Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Week That Felt Like Forever

By Calvin Matthew Castillo | The Sillimanian Magazine

She looked at me as if I was a stranger. Does the girl in blue scrubs not remember me? What was her name? Vivian? Perhaps it was Vina? No, maybe Victoria? Something with a V, he was sure of it.

Sunlight pierced through the clouds in ethereal rays, illuminating the path of a thousand students on their way to class. It was the start of a new semester. Each person had a different thought in mind, some about their lives and others about school, but the only thing on Christian’s mind, however, was that girl.

He’d met her during Hibalag. He was from Doltz, and she from Larena. The pair coincidentally needed to do laundry, and go to the same laundromat. Dino’s behind Vernon Hall. It was there where Christian had struck up a conversation with V, probably about how absolutely disgusting the dorm food was. She laughed at his remark, he thinks. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have decided to accompany him that night to the festival grounds for dinner and coffee. She held onto his arm, lest she slipped and fell on the muddy ground.Christian remembered how he embraced her as the mainstream Filipino pop rock band played their songs onstage, while hundreds of students cheered. He turned to her and gave her a tender kiss, one which she reciprocated by holding him closer in full view of the other concert-goers. “Bliss”, he thought to himself. The following days were a blur. Mornings consisted of brief conversations over breakfast in the dormitory cafeteria , while late afternoons were strolls around the campus and a quick snack at the Hibalag grounds. Then, V asked Christian if he wanted to go to a party with her and her friends. He obliged, of course, who would refuse that?

Friday night finally rolled around, Christian put on his “party clothes”, and met V and her friends at the intersection near Laguna Gate. He didn’t know what he did wrong, but V was mortified at the sight of him. He found himself severely underdressed next to V. The club was full once they entered, but they had secured a table beforehand. They bought a couple bottles of Cuervo and one of V’s friends proceeded to pour shots for them. 

As the night raged on, everyone got more and more intoxicated, embracing the debauchery and depravity they had come for. Christian couldn’t recall anything that happened that night. Flashes of neon lights, the lips of strangers, burning liquid running down his throat, and regurgitation in a parking lot with cigarette smoke wafting into his nostrils was  about everything he could remember. He doesn’t remember if V was with him. She seemed to have disappeared. As Hibalag ended, she was nowhere to be seen. She didn’t respond to his messages, nor pick up his calls. She was gone. 

Christian quit glancing at the girl in blue scrubs. “Must be a doppelganger”, he thought. “When they said Hibalag fling, they really meant fling,” he chuckled to himself. It wasn’t meant to last. Besides, he can’t even really remember what she looked like anymore. 

What was her name again?

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