Project Allison: the long wait

Three minutes later, Valerie arrived. "Saan siya dumaan?" she went.

"Sa elevator," I said. The very same elevators she just went on.

There are only three elevators leading to the radio studios. I'm actually surprised Allie's entourage didn't use the service elevator. If they did, I wouldn't have been that close to her.

"Sa basement!" Valerie went, thinking about following her. I figured she wouldn't be there because the cars are parked from the eighth floor down to the third. We both went down anyway, to buy envelopes for our CVs for RT.

"May envelope na kami," I told the security guard, the same guy who bluffed his way to clarifying my position hours ago, and the same guy who suggested I buy envelopes for our CVs so that it'd look presentable.

"Nakita mo siya?" he answered, referring to Allie.

"Oo. Nasa telepono nga lang ako."

I wasn't blaming Valerie, though. I was actually still reeling from what happened minutes before. Was I shaking? I don't think so. I guess I just can't believe it.

"Isulat na lang ninyo yung pangalan ninyo sa envelope para madaling malaman," the guard said. I pulled out one of my pens and wrote against the wall.

"Anne with an E, right?" I asked Valerie. "Iniisip ko kasi Ann, di tulad nung isang Anne na kilala ko."

Valerie was a former colleague of mine. When I started working two years ago, she was the mythical sixth member of the team. "Taga La Salle din siya," one of my other colleagues said. "Actually, right now, nagte-thesis siya." I only first saw her four months later, and since at the time I was already feeling animosity towards their indifference, I figured we wouldn't be close. Well, until she started chatting with me on YM, the day before her last day at work.

"Hindi ko rin sila makakasundo," she told me inside the cab going to the mall. "Tayo kasi, we love what we do."

"But considering their encyclopedic knowledge of the American version of The Office... why are we talking about work?"

I haven't been to Robinson's Place Manila. I know it's a couple of train stations away from DLSU, but I never had a reason to go there. While some of my Taft friends killed time there, I was at the library, or probably on the bus, going home. When I needed to buy something, I picked it up on the commute home, provided I remember it.

But knowing where it is made me confident that I won't get lost. I only had to ask my sister about which LRT station I should stop. My original plan was to go there by the trains, and meet up Valerie over there. But she decided to file a whole-day leave instead, and we ended up at Paragon, chasing red-streaked shadows.

Now, I was the one who needed guidance, both because we had to eat lunch - she can't remember where the food court was, if it still existed - and because I haven't been to a mall show before. Sure, I was the one asking questions to the customer service folks at ATC when Cobra Starship went to the country, but it was for my sister and my cousin, the superfans. Now, I had to be navigated through the basics of getting the front seats, the chance to have my CD signed, and just having a good time. All I apparently had to do was to buy CDs to get in.

I ended up with two extra copies. One goes to my cousin. The other, I don't know.

We settled in to our seats at around four in the afternoon. The gig was supposed to begin at five, but the Twitter support gang was saying otherwise. Imogen was talking about a press conference. "There goes the hotel," I told Valerie.

What I didn't like about the wait was the blaring sound system. Channel V was the main sponsor - smart for spotting such talent to send here! - and understandably their plugs were being blared on the speakers. There's this annoying one with the VJs acting as eggs that were threatened with frying. I actually tolerated it when I saw it in Boracay, but play that in a wide, enclosed space, crank the amp up to 11, and repeat it every three minutes, and the frantic screaming becomes blood-curdling. At least I wasn't alone in thinking that. One of the waiting fans covered her ears whenever it goes on.

I'm a fairly big fan, but I never thought there'd be a lot of us. I was surprised to see the venue's 200 seats actually get full. And then there were the people watching from the other floors, cheap enough not to buy a CD, stupid enough not to know what's going on, or to even pronounce Allie's last name correctly.

I guess I just wasn't listening to the radio hard enough. Or, I don't listen to the two sponsors. And I don't have Channel V at home. If I knew better I'd say the event was promoted hard enough. Or was I very cynical about Adam Lambert's overrated tendencies?

"Allison is coming to Manila, and she wants to meet five of her adoring fans," the promos went.

"Don't tell me we're not adoring fans," I told Valerie.

"So if you love her, send us a text telling us why you and a friend should meet Allison live!"

That went on for two hours. It was already six in the evening, and there was no sign that something will happen. My sister knew this would happen. "Yung Cobra Starship, one hour later na nagstart," she said a week before. I was tapping my foot, annoyed at the incessant plugs, and annoyed that the sound system will just drown out whatever I decide to play on my iPod.

"Wala yan dun sa David Cook concert," Valerie said. Apparently there were music videos on repeat. She was talking about how the videos didn't match the songs. I didn't have that big an idea what she was talking about, but I got her.

Things finally happened fifteen minutes after. The people waiting backstage - there were, and I don't know how - have begun to go on a little frenzy. Earlier Valerie somehow mapped out Allie's arrival route, presuming that she'd park at the basement and take the stairs near the stage. I guess she was right, because I didn't sense any commotion happen around me. Or I got too bored.

And her trained eyes are absolutely sharp. She spied the dressing room - a tent, actually, with lots of lights - and saw a figure move from behind it. I didn't.

"Sumisilip siya!"

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