2.  Ayala Avenue

He whips out his Iphone and she laughs because it was too foolish of him to do so, at this hour. She looks around for signs of life. Aside from an old lady selling cigarettes and candy by the bus stop and a security guard smoking right beside her, there was none. Speeding vehicles whizzed by, but they stood still, waiting. For what, she will not dare ask.

They have come from a midnight showing of a foreign film she somehow managed to score invites to. Halfway through she fell asleep, bored. He will tease her about this for the next few weeks. She wonders who is he texting with, but does not dare ask, either. She closes her eyes as she puffs out smoke, concentrating on her breathing.

”60 kilometers.”, he mumbles, out of the blue.

She opens her eyes but does not react. She is again staring at nothing, lost, even to herself. He watches as headlights send a magical glimmer to her eyes, her hair flying in the wind. For a minute he thinks about offering her his jacket, an attempt to generate warmth, perhaps, but this is only their second date and he does not know if he should, if they are close enough now. This will be what he hated and loved her most for at the same time — with her, you will never be sure of anything. You will never know what time she will arrive, if she has reached home safe, if she thought about him as much as he did about her, where they stood, what they were, really.

She faces him, smiling. ”What were you saying?”

”60 kilometers.”

”Huh?”

”Distance. Between you and me. Since you live up North.”

”Hmmm.”

She takes this little trivia in, mulling it over for a while. This will be one of the things about him that she won’t be able to forget — like the little mole on his left hand, the way her name sounds in his raspy voice, and how much he disliked sweets but spoiled her with it, anyway. Later, when they were seated comfortably on the second row of a bus, she wonders just how far apart their homes were. The problem with distance is that we come up with abstract concepts to define it. The space between, she notes mentally, that will be a good line for a poem. She only remembers a year after, when what separated them were not only kilometers anymore.

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