A Little Taste of Heaven

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"I'm frozen." (2)

I saw from my notes that the sophomores’ theme setting is from 1920 to 1939, the juniors’ is from 1940 to 1959, while the seniors’ is from 1960 to 1979; I bet everyone is excited. The middle school, on the other hand, will dance on the field tomorrow. It is tradition, and we all went through with it. They are also in charge of the refreshment booths, on the football field for everyone. It’s a blur right now, but as I recall, clearly, when I was still in 5th grade, we danced to the hits of Michael Jackson! I know because I was the choreographer. Oh, such lovely memories.

The morning went by in a rush since I had finished the tasks Ros assigned for me. She made me check the booth where we will give away the flyers of our café, and I made sure it would hold out the pouring rain. I did well with the help of April. It almost consumed our morning to handle it all, and before I know it, it’s time for lunch. To chill out for a moment from the hectic schedule, April and I decided to go to the shed by the garden near the basketball field and hang out there. The rain somehow has stopped, but the sky is still greyish. On our way, my mind drifts to when I was hanging out with Nate. His adorable smile burning in my mind, how our shoulders brushed against each other as we played games, and my lips tingling at the memory of me kissing him on his soft cheek.

“Mariana? Mari! Mari! Mari!”

I snap out of my trance and look at April, who is giggling beside me. “What, April?” I ask and start to walk at the usual pace again. I spaced out for a bit there, haven’t I?

“Duh, spill!” April eagerly gasps, facing me, walking backwards. “What do you mean nothing happened when clearly something happened between you two!? Ryan just dropped you off! Oh, not just dropped you off, he made a huge gesture by kissing the back of your hand!”

I laugh and roll my eyes. “Yes, something happened, alright, but it was not with Ryan.” I giggle at her baffled face. “Ryan dropped me off because he couldn’t make it yesterday. He said he had to watch over his baby cousin. And besides, what he did this morning wasn’t a huge gesture!”

She giggles. “Aww, that’s adorable! But damn, so close!” she swings her fist. “And just so you know, whatever you say, it was still a grand gesture. Deny all you want, Mari! It won’t change my mind!”

I shake my head and let her giggle. When she recovers and walks beside me, I decided to share what truly happened. My cheeks are turning red as I ask, “guess who I was with?”

“I think… Chandler?” she says, uncertain. “Yup, I’m pretty sure it was him. Ros and I were talking loudly about it. He probably heard it.”

I huff and then laugh, “and why on earth were you two talking about it!?”

“What? We’re not allowed to be excited for you?” she pouts and faces me again. “Come on, me and Ros are just happy for you. That’s all.”

I smile when her steps become normal again beside me. As we get closer to the shed, we see Nate walking towards the faucet near the garden and holding a pail. April hoots, “candyman number two, twelve o’clock!”

I giggle, “I know, I can see him.” I look at April. “Do you mind if I talk to him for a moment?”

“Wait a sec,” April holds my arm. “How come you now have the guts to talk to Nate alone?”

My mouth hangs open, calculating the right words to say, “Er.”

Then her monolid eyes widen as a realization dawns on her face. “No way?!” she gasps, “is he the —?”

Hiding my ready-to-explode kind of scream, I nod with my eyebrows raised. “So, do you mind?” my smile, probably too bright. I can’t even lie.

Her mouth hangs open and closes, but no words come out from her. I’m unsure if she gets it or is still processing everything in her head because she’s now absolutely speechless. After she gets her shite together, April inhales loudly and pulls me to walk faster towards Nate.

She shrugs and winks as she says, “Yes, sure, I’ll explore the garden first.”

“You’re gonna spy on me, aren’t you?” I tease, which is sort of true.

“Wha —? No way!” she defends. But her eyes indicate the truth she’s trying to hide.

“Hmm-mmm,” I smirk and shake my head as we walk closer to the shed.

When we’re close to Nate, someone calls out my name. INTERNALLY ROLLING MY EYES, April and I turn around to see who it was, and we see Chandler approaching, half-running; his black-buzz cut hair shines on the fluorescent lights of the open hallway.

“Hey, what’s up, Chan?” calls April, waving her hand and then winking at me, whispering, “candyman number three, approaching!

I shush her and greet Chandler when he’s near. “Have you decided what Play you want to see?”

He shyly smiles and adjusts his eyeglasses as he says, “No, not yet. Anyway, I just wanted to congratulate you, personally. I didn’t get the chance yesterday.” He looks at me as if he’s studying me. “There’s something different about your face — I mean your look, today.”

“Yeah?” I ask and touch my cheek as my eyebrows meet. The way his kind, dark-chocolate brown eyes gaze at me makes me look away. I clear my throat and say, “Well, I’m not wearing any makeup.”

He shakes his head. “Never mind,” and chuckles nervously. “Well, I have to go back now before Ros murders me.”

We laugh, and I say, “Yeah, murder you with her stingy words.” I wave to him, “catch you later, Chan!”

He waves bye and heads back to his assigned task, whatever it may be. April and I continue our way to the shed. My moment to talk to Nate has passed because he is not by the garden anymore. What is up today? I can’t even catch a glimpse of him, looking at me, so that perhaps I could smile at him.

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