"I can manage"

The plan was to have dinner tomorrow night, somewhere at the Shangri-la Plaza. Jackie, who was organizing the affair before she returns to Taiwan later this month, figured it would be close to where I work.

"Si Jill din, taga-Ortigas, di ba?" she asked me a week back.

Yes, I answered, remembering when a bunch of power outages affected the area and we were both forced to go home early. Oddly, I completely forgot about Clarence, who was working on the same street as me. She's just right there, and I forgot her.

I didn't really have to worry. Today, I learned that the list of attendees grew. Jackie mentioned ten names: apart from Ariane and Jill, there was Clarence, there was Kaymee, and there were a few others who I (also oddly) can't recall. More importantly, she had details on where and when the whole thing will be. And, apparently, I'm the only one she told about it. Cue me being reminder boy, much like frosh years.

Not really. I only sent text messages to the three people who I was absolutely certain still had those numbers. Well, I chatted with Ariane. I texted Clarence during my lunch break, asking if we could go to the restaurant together, since we're just so near to each other. Jill specially asked me to text her the latest developments. I gave her the details, and she asked me to pass on a joke to Jackie. "It's cheaper than other [restaurants] kaya!" she answered.

I went home, passing by the Shang like I always do, and figured out where the lunch will actually happen. I sent a text message to the three girls: the place is at the fifth floor, and Jackie reserved at half past seven. That's a full 90 minutes from the end of my shift, so I could either stay around at the office, or do something outrageous.

"Mag-isa ka ba dun?" I asked Jill. "Plano kasi kitang daanan. Wala lang kasi akong magawa."

As far as I can remember, Jill's office is on the other side of Ortigas. That's a twenty-minute walk, like when I went to watch Jason's film.

She didn't get my message. I had to clarify again. She finally did.

"Oh, it's okay. I walk to Ortigas area tanghaling tapat, in heels. I can manage."

I wanted to think chivalry has died. "Be a gentleman," they'd always tell you, but the many times I tried I get turned down, mostly in a nice way. Well, this is way better than standing around near the women's bathroom, waiting for a companion to come out - that's not accurate, but whatever - and getting snubbed. Well, it did feel like I was fishing for a goodbye or, this time around, a half-decent conversation.

And then I realize I gave the girls the wrong name of the restaurant. So much for fact-checking.

And your responses...

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