One of the short stories that I wrote and never submitted to anyone except to friends who received them in their email inboxes. Posting it here because I want to write again.
The names Felichi and Homer just came to me that day.
PROM DATE KA LANG
By Ella del Rosario
For the longest time, Homer had had a crush on Felichi but did not admit the attraction to anyone. Their barkada would tease him no end if they found out for sure. And another thing, he knew he could never be her type. Ever since high school, though, he had watched her grow in beauty, wisdom and poise. A girl like her, class valedictorian, debate champion and virtuoso violinist, would not be attracted to a guy like him, he was certain of that. So he buried his feelings at the bottom of his heart and set out to conquer less complex and more reachable women. He succeeded at this, thankfully. His life was in his complete control.
They were prom dates in their senior year in high school, though. Back then Felichi had just broken up with the love of her life who found himself a new girlfriend just two weeks after their breakup. To save Felichi from humiliation and depression, the barkada asked Homer to take Felichi to the prom. He watched her trying to hold back tears the whole night. They slow-danced and he thought she heard the loud beating of his heart. He realized, though, that her quiet sobs prevented her from really noticing him that night. She thanked him for being a dependable friend before she got in her father’s car. He never got as drunk again in his life as he was after their senior prom. He thought he was able to drown everything and to forget Felichi forever.
But fate does catch up on those who run from it. When Homer saw the invitation for their kabarkada Marie’s wedding, he noticed that his partner as veil sponsor was Felichi. The distance he had put between them would not work on that wedding day, he thought. He would be forced to help her with her wrist corsage. He would have to enter that flower-bedecked church with his arm linked with hers. He decided he didn’t want to bring a date for that confusing occasion.
He woke up with a bad hangover and he knew he was going to be late for D-Day. When he arrived at the church, the wedding coordinators were already preparing the line of sponsors. There was Felichi, so fetching in her lilac gown.
“Hi Homer. Late night out again, huh? I thought you were going to stand me up.” She smiled at him. His eyes automatically checked her right wrist. The corsage was already fitted snugly and he heaved a sigh of relief.
“I was planning to do that, but the thought of Marie’s wrath convinced me to do otherwise”, he smiled back. Then he heard music in the background. The wedding entourage started its procession, and Felichi motioned for them to link arms. I can endure this, he thought. Just a few steps to the altar and we’d be free to go our separate ways again.
As he took his seat, he noticed Felichi walking towards where the choir was sitting, behind the commentator’s podium. He should have guessed that she would be asked to play the violin for Marie. He unfortunately had a good view of the choir and the lilac-clad violin muse. He watched her pick up her violin, put it under her chin, and begin swaying the bow to the strings as gracefully as she had always done. The cathedral windows provided a colorful background to her mesmerizing figure. A gentle breeze lightly played on her long, beautiful hair. He felt like unbuttoning the collar of his dress barong for he was fast running out of breath.
Felichi’s haunting violin solo reverberated throughout the tiny church. He was sure all the male wedding guests fell in love with her at the same time. He knew he couldn’t take his eyes off her. When they went to the altar to put the veil on Marie and her groom, she threw him another winning smile. He was hopelessly lost.
After the wedding, he sought her out. “Do you have a ride to the reception?” he asked.
She replied, “Yes, I do. Homer, meet Jay, my fiancé. We’re getting married this coming September. I’m giving you advance notice ha. You should be there, otherwise I’d think you loved Marie more than you loved me.”
Fiancé. Love Marie more than I love her? Homer’s mind spun. He shook fiancé Jay’s hand and excused himself.
At the wedding reception, he broke his all-time drinking record, thanks to the steady flow of bottles at his disposal. Try as he might, though, he could never forget the memory of Felichi’s silhouette against the picturesque cathedral windows that morning. Ron, Marie’s brother and his best friend, asked him if he heard that Felichi was getting married. He nodded absent-mindedly.
Ron put his arm around him and said, “Ikaw kasi pare, eh. We’ve always thought you and Felichi looked good together. You should have pursued her while she was still available. Marie told me once that Felichi had a crush on you.”
“Whaat?” Homer wanted to strangle Ron on the spot. “That’s impossible. Why didn’t you tell me anything before?”
“Why do you think we forced you to take her to our senior prom? The problem with you, pare, is that you only choose to see what you want to see. Sayang, you could have been our only intra-barkada romance.” Then Ron laughed.
Homer failed to see the humor in the situation. His eyes wandered to the table where Felichi was sitting with her boyfriend. She must have felt his smoldering eyes on her because she looked up to meet his gaze. She smiled at him again, then looked back at Jay to continue what she was saying.
Ron was shaking his head when Homer’s consciousness returned to his own table. “Ron, why didn’t your or Marie or anyone tell me?”
“Hoy, Generoso, I thought you were the expert on women. There is this special class, to which Felichi belongs, who want to be pursued and who would die before they admit to anyone that they had any feelings for you. Ate Marie threatened to kill me if I told you about Felichi’s hidden feelings. They waited for you to make the first move, but you never did. All along I thought you weren’t interested.”
“Well you thought wrong,” Homer replied as he downed another shot of whatever it was that was before him.
“Why, pare, we have to drink to that. To your stupidity!” Ron said, raising his glass. Homer raised his glass, gulped his drink, and felt worse than he ever did his entire life.
– Ella del Rosario
March 12, 2003 11:40 – 1:09 p.m.