‘Let’s go’ I softly whispered to him.
We were lying in the bed comfortably, in a hotel where we spent our first night together. He looked at me, confused. I laughed softly and playfully tugged his arm around mine.
‘Where do you wanna go?’ he put his hand to support his head, playing with my hair with his other hand.
‘Somewhere…where nobody knows our name’ I giggled.
He chuckled, ‘But I don’t even know your name. ‘
Oh right. I almost forgot where I am, but I sure as hell don’t know who the guy is. We met last night in a club, in Baguio where I decided to escape reality for a while with my two girlfriends; dancing our heart away, forgetting who we are, drinking till we drop and flirted to our hearts content. I recalled how drunk and wasted I was, of how happy I was more than I had ever been in my entire life.
The City of Baguio is a highly urbanized city located in the province of Benguet in northern Luzon island of the Philippines. The city has become the center of business and commerce. It’s also very popular to tourism because of its great views and cold weather, unlike most part in the Philippines where it’s really, really hot in summer.
I only remembered I was on my way to the comfort room and bumped into him. He was tall, white and handsome. He made me apologize for clumsily bumping into him by buying me a drink We talked, we laughed, we kissed and the next thing I remembered was waking up in a strange room next to him; I barely remembered how I got there and ended up with him.
‘It doesn’t matter.’ I told him, kissed him slowly, and looked deeply into his hazel eyes. ‘We’re having fun. And that’s all that matters.’
‘The name’s Nick. What’s yours?’ he asked anyway.
‘Kate.’ I answered.
‘Is that your real name?’
‘No,’ I said flatly. ‘But I like it. So you can call me Kate.’
‘Okay, Katie…’ he said, starting to get up and revealing his nakedness. ‘So, don’t you plan to go to your hotel first?’
‘Nope. I want to stay here for awhile if you don’t mind’
“Of course I don’t. You came here alone?”
“Nope, I’m with some friends. And God knows where they are.’
‘So do you wanna go on a date?’
‘Sure.’ Had sex first and then ask her out; Guys romance 101. ‘Where to?’
‘Where nobody knows our name’ he answered, doing a bad job mimicking my previous answer.
We took turn in the shower room, got dress and went out in the hotel. Just that. Spontaneous get-away with this stranger next to me is almost as ecstatic as falling in love.
But we’re not. We’re just having fun together. Were not in love and we both know it, we both know that maybe tomorrow or the next day he’ll be with someone new and I’ll meet someone else.
And that’s how this thing should be; no commitments, no drama and definitely no heartbreaks. I didn’t come here to fall in love and break into pieces again. I came here to be somebody, even just for a few days. I came here to forget who I am. Forget the rules. Forget my heartaches.
But that day, I realized what a nice guy he really was. I find him quite interesting, smart and knew how to be a great company. He’s an interior designer who came to spend sometime in Baguio because a client wanted him to design a hotel. If he agreed to the project, he might stay for a year to finish his design and have people start working on the plan design.
Aside from being good in bed, Nick was also good in conversation. In fact, since this was my first time in Baguio, he toured me around the place; he was a great tourist guide. Despite him growing up in Finland, he knew the place very well. He said he’d been to Baguio and many parts of the Philippines because of his job. That day I observed how elegant he speak and how smooth he moves, like when we went in a restaurant to have lunch, he swiftly pulled back the chair and let me sit. Or when he orders, he suggested the best food to order which is a good thing for I hardly care about what I eat, as long as it’s food. Or when we walk, he would wait for me as I would stop to look at something. He would walk according to my phase and he never left me behind. He would always ask me what I want rather than tell me what I should want. He made me feel like I had his attention and nothing else. It felt so natural being with him and feels like I had known him for a long time.
In the evening we talked around the pool in the hotel were we decide to spend another night. We both clicked in personalities. His funny nature suit my humor and my thirst for a crazy adventure suit his boredom. He came to Baguio for a business trip. Soon, he said, he has to go back in Finland, where he was born and raised.
That night we spent the whole evening talking under the moon until sunset. We talked about everything; I never thought a guy could talk so much. He even out-talked me sometimes and that surprised me. After that night, what I considered a one night stand began to be something more. We began to see each other every night, drinking together, talking and explored Baguio. In the few days I spent with him, I realized how much I liked being in his company, much to my dismay because I wasn’t just ready to like someone so soon.
I guess at first we were just both looking for escape. He wanted a company and I gave him that, I wanted a conversation and he provided a good conversation. There are only few men who can handle a good conversation with a smart-ass woman, talking about nothing in particular, something deep, and something hurting. He opened up more than I ever expected for a man and I listened with care without realizing it. To him, I was just Kate; funny, spontaneous and crazy while he revealed everything about him without me asking for it.
My real name is Casey Gomez. I look after my family business. I came in Baguio with my two girlfriends who felt stuck as I was in life. We came here for escape. To get laid. To get high. To get crazy. My life back in Manila was totally different. In Manila I was known for being workaholic. Once I began to work, I see nothing else. That’s why my boyfriend whom I dated for two years felt bored in our relationship and apparently he cheated with the person I trusted the most, who was obviously way more fun than I am.
That’s when I realized how everyone was using me to their advantage. When somebody wanted my help, I help. When somebody asked me to do extra work, I do it without another word. When my mom called me on Valentines Day to go abroad and deal with a business in her place, I gave up my date. When my mom told me to give up journalism and take business course instead, I gave up the only thing I found passionate about. When I met Jason, my ex, I though I found a bit of order. He’s the one who have to decide for everything I do. I was like a robot to everyone else. And it was my fault that I let them take the control
So when Jason said he was sleeping with my best friends for 6 months and they wanted to get married soon, I smiled, instead of crying. Because I finally realized how stupid I was for letting everyone step on me. That realization was heart breaking more than the break-up. I realized that for a long time, I actually don’t love him. I was only looking for someone who would tell me what to do as I had lost the will to decide for myself.
So after that, I decided to do the craziest thing I will ever do in my life. I went online, meet two random girls and invited them to go on a trip. The purpose of our spontaneous trip was to forget who we are for a few days; to forget about our demanding job, our demanding monotonous daily routine, to forget our problems; to go somewhere where nobody gives a damn about what we do, somewhere where nobody knows us.
It turn out that the two girls I met through online are not bad. But like me, they just want to be someone else in another place. We decided to use fake names to call each other for security purposes…and became best friends overnight; Shana was in medicine field and only a year older than I am. She doesn’t like medicine but because all of her family had a medical degree, she too had to get one. But she was really into fashion and wanted to become a fashion designer. She felt suffocated at home because whatever she does wasn’t enough to impress her family. She always has to play the good girl in the family and hardly ever had a chance to speak up or express herself. While Pauline is a girl three years older than I am and has a more serious complicated problem. She found out that she was never to have a baby just two weeks before getting married to her fiancé. This was a bog issue as she is a Filipino-Chinese and her fiancé was a pure Chinese guy, whom she met in a speed dating four years ago. He left her and let go of their four years relationship because his family couldn’t accept a daughter-in-law who can’t give them grandchildren.
Our first night together using our names, we finally felt free, not caring what anyone would think. Shana is actually a wild girl and Pauline is a heavy drinker, while I loosened up about being such a virgin and have one night stands to any guy that would take me in a room.
Two weeks. That’s how long we agreed to do the craziest things to do. And we knew that when we go back to Manila, we won’t be the same person again. We loosened up. We changed numbers, changed names, and changed ourselves to become the monster we never dared to be. And in doing so, we discovered so much about ourselves that we never knew existed before.
After three nights of being with Nick, I decided to go back to the hotel I’m staying with my two new friends. I got home and saw my two girls dancing naked, in the shower. I laughed and felt relieved in seeing them have so much fun and I joined them, stripping myself naked too.
‘Wow’ Shana exclaimed after our shower dance. We were in the bed room with no clothes on, popcorns and junk foods everywhere. The room was a complete mess; I was surprised that no animals live with us.
‘What?’ Pauline asked.
‘I never thought of doing all this.’ Shana explained. ‘All my life, people dictates me of what I should do… who I should be… and I never, ever thought I would be right here, with two crazy strangers….naked…and yet… I never felt this happy. I feel so free I could die.’
‘Yeah?’ I said. ‘Well, I never thought to dance naked with two girls. Hey, none of you are lesbians right? Gawd, please tell me,’
‘No…but it’s not hard to become one. You two are hot as hell’ Pauline teased, with spark in her eyes. A week ago… I only saw a depressed girl. But how fast one could change?
‘You know what, bitches?’ Shana said, ‘You two are the best thing that ever happened to me.’
We giggled in agreement, like fourth graders.
‘Hey, how you doin with that guy?’ Pauline asked.
‘Food is good. Place is good. And the sex was so good,’ I answered, with exaggerated truth.
‘How do you feel about him?’ Shana asked. I could tell that they are concerned. Concerned that I might fall in love and then be hurt. Then all this will be for nothing.
‘So-so. I guess. I know this will end soon so you know… just enjoying what we have.’
‘And?’ they both asked in unison.
‘And that’s it. Maybe I like him more than I admit…but honestly I don’t give a shit anymore. He’s leaving soon, anyway. And I feel that I can handle this. I got stronger because of this and what had happened.’ I assured them
‘We,’ Pauline corrected. ‘We got stronger because of the shits that had happened’
‘You are so crazy to think of this idea’ Shana said, looking at me. ‘I mean, you are the reason why this all happened. I feel so different. Stronger. And I know when I get home; I know what I should do.’
And she was right, for I know when I get back home; I know what I should do too. I’ll be crazier than I had been here: I’ll be who I am, for real. I’ll continue my job but this time, with balance. I will enroll in journalism and I’ll get back to writing again. I had no idea how much I missed doing it because I was too busy doing everything for everyone that I had forgotten to feed my soul with my own passion and dreams.
I stood up, put my hand with a bottle of vodka and said, ‘bitches, let’s fuck life from now. Let’s show everyone that they can’t mess with us anymore. And most of, let those sorry assholes go and let’s just love ourselves first.’
They got up with their own bottle of vodka, tossed it with mine and got drunk till sunrise.
‘You can’t give love if you don’t have love’ Shana said mimicking a quote.
‘Hear, hear’ Pauline and I agreed.
I woke up really with a splitting head ached the next day. If nor for my phone ringing, I wouldn’t even be up so soon.
Who could have my new number?
‘There you are. I was calling you all night last night. You didn’t pick up my calls. Where were you?’ it was Nick.
‘I’m…home.’ I answered half-sleepy. ‘Why are you calling me last night?’
‘I just thought to drop by your hotel. You left something here.’
‘Your ID’ my eyes opened wide. Oh, shoot. ‘When did you get that?’
‘The first night we slept together?’ He chuckled. ‘We can’t check in a hotel without ID. You were so drunk so I had to get it myself from your bag.’
‘Oh.’ I felt my cheeks redden. ‘Well. Now you know my name.’
‘I like Kate. Or Casey. Whichever.’
I rolled my eyes, ‘yeah whatever. Well, give it back when I see you next time.’
‘How about tonight?’
‘Can’t . I have to do some major cleaning with the roommates. The place almost looks like a jungle; all we’re missing out are monkeys.’
‘Alright.’ He chuckled. ‘Well you sound strange though.’
‘My head hurt.’
‘What’s wrong?’ He asked, sounding concern.
‘Nah, just here. Just with the girls.’
‘Haha… alright. Well, I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow then. Happy cleaning’. He was gone on the line but my smile didn’t till I felt four pairs of eyes were staring right at me.
‘Cleaning?’ Shana asked, in disbelief. ‘Are you serious? We’ll leave tomorrow morning.’
‘Believe me I know.’ I said in mock seriousness.
‘What you going to do? I think you like this guy.’ Pauline sounded out.
‘Sort of. But we lived in a different world.’ I admitted, much to my disappointed.
‘Aren’t you going to say goodbye at least?’ Shana wanted to know.
I bit my lips. ‘Maybe,’ I whispered out loud.
He was leaving for Finland and I won’t be the girl who will chase him just because of this fling. What happened between us was short and sweet. Memorable, if I may say. But I have things to do and he’s got a life. It’s sad but I’m somehow relieved that I could end it with smile on my face. I never hope for us to last anyway.
We spent the day relaxing, preparing to leave and making the most of our last day. We cut our hair and dyed it. I wanted to have a complete different aura when I got back so the girls and I shopped… throwing my dull, boring clothes and replacing with colorful dresses. Each of us has a changed of heart. We’re ready to go back and face reality. Nobody knew back home where we were. Shana and I lives in Makati, the business district of Philippines, and Pauline lives in Las Pińas, an hour away from Makati.
Shana will quit practicing Medicine. She and I decided to rent a flat together in Makati. She knew that her parents will hate her guts for it, but decided that it was time she live for her life. I will still do my family’s business…while doing something I love. I did so much for my parents and now is the time to pay more attention to myself.
Pauline doesn’t know how to face her family yet but I think she will be able to handle it. She said she’s planning to stay as far away as possible to forget the hurt. She might go to London and find more about herself. She wanted to study arts for a long time and maybe it will help her in finding herself. Of course, it’s needless to say that she will stay in touch with us.
Our short friendship healed us in the most unexpectedly way. It’s amazing how sometimes the people whom we’ve known for only a short amount of time have a bigger impact on us than those we’ve known forever. Once you let someone see all the bad things in you and accept them, you began to love yourself more.
That same night after spending my last day with the girls, I decided to put an end to my short fling. I made a surprised visit to Nick that late night. He was standing looking at a far distance of his window view; he looked gorgeous in his half-naked body while drinking his juice. I sneaked from his back and gave him a quick kiss much to his surprise.
‘Hey, I thought you were busy cleaning.’ He kissed back.
‘Cleaning. Shweaning.’ I smiled.
Tonight will be my last night with him. I would like to say goodbye, thank him for everything he made me feel. At least, even for a short time, I felt being taken care of and loved. As I look at him, I was happy to meet him… and will happily say goodbye.
‘What’s wrong?’ he asked, looking right back at me.
‘Kiss me’ I whispered. He kissed me softly, his tongue moving against mine, his hands slowly caressing my back, undoing my bra. I gasped in anticipation as he moved his tongue to my ears, my neck, my everywhere. He pushed me up against the walls, eyes closed, we both found our hands stripping each other quickly, taking me to another world of passion as I felt his hardness in between my legs, moving back and forth faster and faster.
‘That was good’ he finally said.
‘Yeah, it was great.’ We fell in deep silence.
‘You seemed strange tonight’ Nick finally said. ‘I’m not complaining. This has been great. But I just feel something’s not right about you tonight.’ He said touching my lips.
I smiled at how he pays attention to every little thing. We only went out for a few days and he could already read me.
‘Nothing’s wrong… really.” I assured him.
‘Let’s sleep.’ I suggested. ‘I have to go back in the condo tomorrow. I didn’t tell the girls I was here.’
‘Where else would you be?’ he embraced me closed to him. He held my hand and brushed my hair until I had made him believe I fell asleep. I studied his face, the line of his nose, felt his lips in my fingertips until I was sure that he’s sleeping deeply, I slowly pulled my hands in his grasped and found some pen and paper. I looked at the clock wall next to me; it says 2:00 am. Two hours before my flight to Manila.
It was great to know you. The past days with you had been my heaven. I will miss you more than I wanted to admit. Do you remember that day when you took me to the hills and you put up my hands in air and said to be free? I told you I came here to escape for awhile. But I cannot run away from reality forever. I have to go back and deal with it. I thank fate for letting us meet. I’m glad to spend my last night here with you. You’re a great guy. I wish you well on your success. I realized that anyone would not find it hard to fall in love with you. I know you’re going back to Finland soon so I didn’t really hope for us to last. Thank you for making me feel special even for only a short time, it was the first time I felt being loved. Now I’m glad to part with you this way. Good luck with everything.
- S Don’t call. Delete my number in your contact. I’ll never use it anymore.
I slowly folded the paper and put it carefully where I know it can be noticed easily. I dressed up, took a one last glance to the man who gave me more than adventure and silently left without remorse.
Our flight to Manila would be at 4:00 o’clock in the morning. So Shana and Pauline decided to meet me in the Airport with the courtesy of bringing my baggage. It wasn’t a surprised. I made such good friends that I know I can depend on. And since we know each other’s monster… we were able to conquer our greatest enemy together: fear, the fear of going after what we want because we were afraid to hurt our love ones.
I saw them in the Airport, looking relax, happy and glowing. We know that when we come back, everyone would judge us for doing what we did here but we don’t care about that anymore. We went somewhere, where nobody knows us and we felt freedom. Now we’re not the same person who arrived here two weeks ago.
We are Kate, Shana, and Pauline; stronger, crazy, spontaneous, and doesn’t care a goddamn thing about other people. We are going to do out because we chose to, not because we were told to do so.
‘Alright bitches, here we are.’ I announced when we got to Manila Airport.
‘Yeah… it’s good to be back’ Shana said.
‘Too good. Now everyone would make such a big deal, I’m excited to see their faces flare up in anger’ Pauline giggled.
‘So, this is where we separate. Don’t forget to call and update me, okay? And remember if anything goes wrong… I’m just here.’ I finally said.
‘It was good to know you Kate. Let’s stay friends.’ Shana said.
‘Forever’ Pauline and I said in unison.
3 months later.
I finally enrolled in a university, while taking care of my family business. I moved out with Shana in Makati. Pauline found her calling in art and she’s actually doing some modeling, much to our parents’ disgust. But we made it to a point that no one could ever control us the way we were controlled before. This time, we know for sure that we’ll make mistakes, but our own mistakes, not someone else.
When I got back to Manila three months ago, with my short dyed hair and my lacy dresses, everyone looked at me like they saw a ghost. My mother cried and my father hit me. But I faced them with a smile, not a bit of regret or anger in my heart.
At work, it was too different, but I made sure to get my way. I never work over time anymore and hired a personal assistant named Rachel who would replace me when I’m too busy for my classes. Jason and my friend Meena got married. I attended and show my best… and I thanked Jason for what he did, much to his surprise. Sometimes, I know people talk behind my back but then I know I have gained self-respect and I found some people who stood behind me, who respect my decision and was proud of what I did. I found who my real friends are when my parents kicked me out from home. I moved out with Shana and I was never happier to have someone behind my back who would give me full support. Sometimes, I think I’m too in love with life to hate anyone anymore.
After a few weeks of never really talking to either of my parents, they called me and reconciled with me. They said they still hope for me to come to my senses. For now, they will just let me be. So I guess it would only take years for them to realize that I’m not their little girl any longer.
In life, we are entitled to have our own share of regrets. If I found myself afraid of taking risk, I remembered how it’s like being afraid of everything else, and then I reminisce my Baguio days where we just do our thing and it gave strength to try something new.
My thoughts flown far away only to have it back by a knock from my door.
‘Come in’ I called.
Rachel, my PA came in with big bouquet of flowers in her hands. ‘Happy birthday.’ She greeted me with a big smile.
Today is my birthday. I’m 24 this year and I planned to spend it with my two girls. Pauline already arrived in Manila this morning and was now staying in our flat for the mean time.
‘Oh, my god! These are gorgeous. Thanks, Rach’
‘Oh, that’s not from me’ Rachel said, taking out something else. ‘This is from me.’ It was a book, I could tell from the shape and hardness of it.
‘oh, thanks. But who’s this from?’
Rachel shrugged. ‘Don’t know. A girl delivered that and said she have something big for you.’
I shook my head, real touched. “This is from my two girls” I told her before she headed out to the door. I found that there’s a little note with it.
I opened the letter;
Well, I want to surprise you. Happy birthday!
I want you to know that I intended to wait for this time just to ask How dare you leave me naked in that hotel, with only a piece of paper to bid farewell? I thought you are a brave woman. But it turns out that I’m wrong. You’re a coward. You’re coward to love again. And you actually forgot to say ‘Goodbye’!
And to think you ordered me to delete your contact number? Well, I’m sorry but I decided to also do what I want. You taught me how. So I’m back; this time… to get what I want. And you will help me get it.
See you downstairs. I’ll be waiting.
A smile spread across my face.