Friday, January 21, 2005

The best version of YOU..

long one but a nice read. enjoy. :p

The best version of YOU..

Manila International Airport, 2:00 am. It's been two years since she had last seen the Manila International Airport. Not much has changed. Her last memory of this airport was when Miguel dropped her off. She was on her way to New York to pursue a career in Wall Street.

"Promise me something will you? Please don't get married until I come back?" She jokingly told him as she lifted up her backpack.

"Hahaha. Very funny. Ikaw ang mag-promise. Promise me you won't run off with some nerdy economist in the next two years."

"Let's see, shall we. Bye, Miguel. I'll call you as soon I get to New York."

That was her last memory in this place. The warm Manila air made her feel a bit restless and yet she feels excited. This is the first
time in two years she'll be seeing Miguel again. She was thoughtfully going through the immigration counters, thinking of how much she missed
seeing Miguel. How different would he be now? Sure he sends her regular weekly e-
mails and pictures but being the busy person that she had always been, she didn't get
the time to chat with him and
buy a webcam.

She's finally out. "Where is Miguel?" She wondered. "Ah there!" she exclaimed when she saw the silver gray Nissan Patrol
parked near the exit. TGW926. Yup, that's Miguel alright. Her heart was leaping ahead of her as the driver got off.

"Hey! I missed you!" He said, as he hugged her.

"I missed you too. So much." She said, as she hugged him back. It was warm. It felt good to be back. It felt great to feel his hug.

"Let me get those." He said pointing at her luggage. "Then we'll have more time for hugging and chika."


Edsa, 4:30 am. Miguel's cellphone rings. Mama, the name flashes on the screen.

"You should really get that."

"No, you should get that. She's been waiting for you. She insist that we go straight to her after I pick you up form the airport.
She also insist that you spend tomorrow with her." Miguel was talking about her mother. Miguel was an only child and his mother wanted a daughter. She would often tell Bea that since she doesn't have a mom anymore, she should let Tita Doris be her
second mom. She loved Bea as if she were her own daughter.

"Hello? Yes, Tita. How are you nap po?... ah opo. Miguel already told me. Sige po. Okay po. I'll see you later." She turns off the phone and looks out the
window. The phone rings again, this time the name "Sugar" flashes on the screen.
Hmmm, "Sugar." He was quick. He got a hold of the phone and answered it.

"Hello. Yeah. Pauwi na. I'm with her na. Yeah. Tomorrow, I will.
Promise. We'll see you tomorrow."

We? Is that supposed to mean me and him? See Sugar? Who is Sugar, anyway? "Who was that?" she couldn't keep herself from asking. "Sugar ha?"

"I'll introduce her tomorrow. Uwi muna tayo sa bahay. By the way, kamusta na si Edward?"


"Oo, si Edward, naalala mo yung boyfriend na iniwan mo sa New York? Anong klase ka ba naming girlfriend? Kaya hindi kita niligawan eh. Baka makalimutan mo rin ako."

"Ah si Edward. Hayun. Nasa New York." Miguel has met Edward when he came to New York to give Bea a surprise visit. He seems a nice guy. Not the geeky
economist Miguel pictured Bea would end up with. He is actually a cool guy and loves Bea a lot.

"He called me up, a week ago, asking a lot of things about you. Parang may balak ata?"

"Balak na?"

"Tell me, did he propose to you? He sounded like he was going to propose to you kasi."

"Ah look, here we are at Tita Doris."

At Tita Doris', 4:45 am. A pleasantly plump woman enters the living room. She was in her mid-fifties, a familiar warm smile and two open arms. She welcomed Bea, gave her a big hug and kissed her on the
cheek. "Hay anak, kamusta ka na? Na-miss na kita. Pinakain ka ba nito si Miguel?"

"Opo, Tita." She looked around. Not much has changed in this
house. She remembers spending her college days in this house. She remembers sinking into Tita Doris' arms when her mom died. She remembers only good things about this woman. She can't remember a time when she had been unkind to her and yes, she loves her like her own mother.

"Iha, sabihan mo nga yang si Miguel. Sabihin mo 'wag padalos-dalos magdesisyon." "Po?"
"Mama naman. Let Bea rest. I'll tell her everything tomorrow." Miguel interrupted his mother before she can spill the beans.

"Ha? What was that all about?" Bea was curious. "Bukas na lang." "Okay. Tita, if it's okay I'll go rest now." She hugged her, and proceeded to climb the stairs. Miguel followed her carrying her luggage.

"Alam mo I missed this house. Uy sino ba si Sugar? Tsaka bakit parang worried nanay mo sa
iyo?" "Bukas na. Sugar is having lunch here."
"Hmmm, intriguing, pero sige. Bukas na." They were both standing as the door to the guest room. "Alam mo, it's really good to be back in this house. I'll see you tomorrow."

Tita Doris' 10:00 am. She woke up, sunlight flooding her bedroom. She was able to rest. She got up, arranged the bed sheets and took a nice, cold shower.Minutes later, she was down at the garden having brunch with Tita Doris. "Hi! Tita.
Where is Miguel?" "Sinundo si Sugar." "Sino ba yang Sugar na yan? Nai-intriga na ako."
"Iha, I'll let Miguel tell you who Sugar is. Promise me something, though. Whatever happens you'll always be my daughter, Bea?"

She felt scared. Why was Tita Doris suddenly serious? "Opo naman." "Anyway, iha. I heard from Miguel your boyfriend sounded like he was going
to propose a week ago. Did he propose?"

Bea looked at her hands, bare of any engagement ring. She looked at Tita Doris and smiled. Before she could answer, Miguel
showed up. With him is a woman she had not seen before. She was of medium frame, shoulder length hair and looked very feminine.

"Sugar, the sister I never had, Bea. Bea, Sugar, my fiance`." It felt as if somebody had thrown cold water on her. His what? Blood rushed to her head.
She blushed. Her cheeks felt very warm. She couldn't swallow. Her heart beating a hundred beats per minute.

"Your what?" She looked at Miguel, blushing then suddenly white as with shock. "I'm sorry, Sugar but this is quite a surprise. Miguel has never
mentioned you in any of his e-mails," she said as she looked at Sugar with a confused look.
She looked at Tita Doris, she looked back as if she was consoling her.

"Yeah, I got engaged. I'm keeping my promise. I'm
getting married on Saturday. O di ba you're here so in essence I've kept my promise."

She managed to smile faintly. She hugged Miguel and congratulated him. She even managed to tell Sugar "You got a catch here, girl.Take good care
of him or elseI will snatch him under your nose." It sounded as if she was just joking,turning over a very important possession to it's next owner. In the deepest recesses of her person, she knew she meant it.

"He told me a lot of nice things about you." Sugar said, smiling at her as if they had been friends for the longest time. "I'm sure he has."

Lunch was served. All of Bea's favorite Filipino dishes. She and Sugar spent time chatting the
afternoon away, looking at Bea's and Miguel's college photos and yearbooks. She found out that
Sugar likes most of the things she does. They both came from the same high school. As she
tried to get to know Sugar better during their afternoon chat, she realized that not only was she perfect for Miguel, she also seemed like the best gal pal Bea could find. They talked about the wedding details, the dress, the ring, the shoes,
the tiara. They like almost the same places, the same styles, the same shops. She told Sugar they should do shopping marathon together. Had it been
another day, she would be
telling herself that this is really a great opportunity to find someone who understands her shopping needs. Except that this is not one of those days?
Except that this woman, this perfect, feminine girlfriend
was Miguel's fiance`. Bea's phone rings. The name Boyfriend flashes.
"You should really get that" Sugar told Bea.
"Yeah, I guess I should. Hello? Yes? I'm good. I'm here at Miguel's. Oh I have in front of me Sugar, Miguel's fiance`." The words almost got stuck in her throat, but she still managed to give Sugar a smile. "Listen, I'll call you later. I have very good
news for you." Miguel sat down beside Bea.
Sugar was looking at them and asked "So tell me? Was there never a time the two of you were more than Platonic?"
Bea and Miguel looked at each other then looked at their own hands. Miguel's gaze turned to
Sugar. He answered "Of course not. Bea and I were never like that." "As in?" Sugar inquired. "Hahaha, oo naman. She was a handful. Too much to handle for me. I can't keep up with her. She's never stands still." Miguel looked at Bea and smiled, his eyes turning into
slits as his dimples gloriously show.
"I guess that's the way for you. But not for Edward." Bea replied, with a little hint of
disappointment."Oka y lang yun. Edward is tough enough." Miguel was still smiling."Wait, speaking
of Edward. I need to call him."
Bea left the garden and went up to her room to call dward. "Hello?Edward. Here goes. Yes. The
answer is Yes."
The wedding went well. It was one of the most elegant weddings she had seen. Sugar had everything covered and she was a very beautiful, blushing bride. "I, Miguel, take you, Sugar, as my friend and love,
beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, love what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet,in all the ways that life may find us." Bea felt a stab of pain hitting her
heart. She slowly got up, walked away from the spectators. Tears
streaming down her flushed cheeks.

Bea is once again on her way to the airport. Miguel is driving for her, this time with a wedding
ring on his left finger."Hay, here we go again. I'm driving you to the airport. Kailan na naman kaya tao magkikita?" "Ewan ko. Tell me something," her tone all too serious. "What was it that you love about Sugar? How did you know she was the one?" Miguel just smiled. "Dali na ano? Malay mo I need to decide in a couple of days dib a?" "You know what I love about her? The
same things I loved about you before. The only difference is
that she's not as ambitious as you are. When you left for New York two years ago, I knew I don't have a place in the life you've chosen. I don't blame you for that. You're good in your field and I thought to myself that it's your right to move on without me. Moving away was a decision you made for yourself. I know this sounds silly and you might nag me about it but I found the better version of you in Sugar. She's so much like you in so many ways but the only difference is she loves me more than you do." She wanted to cry the tears she had kept as he witnessed him say his vows, but kept her
composure. She just chuckled a laugh.How could he move on without her?Why was it easy for him and not for her? As she got off the car, she gave Miguel one last hug. This time she felt her
heart heavy. "I guess this is goodbye?" she told Miguel."Wait, I'm not letting you out until you answer question. Did Edward propose?"Bea
showed Miguel her left hand. In it was a one carat diamond solitaire ring set in platinum. "Yes."
Miguel let out a sigh and congratulated her. As
Miguel turned his gaze from the steering wheel to Bea's face, he saw a single tear fall from her right eye and then she said, "If it gives any consolation,
Edward was the best version of you that I can find in New York."


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