Michael and Lora were friends. They have met only in the bus going to the province. Michael was a typical guy in his late 20’s with a good physique while Lora was in her early 30’s but very charming. During the trip, both stole glances from each other until a good conversation ensued.
“Hi! I’m Michael Santos. May I know your name?”
“Lora Camus.” And she smiled.
“I’m going to get off in Naga and it’s good to be back home,” Michael said.
“Me, too. But I’m going to work at the same time because I’ll be doing a research.”
Both were excited. They enjoyed the conversation and then traded calling cards.
Back in Manila, Michael rang Lora.
“Hello, may I speak to Ms. Lora?”
“Yes, I’m Lora. May I know who is calling?”
“Michael! I’m glad you called. How are you?
“I’m fine. But not so fine that’s why I called you up.”
“My girlfriend just left me.” I don’t know… We recently had a fight. Maybe it’s for good.”
Suddenly there was silence. Michael took a deep breath. “Can we see each other tomorrow? I’ll treat you for lunch.”
“OK. Maybe you are upset. I’ll see you then.”
“Thank you for being a good friend to me.”
“Oh, don’t mention it. I feel your pain. I have been there before. Just sleep tight and don’t forget to wake up early so you won’t be late for our date tomorrow.”
“Nothing. I’m just missing you. Tomorrow…”
Lora’s mind prowled like a ravening hind through long years of being alone. She had strings of boyfriends and to her frustration she chose a wrong guy. Being true to the relationship was not a vouch to a happy ending, because her boyfriend got married to her former girl. A sudden anger nipped off Lora’s memory and her thoughts quickened with its challenge.
Yet… she was still in control of her emotions. She thought that Michael could be a good friend though, maybe a good friend because they share the same fate.
That was the most awaited moment. Michael pleased Lora in many ways. And Lora felt good about it. From the restaurant, they will drop by Michael’s place to get something before bringing Lora home. Lora agreed because Michael wanted to see Michaels place, too.
“Your place is nice. Who lives with you here?”
“My brothers and Manang Gloria, our housekeeper. But my brothers usually come home late. Lora look at this painting. I painted this when I was still in college.”
“It’s wonderful!” Lora exclaimed.
Michael held Lora’s hand and slowly he pushed in her body close to him. Lora didn’t resist. He kissed her on the cheek, the lips… She kissed her, too. Lora was the answer to Michael’s aching heart and thirst. Then he kissed her cheeks again lightly going down the neck.
“I want to make love to you,” Michael whispered.
“No. Not now. I know we are two matured people yet we still have to know each other deeply. I don’t want sad endings. I’m afraid that after the heat, and everything goes normal love would be a forgotten word.
“Oh, common – don’t play hard to get. We are in living a modern world. Loosen up.”
Gripping her shirt, Lora answered softly thinking she lost again. “I thought you are a friend. But you just used me. I admit everything happened with my consent because I really thought that somehow I could lean on you. But you are like the others … I guess I could have submitted to making love but… But I have my period right now! I’m sorry.”
Michael strode to the window and stared pensively.
Lora walked out without another word.
Outside the trees were more than dark, skeletal shapes of it in the slashing rain. Self-consciously, Lora smoothed her clothes and raised her brows. She would not forget that her pride had been stung too often beneath the haughty arrogance of several men. But this time she knew, she won.
Copyright rosalinda flores martinez 2009
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