"Good luck to asterisks and distractingly cute femmes"

"Himala! Hindi ka 'busy'!"

The air quotes around "busy" was intentional. Not that I doubt Clarence is doing anything at work. I think I know what she does pretty well. It's just that, well, things just come up from out of the blue, like the day of the block reunion, when too many things happen just when we thought nothing would.

"Actually I am now," she replied. "This afternoon lang."

See what I mean?

"Niko! Let's have lunch sometime. Imma bring a friend."

My policy is pretty simple, really. I'm on call. So, if you feel like having lunch with me, I'll be available most of the time, except when something big came up, or when I'm bogged down by an extra set of responsibilities. "Especially on Tuesdays," I told Clarence, since that's more or less the only day I'm not doing anything really big.

"Teka. Sino?"

"She's psych-adver, ID 105."

"Mmmm. Baka kasi kilala ko."

"Kilala mo nga."

And then this random, bored, unnecessary conversation took an unexpected turn. Suddenly it felt like life and death was at stake... well, actually, it's just my ability to get over something I do not have answers to. The more absurd thing is, I apparently know this person. Clarence knows this person. There shouldn't be any reason to hide anything, right? Just an announcement would suffice, and I'd ponder the idea of my world shrinking further again, evidenced by common friends with Carmel more than a year ago, and now, Clarence, and now, Clarence's supposed new colleague.

"Sino nga? Bakit mo ba tinatago sakin eh kilala ko naman pala?"

I just repeated what I just said.

I do have ideas, though. I did have ideas. Did, because this story already has a conclusion of some sort. Back when Friendster was still in vogue, Jaja sent me this testimonial, talking about me being able to recite in classes easily because I think fast. It happened today, and while I knew something is amiss, I still insisted to myself that I only had two options.

One was a psychology student, although I was totally unsure whether she took advertising. But, I figured, it somehow fits because she shifted to psychology from communication arts.

One was also a psychology student, only I was totally sure she took advertising, too. My Facebook news feed said so. She got a new job, she said, and it was in an advertising agency. I saw it over the weekend, but I was too lazy to read through all 37 comments. I would've checked today, but it's either the company has blocked Facebook, or something's oddly wrong with the site and my PC.

That, and from what I remember, Clarence doesn't exactly work at an advertising agency. Or maybe I read the few comments that I can read incorrectly. Whatever.

"Hulaan mo! She's Santugon and a friend of Sars."

There goes option number one.

The preliminary conclusion goes like this: I told Clarence the identity of my second option, and she said I got it right. Indeed, my mind is still pretty sharp, never mind that I've been dealing with the same mind-numbing pointless problems (read: the rest of the common friends theory) for the past few years or so. But, before that lunch happens - not that I'm looking forward to it - I'll keep her identity from you guys. As if it isn't any obvious. And the world shrinks on me again...

And your responses...

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