I have never been that confident about my mathematical skill in my entire life until that night.

In the dark, I groped for a paper bill and passed it to the driver. The woman beside me did the same. Then the driver gave me my change of PhP70. When he didn't provide the same amount for the other woman immediately, I deducted he has no sufficient change yet.

And so the woman asked for her change at last.

The driver argued he has given her change. Of course, she fired back the change was for me and she needed her own. When he started accusing her of paying only PhP20 for the fare, I butted in. I admitted it was my mistake and reached for my wallet to fish for the PhP100 bill. I specifically asked him to give my PhP20 back. But the woman's voice was louder than mine; she's demanding him to give his change before she drops off. The driver subsequently surrendered, saying he has no change. The woman seemed unwilling to take it back since it might be "peyk".

Before I call it a ride, I asked the driver again for my PhP20. Since he was too slow to understand why I deserve it, I explained the whole thing. The annoying woman is gone so I have evrybody's attention this time. I could feel their admiration for my being composed in handling this ordeal.

My payment: 20 + 100 = 120 - 70 (change) = 50.

And so was he. I ended up blurting "Fine!" and walking away.





The jeepney came into a halt. Nobody hopped off.

All eyes were on a trembling guy. Epileptic? I can't tell.

The driver started the engine again. Maybe to bring the poor guy and his helpless kid to the nearest hospital.

The woman beside me concluded the man is suffering from a heat stroke attack. It's understandable; the sun has been unforgivingly scorching for the past weeks. Sleeping for graveyard girls like me is like lying in a tanning bed. Except that I don't end up having a bronzed look.

The woman asked her husband to give away their bottle of ice cold mineral water. Then she instructed the victim's son to pour the water to his father's nape and have him drink the water when he's already conscious and capable of speech.

At the same time, a couple of religious women started praying for his quick recovery aloud.

When we reached Baclaran, he still resembles a possessed man. The other passengers decided it is best if they spend a few minutes inside an airconditioned establishment, say Dunkin Donuts, for awhile.

I wish I had the luxury of time to be helpful. But I reeeeeally had to dash. I'm late for work.

Since then, I made sure to bring a bottle of water or the highly celebrated C2 Green Tea while commuting. Obey your thirst, eh?




Confession: This entry remained a draft for 5 years until an equally depressed friend asked that dreaded question, "What if...?", a few weekends ago (read: recent pre-election liquor ban). It's 25.05.2010 today.

I was on my way to work again that evening. Suddenly, a nice-looking guy seated across initiated a small talk with me. I can hardly recall what he said and what made me react. But it felt uncomfortable knowing that the other passengers suddenly found a real-life source of entertainment. He didn't mind at all.

Eventually, the passenger seated next to me alighted. He was quick to claim the vacant seat as his new territory and our chat went on. I discovered he was 2 years younger (today, I'd call him Kiddie Meal), he hailed from Mindoro and he had a bad injury resulting from his motorcycle accident. Still, his lust for adventure remained unshakable.

He had me at "I made it to the peak of Mt. Halcon...and you can do it, too!"

Well, it's no secret how gullible I can get but his grins and manner of speech reminded me of Jack Johnson's. He was articulate and he made sure our eyes meet. So laidback, so unassuming, so...surreal! It was easy to dismiss it was nothing but a friendly conversation.

When the van reached Baclaran and we prepared to descend, he told me he's taking the same route. Since my office then was along Buendia, I needed to take a bus that will pass by LRT Ayala. His destination was in Crossing; he could take any Edsa-bound bus. Taking the same bus would just prolong his commute. My heart skipped a beat. Was he really THAT willing to extend our light dialogue?

I remember my former team leader saying you can put a guy to a test by insisting to pay for yourself and, if the guy remains firm to take care of everything after three times, he's genuinely willing to shell out for you. He passed this test! But, hey, before you start swooning over there, it was just P9. [Or was the regular fare about P7 way back in 2005?] No big deal.

One block away from my office building, we were engaged in a similar dispute again. This time, he was asking for my mobile number. He thought we'd make good text mates. The first time he did, I said no. In my head, let's see if he seriously wanted to know. The second time, he threatened to join me get off the bus until he obtained my number. With a smile, I shrugged it off, said goodbye and never looked back. He must ask one more time!

Guess what? He didn't come down.

What a fool I had been to expect something cinematic to take place!

Upon depositing my huge backpack in my locker and making sure he didn't manage to steal anything from me, I went looking for my officemate Eleanor to give her a blow-by-blow account of what just happened. When I was finished, she gave me a head-to-toe look. "You managed to attract someone even if you look like that?"

She had a point. I wasn't my usual Marimar self. Unflattering t-shirt, pang-harabas pants, my mother's sneakers and huge backpack. I wasn't even wearing any make up that time. What are the odds I would meet The One Who Got Away that night?

For the past years, I convinced myself he was too smooth so he can chat up anyone that easily. But a part of me enjoys to torture myself with what ifs. What if...what if I gave him my number?



The guy seated next to me has left his identification card behind. He was already outside the bus when I noticed it. Upon close scrutiny, I couldn't help but take notice how innocently cute he looked. The altar boy kind of cute. The kind any older woman would love to molest.

I flipped the ID and found his guardian's number and cellphone number. An evil grin lightened up my face.