Who’s the Cliff?

KRIIIIING!”

Lunchtime. Everyone is so noisy. I tried to play a song with Jake’s guitar but with all these noise going on, I can’t hear myself or the guitar, so I stopped. I then put the guitar on a corner, sat back on my armchair, close my eyes and hold my head with both my hands. Man, all these noise makes my head hurt so much!

As I open my eyes again and put down my hands, Chrixa is suddenly standing infront of me.

I flinch.

Mort: Chrixa…Why?

Without saying anything, she is holds two lunchboxes in front of me. One is light blue and the other is lime green. She places the light blue one on the arm of my chair.

Mort: What’s this?

Chrixa: A lunchbox.

Mort: Uh, I know it’s a lunchbox, Chrish.

But this lunchbox feel ominous. I do not trust it.

Mort: Why are you giving that to me?

Chrixa: Uh, Hello! You’re my best friend. I can’t let you not have your lunch again. I’ve been letting you do it last year.

Actually, last year, I’ve been skipping lunch everyday at school. It’s because of that “L” thing. It’s a really stupid common reaction of those at the bottom. They don’t feel like eating or even communicating with their friends. Must’ve been a hard thing for Chrixa, being my best friend and all. Now I feel sorry.

Mort: But you don’t have to –

Chrixa: Just eat it OK!

Chrixa pushes the lunchbox closer to me.

Mort: Okay! Sheesh.

I look at her. She’s smiling. I sigh. She’s really changing. Not just physically but also the way she acts.

Mort: Thank you… Chrish…

I eye her suspiciously. But her smile is so sweet. I look away.

Chrixa: Don’t mention it!

This feels weird. I didn’t want to open it but my hands seem to be on their own. I pop the lock open and slowly opens the lid.

“POOOF!”

I almost jumped out of my chair as a grenade of confetti exploded on my face. It’s from the lunchbox.

Everyone in the classroom is laughing at me, including Mrs. Tubao! I then stand up and stare at Chrixa with rage. She’s laughing too. I attempt to grab her for a knucklehead but she moves, making me grab the lime green lunchbox instead of her.

Chrixa: That’s your true lunch.

She gives me her sweet smile again.

Mort: No, thank you!

I give it back to her. She takes it, opens it, and to my surprise, real food is inside.

The sight of my favorite buttered chicken together with a vegetable salad and rice, suppressed the urge of me giving her a knucklehead. My stomach churned as my nose captured the aroma of deliciousness. She makes me sit down and set the lunchbox on the arm of my chair. She also cleans the trash she caused around my area before taking off.

Chrixa: Happy eating!

She turns and walks away leaving me at a loss for words. I eye the food. I poke it. I pinch a small meat from the chicken and tastes it. It’s not plastic. It’s real. I then glance at Chrixa. My head aches even more.

She’s really good at this! Making me feel awful! My stomach churns again. I need to eat. So I thank God for the food, despite the way Chrixa handed it to me, and start slowly eating it. It’s delicious!

I accept this as a payment. It’s weird how fast the payment is though. Man, I thought she’d grown up already. But the food might prove her growth, if she’s the one who cooked it. It’s just so infuriating how she used it to make me look like a fool again! Next time I’ll be on my guard.

I spent the whole afternoon playing deaf. Lance and Jake, who are sitting near me, kept on teasing me about what happened at lunchtime. Some of my classmates couldn’t stop laughing about it either. It’s really annoying!

“KRIIIIIIING!”

Dismissal. As Chrixa and I walk down the hallway, I continued the interrogation I had with her this morning. About THE GUY. I may still have a chance for revenge.

Chrixa: I’m not gonna tell you!

Chrixa keeps walking with her arms crossed.

Mort: C’mon Chrish! Spill it! I already crossed my heart this morning.

Chrixa sighs. Her face full of concern.

Chrixa: But I can’t pull my pranks to you anymore if you know it.

Mort: I will not use him against you, Chrish. C’mon!

I lied.

Mort: And everything would still be normal.

At least most of everything. I laugh maniacally inside and give her a convincing smile outside.

She sighs and says, finally giving in,

Chrixa: Guess I don’t have any other choice.

She looks at me. I smile.

Chrixa: I’ll tell you! So stop giving me that stupid smile!

I smile even bigger.

Mort: Really?

I’m twinkling my eyes.

She smiles and shakes her head.

Chrixa: You’re lucky you’re my bestfriend.

She sighs again. At last! She’s saying it!

Chrixa: Alright…

She looks around, and, seeing that nobody is around us, she takes a deep breath.

Chrixa: Here it goes…

She looks at me nervously.

Chrixa: Promise me that nothing would change after this.

Mort: Promise!

Why would anything change? I’m just going to use him against you when you try to pull ultimate pranks at me. I laugh maniacally inside again.

Chrixa: And you’ll act as if you don’t know anything.

Mort: With him around. Ok! Yeah, I can do that.

Chrixa: And you wouldn’t use him against me!

Oh, but I will.

Chrixa: And that you’re not gonna tease me.

Mort: Just tell it Chrish…

She pauses for a while and then she takes a deep breath and exhales.

Chrixa: Ok… I’m gonna tell it to you now…

She looks around.

Chrixa: No one’s gonna stop me…

She looks up.

Chrixa: God help me!

But this time no bell will ring to ruin my moment of triumph.

Chrixa’s closing her eyes, desperately praying.

Chrixa: Please, please, please! Help me!

Mort: Chrixa, c’mon, just say it! It’s not really a big problem since…

Chrixa: It’s you.

Mort: …I’m your best – wait! What?

Chrixa: I’ve said it once, I’m not gonna say it again.

She crosses her arms, and walks away. There’s no pushing her to say it again so I tried to recall what she said through what I faintly heard. I think I remember it vaguely.

Mort: Who’s Hugh?

I think that was the name.

She stops as I continue.

Mort: Hugh Jackman? Wolverine? He’s your something more big?

She turns around to face me with her eyebrows meeting furiously.

Chrixa: You’re so stupid!!

Then she walks away.

Mort: Wait. What?

I am so confused.

Mort: Chrixa?

She walks faster towards the gate. I quickly follow.

She does have some moments like this where she’d be so angry at me that she’d lose all that cheerful attitude of hers and just not talk to me. So knowing that, I decided to stop trying. The best thing about being her best friend is you know when you’ll mess around and when you’ll have to shut up because if you talk more, you’d definitely see her wild side. Which I think I already witnessed or still witnessing. Suddenly I felt really annoyed with myself. I can guess that being a best friend that doesn’t pay attention and doesn’t take you seriously when you’re about to reveal something serious made her really mad.

She did not talk to me during the whole journey to her house, which is actually a couple of blocks from our house.

Auntie Jane, Chrixa’s mother, even asked me what happened to her so I told her everything and when I’m done with the story, she just said, “Oh…” prolonged and with a smile.

Auntie Jane: Darling, you are stupid.

She pats my head, smiling and shaking her head. Auntie Jane always act as if she’s part of our gang. So I don’t mind her saying I’m stupid. Because I also think I am.

Mort: But why, Auntie Jane?

Auntie Jane just gives me a pat in the head and wished me good luck on fixing the whole thing. I kinda expected it since she’s always like this when Chrixa and I have a fight. Always neutral and never prying. Maybe as a mother, it’s her way of teaching the both of us how to face our problems on our own. I groan. I have no idea how to fix this so I went home piecing things together.

I understand why she acted that way. Not listening properly to a serious thing that one is saying is disappointing. And knowing what kind of person Chrixa is, her reaction will be multiplied ten times. I will try and sort this out tomorrow.

I thought this day would end with me feeling victorious. But despite knowing the guy’s name, I don’t feel in any way triumphant.

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