"And tomorrow I'm wearing something a bit like Daria's outfit. So yeah, I'll watch you take it back. Just be there tomorrow, okay?"
For some particular reason, I did. After getting my course cards and confirming I still stand on the dean's list - or at least, on the second honors list, which is better than not at all - I immediately set off for the Magic 89.9 auditions. To cut a long story short, after struggling to find a jeep since the LRT closed, and after deciding I have to eat something, I left the auditions! Impatience can kill, really - not to mention twenty-something people waited, five of them from DLSU - and when I decided to get down the elevator, since Lizette was already texting me to get myself down to Ortigas and push the eyeball through, Miles (who just finished her shift) herself wondered whether I was finished. Then again, I had to meet up with someone, at least in a clandestine manner.
Insert me walking the longest distance ever. From the Paragon Plaza to what used to be called Emerald Avenue - because I didn't want to spend anymore - and up to now both feet are sore.
To be exact, that meeting with Liz was a really spontaneous one. When I typed in "hopefully it's an eyeball" on the conversation window two days ago it all happened - and I myself was surprised, because in essence I never really mean anything, right? That's actually how I got her mobile number. I've grown not to expect anything, anyway. It happens, still. Basically that's probably what powered me to walk out of the Magic 89.9 office and elicit that query from Miles, wondering why I spent so much fussing over travel options when eventually all I had to do is get myself to Ortigas rather than Boni Avenue and save my feet from all the abuse.
But I knew where I was going, at least. There's this surprising patch of greenery amidst the tall buildings (and transmitters, in some cases) that I passed by when I walked from the Ortigas station to Crowne Plaza, during Piyar's debut. It got etched in my head because it's an unexpected patch of green amidst the beige and gray skyline, and the people walking on the sidewalk. When I got there, it was barely paradise - I thought Liz was being her snotty self and was dropping my calls. Then I thought, that's Liz? Heck, she looks old. And a little bit beyond Daria, I should say. Apparently she was still looking for an elevator two buildings away. Five minutes later, there she was, and just now I realized it is Daria-ish. Well, I only got to see the program once in my life. Yeah, yeah, it sucks, I know. The sun was setting by then, and nothing else was known.
"Hi," she greeted. And then I decided to deviate. "This is the worst impression I've made," I said. I was thinking I was late by half an hour, and thought I had her waiting all throughout. Kill the paranoia should have been my best option. Turns out all we had to do is sit by the (extraordinarily large) benches, slouch like nobody was looking - heck, it's a park anyway! - and chat about the lights, the stars, mediocrity, radio careers, pseudo-relationships and bad teeth.
Well, that's Lizette. She's pretty, sure, and she still insists she's growing fat even if she'd probably never look like it. She's got this way around words - well, she describes herself as a good writer to the point that she writes in six blogs, including the ones I've previously linked to - and yet I felt that, as usual, I owned the conversation, to some extent. Well, until she finally whipped out her generic camera and began taking photos of us (for The Mind Commute, actually) with a flash that burst five times and blinds anyone with glasses - us, in that case.
We lounged around for an hour or so, finally deciding to leave at seven, while walking to the Ortigas station - at the back of my head it's a please, not walking! scenario - in between unheard conversations, forgotten pedestrian overpasses and almost stepping on a beggar sleeping in the middle of the corridor. Eventually we forgot about each other when we boarded a quite loose MRT, and snapped back to reality when we got to the Taft station. A few flights of stairs down, with me wondering why I never thought she'd have a stored value card - guess I was too good that night? - and then we split up as she took a jeep to Baclaran and I took a jeep to Buendia.
On the jeep, my mobile vibrated, signalling another text message. I didn't read it until I got in the bus, but it was safe to presume it was Liz. And true enough, it was. "Nice meeting you, Niko," she said, and I started to wonder whether all the worrying for the past two days about impressions and schedule conflicts boiled down to an oft-misunderstood resolution. "Take care on your way home," she concluded, and then came the smiley.
But of course, they always say that. Gotta be polite, still, especially for a first-time meet-up. "You too, Liz, take care..."
And I'm not taking what I described her back. Not after roughly an hour and a half.
Photo courtesy of Lizette Lanuzo