Sunday, February 5, 2012

The paramour

choke

 

“Or we can order room service?” I suggest, pulling myself up to sit and rest my back on the wall.

 

“You want that?” he steps out of the bathroom; a white towel wrapped around his waist, his upper body bare, water trickles from his head to his chest and down to the trail called happiness. Arms akimbo, he looks at me from the bathroom door with a mischievous grin, revealing a tiny dimple under his lips.

 

“Yes,” I pull the white blanket over my bare chest, feeling cold and uneasy. He suppresses a chuckle.

 

“What? It’s cold.” I can’t help grinning.

 

“I’m not going to molest you or anything, you know.” he walks over to his opened backpack and pulls out a shirt and a pair of plaid boxers.

 

“Molest is too gentle a word for what you’re actually thinking,” I laugh silently. He laughs with a tone of genuine amusement or perhaps of acknowledgment that I was indeed smarter than I look, as he said to me once.

 

He shakes his head and begins to dress. I feel my shirt from under the blanket and wear it just as he throws the towel over to a chair. He sits at the end of the bed, and lets his upper body collapse on the soft fluffy mattress. He stares at the ceiling. Silence except for the sound of the AC, and his deep breaths. Then he rolls over and starts making his way beside me. I cross my brows.

 

“What?” he pulls himself up to sit beside me.

 

“Nothing. You didn’t have to do the Sadaku crawl thing, you know.” He laughs loudly. I punch him on the arm. He cups the top of my head with his hand, messes my hair and rests his head on my shoulder.

 

“Hey,” he mutters. I clear my throat and he lifts his head off my shoulder. “I’m hungry.”

 

“Me too.” We look at each other. And it is when I realize, yet again, he doesn’t look anything like his age. He looks way too young to be 34. He looks just about my age, which was why I asked to look at his driver’s license the first time we met. I figured it must be the genes, or that it could have been his milk when he was a baby—they always say it’s either of the two. Sometimes both, I guess. His lifestyle doesn’t have anything to do with it, I’m certain, because he smokes like a prostitute, drinks like he didn’t have liver, sleeps late most nights, and he eats too much fatty foods. He’s not extremely good-looking, not the type I’d swear I could die for just to have a one-night stand with; but he’s smart, funny, and communicative.

 

“But you just ate,” he casts a dirty look at his crotch and laughs hysterically. He laughs like he’s high on marijuana, something I’ve always found contagious. I laugh and attempt a bite on his shoulder; he avoids it by clipping my nose with his soft fingers. We continue to wrestle playfully, and slamming pillows on each other’s face and pulling each other’s ears. It’s like that show on TV where two guys try to beat the crap out of each other, except we were only trying to nibble ears, arms, shoulders, feet, and whatnots. And yes, minus bruises, but plenty of giggle instead.

 

Sometime between my trying to push his face away from mine and his trying to dislocate my hands, his mobile phone rings. We stop, and he reaches for it from the side table. He answers it with a cough and a “hello,” and in the middle of the conversation reality flushed the giddiness out of my body. I feel a sudden sense of embarrassment—at myself—and guilt. I know who he’s talking to. After the call ends, he looks at me, lets out a sigh and widened eyes of disappointment. Without anything to say to each other, we get dressed.

 

I sit on the side of the bed, tinkering my mobile phone as he wipes his eyeglasses clean. He wears a good pair of jeans, matched with a blue-and-white striped polo shirt. With his glasses on, he looks older than I find him to be, but still not as old as he actually is. He picks up his backpack. I stand up, and he places his arm around my shoulder.

 

“Raincheck?” he asks casting me a glance.

 

“I suppose, yes,” I look at him, and he smiles. I try smiling back, but he notices the disappointment I failed to hide.

 

“Or we can grab a quick breakfast at McDo,” he squeezes my shoulder as we head for the door.

 

“Nah,” I mustered nonchalance. “It’s OK.”

 

“Thanks,” he smiles. And just as he’s about to reach for the door, he stops and pulls out something from his pocket. I almost forgot. He slides his finger into a golden ring, and reaches for the door. And as I step out of the room ahead of him, reality sweeps over me, and I choke.