took to great lengths. It was cooler there; cooler, at least, than the rest of the shopping mall, with its flocks of shoppers making the most out of the weekend sale. It also provided him with a free source of entertainment, and perhaps it's something acceptable nowadays, with the advent of reality shows. Some excuse.

It was a busy day on the floor below, but somewhere amidst the crowds, he trained his eye on a couple comfortably striding through the corridor. He can see their expressions clearly; both were happy, perhaps giggly, and they were slowly dragging each other towards another. Then they stop, for around ten seconds or so, before they proceeded to the skating rink.

There were a lot of people at the skating rink, but the line was surprisingly short. The couple did their usual stride, breezing through the turnstiles before getting their skates. The guy dug through his pockets and pulls out his billfold. A couple of transactions later, there were out into the wild. Well, that's what the girl called it. The guy held her hand, and out they went.

It was a particularly hot day, but at the skating rink, it was the opposite. Jackets and sweaters were the fashion statement, if you'd put it that way. Kids were falling down. Mothers were finding their way. Trainees were doing pirouettes and leaps. The couple was slowly making their way, a departure from their pace before getting there. But they were taking things slowly, rather than letting others slow them down. A giggle here, a playful pinch there, and they seemed happier than they ever were.

For a moment, the skating rink was theirs. Slowly making their way through the non-existent crowd, they were together, as they should be. The girl's hand holding the guy's hand. Everything else you could associate with it.

"Huy! Kanina ka pa ba andito?"

Suddenly, the couple vanishes from the rink. He's been staring at the rink for half an hour now, perhaps entranced at what he's been seeing, or what he thinks he's seeing. His friend just arrived with a surprised look on his face.

"Bangag ka na naman 'ata, ah. Anong tinira mo?"

He looks at his friend, and quickly looks back at the skating rink. In one spot was the girl, pulling out her camera and pointing it at him. Her eyes sparkled as the snow machine started spewing out soap bubbles, and as everybody started to take notice, her attention was focused on him. "Smile!" she went, as a red streak appeared on the camera, before finally flashing.

He smiled as if it was just the two of them.

"Let's go, pare!" his friend said.

He turns to the last line and stands up. "Sige na nga," he retorts, still smiling. "Let's go." The puzzled look, already intensified, adorned his friend's face as they left the seat, and the balcony overlooking the skating rink. He walked slowly, hoping that there really was a picture, and that there really was a date at the skating rink - an ironic replete for his worn-out, cold heart.

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