The Promise

Lunchtime. No sign of Chrixa. She didn’t attend the morning classes either. Mrs. Tubao told us that she asked permission about it. She never told where Chrixa went though and she immediately rushed to the faculty room for lunch before I could. But I got a feeling that Mrs. Tubao was just pretending. Chrixa must’ve coaxed her into being an accomplice. She’s really avoiding the great knucklehead. I have to know where she went though, so I ask some of our best friends.

I started with Jake Morgan, one of the guys that helped Chrixa lately. And yep, they’re our best friends so I easily forgave them. But that didn’t stop me from giving each of them a big slap on the head.

Jake has thick hair that looks like cotton. He wants it that way because he’s a rock star. Cool hair means cool guitar play. Jake is actually part of a band in his church. We’ve played there once as a band but we decided to stop after we reached our junior year so that we can focus with our studies and make sure we graduate.

He was holding his guitar, rubbing his cotton-haired head. I just slapped it. He was the last one I was able to slap because he sat too far from me this morning. The others received it during the morning classes.

Mort: Where is she?

I scowl at him.

Jake: I-I-I don’t know, man.

He glances over my shoulder.

Jake: Try asking Lance.

I give him a threatening look and decides to go and ask Lance. As I pass by Jake, he takes a defensive stance expecting to receive another slap. I thought of punching him this time but I didn’t do anything except stare at him like a tiger. They do all those things to me and they’re afraid of me afterwards. When will they ever learn?

I approach Lance and, as expected, he’s asleep. You can’t mistake that curly hair for anyone.

Lance Summers is a smart and rich guy. Their family owns an airport and are famous for owning big time businesses all over the country. We’ve been best friends even before they were rich, that’s why he stayed in this public school with us even though his parents wanted him to move to a private school.

He’s also one of the top students. If he stops slacking off, he could really get top one. But he always tells us that being number one is a pain in the butt so he wants to stay in his current rank. In my opinion, I think he’s just making excuses so he can sleep.

I shake him to wake him up.

Mort: Lance! Hey! Did you see Chrixa?

He’s snoring. I shake my head.

Mort: Hey Jake! Lance is sleeping!

Jake is playing his guitar. Not bothering to look at me.

Jake: Ya think?

I decide to give up on Lance and look around.

Mort: Where’s Daniel?

Jake: Dating.

With just that, I know where Daniel is. I then head outside and see him sitting on a bench with his girlfriend.

Daniel Cramer is our noisy friend. He fixes his hair on a fauxhawk style. He is actually active in sports and is part of the school’s basketball team. He’s good at jokes but sometimes he fails to make us laugh. Many girls admire him for being an excellent basketball player and being hilarious but only one girl won his heart.

Karen Yster. Also a member of our gang of friends. She’s smart and is the current top one of our class. She’s kind, pretty and really mature. Maybe that’s why Daniel fell for her. I’m actually happy for them and envious as well.

They are so blessed. Not just because they love each other but because they understand each other very well. They communicate well with each other. They set limitations to their relationship and avoided compromising their purity. They’re both Christians, like the rest of the Gang, and they threaten each other to break up if ever they love one another more than God. That made me smile.

To be honest, they don’t look like they were dating. They’re just talking and laughing and avoiding each others’ hands to touch.

That’ll never happen to me.

I made a promise never to fall again. I know it’s dumb but it’s what my heart is telling me now. I decided not to fall again. I want to stay away from those pains and problems. That’s why it angers me every time I recall the events this morning. Chrixa’s my best friend! She knows better than to use the “L” thing against me. And acting as my girlfriend? What is she thinking? I’ve been through enough headaches and heartaches those past years because of trying to have a girlfriend. And she knows it! I will definitely give her the knucklehead.

I shake my head. Falling for someone is the last thing I want right now. And only one thing is echoing inside of me.

I AM NEVER GONNA FALL AGAIN!

I decided not to ask Daniel and Karen about Chrixa. I don’t really want to disturb them and it pains me to see happy couples. I know I shouldn’t feel this way but it’s just prevailing inside me. I sigh and was about to head back inside our classroom when I catch a glimpse of Mike walking towards the white leadtree near our classroom. Under that tree is where we hang-out as a group. We only go there every free time and if we decided to have a picnic. However, if one of us goes there alone, with sadness written all over their face, that means they have a problem. And by the looks of Mike’s face, I can tell that he has a problem.

Mort: I’ll ask Mike! Maybe he knows.

I holler to Jake who just nods as I leave the room to approach Mike.

Mike Grant is the school’s superstar. He wears a crew cut hairdo and a very handsome face which, obviously, gave him the title of a heartrob. But despite his handsomeness he’s not that lucky in love. Like me, I guess. I’m also not handsome so that’s a double downer for me.

Anyway, we often visit the “emo rock”, the rock just beneath the tree. It’s a special throne where we sit when we feel sad or want to wallow in self-pity. There are times we need a breather. And this place just help us reflect on our problems.

Mort: Hey Mike! Sup bro?

Mike flinches. Must’ve cut his train of emotional thoughts.

Mike: Huh? Uh…nothin’ man..

Mort: Nothin’? Then why are you staring at the blank space looking like you’ve lost a game or something, man? Also you’re sitting on the emo rock.

He faintly smiles.

Mike: It’s ok man. I can handle it.

I sit down on the patch of grass, half a meter, in front of Mike. He’s looking at a junior girl inside the classroom far but directly in front of ours. That girl is Mike’s girlfriend. But by the looks of it, that ‘is’ is now a ‘was’. Plus he did mention that a break up is imminent.

Mort: So it’s done? Kaput?

I was looking at the girl and back to Mike. He looks so sad.

Mike: Yeah…

I stare at the girl. She’s also one of the popular ones at school. Pretty, acts kind, but she cheated on Mike. Welcome to the club, bro.

Mort: They’re just annoying sometimes, right?

Mike: Huh?

Mort: They make us jump off a cliff, make us feel the happiness of falling and then ends it all of a sudden, making us plummet, face first, to the bottom.

Mike: You’re not helping, Mort…

Mort: I know!

I laugh then I got serious.

I thought of calling the Gang for help, but I decided to just speak my heart out.

Mort: You know what Mike, hitting the bottom is not such a bad thing.

Mike: Oh yeah?

That was sarcastic. He saw me worse than him on that same rock last year.

Mort: Yeah!

I did learn a lot of things after what happened last year.

Mort: Sometimes we just have to be in pain and hit our head so hard just for us to know that we’re doing something wrong.

Mike stays silent.

Mort: By hitting the bottom, we’re not just told that we’re wrong but it leaves a mark on our hearts…

I feel a sudden sting of pain in my chest.

Mort: …reminding us not to make the same mistake again.

I smile. Hitting the bottom did help me. It gave me all this wisdom, I guess. With the help of my friends, of course. Jake, Lance, Daniel, Karen, even Mike and Chrixa never left me last year. They’ve been pouring me with wisdom that pulled me from the bottom. They keep reminding me not to forget the lessons I’ve learned from my mistakes. And surely I won’t make the same mistakes again. I look at Mike and give him a cheerful face. He needs reminding too. I slap his knee.

Mort: C’mon men! Cheer up! There are a lot of cliffs in the world. You’ll surely find the right one to fall from. You told me that last year.

Mike faintly smiles. Then he exhales all the nasty feelings out of him.

Mike: I did say that, didn’t I?

Mort: Yep!

Mike exhales.

Mike: Okay I think I’m fine for now. Anything else you want?

Mort: Yeah, there’s actually one thing.

I give him a threatening look.

Mort: Where is Chrixa?

Mike’s eyes widens and smiles. Recalling the whole charade this morning.

Mike: Haha! You’re still not over it?

Mort: How can I be over it!?

I am clenching my fists.

Mike: Alright. Alright. I know it’s hard to get over with.

Mike rubs the back of his head, the part where I slapped this morning.

Mike: You’re acting was really impressive too, man. Congrats.

That weird feeling resurfacing inside me.

Mort: Just tell me where she is, Mike.

Mike: Hey dude! Even if you give me another slap, you won’t get anything from me because I don’t know.

I snap my fingers.

Mort: Dang it.

Mike is anything but a liar so I trust his words.

Chrixa escapes the knucklehead today.

I thank Mike and left give him some air. Although the memory of the stunt this morning made him forget about his problems a bit. He was chuckling at me when I left and gave me a thumbs up.

“KRIIIIIIING!”

The start of the afternoon classes was announced by the ringing of the school bells.

The whole day ended with me still not getting over what Chrixa did to me. My hands were itching to give her a knucklehead. She’s doing her technique again. She wouldn’t show up the whole day and then the next, she’d act like nothing happened. But I’m not going to let her do that again. Tomorrow, I’ll let her remember. Oh yes I will.

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