"Tell me, as a friend, how much do you care for me?"
"Do you care for me enough to hurt me?"
She fell silent for a while as if she really gave it thought then she let out a somewhat embarassed smile and said, "I don't know. That's a very strange idea."
But, as the bus drove on and on, he was more than silent cause his heart was in turmoil. Why don't you hurt me? Maybe it's the only way I'll let go. Perhaps the only way I'll stop messing with your life…. But he was already hurt and he's still here.
He looked at her and playfully and softly jabbed at her shoulder, "Hey don't sleep on me yet. It's just a few more minutes."
"I'm really tired but hey, just talk, okay? I'm listening."
So the taxi, wasn't really enough. He had to board the bus to be with her more. He knew he's wasting money now, buying a few more moments—an hour to be exact. And now he's desperate. He's got less than twenty minutes left.
"We're arriving in less than twenty minutes."
"You're getting off, right?"
"No, I'm going with you," he said, perhaps too seriously, to stop himself from smiling.
"Hmmm, did you file a leave?"
"I'd call in sick," he quipped, but knew this was impossible so he added a few heartbeats later, "I won't have a place to sleep if I do."
Silence. But not any longer.
"I'm sorry if I've been difficult today."
She gave him a blank stare, so he tried again, "even the hardest heart get frustrated sometimes."
"Stop speaking in riddles," she replied. But he knew she understood, even more than she tried to show.
Her eyes suddenly lit up and she said, "I can never forget the radio station and the DJ, I can't quite get him out of my mind."
He replied, "Oh yeah the DJ. You know if you keep talking about him I'd have to get jealous." She laughed.
He held her left hand and looked at her watch and said, "When do we meet again?"
"I don't know, maybe next year."
"That's too long."
She just smiled, like she used to when declaring something inevitable.
"You know, I... next year's too long and by then I'd probably miss a lot of things about you."
She raised her eyebrows.
He tried to hold her hand again and she allowed her fingertips to be taken hostage.
"I'd miss the way you smile, your eyes, your lips and your lipstick." She laughed softly at this.
"I'd miss your laughter, your toes, your hands."
"I don't like my hands, they're so big."
"But I like them because they're yours."
She laughed louder this time, shaking her head a bit.
"Yeah, and I'd miss the way you chat with me, which is like waiting for eons before you reply."
"Hmmmm, sometimes I get busy."
"And those blouses you wear everytime we meet---the ones with the plunging necklines."
"You could see my cleavage?"
"Is there any?"
Then he realized: what an asshole thing to say! So he quickly followed with a smile, "Of course there is, I was joking."
Then quickly he added, "You know there's these guys at the department store last night. They were checking you out because you were leaning over too far and your blouse just revealed too much. When I realized what they were up to, I immediately move in front—between you and them…"
She smiled again.
"…so I could have the view all to myself!" He looked playfully but meaningfully downwards. She immediately tried to cover with her hand, but he pulled it off saying, "Don't do that, your secrets are safe with me." He winked.
She was laughing audibly this time.
"Then I notice those men were behind you this time and I'd bet they were checking something else."
"Well, your ass is there. That's what I've been checking before," he said while trying to sound guilty.
"Yeah I'd miss your ass too."
"I'd also miss, well that is if you stop, those spam emails that you seem to send to only two people: me and misty-something."
"She's my sister abroad."
"Oh. Well it's spam you know but..."
Before her laughter died he said, "What I'd really miss is a friend. Thanks."
She smiled and mouthed, "You're welcome."
Then she said, "Hey if you're gonna right about this trip in your journals will you please let me read it?"
He replied, "Of course" just as the bus entering the terminal. She pointed to one of the buses parked outside. "You will have to be on one of those."
"Yes." He leaned over and kissed her hand and then kissed her forehead as well saying, "For good measure. Bye now. Take care always."
"Thanks for giving me company."
He blinked his eyes as they were getting accustomed to the glare of the afternoon sun. He went to a cigarette stand and lit a stick. As he was consumating his smoke, he saw two middle-aged snack vendors carrying their wares on their head while hawking them to passengers. They seem to move as one and he noticed they were holding hands. They seemed to be very happy. He looked at the half consumed stick between his fingers and he threw it at the nearest trashcan. He immediately boarded a bus headed home, thinking, enough already, time to get back to reality.