I left Greenbelt with Daren and Rose, since we had to do something the next day. We actually overstayed, since four other biters somehow made it in the nick of time, just when we were all preparing to go. He was acting as some sort of tour guide through the roads and forbidden areas of the Ayala Center - although I didn't really need one, because I know my maps, although walking along wasn't a good idea - but he was lamenting that I was the only one who answered his appeal for such. Well, it worked anyway.
Edaine - the person I envy, since she's met Joe Schmoe - arrived third, perhaps because she's just starting her review classes, so that she can finally become a nurse like Joogie. She apparently also drove her way there, although it wasn't of any use for most of us, because Quezon City is the opposite of Parañaque. It was only yesterday when she found out that I was younger than her by a year, because apparently my responses make me sound like someone in my mid-twenties - there it goes again! She is also perhaps the most emotional among the so-called "eyebiters," expressing her every sentiment about everything I shouldn't comment on, and even faking a tear whenever Sam decides to saturate the atmosphere with an infinite loop of Thanks To You. And she hates candids, too.
Jaiin arrived without her cap on. It was partly a surprise, although not really, since I've already seen a photo of her without headgear the first time we've met. Then again, it was the first time in four attempts that I'd see her without anything covering her hair. Turns out she also had a haircut, like Rhyme, although I don't really have a vantage point for the latter, since I've only met her then. That night also marked the first time she finally met Sam, after a long-botched attempt for the two to have coffee. I don't know why it didn't push through though.
I can't even remember how many times I called Jalein at home, perhaps to discuss everything that shouldn't be commented on, and what would eventually be the lost icebreaker questions. Apparently all that fuss amounted to nothing, as I was on the verge of canceling the eyeball seven hours before it was to start. Twenty-four hours before call time, people started begging off, and the much-anticipated budget went in limbo. It eventually did not come, and I was actually asked to cancel the eyeball that was already announced on Kelly's show by none other than Kelly herself. And I was starting to lose sleep.
Jan was organizing it, though, albeit virtually. He had a smattering of suggestions about where to meet and where to eat, although the funny thing is, the four tried-and-dids ended up eating at Krocodile Grill after the five punctuals ate burgers, in true biter fashion. Then, he suddenly had to go overtime at work, something he announced a few days before, and something that shouldn't have dented the thing until the other elders, so to speak, disappeared to the clouds. He treated the four to food, though, basically doing what Daren did when Sam found her grandmothers were slowly missing.
Joogie was apparently there. I didn't catch him, as I had to go home for what apparently amounts to nothing.
Apparently, Rose didn't know her way around Makati. She started texting when Edaine, Sam and I were chatting about nothing at some random bench on some random floor in some random mall (or, technically, Greenbelt 5). When we moved to Starbucks at Greenbelt 3, she ended up looking for a non-existent Starbucks branch at Glorietta 3, partly because the guards pointed her to different directions. I had to pick her up at Landmark, not knowing who to look for, and later realizing she was telling me who she is all along. Then she'd start giving away leather goods - very Marikina of her. Now I have a decent coin purse.
Rhyme suddenly started making her presence felt. I can't remember whose phone it was - I think it was Rose's - and then our plans started crumbling apart. Departure became a music video "shoot" slash another attempt to make Edaine cry, and I realized at that moment that I'm the resident hyperactive among the group. She just turned seventeen, and birthday greetings flew on our special online place, and none of those greetings surfaced when we all met up. And even unrelatedly funnier, she somehow ended up leading the tried-and-dids, although Jan's more distinct as it seems. You can see the space at the restaurant, with them having actual food, and us having tap water.
But if anyone stuck it out, literally, it was Sam. She badly wanted to meet the biters, and thankfully, she managed to convince her grandmother to bring her there. She even asked me to go early to meet her early, and we ended up talking for hours, about nothing, losing our way and then finding it again. She might've unintentionally seen my playful side, but I guess it's just me talking to her almost every afternoon, and me being silently tasked to take care of her, especially when the grandmothers disappeared to shop. But it felt weird, really. She was getting more updates, from the budget to the budget disappearing, and I consulted with her about pushing the eyeball. And they thought it wouldn't happen.
As for me, well, I (am taking seriously the fact that I) blew the chance for an unrelated but weirdly anticipated meet-up - and yes, those other things that I shouldn't comment on, because whenever I speak, there's nothing coming out, despite that weirdly ingenious letter getting there the next day. But that, my friends, is a different entry altogether.