... 9-yr. old sister.
I never have expected partner to agree with sister tagging along with us on our date since partner is quite an introvert but he said yes. My sister's exams just ended and she asked if we could watch "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" last Saturday and as I have the intent to reconnect with siblings I told her I'll treat her. Unfortunately, it was on date night with partner and I can't move it to the day after as I've already committed myself to college friends so I texted him right away to ask if sister could come along.
"Ui, pwede ko isama si 9-yr. old sister? I'll treat her a movie tonight."
Seconds seemed minutes. I sincerely hoped he will agree as I don't want to miss date night. I don't want to waste his efforts coming home every weekend from Bicol.
Finally, he replied, "Oo naman po. Anong movie? What time po?"
I almost jumped out of happiness. Somehow, I felt that it was a step up from our relationship despite of the fact that he's only meeting my 9-yr. Old sister. Still she's family and I want her to meet him and him meet her.
Funny, I was like a kid given a big chocolate bar when I received his reply. I immediately answered him and told him my thanks and I rushed telling my sister to prepare. My sister looked excited as well not knowing that she will meet the person who broke through her kuya's jaded heart and made her kuya fall to the unimaginable oblivion. I told her to take her bath quickly and to get at least prepared an hour before the movie starts. I, on the other hand, was smiling goofily. Happiness shallow, easily reached.
Everything prepared and we went.
On our way to SM, I suddenly felt this nervousness. One can actually trace the beads of sweat trickling through my forehead. I've never introduced ANYONE, not even friends, to any member of my family. How would my sister find partner? What would she tell my parents? Would she get a hint of the true nature of our relationship? She's smart enough to at at least get an idea.
I shrugged off those thoughts. I looked at my sister and she smiled as she went on with her story about her recent updates in school. Her smile. We both have the same smile. The same eyes. We've been always told how much we look alike but I've never seen that until now.
I was reassured for a certain degree as she held my hand and we got off the jeep. As we walked towards the mall, I gripped her hand tightly while my knees went cold and I can feel a slight wobble. I texted partner that we were at the mall and we should meet at the ticket booth instead.
Escalator. We ascended. I left my stomach at the previous floor.
Dugdugdug. Why am I this nervous? It's just a simple movie date with my 9-yr.old sister and my partner. What's there to be nervous about? Think rational.
"Kuya, anlamig ata ng kamay mo," my sister said.
I ignored her. I squinted my eyes and there he was with the smile I'll never forget.
"Hey, kaibigan ko. Call him Kuya na lang. Kapatid ko. Call her *******."
Quick introductions. Enter then exit. Smooth and easy.
Partner laughed as we bought our tickets. He quickly warmed to my sister. "Ui, kamukhang kamukha mo kuya mo."
"Aba, ayoko nga. Maganda ako."
"Kung makapagsalita itong batang ito. Ka-swerte mo nga at ako kamukha mo. Medyo nalugi nga ako kapag ganyan e."
"At ikaw pa may gana na malugi ha," partner defended my sister.
"Huhuhu," I said, acting like a baby. "Pati baga naman sa inyong dalawa pagtutulungan parin ako. Tara na nga bumili ng snacks."
We walked towards the grocery store. My sister led the way and we were left behind. My sister, so independent at times. My partner pinched me playfully while walking and I pushed him aside as we hid at this stall from my sister but still keeping her within my line of sight.
"Ambully mong kuya." I laughed as I intentionally showed myself when sister looked back when she realized we disappeared.
"Kuya ang kulit mo para kang bata!"
"Ay sya tara na bumili ng snacks," I told them.
"Dapat libre ng kuya mo."
"Haha, dapat nga nanlilibre ng snacks yang si kapatid e. Dami kaya niyang pera," I said. My sister then held at her purse firmly yet jokingly. I know she saved up for a few tokens at the arcade.
And the two went on goading me to treat them as we bought our snacks. Ugh. They were the bullies all along. Pfffft.
We went into the movie house after buying our snacks. A few stolen glances and a bit of I love you's were said while my sister was beside me. We were careful not to get caught by my sister as we don't want her to start telling things to my mom and dad.
The movie started. I was seated between partner and my sister and I handed out the snacks. I told sister to offer my partner some food. As my sister began to be engrossed at the movie, my routine with partner started. I slid my hand between us and he slid his. Our fingers intertwined. I smiled and looked at him.
"I love you," he mouthed.
"I love you too," I said.
He suddenly puckered his lips. I thought he was going in for a kiss when I realized he was gesturing towards my sister. I looked at her. Still engrossed at the movie. Her whole life taken over by the food-people the movie depicted. My partner smiled. He laughed. I like his smile and laugh. He never forgets to smile despite of everything.
"I really can't help but comment how much she looks like you."
"Well, we are siblings."
"At mukhang makulit. Parang ikaw."
"Hahaha, ah dyn di na ako magaagree. Ambait-bait ko kaya. Di naman ako naughty. No pun intended. Hahahhaha."
I looked at my sister and made sure she was not looking and I kissed my partner's hand.
After the movie, we went to Globe center and I applied for a postpaid plan. My sister, ever hyper and active, asked if she could play at the arcade while waiting for me. I agreed and asked partner if he's okay with watching over my sister for a few minutes. He agreed and they went.
I waited for my application and I took notice of a young couple strolling hand in hand together. Sweet. I'm such a sucker for simple gestures. I realized that partner and I haven't held hands yet in public. Something I've looked forward to every time we meet. We have conformed to the norms of the conservatism of our country wherein two guys can't hold hands in public without mean eyes and slurs being hurled at them. Maybe, I'm just too ambitious. The Philippines is not ready for that... yet. Wait. I've seen two guys helds before. Near workplace! Hahaha. I can still remember how shocked I was. Not out of horror but shocked with awe that I was actually left open-mouthed looking at them. So maybe, the Philippines is not ready but still we're on our way.
I can't wait.
My partner and sister went back from the arcade. My partner can't help but explain how surprised he was how my sister played her games. Very competitive. Hahaha. And all the rough games. That motorcycle game, time crisis game, and racing games. Partner even demonstrated how my sister played that motorcycle game.
"Broooom. Brooom," he mimicked as he acted as if he was driving the motorcycle exaggeratedly competitive.
"Nakakatawa kapatid mo."
"I know right."
"I love you. She has your eyes."
"Bakit? Mata lagi napapansin samin."
"Mwuah mwuah mwuah," as he made kissy sounds.
"I missed you. I super duper miss you. LDRs are tough."
"Kaya natin ito bunso."
I looked at him with full determination.
"Kuya, let's go. Gutom na ako," sister said. Uh.
"Gutom ka nanaman e isang malaking lata ng pringles ang kinain mo. Grabe."
"Hayaan mo na yung bata. Dapat nga iniispoil yan," partner to the rescue.
"Nabanggit ko lang. Di naman pinpigilan. Magsama na nga lang kayong dalawa."
I held my sister's hand. My partner held the other and we strolled. Everything felt in place. Everything felt normal.
It will be alright. We're on our way.
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