When the school bell rang to signal the end of classes, Reina was quick on her feet. She wanted to go home as soon as possible to catch a television show. If she didn’t hurry, she might get stuck in traffic. She hurried her bestfriend, Summer, along.
They were almost at the school gate when she remembered she had forgotten something.
“We forgot our lunch bags!” she told Summer.
“Do you remember where we left it?” Summer asked.
“After lunch, we headed straight to the computer room,” she said. “Did we leave it on the table at the corridor?”
“Let’s go and see.”
“Okay. My mom will nag me if I don’t bring it home.”
They headed back to the school building, to the corridor where they think thy left their lunch bags.
Summer was walking ahead of her when she abruptly stopped in her steps for a second or two, as if hesitating. Before she could ask or say anything, she saw her lunch bag on the table and went straight for it, going past Summer.
“It’s here!” she exclaimed.
When she turned around, Marianne and Cedric were at the corner of the corridor. Her heart skipped a beat seeing Cedric. She’s been hopelessly in love with him since freshmen year.
Then a sudden movement caught her eye. What was that, she thought. It happened in a fraction of a second. Did Cedric dropped Marianne’s hand? Were they holding hands? Or was it a trick of light?
Suddenly, it dawned on her. They are together. And it was kept a secret. From her.
All those whispers behind her back, she didn’t imagine them after all.
She looked at Summer but she wasn’t looking at her. She was looking at anything but her.
She forced a smile on her face. “You’re both still here? Aren’t you going home yet?” she asked nonchalantly.
“I’m waiting for my parents to pick me up,” Marianne answered coolly. Cedric simply shrugged and did not bother with a response.
“Okay. Well, we’re going ahead.”
With head held high, a smile plastered on her face, she picked up her lunch bag and strode away, Summer right behind her.
Silence ensued between them as they made their way back to the gates. When they rode the tricycle, she decided to confirm what she just saw. “Did you know?” she asked.
She was silent for another minute. She wasn’t very specific in her question but the answer was very direct.
“For how long now?”
“A couple of months now,” Summer answered in a barely audible whisper.
And that was that. Her first heartbreak. Reina felt there was something going on around her. She saw the signs but thought nothing of it. That is, until it blew on her face, crushing her heart in the process.
A few years later, she will wonder which hurt more — the unrequited love or that her bestfriend kept her in the dark.