It was October 19, 5:20 a.m. She was wide awake (a little nervous, I guess) even without caffeine just as everybody else in the neighborhood was comfortably dozing off. Che-che was all set to get through the storm to greet the man of her life “Happy Birthday” in a very heart-warming way.
As she hurriedly went down the stairs of the apartment, a distant horn blare echoed through the muted four-storey buildings in Manila. Her heartbeat even pounced harder, mistaking the blare for the arrival of the train a few kilometers away. She really wanted to catch the first trip, or else the plan fails.
On her way to the nearest standby pedicab, she opened her black umbrella, braving the stormy winds and rain. The morning sun was nowhere to be found as Typhoon Juan had already enveloped the horizon with dark clouds. After getting in place inside the pedicab, she carefully placed the birthday cake on her lap and set her eyes on the flooded road ahead.
Minutes later, she was already at the railway station just in front of a university. Che-Che was too focused to catch the first train that she did not notice the bleak state of the place. Perhaps she was determined more than ever to wish all her sadness away on that historic day.
Che-Che hurriedly though carefully got across the railway tracks as the rain subsided at the moment. By the time she set her shoes on the platform, no trace of any train was at sight. Across her, several more commuters were waiting.
After getting a train ticket, she went up the elevated platform and patiently waited for the first train. It was still raining, with the cold wind sweeping through the queue of waiting commuters. Che-Che remained unaffected even as she wore only denim shorts and a cotton top without any jacket on.
A few minutes later, bright headlights showed up at the horizon. The real blare of train horns pierced through the gloomy railway station. Finally, she would be on her speedy way to Taguig, hoping that she’d arrive on Kristoffer’s home just before he opens his eyes.
She managed to get inside the house, thanks to the Kristoffer’s mom. Just as she woke up Kristoffer, the surprise was already in place. A cartolina with an artsy birthday greeting hung on the wall (Che-Che requested a friend in Cavite to do it for her). Sparkling candles on top the birthday cake were already lit up. Baller wristbands with custom markings were laid down on the bed. Then she uttered the sweetest greeting on that day.
Her three years of “New York and Miami” finally ended. :)