Chapter 40 – The First and Last Dance
Riley takes my hand and places it in his arms as we wait for the two people in front of us walk inside the hall. I’m nervous. I shouldn’t be but I am. Not every teachers seen me with my gown and now I will be walking that red carpet and I will be judged.
I mean para sa awarding mamaya. Yung gown ko at ako. Pati si Riley din. I know once my Christian Living teacher sees me in this provocative gown, he will look at me disapprovingly. Gah. Ms. Ryn looked at me and shook her head.
But I don’t care. This is my night.
So I let Riley guide me as we walk towards the red carpet, Sir Matt is in front near the stage, his eyes drop as he scans me. He shakes his head and writes something in his notepad. Gah. He’s one of the judges.
I don’t care about winning. Hindi ko naman kailangan manalo pero at least a part of me assumes I’m going to take home a price, I mean I’m Mary, the girl everyone envies. Pero ngayon sure akong wala akong makukuhang award, Sir Matt would never let someone dresses as provocative as me win.
Riley leads me to my table, the table is near the dance floor, oh how that floor is mocking me right now. I’m no dancer but I like to try sometimes, I’m always moving you know, always swaying my body as I stand. I can’t stand up straight and just be still. I need to move and it’s one fault of mine that I really really hate.
Carmina sits next me and we wait till Ynna and the others sit beside us but while we wait, we comment on everybody’s outfit tonight.
“So ano yung binulong sayo ni Allen kanina?” she asks.
I can’t tell her. I know she’s been waiting to ask me about it but I can’t. She will get mad at Allen because of it. She doesn’t like it when guys have to be so controlling. Hell her last boyfriend asked her to stop from gawking our Calligraphy teacher Sir Damon, well you can’t say that to Carmina, she’s stubborn—sometimes I think that’s why we grew closer—and she just doesn’t want anyone to tell her what to or not to do.
Kaya hindi ko kayang sabihin kay Carmina yun. I’m sure she’ll say something between the hell with him and go dance and make him swoon. Or maybe she’ll go where Allen is and tell him her opinions.
Gosh. That would mean she’ll be making a scene.
“Wala sabi lang niya ang ganda ko raw.” I shrug. It’s not really a lie right? He did tell me I look beautiful.
She smiles. “Obvious naman na maganda ka eh. I think you’re hiding something. Siguro sinabi niya sayong sexy ka ano!?” she exclaims.
I blush which for her means that he did say something like that.
“I knew it! May gusto parin sayo si Allen!”
I can’t deny that. Wow. I sound so cocky. But I can still feel he still has feeling for me, even when I told him to let me go. I guess when you love someone, even when people tell you to let go you just can't.
I mean, I also can’t let go of Louie so I understand but…
Our prom starts with an opening prayer, which Cyril leads. The next is the National Anthem, which Ynna sings. An opening remark from our dearest principal and lastly is the introduction of the junior dance formal.
I watch as the third years dance the cotillion and then shifts to the modern dance with the rendition of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. I can’t say that it’s great because I know ours is much more than that.
When it’s our turn, I mean my batch turn for the social and modern dance, I stay at the table. I’m not included in the dance because during the first and second practice, I had a hard time breathing. Well they couldn't always watch over me during practice and I guess it was really a bother. So Ms. Ryn suggested that I don’t join the dance and will just right an essay about it to be submitted after the prom.
At first, I got really upset, I wanted to join the dance too! Pero nung nabubuo na yung modern dance, I felt relief na hindi ako kasali. The steps were so difficult. Ang daming napahiya dahil maraming hindi nakasunod, ano pa kaya ako? I have two left feet, I dance stiffly, I move like a damn robot. Kaya natuwa ako at isa pa it’s too sensual.
It’s a product of Dirty Dancing and Footloose. Two movies that I really like by the way but the steps are too hard for me anyway so it’s alright.
I watch in amazement as they dance. Nung general practice medyo gulo gulo pa to pero ngayon sobrang ayos, sobrang linis nung sayaw nila.
Pagkatapos ng social and modern dance ng seniors, nag open na yung buffet at pwede ng kumain. May dalawang buffet, isa para sa juniors at isa sa seniors, hiwalay talaga sila sa amin.
Hindi na nag-abalang tumayo dahil sigurado ako na kinukuha na ako ni Cyril ng pagkain. Nagsibalikan na sila Carmina sa table namin at hinintay nila mulang dumating si Cyril.
Dumating si Cyril pero wala siyang hawak na pagkain. “Tara nasa table ko yung pagkain mo.” Sabi niya. Tumayo na ako at nagpaalam kayla Carmina, alam ko naman kung bakit kailangan sa ibang table ako kumain, iinom ako ng gamot na si Cyril ang may hawak.
Kaming dalawa lang yung nasa table at tahimik kaming kumain, siguro nagtatampo parin si Cyril dahil bigla akong umalis. Hindi ko nalang pinansin dahil nagugutom ako at gusto ko lang kumain.
Binigay sa akin ni Cyril yung gamot ko at ininom ko to. Pagkatapos ay hinubad ko yung coat ni Cyril na kanina ko pa suot suot. Hindi na naman ako masyadong nilalamig at baka kailangan niya.
I walk back to my table coatless. Nagsimula na yung sayawan, lahat ay nage-enjoy, may iba rin na nakaupo lang, yung mga tinatawag na wallflower. Jeez. I’m turning into them.
Maraming nag-aya sa akin, tulad ng mga old classmates ko na sila Den pero sympre kahit pa alam kilala ko sila Den at kilala din ni Allen sila, tumanggi parin ako. I made a promise.
I just laugh as my friends try to pull me towards the dance floor, I shake my head laughing but slightly feeling that I really want to go dance and enjoy. I shake the feeling away.
I watch them and I look around and see Allen sitting at his table alone watching me. He smiles at me and I return it. My phone rings, which brings me back to reality, I bring it out my purse and frown.
Why is he calling right now? I’m curious so I answer it. “Hello?”
“Please tell you’re not dancing with anyone.” Kim says.
I chuckle. “Jeez. I’m not. I haven’t been in the dance floor.”
“You haven’t?” he asks.
“Thank God.” He breathes. “Yaya emailed me your photos, God, Mary what the hell do you think you’re doing wearing something like that?” he growls.
I frown. “I am thinking I look sexy as hell.” I say.
“You are.” His voice softens. “But it’s too much. Too much skin. I don’t like it.”
I smile. Really I wonder why guys are such hypocrites. They like skimpy little shorts on other girls so why can’t they like something like those in their girlfriends? I’m not saying I am someone’s girlfriend pero ganun kasi diba. Porket ba may feelings yung guy sa babae, bawal ng magsuot ng ganun yung girl? It’s wrong!
They can ogle other girls but they don’t like seeing their girls wearing those sexy and daring clothes. What the hell right.
“You don’t have to like it. I like it and that’s the only opinion that really matters.”
“I’m sorry. I’m just a little protective and jealous. They get to see you and gawk at you. I really hate feeling like this. Those guys should not dare stare at your chest or legs or even touch you.”
“Jeez. What do you think will happen Kim? Hindi naman ganun ka provocative yung gown ko! Ayos pa nga to eh! Kung nakita mo lang yung ibang designs baka sumabog na yung mata mo!”
He laughs “God I hope I won’t be seeing you in those.” He says. “I’m going to let you go and let you have fun but please don’t dance with those guys.”
I sigh. “I won’t, okay. Sa totoo lang may nauna ng nagsabi sa akin na wag mag sayaw. Kaya hindi talaga ako magsasayaw.” I say and I realize it’s wrong. I shouldn’t have told him that.
“I’m glad Cyril is acting like a protective brother to you tonight.” He says. Good. He thinks Cyril’s the one who asked me not to dance. “Enjoy the rest of your night.” He says and hangs up.
It’s really a relief. I don’t want to start making excuses if he finds out it’s Allen. Kim knows that Allen dumped me for another girl, that he didn’t like the package deal as I put it to Kim before. The baggage that Louie will always be a part of me.
Hindi ko alam kung bakit ayun yung sinabi ko kay Kim pero ayun yung lumabas nung tinanong niya ako. Siguro dahil alam ko na a part of Kim still feels guilty over the fact that he betrayed me with my best friend Pat dahil kay Louie. Kaya ayun yung sinabi ko, para siguro ipaalam sa kanya na hindi lang siya yung lalaking may ayaw sa idea na may Louie na kasama.
I walk towards the comfort room, I stay there until I feel I can breathe again. Sumakit kasi yug dibdib ko bigla at ayaw kong may makakita ng mukha ko, nanikip lang yung dibdib ko at medyo nahihirapan ako.
Alam ko nakatingin si Allen sa akin kaya umalis ako papunta sa comfort room.
I see Allen standing right outside the comfort room the moment I walk out of the comfort room. I look at him in confusion, what is he doing here?
He walks towards me and takes my hand, we walk towards the dark alcove. “May I have this dance?” he asks as the music fades and Taylor Swift’s Enchanted starts playing. He smiles.
I smile. “Akala ko ba bawal akong magsayaw ngayong gabi?” I ask him playfully as I circle my arms around his neck.
He places his hands on my waist in the gentlest way he can of course. He’s a gentleman and he’s not touching me inappropriately. “Siguro naman pwede kang gumawa ng exception.”
I beam. “Now, now Mr. Santiago that would be unfair to the other guys pining after me.” I tease.
“They didn’t ask the DJ to play Taylor Swift for you so let me off the hook.”
“Ikaw nag request yan?” I ask. Wow.
He nods. “Alam ko naman kung gaano mo kagusto si Taylor Swift. Ayos ba yung kanta? Eto yung gusto kong kanta niya.” He says.
I smile brightly at him. “Nakinig ka ng kanta ni Taylor Swift?”
“For you.” he says sweetly.
I rest my head to his shoulder and close my eyes. It feels good to be in his arms. “Thank you Allen.”
“Para sa lahat. Para sa pag-iintindi sa akin kahit pa nasaktan kita.”
We sway as he holds me close. “Mahal kita kaya gagawin ko lahat ng gusto mo. Hindi ko man gusto yung hiniling mo nung pasko pero naiintindihan ko. At maghihintay ako Mary sa ayaw o sa gusto mo, hihintayin ko na buksan mo ulit yang puso mo para sa iba.”
We stay quiet and just let the music sway us.
Please don’t be in love with someone else. Please don’t have somebody waiting on you…
The music ends, the last sentences Taylor Swift said in her song hangs over us, I slip away from him but he pulls me to him and hugs me for a minute or two, after it, he wraps his coat to me. I smile as thank you and walk back to my table.
When I am about to sit, my friends ambush me with a surprise. Kevin Liu is standing in front of me, his right hand at the back of his neck and he looks so uneasy. “Will you dance with me?” he asks, my friends so as his start to cheer us.
I glance over my side and see Allen startled. He looks at Kevin and then me. He starts to shake his head but stops midway, he nods at me maybe because he also knows as well I do that I can’t refuse when everyone is cheering, it’ll be rude.
I mouth sorry at him but he smiles tightly at me and so I let Kevin Liu lead me to the dance floor. I tell him, I’m uncertain with this and he smiles at me saying I just need to relax. So I do even when I know everyone is watching.
The music ends and Ynna suggests a photo of him and me. I reluctantly agree. I smile and pose for the camera. After Kevin Liu leaves our table, Ynna and Carmina gushes over that Kevin Liu is my first and last dance because as it seems the dance time is over and it’s time for the awarding ceremony.
They don’t know though that my first is Allen.
And they will never know because it’ll be my secret.