Tuesday, 3 July 2012

"Over a Glass of Halili"

"Over a Glass of Halili"

(Second part of 'The day I left my heart at Botica Boie)


It was a year later when I left the haberdashery to work as a writer.

Focused rather on making writeups instead of my earlier work as an artist, I simply pressed myself hard working for a hard earned money such as 15 to 20 pesos, whose most of it are end up for basic needs and the rest to save.

However, despite working hard and trying to live well, the past keeps on revisiting me over, especially the girl I tried to forget, and somehow it includes drinking bottles of Halili at night, especially while writing, sketching, even both that made me inspired or something; after all, Halili was quite cheap than the prominent San Miguel, with the latter being served during formal occasions of the day.

I was walking at the sidewalk at Avenida when Gia sought and called me:
At first, I tend not to listen her voice, but as I looked back, simply gave way and approached her:
"If I'm not mistaken, are you Gia?"
She smiled at me and asked:
"Yes I am! How are you?"
"I'm fine. How about you?"
"Same." Gia said. "Where are you going?"
Gia seemed to be alone at that time, perhaps she's waiting for someone, and I asked:
"Seems that you are waiting for someone other than me."
"Not really." Gia said. "I just sought and called you."
"Oh I see...so you'll go home other than this?"
"Not yet."
And perhaps, it made me rather not to go home straight and instead wanting to talk with her at La Botica Boie.

While at Boie, I ordered sundaes for me and Gia, and while waiting, Gia then asked me:
"So still working at Crystal Arcade?"
"No. I am working as a writer."
"Oh I see." Gia said. "So where do you work already?"
"In DMHM. Monday Herald."
"Nice." Gia said. "At least you worked already as a writer."
With a smile.

Quite strange to have a chitchat with the person whom I tried to forget, that after a years of trying to forget Gia by drinking glasses, bottles of Halili it made me rather entice to recall and see her back. Then Gia, as she looked at me, then asked:
"Is there anything wrong?"
"Nothing. I am just amazed that you're with me again."
"Why?" Gia said.
"In fact, upon hearing that you're with another man years before, I felt getting 'discouraged'."
"Why discouraged?" Gia asked.
Then as the bartender offered the sundaes, Dr. Boie, this time retired as a pharmacist, sought us two and called me over:
"Dr. Boie! How are you?"
"So is this the girl whom you said to me years ago?"
"Quite beautiful isn't she?"
"Ya Right."
"Enjoy your sundaes then." Dr. Boie said. "And always look after her."
Gia simply smiled as I and the doctor talking, as we enjoyed eating the sweet, vanilla-chocolate sundae. Obviously, it made me happy again to see Gia being with me in the same place where I met her.


It brought a degree of good feeling as I and Gia enjoyed each other's company as friends, also to think that through her it made me revisit my past hobby as an artist-drawing variety of sketches that even Gia herself looked and said:
"I never forget your drawing skill Paul."
"Why should I forgot your sketch that end up a dress?"
I simply smiled at her upon hearing her words about the dress I had designed for her years before.

But then,
Despite the feeling, I still felt being pessimistic to think will Gia ever accept being with me despite the smiles and joys both of us had? Quite strange.

It was approaching sunset as Gia and I were reminiscing our pasts and perhaps to convey something what my heart speaks over her.
"So Gia, still seeking for a right guy after getting separated?"
"Yes." Gia said. "Why?"
"Well, just asking."
Gia simply nod at me then asked:
"Quite strange isn't it? Like my former boyfriend whom we had an on and off relationship eight times? Then that guy that made me tired seeing him jealous over something I enjoy with?"
"Like music?"
"Yes." Gia said. "Music."

And as the sun sets, I looked at her and convey the truth shrouded by my shyness.
"In fact Gia, I tried not to see you back and instead focus on my work after you had a man to be with. To think that you have a guy that seemed close to you better than I as a friend."
"How come?" Gia said.
"Gia, I'm sorry to tell, but I admire you so much. But then I rather ought to keep it thinking that it is too much of me aside from getting inspired being with you."
"Why?" Gia said. "Is there anything wrong?"
"I am shy, thinking that you'll never like me other than as a friend."
Gia seemed to be quite thinking on what I am trying to convey, and said:
"How and why did you say do?"
"I...I want you. I like you, I love you! These are the words my heart simply tries to convey over you Gia, after getting inspired, of making designs, sketches in the past, all of those things are made after yours yet I am shrouded by shyness that blocs my willingness to love and be with you."
Gia smiled at me, but then said:
"Paul, thanks for the compliment but, I have no time for that."
I simply nod down, and asked:
"But will still be friends?"
Gia simply nod then smiled at me.
Then she stood from the bench and walked away leaving myself sitting in the bench as the sun sets over Manila bay.

Obviously, I really knew that Gia would have a less, or  never had an interest on me other than as a friend. And to think that since she's single again, how come she didn't accept me? Least that she's truthful enough to say no and thanking me after those words as a compliment.

That again, in the desk of my home drinking bottles of Halili, San Miguel or any other liquor even Corona's Black Cat, in order to forget my inspiration again and again. So sick and tired of my half-time sketches of girls that is based on her appearance, some of it were been put into the trash just to forget, but still, my heart still conveys with her no matter what I tried to move on.

The next day,
I was at Echague when my boss called me over to take pictures and make articles about a newly-built ice cream factory, and it seemed quite nice so see another soda fountain in Manila aside from Boie's, as well as tasted newly made Balintawak ice cream fresh from the churn and freezer. That made the factory owner, Don Andres sought me and asked:
"Are you the designer of clothes from the Crystal arcade?"
"Yes. Is there anything sir?"
"Um...nothing." Don Antonio said. "I just thinking that we need you as an artist for advertisements featuring our Ice Cream. I will give you a good pay if you are willing to do so."
Don Antonio simply smiled and said:
"It's up to you."
"Well, how about my work at the newspaper?"
"Don't worry." Don Antonio said. "I'll tell it to your boss that you are also working part time in my company's advertising department."
And I simply nod, and I asked:
"By the way sir, how do you know that I am once designing clothes and apparel at the Crystal arcade? At Lardizabal's?"
"Ricardo Lardizabal is my friend." Don Antonio said. "And I had seen some of your designs for quite some time. I just like you to be in the advertising department as possible. Don't worry, you'll still have time for the newspaper you're working."
"Ok. I accept your request sir."
Then we shook hands as an agreement. And Don Antonio said:
"By the way, will I see your article as well as the pictures in the paper tomorrow?"
"Yes sir. I will."
"Good." Don Antonio said. "make sure that I and this factory will be featured ha!"
Along with a smile.

Well, the said factory, as well as the owner had end up featured in the papers as promised.

Being a worker at Don Antonio's ice cream factory's advertising department made me again revisit my past as an artist. As Don Antionio called my boss at the Herald and the latter agreed to his request, working part time at the factory designing posters and advertisements quite enjoying.

But then,
Despite enjoying, it seems that my works convey something other than the ice cream I am promoting. Yes, the oak brown hair, skin kissed by the sun, kissable lips, the slim appearance and joyful mood promoting Mango, Chocolate, Tutti Frutti and Balintawak ice cream is none other than the one I am trying to forget with.

Don Antonio seemed to be gladden to see a girl what I had drawn promoting an ice cream of his, then said:
"Seems that you are really fit for advertising and design Mr. Guevarra?"
I simply nod and said "yes" to him.
"But why did you work at the Herald?" Don Antonio asked.
"I also love to write sir."
"Oh I see." Don Antonio said. "And come to think of it, of all the people why this beautiful girl?"
"Well sir, perhaps I'll create another one other than her's."
"No need." Don Antonio said. "But if you want to create another, then so may it be."
Then he left away leaving me working.

Quite strange for me creating Gia as a poster girl for Don Antonio's Ice Cream despite forgetting. Oftentimes I simply forget emotion and treating the matter as purely work-related. Meanwhile, people from all walks of life are looking at the posters I had designed featuring the maiden what I had drawn, even Gia's friends think of it "how come Gia been featured in a poster promoting Tutti Frutti Ice Cream? Who's the artist who knows Gia's appearance and physique?"

Such talent and artistry costs sorrow and emotion as expected in that advertising job despite having good salary, I opted to resign but then I couldn't for Don Antonio, like Sir Ricardo treated me as if his son.

At home, it seems that despite trying to forget her and move on, my heart still conveys and inspire for long; yes, quite admitting though that after the day we had met in Botica Boie as well as the joys of being together as friends compels me to make a poem that would make the girl whom I met years past recall the past days as a friend and confidant in regards to her problems. Quite strange though to think how am I, trying to forget Gia made a singable poem out of her?

I remember the time when I was young
I met a girl that seemed pretty
Her oak-brown hair
Her olive green eyes
Skin kissed by the sun and quite merry
I felt so admired and I don't know why
Quite shy as I asked her name
And she told me that "Gia is her name"
Then she left in the midst of night

Oh Gia, моей любви
until death, you are part of me
Oh Gia, my work of art
For you are the girl I love

I tried not to cry yet tears flow from my eyes
Silent yet felt the pain and sorrow
And looking at night the stars shining bright
Thinking a coming tomorrow
Someday if I met Gia, I'll let my sketchbook bring
And draw her and thus worth remembring
And thus I realize, the beauty that mermerize
Whilst my heart will forver sing:

And as I see you dance, I feel the rage inside
and yet I don't know what comes happening
Perhaps it came from my barren mind
Des'prate as loneone for years nothing
As the music plays, your moves fills the space
Giving life like the tales of old days
And it ends with a kiss, that gives tender bliss
That no one may never miss

Whether it is the past, or it is today
She held the key to my 'lone heart
Whether she's in paint, in sketch or in clay
She is a one of a kind art
And thus I thank god like no lover done
For my prayers fulfilled as she come
Just like from the start, Till death to us part
I swore to you in my life you've been

And to think that I was weeping when I made those words, recalling the day I met her and befriended, I still don't get how come she didn't accept me despite those days we enjoyed each other's company; strange to think of since I or her done nothing wrong. I even took a glass of Halili Beer trying to think as if nothing happened that time.

An hour later, I was walking in the sidewalk when I sought Sofia, one of Gia's close friends and
approached her. At first, we greeted each other "hi", "how are you" with replies of "fine and "ok." Then I passed the letter to her with a request:
"Sofie, will you give this to your friend, Gia?"
Then Sofia asked:
"Why me?"
"Well...in fact, that paper I have gave to you is a poem made for her. I ought not to give it to her directly for I know she'll think something wrong over me."
"Why?" Sofia said. "Tell me, are you in love with her?"
"Yes. I am, I like her and I love her so much, that she inspires me a lot once; and although she turned me down and I trying myself to move on by forgetting, drinking beer and focusing on work, still feeling something that made me close no matter what it is."
"Oh I see." Sofia said. "Anyways, I remember she told me about you being a gentleman, a singer and a friend. She's often shy to think about you most."
I simply nod on what Sofia said to me, then she asked:
"By the way Paul, are you still working at Lardizabal's?
"Not anymore, I am a writer working in Herald, I am also in the advertising department of Don Antonio's ice cream factory in Echague."
"And speaking of that Ice Cream," Sofia asked. "Are you the one who designed those posters promoting it?"
"Yes I am. Why?"
Sofia smiled at me and said:
"Seems that you are really inspired by Gia."
"I don't know why am I really inspired by her's despite trying to forget her."
"Being inspired by her's is a gift to you." Sofia said. "She may not convey feelings to you fully, but I know as her friend she likes you most. And I know that she still likes the drawings you have made including the poster  as well."
"Oh I see...quite strange to think about being inspired by Gia is a gift to me."
Sofia then smiled. "Anyways, I'll give that letter of yours to her later, I promise."
Then we both parted and left away, with I going straight home and Sofia gone to Gia's.

It seemed to be both sad and reminiscing that time as I walked straight home after talking to Gia's friend, sad that on the same day we've met in Botica Boie it all end up nothing and useless despite the joys both of us ever had and shared; disregarding Sofia's comments and thinking that Gia had moved on and trying to forget me most of the time, not to mention that other boys may fall for her because she's beautiful and nice, but I also think that she may also recall the times both of us became happy with each other as closed ones instead of in a relationship that others may ought to think of. Yes, we're not each other, and I know that she had cast doubts over me if I ever tried to tell her "love" again.

And at home, I simply sought the sketches and the drawings I had ever made; some are portraits of her's as well as others from my work in the advertising department and my earlier job at Lardizabal's, as well as drinking Halili to sleep.

Meanwhile, at Silver Dollar, Sofia sought Gia sitting as if waiting for someone, she then approached her, greeted each other "hi" and "hello" as friends, then Sofia asked:
"So are you waiting for someone?"
"No." Gia said. "Just been finished sipping coffee."
"Oh I see." Sofia replied. "By the way, a friend of yours gave something to you."
Gia asked:
"Who is he?"
"Do you remember Paul? The one whom he made you a dress years before?"
"I do remember him."
"He made that letter to you." Sofia said. "And perhaps he tries to convey something that is meant for you."
Then Gia opened the letter and read the poem that tells what I myself failed to convey.

Gia wept upon reading those words I had made for her, then she asked:
"What I have done?"
"I don't know." Sofia said. "In fact, he was hurt earlier during the day you have a boyfriend, followed by the day you turned down his offer, in fact, he tries to forget yet instead giving him depression as I see of him."
Gia simply nod on what Sofia said to her, and replied:
"It's really my fault Sofia. In fact, Paul is such a good guy, yet I don't understand why I didn't accept him; yes, I am shy to convey my feelings but yes, I am willing to speak the truth that I failed to convey by denying him!"
So you will go to his house and see him back?
And Gia replied:
"I will! I will tell the truth as I see him!"
And she left Sofia as she ran away straight to my home at San Miguel.

And as she entered my home (the door was simply left open), Gia was shocked, then saddened to see me depressed, drunk, and sad as I, lying in my chair with papers, bottles scattered on the floor with teary eyes. She  then approached, trying to dampen my sadness over, and said:
"I'm so sorry Paul...so sorry."
Upon hearing her voice, I ought not to speak by nodding; then with my right hand pointing at the corner, letting Gia see a portrait of her's I had done for a month after being desperate for her love.
Then Gia said:
"Is it really me? It looks so beautiful, how come you had painted this yet left hidden?"
"I'm sorry."
"Why Sorry?" Gia asked.
And I, saddened and depressed, replied:
"I have nothing to say, I can't speak further over this kind of work; in fact, I am still shy to convey my feelings, to say I love you, that I know you ought not to accept me despite showing something that pleases you. I tried to forget in fact, I know that you have another man to be with that is better than me while this person speaking tries to forget with beer, wine, song, anything to compliment my sadness; yes, I am nothing! You have everything that made me I a victim of emotion!"
Gia then slapped at my face as I vent my feelings over her. But this person, numb, replied shoutingly:
"Slap me Gia! Make me awake! How can it be the person whom made me inspire do this to me? Make me awake! Try to convey what comes from me! Slap me, awake my soul!"

But Gia, saddened over what I hath said, didn't slap my face, and instead ran away outside crying in the middle of the rain. Her cries made me realize that despite being inspired by her's, became a desperate one, that made me open my eyes, trying to stand up and ran just to hug her through the back in the middle of the rain, trying to lighten up away from sadness as feeling the warm embrace of the maiden that made me inspire.

Then she, weeping, looked back and said:
"Paul...why should I slap you again? Yes, I know all of your works mean something, I love you!"
"Love me?"
"Yes, I love you." Gia said. "This person, with long brown hair, skin kissed by the sun loves you!"
I fell silent on what that maiden said to me.
"You have nothing to say?" Gia asked. "Those words are your words Paul, your poem, your song, I am."
"My words? Song? Poem?"
"Yes." Gia said. "And I'll hold you, close to my heart."
I wept upon hearing those words especially to an heartbroken man like me, then she hugged me back and gave a kiss, a kiss that made me numb, closing my eyes and feel the love that comes not from me nor her's, but both of us.