Jeanne and Ian, Part 3

“Is that what you needed to get?”

Ian delayed his response to take a good look at the paper thrown at the sweet “engaged” couple, me and him, and said “Yeah, that’s pretty much it. How about us having some breakfast?”. I then realized just how hungry I was and told him “I’d be more than happy to!” I’d usually have breakfast at six, seven in the morning at the latest. I looked at Ian’s watch and it read 9:00 AM. We then left the building and took a short walk to a fast food place nearby.

I was confused by the menu board: apparently I never went to this chain of restaurants before. From the look on his face, it seemed Ian was pretty familiar with the menu there. I felt hesitant to just tell him I had no idea what was good to order, so, I just sort of waited for him to bring up the subject of what to order.

While waiting for that to happen, I thought back to that incident at the government office, how cute it must’ve been to watch the act unfold like that. And, of course, how I wish Ian wasn’t lying.

I think I was really dreaming it at that point, sort of standing there, eyes half open (or was it half shut?). I was still feeling a bit drowsy. Then, right in the middle of that dreaming process, he asked me what I’d like to have. I then said something he probably didn’t know what to make of at the time, “How about if you pick out something for me, loverboy!”. I kind of choked on the word “boy”.
His eyes kind of shot out of his head, then he gave me a weird grin, and said “Okay, fiancee’, wake up and tell me what you’d like for breakfast in bed!”. Then, we just stared at each other and started laughing like crazy! After the dust cleared (almost literally!) I told him I’d just have whatever he’s having. For a multitude of reasons, even though I was still feeling a bit sleepy, I’ll never forget how good that breakfast of omelettes, pancakes, and coffee was with Ian to talk to (and look at!) on the other end of the table.

After our breakfast, we both agreed that we should just buy something for lunch, go to the bus station and catch a bus home. The long hours of travel do get to you, especially in the Philippines, rough rocky roads and all, and we were only halfway through the “ordeal”. So, after grabbing a couple of packed take-out meals from a bus station restaurant, we got on the bus, and departed from Manila at about eleven. Due to Manila’s hellacious traffic situation, we reached the same stopover station we were at early that morning at about five in the afternoon.

Ian then suggested we have a quick “dinner” at the stopover’s restaurant. I agreed (doesn’t it seem like I agree to everything he says?) and we went to the restaurant. Upon sitting down with two cheeseburgers, two orders of fries, and two colas, I noticed from across the room, an elderly woman, maybe in her 60’s-70’s, was staring and smiling at me! I tried to ignore it, but every time Ian stopped talking (he really loves to talk about life, sports, and asking me questions about how my life is going) I’d catch a glimpse of that woman, still looking at me and smiling. 

In the middle of his meal, Ian said he had to go use the bathroom. I looked at how much he’d eaten, and, let’s say middle wasn’t the right adjective, more like practically finished! He talks and eats like it’s his job! I hadn’t even finished my fries, and didn’t touch my burger yet! I was gonna have to catch up, otherwise, I’d have to go off without a decent meal. So, I just stayed at the table, rushing to eat what I could like a pig.

Then, I heard a woman’s voice say “You are a lucky woman”. I looked up, with my mouth full, to see the old woman from across the room right in front of me. She’d come over to our table, and I was kind of at a loss for words, what with my mouth full of fast food and all. So, I just kind of clammed up, and gave her the best smile I could give in that situation.

She then said to me “That guy you’re with, you’re going to have some beautiful moments with him. I can tell”. That kind of made me freeze; of course, it seemed like she was into telling fortunes, or was a psychic, or something like that. Those kinds of people were in no small number in this country. Of course, I didn’t believe those things, and even then I didn’t believe it. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ian making his way back to our table.

Almost as if on cue, she turned around, towards Ian, walked over to him, and smiled at him. Ian then had a weird expression on his face, and when he got to the table he said “It seemed like that woman was talking to you. Is she a friend of yours?” I cleared my mouth and said “No, I don’t know any old people other than my grandparents”. Ian then asked me what we were talking about, and I said “Oh, nothing at all, really. Just forget about it”. In this country, you had weird, crazy people of all kinds, so Ian looked to dismiss it as such. Still, I can’t forget those words coming from that strange old woman…

“You’re going to have some beautiful moments with him”

At the beginning of the final 3 hour leg of our trip home, those words kept echoing in my mind. Ian kind of fell right back to sleep again right when the bus got moving, and I realized what a long, and very eventful day it had been. And hey, I’d had Ian in my sight the whole day, and I was almost getting tired of looking at him. So, I kind of nodded off to sleep as well. When I’m dead tired (as I was in that instance, definitely) I’d have a dream in my sleep, more often than not. In my dream, I remember being…

…back at the government office in Manila, with people going about their respective business. I saw Ian there, and a big shout of joy erupted from my mouth. I ran over to him, seemingly in slow motion, and I jumped into his arms. He took me into his arms again, and hugged me tight. I whispered to him “Just hold me in your arms forever, I don’t care”. I stayed in his arms for what seemed like an hour! Then, I slowly awoke, and realized…

…my head was right on Ian’s stomach area. I was a bit shocked, and kind of just kept my head there for a few moments, hoping he wasn’t awake yet. I slowly turned my face up and saw his eyes closed, and apparently still asleep! Thank God! Anyways, I slowly lifted my head off of him, and he didn’t wake up yet. So, I was quite relieved that he had no knowledge of me lying my head on him. I was feeling pretty good all the way until…

…he woke up right after I got off of him, and asked me why I was lying on him awhile ago. I was shocked, and, the reply I came up with was “I don’t know, I must’ve just leaned over a bit too much, and there I ended up. I was out pretty deep, you know!” Then, he just smiled and said “Well, okay, no harm done anyway, right?” I just laughed, and we talked for the rest of the trip, which was about an hour from that point in time.

When we finally got back where we started, it was around 8:00 PM, which was kind of late for a high school girl to be going home by herself, so Ian said he’d take me home. So, when we got to my place, Ian just said “Say hi to your family for me, I’d better get back to my place now”. I said “I know, you have to get back to Anna. Anyways, thank you for bringing me along on your trip”.

Ian then gave me his heartwarming smile, and lightly kissed me on my cheek. I think I had goosebumps from that! Then, he went to get a ride home. While watching him walk away, I briefly reminisced on the day that had transpired, and how right Ian was when he kiddingly said I wouldn’t forget this trip. I definitely won’t!

So, paper in hand (I never bothered to find out what the heck that certificate really was!), Ian and Anna got married about 3 weeks after that trip. I, of course, was there, along with every one of our relatives, and took in every bit of the church ceremony, and the reception was cool. But, my heart was dying every second (or was it every split-second?) of the way. During the dancing part of the reception, I had every intention of making sure I would dance with Ian after he and Anna had the traditional 1st dance. I had to drag my cousin Walter out onto the dance floor so Anna would have someone to dance with after I got Ian!

Well, in front of all my relatives, I wasn’t going to show anything sweet towards him, but my girl cousins (who I told every “juicy” detail from the trip, of course!) starting cheering “Jee-een! Jee-een!” Ian then said “Hey, you got a cheering section, huh?” I then told him “Don’t mind them”, and silently whispered to myself , “Just keep your attention on me!” While dancing with him, I couldn’t help remembering the trip again, of course, and dancing with him gave me an idea, a somewhat fiendishly innocent ploy to get to spend some more “quality” time with Ian again…

…I thought ahead, way ahead, to about four months, when I’d be having my high school prom. I was seriously considering asking Ian to be my date, and I asked my mom if she thought there was anything wrong with that. I had to ask because if it did happen, everyone would know about it, and think of the scandal were it deemed immoral by my relatives!

She said it was okay, but why would I want to go with my cousin-in-law if I could easily go with someone younger, or more “available”? I pondered this statement, and responded “Okay, I’ll only go with him if I can’t go with someone else”. Of course, I didn’t say I was not going to look very hard, and turn down anyone who asked me!

To my surprise, in the weeks leading up to the prom, 4 guys in school asked me to be their date for the prom, and I turned them all down, saying “Sorry, I already have a date” each time. This being in high school, caused quite a mess of gossip amongst my school friends. I can’t count how many times I was asked by someone “Who are you going with to the prom?” I’d just give them a wicked smile and say “It’s a secret”, which contributed even more to the buildup! To make sure my plan would go off well without any objection from family, I waited until about a week before the prom to go crying to my mom that I didn’t have a date for the prom. She then said “Okay, I’ll try to see if any of your cousins would want to go with you”.

Now, that was kind of a cryptic response for me, because, I was thinking, what if I end up going with one of my cousins as instead to Ian? Well, luckily for me, the first three guys asked to volunteer weren’t really into the prom kind of thing. And, Ian just happened to be the next one asked. I knew he was going to accept because a)Anna was pregnant at the time, so he needn’t worry about getting her jealous with just him being out b)he always said he loved dances, dinners, and the like, and c)I just knew him too well!

Prom Night

“Hey, I feel like a high school kid again!”

by Ian

Well, it surprised me a bit that my aunt-in-law would ask if I’d want to serve as my cousin-in-law’s prom date. I asked Anna what she thought about the query, and she just told me “Jeanne probably couldn’t get a date that’s why, so go ahead and volunteer it if you’re willing”. So, I accepted, besides, she had grown to be a cool friend of mines over the past months, and hey, I thought it would be kind of nice to be revisiting the high school scene again.

On prom day, naturally, I just put on some nice clothes: shirt, tie, slacks, shoes. I also felt a bit conscious of the fact that I was roughly 10 years removed from high school, so I tried combing and shaping my hair a bit differently than I usually did, you know, to try to make me look a little younger.

I did have a nagging headache that day, though, but I’m the kind of guy that can deal with things like that if the situation warrants it. Besides, I gave my word, and that certainly was a justifiable warrant in my book. On my way out of the house to pick up Jeanne, Anna got a look at me and said “Have fun, sweetheart. And, try not to make those high school boys feel too intimidated!” I just laughed and said “If anyone’s gonna be intimidated, it’ll be me”. So, off I went to pick up my “prom date” at her house, where I was greeted by some loud girl in a fancy looking blue dress, yelling at me…

…”Oh my god! I thought Ian was supposed to be my date. Who are you?!?!”

by Jeanne

I couldn’t stop laughing, more in amazement and surprise than in humor. Ian found a way to close the physical gap age between us, so to speak! So, after composing myself, I then walked right up next to this young looking guy who said he was Ian, took his arm, and we went to the prom.

© Jerome Baquilar