Jeff watched Marga descend the Palma Hall steps. He could tell it was her from a mile away. The way she hovered over the other girls, the way her hair moved as she walked, the way her face turned upward ever so slightly everytime she walked into the sun — were little things he had committed to memory since he first fell in love with her.
Marga smiled when she saw him. She quickly said her ‘goodbye’s’ to some friends and dashed down the front steps. “Hi Kuya Jeff! I thought Mama was going to pick me up.”
Jeff opened his arms and let her walk into it, like she had done a million times before. “Your mom had to see a client — emergency. And since you are still too lazy to get a drivers’ license, here I am. How was the play?”
“The play was hilarious! And you are too nice — thanks for not leaving me stranded.” Marga looked around. “So where’d you park?”
“Over by the Economics building.” Jeff took Marga’s hand. “C’mon, we’d better start walking. It looks like it’s going to rain.”
Jeff walked hand-in-hand with Marga around the University Oval. He knew the moment was right to tell her but could not push himself to make that final jump. He wanted to leap from being ‘Kuya Jeff’, the ever-dependable constant big brother figure in her life, to being ‘Just Jeff’, a guy who is very much in love with her.
Cold breeze. Quiet walk. Her hand in mine. Everything is perfect. I should confess everything now. Jeff’s thoughts richoceted in his head like a stray bullet. But she’s not ready yet. I should wait. Maybe. Or maybe not. No guts, no glory? No, no, no! Not yet. I’ll wait.
Jeff’s thoughts were shattered by a distant scream. A scream that was becoming louder. He looked into Marga’s eyes and read the same wonder. But everything soon turned black. The next thing Jeff knew, he was on his back. He turned to Marga only to find her unconscious under a big, heavy, yellow thing that fell from the sky. A old, wrinkled, barefooted woman in a yellow dress, dazed from her long fall, sat up and started to ramble weakly in Spanish, “Mi llamo Sra. Montano. Está en mi clase. Prepara para aprender. Mi llamo Sra. Montano. Está en mi …”
Jeff rolled the incoherent woman over. All two hundred pounds of her fell on Marga with such force, Jeff knew his darkest fears were about to come true.
(This entry is dedicated to Jeff — one of the few true blue gentlemen left on this earth. May this bring you to realize na hindi na uso ang torpe. It’s time to bring out your inner Tom Cruise, little bro. Now na. Before it’s too late.)